2017 AND THE PRIVILEGE OF LOOKING UP
This morning, I walked around my neighborhood while looking up. Normally, I look down, just trying to get to my destination.
But this morning, I deliberately pushed myself to focus on what was elevated. Rooftops, skylines, treetops. The sky was a clear blue after two days of nonstop rain.
By looking up, I reoriented myself. This is my neighborhood, a place I know well in some ways. But in focusing upward, I saw new many new things. So I arrived at my destination calmer, less agitated, more grounded, thinking more expansively about the possibilities — what I thought I already understood had been revealed as new.
Walking while staring upward is a privilege. My legs are sturdy and young. My shoes are well-made and relatively new. Daylight pickpocketing or assault is not a danger I face. Many people here and all over the world and in other moments in history could not safely walk while looking up to the sky.
Today I decided to fully embrace that privilege. Most people can’t afford to look skyward while walking. That shouldn’t prevent me from doing so. Maybe it’s my duty to look skyward, precisely because others are not given the freedom to do so.
In 2017, people like me will not be the first to be targeted. Or even the second or third or fourth. Some of us might end up being the last ones to go, when so many others have already been deported or disappeared or buried.
In 2017, those who will be first targeted are going to feel incredible pressure to keep their attention to the ground, focused on the minutiae of the terrain below their feet, which threatens to open up under them without warning.
In 2017, I think us comfortable people had better start looking skyward. Because we can afford to. Because our futures depend on it. 2017 will be a year when we will be asked to choose: are we nice people or are we resisters? Times will come when we cannot be both. Our choices will remain with us forever.
What do I mean by looking skyward? I mean opening ourselves up to all possibilities, hitting the reset button, being willing to wipe our slates clean and start anew. A President Trump signals an end to so many of the lies we were brought up on.
Looking skyward, we can ask:
Who are we?
What is our relationship to spirit? To god? To nothingness?
(whatever all three of those words can mean)
What were we taught about power and
was it true?
And who benefits from the distance between?
Only after looking skyward,
then we will be ready to look to the ground,
to our feet,
and our hands,
what are we going to do now,