Fascism + Getting Back to Basics

This past weekend in Portland there was a protest put on by white supremacists responding to the arrest of a neo-Nazi who was screaming hate speech at two young women of color. That man went on to murder the two white men who confronted him about it.

Then, of course, there were the attacks in Manchester, London, and the daily escalation of policies and attacks that can only be described as fascist (defined as extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice).

As someone with a lot of privilege, it’s easy to hole up and ignore most of what’s going on until I feel ready to engage with the news. When I choose to look or am confronted by it just by virtue of existing in this world, it’s not long before I’m spiraling out into what-is-the-point-of-all-this-land.

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time connecting what I do every day to the need for real, dramatic change in our world. I can’t quite see how I fit into the effort to overthrow hate, and even though I can intellectualize and explain my “contributions,” it isn’t feeling real to me. I know that means that I’m going to have to pivot and reconnect to my work in a new way - a way that incorporates more...something.

As I was trying to word vomit all of this out to my therapist recently, she reminded me that unless I’m lined up with the spiritual practices that ground me, I’ll keep spiraling without being much use to anyone.

I don’t have an answer yet to the question, “What does my work have to do with overthrowing fascism?,” but I know what anchors me, and it’s simple things like listening to birds or a beautiful line of poetry.

When I watch another episode of A Handmaid’s Tale and wig out about how we’re all headed toward a dystopian existence, I have to remember to pause. To breathe. To get back down to basics, here, in my body, in this moment. Then I’ll know what has to happen through me in the next hour, week, or year.

So in case you also need a minute at baseline right now, I want to share a few things that turn my worried mind off so that I can be a more present, compassionate person.

The songs of birds.

This poem by Nayyirah Waheed:

there is peaceful.

there is wild.

i am both at the same time.


This image: