mending the world

My mom, who is eighty, gets up in the dark every morning. She likes to sit near the window in her living room, mug of tea in hand, and watch the sun come up across the pond.   “I don’t know how many sunrises I have left,” she said to me recently. “And I don’t want to miss a single one.”

I may be twenty-two years younger than she is, but I feel exactly the same way. Over here on my side of town I’m up, too, watching the day begin. Sometimes my mom sends me a photo of her sunrise, and I respond with a photo of mine. You might think that after ten years of living in this house with its southeasterly view of mountains and sunrises, I’d take the dawn for granted. In fact, the opposite is true. What my husband and I have learned from rising early enough to observe the beginnings of hundreds of days here is that no two sunrises are alike. Of course I could sleep through the quiet drama, or lose myself in the morning headlines or my Facebook news feed, or go about my business of getting breakfast ready and coffee made. The day arrives, after all, whether I’m bearing witness to it or not.

But still, morning after morning, I stand in the kitchen or, often enough out in the yard in my slippers, and take note of the changing light. It’s only a moment or two, a moment carved out of time and devoted simply to pausing and being and seeing. And every morning, almost without fail, my own heart lifts with the sun – for so begins another day on the planet, another day of being here, another day of striving to do a better job of being human than I did yesterday, another shot at more gracefully executing this precious, fleeting, endlessly surprising challenge of being alive.

An early riser, an optimist by nature, a lover of mornings, I’m always eager to launch myself into the day. And it doesn’t take much to make me happy: A cup of strong coffee laced with cream or a handful of frozen blueberries from my summer-stash in the freezer, a silly joke shared with my husband, a good-morning text from a far-away friend, the hairy woodpecker hanging upside-down at the feeder, busily extracting his morning ration of sunflower seeds, a sky fluid with traveling clouds executing their own sublime choreography, or a soft grey mantle of mist draped across the nearby hills. Looking around at the life I’m privileged to live, I see much to be grateful for.

Yet I’m also conscious these days, in a way I never have been before, that simple gratitude for all that’s good in the world just isn’t enough anymore. At least, it’s not enough for me. Gratitude, if it’s to mean anything at all, must go hand in hand with something else, something less familiar and less comfortable; something I can only call commitment – a willingness on my part to confront with clear eyes all that is wrong, unjust, and dangerous.

This is new. I’ll confess there’s always been a part of me that preferred to leave the world’s intractable, large-scale problems to others to solve. Introvert and homebody that I am, I mostly choose to work behind the scenes and within a smaller circle. Give me a bedside to attend, a friend or loved one who could use a hand or a hug, some small gesture or invisible offering that might ease the way for someone near and dear, and I show up and offer myself wholeheartedly. Give me a worthy cause to support, a garden to weed, a difficult letter to write, or a hot meal to prepare and deliver to a doorstep, and I’m on solid turf. Much of my adult life has been based on faith in our interconnectedness, and each of these small, intimate acts strengthens those connections. Cultivate peace in my heart, embody peace in my relationships, create peace in our home, I believed, and that peace would quietly ripple outward, from me to my loved ones, across our threshold, and on into the larger world.

And so, whenever I stopped long enough to reflect on such questions as “Why am I here?” and “What is my purpose?” the answer seemed pretty clear. I actually found it long ago in some lines by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, words I’ve quoted often because they’ve served me so well as a kind of north star, timeless wisdom by which to navigate:

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself reconsidering. Is it really enough to mend the part of the world within my reach? My own small gestures seem like paltry offerings in the face of so much uncertainty, so much divisiveness, so much need.

These days, as I stand in my kitchen and watch the sun begin its early morning ascent, I marvel as always at the world’s beauty. And yet my heart does not lift. Instead it fills and sometimes overflows, not just with gratitude but with anxiety and, too, with a silent, pervasive sorrow for the suffering just beyond my reach. It feels as if the very values upon which we’ve built our country, and with which my husband and I raised our children, are under assault in our nation’s capitol. As a friend wrote me this morning after listening to the threats and promises being made in Washington this week: “No arts. No national parks. No public education. When it was suggested to Winston Churchill that money could be raised for the war effort by cutting funding for the arts, he responded, ‘Then what are we fighting for?’” What indeed.

There are many men and women in public office who are fighting to preserve all that is threatened now, from health care to open spaces. But for those dedicated to serving the good of all, for those who are working at this moment to protect our planet and all its people, it is an uphill battle. Their willingness to dig in and stand tall inspires me. There are writers and journalists holding the new decision-makers accountable, explaining what’s at stake, and helping us understand the story beneath the story. Their insights and analysis and commitment to truth are more urgently needed than ever. At the same time, in the words and deeds of the new president and his chosen team, there is little evidence of honesty, fair play, kindness, integrity, empathy, or even basic civility and competence. Amid the noise and bluster, we have not seen much concern for a warming planet under siege nor much reverence for the soul and spirit of our country. I listen and look in vain for words of compassion, cooperation, and a sense of responsibility toward those who are marginalized or vulnerable or different.

And yet, somehow we must affirm and uphold our true values nonetheless. We must become our best selves and our own leaders. We must be even more clear about what matters. We must sustain our belief in our country’s essential goodness even as we stand firm against injustice and intolerance and ineptitude. I do want to celebrate with gratitude the arrival of each new day, just as I’ve always done. But the truth is, there’s a new gravity to all my waking hours. And my feelings as I watch these wintry January dawns are more somber than sweet.

Today, as one era ends and a new one begins, I am grappling with the notion of mending the part of the world within my reach. In the past “the world within my reach” has meant my family and friends and loved ones. It has meant a community of readers and online colleagues and fellow moms and kindred souls. It has meant a home where love and laughter and tears are shared. It has meant a quiet country road where neighbors willingly set their political differences aside and make a point instead of waving hello and greeting one another’s dogs and stopping on walks to pick up trash. It has meant a town where we show up in person each day to buy our groceries and books and clothes, and where the folks at the cash registers know nearly every customer by name.

I love this small corner of the earth. Here in my quiet New England town the days and nights proceed as they always have, even as our nation’s capitol undergoes a tension-filled transfer of power and the winds of change and protest gather strength across the land. Here, the sun climbs up over the crest of Pack Monadnock at about 7:15  and I am there to see it, in awe as always at the eternal rhythms of the universe. As I sit typing these words, dusk falls and the sun slips away, vanishing into the trees to the west well before five. There is snow blanketing the field, slush in the road, a deep, imperturbable silence in the woods as night settles over all. My friends and family are nearby. My dog sleeps at my feet. Both our children are thriving in their own adult lives. Our health is fine and our bills are paid and there will be good food on the dinner table tonight.

So yes, I do have much to be grateful for. And at the same time, I feel the weight of a great deal of world-fixing to be done. And that work, I now know, really is up to me, whether I’m comfortable taking it on or not. It’s up to us. The only thing I know for sure is this: We will not accomplish much if we allow hatred and self-interest and our own small-time fears to divide us. We will not heal what needs healing if we leave the big problems for someone else to solve. Now more than ever, we must indeed stretch out to mend the part of the world within our reach. And we must do something else, too. We must stretch even more and reach even farther than we ever dreamed possible.

(This is part one of a three-part post.  Next week: some thoughts about how each of us can stand up and show our souls.  As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times.” )

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. […]

In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

                                  ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

for my reflections & inspiration

your comments

  1. Mary Elisabeth Stevens says:

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  2. I live outside of Philadelphia in a small suburb. I have been very depressed watching the state of things over the past year, even the weather here has been dark and gray. I want to do something to help others, to volunteer, to do my part. Since I have some disabilities, it is better for me to stay away from large crowds. I email my congressmen and senators when I can to make my opinions known.
    I love your heart-felt commentary. Thank you for the serene, calm and almost meditative words. We need this at this time when we are so divided and people are angry. We need to be appreciative and thankful for the things we have. We also need to be able to get involved where we can and do what we can when we can. God bless you and keep inspiring us for a long time to come.

  3. Barb from CNY says:

    Exactly what I needed to read today, heartfelt thanks for this post.

  4. Carolyn White says:

    Wonderfully soothing words on a day of such enormous uncertainty!
    Much love!

  5. Words and images to bolster the heart…. Thank you, dear friend. xxoo

  6. Chariya Tan says:

    Dear Katrina,

    Your words always relax me. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Chariya Tan says:

    Your words always relax and calm my soul. Thank you

  8. I think that you have a share of intolerance as well

    • Katrina Kenison says:

      Yes, Maryfran, I’m sure I do. I believe we all have work to do. I do my best to be tolerant of other people’s views, but am not very tolerant of those who are unwilling to seek out common ground. I try hard to listen to both sides, and was grateful this week to Marco Rubio, with whom I don’t always agree, for his eloquent defense of human rights during the confirmation hearings. It’s true that I’m not tolerant of disparaging remarks about women’s bodies, or the idea that a woman who has an abortion should be punished for it, or mockery of someone with a disability. I think about a variation on the serenity prayer that hits home for me: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and
      courage to change the things I cannot accept.” Thank you for your observation.

  9. In past years I have looked forward to your sweet posts and reading your books—sharing them with others every chance I get. While I deeply understand your sadness with inauguration today, I don’t share your in your sadness. I’m glad to see the Obama years come to an end. The uncertainty of the President Trump is nothing new as there is always uncertainty with a new leader.

    Find hope in our creator not in man. God is in control and the greatest thing we can do is pray for our leaders. Pray that they preserve our freedom, do all that they can to help others around the world and pray that God present them with opportunities to obtain perspective.

    Today will come and go. Always keep hope in your heart.

  10. Allison Hunter says:

    What a gorgeous and serene post on this Friday. I too marveled at the sun rising this morning in its astonishing beauty. I have resolved to move forward in hopefulness and courage as this new chapter begins. Thank you as always for your thoughtful and insightful words!

  11. A walk in the woods today and now your wise words, that is what was needed to keep panic at bay today. Tomorrow will be the time for coping, and the next day, the courage to step out and stand up. Thank you!

  12. Thank you, Katrina. This was just what I needed to read today. I look forward to your thoughts as you continue this series of posts.

  13. Leslie Mayerson says:

    Thank you dear Katrina for your insight at this challenging time. You inspire me to spread the reach of the good that I can do further and further! I admire your courage and appreciate your honesty.

  14. Thank you, Katrina, for sharing these strong and compelling and beautiful words of encouragement. You reached right into my heart, like a good friend can do, and spoke to both my grief and my grit, my frustration and my yearning to act. I don’t know the shape of those actions to come, no details are clear to me yet, but you have helped blow on the embers and clarify my intentions. Thank you again. xo

  15. Kim Smith says:

    Thank you so much for your inspiring words. As I stay in my house today in a news lockout, baking bread and preparing pizza dough, I am nervous and agitated and then try to let it go… Your words helped immensely. I can no longer sit idly by waiting for others to address these large concerns. But, I confess that I am still trying to find the way in which I should stand up. Tomorrow it will be at a local Women’s March to support our Human Rights. Not sure what it looks like day in and day out, but pray for guidance. Many thanks to you!

  16. Abby from Belgium says:

    Thank you Katrina. So beautiful and inspirational. Many blessings from Abby from Belgium xxx

  17. Thank you, Katrina. Like you, I am throwing myself into the things I love today – riding my bike in the rain, teaching my middle school students, savoring some chocolate and a quiet night at home with a book. There is much work to be done in defending what I love about my world. yes indeed.

  18. Nancy King Bernstein says:

    Love to you, Katrina.

  19. Perfect words for today. Very dreary here in Northern Wisconsin today; weather matching my heart. BUT today some friends and I shared lunch and joined hands as we made a pact: we would place our senators and congressman’s phone numbers in our contacts and would call re: policies/cabinet appointees that concern us. I have always emailed or written a letter but have now learned that phone calls work best. Yea or nay, keep it simple and let your voice be heard. Kind wishes to all.

  20. Very fine, beautifully written essay. I vote and take part as an activist, but I see our political process failing, and our politics getting worse. So where do I place my faith? In each other. We finally have to begin the conversation in each of our communities to heal our nation. It starts with us and with the practice of or core spiritual values, especially compassion, loving kindness, forgiveness, and generosity. If Mr. Trump claims he will unite our nation, he is sure going about it in a strange way, by insulting and alienating over half of the American people with his outrageous comments, his bad public behavior and half-baked, intemperate Tweet storms. How one shows up really matters–and I give Obama all the credit in the world for his graciousness, civility, humor, and thoughtfulness no matter what you think of his governance. However, my deeper concern is that our nation is more divided than ever as a result of this election. We are inching closer to the tipping point and and this could be our nation’s undoing. As one man with some experience healing a divided nation, Abraham Lincoln, once famously said (quoting the Bible): “A house divided cannot stand.” Moving forward, whatever we may say about it, however, the election of Trump is a done deal. The rubber now hits the road and Donald Trump and the Republicans own it. They no longer have Obama to kick around. The job of We, the People” is to remind them of this and insist they participate in a national conversation about addressing and solving our common problems if we are to have any chance of healing as a nation. There is no mandate, no agenda but to be our best selves with love, care, and compassion for the actual land and people of this nation. How we show up matters.

  21. “I will not keep a chair for it……..” How perfect. I look forward to your next posts, even more than usual.

  22. Dear Katrina,

    I was so happy to see your post in my mailbox today! I knew you would know just how to express my deepest feelings on this day. I am grateful for the gift God has given you and that you share with us. I have not been able to watch any news since the election – I can’t take in the negativity and divisiveness. I am so grateful to President Obama for his gracious and calming tone throughout this troubling period and have been inspired to get involved and to do what I can to make our world a better place.
    Thank you for your bravery and encouragement.

    God bless you.

  23. I’ve done quite a bit of soul searching in the past few months. I have chosen to speak up, to do more to mend my part of the world- for my daughter’s sake. She is my hero. Outspoken and already an activist at the age of 18. She seeks to mend, and to inspire others. Thank you for expressing what’s on my heart so eloquently. Peace.

  24. Marilyn LePan says:

    Yesterday…Today….and Tomorrow

    There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which
    should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
    One of these days is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its
    aches and pains. YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.
    All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY. We cannot undo a single act
    as performed, we cannot erase a single word. YESTERDAY is gone.
    The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW with its possible adversities,
    its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. TOMORROW is beyond our
    immediate control.
    TOMORROWS sun will rise, either in splendour or behind a mask of clouds- but it will rise
    until it does we have no stake in TOMORROW, for it is as yet unborn.
    This leaves only one day TODAY Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is
    only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities YESTERDAY and
    TOMORROW that we break down.
    It is not the experience of TODAY that drive men mad it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW may bring.
    So enjoy todays sunrise and don’t borrow sorrow from tomorrow.
    Have a little faith..
    and remember tomorrow isn’t promised to anybody….

  25. Thank you, Katrina, and blessings on you and your family. We are bound together in the struggle of democracy against a bully. Hard to understand how anyone can listen to him and not be anxious about the future. But we can only succeed if we see the Light and aim higher always. Your words are precious to me.

  26. I voted for Trump and wish him success. I choose positivity and joy as we welcome this new administration. I was not a fan of Obama and feel his time in office caused much racial disention. Police became victims, Isis has spiraled out of control and our country’s debt is over 19 trillion. The winds have changed. As Hillary classified us Trump supporters as “deplorables” we stood our ground and elected a business man, an outsider and someone who spoke the truth. Many of us “deplorables” are college educated and have successful careers, myself included. When Obama was elected and then re elected, we didn’t whine, or destroy property or attack people who didn’t agree with us. Perhaps you can understand another viewpoint on what this election was all about. I’m watching the inauguration with a happy heart, coffee in hand, and sharing the couch with my jack russell. I didn’t get to see the sunrise this morning, nor have I seen it at all this week. I’m an educator who rises early each day. Perhaps I’ll rise early tomorrow and get a glimpse of natures beauty. As an optimist, I see the future of a new administration as a welcome gift to renew the faith in America. Sorry you missed the inauguration… it was magnificent.

    • Even if you didn’t like President Obama, you certainly can’t compare him to Trump. You need to get your facts straight about his accomplishments and the deficit decreased under him. As for the increase of racial violence under him, it’s those who hated him because of who he is, a black man. The entire republican congress set out to obstruct him at every turn and they said it loud and clear. Both he and his wife were attacked constantly for who they are. Never in my lifetime has a First Lady been so disrespected. In spite of it all, Obamas have been gracious and respectful of all. Even if you were not a supporter, you should be able to admit that he has been a great example and role model for our country and the most hardworking. As a black person who is also very educated by the way, we always have to have a higher bar set for us because of the belief that we are not as good! As a woman, it was hard for me to hear the way Trump sexually abused women and the way he talks about them. If Trump was black, he would be considered a thug just for his behavior to women never mind all the ways in which he has abused and maligned so many groups of Americans. Such behavior must be resisted. You can’t expected people to just kumbayah as though all is well. This is not a normal person we are dealing with. I sure hope he can change his ways but from what I have seen so far, he will continue to act the same way. You are free to support him but respect the fact that some of your fellow Americans don’t feel a part of Trump’s America!

  27. Thank you so much for your words.

  28. As a Canadian and obviously a non-voter in this most recent American election, I purposely missed all media coverage of the inauguration today. No radio, no TV, no internet, no print. I cannot fathom what our friends to the south were thinking on their election day last November. I had no happy heart, no coffee in hand, just a deep sadness that reminded me of how I felt on 9/11. Katrina, thank you for your honest and heartfelt words and please know that you have many, many millions of supporters not just in your country, but many many others as well.

  29. Chris Wells says:

    It has been a difficult day! Thank you for this post.

  30. marlene alves says:

    Dearest Katrina, your posts continue to amaze with their thoughtful, wise, deep authenticity that speak to hearts & minds. I have watched today’s Washington transition and felt it a day of mourning. Finding your words has inspired & healed. Thank you, thank you.

  31. Your words are a balm to my soul.

  32. Katrina … for years I have followed your posts and read your books…even was asked by you to put my quote about your book “Gift of an Ordinary Day” when it went to Paperback. I have to say today I was disappointed in your post and in your decision to use your followers as your sounding board for your stand on our new leader. This is the biggest problem with those that are against our new leader….you are intolerant of not only him but of those of us who are praying for a much needed change in this country with his leadership and the guidance of God. You say in your post that iin your small town you are all accepting of each other and put your political differences aside but yet feel the need to use your followers and readers to voice your views. I guess it is easier to take the chance and offend us since we aren’t as tangible as your neighbors. I will no longer follow your posts.

  33. I just discovered you through a friend’s post. Your lovely writing is a comfort and a call to action. Thank you.

  34. Jennifer Klein says:

    Thank you. You said what’s been in my heart. I will read it again and carry it with me to the march in NYC today. First, one more cup of coffee.

  35. Thank you. In the words of MLK: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

  36. Thank you Katrina. From the UK we watch with concern and trepidation as we struggle with our own problems. I note the few critical comments of your post received here. Whilst I hesitate to express a view I cannot resist saying that I fail to understand how anyone, no matter how opposed to your political views, could unfollow you as a result of what you have said here. I can understand that many people feel a change of government may bring new hope to those who are suffering economically and are fearful about their future and I support their right to choose that. But I fail to understand how anyone can condone the tone, style and vulgarity of the way in which these views have been expressed in the campaign. I hope some compassion and understanding will temper these as the enormous burden and responsibility of government is assumed.
    Thank you for the contemplation and peacefulness you have shown and I so look forward to your next posts.

  37. Mary Lynne Johnson says:

    As always, I am grateful for your shared thoughts❣

  38. I read your insights from Southeast Asia where my husband and I are in our second year abroad, and citizens and voters of the United States. [As I type the words United States I am struck with how those words do not describe our country at the moment.] And yet I am immensely proud of my two young adult daughters who assembled peacefully in women’s matches in their respective cities, one in a decidedly Trump state and another in Washington DC. It saddens me that people have decided not to support you as an author with her own voice. I am truly touched by all you have written here today. I am just like you, an introverted homebody with pain in my heart over our president’s rhetoric and promises. And yet I see my daughter’s passion and agree with their views and I realize that I, like you, am called to do something in the face of what is happening. Thank you for speaking the truth. YOUR truth. And a truth that you are right to speak.

  39. Thank you for speaking softly, clearly, and sharing your thoughts with me. I love the piece. Especially this:

    “The only thing I know for sure is this: We will not accomplish much if we allow hatred and self-interest and our own small-time fears to divide us.”

    May our souls light up the darkness like beautiful lanterns in the sky.

  40. Great sorrow and great joy, on the edge of both this morning as I read your post and the comments others shared. In my heart, I know we can do this. We can take the next step out of our comfortable lives and begin to sing the glorious song of love and inclusion and hope – a song that will be come a roar if all of us join in.

    I am afraid this morning but I am also hopeful. Thank you for your thoughts. Thank you for sharing Clarissa Pinkas Estes’ writings. Both are warm blankets on a cold morning. I await your ideas for taking the next steps and will be generating some of my own. We can do this.

  41. Politics aside, I have always enjoyed your columns and books. Unfortunately, I don’t appreciate one sided opinions regarding our President elect Trump. I too, will not follow your posts.

  42. There is a cost to putting yourself out there and you have bravely and courageously shared your struggles in this dawning new era of hurtful words, vulgar (and illegal) behavior, and insecure blaming. You will, no doubt, lose followers on your blog, but each of us is charged to see now the real price of citizenship. As folks yesterday demonstrated all over our country–young and old, women and men, folks of all descriptions–there are many who reject what we witness on the national stage, who are committed to truth-telling, and who must now, more than ever, stand for what we believe. Politics IS personal and we must now all become patriots in personal ways. Thank you for your courage.

  43. wow. EXACTLY what i needed. the whole of it, winding up with clarissa’s call to higher ground, to action. thank you for keeping your eye on the sunrise. and bless you.

  44. Just lovely, we each have a part to play, with open hearts and listening ears. Your words bring to mind a wonderful book I have just read that your readers may enjoy: Small, Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Blessings on everyone today, and may hope and love guide our thoughts and actions.

  45. Thank you for this. Your words resonate so strongly with me. And, I am sitting here in stillness allowing the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes to fully seep into my bones. This is my second encounter with these words today. The first was in a guided meditation from Tara Brach’s podcast. Coincidence? I think not.

  46. Katherine Stevenson says:

    Dearest Katrina. Thank you. As always I welcome your words. You are a woman who speaks/writes from her soul in an eloquent and respectful manner. I see some here will unfollow you as they do not “like” your words. SO many women, including me, are often silenced because someone disapproves of our voice. Please keep your voice strong and authentic as always. You are a role model for me.

    I live in Canada and am very concerned what is going on in the U.S. I can’t begin to imagine how that man is in the highest office of your country. Your words help me make sense of my confusion. Thank you.

  47. Pam Austin says:

    Thank you, once again, for the speaking words that so resonate with many of us. I have appreciated your perspective, courage, confusion, sadness and authenticity through this difficult season. You help lighten my load by realizing that is is shared.

  48. I spent time at the movies during the inauguration on Friday. My husband and I watched Patriot’s Day, which shows the incredible strength of men and women when the worst possible events imaginable occur. Your words truly speak to my soul, and have been a great source of comfort since November.

  49. Lauren Seabourne says:

    Thank you for sharing your deep and eloquent thoughts. All I can truly say is one big YES to it all. Your words went straight to my heart, as they always do. xo

  50. Debby Kelly says:

    Thank you, Katrina for this wonderful post. I am glad you continue to speak out and help us cope with a country that appears to be falling apart. Throughout history we have looked to our writers, artists, poets and others to help bring light in a time of darkness. I participated in the Women’s March in Washington, DC where over 500,000 people marched. It was not only women but men and children as well. It was an empowering day with songs, chants and conversations with people you had never met before and most likely will not see again. There were marches all over the country and the world where people were in solidarity wit hose of us in DC. It is difficult for me to read the posts from women who voted for Trump because of all the awful things he has said about women and his disregard for women’s rights which should be equal to any man. One of my favorite chants of the march was “this is what democracy looks like.” We have been shaken to the core of that democracy but we shall overcome.

  51. Dear Katrina

    I am familiar with your work for few years by now.
    I have found your books as part of being a Stiner teacher and a play group leader.
    I have always found your writhing to be very nourishing “like balm to the soul” and I am greatful and thankful for that as you have your unique way of inspiring people.
    What you have wrote here reminded me a fable that I know and I would like to share it with you.
    The Weight Of a Snowflake

    By Joseph Jaworski

    “Tell me the weight of a snowflake”, said the robin to the dove.

    “Why, it weighs nothing at all,” replied the dove.

    “In that case,” the robin went on, “I must tell you a marvelous story. I was sitting on a branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk,” the robin began, “when snow began to fall…not heavily, not in a raging blizzard, no just like a dream without any violence. Since I did not have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the needles and twigs of my branch. I reached the number 3,741,952. Then when the 3,741,953 snowflake dropped onto the branch weighing nothing as you say, the branch suddenly broke off.”
    I will sum by quoting the great poet William Stanford which wrote in his poem
    A ritual to read to each other
    “For it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep
    The signals we give – yes or no, or maybe should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.”

    With that the robin flew away.

    The dove thought about the story and said to herself, “I sometimes think that all my efforts and the little I can do make no difference. We might think they are nothing at all, but if we put all our efforts together, great things are possible.”

  52. Dear Katrina,

    Like your mom and you, I’m addicted to sunrises, too. And I love sunsets.

    During the holiday season, only a fortnight ago, we visited The US to see family. Each day dawned and departed like a blessing on Jersey Shore; the sheer brilliance of the crimson skies and liquid gold rippling on the waters was enough to lose myself in.

    BUT, for the first time ever, (we’ve been visiting the US for over twenty-five years to see family) I was jolted out of my personal space by two separate racist incidents.

    It hurt.

    I’m not American. I’m a fellow human with a soul.

    And if there was ever a time to shine our souls; it is now.

    Thank you for sending up this flare, for building this signal fire.



  53. Thank you for your carefully composed words that describe my anxieties too about the current president and his administration. This is the beginning of troubling times in this country, and the only way through it is to get involved. My husband and I participated in the Womens’ March in NYC and were so inspired to join such a diverse, peaceful, positive demonstration and it gave us hope. Like you, my instinct is far from political, but have decided that I must take a stand. It is my intention to protest this administration for the first 100 days by writing letters to the president and being active whenever I can. What troubles me most, however, is Trump’s complete lack of integrity and his dishonesty and deceit. How on earth he got elected raises serious questions about our country and our morals.
    Please keep sharing your insights and anxieties – I don’t feel so alone when I read your posts.

  54. Lisa Tillman says:

    Dear Katrina, Every time I read one of your beautiful, insightful, heart-felt posts, I think that I can’t possibly love you more. I am late in reading this post, because I have been grieving and marching. By nature an introvert and one more comfortable with cheering from the sidelines, I am changing due to our country electing Mr. Trump. I am now becoming more active in politics to become the change I want to see in our world.

    Many thanks for your words of wisdom.

  55. Sharing! Thank you for the words of your soul. My heart is breaking – your post was very helpful.

    Thank you! <3

  56. Hello Katrina, Thank you for your comforting and inspiring words in today’s blog post. I struggle to articulate all of the roiling emotions that our current political environment evoke. I admit to being speechless with anger, fear and dismay for the state we and our countrymen find ourselves in. You have made me rethink my most immediate urge which is to decamp to another country. I ask myself how did the people who fled Nazi Germany or Peronist Argentina know when it was time to go? Yet the other part of me feels that nothing could convince me to desert the country whose values and dreams I grew up believing and as you said so much more eloquently, brought my children up to believe in. I only hope that if the time should come when I need it, I will have the courage to stand on the solid ground of my convictions and fight for the honor of my country. Thank you!

  57. Oh these are hard times. Your words are a balm to the soul, Katrina. You are a peaceful warrior and I am grateful for your thoughts.

  58. Leigh Sloss says:

    Thank you for your inspiring writing, Katrina. Trying to mend and tend that which is within my reach and stretch some too.

  59. I am kind of shocked by the critical comments here. Yes you are intolerant of hatred, but you always stand firm on the side of love, compassion, and empathy. Soul on deck!

    I am lucky enough to spend most sunrises on the beach with my dog. It’s a temporary gift, but I accept it gratefully as long as I have it. Most mornings, there are about 10 other dog walkers and sunrise watchers just sitting or standing and watching. I think it’s important to start the day with awe and wonder.

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