Fear, Isolation, and Social Justice

“When a structure is broken, we are fools if we simply ignore the defect in favor of pretending that our democracy isn’t cracking at the seams. Our obligation is to understand where the problem is, find a solution, and make the broken whole again.” Stacey Abrams, Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America

We need the long view in the struggle for freedom. The right wing anti-choice movement has been quietly gaining power and stacking the US Supreme Court for decades. Last week this paid off.

People who care about freedom and human rights are outraged and afraid at the overturning of Roe v Wade. It is clear that right wing US politicians and supporters don’t value life. They don’t care about living children enough to even pass sensible gun laws. Their agenda is a direct attack on our freedom to control our bodies and lives. It will not stop here.

“Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects.” Kimberlé Crenshaw

Life was hard before Covid and for most of us it is harder now. In addition to coping with practical challenges like fear of illness and death, jobs, and supply chain issues, we are struggling with abrupt loss and change, grief, and highly alarmed nervous systems.

Fear derails our higher level conscious brain and we are flashed back to feeling powerless. This leaves us vulnerable to manipulation by power hungry people like the former President, whose lies inspired some people into rage and insurrection, and others into apathy and despair.

“The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We need to incorporate community activism into our daily lives and be nourished and strengthened by each other. Otherwise we burn out. There are times when we come together in millions to protest, and in between we host voter registration parties in our homes, donate money, join environmental groups to protect natural areas, volunteer, and live our lives.

When we feel overwhelmed and powerless, one way of coping is to go unconscious through addictions and other forms of solace and distraction. Connection is a more productive and healing option. Engaging in community with people who share our values builds a stronger, more resilient nervous system individually and collectively.

We live in mammal bodies and we also have higher level brain development, emotions and a longing for authentic connection and community. Feeling threatened drives our survival responses of fight/ flight/ freeze and limits our access to a state of trust and connection within ourselves and with each other. We’ve all seen video clips of a group of predators isolating their prey from the herd. Isolation makes us vulnerable. We feel stronger and we are stronger together. One way to fight back is to cultivate ongoing long-term connection that helps us feel less afraid.

What do you value? What in your local community inspires you? Collective action is a powerful antidote to feeling powerless. We learn from each other and we are stronger together. I know how hard this is when we have social anxiety and unhealed trauma that leads us to think we’re better going it alone. Our online Sunday community class is one example of people listening with open hearts, taking risks to share, and being heard.

Simple actions have profound results. When we started the Lesbian Mothers Defense Fund in Calgary in 1983, a heterosexual lawyer volunteered her time to set it up. I felt less alone because at least one person in the wider community had our back. We all do this when we challenge a racist joke, welcome someone who feels left out, educate ourselves, and stand up for justice. These seemingly small actions add up to a culture of inclusion and more safety.

We can’t afford to disengage from working for justice. I’ve found over the years that how I engage changes, yet times like this remind us that who we vote into power affects all of us each day. Some people with a uterus have more money and privilege than do others. Reproductive choice is more available to them. We are not free until all of us are free. We do not have control over our bodies until we all do.

When our life is full with actions and relationships that are meaningful and valuable, we naturally feel safer. When we have a gut punch like the overturning of Roe v Wade, we feel the fear and anger and we recover. We have more resilience. We don’t go into a spiral or we come out of it sooner. We have people we can turn to who understand and have the same commitment to justice that we do. We take action together.

“You become strong by doing the things you need to be strong for. This is the way genuine learning takes place. That’s a very difficult way to live, but it also has served me.” Audre Lorde

My YouTube channel playlist on. My YouTube channel current playlist on . Use these to stay present.

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Lynn Fraser Stillpoint

Lynn Fraser Stillpoint

Everyday join me on Zoom #645904638 passcode 397228 in-person to practice Mindfulness Rest and Inquiry Meditation 8:00am Eastern. Free.