Slow Down to Speed Up

We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

One weekend, not so very long ago, my phone died.

Not forever, mind you. Just for a few hours while I was out and about with my family, stealing a few moments in a park and having dinner.

It was a forced break, of course. But, my anxiety about being so unavailable eventually wore off, and I started to simply … slow down. I couldn’t respond to e-mails; I couldn’t check social media. I couldn’t hear about the newest crazy thing that has happened in our political world.

It was a welcome few hours.

I don’t encourage anyone to “unplug” for any extended period. This is a monumental and historic time in our nation, and we need every person’s attention. Being “unplugged” en masse is part of what got us into this mess, so I can’t advocate for detachment as a solution to being overwhelmed.

But having just a few moments when I was unavailable to anyone but the people I was physically with was like a little gift.

So I’ve started to make it a habit.

I made some space on the back side deck; I got a few plants, a folding chair from the basement, and a simple slatted table. I’m hidden in a screen of ferns and gerber daisies, with a view of my raised bed and my hydrangea (and lots of weeds native plants).

And in the mornings, before anyone else is awake and before I look at anything that has a screen or requires a battery to operate … I sit.

It’s taken some practice, this whole “just sitting” idea. No laptop, no phone, no checking stats or tweets or front pages.

“Just sitting” with a cup of coffee for the first few moments of the day has taken quite a bit of discipline, actually, because it’s completely out of my normal frenetic pace.

I’ll bet your life is as chaotic as mine is these days. I have a full to-do list before I even start considering the typical I-do-have-a-life-outside-of-politics chores – the floors, the dishes, the dinners. Everywhere we look, there’s something that needs tending – whether it’s a politician or a preschooler.

Sometimes it’s easiest to just keep going, and not think about it.

But again – “not thinking about it” is part of what got us into this mess. Isn’t it?

Being present in our every day lives is just as hard as it is to be present in our democracy.

But we benefit, tremendously, from both.

So this week, I hope you can take just a few minutes – or even just a few moments – to sit and appreciate what’s around you. Remind yourself what you’re fighting for. And know that often, when I’m out here in my little oasis watching the squirrels’ acrobatics and listening to the doves coo, I’m thinking of all of you.

Thank you, friend, for being part of this movement with me.

Let’s get to work.



Tuesday: Call on Congress to End Family Separation

Last week we discussed the Trump administration’s unprecedented policy of separating families at the border – even those families seeking asylum. I know that last week we had actions specific to this issue, and I like to address and bring your attention to different issues each week. But, friends, this policy is horrific and we need to apply firm and constant pressure until it ends.

Think of it this way: because of this policy, last night, somewhere in our country, a two-year-old child went to sleep without her mother, in a detention center that was never intended to house or service babies. These little people don’t know what’s happening to them, and it’s damaging their mental health – forever.

This must end. It must.

Here’s a great resource for you to check out – the Kids In Need of Defense has created a very helpful PDF about the policy and why it’s so terrible. KIND is on the front lines; they train attorneys to appear with children in immigration courts, so that children do not appear in these proceedings without any representation.

So, today please contact your Congress(wo)man and Senators and tell them to actually do something about this by cosponsoring the following legislation:

  • R. 2572 – Protect Family Values at the Border Act
  • R. 5950/S.2937 – the HELP Separated Children Act
  • R. 2043/S. 2468 – Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2018

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m calling because I’m horrified by the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the border. This policy is causing irreparable and permanent damage to these children’s mental health. This policy does nothing to protect the United States, but does use a whole lot of taxpayer dollars to damage these kids and our relationships with other nations and our reputation in the world. HAS the Congress(wo)man/Senator cosponsored the Protect Family Values at the Border Act, the HELP Separated Children Act, or the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2018? If not, why not? What do we have to do to prove to the Congress(wo)man/Senator that this policy is inhumane?

Wednesday: Check (And Fix!) Your Social Media Settings

Last week, the Washington Post had a very good – and somewhat frightening – article about various default privacy settings that you can and should change. I immediately bookmarked it as something you all might be interested in. So, head over there to check out the article and then start changing those settings!

And just a reminder – if you don’t want The Google to have access to all your info, you can always use Duck Duck Go as your default search engine – a fantastic alternative!

Thursday: Net Neutrality IS NOT OVER

On June 11, the Net Neutrality rules officially expire. Although the Senate voted to retain the net neutrality rules, the House has not taken action – and if they don’t, then *poof*! Gone are those net neutrality rules that we’ve relied upon since … well … since the internet was created.

Check here to see where your rep stands first:

Then give them a buzz (not an e-mail – even though Check Your Reps has a nifty one for you to edit, please use your phone to speak to a real human!) and let them know that you expect them to protect net neutrality.

Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling to encourage the Congress(wo)man to join with other representatives and use the Congressional Review Act to save the 2015 Open Internet Order. An open and neutral internet is important for all kinds of reasons, especially small businesses. It looks like the only beneficiaries of eliminating net neutrality are big businesses – and big donors. I sure hope to see Congress(wo)man ____’s name on the right side of this issue.

Friday: Mark Your Calendar for Families Belong Together Protests in Your Area, and Take to Social Media!

On June 14, people across the country will be protesting in support of keeping families together. Go to to see if there is a protest in your area – and if there isn’t, start one!! Get some friends together and raise awareness of this urgent issue. Every day these kids are being separated from their families, so we need all of our voices

You can also use the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether, #EndFamilySeparation, and #ProtectFamilies, and post sample Tweets and Facebook messages from the KIND resource page, located here.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.

If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.

If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!

Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.

Have a thought? A small deed to suggest? Share it here!

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