Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shattering Numbness

"Find your voice.  I hear too many echoes," said Cornel West on Friday evening.  I'm certain he's said this line many times before.  But I do think he's right in repeating it. Maybe we all should. What I know to be true, and I'm discovering, slowly but surely, is that I have a voice that may be returning, and I sure wish each and every one of us would find ours.

Tonight's yoga theme addressed the idea that comfort is found through discomfort...and this was not a new idea to me, but one that I do need to be reminded of a time (or two or three) as I move forward.   And I'm realizing over and over the value of being "unsettled" as human beings.  I've sought out work and life experiences that unsettle me--whether it's dropping myself into a new culture or space, or trying on a new professional role.  And each one has left me alternately invigorated and exhausted, but with something new within me that allows me to continue to question and grow.  The only space I (naively) thought was going to be my anchor was in home and partnership.  Letting go of this has also allowed me to see relationships (romantic partnerships) for what they are--opportunities for growth, with no more certainty than anything else.  And I like that.  (Lest my more romantic friends be saddened by this comment, please know that this will be constantly in revision as is everything else in my world.)

But there are truths that I don't think we should deny:  that we have developed into a society that is not critical enough, that we have become "well adjusted to injustice and adapted to indifference" (Dr. West, 4/1/2011); that we, in our desire to be perceived in certain ways, have lost our capacity for empathy or understanding; that we have listened to the same voices, over and over, feed us prescribed lines for what is "right" or "true."  These ideas pervade not only our society, but our individual lives and beliefs ("weapons of mass distraction").

As an educator, as a person who has devoted her life's work to public education, it is daunting to think that there is so much to fight against--and for.

It is amazing when all facets of your life point you in the same direction:  Wake the fuck up.  Feel.  Be lovestruck.  Shed a few tears.  Seek out poetry and music that will shatter and rebuild you.  Find the discomfort.  Acknowledge that when you don't let the suffering speak, there is no truth.

I'm intertwining the personal and societal here, but I don't think societal change can occur unless we deal with our own person-hood (and I'm not talking corporate here).

"Your worldview rests on pudding." (Thank you, yet again, Dr. West.)  Ready to sink into and swim through.  I'm not optimistic.  I'm hopeful.  This takes a long view.  I've got the time.  I've never been one for the quick fix (the quick escape, maybe...but never have believed in a quick fix).

And I love these moments when there is fire and urgency.  And that it becomes apparent.


  1. I love how you describe romantic relationships. They're no more permanent than any other relationship but we attach permanence to them! Life is all about change--and yes, change is a great opportunity for growth. Thanks for writing this. Love it!