Greetings lovely one,
What’s next? It’s a question a lot of people have been asking me these past few months. I’ve admittedly asked this of others too. We tend to pose this question after making a perceivable move to cross off an item on an ever-growing life list of to-dos. Very rarely do we give ourselves full permission to sit with our accomplishments and deeply process the intense emotions our bodies contain on the journey to get from here to there. I’ve felt many different emotions and am still learning to sift through, name, and integrate them. I’d long suppressed many parts of myself for survival – both intentionally and subconsciously – but once I became aware of that suppression, I began a lifelong journey to recover and rediscover the inherent worth of my embodied, divine self. I began to experience, in real time, a 12-Step promise that said: with my Higher Power’s help, I’d learn to expect the best and get it.
Yet, in the midst of everyday beautiful encounters, we seemingly crash into events that cause grief and inner turmoil. And it makes me wonder … do we even give ourselves the dedicated space to cry in the midst of triumph? Not tears of joy (though those are welcomed too), but tears that speak of all the anguish we’ve had to hold in so we could keep it together long enough to make it through the hard nights of our lives.
In the midst of our crossing over one more step, checking off one more task, meeting one more goal, the news reminds us that for someone, somewhere – that one more step, one more task, email before the sun rose, phone call taken during a meal that could have been eaten at a table of companionship … these actions were distractions away from that one last hug, one last tickle under the chin, one last smell of the familiar bubble bath on the soft flesh of a precious one. We feel obligated to keep going, keep checking items off the list lest we get left behind. And it’s been true that we’ve had to keep it moving to stay alive.
So we do the same ol’ same ol’, not because we don’t care, no, but because we live in a society that demands our functionality rather than our wholeness and the myriad of emotions that come with being a whole person.
It’s not an easy pill to swallow in the grand scheme of things. Those of us who already struggle with past traumas stuff our range of feelings to ice over our sense of powerlessness. Some become ambivalent to excuse inaction. Some hope that someone else fixes it … whatever “it” is so long as “fixed” reestablishes a sense of safety and control. And so the aggrieved ask, “What’s next?” The “V” for vengeance or vendetta? Law and order? A war waging savior to turn the tides and march us to victory? We look for the hailstorm, the earthquake, the thunderbolts and lighting. We look to the ballots, the pulpits, the secret societies and their online spaces to vent frustrations. But what about the still small voice inviting us to be present, to listen, to process our grief, to hold space for our anger and sadness, maybe even feelings of guilt and shame.
It’s hard to accept the whisper and too easy to miss the subversive when we want drastic and massive change. We want the champion who is stronger, louder, forceful, focused on the what’s next before we deal with what it means to be a vulnerable human in the here and now. And now isn’t always the right time to have all the right answers. Now doesn’t always have the most articulate and motivating words to help us get to the next. Sometimes right now looks like us in all our glorious “whoops!” “ma bad” “I didn’t mean it like that” and “lemme try this again.” Sometimes right now looks like waiting until the temper is cool so we can see the forest for the trees. Sometimes it looks like refusing to dance with restless partners who don’t appreciate your slow steps and your plans to simply enjoy the dance as best you can.
Sometimes the now is taking it all in – the individual accomplishment that took generational survival and collective support; the call to action by and for real people with pulses and heart beats on the community; the sound of pain releasing itself in a communal healing space; the consent we give in order to feel a sense of the sacred arise in our movements; our planted feet, our determined hearts and the company we keep with the uncertainty of whether or not tomorrow’s reality will be the things of hopes and dreams.
Sometimes, it’s not about what’s next, but reflecting on and expressing our deepest questions and concerns about what’s happening and what’s going on.
“Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way to bring some understanding here today.”
Sometimes, it’s fully realizing that we are beloved in our pause, our pondering, our patience waning with the harmful systems that try to convince us otherwise in policies that maintain the position of the status quo. Sometimes, it does start with a collective, conscious “thought” that things just ain’t right before our hearts and feet move toward change-making without being dismissive of the “prayers” for guidance, healing, and strength to endure the struggle. This, so we don’t become what we despise and want to dismantle the most.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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Friend and Fellow Love Agent, Crystal Meisaan Chan is hosting a very timely virtual retreat on June 11th just for educators and those who work in education (TA’s, librarians, and general staff) who are exhausted and need gentle space to process grief. Check it out!
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Until next time, Love Agents!