Newsletter. Take 3. All I can say is, if you don’t want to hear any more about it, scroll down now. But trying to write about anything else just stinks of elephant. And is completely impossible.
How to write a letter to you on a day like today, in a week like this week? How to walk a careful line of respect for everyone in our community, each opinion, each personal experience, while staying true to my own opinions and experiences? How to speak my truth knowing it will be offensive to some; when my professional mission is to create inclusivity and community and my personal work is to climb out from under the directive to “be quiet” “keep your head down” and “do as you’re told?”
I have spent a lot of time thinking about what this week would have looked like if Dr. Ford were a woman of any color other than white. I have pondered what this week would have looked like if it weren’t Dr. Ford with the important job and intact family, but had been Miss Ford, under-employed and a single mother of two. I have ruminated endlessly about the “respect” shown to her in the form of white male silence, and how perhaps the only way she could have been respected less would be had she been asked, as countless women in her seat have been asked before, “but what were you wearing?” And I keep spinning: how did we get here? How are we still here? How do we get out?
I was triggered by what I heard in the first half of the day on Thursday. Like every woman I know, I’ve been exposed to the despicably acceptable, micro-aggressions inherent in a white-male dominated culture: inappropriate comments, unwelcome touches, crude jokes, and mind-numbing stereotypes. And like far too many women I know, I’m a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, the scars from which will be etched in my bones until they dissolve into the earth.
I was triggered by what I heard in the second half of the day on Thursday. I was raised in a culture (family and country) that overtly values men over women. The words and opinions of men over women as more important, more trustworthy, of more consequence. The work of men over women as more valuable. The reputations of men over women as more highly esteemed. I learned early that “fair and equal” is nothing but a nice idea. And all of this is happening during a period of time when I am working my way through white privilege and white supremacy, and trying to get my head around the truth that it’s this and so much more for women of color. My brain is exploding.
The curtain which was opened after the last presidential election has been further pulled back through this debacle to reveal in full color the state of just where we are in regards to gender inequality. Meanwhile, racial injustices mount even higher backstage. We must find justice for all, and in the process, we need to reclaim civility- if ever we had it.
So, there you have it. Triggered. In all the ways by all the things. Makes it hard to complete a task of any kind in the privacy of my own home, much less write a newsletter to be catapulted out into the ether to thousands of inboxes on Monday morning at 5am. It says something that the only saving grace I’ve found today is a bag of gummy bears I didn’t remember were ferreted away. That, and Padma’s regular, if confused, appearance by my side, her sweet face asking, “you okay, mama?”
While acknowledging this moment of national importance (and profound shame), on a deeper level I know that the divide between the testimonies of Dr. Ford and Mr. Kavanaugh is not the story. It is not the disease, it is a symptom. And like all stories, like all illnesses, there are complexities and variations uniquely experienced and told by each who hears, each who suffers. As I strain (mostly futilely) to shift into non-dual mind, I know it must relate to the erroneous belief to which we cling, and from which we think and act: that we are separate from one another. That we have something to defend. It must correspond directly to the fact that we have lost sight of the truth that we are all victim and perpetrator, accuser and accused, right and wrong. And so the question- the challenge- is how do we return to oneness? How do we get from the brokenness where we stand to wholeness, as individuals and as a collective?
It feels like we are in a nightmarish, irreversible down-spiral. And yet, I know this cannot be true. For as much as darkness descends, the light rises. For all the energies of rage, blame and judgement, there is equal potentiality for hope, inspiration and healing. But we get to choose. And choose we must. How will you use your time, energy, money, words and work today? Will it be to feed the fire of hatred or to create positive change in your mind, in your life, in your world? How can we choose respect and civility even as we search for truth (personal and universal)? Is it possible to bridge more gaps than we burn as we summon the courage the take the actions to which we are called?
We each must decide what effort we will make to return to wholeness, to be truly free. I don’t know exactly how to get there, so I will continue to do what is right in front of me: I will write, speak, listen, read, and I will practice until I do.
Together, we will rise. We must.