January 20, 2017

Ladies, these are your Marching Orders.

I know that many women are feeling a call to step up in response to this election.

It is hard not to feel outraged right now at the rhetoric that has emerged about women and all others who are being marginalized and threatened. We have been blatantly insulted both by words and actions and there are true dangers now.

I am mad and scared.

Ironically, and sadly, I believe that the results of this election may do more to call forth the power and passion of women than if Hillary had burst through that glass ceiling.

It is time to fight for what we feel is right and to protect those who are vulnerable. We had hoped that things were heading in a different direction. So much progress has been made, and it’s unfathomable to think that things could go backward.

But we will not go back.

This is going to be a long battle, and so we’re going to need to do whatever we do in a sustainable way. This is not the time to do what we should do, but rather to do what we feel called to do.

Unfortunately, most women are already full up.

We’re spread thin and giving so much—to our families, friends, and communities. We cannot simply add to what we are already doing—volunteer more, donate more, protest more, although these things might be part of our efforts.

So what are we supposed to do?

This turbulent time demands a thoughtful response. We’ll need to make choices about where, when and how we put forth our focus and energy. It’s important that we take the time to do this consciously, to respond rather than react, and to pace ourselves.

We need to have a solid foundation from which to move. We need to:

Practice strong self-care.

First things first, get grounded, clear and calm. We need to take care of our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Many of us are still reeling, and it is more important than ever that we tend to ourselves consistently and well. We must put the oxygen mask on ourselves first. For me, this looks like committing to meditation and doing more yoga.

Get a little organized.

It’s grounding and good for sorting thoughts. Getting organized creates physical, mental and psychic space for the new. Clarity can naturally arise from this place. I always do this before I start anything new, as I find order quite calming.

Let’s tidy our offices. Let’s take a look at where we are currently putting our time and attention. Is everything still feeling aligned?

Get clear about who you are and who you are not.

What are your strengths? Because we need them now.

We shouldn’t bother doing things we don’t enjoy. For example, don’t volunteer to call your legislators if you hate making phone calls. Doing things we don’t enjoy will only lead to a downward spiral of guilt and self-judgement, which is worse than if we had never offered. It’s disempowering.

We need to avoid things that drain us. Feeling drained is a good indication that this is neither the best use of our time and energy nor a sustainable pursuit.

Let’s take stock of the skills we have acquired through our professional as well as personal lives.

Let’s talk to others and get their input on what some of our more obvious qualities are. Sometimes these are the hardest for us to see.

Once we are clear on what we’re good at, we should talk with people who understand us (a friend, a coach) to explore avenues for bringing our strengths to the concerns we care most about.

But what if it feels uncomfortable getting “out there”?

We’ll need to manage our resistance to and discomfort at putting ourselves out there—to being more visible, more vocal, more vulnerable.

We know that this is no longer the time to allow ourselves to be invisible or to allow our fears win. For many of us, it will mean stretching into some edges.

As an introvert and sensitive person, it is scary to put myself out in the public eye. But I have come to believe that to not do so is an act of selfishness. The stakes feel higher now, and I feel more committed and ready to play my role, despite feeling some inner terror at doing so.

I have been surprised to find myself inspired to write more since the election. First it was blog posts, then it was a newsletter to a mailing list, and now I am sharing through elephant journal. There are times that this has been tortuous, but I have leaned into my support systems in order to be able to truly pursue writing. This time it felt worth the push. Given who I am, this venue of visibility and effort works for me.

This is me not being invisible anymore.

I’m clarifying my own path.

I have come to realize that the work I am already doing as a coach is both what I love and what I’m best at. I’m claiming that my strength is helping people get clear and make conscious decisions—in all aspects of their lives, large and small. I believe that if more of us make more conscious decisions, the world will be better in all kinds of ways.

What are you feeling called to do?

This pivotal time is rich with creative possibilities. Trust that we all have different skills and ideas to bring and different roles to play. It is time for women to explore these choices and consciously decide where and how we want to show up.

In this new time, it will take all of us being our strong feminine selves to bring forth wisdom, common sense, respect and love. Let’s help each other out and be brave together.



Author: Lisa Oxboel

Image: Wikimedia

Editor: Callie Rushton

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