Ever since I read My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem and started a book discussion group on it, I keep pondering his idea of culture and how do we change our culture? What even IS culture, and our culture here in the US? What do we like, what do we not like? Honoring the many great things that created this culture to which many immigrants fled to be a part of, what can we recognize as unjust and ill-conceived? What do we need to weed out, what do we want to change and how?
From my interpretation on the reading, I believe culture starts from within. Trauma --both subtle and overt, current, historical and ancestral-- shape who we are, how we respond, and our view of reality. These traumas form what looks like our personality. Trauma that impacts the family looks like family traits. Trauma that impacts a people looks like culture. Changing a culture would require the desired change in "the tribe"...... and that change happens from a spark--one voice that projects and touches the hearts and minds of its neighbors and beyond. And, a major shake-up certainly helps create space for those voices to land. Enter our 2020 experience. What a shake-up to create the perfect environment for change!! Person by person, community by community, and in the age of the Internet, more potential for reach far and wide.
Are you ready to open up to this change? A change for social justice and a culture that creatively loves and supports one another? Starting with self-healing and turning inwards to be truthful with ourselves and to know our Truth, we can begin to grow into a personality that values daily practice of love for all living things. The more of us that chooses healing and builds our own capacities, the more that spreads, and the more it can change culture. A culture that cares, supports and lives curiously with others through conversation, connection, public policy and more. MLK Jr said, "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness". I think this is what we get to discover in ourselves in listening for our Truth. In healing and clearing so we can hear our inner voice of peace and equanimity and vision and justice for all.
Personally, the more I listen to the many new voices creating podcasts and read the writings of the people who inspire me, the people I admire, the models who pave a path for me to see my own path, the more I know that if I listen closely and stay deeply connected with the true depth of meaning and value for my life, I will be like these people I admire. Only, it'll be in my own way and with my own voice. It's frightening and exhilarating at the same time.
For sure, this is only done in concert with the necessary work of self-healing. It has taken some years to get here but, thankfully, within these years I have felt dramatic progress steadily along the way and very often it is this progress that motivated the next progress. You need not look that far ahead, simply the next step into "right action". These are ongoing practices and continued seeking of community and like-minded voices-- as well as those who do not think like me --are a cornerstone for momentum. It is, in fact, often the voices of the latter that give me deeper pause and reflection. For the dichotomy of thoughts or the polarities of life is what often creates the most clear spotlight on vital matters. It is that which evokes the strongest of emotions that sometimes was/is the necessary spark to create the most impactful change or shift in thinking.
This year, in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr, I listened to a podcast with host Marianne Williamson and her guest, MLK Jr's daughter Reverend Bernice King. Through this interview, I kept hearing the message that activism is part of our work here and that MLK's words on sacrifice were akin to the sacrifice of Jesus and other such stories of heroic peoples. MLK said: "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable..... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals". This makes me think of my recent journal writing on "what we give up" and the fear of losing privileges, comfort, convenience, and a way of life to which we've become accustomed. What must we sacrifice? Are we prepared to struggle? Can we understand that struggle can simply mean our own personal angst in dealing with any sort of change, and ultimately that struggle creates a positive change and depth within us?
Marianne and the Reverend King end the interview with the idea that, while we look to our history of great people who sacrificed and led the way, these days the sacrifice and leadership is truly collective. Perhaps that can feel like a relief to those of us who feel yet ill-equipped for a huge, solo entry into boldness but still wish to pursue social justice and change in our world. But step forward we must. As a collective. As the Reverend Bernice King said, it must be a way of life, these steps for justice. What would that look like for you?
Still the start of 2021 and things seem to be taking shape through positive vibrational currents in the minds of many more of us. I feel it and I see it happening. I see that collective altruism and multi-level leadership or leadership by abilities-- what is your best role? MLK Jr Day is a day of service and celebration. "Give voice to your heart"* especially on this day, but let it be a spark of renewal and commitment for the year going forward. It takes every one of us to change a culture. I trust that these are the individual steps within a collective that will create a brighter future for and with our youth. For and with my children and all the children of this and the coming generations. What a wonderful way to invoke the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.
*My new 2021 calendar is from Istandforlove.com created by Sarah Love and today's message is "give voice to your heart". Apropros for this day. XO
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I am the Essential Soul Mama. I am a mama, a soulful-spiritual teacher, an intentional storyteller, and a lover of stories of all kinds, in all forms. I write about emotions, parenting, natural health options, mind-body-soul connections, and anything that elevates our lives.