I'm angry and I need to rant. Trigger warning. I give myself full permission to speak from this place within myself without judgment or shame. I invite you to be with the discomfort it may bring up for you in the process of reading this.
The Australian fires, assisination of Iran's Qassem Soleimani, and attack on unceded and sovereign Wet’suwet’en lands have me rattled. They should. There is so much pain, despair, suffering and violence in this world. There is so much need, and yet at the same time there is so much indifference, complicity, apathy and division. The heteropatriarchal, settler colonial system we were born into is designed for overwhelm. We are not meant to thrive in this context of the overculture’s consumer machine unless we compete and push each other down on our way to the top (and even then it’s not true thriving if it’s not shared). It is designed for factionalism so that the power we have as a collective is compromised. We have forgotten who we are and what we’re made off. Our spines have become weakened in our shared loss of meaningful relations. We do not look to each other as allies because all we can see are potential threats. We learn not to care and not to dream in the process of indoctrination.
We are so focused on ourselves, on getting ahead and on having what we want without a thought for the impacts it has on people and lands just out of view. We are made ignorant, shallow and the price to pay is beyond what we can fathom. We turn a blind eye, shrug our shoulders and carry on business as usual. It seems we are inundated by devastating news. Everything appears to be so bleak and hopeless as we consume what the overculture has to feed us. We are left anemic, dumbstruck, confused, concerned and fearful after we learn about recent shootings, children caged at borders, parents separated from their children, oil spills in sacred waters, resource extraction projects that threaten lands, indigenous lifeways and future generations, the criminalization of defending territories, the increasing loss of plant, insect, bird and mammal species, the decimation of ecosystems (the list goes on), all in the name of greed, power and profit. All of this goes on as we all do our best to get through the day, to pay the bills and put food on the table. So many of us are just trying to get by, trying to survive.
We yearn for freedom and yet we feel trapped. So we work harder, move faster and forget to breathe. At the end of the day we feel depleted and all we want to do is numb out. I don’t blame you. Anything not to feel the discomfort of the times we are living in and the ways we have been made to feel small and helpless. Enter distracting substance of choice. TV, computer, gaming, drinking, smoking, shopping, the list goes on. We are spending up to 12 hours a day in front of screens and wonder why we feel more lonely than ever before, disconnected from a sense of place, purpose and belonging. We don’t know our neighbors anymore and it’s becoming harder to make time for the people who matter most to us. We are drowning in addictions, obsessed with self image, afraid of dying… all because we do not know how to truly live. We are production focused, achievement-oriented and somehow... it’s never enough. There is so much dissatisfaction in our lives and we wonder why. We are lost.
We must find our way back to ourselves and to each other. We must find our way back to the earth. We must remember why we are here.
It is up to us to make meaning of our lives and to manifest the dreams we carry in our hearts. We must become the people we need to be in order to live a different kind of life. One that is worth living. There is work to be done. It’s not easy being fully alive in these times but these are the times in which we live. This is what spiritual initiation feels like. Can’t you see that we’re fading? The color in our cheeks are draining? When was the last time you came out from hiding? We have to wake up.
Things are not going to get better unless we get better. We have to choose the next step. We have to believe WE deserve better, that WE deserve more AND that it is WORTH fighting for. It’s worth doing the thing that scares us most. It’s worth giving all that we have to creating a life that is rich and vibrant and creative and juicy. As Einstein aptly put it, "The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation." We have to be willing to confront the reality in which we are living. We must be willing to have the tough conversations. We must be willing to get uncomfortable and we MUST be willing to listen and unlearn. We cannot go on pretending like everything is just fine, when It’s not.
I hate to be the one to say it, but from what I can tell it’s mostly white folks who don’t want to change. I know I know, generalizations are never fair. Generalizations never capture the whole truth… and I get that. But the culture of white supremacy which is perpetuating the machine of colonial, racial capitalism is bland and boring and makes me want to puke. And when I say whiteness, I’m not saying that being white is a bad or that all white folks should go to hell. Not at all. Actually quite the opposite. I believe that white folks have an incredibly powerful role to play in the movement toward liberation for all and that unresolved shame and defensiveness is simply getting in the way of that.
That's why educating ourselves around whiteness is SO important, because the moment someone starts talking about it, white folks get all up in arms because they feel attacked and triggered and shut down (aka. white fragility). In fact, working against one’s own fragility is a necessary part of white anti-racist work. It’s one of the first steps. I’d recommend reading White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism written by The New York Times bestselling author Robin DiAngelo.
Trust me, it’s taken me a long time to fully love who I am and embrace the fact that I am white AF. That doesn’t mean I embrace whiteness as a social/cultural construct. What it does mean is that I have to be actively working to dismantle it in my life by being accountable to the movements for collective liberation. I see how settler colonial, white supremacy is wreaking havoc across the planet. I see how entitled white folks are to the lands that they occupy, the access they have to education and resources made possible by the exploitative pursuits of industrial, racial capitalism, how convenient it is that white folks have the perverted privilege not to be accountable to BIPOC. Solidarity is optional for white folks and that’s a problem.
I am not in denial of our violent, genocidal history and I acknowledge the role my ancestors played in the collective European effort to subordinate and kill BIPOC for the sake of their own gains. The ramifications of a nation state built on the backs of african slaves, desecrated lands and indigenous bodies can be felt deep within our bones. Western culture (white-settler heteronormative patriarchy) is devoid of authentic meaning and is predicated on a history of violence and bloodshed. The history of attempted erasure of indigenous culture and the enslavement of people of color lives in our DNA. We carry this legacy in our bones whether we want to admit it or not. We can’t outrun this. The denial of our own suffering has stripped away the conditions for life giving relationality. All life systems are beginning to whither as we bear witness to what’s emerging now.
I get that some people are going to read this and feel totally turned off and that’s okay. This isn’t for you. This is more for me than anyone else. You are entitled to your own opinions, even your own opinions about me. I’m just here speaking my truth because that feel important right now. And if you're still reading this, kudos to you for sticking to it. I appreciate you holding space for my rage.