Some time back I wrote about the times in my life when words have failed me. It would appear that those times are happening with greater frequency.
And I want to own the fact that words fail me, and not have to worry that I will be “shamed” for not speaking out in “troubled times.”
I want to be quiet within myself and know that those who truly know me will realize that my silence is not complacency, not at all, not ever.
I want to process, to think, to ponder…to not react, but to formulate an intelligent response, one that I can stand behind, not one that I toss out on Facebook because I “should.” I don’t want to be a blind “copy and paster.”
And in that space of quietness, of deep contemplation that keeps me awake at nights, I want to know others who can speak faster than I can, who can formulate replies quicker than I ever could, who are intelligent and savvy and speak from their hearts. And I want to listen to them…and feel into them as I feel into my own self.
And so today I share with you the words of my friend and business partner, who has said things in this post that I feel in my bones, but could not put to words. I am so grateful that she could.
Much love to you all,
From the Desk of Stella Orange…
Come up and sit with me here on this hill, would you?
The time has come to talk of many things.
Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax.
Of cabbages and white supremacists.
That’s not how that poem goes!
Well, come up here with me on this hill anyway, and – over there – that patch of grass looks nice. You can sit there.
We need to talk.
But first! For this conversation, I need to use my ‘cosmic voice.’ Are you okay with that?
(Usually, I use my ‘everyday voice.’ But today requires something different.)
Okay with you? Alright, good.
So I got up Saturday morning, and got on twitter. I read about a gathering of young men in my country, who got a bunch of backyard tiki torches and gathered in a public place to tell the world a message they very much want people to hear.
As I heard it, their message was, “you will not replace us.”
Because we are sitting here on this hill, we have a little distance, to examine what is going on here, and to formulate a thoughtful response.
For awhile now, I have suspected that many of you reading this are quite wise, and quite powerful.
I have been testing out my hypothesis more boldly this year, as I let slip some of my veils and show you how you can use the story of the hero who is called to more – not only to build your business and call in the right people, but also to get your message into more people’s awareness…
… so that every person who hears your story weaves it into the story they tell themselves about who they are and what is possible for them.
Yeah, guys, that’s what we really are doing here.
Pumping all your hero stories out into the world, so that the stories that other people tell themselves begin to shift, in ways big and tiny.
And all boats rise, as they say.
But the time has come to open the kimono a bit more, as they say.
You may have heard me say that ‘words create worlds.’
I am quite serious about this.
So do stories.
So when a group of people say “you will not replace us,” and I hear it, I get curious about the world they are experiencing.
And the story they are telling themselves.
As the events of the day heat up, and the current system as it’s been built begins to shake and come apart at the seams, and more people who have not done the work that many of you have done (of going into one’s own darkness and being with it, understanding it, learning to dance and create with it; of ending patterns of violence and abuse; of leaving what’s comfortable and familiar and crossing the threshold into the unknown) increase their agitation, fear, hating and violence… I am called to practice my listening at deeper levels.
You may be called to do something else.
Listen for it.
What are you called to do?
My sisters and brothers, now is the time to start doing it. Or do more of it.
In the same way that you have learned how to transmute your own pain, worry, and shadow into something golden, now is the time to move on to the next phase – using the tools you have acquired along your journey to meet what is happening, the way that you meet the difficult stuff.
With breath, I suspect.
With great tenderness. Great understanding.
But there will also be ways of being that you – being you, being original – will bring.
I am clear that everyone who is reading this has a part to play in the co-creation of a new public commons.
Where there is plenty for everyone.
I am clear that what you and I decide in moments like this will create the future for our great great grandchildren.
And their great great grandchildren.
As I sit with you in this grassy hilltop of our collective imaginations, overlooking events that crack our hearts open wide, I invoke our great great grandchildren.
Thank you for being here with us, on this grassy hill.
We are having a conversation about the world we are creating for you.
We are so glad that you get to experience what we are dreaming of here today.
We built it for you. We designed it for you. We will make the choices we are about to make for you. So that you can experience what we see in our dreams.
Now that the children are here and listening to our conversation here on this grassy hill, what’s next?
Ah, the kids want to know why these young men are worried about being replaced.
Who wants to answer that one?
The parenting coaches. If you are a parenting coach, could you please write an article or shoot a short video about how we can all talk to our kids about white supremacy and racism?
There are a bunch of therapists here, too. Therapists, can you do some posts on your favorite social media channel, giving voice to what you see, when you hear the words ‘we will not be replaced?’
Ah, but the spiritual teachers also read this Tuesday Letter! Masters, we need you and your guides to speak on this, too. Especially those of you who are actively holding compassion for white supremacists, even though it is unpopular to do so. Can you use this situation to teach a lesson that is yours to teach?
Oh, and who’s that over there?
The womanists and feminists and humanists – those of you who absorbed the phrase ‘grab them by the pussy’ and maybe wept or maybe shook, and then you ate it, metabolized it, and then pooped it out and flushed it down the toilet or otherwise returned it to the earth.
O, you who love women and femmes, and who can see the systematic degradation and dehumanization of your sisters, your mothers, your daughters and whose still, small voice within whispers ‘this isn’t right’…
Now is your time to speak. Figure out how your work – whether it’s financial education, corporate leadership, digestive health, emotional intelligence – can meet the growing number of people who are afraid of what they don’t know, what is different, women, brown people, darkness, change, growing up, feeling loss, feeling lost, not knowing, their own bodies, desire, losing control, not having control in the first place… the list goes on and on.
How can your work meet their fear with grounded reassurance, respect, and wisdom?
Back on our hill, we sit and hold council.
There are questions that are coming up, in light of recent events.
How can you answer them?
What tools do you have in your toolbox that can help others who are just beginning their journeys?
What can you bring to the conversation?
Listen, I get the bigness of it all.
And I get that we’ve got businesses to run. Families to feed. Ballers to watch (What? I have a thing for Dwayne Johnson.)
But let me remind you that many of you got into business because you see things like this, and you know there is another way to respond. A way that’s wise, healing, and restorative.
I remind you of writer and activist Audre Lorde: “your silence will not protect you.”
I remind you of elder and master Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”
And so I dispatch you, coaches, teachers, healers, and consultants, down from your spot in the grass on this hill, into your corner of the world.
I invite you to ponder how your work relates to what you are seeing in the larger world. How the tools you have gathered from your adventures might be used in these times.
I confirm your suspicion that your work is far greater than you’ve expressed it thus far. Indeed, it can and will be used to answer the questions and challenges of our moment in history.
And I encourage you to examine your own beliefs, not just about your personal growth and spirituality but also about oppression, justice, and the systems we’ve allowed to be put in place, in our own communities and backyard and abroad.
Look deeper. Follow your questions where they lead. Make time to reflect, not just on your own soul’s journey, but the collective journey the world is making right now.
Seek out news sources that don’t feed the comforting bromides – ‘America is the greatest country in the world’ – and bizarre thinking — ‘health is expensive and only some people can afford it and that’s how it is’ that are too often force fed through mainstream channels.
And for goodness sake, trust that what you have to say is good, and not because anyone else is paying attention to it, but because you are.
Trust that giving voice to what is in your heart is the whole game – not ‘how many likes do you get’ or ‘how many people are on your list.’
Show up. Say what’s yours to say. Stay humble. Stay the course.
And man, oh, man… it’s gonna work out just beautifully.
Learn more about Stella Orange at www.stellaorange.com.
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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.