When you start with champagne you set the intention for good things to come, even from life's most difficult moments. When you continue with grace and gratitude, and stay true to your own values and conscience -- though you may get to learn patience one more time -- good things will come. And you learn along the way that even the people with whom you disagree are in your life for a reason.
I haven't written here since June because it was then I became acutely aware of what free speech really is. I negotiated my way through the summer and what I legally could or could not say about the circumstances of my termination from the ACLU, a non-profit corporation. I was also aware potential employers were reading this otherwise low-traffic blog, my rare musings longer than 140 characters, or my often too frequent postings on Facebook. I decided that while engaged in a legal process, it was best to let my lawyer speak; and while engaged in an interview process, I should practice what I preach, and stay on message, not distract from my talents by writing absolutely everything I was experiencing. It was frustrating to have so much to say and to have no outlet other than my many faithful friends who patiently listened after I stopped writing. It was frustrating to have my speech so clearly linked to my ability to earn, especially since one of the ways I earn is to write.
The legal process ended, much to my delight, and freelance work arrived that sustained me while I patiently followed the little hints along the way leading me to the next phase of my career. There were two conversations I'd engaged about prospects in the fall, so not only did I stop writing, I stopped interviewing, trusting that one of these two would be where I landed. Thankfully, there was an election to hold my attention and just enough of freelance work on issues I care deeply about to keep my brain from getting in my heart's way. I knew spiritually that, as cliche as it is, things happen for a reason. I knew in my core I was going to be fine. I didn't need to frantically chase every lead, or interview for jobs I really didn't want. But having only worked for one of the last three years, after spending two years on a self-funded writing sabbatical, this was a true test of faith for me as my personal safety net was frayed.
I believe there is an animating spirit to life and that all our interactions influence that spirit as much or more than it influences us. I believe this is what the best part of religion teaches, each in its own way. I believe science is proving the existence of what we have heretofore called spirit; our ability as humans to tap into our intuition and other guiding forces and use our hearts and minds to create better circumstances for ourselves, our families, our communities, our world. I believe our egos lead us astray and the challenges we face in life are opportunities to find our way back to center, to be more grounded, to be more in tune with something greater than our material existence.
Most importantly, I believe these are individual journeys. Each of us is connected to the people and places that we need to interact with in order to grow deeper in our understanding of our own individual life and conscience. I can no more tell you what you should do with your life than you can tell me what to do with mine. We can only speak from our own truth, our own experience, and together find some common ground.
It is this belief in the individual journey that has been at the heart of the American experiment ever since "We the People" set forth to perfect this union. It has always been imperfect and the work of making it better has always been ours. The worst part of religion, or any institution, is that which attempts to impose itself onto the individual and the individual's self-expression. Our ability to speak freely, my penny-less voice just as important as a billionaire's, or a corporation of any construct, is the very essence of our democracy and our ability to relate to one another even through our disagreements.
And so it is I get to end this part of my journey where it started, with champagne, as I toast a new beginning with new friends and colleagues at Re-Think Media and a project of the Piper Fund to challenge the mistaken notion that we the people cannot regulate our political process; that people with money have the right to more speech than people without; that corporations are more than legal constructs that have rights over individuals and prevent transparency, be their mission profit, or not.
Democracy is about all people. Not acreage or property, not profit, gender, race, or creed. That I get to spend the next phase of my career so intimately engaged in this fundamental democratic value strengthens my faith.