I wrote twice, and that is basically a cheat because the first one was my review of 2021.
But, having already written my new Twitter profile for 2023, when I re-reading my single piece from February, With Teacher and Student, I see a huge connection with where I see myself going in the coming year.
At the beginning of 2022, I was pooped and worried. My Twitter profile included that fact when I said that a goal of mine was to “Just keep going”. To just remain in the system was a goal. If I could stay, I could do the other things I wanted to accomplish: to keep mentally expanding and to also DO what should be done.
I’m happy to say that I accomplished or made good progress in everything I wanted. I kept going. I read books and met with people who expanded my awareness. I taught as I thought I should in order to support that awareness. I wrote letters to my representatives describing what I saw happening and what I’d like to see happen, and why.
My son started 2022 mouthing off about the stupidity of elections. Over the course of the year, he realized that what he saw on YouTube was false. He saw locally that voting (and whether people run or not) matters. He saw that propaganda doesn’t sway all things as We The People stopped an “inevitable” red wave, that abortion was supported in some states, and that marriage rights would be advocated for by national political leaders even if the Supreme Court was potentially going to not.
While he’s not a philosopher, we had some good discussions over the year, as I did with my other son who can’t vote yet. Our young people are more aware than many believe. And, they are motivated to not accept the status quo. I think my hope of not belittling and of empathizing has helped us understand one another better. I am extremely hopeful that I (we) can let go of the reins to them. I think they have great potential to fly.
Having focused on being more aware of this huge globe in 2022, I see myself seeking to let go in 2023.
Simply put: the mic belongs to those who haven’t held it.
Many are trying to cling to what they’ve known. We should truly live in a post-colonial world that has nations on equal footing with one another and the non-human components must also be included in that equality of voice.
All people. All living things. All non-living things.
Who should be off the mic and working in empathic support?
Those who cling to the term “white”, regardless of gender or their actual DNA. Technically, that would include me by my skin color and DNA. And yes, I don’t want the mic. For example, I don’t want to run for an office. But I *do* want to support with deeds others who haven’t held the mic: for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, for water, air, land.
The white world needs to let go.
I am not advocating for the disappearance of any people. That’s a white concept, anyway, and needs to be let go. Some Native American cultures greet one another with a phrase like “I greet you, relatives of mine.”. I learned in 2022 that “relatives of mine” means ALL. That was a humbling discovery. And so full of good potential!
This non-white and more-than-human world is a heady concept that goes against so much I was brought up with, and I’m sure others will experience feelings of fear, disbelief, anger, or confusion. Letting go is hard. James Bridle's 2022 book Ways of Being is a great book to support the more-than-human concept.
My feline friend of 13 years, Owen, appears to be slipping away. We’ve spent a month of rollercoaster emotions- is he getting better, how much can we spend, is he suffering. It’s another example for us as a family that everyone dies at some point. It’s the daily living that’s important. If we do that, we can more readily let go when the time comes. We’re trying to listen to him tell us what he wants.
That circles back to my main point. Cats deserve a voice. Our rivers deserve a voice. Our fellow human beings deserve a voice. Our forests deserve a voice. The cats, rivers, people, and forests on continent thousands of miles from me deserve voices. The UN has had a program on protecting biodiversity since 1992 and just completed an international summit in Montreal that, to me, supports and rolls in those non-human voices as well as those who haven’t had the mic.
My only goal for 2023 is to continue this journey toward getting that mic to those who haven’t held it. Bringing the ideas and skills of all onto the stage can let us all work out a better deal…for the whole. My daily actions, words, and connections with others are my tools to do so.
I’m thinking of Ukraine, who some thought would be absorbed by Russia in February 2022. People from around the world came together in a myriad of ways before, during, and to this day to make that not happen. That authoritarian leader has destroyed people, land, water, air, and I’m sure many animals. So many voices silenced. But the Ukrainian people and land still cling to that mic and there are others who are supporting them.
I confess I don’t feel a fire inside me as I look to a new year. I’m neither in a deep pit nor a scenic overlook with a glorious view. I am here.
But you know what? Let’s just go.