Today I want to spend some time reflecting on openness and peace. I have been re-reading a keynote address by one of my true benefactors in this life--K. Louise Schmidt, author of Transforming Abuse: Non-violent resistance and recovery (New Society; now out of print, sadly--try the library or Amazon). It has been an honour and blessing to work with K.--most of what I know about living peacefully, about the practices of an open heart, I have learned from her.
Here are a few little snippets from the keynote:
"When we forget the wish for unwounded connection and the beauty of harmless possibility that waits in each of us--no matter our circumstances, then our pain will often begin to impoverish us rather than be a source of outrage, insight and transformation. To be free of destructive suffering requires, in part, that we understand our own possibility. Possibility is indestructable. Yet possibility is only an idea if it lacks energy, movement and purpose. The possibility of nonviolence in my life, for an unwounded connection to the world, becomes more tangible when I not only define what I am against in my life, but more powerfully, what I am for."
"...Each living act that opens the prevailing definition of relationship as property and rewrites it as harmless, fluid, and unfixed process. A subversive solidarity of love that surprises through its grace and tenacity by daily embodying creative expressions of difference, wholeness, and balance.
"I am talking about a conspiracy of love that cannot be bought, controlled or regulated. With each other, between our closest co-worker or friend this calls for a boundless openess. It is learning by heart the potential of an undivided self. Can we begin again and again by looking for a spaciousness of self wherever we can find it? That spaciousness of heart which dissolves the enemy-based consciousness internalized in our own political movement?"
Obviously there is a lot more woven around and between these words...but, wow, eh?
The act of choosing what we are powerfully for. I think this is such an important idea. We can waste so much energy and opportunity by engaging with all that is wrong. A primary practice of non-violence is non-engagement, but we so often forget this in our discussions, political actions, and protests. I've often wondered throughout the BC Liberals term of office, how much better off we would have been if we had held think-ins and support-ins and created action cells to ensure the well-being of our neighbours--if we had done all this not on the doorstep of the Legislature, but at a location of power and sacredness--a location that spoke of their utter irrelevance--(because that is certainly how they saw us). I could never be fully convinced that shouting and waving signs at people who absolutely KNEW they were right and who sat comfortably behind locked doors and barricades and who had no reason (other than upholding those silly old basic tenets of democracy and all) to care to listen...was a fruitful endeavour or use of time. I guess I have never been very comfortable with protests...they seem too closely connected to the trappings of war culture. Marching, shouting, fist waving. And because of this they are so often and easily subverted to violence by outside agents or to misrepresentation by media. I had these daydreams of a sea of tents springing up on the fields of Beacon Hill Park, packed with thousands of people all talking about how to create a better quality of life for all BC'ers--with space for children and meditation/prayer and councils of elders and cultural celebration. Four years ago I didn't know how to make this happen. I think I might know now....
A conspiracy of love...Ever since I learned that the roots of the word conspiracy mean 'to breathe together', it has been one of my favourites. Breathing together with love...there is such softness and deepness, rawness and vulnerability, power and possibility in this idea. What could we do if we could come together, undefended, undivided, and breathe into the place of love? That expansive place of heart-spirit where courage and miracles are born?
Words I am powerfully for: