As with many other Caring Economy Advocates, my understanding (i.e. “aha” moments) of power-sex-wealth dynamics expanded dramatically through reading Riane’s trilogy of books, The Chalice and the Blade, Sacred Pleasure, and The Real Wealth of Nations. Deep within, a quiet knowing emerged that Cultural Transformation Theory and its practical applications would become my life’s work. Yet, for years, my public voice about these topics felt constrained by my own inner critic – very much on the dominant end of the continuum.
This past week, I had the opportunity to begin finding that voice.
I live on Orcas Island – a small, rural island in Washington State. Though the immense beauty of this ecological niche enables me to cultivate living in partnership with the earth – and to share that deep connection to place with my young son – I often feel isolated from larger cultural change movements. In the aftermath of the 2016 elections, however, I joined over 200 island women (only 5,000 people live on Orcas) in a gathering—to grieve, organize, and support one another. The Orcas Women’s Coalition, as it came to be known, began looking at critical areas of concern through action committees that focused on climate change, women’s rights, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, healthcare, education, LGBTQIA rights, affordable housing, and civic engagement.
When tasked with doing a presentation for this course, I reached out to the PACE (Political Action and Civic Engagement) committee and their immediate response was a resounding, “YES!”. It would be a manageable –and potentially scalable—way to begin developing my public voice.
In my introductory dialogue on “Caring Economy and Political Action”, I presented the foundational concepts of the dominance-partnership continuum, had participants do the self-assessment and share any insights gleaned, talked about its relation to a Caring Economy, shared how I was able to weave caring policies into my work with nature-based education, and then opened it up for a dialogue on potential county and state-level entry points.
As tangible ideas emerged, I was reminded of the beauty of living in a small community--where politics is still an intimate social process.