taking a moment of silence


"The most eloquent way I could offer my respect is with a moment of silence." — Adam Cummings

It's been intentionally quiet around here the past couple weeks.

Not to say that the rest of the world has been quiet.

If anything, I feel like the volume has been turned up.

Emails flooding my inbox. Calls to action filling up my newsfeed.

Friends embodying the rallying cry for justice.

I am so heartened to see political setback spur the strong men and (especially) women whom I know forward into purposeful action.

But I've also been in the midst and aftermath of an international trip that shook me to my core and required deliberate inwardness and processing.

Not to mention my own need to be inward and process the global aftermath of the election.

Especially being abroad when I got news of the election results, I rested deeply in the knowledge that political leadership in the west has the capacity for both powerful healing and (frighteningly) overarching destruction.

I felt deep sadness, disappointment, fear and helplessness.

I felt fiercely protective of the fundamental rights of the people I care about and the people I won't ever even meet.

I felt gratitude for the powerful, deeply loving and caring people I surround myself with on a regular basis.

And I also felt guilt for not contributing in that very moment.

I was many thousand miles across the planet, capable of offering small kindnesses in my everyday while traveling, but not in a position to be part of a revolutionary uprising at home.

And when I returned, my body literally required stillness, because I brought home an extended illness with fever, aches, chills, flu-like symptoms and considerable gastrointestinal distress.

Despite the fact that I was doubled over in pain when I was awake and sleeping the rest of the time, I felt an urgency to get up and take action.

When I awake and capable of ingesting further news, my sense of guilt increased.

Here I was, weak and bleary-eyed, weighed down under piled blankets and sweating profusely, rather than spending every single moment in support of the world that I am "for."

The guilt wasn't fully rational, but it was there in full force.

Who knew that I could relish in the particular intensity of sound and senses that I experienced in India, but I couldn't quite come to terms with the barrage of words on my screen?

My body and my mind needed quiet, intentional time to gather their resources. And I'm just now winding out of that silence.

That doesn't mean I'll stay silent forever.

My being feels like a deep well of action ready to be taken in service of how I want this world to look.

Words in honor of radical justice are beginning to form behind my teeth.

But I need a minute. And if you need a minute too, that's okay.

If you too feel overwhelmed or guilty, I want you to know that you're not alone.

Do what you can take care of the world, but take some time to take care of yourself too.

The fact that you feel guilt at all means you know the importance of speaking up once you've had some time to process and catch your breath.

Just because you are silent now does not mean you don't also have the capacity for a loud voice when you need it.

Take your time, and then take action.

Iris Rankin

Soulful questioner, exuberant organizer, here to find the balance between discipline and delicious relaxation. Iris Rankin is the founder of Project Intention, a values-based community focused on living day-to-day with purpose, planning, and heart. Iris encourages women to adopt the self care practices that make them feel divine, the planning tools to hone in on their essential wants and needs, and the emotional resilience to express their most authentic selves.

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