Living dreams

surfacingToday, I will slow down.

I believe in solidarity, in standing up beside and supporting others. I love the energy and jubilation I find in Occupy, in working together, in creating collaborative dreams. I also believe it is good for me to take breaks, to pause and reflect, to look backward and forward on my own.

Looking back I see that my participation in occupy hasn’t been very sustainable when I view the whole of my life. This has only occasionally approached the disaster zone, most of the time it’s been merely troublesome and i’ve been able to shimmy around picking up pieces as they fall. The sense of urgency, of possibility, is strong, magnetic, and I’ve been letting it pull me. Its felt like the right thing to do. I do know that I can’t act in ways that allow the other parts of my life to crumble, but it’s been seductive and often rewarding.

Looking forward is harder, and that worries me. I realize that I have participating in the flow, working and acting in a solidarity I find beautiful. But when I pause I’m uncertain if this is the current I choose myself. As Occupy grows older and more solidified our actions are focusing more on agitating acting and educating around issues of economic injustice. I have certainly learned more about those issues in my own country than I knew before, a lot more.

I have always understood the range of issues that call activists to the streets (and the meetings, and the keyboard, and the easel, and did I mention the meetings?) as very interconnected. That has certainly not changed. But my participation has changed lately, some of the issues and ideas that I have had a lifetime of passion for have had none of my energy since I became involved with Occupy.

In the past I’ve struggled to balance other parts of my life with my desire to work for change in the world. What’s new is that I may have added a third player into the mix. My non activist life, my passion for the issues Ive always felt called to, and now participation in Occupy. It’s not that I don’t feel passion for Occupy, I do, but it feels like I am allowing my participation there to overwhelm everything else. I didn’t consciously choose to let the other things I care about fall aside, I just sort of did it. I don’t regret it, but I know that I need to make conscious thoughtful decisions about where I will put my energy; if I do not I know I can’t sustain the actions I take.

I can, and often do, juggle the priorities of my world. This important thing must wait because this other important thing feels really time sensitive and urgent. Being a mother taught me how to do that. It also taught me to check in on my actions and make sure they are matching the priorities I hold. There’s a difference between reacting to my life and living it.

Maybe the third player I’m sensing on the scales is actually about local community. In the past I have travelled a lot as well as participated from a distance. That fact alone has probably helped me to set and hold boundaries. A lot of my participation in Occupy has been motivated by desire to act locally, and the results have been pretty damn fabulous in many ways. I do really really love this change in my life. Except when I don’t.

I’ve been silently noticing that we are not yet creating avenues for participation that welcome people who have less than full time energy to give. It’s one of the things I think is contributing to a gender imbalance, and possibly an age one as well. But I hadn’t really noticed that it’s also something I personally need. Egg? Chicken?

These days I don’t have a little girl in a spinny dress to help me stay grounded in the chop-wood-carry-water parts of my life. She grew up; sometimes she even does the dishes. But surely I can take what I’ve learned and apply it now.

Today, I will slow down and think about what my priorities are. I will think about what I want them to be. I will consider whether they have changed over time. I will make a list. Tomorrow, I will start living it.