resolving

9 01 2009

I have far too many drafts of posts waiting in the queue, and yet now they don’t seem quite as timely.

I’m feeling pensive and reflective tonight, and came upon this post by ms. bliss honeycomb. In it, she touches on a lot of things, most of which I’m not comenting on here. It’s worth reading though, so go check it out. It was this sentence that caught my attention, though:

“[H]ow do we become more fully, vibrantly human as individuals while collectively learning and practicing how others should be treated, particularly in love/loving?”

I’ve had so many conversations as of late (today, this week, in the last few months, over the last years – it seems to repeat) about that tension. About the tensions so often inscribed in the work we do – the tensions between caring for others and caring for ourselves.

Of all things, I’m reminded of mixing and pouring concrete. Of the hours I’ve spent with a hoe and a large trough, under the fierce Tecate and Rosarito sun, mixing concrete. Many days, I’d reach a gloved hand into a large back of fiberglass strands. Thin, sharp, wistful, and powerful – I’d sprinkle them throughout the foundation. They are not always the most important part, and yet they persist. They help give the concrete its particular form; serve to resist change or fissures.

I feel like the tensions in our work are often like those shards of fiberglass; sprinkled into the foundations of the structures of our work – providing a sense of support, and yet resisting change, resisting cracks, keeping us stagnant and stationary. The message we send and receive so often makes it feel like it is wrong to work on behalf of others without becoming a hero, or a martyr. As though our commitment to the cause, our dedication to the mission, is judged by our self-sacrifice. As though being whole, vibrant human beings must come at the expense of investing in our communities to make them whole and vibrant.

And yet… how can we build vibrant, sustainable communities, if they are to be filled with burnt-out, sacrificed, martyred individuals? What kind of disconnect must we perceive between our selves and our communities in order to believe that our well-being is not part and parcel of the well-being of the collective?

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions. It has always felt rather contrived, at least for me. But I was talking to a friend today who helped frame my thinking. He suggested, in this period of in-betweeneness, of liminality and uncertainty, and of disillusionment with so many of the structures and foundations within which I operate, that I allow myself to articulate a vision. Rather than demanding of myself, and my communities, to have it figured out now – that I pull together the world I imagine for myself, and work backward. He didn’t phrase it quite that way, but that’s what I took away from our conversation, at least.

So at the start of this year, I’m resolving to prioritize that vision. I’m resolving to let myself imagine the world, as it could be, and take small steps toward that vision every day. And I’m resolving that, within that world, I will exist as a whole, vibrant, thriving human – and so I will work toward that vision. I will do things every day that contribute to my own well-being and the well-being of the world; refusing to disconnect from my environment and my communities, refusing to stagnate, and refusing to isolate.

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