The forge and the broom
It’s been an eye opening couple of months. A couple of experiences really stand out.
1) I am lucky enough to be part of a group that for the last year or two that has been discussing and looking at ways to work to dismantle racism in our respective environments. I have learned so much and was anxious to begin taking practical steps toward our goals. During our last call it was decided we needed to take a step back and look more closely at what is available and what might best serve our purposes. I was so frustrated. I spent the next day or two getting more and more annoyed. I decided I needed to step away from this group, that I was not a good fit for the group and it was not a good fit for me. Not a good use of my time. I was feeling pretty darn good about my decision. Stepping away was the right thing for all concerned.
A day after my decision I went to hear Carol Anderson, author of White Rage speak. Somewhere in the middle of her talk this popped into my head – Seriously? You’re tired of it taking so long. It’s been over a year and you’re over it? Black people have been working for hundreds of years to dismantle racism and have paid a much bigger price than frustration, but you’re going to quit? Really?
That’s a whole lot of white privilege right there.
2) I’ve been doing work around uncovering hidden demons recently. This kind of work really feeds me. Well, it turns out I’m 65 years old, have done a ton of personal work and I still have some seriously hidden stuff running my life. As it happens, something that happened 25 years ago got locked in my heart and has been influencing a lot of things in my life ever since. It is like my heart is encased in iron and surrounded by chains and locks. I’m still rather stunned by this. I thought I had dealt with all that a long, long time ago. I put in the time. I did the work. How could it still be there?
Do you see the similarity there? In both instances I put in the time. I did the work. Somewhere along the line I got the idea that putting in time and doing the work got a person the desired outcome. I wonder if it’s at all connected to that “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality? Hard to say.
I’ve decided to attempt to transform both situations with a little magic. Once a week I imagine putting my iron encased heart in the forge. Let it heat and begin to soften. Each week I intentionally sweep my floors, they are all hardwood. I imagine loosening and sweeping up things that are hidden in the cracks that keep me rigid and stuck. So far my heart feels a little softer, like something is slowly making its way out. Oh, and the sweeping? Well, I’m not quitting that group I mentioned after all. Not sure how all these things are connected, but something tells me they are.
This post was written by Elizabeth Wilson