August 29, 2016

Healing our disconnectedness

In my worship yesterday, I found myself lingering on thoughts and reflections on the spiritual wounding that occurs whenever I choose to disconnect from someone else.  That choice often is driven by anger, resentment, hurt, shame, fear, etc.

It seems to me, in turn, if I am not intentional about how to go about my own healing, then I can resort to filling that wound with whatever might cover up the original pain--which can include some form of power play or domination over someone else.

When I view the choice to disconnect from a multigenerational lens-- oh my! My ancestors who left their families and homelands behind to come to this land... Those devout men among my predecessors who chose to abide by sexist religious teachings and subjugate women... And my American-born relatives who unconsciously accepted the racist, white supremacist conditioning they were exposed to in this country....

I appreciate reading about the concept of recovery-as-a-journey* as it applies to oppression (racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc). I know I am helped, often wordlessly, by reminders that I can "debias" myself and that I can "decolonize my mind."

It will take time, intention, and community building. My socialization into the cycle of pain/disconnection/asserting power started long before my grandparents and I were born; it will take a great deal of time to heal and "recover" from that multigenerational wound.

With recent and current national struggles over marriage equality, voting rights, immigration rights, indigenous rights, climate change, and the movement for Black lives, I am thinking of two more parts of my own cycle of recovery and healing: self-awareness followed by (re)connecting.

Sometimes that reconnection piece involves getting involved in justice work. I am beginning to wonder if justice work is required in order to heal a collective wounding, whether that wounding is named and acknowledged or not.  Examples of justice work include:

  • Prison reform/abolition and ending mass incarceration;
  • Land return to indigenous communities;
  • Wage and employment equity for people of color, and wage equity for women;
  • Immigration reform;
  • Ending police brutality and providing full accountability for police misconduct;
  • Protesting extreme extraction of the earth's resources. 

For me, worship helps me see where I have sinned--where or how I have disconnected from someone, and whether the Way is open, or how the Way might open, if I wanted to reconnect or wanted to repair that wound. The repair will look different if the wound is interpersonal, systemic, or multigenerational.

I have more reflection to do, and more healing.

Thanks for reading me.

*During the 2016 FGC Gathering of Quakers, an African American Quaker recently shared her ideas with Friends there about "recovery" in relation to oppression.