Turning the Tide

by Maria Theresa Maggi on October 18, 2018

“Late Afternoon Almost Monotone Tide,” charcoal pencil and conte crayon life sketch, by Maria Theresa Maggi

I am working on a blog post about a gluten free cake recipe I want to share with you, but this is not that post. This is something else, again, like the last post, about my human experience I was given to know suddenly, and which I feel compelled to share here. For any of my readers who don’t share my political or ethical views and so would rather wait for the cake recipe, this is your provisional advisory.

I provide this advisory because when I put my last post, “On The Verge,” up on my blog’s Facebook page, I got the first hateful comment I’ve received in 6 years. Apparently the poor man thought he was on a group page for plant-based eaters, and excoriated me to drop the “moronic leftist hate” and get back on topic. I had to smile at his confusion; I even can relate to it, since I can easily get turned around on the internet, especially when it comes to logging in. So I replied to him that this wasn’t actually a group, it was my blog’s Facebook page, and that I had created my blog to express my opinion on many things. I also wrote that I did not hate him, or anybody else, and he was certainly allowed to disagree with me respectfully or go elsewhere if the content did not suit him.

His reply still sometimes makes me burst into laughter, the good kind, when I know I’m in my truth and am gifted a lightness of heart to see the funny side of things. He said, “OK. Fair enough. But you’re still a leftist moron. And I will gladly excise you from my online transactions.” I smile ear to ear as I retype this, since I may be many things (absent-minded, full of new age fluff at times, stubborn, even judgmental) but one thing I am definitely not is a moron. I know this term gets bandied around on both sides of the divide all the time, but the literal inaccuracy of it in my case just made me laugh out loud off and on for an entire day. And I admit I also felt just a little wistful that this guy could not stick around. I am fascinated by someone who can use the word “excise” with such precision, but can’t see past their erroneous use of the word “moron.” I have to like him just a little for how well he used that first one, and I wish him the best. I left the whole exchange up on my blog’s Facebook page so folks can see how I handle that kind of thing.

And so, here I go, expressing something I consider a profound experience, however “woo” or “out there” or politically unpopular with some it might be. It’s a story about how our humanity connects us through the most unimaginable sorrow and evil.

I follow a broadcast called “Resistance Live” produced by Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, founder of The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadershipm which you can find on Facebook, YouTube, iTunes, or Patreon. This morning she ended her broadcast with a commentary on an energy shift she and others who “feel the ‘woo’,” as she put it, having sensed an energy shift toward lightness in the last 24 hours. (For those of you who have never heard the expression “woo” it refers to those of us more intuitively inclined, who get feelings or follow practices that don’t seem to add up in a strictly rational worldview. I first came upon that term in my time close to environmental activists in Moscow, Idaho, and it is often used with humor and affection, as it was here, as far as I can tell anyway. We “woo” folks and snowflakes are pretty prone to laughing at ourselves so what the heck.) As she was speculating about what this might mean without locking anything in and keeping the faith that those feelings are to be honored, I realized I had had quite a few of those moments myself in the last 24 hours. But two of them really stuck out to me. So I shared them in a comment, and I’ll share that comment here now, because I believe it’s every so important to be open to such experiences in these volatile and often terrifyingly destabilizing times.

“Thank you. I began to feel that woo shift yesterday. It’s so important to acknowledge it, in whatever form it occurs, and help hold its space. Here’s two ways I felt it: yesterday, just moving around my kitchen, I was almost overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and well being for my home, for my place in the universe, and all the unsolvable mystery of it. And then, late last night before turning off the computer, I was gifted with this article, a collection of Jamal Khashoggi’s articles written for the WP, posted by a teacher/writer/activist friend of mine, saying “this is why they killed him.” This killing is a horror beyond comprehension for most human beings, and the silence and inaction of our government is another horror on top of it. And so, I thought to myself, I will read this man’s words in honor of his life. As I went down the compilation, I came upon one about women getting the right to drive in Saudi Arabia that I had actually read back then, not happening to notice at the time the name of the author who had written it. But as I read the words I remembered how good it was, how it had made me think, and it gave me a much more human and intimate connection to this man who has died in such a horribly grisly way. And in honoring his memory so spontaneously, as I recognized his words came a feeling of profound healing, both for him and for myself. In focusing on the beauty and truth of a piece of his life’s work, the work for which he died, I was affirming his life, and the work he would no doubt want to be remembered for over the details of his grisly murder. It felt, in a small way that is also infinite, like the gesture of laying Matthew Shepard to rest in the National Cathedral feels after all these years of his parents searching for a safe suitable burial place for his ashes. And it came to me with a quiet certainty that all gestures, whether small or large, public or private, that honor the humanity and largesse of spirit and courage of anyone who dies a terribly cruel and unjust death, raise that person’s life to its true essence, beyond the horror we want to choke on. It was a moment of grace given to me to see this, and I felt even more grateful for it when it was still with me when I woke up, despite feeling alongside it the very real situation that with this, if we do not seek redress, as a nation we may have turned more actively into a terrorist state, and other countries will know and probably say that. Both the saving grace and the horror are true. And yet when I align with the saving grace of how to remember Jamal Khashoggi, through the way his writing shaped my understanding and compassion, I help, in some infinitesimal way, to give him some rest in peace. And my own soul can go on, learning to shine in the service of love over fear.”

It takes each drop to turn the tide. Every. Single. One.

Maria (moonwatcher)





Leave a Comment

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary October 19, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Thank you! This is wonderful and so true.


2 Maria Theresa Maggi October 19, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Mary, I SO appreciate your lovely comment.


3 Veronica October 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

It’s certainly a time… Your handling of the FB comment is commendable- I often find it hard to laugh like you, but it is the response I strive to have. Sending you my love in this awful time; it’s been rough for me, too. Sorry I’ve been absent; I need to read your last two posts that I’ve missed! xoxo


4 Maria Theresa Maggi October 20, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Dear Veronica, thank you! So good to see your comment here. I’ve been thinking of you as well, hoping you are doing okay, and sending you my love. Take heart. You are not alone during this awful and yet transformational time. xoxo


5 Kathleen Hickey October 20, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Thank you for this piece. Along with the gift of your message, I was happy to hear that Matthew Shephard will be in the National Cathedral. I had missed the article. I hope it will give his parents some comfort. We live in such sad times. I am learning to treasure moments of happiness, however small.


6 Maria Theresa Maggi October 20, 2018 at 9:32 pm

Thank you, Kathleen. I so agree with you all say here. I read that he was once an altar boy in the Episcopal Church. Here’s to treasuring those moments of happiness. That in itself is an act of bravery in challenging times.


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