we've come a long way, baby

I got choked up today seeing the pictures and reading the stories of couples in New York who were bursting at the seams with joy about being able to get married. Every once in a while a headline like that will send me into a reverie of appreciation for the dramatic changes I've seen in our culture in my lifetime.

So much of what was considered 'fringe' 20 years ago is now integrating into the mainstream. Back when I gave birth at home, it was seen as freakish and dangerous. I took plenty of heat during my vegan phase - tofu, soymilk, and veggie dogs were barely seen as food in mainstream culture back then. "How you gonna get any protein if you don't eat meat?"

Homeopathy was just too weird for words. Co-sleeping, baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding, and attachment parenting were for hippies.  Homeschooling was thought to produce social misfits. Composting was gross, gardening was too earthy, and recycling was a waste of time.

Vitamins and supplements were only giving us expensive pee. Organic food was for suckers who were willing to pay more for no good reason. Gluten sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, and food allergies were products of overactive imaginations.

Who'd have thunk that in a quarter of a century's time, all of these would become an accepted part of our culture? It kinda blows my mind.

Today I can compost or recycle at the curb. I can buy organic body care products at any Walgreen's or Target. San Francisco is thinking about outlawing circumcision. Gay couples can marry in 6 states. Medical marijuana is legal where I live. A relatively young man of color is President. Celebrities are giving birth in portable pools at home. Parents think twice about how much exposure to television violence their children witness. MD's suggest herbal and other alternative remedies, and send patients to medical intuitives for readings. It's no longer a given that milk does a body good.

Wanna know where I go with all this? Nowhere. Twenty years ago, I was a passionate crusader, trying to educate anyone who didn't run away when I opened my mouth about the benefits of all these fringey things. Ahh, youth. So eager, so earnest, so sure that if people just had the information that I had they would do things differently. 

Now... well... I just sit back and smile. I'm not worried.I don't need to save the world with the slogans on my t-shirts. I just follow my intuition, do the best I can with the information I have, and walk on by. Live and let live. Share information when asked, but mostly trust that folks will live their way into learning what they need to know without my assistance.

I see the young folks getting all passionate about a cause, and I think it's adorable. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. They have not yet noticed that certain types of resistance only serve to strengthen that which they oppose. But that's okay. It all happens right on time.

I no longer feel the compulsion to add my voice to the chorus that sings of all the injustices, evils, and wrongs in the world. I've seen too much goodness here to carry that tune any longer.

I see how each violent or aggressive act of nature or man produces thousands of acts of kindness in its wake. I see the pictures of people tending the wounds of strangers, opening their arms, hearts, and homes to people they never would have under normal circumstances. Life may have some painful ways of getting us to grow and expand, but they work. 

It seems that Life isn't nearly in as much need of my help as I formerly thought. Things are coming along just fine.

Sitting peacefully doing nothing
Spring comes
and the grass grows all by itself

- Zen proverb


Anonymous said...

Right on :)


Sandi said...

LOVE this! Love, love, love it, Karen! It's so true. It's just so stinkin' true. And it is fun to watch, isn't it?

Jeff Patterson said...

Amen, Karen!
It's all right on time.