this came to me this morning in one fell swoop.
i am hesitant to share it, but it feels important as i think of many of us now going to our families, the space where all lines blur and there is just blood, lineage and hopefully love.
my family seems have a little of everything in it, every belief system, every right and wrong. for a long time i thought of various members of my family as those who were…against me.
i am grateful i have begun to see us whole, holding the breadth of humanity’s best and worst potential. i can love across the chasm. and the healing here is the healing needed at the largest scale.
so here goes:
we have been thinking of our revolutions as us vs them, winning power in a way that means others lose. always leaving a percentage, as small as possible, but there…the 1% whom we can blame for the mess we are in.
what would it look like to posit ourselves instead as wholeness, evolving from a society driven by division?…if our practice was to decompartmentalize ourselves, to integrate our parts, our communities, our movements, our world?
what we call the 1% is a set of ideas ravaging our world. individualism, selfishness, darwinism. these ideas continue to consume us and all our resources, though only the tiniest sliver truly benefit, because we all participate.
we actively participate: we fund war with much of our taxes, we call the police, we continuously hand over our power, we vote without holding elected officials accountable, we create an earth’s worth of garbage in our short lifetimes.
we passively participate: not intervening against hate, looking the other way from violence and conflict, silent with fear, stepping quietly away from truth tellers, collecting paychecks for work we do not love which does not benefit our communities.
i am not speaking just of ‘the masses’ here – within movement spaces we cultivate competition by continuing to participate in the foundation games, watching activist stars emerge full of words while nothing changes, while hunger and homelessness grow, tearing each other apart in a fit of righteousness.
it is painful to write this.
but it is true.
james baldwin told us, “not everything that is faced can be changed. but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
so busy looking outside ourselves for the evil, for the problem…when we are the problem. everyday we build up our dreams and with a million small cuts we destroy them.
we must become the solution. whole people…not perfect, but whole. whole communities. whole systems.
anyone we leave out of “us” will become a poison to us eventually. the human organism is the same at its smallest and largest scale. just as the parts of ourselves we don’t claim creep into our lives, keeping us from fully realizing our personal potential (the jealous side, the self-doubter, the depressed, the over eater…those are just some of my unclaimed parts, and they wreak havoc), at a societal level: those we leave out of our vision, we give no option but to fight us.
if we give them no future with us, what else can they do?
this is how we have become slaves over and over and over again, shackles or credit cards, given no real choice, no humanity.
look what it has made us.
as tempting as it is to hurt those who have taken so much from us, who have hurt us deeply – we cannot recreate that, we cannot continue in this back and forth of oppression and victimization and self-loathing and division.
because it is ourselves we hurt.
the 1% is our responsibility. our conservative family members, our passive family members, our secret selves. it’s our responsibility.
this is beyond the symbolism of flowers in guns – it strikes at the root of how we are living.
can we see all people as victims of our worst collective thinking with this current global economy, even those who appear to benefit (until you look at rates of suicide, addiction, and other signs of societal illness)?
if we are movement leaders who want the ultimate victory, we must claim the 100%, the whole ecosystem from heart to universe.
it seems daunting only if we remain parts of ourselves. if we see ourselves whole, then suddenly there is time and there is space…to heal, to move beyond judgment, to be just, to be visionary.
i say this in the context of egypt, in the context of the 99% movement – as we watch the cycles of revolution move from stunning inspiration to shocking terror, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by fear, to feel like we must urgently do things we know are not enough.
it is love, the emotion of wholeness, which we must cultivate. love is that interconnectedness, that tenderness, that compassion and forgiveness and laughter – and it is the only thing i have experienced which is greater than fear.
for what small part can ever conquer the whole? we must embody our fullness.
let us shirk off the limiting skin of a victimized 99%. i claim the whole, my own wholeness, my responsibility for what is, and what will be.
i claim it with myself, that i will forgive my shortcomings and indulge in caring for myself and taking the time for the healing i need…and that i will live each day in closer alignment with my values, however impossible it seems in this society.
i claim it with my loved ones, that i will love them with fierce and unrelenting honesty, non-judgment and compassion. i will give my family the attention that i have given my politics.
and i claim it with those who would be my enemy. i know you are hurting. i am grateful you live, when i live, so we can learn about love together.
only whole can we get free.
liberate the 100%!