From the front page:
I was touched, in the conversation last class, to hear about how many of us were on some level besieged by this economy in an ongoing way.
It distressed me and at the same time, opened me to a deeper need for something more.
Something more than healing work that does not address what we are still against on a broader level, even as we work through our own personal trauma.
Something more than activism work that does not often make space for one’s own personal hurt, in relationship to trauma culture. Does not make space for this hurt that is shared in so many ways. At its best activism is just beginning to bring consciousness about trauma in as a support to the activism work, as opposed to with a deeper understanding of trauma culture itself.
We need, or at least I need something more.
In a recent conversation with my friend Marcella, the word that came up for this was regeneration. That word really resonated for me but what we call it is not the main issue. What matters is that there has got to be a way that sustains us through our inner work while we, at least as a community, also faces into the broader issues of trauma culture.
Can we build a practice that embodies all of this?
Can we build deeper relationship in the process of personal healing, that rebuilds community, while at the same time contributes to the breaking down of trauma culture.
It seems to me that the missing step might be the relational piece.
In regards to inner work, most often there is primarily one on one work or a community of co-participants built around the practice. But even in these places, where there is a community of co-participants eg in a yoga community, the relationship is most often limited to the shared practice as opposed to a conscious sharing of our lives on a fuller or deeper level.
In regards to activism there is usually more of an outer goal and only enough relationship to sustain that outer goal – no sense that relationship is part of the goal.
I have done some of this kind of relational work in the dreamwork community that I was a part of. We began to build what we called relationships of mutuality. This was primarily on the emotional level but there was also a taste and a possibility of going beyond that. It was amazing to build deep bonds and capacity to be in relationship, that was anchored in our own inner experience.
It was a transformative experience and in a lot of ways feels like the most radical work that I ever was a part of. It did in fact get past many of the splits that exists within our broader culture. The inner work became part of how we were in relationship and in that process we bagan to build a community that held a bigger vision for the world.
In that case the work was undermined by a kind of spiritual idealism and by the limitations of the hierarchy that tried to enforce that idealism.
But that idealism and the hierarchy that was part of that, is only needed if you do not believe in the power, that we each hold within ourselves. You do not need an ideal if what is most true is anchored within the core of who we each are.
We as a community don’t necessarily have specific common spiritual practices but maybe that is a gift. We don’t need to be all the same.
As my friend Marcella said to me, what is needed is a common life.
Any work being done in the context of an understanding of trauma culture and what it means to come back to the core of our own being, could be part of that common life.
There doesn’t have to be a dogma or a sameness.
We could instead honor the richness of our diversity and the ecological strength within a set of guiding principles. We could come back to our own gut capacity to be truly alive. To remember the energy of regeneration – that is at the belly of who we truly are.
Could we build a kind of social/cultural revolution rooted in regenerative relationship?
There is a movement growing right now called authentic relating. I love what I have learned about that so far because I feel like the first step beyond the inner work is building a new way to be in relationship.
We could be a part of that movement and add to it from a place of being rooted in an understanding of trauma culture and regeneration.
“Regenerative relating” could be a way to get under the divide between inner and outer. It could be something we do along with our inner work. It could be something we do as part of our activism. Or maybe something that transcends both.
With gratitude and respect,
April 4th, 2018
From Abenaki land
Also known as Vermont