happy juneteenth y’all!!
i have been thinking a lot about liberation, and what we would do if we felt truly free to say and do whatever we wanted to say and do. not that i hold back much…
today i gave another ruckus training, and it was amazing and tangible and impactful and useful. as usual. not because of me, but because the ruckus curricula is a thoughtfully woven, popular education, interactive and artistic, collective creation.
then i got some bad news, bad funding news. and on one hand it made me inhale the way you do when someone really truly punches you in the gut. boom. whatever that part is called – plexus, diaphragm, sacrum, heart, womb, rib…its all holy, it’s all full of life, it all hurts.
and i felt the twin presence of liberation, which i have been grounded in for some time now. i have no doubt about our work. maybe my zeal, my ebullience, my joy, my inability to falsify what we’re doing or shove it down people’s throats – maybe that just doesn’t work. and yet, these last few months, as our budget has gotten tighter than ever, our work has been more honest, visionary, and effective than ever.
we are supposed to be pushing edges, bursting through boundaries, breaking unjust laws and then sharing the how-to with everyone we meet. we are supposed to be strategic and fearless, of the community and in the fire and on the frontline with the community. either we are changing history, or we don’t need to exist. ruckus work is not polite work – it’s not for the feint-hearted, and it can’t be prettied up. it’s transformational – and transformation requires that moment in the cocoon, between caterpillar and butterfly, primordial and compulsive chaos for the greater good.
you can’t write a strategic plan for how to fly when all you have is 100 legs – but that yearning can lead you to build the shape in which your future will be born. ruckus holds the space, for any community that wants to, to fly, to experience their own liberation, self-determination, to create and protect their own sustainability. to live, frankly.
the communities we service have a love affair with humans that won’t arrive for 5, 6, 7 generations or more. we are committed to them, as our ancestors were to us when they risked love, safety, limb and life, for freedom. not because someone told them where to sign the anti-slavery petition, not because someone gave them a permit for their uprising, not because it built the broadest tent to include folks who had no desire to be free.
none of that…slaves rebelled, escaped, resisted, fought back, rose up, and eventually ended their enslavement because it was right. because they could feel the injustice at the back of their tongues, knotted in their bellies, overcoming them in waves when they looked at their lovers, at their children.
it is juneteenth in a new world, in a new economy we have yet to understand. i will say it here, though i may not say it anywhere else: the system of capitalism is only designed to enslave and empower. either you are in power, or you are enslaved. you can be enslaved to the desire for materials, for money, for approval, for that paycheck at a job that you know is doing nothing for your soul or your community, that paycheck that empowers you to send your child to a school that will strip him/her of the critical capacity we are each gifted with, our very humanity. score high, talk small, dance fast, die bored.
or you can be in power, with the knowledge that your power comes at the expense of the freedom – economic, environmental, societal freedom – of others.
or…be part of the evolutionary minority. freedom, and growing the human potential, that is our call.
this economic moment feels like such a crisis for so many of us, and yet it might be our last opportunity to be a truly liberated species. not everyone will let go of the shore, but enough of us could let our vision, and our love for our communities, be enough, trust what we’re feeling.
not everyone runs because they are brave. many run, and dance, and maintain, because they are so scared of dying. bravery doesn’t come from running away. bravery begins with the heavy, forward leaning step of running towards the unknown. throwing your whole self, body mind and spirit, towards what you know is right, and having faith that the form will emerge – bridge, cloud, tunnel, network.
so the news i got today was bad, and yet i still feel the deep balance and elation i felt yesterday, and the day before. i, we, at ruckus and many friends and other organizations – we are throwing ourselves with faith into the unknown, into what feels absolutely right for the communities we serve. at this moment it becomes harder and harder to accept any sustenance from any house that is not our own, harder and harder to swallow food we did not seed and grow and cook with love ourselves.
we shall not, we shall not be moved. but in faith, we might be transformed.
“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is THE HOUR.
And there are things to be considered…
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
- Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation