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Stand your ground

Well, I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

No, I’ll stand my ground
Won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground
And I won’t back down

I am discovering, in this stony-hearted, toxic, blatantly cruel and aggressively harmful country we find ourselves living in these days, that “standing my ground” means more than I thought. I thought the only way to stand your ground was to take action: Make those calls and write those letters and send in those donations. Keep telling those untold stories. Keep volunteering at Food for Lane County and the Oregon State Penitentiary. Stand up for what you believe and cherish by taking overt action.

But there’s an emotional/ psychological—dare I say it? spiritual—component to this standing your ground process that I wasn’t paying attention to, that I was, in fact, dismissing. I thought that anything other than activism harkened back to Me Decade horseshit. You know “visualize world peace” rather than, say, work in the trenches for world peace.

But, after a few days in the presence of a group of compassionate, tender, open-hearted and seriously (and playfully) spiritual people, I am reminded of how important it is to gather energy and act with grace, to nourish your own soul, especially in a time of darkness, to create positive forces within that can help you withstand the negative forces without, to surround yourself with those who care lest you forget that the world is actually full of those who care.

And so standing your ground for me now means more than just upholding and working for the egalitarian, democratic, communitarian beliefs I hold dear. It means keeping myself buoyant, finding a place of peace and energy and, well, groundedness within so that I do not lose hope in our essential goodness. So that I am able to act from a place of hope not rage.

7 comments

1 Barb Ryan { 06.28.18 at 9:47 pm }

Thank you Lauren. Yes have inspired me. Buoyancy, peacefulness, hopefulness, our essential goodness are all words and phrases that are uplifting. We need Upliftment so that we see possibilities which helps us to hold the space for those possibilities to become part of the solution. As more of us gain our resiliency we can assist others to bounce back when they are knocked down. Every day I have many opportunities for upliftment because each day the news about the world can be so frightening and discouraging. We can learn to shift our focus and look for the helpers and become a helper. What you wrote reminded me that we can all do our part. My job as the Guidess of
Happiness is to spread the news that there are reasons to be hopeful and many things that we can do in our resilience That empower us and others to know we can make a difference. When a renowned author such as yourself begins to spread this message an even wider audience hears it.
Gratitude and Blissings
Barb

2 Lauren { 06.29.18 at 3:21 am }

You know this terrain far better than I do, Barb, oh Guidess. Holding the space for possibilities…so necessary, sometimes so challenging.

3 Hollis McCarthy { 06.28.18 at 11:31 pm }

Really needed to read this today, this week…in these times. Thanks for putting it so well, Lauren. I feel simultaneously more buoyant and grounded already! Good stuff, well thought out and as always, beautifully written.

4 Lauren { 06.29.18 at 3:18 am }

Thanks for reading and commenting, Hollis. Sometimes I have to write myself sane.

5 Ruth { 06.29.18 at 2:01 am }

Today, at a conference, I was buoyed by a talk from Michael Tomasell on what makes humans unique. In short it is our evolutionary tendency toward culture, a psychology of cooperation, social learning, helping, and fairness. I felt less hopeless and thought ‘we are not lost’.
As he said in aside to us, it’s all about your baseline – our nearest relatives, chimps, are awful compared to humans. We can prevail.

6 Lauren { 06.29.18 at 3:16 am }

I’m going to think about that, Ruth. Hopelessness takes us nowhere, that’s for sure.

7 Ruth { 07.02.18 at 11:15 pm }

Tomasello was certainly being flippant about the baseline comparison. Social comparison (regardless of species in focus) can only take us so far, and can be harmful. What is meaningful here, to me, is that our inclination is toward our connections and toward beneficence. What I have to fight against is the hopeless feeling that our culture has moved or is moving us away from those tendencies. Maintaining the energy to wrench it back takes support and courage.

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