Dear Fran,

Each night on this journey, as we fall to sleep, we mumble to one another a few things we are grateful for. I’ve taken to writing them down the next morning.

Day 10: Fran making us think harder with “what do I do?”

Thank you for having us over for meditation and frittatas. Thank you for living in a home so insulated a hair dryer will heat it. Thank you for intentionally owning fewer things. Thank you for being the crunchy-granola mother at business school graduation. Thank you for composting and growing strawberries and getting to know your neighbors and bicycling into town and not worrying about being the odd lady without a car.

These things matter. A lot. By living in Belfast Co-housing & Ecovillage you have embraced sharing, and caring, with and for your fellow humans. You have reduced the impact of acquiring your warmth, material goods, shelter and nutrition. You are working on building a sociocratic, supportive community that is resilient in times of need. Life lived with this intention runs counter to the prevailing winds of our culture. Two lawnmowers to thirty-six families is, sadly, a revolution. Chickens are a form of protest. Naked children are banner-drops that scream trust and joy.

Do you sit still now, pick up a book, put on a kettle for tea, and wait to see if these actions will seep out into the wider world? Perhaps they will happen to inspire some other someone to do similarly. “We have not made sacrifice,” you told us. There must be more we can do. The magnitude of the crisis demands it of us. “What do I do?”

I looked down at my eggs. My brain jumped to tell you: organize! Write! Amplify your voice! Speak! Start a campaign! Go to Augusta! Yet, I was silenced. Somewhat by my own unknowing, my own grappling with this very question. Somewhat by my not wanting to force one theory of change on top of another. For who am I to tell you what to do? This question, of whether to live out one’s values, or to amplify their presence in the world, is eternal. The only answer I know right now is that whichever path we follow, we have no choice but to pour our whole selves into its work.

This question you asked holds huge potential. In its asking I think we reveal an energy, a desire, a small possibility of a piece of ourselves still yearning to act. If we have space to imagine doing more, let us step boldly into that space and put our imaginations to work. Gather friends, community-members, children and elders, and inventory your resources. Do you have artistic talent? Decision makers amongst you? A local radio show? A way with words? Spare garden space? Community leadership? Craft-making ability? All of these things, and more, can be put to the service of building the world that we need. We need only take a moment to courageously dream.

To our collective awakening,