Author: Jessika Hepburn

A New Year’s Revolution

New Year's Revolution, illustration of hands breaking free from shackles

Dear loves & fellow makers,

Why don’t we abandon resolutions on the garbage heap of good intentions and commit ourselves to revolutions instead? In the face of fear, intolerance, uncertainty, and rising rage I raise an overflowing glass to call in revolution, a toast to goodness, a cheers to the possibility of change. If “magic is the art of changing consciousness at will”1 then I am a believer, not in magic that requires capes or wands, but in the kind we make together in the humblest of ways. The magic that can do the nearly impossible trick of changing minds, softening hearts, connecting lives. 

Imagine if we harnessed all the energy spent on personal development and self-improvement at the start of each year, invested it into reimagining the world. The time for resolutions has past, it is revolution time now. And so with reverence and trust in redemption – this is my New Year’s Revolution:

My revolution is not bloody, does not call for flag waving, coups, or pageantry. This revolution is a refuge built from the warmth of hearth and home, comfort, welcome, and wonder – a revolution of care, healing, nurturance. The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house2, we need councils of ladles and knitting needles to stir, stitch, weave a new world into being. They can keep their war rooms, my revolution is warm rooms, senseless kindness. A revolution of the mothering kind, mending the world with gentle ferocity, a great tenderness for all our bruised and broken places.

I’m calling in a revolution of potlucks, shared harvests to fill and feed our deepest hungers and insecurities, meals that remind us of our humanity with bread and roses. This revolution is rooted in history, planted in the stories of our ancestors, drawing power from the long river of time. Bigger than borders, connecting across cultures, classes, genders, beliefs, abilities, generations – a dream of a common language3. My revolution has no need for experts, gurus, special training, or elite abilities – anyone can be of service contributing small acts that seem insignificant alone but aggregate become an unstoppable force. An army of respecting elders, holding small people, feeding each other, reaching out, showing up, defeating hatred and segregation with steady applications of presence. Loneliness has become an epidemic and community is the cure, to feel in our hearts core, the reality of others4, then behave accordingly.

Every person is a world with their own personal geography, politics, and possibilities – my respectful revolution will draw a bigger circle5, big enough to hold, cradle, unite us with all our mismatched rhetoric and ideologies. One so large and expansive that those who stay outside shiver in the coldness of a life lived without the warmth of community and knock on the door, asking to please come inside. My revolution will always welcome you in and offer a seat at the table. 

This revolution is not worth fighting for, but is worth crafting, steadily, with patience and careful attention – a homemade, handmade revolution of belonging. To this I devote my work, my days. To this I dedicate my life.

What will be your New Year’s Revolution?

1 Dion Fortune, “Magic is the art of causing changes to occur in consciousness, in conformity with will”.

2Audre Lorde, ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’, from Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

3Adrienne Rich, ‘The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-77’

4 Margaret Laurence, ‘My Final Hour’

5Dr. Pauli Murray, An American Credo, “When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I shall draw a larger circle to include them.”

New Year's Revolution, illustration of resist fists holding up 2018 banner

Democracy is a Strong Seed

I'm with you, Fannie Lou Hamer

Democracy will not come

Today, this year

Nor ever

Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right

As the other fellow has

To stand

On my two feet

And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,

Let things take their course.

Tomorrow is another day.

I do not need my freedom

when I’m dead.

I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.


Is a strong seed


In a great need.

I live here, too.

I want freedom

Just as you.

Langston Hughes, Democracy, from Selected Poems

If citizenship and democracy exist first as an act of imagination then we have the power to imagine ourselves anywhere. It is up to us to chart the way forward but what will we choose? The dark visions of distrust, fear, and militarism or the expansive dream of shared responsibility, unity, and freedom? Hope in human goodness is a compass we can use to navigate home to each other and away from despair.

Some days it all feels like too much, the news pours out a steady stream of tragedy and we just want to hide away from it all. That is when we need the poets to remind us of how our lives are seeds; freedom is the garden; democracy is the trellis we climb together to reach the light; the harvest is each other. Vote with your feet, with your hands, with confidence, become a citizen invested with the power of history. Imagine a future where oppression, intolerance, and despair are non-existent words.

We want leaders in our community. And what people will say, say, “Well, if we can get rid of Fannie Lou,” said, “we can get rid of the trouble.” But what they don’t know, freedom is like an eating cancer, if you kill me, it will break out all over the place. We want ours and we want ours now…we are determined that one day we’ll have the power of the ballot. And the sooner you go to the courthouse, the sooner we’ll have it…I don’t want to hear you say, “Honey, I’m behind you.” Well, move, I don’t want you back there. Because you could be 200 miles behind. I want you to say, “I’m with you.” And we’ll go up this freedom road together.

Fannie Lou Hamer, “We’re On Our Way”, delivered in Mississippi, 1964

Voting for leaders and holding them accountable is just one tiny part of being a citizen. Democracy will not come until we are able to say “I’m with you” and walk with each other side by side, then we can all go up this freedom road together.

Further Reading: 

Langston Hughes, Democracy, Selected Poems

“We’re On Our Way” delivered by Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi, 1964 

Outside of the Box

Do Not Stop In Box, Keep Moving

In today’s multicultural world, the truly reliable path to coexistence, to peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation, must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political opinion, convictions, antipathies, or sympathies – it must be rooted in self-transcendence:

Transcendence as a hand reached out to those close to us, to foreigners, to the human community, to all living creatures, to nature, to the universe.

Transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world.

Vaclav Havel, The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World

Boxes are comfortable and dangerous, we can curl up inside them and shut out the world with all its ambiguous questions. Decorate the walls, arrange some knick-knacks, and you could almost forget your sweet little box is a prison. We could spend our lives tucked away in the illusion of safely but if we want a life of peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation we have to risk being part of the world.

Ed’s Egg is a kids book by David Bedford that pretty much sums it up – Ed is in his egg and quite happy about his snug little spot, then he starts to hatch and finds the cold, shivery, bigness of the world way too scary. He loves his egg, why would he leave it? He quickly puts his egg back together around him so that he can see the world but the world can’t see him. Things are going fine until the shell falls apart and leaves Ed exposed, after a shaky start he gets to playing and decides that overall, the world is better than his egg.

Inside our little boxes of fear, worry, and resentment there is so little room for growth, expansion, cooperation, or change while outside the world of possibility is calling out to us to look up – even if just for a second – and see the great bigness beyond us vs. them, where there is only us and room enough for everyone.

Yes, it is immense and uncomfortable out here where anything is possible. Bad things happen to all of us and it sucks but hiding won’t help. Pull whatever courage, wonder, and belief in goodness you can muster around you and dive in! All of creation is waiting for you.

Are you stuck in a box that keeps you from the glorious bigness of the outside?

Further Reading:

Vaclav Havel, The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World
Ed’s Egg by David Bedford