Monday, April 18, 2005

gratitude and pain

I am feeling so grateful tonight.

I had the blessing of another wonderful conversation with Chris Corrigan.

I am grateful the weather has finally turned mild and sunny in this most wonderful corner of the world. (I do love the gentle 'soft' days of rain as the Irish say...but, reptile that I am (Year of the Snake and all) I do crave the sun. ;))

I am grateful that my children are healthy and that I got to stand in the doorway and watch them luxuriate in the golden beams coming through window--stretching like cats--and remember what it felt like to do that. Do you remember that feeling?

I am grateful for the technology that is letting me connect to a remarkable community of people--and to experience for the first time what it feels like to be understood. Belonging is an exquisite feeling.

I am grateful for the community of friends and family who surround me daily with their love and support and who gift me with the opportunity to love and support them.

I am grateful for the circumstances (as painful as they were) that allowed me to start down a path of work that I love, that excites, challenges and renews me.

Alongside all of this...

I am reading Chellis Glendinning's book "Off The Map: An expedition deep into Empire and the Global Economy". She dives down into the depths of colonialism/imperialism and looks at it from the colonizer's perspective. In her own words:

"I am here to speak about the journeys of those of us who are riding in the coach...I am here to talk about the relentless mappings that isolate us from our own humanity. I am here to talk about empire.

"...the problem of locating ourselves is a problem caused by trauma and dislocation: in our case, millenia-old dislocations of sight and care that are impressed upon us as children, that are validated by the daily ways of our world, that we carry like secret burdens every day of our lives. When called upon to locate our place on the map of empire, we immediately spill over with all the reasons why not to locate ourselves on the map. It would hurt, we protest. The iron-heavy veils are too ponderous to lift. The histories are too long forgotten to excavate, the confessions too excruciating to make, the revelations too disembodied to draw forth.

"...if we are to become fully human, to embark upon these liftings and these excavations, these confessions and these revelations, is to lay the ground for meeting the other people of this Earth and together, at last, to join in charting a future for us all."

Chellis writes with gentleness punctuated by moments of stunning pain. She is writing about my people. The daily fodder of Empire that not only consumes everything in its view, but also its own.

My grandmother is old enough to remember (fondly) being "in service". My father remembers losing his father at a young age to the poisons that were a daily part of his job--and the legacy of bleak poverty that his death left.

As I read of the daily horrors that industrialization/empire birthed, I experience deep pain. It is the pain, and the threadlike path of that pain, that I have been following in my pursuit of the deep roots of colonialism in my own psyche.

So I am grateful to that pain. And as Pema Chodron advises, I am leaning into it. I am grateful to Chellis Glendinning for helping me to feel it and for pushing the darkness back ahead of me.

No comments: