“Ironically, God created our entire universe filled with paradox. Take quantum mechanics, for instance, and the strange little photon, which makes up the beams of light that stream down upon us in all its glory. It has properties of both a wave and a particle, which any good scientist will tell you is impossible, because they are mutually exclusive. But there it is anyway, dancing and sparkling and doing its thing. God sure is tricky.” - Moving From Either/Or to Both/And
This might offend some of my political connects.
This might leap from my chest to your neck. By neck I mean throat chakra because what I’m about to say is the latest lesson of this Eclipse season.
There’s been a light and dark show in the sky, across space and time (literally) since the last essay I shared. There were three Eclipses, six retrogrades, and a virtual cascade of other events on the ground and in the air that caused everyone to have hard-drive malfunctions.
Let’s try this again. We’ve had three eclipses and I’ve written about this for the third time now, including the following set of thoughts. Read the first and second round of thoughts before growing any further.
We’re back in the void again talking about disposability and how we keep using transformative justice but are missing the mark. How we keep using community, love and appreciation but the echo is starting to get louder. Our moves are getting messier, our missteps are wider, and the damage is deeper. We/our is active throughout this broadcast by the way because anything I offer outwardly I make sure I offer inwardly and include myself.
Someone told me how much they can hear the philosophy of both/and in my work and my spirituality. No matter what I said, or story or lesson I offered, I would somehow always raise my hands, weigh out some options and paths out loud, and surrender to affirming that I didn’t have the answers to the questions I was raising - but I rather continue to be brave and ask them.
The three essays on the void - or what happens when we cancel people and get cancelled, thus getting stuck in a loop of inter and intrapersonal trauma and wondering what it’ll take for us as a collective to step off - are and will continue to be one of the greatest set of questions I’ve raised.
I quite literally wouldn’t be able to do the work I’m doing now, with all of these cool titles that grab your attention (Alchemist’s Cypher, Ancestors in Training, Demystifying Healing Justice, Heel to Heal and Who Heals the Healer), if it was not for that void. Who Heals the Healer as a concept in particular because when I wrote Void II, I was two clicks away from not doing any of this shit. Dangerously close to giving up on myself for the same set of rhetoric coming from a person who I realize now was intent on gaslighting me.
What I didn’t know then, is that in the weeks that came afterward, I would continue to step out and be brave. To be open about my mistakes and the times that I had been thrown away and the times I threw folks away because I didn’t want to reconcile. I didn’t know that I’d grow through that kind of dynamic one more time, being lured by external promises of wanting to hear about my new projects. Then when trying to reconcile some thoughts before engaging any further, and naming that I had done similar toxic behaviors and that I was not taking away that accountability, I received a twenty text message flood of what the person really wanted to tell me.
It wasn’t about my work. It wasn’t a dinner to catch up. It was about attempting to hold me accountable for my behavior. About calling me out about patterns and how I never trusted them and I always trusted other people. By the end of the flood, the person deleted me from Facebook.
Even with all of my previously offered words on why doing this doesn’t do any good, I proceeded to block and delete the person on every single channel of communication. Every single platform.
I wish I could tell you that I felt bad about it but I didn’t then. Still don’t.
Because the way that person tried to show me love and hold me accountable always triggered my flight response and they then in turn tried to criticize me for that same response.
I dug my heels in my work on Who Heals the Healer and did not look back. In the time that has followed, there was a chance to have a meeting in community, and I said no. If in writing this, it comes up again, I’ll still say no because after all of that, I got a connection notification on LinkedIn from them.
That admission doesn't make me any less capable supporting others on their healing journeys, and nor doesn't make me any less deserving of moving on. It may be better for all involved to learn and grow with people that speak the same love language and definitions of love itself and accountability.
For all of the power plays and critiques that happened, was it easier to navigate being in community in a way that included the clear contradiction that we did not need to be in other’s lives, but should do it for community? No. I didn’t want to put that emotional labor on anyone. But it begged the question - if you don’t want me in your life, why add me professionally after all of that? Unless there was a continuing thought to let me be driven by ego, assuming me to be selfish and show up to that dinner to share my labor and be potentially tasked with more without my consent because of the access I was perceived to have?
New York City is small. This social justice scene is even smaller. The spheres of influence people have in relation to one another are even smaller than that. But there’s games and conversations that happen behind closed doors that facilitate the idea of gatekeeping and clout within a community that is supposed to be radical. Allegedly open. Hypothetically for the people.
This same scene apparently understands how to respect people’s pronouns and is quick to call someone out, but what happens when we choose political lines and theory over being in embodied alignment with our people? What about making sure theory is put into practice? I mean what do we do when transformative justice rings hollow, and the actions of yourself and others make you question what organizing even means? Who are we healing? Who are we mobilizing? Who are politicizing? What are we building? Is it all an echo chamber in the void?
Spaces within ourselves to even answer those questions are hard. What’s a harder space to explore? Venues and finding ones that are completely perfect in a hypercapitalist world. A magical space that has all of our (valid) desires and access needs, and is Black, Indigenous or POC owned. But if we don’t hit all of those check marks, I’ve seen moments were some folks get a pass. Publicly tried to find other venues that met all of their needs, and the hivemind didn’t chime in. Behind closed (transparent) doors, I’ve seen the fall out of sabotage and shaming a person for the actions of the person who owns the space.
I’ve seen people say things with love in those scenarios and I’ve watched the pain and trauma that came right after. I questioned what love really was all over again and used myself and my love language of service to step in. I was in the void again. Wondering how a community of supposedly like minded folks committed intrapersonal violence and checked myself by looking at the set of numbers I have blocked.
Those numbers are still blocked. And so was a path for the folks involved in a tale of politics and access. A perspective and embodied politic of working against problematic spaces came clashed with the embodied politic of working within said spaces and flipping them from inside.
That community will never be the same just like I wasn’t the same during the course of Winter 17/18. So here I am again asking when will we get to a point of not giving up on each other and walking away? What tools or mechanisms can we develop or train ourselves will to do better next time? How can we keep our word as bond when a new world is born? How can we birth a world when new/old bonds created/destroyed?
Really understanding duality and moving beyond binaries as a body of people require us to value the love ethic as much as we value the body politic. It requires us to lean into tensions within ourselves and check ourselves when we’re checking others for their positionality - both perceived and literal. It implores to get over the idea of being able to find the right set of commands to have the function functional again through the abundant knowledge that a perfect existence is to be trapped in scarcity.
That’s how everyone (could) win.
That’s how this could all be avoided.
But since this tension is here, what you tryna do?