Awaken And Dare

Her voice comes to me in a dream.

“You are dreaming,” she says. “Awaken and dare.”

Dare what? I wonder.

“When you awaken, there will be no need to ask.” she replies and vanishes from my sleeping mind.

…Only to return the next day as I unconsciously paint her into being as an ancient Egyptian goddess exhorting me to awaken.

Where did you come from, I wonder. What message do you carry?

I go in search of answers — because heck, good questions evoke curiosity. And not feeding my curiosity with searching for answers leaves my head brain way too full of pesky questions roaming around looking for places to upset my peace of mind.

I start with “What does seeing an ancient Egyptian goddess in my dream mean?

Dr. Google has many answers. One source states:

“A dream featuring Egypt is believed to represent the potential for change in your life.”

The wise woman within whispers lovingly, “To change the world around you, you must first create change within.”

Yesterday, I read a post by a writer I respect talking about his white privilege. He wrote that he was willing to revoke it in favour of simply being human.

It is not that easy.

My privilege is intricately entwined with how I live my life. How I think. What I do. Where I go. How I am in the world. It is embedded in everything that made me, me.

Privilege is not a thought. It is not a feeling. It is not a choice. It is integral to my life. I cannot discard it or erase it. Being born a white female, ancient, culturally codified privilege of what it means to be white in this world were invoked as my birthright.

My parents worked hard to instill in all four of their children the belief that we are all created equal. We are all deserving of being treated fairly, with kindness, compassion, honesty, respect. And we must always do our utmost to uphold those values and principles.

I do my best, everyday, to live by what my parents taught me about human worth.

And still, I cannot revoke my privilege. Nor can I say that my privilege didn’t help me on my journey. Just because I wasn’t racist, or I didn’t discriminate against others doesn’t mean I don’t use my privilege to my advantage. I naturally do. It is visibly part of me. Unfortunately, what is often to my advantage can create disadvantage for others when they do not have the same access or right to what I have.

It also means, that I can’t hold up all the work I’ve done for vulnerable people, the work I’ve done to create spaces for social justice and change to happen, as a testament as to how I am not racist. My work is a reflection of my belief in humanity, our human condition and connection. It is not about my being or not being racist. The fact is, that work was made easier because of my privilege. Everything I’ve done in my life has been made easier because I was born with the skin colour I have that lets me pass through life with relative ease.

Even in my darkest times, my privilege gave me an advantage. I was believed by the police when I finally spoke up. I gained access to supports I needed without jumping through additional hoops of having to verify my worthiness to those supports. Often, those who are racialized or ‘otherized’ must jump through hoops simply because they are forced to prove their worth first, before gaining access to what they need.

And so, this morning, heeding the call to DARE, I wrote to the individual whose comments about revoking his privilege caused me unease. ” I can’t change the colour of my skin and I fear that suggesting I am willing to revoke my privilege, to those who have experienced the indignities and inhumanity that comes with the different colour of their skin or circumstances in life, could risk minimizing their trauma, pain and reality.”

I wouldn’t have done that in the past.

I would have read the words they wrote, felt the unease, shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

Now I dare.

It is time we all dare to challenge one another. Sure, we’ll sometimes get things wrong. We’ll mess up. But, messing up is part of growth.

Doing nothing. Not challenging ourselves and one another will continue to mess up the lives of more, and ultimately, the world and all of humanity will pay the price for the mess we’ve created with our silence.

Namaste.

Spoken and Unspoken

Words shimmer on the edges of my mind flowing endlessly like the river. Words that provoke and tempt and tease me into awakening to the beauty of my world. Words that fall mindlessly to the page, tumbling out in joyful abandon, littering the lines with fat, plump consonants, juicy rich vowels and punctuation ripe with possibility.

I let the words have their way. Give them room to appear upon the page in all their gleeful disarray. Pushing, prodding I tease them into order, searching for value in every letter, every phrase.

I am a woman of words. Of visual imagery all wrapped up in spoken symbols uttered into the void of possibility that exists all around me.

I am a woman of silence. Of quiet thoughts left unspoken, expressed in hands and eyes and body movements and simple gestures that speak to what is on my mind, what pains me, awakens me, touches me, moves me, disturbs me, pleases me.

I am a woman of words spoken and unspoken. Of hidden meanings clustered behind a single word and open dialogue where ideas flow freely into pathways to truth and beauty creating light that illuminates the way to know and feel and embrace and be connected. My words to your words. My heart to your heart.

I am my truth, spoken or unspoken. I am the words I speak, the words I think and leave behind hidden in silence. I am the words I leave behind when I have spoken.

I am my words creating better, creating hope, belonging, understanding. I am my words of destruction, creating distance, anger, separation. Pain.

I am the words I employ in every spoken utterance, in every unspoken truth. I am my truth in all its shining light and painful darkness.

Sometimes, I throw my words around without thought. I must use my words wisely. Kindly. Thoughtfully. I am my words spoken and unspoken.

Unspoken

Silence waits in the space
between
two lovers
separated
torn apart
with words unspoken.

Silence breathes opening up the space
between
two lovers
joined
pulled together
by words unspoken.

Silence speaks within the space
between
two lovers
entwined
bodies enmeshed
in words unspoken.

__________________________________________________

Some mornings words are meant to be played with, coaxed and teased or let flow freely.

This was one of those morning.

Doing the hard

It began with the effortless. Have coffee with a young man, Des, who inspired by my TEDxCalgary talk in November, wanted to chat about volunteering and making a difference. Chatting with Des I felt awed by his commitment to volunteering, and to creating opportunities to raise funds for the charities he supports. And, I came away with a great idea for my daughters and I to make a difference together (more on that at another date!)

Meeting with Des I was reminded — giving is receiving

An hour of my time and one green tea latte later and I came away excited about how powerful we are as human beings to create positive change in the world.

The hard didn’t come until later. A conversation with a cohort lead to confirmation of comments someone else is making that cast a negative light on something I was involved with. I was hurt. Angry. Saddened. Confused. And when I’m confused, my victim’s voice gets active… What’s in it for them to attempt to disparage me? Why do they…? Why can’t they…? In my victim’s place I put my focus on ‘them’ and take it off where it belongs — on what I’m doing, thinking, saying.

I had an option. Let those thoughts eat away at my peace of mind. Let myself become embroiled in, ‘how could they’, ‘well I never’, “wait ’til I get even’ thinking, or breathe deeply and consciously focus my thinking on creating what I want more of in this world — peace, harmony, love, joy.

It wasn’t easy. I wanted to lash out. To stamp my feet and scream about the injustice, not to mention wrongness, of what is being said. But, to do that would undermine my integrity. It would create disharmony  in my world, and thus, send out ripples of discord to the world around me.

And I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to create shockwaves of unease. I want to create ripples of kindness.

And so I did the only thing I knew I could to make a difference within me. I meditated and held this  situation in healing light.

What others do is never about me. What I do is about me. And I cannot do my best when I am focused on what other’s are doing. I can only do my best when I focus on me and accept, my best is good enough.

Fighting fire with fire only engulfs me in the flames. Healing torched ground takes tender loving care and so, I opted to cast light on the darkness, to shed love on the pain. I feel better when I put my energy on creating a world of difference within me. A difference that I intend to let ripple out in waves of kindness as I move through my day.

Making a difference isn’t about what I do. It’s about the choices I make to create a world of difference in and around me. And sometimes, that requires my letting go of the easy and doing ‘the hard’.