Between a rock and a soft place

As I am trying to summarise what our last dialogue meeting brought up - I can't seem to get a grip on the "one thing" to start with. So much happened on so many levels.

Most present in my mind is the shift that occurred this time, when we got together: the crossing over from every day mundane functioning to a deep mutual and caring connection where we were able to speak and confront and listen and be silent together.  This could of course be just a temporary glitch (the cynic in me is alive and well) a glance at what is possible between us,  but in the moment it felt like a true quantum leap towards our continuous effort to listen with no judgement and speak from our truths -

whatever it was, it was magical!

Listening to everybody's journey over the last 18 or so months, what stood out for me was how this process has profoundly changed us as individuals and as a group. We started out as a random bunch of women with very different agendas coming together to deconstruct race and racism and all the multifaceted issues around this "hot mess" - and in essence none of us really knew what we were in for - or at least I didn't.

Today, we still haven't changed the world, but in our many different ways, we have become each other's hope. We have created a unique space, a parallel universe to our often insane reality, which holds and absorbs our worst and our best, our fears and our hopes - and many moments of hilarity in between.

For me, this has become the space where somebody's outrage can touch my heart without making me fearful or raising my de-fences. It also means that I can leave the solid ground of my socialised responses and dig deeper to confront what is underneath - my deeply ingrained fear of the "other", my doubts, my ignorance, my limitations and my boundaries. I am getting to know parts of myself I was never able to look at before with the constant reassurance of being connected to an "us" that I never even  knew was a possibility.

As I am taking on the challenge to bring our work into my social circles of  work, school and other friendships, I also realise how much more there is. To do. To learn.  How my need to be liked gets in the way of my truth - still. How my fear to stand out in a crowd pushes my mute button where I know I should have a voice. Where my conditioning fuels my doubts, where my doubts cloud my perception, where I sometimes wish myself back into my bubble of ignorant pre-dialogue bliss. But quickly I realise this bubble did not have any of you in it - and most importantly, it would not be able to hold my children.

So once again, it comes down to our heart connections. Our fear of one another, our assumptions, our prejudices and judgements are only ever truly suspended in a space of - dare I say it - l o v e. Without love or heart connection it all simply becomes an exercise in "political correctness" where we say and maybe even do the "right things" but nothing penetrates our being or translates into our "real life".

We can see this in institutionally "prescribed" diversity work, where a  group of students sits together on a project around racism and simply don't connect to one another. Where at the end of the project one of the black students who asks for connection, even asks to be invited into a (white) fellow students house gets bluntly rejected with the words: what do you want from me, you can't force friendship...

This is my struggle today - the rock hard reality of "what do you want from me" set off against the seemingly elusive, soft heart- space, where all true connection takes place  - and where we are at our most vulnerable.


Eilat Aviram said…
I think it takes nothing short of a lot of little miracles to get to where you have gotten as a group - and as a person. there are so many reasons to not think about any of this stuff and most of them have to do with pain and fear of pain.

Your courage is inspiring because you are being the change you want to see in the world. Truly doing it.

My heart fills with love at the thought and at your courage.

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