Yesterday morning I read a lovely post by my longtime friend about the real story of Thanksgiving versus the myth we were fed as kids and the truth of the stolen ground we stand on. It was a poignant post and at the heart of it was something that I have been sitting with for awhile, reflecting on often in this space and trying to make sense of in my own small sphere. We find ourselves, as a culture, in an unmapped geography of difficult conversations. Everywhere we turn, the old, out-dated scripts no longer serve us and are being tossed aside. We are waking up to the disfunction embedded in the lies that we grew up on and instead of carrying them forward into the next era many of us are attempting to loosen the grip tightened by generations of retelling of the same false truths. But there is no map here. Just this wasteland of past failures and a big longing to get it right.
I mean, I think I really grew up within a “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” lineage. Didn’t you? And while yes, it sucks to be an ass and I really do try not to be a callous jerk, sometimes the line between that and passing on the deceit and the denial is incredibly blurry. I want to be liked. I want to be good. I want to get it right. And, well, it seems that the time for that- if I have any hopes at all in participating in the movement toward a world with any integrity, any equity-has passed.
I am practicing at home. With my people. The difficult conversations over here seem almost endless these days as we navigate death, mental illness, implicit biases, regret. And as much as I am conditioned to smooth things over, to lighten the load that my kids and myself have to to bear, I am trying so hard to not travel that well worn path. Harder still is allowing these messy conversations to span out from my nuclear family into my social circles and teaching communities. I do, after all, have a desire to be liked, to be accepted, have the approval of the folks in my life. And I am scared of fucking up so bad that I loose that approval and there-in my space in the social landscape. But silence is no longer an option and is often construed as consent, which in and of itself is a whole can of worms.
I recently received a text from my longtime yoga teacher and friend in which she said: “It’s a dark time. I also think it will get worse for awhile…as a country. Inner life is more important than ever for survival. Literally.” I have been chewing on this a lot as I consider who I am in all of this and how best to show up in this new world. Where we have no maps and history only shows us what didn’t work. I do know that when I stay close to my heart and the truth that lives there, I have more faith in my capacity to show up and forge ahead. When I stay grounded in myself I remember that I can stand tall even in my short-comings and my shame. In my fear. After all, I am just another white woman waking up to my own complicity. And yet I think that there is a path forward for us. But it is not without more than a few casualties in the form of our pride, our antiquated myths, and our attachment to the status quo. But we’ve got this. We can do it. We just to have to be willing to keep on getting it wrong so that we may, sooner than later, begin to get it right.