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Underbelly: 10 Things - Politicos

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#121 in a series of wild and precious ways to commit to live together in the world.

This week I contemplated politicos - the terms we agree to when we commit to living together as a community or body.
Our own families are a tiny politicos, aren’t they?
I had a discussion with my Dad when my first son was about to be born. His intention was kind and he said, (something like) “You know, you are going to lose your temper with your kids. Just know it’s unavoidable; it’s human.”
Now, this from a man who I don’t think I ever saw actually lose his temper. So. But family is complicated.
I considered this and replied, “Yeah, but we all somehow manage to hold it together with our bosses, when it "matters”, don’t we?“
And that was the moment I decided that I would attempt to be courageous and flip the script. Hold it together inside the home and, if I ever did need to "lose it” that would happen outside the home.
Nope - didn’t happen right away. I practiced and was overwhelmed for the first, I think, 9 years? My oldest could likely tell you :) 4 boys 6 years apart was lonely, crazy-making (one of my favorite moments was me, with a friend in the kitchen, calling out to the boys playing some game in the fort (and I am a pacifist) “If you get shot you have to die! No - I saw you. It’s a matter of trust.” ) Up felt like down a lot of the time and if I am honest, it still does.
But —
I believe that it’s not about flipping the script even. I think it’s about living lives where we simply do the next right thing.
2. Quote
“You don’t plan your way into finding your purpose. You live into it.” ― Jacqueline Novogratz, Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World
“With those you aim to serve or lead, your job is to be interested, to help make another person shine, not demonstrate how smart or good or capable you yourself are.” ― Jacqueline Novogratz, Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
3. Prompt
Having said this, I do the next wrong thing more often than not. And in the moment, I am certain I am making a good choice. The scariest times have been when I feel that I have gotten quiet, prayed, and know why I am taking whatever action.
And then things go terribly wrong. And, honestly, and if you have lived at all you must have had times like this “going wrong”? Sometimes right action causes rifts in relationships, causes things to look terribly wrong before they look right again…
So. Here is a tempest in a tea cup from my week that has a good ending:
I had a charged discussion with my dear mom this week. (Seriously, my sister private messaged me saying, “What are you doing? and Why are you doing this? as things were going down in a group chat between my mom, sister, and me).
And she found the courage to call me. And we kept talking. And talking. And listening. Until we started to laugh again. Neither of us backed down. Neither of us changed our mind or the other’s mind. Also, both of us stayed calm, loving, careful, patient, and considerate. I think both of us were willing to be wrong.
And — pre social media, pre messenger, I would have likely convinced myself that she "started it.” :) But now, thanks to the fact that absolutely everything is recorded, I know I did. I know that I was really overwhelmed.
I think one of the keys to “doing the next right thing” is humility.
Knowing that there are days, there are weeks, there are times when you thought you were doing the next right thing and you were wrong. And you won’t die if you admit that and re-calibrate (unless you are in Ozark and no, I don’t think that is a spoiler alert).
So: When was the last time you “knew” you were doing the next right thing and it turned out to be absolutely the next “wrong” thing?
What could you learn from that?
4. Quest
A few years ago I made a decision that I knew was the “right” thing to do. Still, my methods were awkward at best, occasionally harmful at my worst moments. What helped me through was begin anchored in Jesus. It feels incredibly awkward to write that.
A very wise counselor who happens to be a member of the Squamish nation and also happens to be a seer gave me this counsel.
“When you get to this point in your life, you need to be anchored in something. I am anchored in Jesus. You need to choose what you are anchored in.”
This feels really awkward and vulnerable but I know she is right. You have a choice, dear readers. You can stay asleep, in which case, honestly, do you need to be anchored in anything? Doubtful.
But if you commit to doing the next right thing, there will be times when knowing what that is is murky at best. Anchor yourself.
I want to say, “buckle in, we’re going off road” but I think that’s just a bit too dorky :)
5. Level up
I am asking you to do the next right thing for an entire week. It feels exhausting to even write.
Remember that when you do the next right thing and it affects the life (lives) of people who have not done their work, who are not anchored, you may be met with explosive anger, manipulative tactics, misplaced guilt, etc. It can feel very uncomfortable and wrong.
A clue: How do you feel?
Walks in the woods, time on the water, healthy food, good sleep, serving other people…
6. Video — I find this is a good "high level" example. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is now the Director-General of the WTO
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Let's have a deeper discussion on aid
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Let's have a deeper discussion on aid
7. Article
What If I Just Repeat the Same Mistakes Next Time? - The School Of Life
8. Poem
Just Do The Next Right Thing | Emily P. Freeman
9. Hero
I know I am not talented enough as a writer to even attempt this, but it is where my heart is.
The hero I want to bring our attention to is our moms.
I read a slew of incredibly sloshily written stuff yesterday. We rewrite moms with wild abandon so that who they are suits who we need/want them to be.
Moms are imperfect rocks, crumbling, needing to not be rocks.
Moms are oddly invisible, still, and often when they do say their piece they are misheard, re-written, neutered (which I find odd because what sleight of hand can neuter a life-bringer?)
And yes, Dads, and yes, brothers and cousins and sisters uncles and sons and daughters and all humans.
10. Connect
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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