Monday, January 18, 2016

Standing In Our Power

" On a buffety, blustery early summer day, when the news was bad and the sky turned yellow, a strange thing happened in the town where I live."

So begins the story of one woman who felt the need to make a difference in the world, to take a stand for what she believed in. The story is contained in a story book for adults called, "The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering," by Sharon Mehdi. I first became aware of this book while sitting at work several years ago listening to a program on NPR radio as I entered endless pages of numbers into my computer. I was especially taken with the sub-title of the book: "A story for anyone who thinks she can't save the world." I won't go into the entire story because that would spoil the fun of reading it for yourself, and read it you should. The lesson contained within it's small covers had an unexpected and undeniable effect on me and how I live my life today. In a nutshell, someone's Grandmother decides that she is going to "stand for peace," and that is exactly what she does - she "stands" for peace. There is no noise, no protesting out loud, no chants and slogans, just one determined Grandmother standing up for what she believed in. What happens as a result of the belief that one woman, and an old woman at that, can change the world, even for one day, is a testament not only to the human spirit, but to the belief that anything is possible.

The idea that we are all capable of making lasting change in the world is a subject I am passionate about, especially as it pertains to the role of women of the Boomer Generation, who cut their youthful teeth on change and were in the forefront of social and national change in the 60's,70's and 80's(see my ebook, "Song Of An Extraordinary Life" available on Amazon). 

Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King and the legacy he left us. Of all the things I learned from him, learning to stand in my own power was probably the most important and one that has stayed with me these many years. I grew up in New York City. I attended public school in Queens where we shared our classrooms with children of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds. It was just accepted. New York City was the shining example of The Great Melting Pot. Our friendships were never divided by race. That idea was severely put to the test as the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum. Suddenly it was not okay to have a friend of a different color. Our parents asked us not to bring "them" home from school because they were worried about what the neighbors would think. They started talking about things like "property values." But we kids knew better. We stood our ground. Nothing had changed the love and support we gave to each other and nothing would. If we couldn't go to each other's homes, we could meet at the park, or at the movies. We could offer each other our ears to listen to their fears, and our shoulders to lean on when it got too intense at home. We graduated together, one class, one heart, one school. It wasn't until years later, on the day Dr. King was shot, that our world finally crumbled and things were no longer the same. We had to fight tooth and nail to build it back up again and we are still building.

One person can change the world. One person can make a difference. You don't have to march, protest, or cause civil unrest. You can stand in your power. You can stand at the ballot box. You can stand with your wallets. You can stand in your truth. Your ripple will join with other ripples and collectively cover the earth. And Boomer Women need to be at the forefront again, using their years of wisdom and experience to show them how it's done. Look what we've already done - there is a grandmother running for President! Don't you believe for one minute that one determined Grandmother can't change the world. 

And so it is.