from bermuda, 2

at some point i know it will happen, that i won’t be so energized and overjoyed after a training. but so far i haven’t hit that wall.

today was the second day of training in bermuda. we had people do collective visioning, power mapping, decision making (while crowded onto a blanket). yesterday they covered intro to nonviolent direct action with an interactive discussion on what violence and nonviolence mean in bermuda, an exercise to map their reactions, and a massive highly enthusiastic role play including a march, chants, and a blockade.

throughout, we were told about bermudian culture. any disruption of any sort could be considered hostile, rude, and thus violent. working to shift that idea towards one of valuing human life over politeness will be a long journey, but we definitely saw that light flashing on for folks this weekend.

we also got to do an exercise today that never ceases to amaze me. it’s based on both keltic and navajo indigenous practices, and uses the 4 directions to cluster certain personality characteristics, and help people reflect on how they participate and lead. it was beautiful to watch folks gain pride in their way of being, and openness to the ways of others, along with a respect that all ways are needed for success.

it was also good to remember that the polite and complacent manner that many of us are raised to think is the only appropriate way to be as a human being is actually some of the most dangerous behavior in the world, because it allows so much injustice to go unchallenged. looking at history, our heroes may have seemed disruptive, rude, confrontational in their day, but with the long lens we see that they were fortune tellers, oracles, telling us what we needed to hear for a better future.

bermuda is a Very actionable island. there’s a few narrow roads over the whole island, a few main ferry stops, a few key beaches. i have a lot of hope for the kind of actions that will happen hear in the near future.

got disturbing news yesterday about the deaths of 4 cops in oakland, as well as their shooter. today i read that it was 3 cops killed, and one left brain dead for life. aimee allison informed folks on her twitter/facebook feed that the AP connected the shooter’s unemployment and anger with his actions, that the economic situation will lead to a rise in crime. i feel that analysis – it is so hard to maintain the idea that peace is possible in times of great disparity.

however i am also reminded at moments like this, reading about this awful and violent situation, that the problem is largely in arming of the police and of the population. i also can’t help but think, “there is no them”. us and them falls apart under the sacred weight of human life, we are all temporary, vulnerable, mortal. i know there are many in my circle who are immediately making a black and white analysis of this situation, but there is also a need to make our hearts wide enough to feel sadness and grief for the loss of lives and dreams for those 4 police officers. we cannot let ourselves be dehumanized in the eyes of police (or the military, or government), and in turn we must not dehumanize them. when that is allowed, nothing good can come of it but eye for eye for eye in a blind city.

now to change gears and hopefully rest, i am listening to a pop mix made for me by inno from the design action collective. songs so good they are bad, and are actually making it hard to sleep. tomorrow is my last full day/night in bermuda, and my first day not traveling, training, preparing, moving, working, or meeting in a long time. wish me luck!

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