What did we learn this Spring?
Wow, I can't believe we are wrapping up the Spring. How far we have come from the joys of Zoom to the fatigue after being online all day. We traveled with Poet Yosimar to Undocujoy, with Paul Bocanegra who guided us to recognize we aren't as confined as we think (and he understands confinement after 25 years in prison from the time he was a minor), to Melanie who shared the question: HOW do we want to be at this time? what are you doing? what kind of civic engagement role do we want to play? She brought us Deepa Iyer's powerful framework: do you want to contribute as an artist? a guide? a weaver? a first responder? a healer? a builder? a disrupter? a storyteller? a visionary? I find I am a weaver but I long to be more of a poet, a social artist, an instigator. So I'm tuning into those pathways.
The road was windy, partly because we dove so deep into our CIVIC ENGAGEMENT theme by actually doing stuff that could measurably make people's lives better. We couldn't ignore what was happening to people who lost work and got no help. This turned into Evelyne's RV support project, and Sarahi/Dreamers' Roadmap and Heather and Laura of Live in Peace led FirstOfTheMonth campaign. We were so busy actually doing work it was hard to have this evening series of reflection and connection. But no matter what, I always feel better after than I do before. And I think it is because it is a time of slowing, of tuning in, of pausing and reflecting and listening. There is a wisdom of the collective that is much greater than my own, and we can tap into that well when we are together.
And just as COVID revealed our economic inequalities through the suffering of our poorest (financially, not in other ways) neighbors deprived of legal rights, and the racial injustice because black, Latina and Pacific-Islander were getting sick and dying at much greater rates, it also made visible the extent of state-sanctioned murder of black people - a problem after 400 years we can no longer ignore. It may seem like many issues, but is it? Is it possible for us to actually live as people say that "we are all in this together?" Can we build what I was first inspired to build when I heard of it on Lesbos -- a Village of All Together?
The Spring has taught me we can just do what is in front of us. Not abstract big ideas, but bring our whole hearted loving selves to what is in front of us. We didn't plan to have this women-led, collaborative rent fund project, but we started with a commitment to listening, and we brought the love we already shared with each other. It's messy and hard and tiring, but we are showing up - day after day - and asking - what now? How can the collective vision be stronger than getting what I need for my people or project? And when I get tired, I ask myself -- what role am I playing? what role do I want to be playing? how do i move towards the poet, the storyteller in my role? Can I bring more creativity to how I engage? How are you engaging? how do you want to be engaging? how can we rally around a shared vision of a truly prosperous Peninsula for everyone? how can we challenge old paradigms of inequality, racism, immigration 'othering" so deeply entrenched here? what can we do right here, right now? what can you do what here, right now? what's in front of you? and what is the heart inviting you towards?
6/5/2020 11:34:45 am
Good thoughts to ponder. I followed the link to “Pico Iyer’s” article to discover that it was “Deepa Iyer’s” article with more good thoughts for our journey. (She might appreciate a change in attribution!)
Mary Jane Marcus
6/8/2020 11:27:25 am
Raji, oh goodness, good catch. Thanks for that.
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