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I was at the Women Singing in Circle retreat at Lama for the first time. During the songwriter portion of our time, the leaders (Kate Munger, Melanie DeMore, Terry Garthwaite and Becky Reardon) invited us to write a protest song. I went and sat in a little window nook in the library and looked out at the beautiful desert mountain landscape. I sat with my own internal landscape as well. This is the song that came. Odd protest song.
And yet: some deep hurt was alive in me, from a difficult situation in one of the communities I’m a part of– a situation that involved people passing strong judgment on me after I’d shown up and shared some vulnerability. And I found myself wanting to protest that judgment, wanting to find a way to make those people see and understand me more clearly. Underneath this wanting-to-fight in my body, I found this exquisite tenderness, a trembling sensation. Holding myself in care in this place, just being there with my experience, the song-words streamed up and out. As the words found their music and I’ve started to share the song, I find it does fit for me as a protest song, after all– protesting layers of culture that value performance over presence, “having it together” over authenticity, tidy politeness over embodied wholeness, independence over interdependence and care in community. And, along with protest, this song calls awake what I need instead: a practice of being present with ourselves and others as we are, in welcome and love-holding, especially in the tender places.
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Lay it down. Let it go
Into the I-don’t-know, the tender tremble.
Touch me, hold me;
What precious life breathes here,
Shining as we are?