Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections On Being A Part of The Problem or A Part of The Solution

I ended 2014 with a commitment to being a part of the solution in 2015, regarding the intensifying race, police and community relations problems such as had just recently, then, escalated, in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.   I knew that my organization, New Horizons, and myself had the expertise to help in some ways so certainly we should.

Looking back on that time, now, I can see that the community successes that built for New Horizons and myself out of that intent must have had a lot to do with my motivation seeming to be of Divine guidance, infused with love as well as practicality. 

You can almost always trust Source to get you where you should be if your motives are pure.

Now here it is again, New Year’s Eve, and I am, as usual, drawn to taking one of those periodic personal inventories that help make the cycles of my life so profoundly meaningful and beautiful.

So what do I see, especially at this point in time when eye surgery has made the very ordinary, though not so ordinary act of “seeing” so profound for me?

I think the article I just posted on the  “Year End Assessment” of New Horizons Coffee House Conversations Project sums up where I stand today, professionally, especially the latter parts where I summarize the work yet to be done in the days ahead, if true social change is to be achieved.

But that doesn’t say anything much about what all this means to me, personally. Or what that which I laid out there indicates about my personal commitments for the year ahead.  

2016 promises to be a big one for me; in some ways that I can imagine and in other ways completely unimaginable. And, then, of course, who can truly read the future? Not I for sure. Yet we do have some inklings about what lies ahead, if we are wise, born of experience, and if we trust our intuition and instincts.

What I imagine lying ahead for me, personally, and for which I feel trepidation though I know I will lean into it rather than my old way of pulling back from the adventure – is – that I will more and more pick up my old ways of being “Game Master of the Truth or Dare Game.” But do that in very new ways; most particularly in mainstream community life.

The challenge for me is enormous. Speaking truth to power is the emblem of our "Game". But doing this in a protected, counterculture, therapeutic community such as "old" New Horizons had established was so much easier. At least there the rules for proceeding were agreed upon and abided by everyone or else you lost your membership.

The mainstream, on the other hand, can be so much more vicious. There are almost no agreed upon practices or ground rules for effectively dealing with the "subtle violence" that proliferates in epidemic proportions, day-to-day, out of the discounting, denial and lies of our culutre. A total free-for-all exists and it can be emotionally, psychologically -- and -- even physically deadly such as driving teens to suicide from tauntings and hurtful internet exposures. 

Subtle violence is far from subtle, especially when you are the target!

Being judged by others for speaking truth to power – and – then punished by ostracism, for example, is also a high cost that I, like most others, experience from time to time. It hurts, no matter how adept you become at managing the assaults. And, I have not yet developed a tough enough skin to be able to always respond with grace to such hurtfulness while both holding my ground with respect for who I know me to be as I, also, lean in to others, seeking common ground.

That is if the others would have the courage and commitment to seek common ground with me rather than polarize, separate and retaliate for hurts they might feel at my hands but not yet have the skill and experience that I (and New Horizons) do to heal such woundings.

Oh dear, the conflict potential is so painful and scary; so scary for me I almost want to run for cover, especially as so few truly know, through experience, the snags to synergy way, the pathway to awe.

But I’m gonna do it anyway; speak truth to power, keep reaching for dialogue over debate, stay focused on learning rather than defending and head for awe  -- even if it gets me in trouble and hurts on the way (and I do it imperfectly)!

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