In the cold, pouring rain, my partner and I stood proudly, with our four kids, five and under, in tow, holding signs that read “Love is Love,” “Respect All” and “Peace Begins with Me.” We stood in solidarity with women and all others who have felt the crushing weight of inequality and oppression. We stood to show our community that we will stand for justice, for equality; we stood to show that we will do the hard work that privilege demands.
I’ve seen and known too much of the pain inequality and oppression bring but know that what I hold in my heart is just a drop in a vast ocean. The weight of it all is overwhelming. Where do I begin? What is my place in the resistance? And what is this chaos here to teach me?
My partner and I spend most of our days inside the walls of our home. We co-parent, and we both work from home. But don’t let this utopic vision and the sweet Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the wind outside the bright yellow door of our hermitage fool you: There is no shortness of chaos inside our home. While I’m cleaning up a mess of dishes, there is no telling what havoc is being made in the next room over, and one crayon can do a whole lot of damage in the hands of a brazen, angry toddler in just the time it takes to change a diaper. Our home is like a microcosm of the chaos of the world outside. But if we can’t even find common ground and create compromise between two brothers fighting over what color bowl to eat their cereal out of, is there any hope for the weight of the brokenness and chaos in the world outside our doors?
We have dragged our kids to rallies and marches, made signs and banners together, held signs in the cold and rain, listened as deeply as we can to stories of those who have lost loved ones to gun-violence while corralling small children together in a state of semi-respectfulness, made cookies for protestors, gone to meet-ups, signed petitions, written emails, written postcards, voted together, but the question still lingers: If peace begins with me, how am I letting the resistance CHANGE ME. Is what we are doing in our day to day rhythm, how we are choosing to spend our time, money, and ultimately our lives, how we are raising our children in line with what we are saying we want to live for? How can I, as a mother, live the resistance?
What does resistance look like in the day to day grind as a parent working from home? On any given day, the likelihood that I will speak to an adult other than my partner Matt is fairly low. If you receive a text from me that makes sense, consider yourself lucky. If you’ve received a text or message that looks like a long string of emoji or a photograph of the most amazing naturally blonde highlighted hair ever, consider yourself lucky that my three-year old doesn’t know how to point the camera lens anywhere else. Otherwise, Matt and I may share a brief-pre-caffienated-grunt-like greeting before being barraged by the needs of children in the morning, and that’s that until he is finished with work in the afternoon. I see another adult long enough to have a conversation, maybe bi-weekly. What can resistance look like when your circle of influence is so small?
As with everything else, the only place to begin is right where you are. And here I am, in my home, surrounded by small children. For me, this resistance, the peace that I want to be in the world, begins right here in my home.
In my home, resistance looks like my children growing up with a deep and grounded awareness of self, their roots, and the responsibility their privilege demands for the world. Resistance looks like teaching that love is power, that true heroes create peace. Resistance looks like developing a sense of respect and deep empathy for others with a keen ability to listen. Resistance looks like living in a way that declares that in diversity is strength and our differences are what make us beautiful. Resistance is teaching my children that true strength is the ability to choose love, because love is the one source of magic that is all around us, and within us, if only we choose to see it and be it. I want my children to know the power of their voice. The power of their presence. The power of us.
In my home, resistance looks like a mother, humble enough to take care of myself. Resistance means opening myself up in moments of chaos to listen and be present, rather than running away, shutting down, numbing the pain of not being enough. Resistance looks like being gracious with myself, listening to my needs, and setting healthy boundaries. Resistance looks like choosing life, right where I am.
Right now, nothing feels more important than to intentionally create a home with good soil for my children to grow so that they will be ready for the world they inherit. For my children to know their place in their community; to know their power and responsibility. I want my children to know that their America is not the greatest nation on earth unless they choose to make it so. That greatness is not a birthright, rather it comes from the humility to face truth, the courage to live into fear and the power of resistance.
For me, the chaos in the world outside my home has opened me to a whole new way of being. In staring directly into what I don’t know, what I fear, and the pain that others endure, I have nothing to do but to let the walls that create “other” fall down. I am left, present. Present with my children. Present with my neighbors. Present in my community. Present in a state of groundlessness, without the arrogance of pre-conceived ideals, ready to live into the truth. Ready to embrace the possibility of hope in the midst of confusion and chaos. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche believes that “Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news.” Chaos makes the walls that we construct around ourselves, our homes, fall down, so that all we have left is each other.
So let us resist. In our homes. In our relationships. In our neighborhoods. In our communities. In our world. I will be where I am, mothering the resistance.