A Few Important Truths

Many people have spoken such things about how the world isn’t what it seems. Or, that there are a few more choices. Or, that a few key defaults have become harmfully habitualized and concretized.

I have most often felt my heart awaken and my spirit enliven, to hear affirmed that there might just be other ways beyond the norms of reductive thought. I love the creativity. I love the interruption of once, albeit good ideas, that have become dehydrated and void of nutrients through their unexamined repetition. Or worse, toxic.

Whether it is talking about choices for how the chairs are arranged in a meeting, or whether it is about world views emboldened by uninterrupted systemic powers and manipulation.

The world is a beautiful place. I will stand by this. It’s not hard to find beauty in the people. In nature. In simple things.

It’s also not hard to find perpetuated harm. In systems. In defaults. In amplified fear behavior.

Today I’m grateful for these words from Linda Hogan, Chickasaw Author and Activist (thanks Lisa Hess for sharing), that speak to this interruption of epistemological pattern and practice.

The constructed world
of our own human intelligence
in a Western system

has not been a fit large enough
or deep enough;
it has betrayed us.

So have the Western systems
of education and medicine and agriculture. 

It seems that all we can say for certain
is that we have been deceived
by what we thought was knowledge
and by the many systems
that have been born of this inadequate knowledge. 

~ Linda Hogan, “First People,” Intimate Nature

Here’s to any of the ways that any of us, individually and communally, find our way to expanded learning and ways of being beyond that born of inadequate knowledge and limited ways of seeing, feeling, and encountering the world.

Beginning Invitation

Today begins a 4-week series that I will be cohosting with Quanita Roberson. The series is on race, equity, power, privilege, diversity, inclusion. Yes, it is a lot. It will be with a group of 20 people. The invitation to offer this series came from a good desire — from an organization that wants to be good citizens. Attentive citizens. Kind people. Awake people. I’m excited about this series. I’m also a bit nervous.

As is often the case for me, particularly for beginnings, I find myself thinking and feeling my way through what might be some of the most clear and simple words to share. That set context. That welcome people. That settles the feeling of people there. That softens all of us. That gets me in the room (on the screen) and that helps others get in the room (on the screen). Beginnings matter. Tone matters.

As is often the case for me, I can find multiple key points, but find myself needing to winnow them down to two or three. Well, here’s some of what might show today. I am learning to trust the words that come through in the moment, my hope being that whatever I speak contributes to a commitment to be belly true together.

  • It matters that we be in good, inspired learning spaces together. That means being curious together. It means contributing our stories and experiences. It means that we be willing to be surprised. It means that we be will to sit in an unsettledness together. But let’s be clear. This is about deliberate learning in a community of people that want to do good.
  • It matters that to be in good, inspired learning together, that we create even more relationship together. All of what we do is relational. All of the learning that we do is relational, and can be amplified because we are deliberately in learning as a group. Relational means with self, with others, among others, with circumstance. It means we need our brains, our hearts, our bellies. We need clear thinking. We also need intuition. Without relation, information is too often a hollow and disappointing shell.
  • It matters that to be relational, we start with assumptions of kindness. With grace. With patience. With pace. Kindness, conscousness, and flow with life itself. So that we might each and all be good noticers together and contributing to the journey of the whole of us. It matters that we find paths together. Even tiny experiments that grow and improve what we are all discovering together.

Yup. Here we go today. In complex journey, yet I hope framed to simple essence. We don’t have to know it all together. We just have to have spaces to find more of our way, and I believe, to celebrate the efforts we are making, and to further enculturate ourselves to lives of learning and practice for good. That starts with a good, simple beginning.

I Have Three Needs

I’m grateful to my friends Casey and Kelly for invoking one of the poems I published in A Cadence of Despair. The context was the start of a listening circle, to hear stories of dear people in thoughtful noticing of their lives.

The poem speaks to needs. The poem speaks to a kind of clarity and claiming that took some time and some struggle before it arrived. The poem speaks to hungers that many of us have, and that perhaps at times, need deliberate exploring.

I Have Three Needs
Tenneson Woolf

I have three needs.

Vibrant.
Alive.
Awake.

Wanting to feel vibrant.
Wanting to feel alive.
Wanting to feel awake.

Not, dimmed.
Not, protecting and conserving.
Not, sleepy in soul.

I’m also grateful for my friend Tom, who has been sharing his observation that some people are down to one or two remaining nerves, and that for some, these are exposed nerves. Tender. Vulnerable. In a way that tips people over the edge with small occurrences that they would otherwise handle well.

There is something cumulative among us.

That behooves us, I believe, to contribute with some added gentleness, to vibrant, alive, and awake together.

Grief + Insight

I learned this morning of an acquaintance, a colleague, that died over the weekend of CoVid complications.

It is a surprise. It is a punch in the gut. It is grief.

I know that many of us know this grief personally. And if not personally, know it collectively.

The US is making headway with CoVid. With vaccine development and distribution. With reduced CoVid hospital occupancy and reduced CoVid related deaths, despite the cumulative total of deaths now passing 500,000.

The insight that I’d started to write for a different circumstance is now elevated here with this loss.

It is relationship that carries us through everything. Relationship with ourselves, facing what is real in our respective and shared journey. Relationship among us, any of us, whether tasked with jobs or familied together. Relationship with the whole of it, the complexity of circumstance and times in which we live.

How we open ourselves and how we offer ourselves matters. Centrally.

I’ve been thinking of this time, February & March as lapping time. The calendar year has passed through 12 months to now lap first CoVid memories. A first canceled trip. A first closing of a facility. A lap of being laid off from the job. A closing of the border. And of loss of dear ones. Lapping brings poignancy.

Yes, relationship matters, including relationship with grief.

And here we are.

My wish for any of us, self included, is enough growing relationship, to find kind ways through all of this. And today, for the family that surrounds loss of this friend.