Our team had decided to take on the hot topic of balancing privilege & responsibility months before it hit our favorite storyline (legacy) in our least favorite way (loss).
On November 7, the week following this year’s final women’s camp in Ojai, our beloved Grandy (Tammi’s mom, my grandma, Good Will Ambassador to Campowerment, inspiration to many) became an angel in the heavens just as she walked as one on Earth.
For five months our Grandy fought hard to juggle conditions that came up against her Myasthenia Gravis (a neuromuscular disease that had previously been under control for 20 years). She was certainly One Tough Bitch (and often showed off her favorite OTB bracelet to prove it), but when she had had enough and decided she had fulfilled all her goals in this lifetime, Grandy fled her little vessel. And I can promise you that nearly every single moment of her departure was stunning.
As my sister, Courtney, declared, “cause of death: magnificence.”
Weeks after physically losing our Grandy, we gained a spiritual connection that she so characteristically left behind: in journals and videos and deeply soulful conversations not only in her final days but every day. We have been completely inundated with support and love and some of the most comforting tales we could have ever imagined…accounts new to us but not to Grandy, because she was the one who made them happen.
We received no one-line texts (which in and of themselves would have been caring and thoughtful and well-received), but instead an onslaught of in-depth accounts of how this one woman whom we had the most sincere privilege of calling our Grandy made hundreds of people feel special. How she helped YOU understand you mattered, because you mattered to her. How she let you know that you belonged to something great, because you belonged to her, as a child, grandchild, friend, colleague…or an “adopted” any one of those…
So, the narrative for this month that was to be about how to reconcile a life of such major privilege with the weight of what the hell to do about it…now requires we step it up a notch, not in Grandy’s memory but in her LEGACY, which will continue to live through every person she touched.
Without further ado, I have a (light, chill) question for you:
What do you or will you do in your time on Earth to express your gratitude for the luck of landing in THIS LIFE as YOU?
Every day — and with incessant frequency within each day — we all hear and read and learn about the terrible misfortunes of others; of others’ lack of resources…lack of food to put on the table, lack of a table or a home to house that table, lack of acceptance, lack of protection and/or safety. And yet, every day each one of us on this email list, wakes up as us, with not one but many, many, many elements working in our favor. We long for things, sure (we are human), but our privilege is immense. Our wants are for greater purpose, greater understanding, a deeper sense of belonging, and of course, for wrongs in our past/present/perceived future to become right. But even that category of wanting which we share is a privilege; having the time and space to think of things outside of survival…is perhaps the greatest privilege of all.
So, besides feeling guilt (which doesn’t count as an action, btw*), what are we…what are YOU…doing about paying it forward? Showing the Universe your gratitude in a way that puts a privilege token in the world’s communal pool?
Consider that if it’s “OUR” responsibility to share privilege with others…or even with ONE other in a way that is meaningful to them, then it’s YOUR responsibility. For the purposes of this logic, you are not allowed to wait for anyone else to do it. If you’re lacking financial resources, pay it forward with generosity of time. Spend quality time talking and LISTENING to someone who lacks the privilege of good company; be someone’s antidote to loneliness. If you’re lacking time, pay it forward with generosity of spirit. When you listen, listen deeply and remember…follow up; help someone in your life who is or feels vulnerable feel HEARD instead; write them letters to remind them of their greatness and be specific about how you know they can do whatever it is they aim to.
And on a micro-level, simultaneously or first, give yourself what you need to live fully expressed so you have spirit to share. Do what you need to do to live with (s’more) joy TODAY…and then tomorrow, and then the next day, remembering that, as my favorite adult Sussy taught me, “forever is just one day at a time.”
To recap, in Grandy’s legacy: I (and we) dare you to…
-Live a life JUST FOR TODAY that’s so fully expressed as YOU in joy that, if you died tomorrow, those who know you could share the story of YOU in a way that would make you proud
-Rinse and repeat tomorrow
-Commit to ONE THING you can do, starting now, to GIVE some of your privilege away
-Consider that it’s your responsibility to pay it forward, and yet another privilege to get to choose how
No better week to begin than this one…not just because it’s Thanksgiving (Grandy’s favorite holiday), but more because it’s now. And why wait to up our game in creating the future we’re dreaming about? It’s time.
We’re grateful for the privilege of belonging in your life. We’re committed to giving perspective and reminding you in every way we can that you matter to us and to each other, and that you belong here, unconditionally and as you are.
Oh! And as always, we want to hear from you! Join the conversation by telling us and each other how you’re paying it forward…balancing your privilege with your responsibility, on Facebook (here!).
From the campfire & beyond,
Chelsea on behalf of Tammi and our Campowerment Crew
*S/o to Handel Group for reminding us that feeling guilty doesn’t help