BRIDGE the GAP
And for this, he was at least
paintings – AYAMPE
THE SUMMER OF 2007
THE REVEREND ROBERT WALKER
skating in the 21st century
Shaila Yovan Tenorio
paintings – DAHLIA
poem – THE MELTING POT
prose – VISION GETS HALFWAY ACROSS
PRIVILEGE & ENTITLEMENT
The following on Vision, Privilege & Entitlement is reflected from
Interspecies & Intersectional Justice Conference at The Whidbey Institute,
and Call of the Forest: Water Climate Spirit gathering,
Point Reyes Station, California
Already she is unrecognizable to herself; homogenized
what defined her in detail, like the limits of the seashore
and edges of life zones by elevation, precise
hexagons of her comb blurred, fixed is in motion
softened down and confused, readied to become. Her tongue
foreign to her speaks for the first time, translates
emotion to syllables to words
Single words with meaning together and apart, momentarily meaningless
Unrecognizable to herself but for this adaptation
some eternal character to be reformed when water holding her
heats just enough. Formless she rises to surface
in wait for some genius of hand to shape her
asking as she always does in the meltdown
What shall be kept to remember me by?
note: Oneness spins a benevolent light on the monoculture engulfing diversity. Differentiation is destroyed for a chance to reformulate something utterly new of the original, eternal. In the process of assimilation, like the melting of an infinitely detailed figure to uniform mass, the heritage of biological detail translated in diverse tongues, the language of birds and trees, rain and lightning gestates underground. Language, rooted, arises from communion. Slight variations in sound translate a certain experience. The word before all else and listening before the word.
VISION GETS at least HALFWAY ACROSS
Once there was a young man who from within the bounds of a United States inner city desert asked, "Where is the bridge from here to the rest of the world?" The young man's question took him far and at least halfway across that bridge because he imagined the bridge exists.
I want to say that humanity is as far along in the transition from communal desertion to communal fidelity as are individuals from imagining the transition is possible - that there is indeed a bridge from what has been to what will be. This bridge being, as always, what is. We are reminded to be creative, clever, spontaneous; free/wild.
When thoughts turn to mass species extinction, global climate change, and abrupt climate change, we can freeze with the question, Has this gone too far? We can also act according to our purist desire to appreciate ourselves and one another, and to help those in need, feeding and sheltering as many of all walks as possible. We can implement creative life-affirming practices regardless of when death will come and simply because joy is derived in helping others. This is happening. I imagine more individuals are engaged than are not engaged in community service. And as the number of helping hands grows, so does the degree of communal fidelity.
Uncertainty is the ground of being. We can look to the past for understanding, the present for purpose, and the future for the unknown. And we can be mindful with appreciation of all who make a body’s existence possible.
Dahlia is a retired milk cow who through the strength of friendship avoided slaughter and now lives in sanctuary on Whidbey Island.
PRIVILEGE & ENTITLEMENT
Among species, human beings are necessarily privileged. Whether that privilege is perceived and practiced as entitlement depends on the child's upbringing.
During Interspecies & Intersectional Justice Conference, Dr. A. Breeze Harper (Critical Diversity Solutions and Sistah Vegan Project) gave me different words with greater definition for entitlement: white fragility. White fragility, as Dr. Harper offers, is another word for narcissism, which spawns entitlement.
Just days before Dr. Harper’s presentation, during Call of the Forest: Water Climate Spirit gathering, Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Center) noted the common tendency is yet to work within the paradigm of rights - the right to water, the right to consume, the right to speak, the right to vote, the right to exist if simply because one does exist. This demand for rights yet supersedes a necessary transformation of individuals and whole systems that requires uprooting and resolving the deprived imprint that other individuals and the community exist to serve me alone. But who has the right to grant another their rights, why, and in service to what? Why would the motivation be to protect my right to free flowing healthy water rather than to protect free flowing healthy water’s right to exist? Thankfully, the latter worldview is being revived in popular law.
Ultimate misfortune in this proclaimation of rights is not so much the principle, rooted in the infant's basic and necessary reality, but in the person who has not outgrown the infant’s reality and struggles for and against an entity perceived to control fundamental rights of existence. This struggle is the struggle of a person deprived basic needs while not being given a chance to challenge the limits of his own power as a child - a child raised under rules born of insecurity, rules intended to keep him safe and secure.
Control fails the child because safety in one's environment is not determined by the safety of the environment, but by an inner compass guiding the child safely. This is not to say that the child is not to be informed of danger. This is to say that along with vital information, the child is ideally encouraged to trust his own instinct, to test his skills as well as the bounds of possibility.
A child raised under strict rule does not exercise the intuitive sense of safety and, so, does not fully develop into his own power unless he breaks free of control after the control has outgrown itself. This looks like rebellion to those who controlled him, those who themselves feel safe when controlled by another.
The take home from Call of the Forest: Water Climate Spirit gathering is do what needs to be done and do it NOW. Always, we have permission to care for one another and ensure communal vitality.
individualization and narcissim
There is narcissism in every wound. The process of individualization – separation from the mother - is the ultimate soul wound. Add to this countless traumas inflicted when the wound of individualization goes unrecognized and untended, there is little surprise that many human beings suffer loneliness – the affliction of a severed soul.
White people are no less wounded and are perhaps more deeply rooted in the wound than are people of color. This is apparent in how white people continue to destroy and enslave families and communities of color globally. There can be no greater act of loneliness than this. I write white people quite generally here, as I gather a relative few white people are restored to their indeiginous roots and liberated from the wound. From what I have seen of myself, the wound is festered deep. The emotional pain during the healing process is escrutiating as the mending requires digging in and clearing out the real and most painful loss.
The wound is an original and unavoidable severance from the mother. In the absence of conscious serverance and healing rights of passage, the wound grows with the person. While there is potential to heal this at any age, the healing is as painful as the years accumulated. The wound is fear; insecurity. And fear inflicts all harm as it demands control.
force and liberation
The child who is raised in a restrictive, controlled environment learns that force is necessary for safety. He is taught to control his environment, that which is actually out of his control because his environment consists of other entities driven by their own will to exist. His survival is founded then in forcing others to meet his needs while denying others free will. He has become entitlement. Unfortunately for him and everyone within his reach, any claim made by force eventually destroys itself as the foundation of community crumbles.
Denying myself or others free will limits the individual’s capacity to fulfill rightful roles and sustain oneself as part of the community. The use of force deprives the individual enjoyment, if fleeting, limits the community’s potential to thrive, and, in some cases, survive.
Whidbey Institute keeps chickens as part of the community garden. The chickens are kept for their eggs and their natural contribution to the garden cycle. The chickens are protected from eagles who would gladly consume them. Up until the Interspecies & Intersectional Justice Conference, the chickens at Whidbey Institute were confined to a narrow wire tunnel that ran the circumference of the garden. In her opening remarks, pattrice jones brought the chickens’ unjust circumstances to light. The gardeners at Whidbey Institute had previously only received praise for the set-up.
When I visited the chicken run, I thought perhaps this confinement harder on someone than confinement in a windowless structure. In the windowless structure, there is not abundance staring impoverishment in the face. How does impoverishment know itself without knowing what it is not? How is impoverishment defined?
The crew at Whidbey Institute responded graciously and immediately to the concerns, adding 1000 square feet of additional area and building a rotational grazing system for the chickens. This is how we improve ourselves and one another when we are invited to see something from another perspective. And my thoughts go to eagle, the one who hunts from above. As well as to wolf and all predators who bump up against the human practice of keeping other animals confined so that we can eat them as we exterminate these predators who eat other animals to survive while confining and enslaving none.
If anyone is slave in a system, everyone in that system is enslaved. Humans create a great deal of unnecessary work for themselves when they restrict and manipulate other species. Peace is everyone’s needs met in their own way and needs encompass much more than whole food, water, and air. Indeed, one’s survival depends as much, if not more, on giving and receiving affection. We are all dependent on others to meet our needs. And our thriving depends on the prioritization of communal needs with individual desires met accordingly. Then, coexistence is harmonized in every individual’s natural birth and death.
When the child surrenders to life’s harmony, he lives not in fear of death – his own or anyone else’s - but in fear of not living well. So, he enjoys himself and his circumstances no matter what while striving for circumstances that everyone may enjoy. He desires others their comforts. Yet, more, he desires for others this enjoyment he realizes in the fullness of his experience lived; peaks and valleys of feeling, and the somewhere that is nowhere in between. There may be walls surrounding him, yet he is neither confined nor defined.
rights & responsibilities
Rights versus Responsibilities ~ Toghestiy and Mel Bazil, Unceeded Gitxsan Wet’suwet’en Territories
RONA16 - Rights of Nature Tribunal and more Autumn 2016, Australia
Call of the Forest: Water Climate Spirit Point Reyes Station, California
Intersectional Justice: Toward a Whole-Earth Community The Whidbey Institute, Clinton, Washington
A. Breeze Harper, PhD, Critical Diversity Solutions & Sistah Vegan Project
Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees
Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center
pattrice jones, The Kerulos Center
Clinging to Certainties, Belonging to Joy
re: Near Term Human Extinction with Leli poem – Megan Hollingsworth, Kosmos Journal Online
Blindspot Think Tank - Climate Rescue
Personal as Ecological - The Yin Yang of Climate Crisis
recent Extinction Witness posts
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