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over and over again
it becomes known
the peace we seek
is seeking us
the joy a full bud
awaiting our attention
justice in our hands
longing to be practiced
the whole world
this thrilling mote in the universe
you are the one
you are waiting for
bind together us into
a greater self
a complex movement
a generative abundance
an embodied evolution
learn to be here
critique is a seductress
her door is always open
so what if you get some
we are going further
past reform, to wonder
this requires comprehension
that cannot fit in words
out beyond our children
beyond the end of time
there is a ceaseless cycle
a fractal of sublime
and we come to create it
to soil our hands and faces
loving loving and loving
ourselves, and all our places
– 10/25/12, detroit
today i am grateful for the passage of time.
i have thought i understood things in my life, and almost everything i have thought has changed, and will change again. i am grateful for having a mind that is willing to change it’s understanding, that is as of today unsettled.
i am grateful for time because it allows me to see my mistakes, to atone, to change. it allows humans to do this – sometimes in one lifetime, sometimes after generations.
my life sometimes feels like an accumulation of mistakes. not regrets, just things that went awry, when i acted from misunderstanding or fear, tricks of timing and fate. those mistakes i am able to understand have become lessons, which i am learning not to repeat. the rest, so far, have become patterns.
i am part of a human arc towards justice, but a human condition, a tendency towards mistakes. i am of a species that has a hard time choosing the right thing, the thing that is selfless, community-oriented, and does not cause harm, the thing rooted in abundance.
and we have a hard time apologizing.
time is the gift that allows us enough space from our actions to truly contemplate them. to not just say the words of atonement, but to feel the pain of what happened and truly desire a different path.
520 years ago, europeans landed on the shore of the u.s. believing they had reached india. we laud the leader of that lost expedition to this day. i am grateful that in my lifetime i have learned the costs of this mistake, that i can be part of forgetting his name. i see the finding of this land as a collective mistake, i remember who was here when they came.
in this moment, i am part of seeing that history as a violent mistake, a pattern we don’t want to continue, something to apologize for and transform.
391 years ago, european settlers celebrated their first thanksgiving here. they were 129 years into the mistake. it was too late to turn back, and where could they go? – they were the unwanted, because of their religious practices and, for most of them, their poverty class status. they had been violently carving a home into this land. they were calling the people who had been here, who were defending their land and right to be here, savages.
i am grateful to have learned about genocide, displacement, colonization and imperialism, so i can look back over time and see that this country was founded with injustice. only by seeing that can we begin to see other ways forward, ways that generate healing, respect.
i am grateful to have learned about the people who were here, who still are, holding the wisdom of how to be in relationship to this land and still, after all this time, willing to share it, fighting to share it, to protect home.
i am grateful to learn that each human has a lineage, an indigenous story, and that we have the technology to learn it, to be in relationship with where we are from, what we did to get where we are now.
we are in this moment, as a nation, when we have not found a way to truly acknowledge the mistakes of our creation. we still teach the lies to schoolchildren – it’s too tender, yet. it throws our heroic greatest-nation-in-the-world mythology into question. it is one of the underlying reasons i think we stand with israel in their current occupying massacre. if they are wrong, then we were wrong. and we can’t see a way out.
when i think of this, i feel grateful that time moves in eras and epochs, mostly beyond our comprehension. this period that we are living in is not so long on that larger timeline. i am grateful that i can imagine a future where humans look upon this period of time as an age of ignorance. from colonization to capitalism to climate, we are racing so desperately into our own destruction as a species. i know, because time exists, that this period will pass.
and we will be there, or we won’t.
i am grateful to know that humans once believed the sun revolved around us, and now we don’t. i think the relatively recent belief that history revolves around white people is ending, slowly but surely, through science and love and education.
i am grateful for my multicultural, multi-class family, which provides me with ongoing opportunities to learn, to open my heart, to feel the whole story that led to my existence, the horror in it, and the beauty.
i am grateful for the ways i have seen, in my lifetime, love overcome imperialism, manifest destiny, racism, and borders.
i am starting to see that love is the only way to heal belief wounds (what i am currently calling the internal trauma that results from beliefs which are so egregious to humanity and our home planet that it actually damages us to believe – beliefs like ‘we must compete for resources to survive’, ‘white is more beautiful than any other race’, ‘there are only two genders’, ‘violence can result in peace.’)
i am grateful that in my life i have had enough time to change some of my fundamental beliefs, and begin to heal the belief wounds.
i am also grateful that i have begun to truly understand my mortality. while time keeps on moving, for myself, and those i love, there is no future that is guaranteed. i must be just now, i must do the best i can with my understanding now, i must embody love in all of my actions now.
as james baldwin said, ‘there is never a time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. the challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.’
so right now, i am radically grateful for this complex day, for the little i do know and the lot i don’t know, for my family, friends, comrades, lovers, healers, practice buddies, babies and the abundance of love in my life, which drops my jaw every day.
recently i have been experiencing the unique joy of home, when my home is in order, has the right amount of things in it and no more, has capacity for holding friends, family, laughter. when the lighting is just right and the sun filters in just so and i have to pause and revel in the clean spare beautiful lines of my home. home for me means the place where i feel safe, surrounded by beauty, the place in which i receive the world.
i think it’s no mistake that one of the oldest sounds we know of, om, is in the word home – i feel it when i am in it.
my sister and her husband recently bought a home around the corner from his parents in rural minnesota. it is beautiful, it is possible because of loans and incentives and friendship with the previous owners. it is the place my nephew and niece and the baby coming in january will grow up. home here means the house itself and the five acres of land around it, the path through the woods to their grandparents’ house.
with the state of the world right now, i have been thinking about the human right of home. in the universal declaration for human rights, the closest right is a right to property in article 17. but i am thinking of this deeper right, which may or may not come from ownership. i think it is the right that so many people around the world are trying to attain or hold onto, which i feel in the privilege and harmony of my home.
here in detroit, we are currently pressed once again to hold onto home as a vicious and quick land grab escalates. a couple years ago our mayor was rebuked for talking about ‘right sizing’ the city, because it would have meant displacing people from their homes. (the effort continues, though the words are different.) it showed that in this city people don’t think of their homes just as the buildings in which they live, but their blocks, neighborhoods, their particular part of the city with it’s histories and fertile grounds. in detroit, as in many cities, home includes sitting on the front porch or stoop, the community gardens, the neighbors who care for each other – home includes the people who fill the world around your building.
it is getting cold again in detroit, and the homeless folk i interact with most are becoming more scarce as they spend less and less time moving about the work of their lives – hustling, hunting, gathering same as anyone else. a friend recently noted that we have more vacant houses in the u.s. than we do homeless people, which i feel acutely aware of in detroit in the winter. it makes me think the rights of owning property should not trump the right to have home. home here means shelter from the elements, a safe place to sleep, to store one’s things.
there are many conflicted nations around the world, most of them with some link back to u.s. foreign policy, few as distinctly supported and funded as our ‘friend’ israel. in gaza, in palestine, there is an old struggle for home happening…palestinians holding onto home, as many have been displaced from the houses that were home and herded into ghettoized sections of land which they cannot leave without permits, in which they are brutally attacked regularly with u.s.-funded weapons. many palestinians hold home in their hands, literal keys to the homes they were moved out of, to which they long to return. home here means land and legacy.
and who is attacking them, but other people? not machines, not alien invaders, but human beings traumatized after centuries of not being able to find safe home on this planet.
when i look at israel i see that we as humans have so much to learn about addressing collective trauma. to be without home is dehumanizing – it is a violence unto itself, and increases the vulnerability to other violence. i’ve been learning that with patterns of bullying and abuse, most people who use violence to move through life learn that behavior by receiving and witnessing violence at a formative age. and that the bullies, underneath the bravado and actions of violence, still feel like victims, powerless.
in the same way it is clear that continual displacement mixed with violence has created the conditions by which the primarily european descended israeli population can feel justified in displacing and murdering the people of palestine, and still call themselves the victims. as with the violent child, steps must be taken to disarm, deescalate, resolve conflict and redirect the positive desire for safety towards a viable option. because home has to be a place where violence is abnormal, free from the tension of potential attack, where none of the children are seen as soldiers, or collateral damage.
in fact, nothing alive, including the planet, should be seen as collateral damage. i love the recognition coming out of Bolivia that home is this planet, that there can be no human rights without earth rights, because fundamentally we have this one small home in all the universe, to share, to care for, to find safety and abundance in. home here meaning source of all life, existence, the only planet capable of sustaining human life that we know of.
to me all of these things are connected – the right to home, the joy of home, the significance of safety, the insignificance of boundaries when we see how small and perfect our home truly is, and how much it relies on the homefulness of all others.
this is how i move through my home with mindfulness:
i compost, reuse and recycle in my home and wherever i find myself,
i use energy and heat sparingly,
i make and display art in my home,
i am constantly learning to simplify – which feels like post-capitalist deprogramming, finding more beauty in space than in materials,
and i am intentional about bringing into my kitchen and into the home of my body the most local healthy food possible,
i support the boycott called for by palestinians by not having products from starbucks, sabra hummus, and other zionist companies in my home,
i don’t keep anything i don’t need and love, and i don’t allow toxic energy to build up in my home,
i sweep the floors and make the bed and fold the laundry…
all the while aware that what i have is not guaranteed to anyone yet, and is what i want for all people, is not to be taken for granted, is under attack, and is worth fighting for, is worth living for.
home mehta meditation:
may you find home
may you feel home
may you always be home
may i find home
may i feel home
may i always be home
may we find home
may we feel home
may we always be home.
i am still of it
full of sorrows
i trace the lines back
from my fingertips
to my heart
the feelings all start with distinction
such unique purpose
only to pool and to pulse together
and i want to un-utter
in my cellular structure
i taste on my tongue
her absent kiss,
the three dead names i always called him,
the wet hitch of goodbye
as that failed father enters his prison,
the acidic bite in detroit
gasping as hands tighten at her neck
and they bruise her soil,
and the sharp raging bitter
my god, some god, somebody…
can i blame it on the moon
she thinks we are hers
because we are water
with her ink on our spines
can i blame it on mercury
is this envy or legacy,
all this human catastrophe
can i recall the prophet
who spoke of joy and sorrow
carving out spaces
from each other’s bodies
why don’t we find out
there is no place outside ourselves
to put this daunting sorrow
while we breath we are still of it
what is the science
for this bent over grief
crying us to sleep
in this solitary cosmos
can i still wonder
when i am still of it
when my breath stops
flood me with joy
i feel room for oceans
here in my veins
in the past 16 months, 4 people that i love have transitioned, 3 as total surprises. i find that one of my grief activities is immersing myself in movies, the more epic and ‘grand human story’ the better. in that spirit, i went to see searching for sugarman and cloud atlas. here’s what i thought:…
last week i finished the somatics and trauma training 2012, offered by generative somatics. a few years ago i took their somatics and social justice course, and it left an imprint in me, a longing for more capacity in feeling my body, healing myself, and learning to be a generative healing member of community, towards liberation.
here are some reflections upon completing this cycle of learning, which lasted 7 months:
to set out on a path i believed was impossible, i had to develop an opening towards miracles. and it is a miracle now, to be feeling what i am feeling, all i am feeling, all throughout my body, after years of numbness, self-harm, emotional eating and trauma.
i have had many teachers, some immediately recognizable in the moment, others only clear in hindsight; some positive models, some teaching me what not to do. part of what intrigued me about this course was i could see how it was impacting those who stuck with the training process and practices over years – it seemed to literally be reshaping people into their highest, most centered and grounded selves.
i’ve been involved in many leadership development efforts, and seen a few of them work in some ways. too often, however, they are about recreating one teacher’s style, a cookie cutter model of developing a leader.
having come through those processes, and helped shape them for others, i was starting to wonder if there was any process to truly develop leadership that wasn’t just throwing folks into the fire and shouting ‘good job’ as they learn to keep moving while burning.
the somatics and trauma course really touched something in me. now i am in a new relationship with learning, and my body is the teacher.
it/she has held on for me to get to a place, an age, a yearning that would turn me inward for the love and healing i was seeking.
it/she was/is patient as i hurt myself, made myself big to protect myself, disparaged it/her in internal and external dialogue.
it was years i spent internalizing revenge, cultivating the bitterness that curves up around the heart in clear walls that turned love away even, especially, when i could see it wasn’t serving me.
now i am beginning to see the world through a different lens, or more precisely, to feel the world.
i feel my grandparents’ hope in me,
i feel my father’s hard work, and
my mother’s continuous opening and curiosity,
my sisters’ adorations, wisdoms and patience,
i feel the vulnerable spirit in the babies i love
i feel my strength,
my vibrant race, and my dynamic ability,
my beauty, my brilliant body
my privilege and power
when a beloved leaves, i feel the pull of them on my heart, physically, i feel my life without them physically in it, i feel my responsibility to carry their essential gifts forward in my actions. my body is learning to cry, to grieve, to love, to open, to be whole.
i feel that the next generation of my family is depending on me learning more about how to feel, that it is necessary for evolution, for their own life work.
and it feels like such radical work – to be in a community of people feeling, including my family. and sharing those feelings, growing the capacity to feel. in this world where we are socialized towards numbing, fear, powerlessness and greed, leading to depression, militarism, racism and materialism, it is imperative that we get well.
i am beginning to feel what wholeness in community might look like.
i am learning that getting well in community is liberation. we are interdependent. when one of us attains freedom it elicits/rekindles that longing in each of us. when we learn to feel, when we learn to stand with each other in feeling, when we learn to tune into the wisdom of our bodies, to love ourselves, to love each other, we are doing the unthinkable, we are creating new worlds of possibility.
we were socialized to sleep, y’all. sleep and spend. to break out of that cycle and reclaim my humanity, for these magnificent instances i have experienced, makes me feel like i am in integrity with the universe, serving my highest purpose.
what becomes possible is, without destroying anything or anyone, we can claim power. claim it and live it. this matters for every identity, today i feel the depth of it for my blackness, for my womanness, for my queerness, for the child still within me.
recently i was regrounded in this chant from assata via my friend patrisse:
it is our duty to fight for freedom
it is our duty to win
we must love each other and protect each other
we have nothing to lose but our chains
remember, you are reading this in a body full of miracles you could not create. honor yourself, let love flood your body.
last night i heard my friend and comrade brandon lacy campos has transitioned. denial, shock, anger – the grief process is getting to be familiar. i hate that.
but i adored brandon. he was fierce, always looking for love, vibrant, so deeply naughty. brandon was always doing something that made me shake my head. and this? this makes me shake my head, suck my teeth, shudder, lean away and sob. come on blc.
will miss his chatting, falling in love, sharing vanities and bitching and aiming always towards justice and fabulousness.
rest and rest.
I believe in meditations & gratitudes. What we give our attention to grows. There were disappointments, imperfections & compromises yesterday, election day 2012, generating or continuing our next to-do lists for the coming years (or month depending on what happens 12/21/12).
But here are things I am grateful for:
Grateful that Detroit rejected the emergency manager proposal, reclaiming our humanity in decision making in the city. & that our local comic book villianaire Manny Maroun’s millions didn’t trick us into supporting his nefarious bridge plans.
Grateful that two of the rape-to-baby pipeline enthusiasts, Akin & Mourdoch, were thoroughly shut down.
Grateful that we have a black president whose offspring are women, who chose last night to speak on climate change, native americans, gay marriage, complexity, cooperation, & ending war. Meditating on his possibilities for these next four years.
Particularly grateful for a president who speaks of ending wars while my sister serves. Relationships bring the larger world into proximity, reality.
Grateful that my own mind is more complex than it was 12 years ago, that I can see the range of victories & tasks yet to do in relationship to each other, that I can see what is possible in the present while still longing for & working on creating more revolutionary possibilities.
Grateful that the majority of people I am in community with are neither idealists nor purists, but visionary transformative emergent strategists, and lovers of life, people & planet.
Grateful to live in Detroit, MI, where the average person in voting lines has historical context & nuanced analyses. Where folks were primarily looking after each other, informing each other & thanking each other in yesterday’s long lines.
Grateful that today my work continues, that it inspires & nourishes me.
for glenda and damian moore, i cannot even comprehend.
for connor and brandon moore, rest in peace.
this goddamn country
sometimes it just takes too much
i heard about this woman
running all around in this maze
thinking she was free
just free to keep her children in her arms
but the storm took those babies
she thought she was free to cry for help
to wail, inside, behind white doors
help, she just called to anyone
to take her in
to make a room for her to fight for life
to bear down through the transition
this country ain’t bethlehem
or any kind of goodnight story
with our black president in tears,
is the state of our union
we are free to buy anything
even in that prison
you can get a hold of just enough
to taste that bit of freedom
on your own sucked tongue
that tingleloin declaration
you are still alive
to suffer the walls
there is also freedom
to learn those things
that will keep you docile
until you forget –
yes you mostly forget
i have seen it –
that you asked about freedom
that you longed to evolve
your life wasn’t a small talk
it was a monstrous awakening
and when you saw injustice
you called him out by his name
you showed him the way
out of your heart
this goddamn country
how can we look in each other’s eyes
over those babies’ bodies
how can we stand with any dignity
when you treat us all like this
and we stay?
talking about freedom
something to teach, fry, export, drop down
in a parachute
or guide in for explosion, by computers
but i really want to know
freedom to suffer in silence?
cause they made us hush up
our hands, our languages
freedom to beat our babies?
like they beat us
to break us mind you
to break us
and still we do this
freedom to turn away from suffering
when it huddles in your doorway
freedom to close the door
and sit in the dark
hoping it all goes away
if i could
i would banish you
from the realm of the selfish
make you forget
the word i
poison you with wonder
til you grew mad with love
mad with it
you goddamn country
you self-loathing multitudes
you who have my blood on your lips
just yesterday i came here
and already and again you have broken my heart?
i mean is there a freedom
that we can’t see?
a definitive human freedom
which permeates all of our prisons
the prison of the racist heart
the prison of the victim heart
the prison of those strangers
in staten island
who didn’t know death
when she came to the door
whose souls died when her boys died
and is there a freedom
from that moral death?
can this country
flooded with blood
let go of the
let go of trying to cleave
us from us
atom from atom
master from slave, inside
inside of us
let go of that whip
chain, trauma and bitterness
let go of the belongings
that sicken your soul
with envy and longing
that you value
over the small stranger full of tears
let go of that
what freedom you might find
in your empty guilty
who comes to your door
is the mother of the new world
is coming down.