activism for introverts

When I began writing here in 2009, I was feeling my way. I did not have a Facebook page or a Twitter account or a smartphone and, for a private person like me, the idea of creating personal content to post online was somewhat terrifying. My earliest blog posts were done at the request of my New York publisher, to help create a social media presence that might result in a few additional sales for the memoir I’d just written about being the mother of teenagers. Although the word “platform” wasn’t part of my lexicon, my twenty-six-year-old publicist told me I needed one. And so, with the help of my then college-age son Henry, this website was born. I had no real plan, other than to write about whatever gifts and challenges my own daily life handed me and to see how things went.

One thing I was pretty certain about was that I wouldn’t delve into either religion or politics in public. For one thing, my intention at the time was to build a community of readers – and there’s no better way to lose a friend or a fan than to stir up the waters of dissent and disagreement on divisive topics such as God and elected officials. Besides, I’m inherently averse to conflict. Why ruffle feathers, when I could try instead to simply please everyone who happened to find their way to my website? Within the broad scope of “the gift of an ordinary day” I could offer a rumination about making applesauce in autumn, an anecdote about my sons, reflections about growing older or letting go, a few photographs of the peonies in my garden. These were the things I most loved writing about anyway. And with every post I was speaking as much to myself as to anyone else, reminding myself to be present, to be grateful, to pay attention.

As the years went by and this circle of readers grew, we also came to trust each other. I took a few deep breaths and shared some pretty tough stuff here, painful personal stories of loss and grief, and then was overcome by the responses I received in return. Week after week I was moved and uplifted by the comments that arrived in my in-box – words offered in solidarity and friendship, words of compassion and wisdom, words of generosity, eloquence, and hope. Here, through both our reading and our writing, we held each other up through good times and hard ones.

Last summer, as the national conversation swirling around the presidential election heated up, I faced a decision. I could carry on writing pieces without any reference to the political drama unfolding in our country. Or, I could share my grave concern about the possibility that Donald Trump would become our 45th president.

There was a part of me that was tempted to stay silent: Better not write about my own fears or the values I care about, or some people may not like me anymore. But in the end I couldn’t do it. To ignore what was uppermost in my mind and heart seemed disingenuous and false and cowardly. In the words of Senator Cory Booker, “In the cause of justice, never remain silent just so that others may remain comfortable.”

I know that one small voice on one small blog doesn’t make a difference in anyone’s big picture. And yet, I also believe that one person’s silence speaks volumes.

Much as I would love to be sharing a winter soup recipe today and the good news of a son’s acceptance to grad school, I’m here instead to write the second part of this piece I began last week about how we might find ways to show up and speak out – something I never dreamed I would be doing. And I think it’s worth saying that speaking up is not the same as whining, as some have suggested. Donald Trump is the president and I do accept that; I have no choice. But Donald Trump’s words and deeds have turned me, and so many others, into activists.

If you’re here reading this essay, then my guess is that you, too, are in a place you didn’t ever expect to be – trying to find your way in a new American landscape in which politics has never felt more personal. As concerned citizens of a country we all love, it’s become nearly impossible to separate the two. To voice our concern about what’s happening in our nation at this moment is not “hateful,” as one reader suggested, it’s human.

And yet, perhaps naively, I continue to hope that we can all agree on the basic values of civility and kindness, tolerance and empathy, honesty and fair play. I hope we can share our political views and concerns and trust them to be received with the same kind of respect given to our stories of personal challenges or our concerns about our children. Unfortunately, that kind of  common courtesy and respect for our differences has not been much in evidence in the White House over the last week. So perhaps it’s little wonder that we’ve seen a decline in basic manners in our daily discourse as well. My guess is that just about every one of us has had some painful experience of reckoning and backlash as a result of speaking out in recent weeks. And yet, day-by-day and conversation-by-conversation, circumstances are requiring us to become both braver speakers and better listeners.

If we were not activists before, we are realizing we must become activists now. We are finding ourselves moved to do what feels right, rather than settling for what’s easy. We’re making choices that reflect our best selves and our highest aspirations for our country, rather than giving in to our darkest fears. But it feels important to acknowledge that these fears are not groundless. In just a few days in office, the president has taken executive actions that threaten civil rights, free speech, national parks, health care, women’s rights, immigrants, LGBT rights, voting rights, and, with his silencing of the Environmental Protection Agency, the very planet we call home. The possibility of a tweet-triggered nuclear war is enough to keep many of us awake at night, wondering whom — if anyone — might rein him in before he does us in.

In the past, my quiet temperament has kept me on the sidelines of most organized political efforts. But last Saturday, I knew exactly where I needed to be: outside in front of the state house here in New Hampshire with a group of friends and 5,000 other human beings who are committed to supporting our fragile civil liberties, our basic rights as citizens and, most important of all, the earth itself.

And then, my heart full with all the personal stories I’d heard, I came home from that inspiring, empowering day and wondered, “Now what?”

I have no idea if it’s possible for us to make a difference. What I do know is that I can’t live with myself if I don’t at least try. Over the last week or so, along with millions of other concerned Americans, I attempted to carry on some semblance of normal life while absorbing each day’s bleak news. I also sought ways to offer constructive, peaceful responses to a president and administration I find increasingly combative and disturbing.

Like you, I’m learning as I go. I keep reminding myself: I can’t do everything, but I must do something. So, in the spirit of our shared desire to move forward with hope and through good work, here’s some of what I’ve figured out so far.

The 5 R’s of Activism for Introverts.

Read.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”  
~ George R. Martin

The man in the White House is leading only one life. We owe it to each other to lead many more than that. Now more than ever, I want to be informed, to see things from different angles, to stay abreast not only of events as they unfold, but also of their potential repercussions. For years, my daily sources for news and in-depth news analysis have been The New York Times and The New Yorker. (The New Yorker is my home page, so it’s the first thing I see when I turn on my browser.) Since the election, I’ve been reading  The Guardian online and also The Washington Post, which is fearlessly fact-checking the news coming from the Capitol. Bill Moyers sends out a free daily newsletter with links to a wide-ranging round-up of articles about current events gathered from independent sources.

I draw much nourishment and inspiration from the writings of other women on the path, and  I especially appreciated  posts this week by Karen Maezen Miller, Nancy King Bernstein, and Gretchen Staebler. If you’ve wondered just why it’s so hard for everyone to be on the same page, this essay helps explain.

But one thing we can probably all agree on is that in the midst of such chaos, it serves us and our country if we take time to read more widely and more deeply. As one Women’s March sign in New Hampshire said, “Make America Think Again.”

Reconnect

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” ~ John Lennon

I’ve never forwarded a chain letter in my life and am not a fan of group emails. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Now is the moment to reweave sturdier connections with friends near and far. Go through your address book, create an email list, and send out a feeler. Ask your friends if they’d like to receive more emails from you containing articles, essays, and/or suggestions for their own activist to-do lists. Many people do want to learn more and to get involved, they just aren’t sure how.

Join your local Indivisible group, or start one in your town.

By the time Trump took office, a smart, motivated group of Congressional staffers had already created this practical, boots-on-the-ground manual with advice for organizing and resisting his agenda. Since December it’s been downloaded over a million times, and over 4,500 local groups have formed and registered. You can download the whole manual for free. Go to the Indivisible website to find out if there’s an existing group near you.

Where I live, we have two. Both meet weekly and maintain active Facebook pages with daily updates, phone numbers and addresses, and “marching orders.”

Cultivate community by hosting monthly neighborhood dinners. Invite your fellow activists and keep each other fed and inspired. Or, invite everyone and agree to work together to find common ground and to double-down on such bi-partisan issues as working to get big money out of government by repealing Citizens United. (To learn more about that effort, start here: American Promise.)

What ever you do, don’t run away from the hard conversations. Turn toward them. Soften. Hold your ground. Listen. Speak your truth. Listen some more.

Reward.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill

We all want to support good work in the world. At the same time, the amount of need and the number of organizations trying to meet those needs is enough to make your head spin. I could drive myself crazy signing every petition that comes through my inbox and sprinkling small feel-good donations far and wide.

I do sign the petitions – it can’t hurt. But to stay sane, I’m trying to focus my energies and resources in just a couple of places. What matters most to you? For me, it’s the ACLU, which is working tirelessly to keep legal pressure on the Trump administration for transparency (and his tax forms), and Planned Parenthood, which is being defunded by the GOP. But the environment and the health of the planet is, by many measures, the most urgent cause of all. There are many groups dedicated to saving the earth. They all sound worthy, so where will our money have the most impact? Here, from Outside and Earth Easy, two links that help answer that question.

Don’t have room in your budget for donations of any size? You can still support good causes with your dollars. Instead of buying a gift for a birthday or holiday, make a donation in that person’s name to a cause they care about. Or, if you really need something to wrap up — a shower gift for a new baby, a birthday present for Uncle Phil — or even some new T-shirts for the gym, head to the online shops of the causes you care about. There you’ll find everything from onesies for the babe to coffee mugs, tote bags, and apparel that proclaims your support.  Try these for starters: the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace.

There are lots of creative ways to support positive change that don’t drain your bank account, and many ways to reward those who are out on the front lines doing good work in the world. Gifts of time, food, transportation, or childcare for those who are testifying, marching, or traveling to rallies and meetings – all are appreciated and strengthen our community.

Resist.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Meade

This really is the crux of it.

You can begin right here, with Jenifer Hofman’s weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience. Jenifer provides clear instructions for actions you can take from home to support freedom and equality for all Americans. Her tent is big. She features lots of other good stuff there, too. Sign up for weekly newsletters full of both inspiration and instruction.

This week, I was just one of thousands of people who were making phone calls and writing letters to the White House, to our senators and representatives, and to state and local officials. Our democracy depends on communication between its citizens and its leaders. Just days into the new administration, many of these avenues of communication have been quietly shut down. And yet, we must not go silent ourselves. Let’s continue to speak up, and to have faith that our voices, joined, will be heard.

Respect.

“We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.” ~ Hermann Hesse

It feels more important than ever to honor and uphold the values we teach our children and by which we live our lives. When our leaders aren’t modeling integrity or valuing the qualities we try to cultivate in ourselves, then we just have to work harder. And so I renew my commitment to listen to people who disagree with me, and to give them room and space to voice their views. (For me, that’s already meant developing much tougher skin!) I will also quietly insist on that same respect in return.

I am more conscious of my own privileges as a straight, white, upper-middle-class woman. And I remind myself that there’s much I don’t understand because of the life I’ve been fortunate enough to live. I will do my best to practice empathy by imagining myself in someone else’s shoes, and then by trying to see the world through their eyes. I will be kind. I will be truthful. I will be generous with my heart, with my time, with my wallet, with my compassion. And I will continue to speak up and to work for the values and rights I believe are under assault.

Risk.

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We introvert activists are already out of our comfort zones. I certainly am. But our democracy is out of its comfort zone, too. As are its most vulnerable citizens. As is our beautiful, overheated planet. Let’s agree to support each other out here in the rough waters of the open sea. Let’s experiment. Let’s live bigger. These lines by my friend Claudia Cummins put wind in my sails this week.

   A Blessing for Living Big
Consider the possibility that you are not you. Or rather that you are not the little self that you perceive yourself to be, with your small story and your passing struggles.
Consider the possibility that you are an instrument of the greater You of the universe, of the vital energy that longs to spread and stretch through the cosmos, reaching all the way back to the beginning and all the way forward into forever.
Consider the possibility that you are infinite and real. Drop your small-minded obsessions with your transient self and struggles. Invite the vast vitality of the world to flow through you. Have faith. Live big.
Be bold enough to reclaim your birthright as a strong and beautiful messenger of life. Serve the world as an instrument of its kindness and peace. Shine brightly as life plays its sweet and soulful songs through you.

This is the second of a three-part series.  Next week, some thoughts on caring for our own souls during challenging times. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions — both for activism and soul care.  

 

 

 

 

for my reflections & inspiration

your comments

  1. Yaay for all of this, Katrina! Silence, combined with that of others, does indeed speak volumes. We are all finding our way, our steps, and our voices. It is a very strange world for many of us. The march did help in a very tangible way to feel the solidarity and to tap back into to keep going. And to remind me that getting outside of my comfort zone can bring new light and a feeling of purpose in times that seem to promise so much pain for so many.

  2. Sandra Oliverio says:

    Just beautifully written, Katrina!
    I am inspired by your words…some I have already put to action here in Michigan. But there is so much more to be done.

    Thank you for putting words to my and many other’s feelings!

  3. Your honesty speaks to my heart- you sharing of this gives me strength in the struggle of trying to figure out what to do. I am following the news and political analyists but also I am taking time to dwell on the rich words of great thinkers that help me feel grounded. I also realize that I need to take more walks on the field, along the ocean, where ever there is fresh air that clears the mind and lets the heart be free. With your shared words and that of others I find strength.

  4. Christine says:

    Beautiful, Katrina! Thanks for modeling for others how we all need to step out of our comfort zone and work to try to make a difference.

    A book that I am reading now that I am finding really helpful as I work through all of this hope/activism stuff is Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit, (new foreward and afterward), https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Dark~Rebecca-Solnit-Rebecca/dp/0143054821 . Fave quote so far:

    “Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position. Both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand.”

  5. II think it is so important for people who normally stay out of the political fray to speak up. This is not politics as usual. Thinking, caring people need to be involved. By speaking up, you give courage to all those others that it doesn’t come naturally too. Thank you!

  6. Katrina,
    As I read your post tears are streaming. Thank you so much for having the courage to speak out – I appreciate your honesty more than I can begin to say. We are in scary times – whichever “side” one is on – we are all experiencing the great divide and it is heart breaking! I am appalled and scared at what is happening to our country. I swing between wanting to make turn off all media and burying myself in baking bread and working in my garden but I know this is not what I will do. I am curious how other women are taking care of themselves while trying to stay informed and active. It is only week one! Thank you again – I am so grateful I found your blog.

  7. Beth Palmer says:

    Thank you, thank you for recognizing that these are not normal times in our political process and it is vital we all get involved. This must not become the new normal for our country, we are so much better than this. Thank you for the information about moving forward in our resistance.

  8. Since the election, I’ve been struggling to find my way and hold on to hope. This past week, especially, has been desperately hard. But I look at my three small children and I’m reminded, over and over, that I have no choice but to fight, no matter how hopeless it seems or how fearful I feel.

    Thank you for your brave words, Katrina, and for walking this path with us.

  9. Residing as I have since birth in western Canada, even here, tremors of Trump reverberate…. As you, I’m white, straight, upper middle class, but I feel for all who may not “fit” into this supposedly (but erroneously) “more deserving” category. I’m grateful to reside north of the border, but I achingly share my southern neighbours’ angst.

  10. Nancy Oberrath says:

    We can’t apologize for being loving, kind, thoughtful, and somewhat privileged white women of a certain age. Our struggles are real, our fears for our children trouble us.
    But we should accept the idea of diversity coming together in shared understanding. Try not to miss an opportunity to be kind, because nice really does matter. Can we fix everything, and figure it all out, and save the world? Who knows. But it feels good trying.

  11. Thank you, Katrina. This was just what I needed to read today. Your blog posts always seem to arrive just when I need them the most. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing.

  12. I have been feeling very lonely since last Saturday. I was unable to join the March as I’m battling cancer that is leaving me extremely weak. I’ve listened to stories about the day from my mother, my sister in law, and many friends and so much wish I could have joined in that moment of inspirational solidarity and love. I am thankful for this essay because I can see that there might be things I can still contribute even as I feel so weak. Thank you for that gift.

  13. Liz Schwab says:

    Love this! I am a 40-year-old mom of three and pre-K teacher who is also very worried about the future for all my children. Thank you for putting yourself out there! 💗

  14. Dearest Katrina,

    I’m with my precious family this morning waiting for everyone to wake up and head into “the happiest place on earth”, Disney World. But as I read the news of the day, my heart is broken and I feel anything but happy. Thank you for your blog and for providing actionable steps for those of us feeling overwhelmed. As a former Christian evangelical, I was given the gift of being able to see the world with new eyes after my amazing son came out as gay. Observing the less than Christ honoring responses of so many of the people I have know for years who support the hate that this new administration is peddling has been astonishing and painful. For a whole host of reasons too long to list, including the fact that my husband works for our church and must have insurance because he is recovering from a stem cell transplant to keep lymphoma at bay and from aggressive prostate cancer, I have had to (or I suppose I’ve chosen to…) keep my thoughts and feelings about this election to myself. But as you so beautifully shared, it’s now time for me to “Be bold enough to reclaim your (my) birthright as a strong and beautiful messenger of life.” Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration. Keep sharing these beautiful messages of life. Sending a virtual hug and much gratefulness your way on this chilly Florida morning!

  15. Thank you! So many people are coming from that place of not wanting to stir the politics pot and now realize that silence is not an option. I hope your words, so perfectly written, might also encourage more to come out of their silence.
    Much love.

  16. So very grateful for your courage and voice! Thank you for all of this <3

  17. Polly Glover says:

    Thank you for the very helpful information. It is exactly what I have been looking for so that I can DO SOMETHING! This was very informative. Again, thank YOU.

  18. brilliant. pitch perfect. so heartfully written and lived. thank you.

  19. Thank you, Katrina. Your words have always inspired and moved me. Thank you for so eloquently speaking for us and for the resources we can share with others. We can make a difference!

  20. Robin Fisher says:

    Thank you for courageously and diligently speaking your truth and empowering us to move forward <3 Your support is vital and appreciated! Namaste

  21. Linda Schultz says:

    Thank you for so often you putting my feeling into words . I’m blessed !

  22. Stephanie says:

    Thank you Katrina! We are indeed in a time where we cannot be silent. I have been feeling overwhelmed and deeply disturbed by the news. It gives me great solace and courage to speak up when I know I’m in good company. Thank you for your writing and creating another community. I agree, we also need to take care of our souls. Quiet walks, yoga and meditating are crucial for me. I look forward to your next post!

  23. I’m with her (Katrina).

  24. Katrina, Katrina!! I am so grateful for your sharing of feelings and concerns I am also experiencing with many others. Thank you for doing all this research and giving us hope and guidance in these oh so troubling times. My heart is feeling an ache of fear… and yet empowered from your inspirational words. Thank you for these resources. I may need to get up a lot earlier to do all the reading required to stay informed. You have inspired me so much. Namaste and Jai Bhagwan!

  25. Katrina, I truly admire you! I have just joined an “indivisible” group of women in the berkshires where I spend a good deal of time and hope to do the same at my primary home on Long Island. For me too, this is the first time I have felt so compelled to do something rather than let others fight for what I believe is right!

  26. Katrina, once again , your words and message SOOO resonate with my heart. A year ago I to went through THR and was sidelined for a good part of the year focusing on recovery. Your writing has the power to galvanized us into action, any action that suits us individually , rather than to just sit in our puddle of OVERWHELM !
    I Thank YOU , Whole heartedly, whole mindfully, for putting into words actionable steps we can all take, share , believe in for these troubling times.

  27. Katrina, Thanks so much for speaking out and for giving words to feelings and thoughts I have been having. This is exactly the information I needed to continue my walk into becoming an activist, a walk I never thought would be necessary. I am focusing on 2 things – How can I bring light today? and What do I need to speak truth to today? Thank you for weathering the storms of speaking out in a public forum like your blog and thank you for gathering such great information and ideas on ways to become more active.

  28. Thank you Katrina! Once again, a beautifully written article that fully articulates so clearly what many of us are experiencing and an offering of tangible steps that we can take to engage and take action. It’s more than a little difficult (understatement!) for those of us who are introverts to enter the political fray–especially when there are so many facets of our life under attack. This past week has been overwhelming when one contemplates the scope of depressing change and suffering that is being initiated. So THANK YOU for writing. Thank you for being courageous. Thank you for the suggestions. Your heartfelt writing confirms that we are not alone in our dismay and fear. We are in this together and that gives so many of us hope. Peace.

  29. once again, so appreciative of your words and your encouragement to speak your truth. I am bolstered by the words, actions and people (especially my three daughters) around me, not letting go of the reminder to take action myself.

    thank you, Katrina.

  30. After joining the thousands in marching last Saturday I was buoyed by the positive atmosphere and comradery felt as we raised voices and hopes. But by Sunday afternoon I was lost at what to do next and you have lit candles to many paths. I am so grateful for the links you have shared as some are completely new to me. I will read, read, read and find the right fit for me as I have no intention of just fading away. You are a cherished guide and I thank you for your open heart. xx-hb

  31. Thank you for the inspiring words, and I too prefer to be on the sidelines cheering others on. However, we have too much to lose, and everyone has to pay attention and keep our legislators aware of our expectations. If my ninety-five year old, quite religious mother understands the importance of the separation of church and state, why can’t our government see that as a basic right? Here in my beautiful “red state” of Ky. the abortion issue is front and center. I have struggled with this as well, but I have come to believe that choice is the right option. It makes no sense to take away choice as well as defunding planned parenthood and birth control. Congress is indeed trying to” take our country back.”

  32. Amen to all of this. Like you, I have always used my blog and my online friendships as a way of connecting with others who seek beauty in this ordinary Life In General we all share. As much as I abhor conflict, I feel compelled in these days to speak out and to resist the evil changes happening in this nation. It’s hard. Somedays the discourse is too strident, too angry, and I think “Oh, this is not me, I have to pull out.” But inevitably, my heart won’t let me – I read of some new thing (such as the latest ban on refugees) and throw myself back into the fray.
    I constantly remind myself that the majority of people did not vote for this man and that we are collectively rising up stronger together and speaking out, in hopes of someone hearing. I can only hope that’s true, but I know I cannot sit back and do or say nothing.
    I am reading a novel right now called A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Minstry, in which I read these words this morning: “You cannot draw lines and compartments and refuse to budge beyond them. Sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair.” The BALANCE is the key word for me. How to successfully participate in the resistance to these horrible things happening, while still retaining my love for life and my hope for the future.
    Your words today make me feel as if that is possible, and your fine suggestions give me a way forward. Thank you, and I’m so glad to share the planet with you!

  33. Marilyn LePan says:

    I am sorry Katrina, I am going to unsubscribe, I have so enjoyed your
    blog over the years, following your journey with your dear friend with Cancer
    as I also have a dear friend losing her battle, and I am now going in for hip replacements
    and you helped and encouraged me to make that choice, I felt so connected to you
    as I have a Jack and Henry also, your blog was a ray of sunshine in my life and I so
    enjoyed receiving it, but I get enough politics in the news and on TV, I was needing
    more joy from the ordinary Day… A little escape from the ranting and raving that seems
    to have taken over. Politics has always been something you agree with or not, however
    it always changes who knows who the next President will be.
    Thank you for all your uplifting joyful blogs I am really going to miss them.

  34. Melanie C. says:

    May I suggest The Intercept online and the book Listen Liberal by Thomas Frank. President Obama is responsible for some pretty awful things during his time in the Whitehouse (drone bombings, removal of habeas corpus, Obamacare with no public option – a giveaway to the insurance industry, ignoring the DAPL situation in North Dakota while Native Americans were brutalized, I could go on). All the while the country felt no need to demonstrate in the streets for things that would have outraged us had Bush done them, or Trump. The Democrats have betrayed us and are no better than the Republicans. Speaking of Corey Booker, I didn’t appreciate him voting against Bernie Sander’s bill that would have enabled us to import cheaper drugs from Canada, and in the next breath posing with a Planned Parenthood scarf on, never missing the opportunity for a good photo op. A little hypocritical. I guess all the money he takes from Big Pharma is very persuasive. I’m afraid there is much more to be done than resisting President Trump. The system is plagued by massive corruption on both sides, and the Democrats don’t realize their allegiance to their donors over their constituents is the reason we have Donald Trump. There is a silver lining to a Trump presidency. Finally, we have woken up. I do fear that we will be coerced into voting for the same Corporate Democrats we had before, and that would not make me happy in the least. We have a lot of work to do and I applaud you for having the courage to discuss this on your wonderful blog.

  35. Jean Greaves says:

    Thank you. The number of amazing people I get to share the planet with are my hope and you are one of them. The light will return and love will always bat last, but in the meantime we need all of our courage not to give up.

  36. You were writing my thoughts here. How do you decide to speak out and then how do you do it? Separate website or wholly integrated? I like your model. The only thing I would add to the reading aspect of activism is to read things I know I won’t agree with. Routinely I dip into things like the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which can set my teeth on edge, but has also shown me places where we might work together. We need to know about those as well.

  37. Laury Hartman says:

    My story is long, but suffice it to say it is a story lived in truth, warts and all!
    I am a bone marrow survivor, and my life-giving stem cell donor lives in Berlin, Germany, and we have connected. My best friend died, she did not live through her transplant. (friends for 25 years, and we shared that too) Now, at 59, living my 60th year I have a deep desire to give back. I am an activist. First time typing those empowering words. I am an activist for my friend who passed AND for one who is fighting to live. (she wants to be politically active for ‘the first time in her life’). I pray it will be so.

    I did not manage my cancer with fighting, but with kindness, compassion, and love. My chemo was my love potion, and dolphins kicked my cancer cells.

    My point is that you are teaching me ways to meet this new wise woman activist. Moving through a stem cell transplant seemed less scary than meeting this new space. I built a team to usher me through my transplant and healing, which I continue to use. I, too, now need a team to usher me into, and through this new way of living, loving, being an activist! It is an empowering way to give back, especially for my adult daughters., and in the name of my beloved friends.

    I started an email list of just 3 women to encourage, and support our values, share petition signing, calling and being ‘wise women’ in solidarity. It seems to be rippling out. Others are doing the same after I posted my idea on Facebook. See below:

    “My yoga teacher Mary Reilly writes, “We are at a time of great instability, and our practices need to give us reminders of our inner stability. Joining in concert with others does give that. Our personal practice can as well”. I have started an email with 3 friends called ‘Ladies in Action’. We can share, educate, and cultivate our values in times of finding stability. I encourage you to reach out to 3 people and begin a ‘concert with others’.”

    Your posts will bring us in concert with love, kindness, grace and compassion. May we move in the direction of the greater good for all, one nation under God.

    My husband self-published a book if you are further interested in our story, it is a love story. Through it All, Love. Dan Hartman

  38. Thank you dear Kristina for caring enough to post this hopeful and challenging blog. Thank you for the links you include which give this introvert places where I can join my voice to the chorus of others rising across this nation. It is frightening to see the way this administration refuses to listen to the voices of so many yet claims to be a government for the people, by the people. God bless you for your courage and caring.

  39. Thank you again for a lovely post. Getting involved and aware in a variety of ways is so important right now.

    To Elisabeth who was discouraged about missing the March. I also couldn’t attend (9 months pregnant!), but I’ve tried to focus on the positive of that. For everyone person who was there marching, there was the ones behind her (and him) who couldn’t attend. The sick, pregnant, child-rearing, working, scared, etc. I’m so grateful that the crowds were so huge and STILL there are more of us. Be encouraged and peace to you in your healing.

    To Melanie C – thank you also for your words. One thing I have been reminding myself (and others) is that things weren’t actually good before, we just had the luxury of thinking they were good. In reality, we still weren’t doing enough to really make a difference for the climate, human rights, etc. The scary part of now is that we do have the chance to really make a difference on these things. A real, lasting difference. What makes that difference possible though is the fear, and possibility, of losing things we never knew we could lose.

  40. I am comforted by your words and those who are sharing their thoughts. As I write this, the ban on some travelers to our country has begun. If we don’t stand together we will lose our democracy. I am hopeful that some members of the Senate and House of Rep’s will stand up and cross party lines to stop the erosion of all that our country stands for. I am a teacher, close to 70 years old. and I and like so many others, am appalled at what is happening. I am quoting from a letter in today’s Boston Globe, written by a refugee from Austria during the time of Hitler…..it mentions that the press is being denied full, free access to facts. She ended her letter with this quote,” I saw the Statue of Liberty when my ship came into New York city in 1938. Is it still there?”
    I always felt that a president tried to unify our country, not divide it.

  41. Stella Foco says:

    Thank you Katrina for giving guidelines. I am an introvert looking to help. I just don’t know what to do most of the time. This helps. This gives hope. I am scared for my family and for our future. I cannot understand how so many people like our current President when his message is about intolerance and hate. It seems so simple. My father-in-law just claims that the media twists everything against our president. He also claims I know nothing about the Muslim religion. What I do know is that there are good and bad Muslims just like there are good and bad Christians. I don’t understand all this hate. It scares me.

  42. Lou Anne Sexton says:

    Thank you for giving wonderful context to your journey and evolution of this treasured blogpost. I am grateful to take in your reflections and intentions, and I thank you for the very practical 5 tips of activism for introverts. I’m feeling more empowered and hopeful–the opposite of how heavy and low I felt all last week. Blessings to you and everyone who shares our planet

  43. Gloria Howard says:

    Katrina,
    I love this! Thank you for your words and inspiration.
    I am sharing your words with the people in my life that need to learn the 5 R’s too.
    Keep writing… I think this will be your next book…from mitten strings to protest marches…God help us!

  44. One small voice on one small blog is beyond powerful and it matters immensely. Thank you.

  45. Denise Veggerby says:

    Thank you Katrina! I have bookmarked the newspapers you are reading, and have signed up for the weekly Action Checklist, and plan sending my friends the link to your blog. Hear us ROAR! Thank you for your courage and wisdom…we need you more than ever! Denise

  46. Courageous, thoughtful, caring — and uniquely practical. Thank you

  47. Thank you for your courage and ability to articulate your feelings so beautifully. I also appreciate the research you did and links you provided. It is sad to me that people have unsubscribed because they don’t agree with your mildly stated views. Part of what all of us need to do is read things we don’t agree with in order to understand others and have a larger world view.

  48. A perfect read to end the last day of January! You have just helped me to shape my efforts going forward, what a relief! My usual January melancholy was much deeper this year, but tomorrow starts a new day and a new way to make a difference. Thank you for your organized, heartfelt and helpful post. You are a guiding light!

  49. Thank you for providing us a space to open up and express the fact that everyone has an opinion, and we all have the right to feel we matter. It’s called the right to be heard.
    I have not always been able to get out to protest or get involved. I have spent years in pain with degenerative arthritis. I now have both of my hips and both of my knees replaced. The shoulders and neck are getting there. But, I feel energized by my children and others who are willing to speak out and those who get out there. This country is not
    a country of the few, privileged and rich. It is the country of all. My grandparents came from Lithuania, Russia, Austria, Hungary, and Poland. My father fought in WWII to make this country safe. I would be remiss if I did not speak up and speak out when injustice is
    done to the people. I am so sad that our human rights are being disregarded. As long as I can email, call my senators and congress members, write letters and speak up, I will.

  50. Mary Lynne Johnson says:

    Thank you, once again, for writing and sharing just what I needed to read and
    contemplate. I was at the Concord, NH march, as well, and was buoyed by the
    caring, comaraderie and enthusiasm. I am also trying to do daily actions and
    reconnect with friends who inspire. I am very grateful for you, Katrina!
    Sharing your words, with love and respect,
    Mary Lynne

  51. Thank you, thank you, I have been standing by with my anxiety rising if I watched the news! I was telling myself I was fighting for Hillary and believed that she could have made difference so I was stepping out of politics for four years, God Bless America if he stays that long, you have instilled back in me to keep fighting! I have joined my near by group and in a hope that one person does make a
    Difference! Thank you for giving me a direction in how to help, may we someday bring America back to a place we all love🇺🇸

  52. Pretty much every thought and reaction I had to this post has already been voiced. I’m tired at the thought of the next four years, but trying to see that silver lining that so many people who had been sitting obliviously on the bench are now getting in the game.

    I also want to share a small, thing I did to improve my own personal world. It’s something that makes me smile each time a Trump picture appears on my monitor. There’s an extension for google chrome called Make America Kittens Again that changes every picture of Donald Trump into a picture of kittens. Most mornings my screen is full of kittens and in fact, several of the pictures in the post were adorable kittens. If only my local paper had the same extension. Not to downplay the seriousness of what we are facing, here’s the extension if you need it: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/make-america-kittens-agai/klchnmggepghlcolikgaekpibclpmgcm?hl=en

  53. Mary Ann Dunant says:

    Thank you, Katrina, for writing and sharing. This post especially has helped and inspired me, since I am quite an introvert. Some days I am hopeful and other days I feel quite anxious and fearful. Today is a hopeful day.

  54. Chris Wells says:

    OMG Cara, that is absolutely delightful! What an ingenious idea! Thanks.

  55. Thank you for this! I try to regularly call my Oregon senators (Ron Wyden is wonderful) and reps but I still feel so powerless. Thank you for this list!! Its already on my iPad home screen. And I had no idea about the Indivisible group. Your words and resources have given my flagging heart some hope. ❤❤

    And congratulations on grad school! I can’t tell if is Henry or Jack but please give them both a hug!

  56. I’m very, very late to the party, but wanted to thank you sincerely for including my Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience on this incredible list. I’m still creating it all these months later and am committed as ever (despite the same hesitation and conflict-aversion you mention) to showing up for democracy and our wonderful country. It will be a long road ahead, but we can do it — together.

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