Do One Thing

In the days since the US presidential election, I’ve been overwhelmed by emotions and information. My social media feeds are filled with calls to action—invitations to meet, make phone calls, donate money, write postcards, march in the streets. Others’ words have comforted and challenged and saddened and filled me, yet I have had difficulty finding what to say beyond “yes” or “no” or “thank you.”

I have wanted to be still and silent, to be sure of what actions I want to take. I recognize what a great privilege it is to have this choice, given to me by whiteness and wealth and where I live. With so much work to do, what is my work at this time?

For most of two decades—through two houses and at least four jobs—I’ve had a poster hanging in or near my office called “How to Build Community.” Published by Syracuse Cultural Workers, the poster offers a list of simple everyday actions like “help carry something heavy,” “bake extra and share,” or “sit on your stoop.”

What I’ve always loved about this poster is the reminder that small actions matter. Greeting neighbors and strangers, giving up a seat on the bus, taking time to thank the mail carrier all build and rebuild the fabric of our divided nation.

And the list doesn’t stop there. The poster offers two challenges at the end: “Learn from new and uncomfortable angles,” says one line. And then? “Know that no one is silent, though many are not heard. Work to change this.”

During my Thanksgiving visit with family, I took a short walk by myself through fall leaves under a clear blue sky. I prayed for clarity and for courage. I reminded myself that I can always do one thing. Today I fed the neighbor’s cat and wrote a check to support grassroots activism and decided that my small business can donate $50 from each new coaching client to a social-justice organization.

Tomorrow is another day. And there will be more days to come, more choices to make.

What is your one thing today?

Michelle is an Integral Coach and consultant based in Portland, OR. You can read more about and by her on her website.

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