The World Needs Your Outrage.
These are unquestionably dark times in which we are living.
The advances for women, minorities, and the environment — hard-won over the last century — have been seemingly erased with the pen stroke of the current dominant hyper-masculine regime. Our world is out of balance, and this week we have witnessed one of the most heart-rending moments of our current era.
The congregation of white nationalists in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and subsequent terrorizing of her family, is indeed a wake-up call. If this does not spark our outrage, what will?
As a spiritual leader and guide of women in my Red Tent community in Louisville, Kentucky, I work closely with the shadow aspect of our collective women’s experience: rage.
As we women experience and witness the current death of our right to equality and well-being — and the death of the right to equality and well-being of all things feminine, including the Earth — combined with literal death of our sisters and daughters and mothers worldwide, our collective rage is building.
Outrage in the face of injustice is one of the most powerful forces in the world — and it is needed now more than ever. But because we have been conditioned by our patriarchal culture to disconnect from and disown our rage, many women have difficulty feeling the full potency of their fury — and then channeling that energy into much-needed action.
Instead we feel overwhelmed with despair, and internalize the belief that nothing can change. The grief that we feel at the current state of affairs is a natural response to the appalling injustices we continue to witness, but when we follow the script of the cultural narrative by blocking our rage, we withhold the vital energy that is necessary to create change.
Despite everything we’ve been conditioned to believe, our feelings of anger and rage are valuable.
It wasn’t until I was being interviewed several years ago that I made the connection between my own personal fury and my deep and unwavering call to activism. I shared in the interview that it was through my experience of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding my daughter that I came face to face with the immense cultural agenda to disconnect me from my female power and agency.
I was awakened to the reality of being a woman in a patriarchal culture, and it made me furious.
My journey of activism evolved from there, fueled and guided by my intense anger at the many ways that girls and women are disconnected from their bodies, their wisdom, their power; the countless ways we are shamed and systematically constrained because of our femaleness.
As I heard myself telling my own story, I saw with clarity — for the first time — that the stepping stones of my own personal journey of advocacy were connected by a singular thread: my outrage.
The irony, of course, is that as a woman — and a women’s spiritual leader at that — my rage is considered unseemly, unrefined, and unwelcome. Many in the spirituality community hold the position that there is no place for fury in our cultural evolution, and that positive change will come only from holding and exuding love and light. But I beg to differ.
And in fact, I make it a point to intentionally connect women with their buried and blocked rage as a way to own their sovereignty and their power to activate change. When we women are told that we can only do good by feeling good, we deny the transformational power of our rage, which stems from our deepest core of love: our desire for justice, our reverence for life, and our passion to protect the oppressed.
When we give ourselves permission to feel and name our fury at the injustices of the world, we are then empowered to channel our rage into outrage.
Dylan Thomas urged us to “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” and although he was writing about physical death, his words have rung like a bell in my psyche since last November when it became clear that things would likely get worse before they would get better.
Our righteous outrage is needed in our world now more than ever — on a global level, and on an individual level — to spur the action and advocacy that is necessary to bring our planet and our psyches back into balance.
But in order to do so, we must heed the words of Dylan Thomas; we must refuse to go gently into the dark. We must resist the urge to keep the rage in, to tamp it down or transmute it to despair as we have been taught to do. Love and light are unquestionably needed, now and always, but holding our rage within keeps us small and impotent; it does not serve the well-being of the world.
Only by shifting our rage outward — to outrage — can we harness our innate power of transformation that the world so desperately needs.
And transformation is on the horizon, to be sure. As we claim our anger at the oppression and injustices of the world and channel our outrage into action, we contribute to the evolution of our society. Women the world over, like individual drops in the ocean, are coalescing to form a great wave of change, and the tide is now turning — away from the oppression and injustice this planet has known for over 2000 years.
The birth of a new era is imminent. But unlike the hierarchical rule of our toxic administration, this shift is coming not from the top down, but from the bottom up. Like seeds buried generations ago, we rise organically, sensing the time is now to acknowledge ourselves as the awesome force of nature we were born to be.
Using the fire of our outrage to shine light into the shadows of our culture, we can have faith that the darkness we perceive in this current time is, in the words of Valarie Kaur, “not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb.”
Ready to take action but not sure where to start? Personal action need not be monumental to be meaningful. Asking yourself what most sparks your outrage will illuminate the areas where your energy and advocacy is most needed.
Each positive action adds to the greater shift that we all wish to manifest, from highly visible acts such as organizing a protest, to the nearly invisible practice of intentionally raising our children to be compassionate humans. Depending on the specifics of your resources, you may make the most valuable contribution by sharing your time, money, leadership skills, your voice, or your public platform.
Resources such as Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide, provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, 12 Steps to Achieve Gender Equality in Our Lifetimes by The Guardian, and Want to Volunteer in Your Community? 5 Tips for Finding the Right Opportunity are great places to begin brainstorming about how to channel your energy into positive change.
Amy Bammel Wilding is the creator of Red Tent :: Louisville, a sacred interfaith women’s community in Louisville, Kentucky. Amy has been leading sacred women’s circles, mother-daughter circles and retreats, and rite-of-passage ceremonies since 2006, just after her initiation to motherhood. Amy is a perpetual student of womanhood and spirituality, continually inspired by the place where the two realms overlap. Passionate about empowering girls and women, Amy is devoted to witnessing and inspiring the reawakening of the Sacred Feminine from the individual to the global level. Amy’s book, ‘Wild & Wise: Sacred Feminine Meditations for Women’s Circles & Personal Awakening‘, is now available for pre-order.