This morning in the United States, one President stepped down, and another stepped up to take the oath of office. The transition was, by all accounts, peaceful. The fallout, however, will probably not be.
Within minutes of the new president's swearing-in, the official web site for the President of the United States no longer had pages discussing climate change or LGBT civil rights . Those web pages were removed, gone, as if they had never existed.
Today and tomorrow, in cities across this country, protests and marches are happening. Thousands will take to the streets to protest the promised changes that are already happening and those that will happen in the days and weeks to come, as the new administration begins to undo the work -- and the legislation -- of the previous administration.
Many people will be affected because of these changes. Many will suffer. Including me, and my family and many of my friends.
Thanks to a doctor's order to stay home from the marches here in My Glistening City of Portland, I am home, fixing up old bicycles for the local refugee resettlement project, drinking lots of liquid and getting ready for my next trip (a music consulting assignment in Colorado).
For those of you who cannot participate in the march for various medical or emotional reasons -- compromised immune systems, mental illness (depression, anxiety, whatever) or mobility issues, let me be one of hopefully many who will remind you that self care is national care.
It's good to know your parameters and work within them, to stay healthy and to stay as whole as you can during what will be a challenging time for so many.
There are many ways to protest, including turning off the TV; hanging out with a few friends in someone's kitchen (make up some hot soup and share it with neighbors or a local homeless shleter); crafting beautiful warm things (hats, scarves and the like -- it's still pretty cold outside); or simply holding your loved ones close. Or singing.
Create a gathering and sing together. Sing anything -- pop songs, folk songs -- as lone as they're songs that make you feel good, make you feel stronger and more hopeful.
When you're done singing, immediately make a plan for another group activity you can all do together. Put it on the calendar. Keep making the effort to build and sustain community in some way. It takes work and it's worth it.
If your issues keep you from getting outside much, pick up a phone and ask for help. Send an email to friends who live nearby and reach out and let them know you're here and could use some companionship during this cold, challenging time.
Self care includes asking for help when you need it.
I haven't been very good about social media. In fact, as a late Boomer I admit that it's not my highest priority in marketing my music and reaching out to folks. But I also recognize that it's what we have these days, so I am going to use social media very soon to ask for YOUR help in getting a project off the ground.
Meanwhile, if you need some warmth and light, feel free to download my song "Let It Burn" from my Reverb page right now -- free of charge through the end of the month.
May we all find ways to warm each other this week and in the weeks to come.
Happy Friday and Shabbat Shalom.
(photo: Me and bassist Amy Fredricks performing at Shabbat Shira, November 2016)