Standing Up and Showing Soul

img_1487“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Native American poet, author, spoken word artist, elder.


Today I attempt to stand up and to show my soul – in part, ever emerging and evolving with hope.

Here I sit,
Lie awake – tossing amongst
twisted sheets,
Drugged by staccato
………image –
some people jubilant,
many horrified,
……others rising up, facing
existential fear –
for their lives,

Here I think,
Peer deeply into my soul –
so raw, so utterly vulnerable,
Inundated by sinister recollections of
that target people
in our families,
……o our circle of friends,
………our homes and world communities –
at the core.

The calls for moderation,
good will,
peaceful continuance
in forgiveness,
fail to pause, overlooking
the fundamental prior question:

What is it like to be YOU?

What’s it like to have
a skin-tone that immediately
places you into an even more
menacing place than you’ve
already been relegated to?

What’s it like to wear
clothing, easily
identifying you as belonging
to a member of a minority
faith community?

What’s it like to have a
heritage, first exploited, now
facing massive backlash,
children fearing
upheaval, uprooting, unthinkable loss?

What’s it like to be a woman
where you not only have to
fight harder, work longer, outperform,
but you now need to be EVEN more vigilant –
poised to defend yourself at every turn?

What’s it like to be differently abled
in a world where we have seen
we do not hold accountable those
who mock and disregard people
who are different from us?

What’s it like to be the original
dwellers on this soil, hearing
the recent conquering peoples’ choice
threaten others’ welcome to this land
based on belief and country of origin?

What is it like?

Unless we have been there,
experienced that,
humbled ourselves to listen,
to come alongside,
witnessed in silence,
sat down with
rather than risen up above,
We must peer deeper still into our soul.

To show my soul is to confess
I will continue to peer –
to discern where I
harbor self-serving derailers,
perpetuate acquiescence,
become an enabler of oppression.

To show my soul requires
a stronger commitment
to solidarity with
those who walk another path,
……to stand my ground with
……those whose inalienable rights are
……being stripped away,
………to learn by listening,
…………walking side-by-side
…………for as long as it takes until
…………we all stand together as one.

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2016
Photo credit: Alex Wigan via


8 thoughts on “Standing Up and Showing Soul

      1. Thanks so much! I had lost track of you and so happy to find you today. I loved so many of your recent posts – deeply beautiful and moving. I am wishing you abundant blessings through the holidays! – Douglas

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks so much, Douglas. I’ve been more “quiet” recently, finding writing difficult due to medical issues with both hands. It’s still a real journey. I appreciate your very kind words and also wish you everything wonderful during this season of love and peace.

        Liked by 1 person

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