Acknowledging what is true and real

picture of sadness and bing bong from disney pixar's inside out movie
Sadness and Bing Bong. From Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out.

I’ve been thinking about this scene from Inside Out a lot recently. Thinking about it, referencing it, calling it to mind. If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it. If you can, find it and go see it (but, in the meantime, here’s the scene the picture is from).

Anyway, what’s so powerful about this scene is how what Bing Bong needed the most in that moment – when he was feeling like crap – was to simply be seen for who he is. Not be made to feel better (which Joy tries so hard to do), but to have someone sit with him and hear what he’s experiencing. I’ve been thinking about ways I try to be Joy in the hard moments, trying to change, make happy… and how that blocks the ability to feel through whatever is going on. But, if I can sit with something, sometimes acknowledging it goes a long way.

Yet, how often is this what is highlighted and encouraged in our society as a whole? Perhaps that’s part of the message of the Black Lives Matter movement; I also believe it stretches way beyond that, too. Because we want to be heard. We want to be seen, for who we are. But, others try to change us; hell, we try to change ourselvs and not acknowledge what’s really hurting us (to ourselves or anyone else). But when our own experience, our reality is truly seen? Acknowledged? There is power in that. For me, it’s the power of storytelling and story-listening.

Brené Brown has a great (very short) video about empathy which speaks to the power of being with another person in real ways, letting them experience their experience and not try to change it.

One of the things that I have seen (and heard) from my clients over and over in the past year I’ve been practicing is that there is something unique about my group because I listen to them, I treat them like people. What would you own experience of living be like, if you were heard, affirmed for what is, and acknowledged? How might you sit with others (or yourself, to begin with) and acknowledge what is, in this moment? Can you breathe into it, allow it, even for a brief moment?

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“Feelings that don’t sit comfortably inside the communal” (Claudia Rankine)

subject line from Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

I have been silent. In part, this has been due to fear of saying the wrong thing, of thinking if I stay silent, if I stay small, I cannot get into trouble.

SIlence does not make the wrongs right, though.

Instead, it makes me complict in the acts of violence, because it means I do not bear witness, I do not use my privilege as someone who passes through life perceived as a heterosexual white woman to speak truth about injustice, to speak truth into the silence.

My silence, your silence, our silence creates an atmosphere where no one can breathe, where we glare at one another in mistrust, in hate, in fear.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday something along the lines of, “I could be the next hashtag;” another wrote about times being in the same situation where others have now found themselves shot to death.

And it’s been a year and a half since I responded to the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, and nothing has changed. Nothing has fucking changed. And, if I’m really honest, it’s not just in a year and a half.

Less than a week ago, we were “celebrating” freedom in the United States, freedom from the tyranny of one particular system, not recognizing that we have created another system which has perpetuated violence and hate and division. It is a ghost legacy that haunts the rivers and the land. It is the bone structure on which the skin and make-up of “the American Dream” have been placed.

Yes, there is opportunity, yet I do not believe it is fully available to all. What is available and how far it will take you depends on your race, your class, your sexuality, your (dis)ability status, your sobriety status, your legal status (both in terms of legal issues and immigration status).

We must be able to criticize the way things are so that we can make them better. We need spaces where real dialgoue can occur; right now, everything is about being right, rather than listening. This is a different kind of silence, where I wan tto learn what I can – not because it is expected or because I don’t want to speak the wrong words. Rather, it is about recognizing the value in others’ words.

And there are fantastic resources being posted on social media (I know some pretty awesome people already doing this work regularly). Here are a few:

Listen. Keep your heart open. Do not look away from the reality of others’ experiences in this world. I am working on doing the same. Our silence to the ways the systems (and the ways be implicitly and explicitly participate in those systems) humanizes and privileges some people and not others does not help us move forward toward freedom.

I miss you all

Let’s see… There’s been starting a new part time job, the training and getting used to being back on my feet and moving around a lot (which I appreciate but there’s been a lot of sitting the last few years), then the end of the semester and all that comes with that!

Needless to say, I am not caught up on my reader, I haven’t had time to write, let alone blog.

Which isn’t to say I haven’t been thinking about you.

So, tell me, what’s been the best part of life for you lately?

(I hope to e back to more regular posting by the end of the week.)

Wednesday catch-up

Losing five hours (due to time differences), then 12 hours (due to time spent traveling), and getting up way later than anticipated today means a day full of catch-up, just before the semester begins!

Not quite the start I was looking for, but a great reminder to do my best and appreciate where I am.

Also a great reminder that freaking out is not helpful! :-)

What reminders do you often need when you feel like you’re playing catch-up?

Monday traveling

Today is our last of vacation. We leave late tonight (which would be Tuesday morning for my normal time zone). It’s pouring outside at 7:00 AM, which makes me laugh. It’s okay.

I’m ready to go home, to be honest. It’s been good, but I miss routine and our pigpigs. Nearly two weeks is a long time.

I guess this is where I recognize my own ambivert self – that I love routine until I get bored, then love adventure until I get overwhelmed and want routine again. This is part of my own story.

So, while I listen to the downpour, tell me how you feel about adventure. Do you prefer routine, adventure, or a combination?

(I can’t help but think about the conversation between handled and Bilbo about adventures, at the beginning of The Hobbit. That’s a thought for another day!)

Weekend Treats

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There’s something about being in the presence of the Large. You know, things we can’t say we made and that leave us without words. It’s reminded me that the Weekend Reads is a small way to connect this small community of mine. And that I’m intensely grateful for that community.

Thank you for being here.

What are you most grateful for today?

Weekend Treats will resume its usual format next week.

Announcements: Changes in 2013

Hello, my dear friends!

Notepad (software)
Notepad (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope this new year finds you well. I love the new year, even with the challenges that often come at the beginning of the year. There’s something rewarding about a fresh start, even when they’re simply a new calendar year.

Today’s announcements are a quiet start to the new year. Even though there were just changes here the beginning of last month, I have come to the decision to back off of the classes, workshops, workbooks – all of that. Instead, this space will be, for the foreseeable future, a blog space. Posts will still be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There may be additional posts, but as I have a hard semester coming up, I’m not sure that will happen. No promises.

The blog’s gotten a bit of a facelift. You’ll also notice the information on the top bar about current classes, FAQ about classes, etc. have been removed. That said, I’ve also updated the About page and the Recommended Resources pages. (The latter has two new books.)

This coming year is about finding my voice and learning to accept all that comes – to trust that I am enough and that my story is important and there is room for it, amidst everyone else’s stories.