One of the callings of our times is to become a bridge between our past and the future we want. We become a bridge by cultivating an ongoing connection with what is even as we align our actions with what wants to be born through us.
|Photo by Martin Damboldt from Pexels
Facing 'what is' includes facing how 'what was' still radiates through our current experience. Unfinished, unprocessed experience is sometimes called karma. Another name for it is trauma. Trauma exists in individuals, in families, in the collective, and in the systems of our society.
One collective trauma that I am facing into every day is racism.
Racism isn't just a word. It's a code (as all words are) which carries the energetic legacy of trauma which is woven into the very foundations of our systems for hundreds of years.*
I've been actively learning about whiteness for only about a year, and I'm not an expert. Writing about my current perception of whiteness and racism (even as I'm still learning) is part of my response to the collective trauma of whiteness, or what the author, Resmaa Menakem calls white body supremacy.
One of the things that keeps racism going is for people who are systemically in the oppressor role (that's me, with skin known in our world today as white) to not see, feel or take action related to the dehumanizing violence that was perpetrated and became embedded in our systems and the world around us. We told cultural stories that racial violence was over or mostly over, but it isn't.
I'm turning towards it every day.
Lifting a veil of unconsciousness and facing systemic oppression and violence is painful. The seduction of continuing to not know, not feel, and not respond to the cultural domination system we were born into is strong. We are all woven into racist systems and for many of us, our participation and enabling remains unconscious. Even as we wake up to face, the tendency for us to become overwhelmed, shut down, or otherwise disconnect is powerful.
My experience is becoming conscious of the water we are swimming in is an ongoing process. We may see it but not feel it. Face part of it but not all of it. Bame others. Feel but remain unable to respond and take action. Get overwhelmed. And so on.
When abuse of power is occurring, it's healthy to see, feel, and respond to what's actually happening. Even though facing it is painful and often confusing, the waking up process reconnects us to our natural grounding, to the beauty of our own hearts, and to the natural resources of life. We re- align with our inner compass, and with the best of our humanity. We become both the bridge to what is possible, as well as the people who walk over the bridge into an equitable future, one step at a time.
*"400 Years of Inequality is a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals calling on everyone - families, friends, communities, institutions - to plan their own solemn observance of 1619, learn about their own stories and local places, and organize for a more just and equal future." They are "dedicated to dismantling structural inequality and building strong, healthy communities." - 400 Years of Inequality website