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October 24, 2011

Beloved Community

As I sit reflecting upon the gift of being able to participate in the most recent convening of the MEV cohort, I am overcome with emotions which most often express themselves as tears. It has not been an uncommon experience for me to come to tears. In fact this was almost an everyday experience of mine when I was growing up. Most often those tears were shed alone, hidden from others. They were tears of shame, of fear, from a sense of feeling overwhelmed. And there has been a period in my life where I denied my tears, held them back, as a piece of my resistance. I would not let others see how I hurt, how they hurt me. I did not want anyone to know the extent of my vulnerability, what I perceived as my weakness.

I embraced anger, clung to it. It was my friend, my shield, my protector. It helped me get through the loss of self, of family, of friends, of innocence, of culture…of my spirit. I could not see at that time that as it kept me alive, helped me move in and through the darkness, it was also killing me. Anger, was killing the loving, open, authentic, powerful, cultural being that I was dreamed to be from time immemorial. As I (and you), am the collection, the connection, the vessel in which the breath of the ancestors, the breath of the ancient, the breath of the divine coalesce.

Anger, and anger’s companions of guilt and shame were erasing the ancestral connection to my ability to name me and claim my space, my power. But it was more than this it was a strategic and heinous genocide that spread across oceans, spread across generations, hijacking the consciousness of humanity, masterminded by the Culture of Violence. Whose legacy has been the fragmentation of the spirit of all of us whether we choose to acknowledge this or not. We see it in the manifestation of war, abuse, suicide, substance abuse, corporate greed, the inability to hold space for multiple worldviews, the institutionalization of oppression. How do we uproot the foundation of this country we love and embrace but that is slowly killing us and our Mother, the Earth? How do we uproot the Culture of Violence?

I go back to the ancient knowledge of the ancestors. It comes to what I (YOU) choose to feed, the negative or the positive. It is about healing. It is about the re-claiming and replanting ourselves in the Culture of Peace. It is about letting go and embracing Love, to re-learn how to Love, to feed Love, to grow Love, to be generous with Love to others but most important to self. It is about stepping into our power from a space rooted in spirit. It is about liberating the consciousness of humanity.

Our second convening focused in on leadership, our own leadership and the leadership of the Movement. We were given the definition that Leadership is the ability to inspire and align others to successfully achieve a common goal. In our earlier visioning of the world we wish to live we co-created the image you see below.

Graphic recording of a Vision Wheel from MEV Cohort 1

We came to call this vision the Beloved Community. What stood out for me was that we saw a space in which everyone has a role and everyone is valued. For me this means that all of us, those in this cohort, you reading this, the young and the old, men and women, ordinary peoples, are Leaders in the co-creation of the Movement of Beloved Communities rooted in the Culture of Peace. We all have gifts and talents and purpose to bring to the Movement. In the act of moving toward Beloved Communities rooted in the Culture of Peace, we naturally move away from a place that allows violence to exist.

These tears that come almost daily when I gather with my cohort family are different from the tears I described earlier. These tears are of happiness. They come from being touched by a power of transformation. These tears come from my heart, my soul. From a sense of fullness, a sense of witnessing Spirit. They come from a sense of coming home, of returning, of dreams fulfilled and the manifestation of Prayers.

Art by lizar_tistry