Kind promises, Advocacy, advocacy organizations, advocatesKind Promise: I will advocate courageously.

In an urban flower garden near where I live, there is a sign:



How lovely that in the midst of riotous green and against crinkled bark, someone is reminding us to look for plants. How often, in the daily rush, do I forget to look for what surrounds me?

This fall, I am happily returning to following my 12 Kind Promises.

In a fit of Goldilocks persnickety, I found them too…something or other…and tried something different. Now I’m back, shyly confident that the promises will forgive me and embrace me again with their sweetness.

Promise #9 is “I will advocate courageously.” September is the ninth month, so, here I go:

The promise doesn’t stand by itself.

 (Definition of advocate)

The question is: advocate what? It was while considering that question that I discovered that I want to make a lifelong commitment to these promises. I have just taken my own breath away. Immediately, I want to say that I reserve the right to tinker with wording and, perhaps, to add and subtract. Even so, there is a buoyant joy in saying, “yes, this!”

Ahem. The question is: advocate what? Whether I am thinking globally (what does the world need?) or locally (what do I need?), the answers are shaped by my values. I advocate that we care for ourselves, care for each other and care for the earth.

I have made my task easier by connecting with advocacy organizations. They educate me about the most pressing challenges and needs, provide tools with which to take action and add my voice to others to make our message more powerful.

It is a wonderful time to look for courageous advocates. United States’ political leadership is deciding whether or not to take military action in Syria. Energy companies are mining coal sands. Economic disparity in the US is widening. People with chronic illness are choosing to live rich lives despite limitations. I need look no further than my email inbox to find examples of courageous advocacy.

I am also delighted by the notion that looking for courageous advocates invites me to admire folks who disagree with me. I understand the president will “make his case” to the American people on television tonight. I expect that I will watch it tomorrow (I hope to be advocating in favor of the Edison Tommies girls’ high school soccer team tonight). I don’t expect him to change my mind, but I respect the president’s thinking, his ability to express himself, and his willingness to advocate for his cause.