A Survival Kit for Trying Times

by Robin Boland

Whether you’re reaching for a protest sign, a handkerchief or a strong drink in these final days of life as we know it you are not alone.

We are all struggling to find our way through this uncharted territory and now, more than ever, we seek out the strength found within our communities. It is of vital importance that we also look within ourselves to develop coping strategies exemplifying our strengths while recognizing the validity of our fears.

I began this piece as a snarky survival guide (snark may well be my secret weapon) but was asked to go deeper, to discard the protective shell of sarcasm I so easily don and instead identify authentic ways we can help each other cope with (I hesitate to use the word ‘survive’) the anticipated losses of healthcare, human rights, environmental protection, education, a stable economy and basic decency, to name a few.

I realize what is behind us is far from perfect but it has been, in my lifetime, a slow but steady forward movement. Now, as we approach the slippery slope ahead with apprehension and anger, we must reach out to grasp the small handholds along the way.

Get Involved/March/Knit/Protest:

There is a “Resist Trump: Occupy Inauguration-Seattle” protest planned for Friday, January 20th (D Day) at Westlake Park from 5-8 pm. Seattle students are anticipated to walk out of class during the school day on Friday, march to Judkins Park and then join the downtown rally later in the day, per the event’s Facebook page. The organizers, Resist Trump Coalition, Immigrant Rights Organization, El Comité, and Councilmember Kshama Sawant, have identified the event as a “bold, unified peaceful protests of the 99% against Trump’s racist, bigoted, and anti-worker agenda”.

There is a Women’s March in Seattle (and elsewhere around the state, country & globe) on January 21st. The most current info about the Seattle march can be found here: https://womxnsmarchseattle.wordpress.com/logistics/ All allies are encouraged to participate regardless of gender identification. One of the ways you can participate is by knitting (or sewing or crocheting) a pink pussyhat ala the www.pussyhatproject.com . The pussyhat project is intended as a “unique collective visual statement” as well as a way that those who cannot attend the march are able to contribute to the effort.

Attempt a Reading Challenge or Submerge Yourself in Poetry. There are a number of reading challenges available including this one (http://bookriot.com/2016/12/15/book-riots-2017-read-harder-challenge/ ) or this one (http://www.hannahbraime.com/2017-reading-challenge/ ) that encourages you to read a variety of new-to-you books, keeping you immersed in books for most of the year. I have often found poetry to be a soothing balm in troubling times and suggest finding some poetry that speaks to you. There are the comfortable classics (Frost, Dickinson, etc.) as well as plenty of activist/feminist poets (Lorde, Angelou, Atwood & Walker to name a few) that may fire you up.

 Kick Ass/Work Out. Maybe you need to release some angst or learn some new self-defense moves for our uncertain future (you know we grab back). There are Kung Fu and Karate classes for women (http://sevenstarwomenskungfu.org/ ) (http://www.feministkarateunion.org/ ), our neighborhood Southside Booty Camp (http://www.southsidebootycamp.com/ ) as well as weekly self-defense and kick boxing classes for everyone at Jun Hong’s Kung Fu Club (http://junhongkungfu.com/ ).

Meditate/Do Yoga. Perhaps instead of kicking so much ass you need to calm down and take a deep breath. There is a plethora of yoga classes in the neighborhood (http://www.tigerlilyyoga.com/ , http://www.lotusyoga.biz/ , http://www.kanjinyoga.com/ , http://rainierbeachyoga.com/schedule/ to name a few) but you can also find plenty of free yoga DVDs at the public library or stream them online without leaving your home. Walking at Seward Park is another great (free) neighborhood meditation option.

Sarah Connor Smoothie. Last but not least some sustenance to keep you going through your reading and knitting and ass kicking and meditating. Lately I have been channeling Sarah Connor a la Terminator 2 (“One thing we know for sure. The future is not set.”) so I’ve created a “Sarah Connor Smoothie” to assist. Combine 1 ½ cups almond or coconut milk, 1 cup chopped kale leaves (yes, f*ing kale IS the reset button), ½ cup plain yogurt, 1 cup frozen berries, 1 packet of berry flavored EmergenC (everyone you know is ill right now) and one scoop of plain/vanilla protein powder in your blender. Puree, ingest, kick ass.

These are just a few suggestions to strengthen your spirit as we enter in to this uncertain future. Please hold your head up, hold your neighbor’s hand and move forward, never back.

Robin Boland is a Hillman City resident 

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