Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.
By Marcia Lee
Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m doing enough. With everything that is happening in our world, am I causing more harm but not doing enough or not doing the ‘right’ things with my time? I definitely needed to make that pumpkin bread this morning instead of calling people for the election or checking in on someone, right? Maybe…maybe not. But one thing that does give me hope is the reminder that: i will never be enough. No matter what I do, or not do, my contribution is not enough. However, our contribution, when we mix and flow together, each of us, in our small and large ways, we are enough. What I do or do not do, may not be the thing that changes the world, but if I do something and you do something, our somethings combined might, just might be enough. Thank you for doing your something to make a more just and compassionate world. I am grateful for you.
We begin by listening.
What is under the under
What is above the above
What is between the in breath and the out breath
This liminal space we are in
This not knowing.
What if we listen to what is between the words?
“The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it;
all we can describe is their appearance.
They were careful
as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Shapable as a block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Clear as a glass of water.
Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
until the right action arises by itself?
The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things.”
~tao te ching, chapter 15
Healing by Choice! is a women and gender non-conforming people of color collaboration based in Detroit. We believe that healing requires us to not just be in reaction to the present moment, but to heal our lineages. What do you deeply care about? In the aftermath of this election, how will you continue the thread of what you deeply care about in deeper and more committed ways?
As Sterling Toles says, “we must not only heal the suffering that oppression causes, but we must also heal the suffering that causes oppression.”
We do not have the answers. We might not even have the questions that we need. But we do have space for you. Let us not go into hiding nor react in a way where we forget about what we deeply care about. As Bayo Akomolafe says, “These times are urgent, so we need to slow down.” Let us move fast slowly. Take strong and deliberate action from the depth of our souls.
We will be offering in person and online healing gatherings after the election to listen deeply and clear our minds so that, when we take action, our actions are connected to our deepest yearnings, interdependent, and feed all of our souls. To get information on the gatherings, go to healingbychoicedetroit.com/events, like us on facebook or find us on instagram: healingbychoice
What is giving me hope today?
I will share with you what I did today, October 22nd.
8am: wake up with a baby tapping on my arm and smiling
8:30am: the baby screams and rocks with excitement at yogurt (from her grandma), apple sauce (made last year from the apples that grow at the church down the street), peanut butter (from our friends), and oats (from another friend)
9:30am: put the baby to sleep by singing to her: behold you beautiful one. I behold you, child of the earth and sun. Let my love wash over you. Let my love wash over you.
10:00am: receive a text from a friend checking in on how I am doing. I tell her that I’ve been feeling grey and wondering if what I am doing is enough, that being a mom and trying to do other things is hard. And that I wish I could do more, but 8:30pm really is bedtime.
10:30am: continue to feel defeated so I make pumpkin bread from the pumpkin that our friend gave us at the end of the week-long scavenger hunt that we planned for my partner’s birthday.
11am: baby poops in the pot! Yes! Potty training can really start at birth. Elimination communication for the win!
11:30am: eat together as a family.
1pm-6pm: time to work! Back-to-back meetings about healing justice work, a workshop to help people move their facilitation online turns into a meeting about a memorial we are planning for our friend Elandria Williams, turns into a check in session. People dying is hard. Grief is real. It changes over time, but it is still real. Leadership coaching-hearing about people gaining clarity about what they care about and standing up for themselves.
2pm: I receive a package in the mail from my friend Shreya. She sends me a sticker and shirt where she made the artwork and included a quote from our friend Sterling: She also sends me a post card that says: You are exactly where you need to be. You are brilliant. You are magical. You are always becoming… I cry a bit because this is amazing. Exactly what I needed today.
3pm: it’s a beautiful day out, so my partner says, let’s go to the water. We go to Belle Isle to look for driftwood for a Dia de Los Muertos altar that he’s making for our friend. He walks with the baby and I do my coaching calls on the Detroit River
6pm: Co-lead a Healing Justice Practice Space for Healing by Choice! And Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition’s EJ Summit. The gathering is an offering of space for people to explore practices and questions on Restoration and Healing. Here are some of the questions that our facilitators shared:
Amanda Hill: If we think of ourselves as an ecosystem:
- Are there any invasive thoughts or experiences you can remove from your life in order to recover spiritually and physically?
- What can you reintroduce into your experience in order to recover?
Janice Gates: What are your anchors? What brings you back to yourself when there is a storm? When it’s cloudy? When the water is choppy?
7pm: My partner brings me dinner while I’m in the session.
I will leave you with an Octavia Butler quote that Schantell brought into the HJPS space:
“Your teachers are all around you
All that you perceive
all that you experience
all that is given to you or taken from you
All that you love or hate, need, or fear will teach you if you learn.”
And the reminder that came to me from this day of up and down, beauty and sadness, joy and sorrow: I am enough. I will never do enough because the world needs more than just me. But, together, we can be enough. We just have to keep trying. Moment by moment, breath by breath. All I can do is what I can do. Let us be enough for each other and for the 7 generations who came before us the 7 generations that come after.
Oh! I forgot, other important aspects of the day: brush teeth, go to the bathroom, drink water, eat, nurse the baby every 2-3 hours for at least 15 minutes each time, and put the baby down for a nap 2-3 times in a day, and on the pot every hour… 🙂
~Marcia is a learner, seeker of beautiful questions, healer, spiritual being, wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend.