[This rumination reflects my experience at the International Black Summit event in Ferguson, Mo., August 4-7, 2016.
On August 9, Summit participants attended the quiet, reverent 2nd anniversary and memorial commemorating Michael Brown’s murder, held outdoors on Canfield Dr. at the site of his death. Later that evening, a woman driving a car hit a protester. Media are exploiting the resultant gunfire in the car’s direction as race-related violence. No one was hurt, and the driver is cooperating with police.]
Inhale. I am a witness. I wish I were a saint, a leader, a mystic.
I wish I were a Summit facilitator, a counselor, a coach.
People think I am these things and I know the truth.
I delight in experience; I do not have to generate experience.
My joy is from the witnessing.
Seeing it happen, knowing it is happening, being with what is happening—therein is the happiness.
I learned recently that the word happy is from happenstance. Per haps. May BE.
I am present to the unfolding of dissonance as a quality of being physical. Of “haps” happening. Like Michael Brown’s murder, and too many others’.
Physicality happens and is something material to talk about. Dissonance for me means “taking away” (dis) “hearing” (-sonance). Lack of coherence or congruence between reality and what people say.
So, all that wishing I shared above? I AM and I am not these human qualities, and I’m here with all of it. This is an expansive Being space, holding so much of me and us despite the murders and the dissonance between words and deeds.
One Summit facilitator, Susan Shelton, consistently presences this dissonance as occurring as Something To Look At and Be With or ignore to the further enlarging of the chasm between What Is and where emotions swim for truth or possibility. (Not ignore “to our peril.”)
I see her sharing as a palpable reflection of the Summit and what it is and looks-not; what is looks like and what is, “as it were.” It’s like, if we thought race relations were improving…hah! Gotcha!
And even that could be true. The truth always comes out.
The English language doesn’t give us much, we say/Susan laments from time to time. However, in looking at idioms that give us idiocy like “as it were,” I’m clear we can BE with this language and its nuances that sometimes occur as perfect for the communication at hand.
I certainly need to mine the language as deeply as it can go.
This work of happening upon language that seems ill-equipped to convey my/our shock at witnessing reality — “the murders of our men, women and children”* is transformation work. This is why the conversation of The Summit is critical for African descendants.
The new 2016-2017 Summit inquiry: As I Embrace All Aspects of Myself, Including Rage and Fear, What Is Available for The Transformation of the Universe?, says it all.
This Summit conversation is my “working with” both what I appreciate and what I don’t get (am enraged) about English language as a conditioning of experience, and sharing and witnessing same.
“Be that as it may,” it gives me pause.
Still, I Am a Witness inspired to love who I am and what I’ve been given, including a language that seems only colonialist and oppressive. (Black culture as a gift goes without saying.)
So I’ve identify one of my “rage” flashpoints—that I have to speak “the oppressor’s” language in order to be powerful.
Wow. “What am I doing here?” is the hard question that comes to mind. Per haps it is to use this language and these experiences to awaken from the limitations of death/slavery/oppression and COME ALIVE to the infinite possibilities in life.
For me this has meant seeking and speaking spiritual unity as my purpose; this is the message of my Nine Principles for Loving Living. Now I understand, no, over-stand, that the language is enough, as are we.
I witnessed how effortlessly communications flowed in the space of the 2016 St. Louis/Ferguson Mo. International Black Summit. Body-mind-spirits from Canada, Kenya, Guyana and many U.S. cities (e.g., New York, New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, Huntsville and Oakland, were doing the transformational work).
I no longer need to hold my breath. I am dead if I am not loving you and me. I am nothing if I don’t swim in the ocean and galactic space that is this life. It is to this that I bear witness in this moment.
It is for this I exhale, and release, and let go.**
*The Declaration of the International Black Summit contains this line: “We stand for the expression of our spirituality; ending the murders of our men, women and children; building economies responsible for funding our community; maintaining wellbeing in our bodies; providing human services; establishing nurturing relationships; altering the conversation of who we are in the media; empowering our youth.”
**Release and Let Go, written by Rickie Byars Beckwith, is the unofficial theme song of the International Black Summit.