I imagine your social media was as full of #internationalwomensday posts on Friday as mine was. Memes and inspirational quotes in great abundance on my Facebook news feed. I spent some of Friday out in nature, with some wonderful women, under flowering Blackthorn trees, their petals beneath our feet as we walked. This tree’s determination to bloom despite the freezing weather an inspiration. Then I spent yesterday afternoon celebrating women in equally good company, and doing something else I really bloody love. Singing. I joined in with one of Beccy Owen’s Pop Up Choirs and as usual, had an absolute ball.
The concept of a pop up choir may be new to you, so let me explain. A group of people, some of whom may never have sang in public before, indeed, some of whom (raises hand) may have believed their whole life they just *couldn’t* sing, rock up to a pre-disclosed location. With the leadership and encouragement of Beccy, we learn a song or two. Maybe learn a few harmonies because harmonies can made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and why not. Perform new songs to bystanders. Dissolve into the crowd and head back to our homes, full of singing magic and pure, actual joy. And more than that, a feeling of having been part of something bigger.
Yesterday we sang our newly learnt songs in the bitter cold, under a crescent moon, our melodies interrupting the silence of the night, and in the power of the music, I reflected on these words.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
It’s a quote I have loved for such a long time, written by Marianne Williamson, whose book, A Woman’s Worth, I bought in Liverpool Lime Street in the Spring of 1999, while waiting for a train south. By the time I stepped off the train in Oxford, I’d read it cover to cover and was inspired and determined and ashamed, all at once. Ashamed that I had allowed my Light to frighten me into inaction. That was the year I joined my first Green movement, had my nose pierced and started dreaming up ideas of how to make a positive impact on this beautiful planet.
But in recent years, I’ve felt my Light fade around the edges a bit and the fear of “not enough” creep in. I let my concern over how others might perceive me get in the way of the business of shining my Light. And I stopped singing. Not that I ever sang out loud in public prior to joining in with the Pop Up Choir scene. Total “ooh, shine your Light!” hypocrite right there – I was one of those sing-in-secret/sing-in-the-shower types. But what do you do when your Light is getting dim and you’ve let other people squash up your joy and you’re feeling like your contribution to the upkeep of the planet is just not adequate? Why, you do more of the stuff that you love, and you remember why you love it, and you commit to it, and own it, and reject wholeheartedly all those feelings of “not enough”. You allow yourself space to be. And to be joyful. Easier said than done, right?
But you know, it can be done. And by women all over the world, right now, rising up with a single song, held in harmony, and with one clear intent, it IS being done. The song is of healing, and nurture, and compassion. For the earth, for each other, for the living creatures that inhabit this place. And it’s getting louder and brighter.
Today, this day, right now, there are women across the world who are holding space, both for themselves and for others and bringing their Light to shine a path for the rest of us to follow. A path we can add our Light to. A path were everyone is enough, and every action makes a difference.
Women like Marianne Williamson, who is running for US President 2020.
Women like Greta Thunberg, (above) who is leading an International Youth Movement for Climate Action. (Watch her here)
Women like you.
Women like me.
It’s easy, when confronted with the enormity of climate breakdown, to feel like just letting your Light go out. To let the feelings of “what’s the point” or “how can this be enough” or “it all needs to happen faster” overwhelm you. I feel it every day. And then I make a mental list of the small things I’m doing that make a difference, and the changes we’ve made and are making still. Of the resistance that is building. And I remind myself that all those changes, in flight with the changes that others are making, can rise – IS RISING like a great murmuration or like all the exquisite harmonies of a planet full of peaceful, determined warriors.
Whether you are a peaceful protester, a zero waster, a buy-nothing-new-er, a fixer, fighting planned obsolesce and fast fashion with spanners and hammers and needles and thread, a tree planter or a rooftop veg grower – or a choir leader, helping all the voices join together as one – you are enough.
More than enough.
This #internationalwomensday, and all the other days, remember who you are, what you are capable of achieving, and let no-one and nothing squash or dim or extinguish that powerful Light. Own it. Sing about it. Believe it. #womenrising #embracethegoddess
Image of Greta Thunberg used with kind permission of the original photographer, Anders Hellberg, 2019
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