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Editor of the Reformer,

A letter to the people of Brattleboro and surrounding towns:

How can we find a responsible and satisfying way to live through this time of feeling powerless, watching truth, democracy, and our planet getting trashed?

I have been trying to answer this question for a long time. I watch myself and others going on with our regular lives, while carrying the grim awareness that our country is moving in the direction of fascism and we don't know what to do about it. It isn't just the politics that are hard. All sorts of things are falling apart. The future looks grim. It is almost impossible to hold on to a positive vision of a future where every person matters, resources are shared more fairly and the planet is healthy.

Recently an idea came to me. I think it has potential to be a subtle antidote to hopelessness. At first it might sound silly. Stay with me, keep reading through to the end. The overall intention (please forgive my grandiose thinking here) is nothing less than lightly nudging the human race in a more healthy and beautiful direction. We can do this by nurturing our state of being as individuals, a community and world citizens.

The idea is based on these three beliefs:

(1) Every time you do something good for others or yourself, you strengthen your spirit.

(2) The future of the human race doesn't look pretty. We are living on an ailing planet with an increasing population. Super-wealthy individuals manipulate democratic systems towards oligarchy with ruthless greed while the poor get poorer. It's not going to be pretty until we human beings belly up to the challenge of honestly facing reality, recognizing the difficult learning and changes that are needed to turn things around.

(3) What goes on in the world affects our personal inner world, the quality and quantity of our energy. We feel better when we are in a healthy, caring, upbeat, safe, environment and even better when we are giving as well as receiving.

Here is the idea:

In the interest of supporting good morale in the community, everyone is invited to think of one positive action and then do it. It can be a big thing or a small thing. Think of some way you can support someone, something, everyone, anyone, family, friends, neighbors, something that is broken and needs to be repaired to make it functional and beautiful, teachers, a struggling enterprise, an animal that needs a home, a school, isolated people, the soil, an institution, hunger, a trail littered with beer cans, anything, that could be made better by caring attention.

When your action is underway or completed, please write it up. Send the write-up to the Reformer labeled "attention: RISE UP." You are encouraged to sign your writing. You can do whatever you want with the writing part. A simple summary would be fine or you can turn it into an essay about living in Brattleboro during the time of COVID and Donald Trump, or a fictional comedy or whatever response comes into your mind. This should make for interesting, cheerful and possibly thought provoking reading. If the writing part is onerous for you, know that one short sentence would be fine. It would be sad to lose anyone's contribution to this local happening.

One more thing: Please consider rewriting this piece to make it your own and appropriate to send to friends near and far away. Perhaps they will like the idea and do it in their own city, town, community or country.

Take care, be well,

Judy Zemel

Brattleboro, Oct. 22


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