Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the price of love. Anger is the force that protects that which is loved. We cannot access the depth of loving ourselves or others without our rage.
Kaur, Valarie. See No Stranger (p. 106). Random House Kindle Edition.
It occurs to me that the pain imposed upon all American women, especially of childbearing age (and younger) by the Trump Court is at least as sharp and as egregious as if all of the hair on my (hairy) torso were to be covered with a giant band-aid and yanked off all at once. Enduring such a procedure would leave my skin raw, likely for days. The RAGE caused by stripping away women's personal sovereignty and bodily autonomy will last even longer.
However, I foresee a great and long enduring movement in which women will lead gigantic social change. Tens and hundreds of million women. Hundreds and thousands with incredible leadership and artistic talent who will erase every last drop of Christian Nationalism and Dominionism from our shores. Writers. Singer songwriters. Actors, playwriters and screenwriters. Painters and sculptors and mixed media artists. All expressing with keen insight and exquisite passion a vision that will take what was expressed in the Preamble to the US Constitution and make it come alive in ways heretofore rarely even imagined.
But first, direct action is immediately necessary to reclaim the nation for her people. Here are excerpts from resources containing some of the insight I have found over the last few years. By no means are any of these sufficient in themselves. They are just samples.
How Nonviolent Struggle Works (and other writing by Gene Sharp)
Sharp wrote that “some conflicts do not yield to compromise and can be resolved only through struggle.”“Regular institutional procedures are rarely available” to solve “conflicts that, in one way or another, involve the fundamental principles of a society, of independence, of self-respect, or of people’s capacity to determine their own future.”Traditionally, it is believed that in those conflicts there exist only two alternative ways of acting: passive submission or violent action. There is, however, a third alternative: struggle by means of nonviolent action.
The basic concept and the foundation for political struggle by means of nonviolent action rest on the belief that “the exercise of power depends on the consent of the ruled who, by withdrawing that consent, can control and even destroy the power of their opponents. ”
“Nonviolent action is a technique used to control, combat, and destroy the opponents’ power by nonviolent means of wielding power.
Frequently it is presumed that “power flows from violence and can only be controlled by greater violence.” In fact, “power derives from sources within society that people can restrict or cut off by withdrawing their cooperation.
The political power of governments can indeed be very fragile. Even the power of dictatorships can be destroyed by the withdrawal of the human help that makes the existence of the regime possible.”
Political struggle by means of nonviolent action is based on this observation. In this work, “the basic characteristics of nonviolent struggle are described, misperceptions are corrected, and there is an account of some of the features of its vast history. It is the history of actions performed by ordinary people—not pacifists or saints—struggling imperfectly for a variety of causes.
Using nonviolent action, people have achieved higher wages, broken social barriers, changed government policies...
(1) The indirect approach to the opponents’ power. Even in military conflicts, argued Liddell Hart, generally effective results have followed when the plan of action has had “such indirectness as to ensure the opponents’ non-readiness to meet it.” It is important “to nullify opposition by paralyzing the power to oppose” and to make “the enemy do something wrong,” Liddell Hart wrote. Against opponents using military means, always confront them indirectly by nonviolent means, so that their repression can be made to rebound against them to undermine their power position. Finally, the sources of the opponents’ power are reduced or removed without being confronted by military means.
(2) Psychological elements. These operate both within the opponent group and among the resisters. The effect of surprise in war is the incapability of the opponents to react effectively. In nonviolent struggle this incapability is produced not by secrecy but instead by the nonviolent resisters’ reliance on nonviolent means. At times, surprise in nonviolent action may weaken its effectiveness. Open announcement of the intention to use nonviolent methods may reduce nervousness among troops, make more severe repression less probable, and increase the chances of inducing disaffection.
Morale among the resisters is also important. It is crucial that the population understands that the opponents’ military might does not give them either control or victory. The resisters’ confidence in nonviolent action is fundamental, along with skill, endurance, and enthusiasm.
(3) Geographical and physical elements. The physical possession of particular locations is of secondary importance to the fulfillment of the conditions which make possible the operation of the mechanisms of change in nonviolent action. Neither possession of, nor gaining of control over, particular places is regarded as extremely important because the operation of the technique of nonviolent action depends primarily upon the will and actions of human beings. Particular places may become important if they have high symbolic value. In such cases, the methods of nonviolent obstruction, nonviolent raids, and nonviolent invasion are possible methods to be applied. The place at which a crucial resistance action is to be taken will need to be chosen carefully. At times it will also be necessary to arrange places to hold support services, such as hospitals, camps, kitchens, and the like. [...]
(6) The issue and concentration of strength. Wise strategy and tactics require a careful selection of the points on which to fight. This can only be done by taking into consideration the political, psychological, social, and economic factors of the struggle. There is no substitute for genuine strength in nonviolent action. It is impossible to be too strong at the decisive point. To be effective, nonviolent action needs to be concentrated at crucial points, as already discussed in this chapter. These points are selected after consideration of one’s own strength, weaknesses, and resources; the objectives, position, strengths, and weaknesses of the opponents; the importance of the issue itself; and the probable consequences of defeat or success. “Adjust your end to your means,” wrote Liddell Hart. It is necessary to be realistic without losing faith. Avoid exhausting confidence or the capacities of others in vain efforts where you cannot win. In special circumstances it may be necessary to act despite weaknesses. If so, a realistic assessment of the situation is still required. The development of strategy and tactics should be based on an assessment of how one’s existing strength can be used to best advantage and how one’s weaknesses can be bypassed or corrected.
In the struggle to attain freedom, it is necessary to behave like free people.
Strategy is at least as important in nonviolent action as it is in military action. It is important to choose the course of action and carry it out carefully and intelligently. It is quite inadequate simply to say that one will be moral and do what is right. There may be several courses of action which are all morally “right.” What is “right” may involve maintaining or creating maximum opposition to “evil.” If so, the problem is how to do this in order to meet one’s moral responsibility and maximize the effects of one’s actions. Those actions must be carefully chosen and carried out at the right time. The better the strategy, the easier you will gain the upper hand, and the less it will cost you. As in war, strategy and tactics are used in nonviolent action so that the courage, sacrifice, and numbers of the nonviolent resisters may make the greatest possible impact. The specific acts of protest, noncooperation and intervention will be most effective if they fit together as parts of a comprehensive whole, so that each specific action contributes to success. It is also important to have acceptance by the grievance group of the strategy for the struggle in order to avoid divisions.
Sharp, Gene. How Nonviolent Struggle Works The Albert Einstein Institution. Kindle Edition.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A clear-eyed account of learning how to lead in a chaotic world, by General Jim Mattis--the former Secretary of Defense and one of the most formidable strategic thinkers of our time--and Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine.
"A four-star general's five-star memoir."--The Wall Street Journal
You make mistakes, or life knocks you down; either way, you get up and get on with it. You deal with life. You don’t whine about it.
You don’t always control your circumstances, but you can always control your response.
My early years with my Marines taught me leadership fundamentals, summed up in the three Cs.
The first is competence. Be brilliant in the basics. Don’t dabble in your job; you must master it.
Second, caring. To quote Teddy Roosevelt, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
In a family, you watch out for your younger brother. You’re interested in him—how he grows, how he learns, who he wants to be. When your Marines know you care about them, then you can speak bluntly when they disappoint you.
Third, conviction. This is harder and deeper than physical courage. Your peers are the first to know what you will stand for and, more important, what you won’t stand for. Your troops catch on fast. State your flat-ass rules and stick to them. They shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. At the same time, leaven your professional passion with personal humility and compassion for your troops. Remember: As an officer, you need to win only one battle—for the hearts of your troops. Win their hearts and they will win the fights. Competence, caring, and conviction combine to form a fundamental element—shaping the fighting spirit of your troops. Leadership means reaching the souls of your troops, instilling a sense of commitment and purpose in the face of challenges so severe that they cannot be put into words.
The Marine philosophy is to recruit for attitude and train for skills. Marines believe that attitude is a weapon system. We searched for intangible character traits: a quest for adventure, a desire to serve with the elite, and the intention to be in top physical condition.
“I’ll tell you what leadership is,” he said. “It’s persuasion and conciliation and education and patience. It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know.”
Keep training and encouraging local forces. Stay professional and polite. Whenever you show anger or disgust toward civilians, it’s a victory for the insurgents. Victory is not an abstraction. We will train Iraqi forces and patrol until the last terrorist is dead.
READ, READ, READ
Several years later, I was training in the jungles of northern Okinawa when, without warning, I was temporarily put in command of a 180-man company. On a Saturday morning, the sergeant major requested that I drop by for a quiet discussion. Technically, I outranked him, but no lieutenant with his wits about him is slow to respond when his top noncommissioned offer wants to talk with him alone. “You are a very persuasive young man,” he said, handing me a book about a Roman centurion, “but it would be best if you did your homework first.” Before going into battle, you can learn by asking veterans about their experiences and by reading relentlessly. Lieutenants come to grasp the elements of battle, while senior officers learn how to outwit their opponents.
By studying how others have dealt with similar circumstances, I became exposed to leadership examples that accelerated my expanding understanding of combat.
Mattis, Jim; West, Bing. Call Sign Chaos (pp. 41-42). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
In the year 170, at night in his tent on the front lines of the war in Germania, Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of the Roman Empire, sat down to write... what he wrote is undoubtedly one of history’s most effective formulas for overcoming every negative situation we may encounter in life. A formula for thriving not just in spite of whatever happens but because of it.
The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
In Marcus’s words is the secret to an art known as turning obstacles upside down. To act with “a reverse clause,” so there is always a way out or another route to get to where you need to go. So that setbacks or problems are always expected and never permanent. Making certain that what impedes us can empower us. Coming from this particular man, these were not idle words. In his own reign of some nineteen years, he would experience nearly constant war, a horrific plague, possible infidelity, an attempt at the throne by one of his closest allies, repeated and arduous travel across the empire—from Asia Minor to Syria, Egypt, Greece, and Austria—a rapidly depleting treasury, an incompetent and greedy stepbrother as co-emperor, and on and on and on. And from what we know, he truly saw each and every one of these obstacles as an opportunity to practice some virtue: patience, courage, humility, resourcefulness, reason, justice, and creativity. The power he held never seemed to go to his head—neither did the stress or burden. He rarely rose to excess or anger, and never to hatred or bitterness.
Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them?
That the challenge makes them better than if they’d never faced the adversity at all. Now it’s your turn to see if you’re one of them, if you’ll join their company. This book will show you the way.
What blocks us is clear. Systemic: decaying institutions, rising unemployment, skyrocketing costs of education, and technological disruption. Individual: too short, too old, too scared, too poor, too stressed, no access, no backers, no confidence. How skilled we are at cataloging what holds us back! Every obstacle is unique to each of us. But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Helplessness. Depression. Anger.
What do these figures have that we lack? What are we missing? It’s simple: a method and a framework for understanding, appreciating, and acting upon the obstacles life throws at us. John D. Rockefeller had it—for him it was cool headedness and self-discipline.
As it turns out, this is one thing all great men and women of history have in common. Like oxygen to a fire, obstacles became fuel for the blaze that was their ambition. Nothing could stop them, they were (and continue to be) impossible to discourage or contain. Every impediment only served to make the inferno within them burn with greater ferocity.
This book will share with you their collective wisdom in order to help you accomplish the very specific and increasingly urgent goal we all share: overcoming obstacles. Mental obstacles. Physical obstacles. Emotional obstacles. Perceived obstacles. We face them every day and our society is collectively paralyzed by this.
So this will be a book of ruthless pragmatism and stories from history that illustrate the arts of relentless persistence and indefatigable ingenuity. It teaches you how to get unstuck, unfucked, and unleashed.
Holiday, Ryan. The Obstacle Is the Way (p. 1). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday
Lincoln, a man who taught himself military strategy by poring over books he checked out from the Library of Congress, laid out a map across a big table and pointed instead to Vicksburg, Mississippi, a little city deep in Southern territory. It was a fortified town high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, held by the toughest rebel troops. Not only did it control navigation of that important waterway, but it was a juncture for a number of other important tributaries, as well as rail lines that supplied Confederate armies and enormous slave plantations across the South.“Vicksburg is the key,” he told the crowd with the certainty of a man who had studied a matter so intensely that he could express it in the simplest of terms. “The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.” As it happened, Lincoln turned out to be exactly right.It would take years, it would take incredible equanimity and patience, as well as ferocious commitment to his cause, but the strategy laid out in that room was what won the war and ended slavery in America forever. Every other important victory in the Civil War—from Gettysburg to Sherman’s March to the Sea to Lee’s surrender—was made possible because at Lincoln’s instruction Ulysses S. Grant laid siege to Vicksburg in 1863, and by taking the city split the South in two and gained control of that important waterway.In his reflective, intuitive manner, without being rushed or distracted, Lincoln had seen (and held fast to) what his own advisors, and even his enemy, had missed. Because he possessed the key that unlocked victory from the rancor and folly of all those early competing plans.
Holiday, Ryan. Stillness Is the Key (p. 4). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
It’s a type of storytelling in which eventually your talent becomes your identity and your accomplishments become your worth. But a story like this is never honest or helpful. In my retelling to you just now, I left a lot out. Conveniently omitted were the stresses and temptations; the stomach-turning drops and the mistakes—all the mistakes—were left on the cutting-room floor in favor of the highlight reel. They are the times I would rather not discuss: A public evisceration by someone I looked up to, which so crushed me at the time that I was later taken to the emergency room. The day I lost my nerve, walked into my boss’s office, and told him I couldn’t cut it and was going back to school—and meant it. The ephemeral nature of best-sellerdom, and how short it actually was (a week). The book signing that one person showed up at. The company I founded tearing itself to pieces and having to rebuild it. Twice. These are just some of the moments that get nicely edited out.
Holiday, Ryan. Ego Is the Enemy (p. xx). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power.
Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a “dangerous” idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a “just war”? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history?Nonviolence: the History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky
In 1931 Gandhi wrote, “Whether mankind will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not perturb us. The law will work, just as the law of gravitation will work whether we accept it or not. And just as a scientist will work wonders out of various applications of the laws of nature, even so a man [in 1931, even Gandhi apparently wasn't even thinking in terms of women who lead, but it still applies] who applies the law of love with scientific precision can work great wonders.”Gandhi, Mahatma. Gandhi on Non-Violence (New Directions Paperbook) (p. 7). New Directions. Kindle Edition.
A book I have only just begun to read. It was written 30 years ago or so but was prescient. In other words, Octavia Butler had incredible insight and vision. All of human life is about stories. Here's what Goodreads' blurb says:
In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future.
Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.
When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.
Women may not want to hear a lot of what I have to say. But I hope they enthusiastically read and digest what visionary women leaders like Valarie Kaur and Octavia Butler have written and have to say, as well as leaders and philosophers such as Jim Mattis, Ryan Holiday and Mohandas K Gandhi have had to say about fighting (nonviolently) and winning.
Additionally, two excellent, strong women candidates are running for statewide office this year in important races for women's rights in Arizona. Katie Hobbs (incumbent Democratic Secretary of State, running for governor) and Kris Mayes, a former chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission (which regulates utilities among other responsibilities) is the sole Democrat running for Arizona Attorney General.
Direct democracy is OUR SUPERPOWER! For the next few days, imagine (and work toward) the seemingly impossible and make it possible. The linked page lists Arizona locations with petitions for the Reproductive Freedom initiative. Please sign it and send your friends.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt
Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.
In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.