On Change and Context II, “13th”

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution states,

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

This Netflix Documentary, narrates rather nefarious adaptations of this amendment in practice — the reduction / abolition of slavery replaced by increased definition of criminality (that dressed slavery in another form). “Criminality” as support to a bereft economic system in the US South in particular, now that slaves were no longer legal.

Ripple. Ripple. Ripple.

The documentary pulls the story into 21st century, exposing further roots of race injustice. It insists on the heavy work of questioning morality then, and now.

Context matters. Including what is far, far upstream. Waking matters. In any day.

Thx Zoe McGinn for pointing me to this documentary, for which I encouraged her add to her materials, I Am Not Your Negro.

Perseverance — Thanks Meg Wheatley

My friend Meg wrote this book, Perseverance, in 2010. She was offering it as a way to help people stay in their awareness and awakeness. She wrote it to help people not collapse into a more alluring and comforting superficiality.

There are so many layers of persevering that are required in these times. For some of us, it is physical. I’m doing my best with a rather challenging neck injury that has me with very little mobility. It takes a discipline to not cave to fears of all that is or will be lost. For some of us, our perseverance is emotional. It is continuing to offer an open heart, even when there is full reason to protect and hunker down. For some of us, our perseverance is intellectual, testing the edges of the known, and knowing that those tests often start alone. For some of us our perseverance is all of the above — so many of us can’t let go of our causes that seek to both interrupt current pattern and to evolve forward in new ways of being and seeing.

I appreciate these words from Meg. I appreciate here openness about staying in the questions. I suppose because, it’s so easy to get caught in a downward spiral of despair. I also appreciate friends and colleagues who are willing to lean in together to get to more of what we are all trying to persevere within.

Questions and Answers

How is it that some people devote their lives to a cause, to a person, to a place?

And how is it that even in the midst of failures, betrayals, reversals, they can still remain focused and dedicated to their cause?

What enables a person to stay, to not be dissuaded, to not lose focus? How to people not become overwhelmed, or succumb to exhaustion and despair?

How do such people sustain themselves over long periods of time? How do they reserve their health and well-being?

How do they preserve their faith?

I want to be one who perseveres, so these are all real questions for me.

Meg’s book is a good one to pick up and read in little snippets. It’s a collection of short writings meant to provide — I want to say hope, but it’s really providing context for what are persevering means these days.

Enjoy the read.