I made two other choices, many weeks ago, that are shaping how I spend the next few days. One is that I would take today off from working with my clients so that I could stop, for just a moment, dividing my attention among my work, what's happening in the world, and how all of that feels for me.
The other, bigger, choice was to stay in Portland for the Women's March rather than flying to DC.
Washington, DC was home for a long time. It's still home to many friends, even more memories, and countless opportunities to march -- against war, for women's reproductive rights, in memory of all the people represented on the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Eight years ago I walked from my house to sit in a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial waiting to hear Barack Obama, our nation's first African-American President, take the oath of office.
I'm glad I spent more than twenty years living in the nation's capital. The memory of walking with friends on a freezing cold day to Barack Obama's first Inauguration is one I cherish. But that's not where I live any more, and one of the shifts I'm honoring now is that marching and protest and writing to my members of Congress happens here in Oregon.
After watching today's Inauguration I walked to my neighborhood coffee spot for a date with a colleague, donated pink yarn at a local shop participating in the Pussyhat Project, arranged to get my very own hat from a friend who knits, signed up to learn more about an organization that creates opportunities for military and national-service veterans to grow their political leadership, and bought a poster from a Portland project by women chefs raising money for Planned Parenthood. That's a long list of little things -- but they all helped me feel connected to the place I live now and to possibilities for the future.
And I finally sat down to write -- a choice that's felt especially hard for me over the last week.
Tomorrow, I march. That's a choice too.
I'm writing all of this to say that choices aren't easy. Choices often mean change, and change is hard. All choices aren't always open to us -- they're constrained by time, by money, by what we've already said "yes" or "no" to in our lives.
Here's my invitation this week: What one choice could you make that helps you feel more connected to something you care about? Where and how do you want to do that? Who can support you?
Wherever you are this week, whatever you choose to do to take care of yourself or others, however you are expressing what you value -- may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be among people who love you. Thank you for reading. --Michelle
[updated 1/23 with new photo! Hat is one of seven knitted by a Portland friend; sign credit @nwgsdpdx.]