Be An Older Woman Warrior

Who’s the older woman warrior?

She’s the woman who, into her old age, continues to carry the torch for change because she sees this as central to aging meaningfully. She cares deeply about the world her children and grandchildren will inherit. She takes a stand for what she believes in. She’s not afraid to be controversial. She figures she doesn’t have much to lose given her advanced age. She doesn’t want to die in a state of indifference.

Women Warriors, Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis at a recent Black Lives Matter Forum

Not every older woman is a gold star woman warrior with the single-minded focus of Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, or Medea Benjamin, but we can draw inspiration from them. Given the urgent state of our country and the globe, it behooves all older women to do what they can to help shape a better world.

It’s time to release your inner woman warrior. The world needs the collective wisdom of older women warriors. It needs our compassionate outlook in a world dominated by men who have lost their moral compasses.

Medea Benjamin, Woman Warrior extraordinaire, co-founder of Codepink and tireless peace advocate

If you’re new to activism and feel uncertain or shy about protesting, start small. Phone your Congressional representatives, write a letter to the editor, attend local meetings where citizens are working for progressive change, take a course in Islamic studies, and read books and blogs on creating effective change.

Don’t ever think your voice doesn’t matter. It does. We need every single voice because there are more of us than there are of them.

Postcard parties are a great way for the new Woman Warrior to join political actions

If you’ve never joined a protest march, do it now. Joining a rally or marching with others will give you hope. Marches and protests, while not the end-all of change, are incredibly energizing. Once you’ve put your feet on the street, see if you can repeat this action. The large numbers of protests that have been ongoing since Trump took office have increased his Twittering.

If you’re already a bona fide woman warrior, up your game. If you’re white, like most of my readers, get involved in a local forum where whites are trying to unpack their racism; support Millennials who are on the forefront of change, but don’t make the mistake that older folks made during Occupy where they lectured to their youthful cohorts. Listen and learn without offering unsolicited advice.

Older women warriors need their tribe. Meet often with like-minded women where you take time to share a meal and laugh and support one another. Women warriors need to refuel. Seek a balanced life.

Find support in social gatherings with fellow Women Warriors

For inspiration, refer to the writings of notable older women warriors like the eminent Buddhist Joanna Macy. She reminds us that the horrors launched by the one-month-old Trump administration have created an awakening, or what she terms, “The Great Turning.” According to Macy: “In the dark, the eye learns to see.” Think of it as a privilege to be alive during this awakening.

Above all resist feeding into the hateful divisiveness Trump has ushered in with his Islamophobia, sexism and racism.

Whenever possible, try to engage with Trump supporters. Understanding and respect are what’s required to restore good will in our country.

The poet Mary Oliver whose work provides inspiration to Women Warriors

Maybe you keep a file of inspiring quotes. Here’s one I have pinned on my bulletin board. It’s a favorite poem by Mary Oliver:When it’s over, I want to say: all my lifeI was a bride married to amazement.I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.When it is over, I don’t want to wanderIf I have made of my life something particular, and real.I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,or full of argument.I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world.

This post was originally published on on February 21, 2017.

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