|The Mystery within...|
What a privilege it was to attend the “Woman Spirit Conference 2017 Just Women: Just World” sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in DeKalb, Illinois. Through the creativity and grace of music makers and singing we were soothed, lightened and emboldened. Empathy and compassion were heightened in rapt listening to one another’s experiences. And our keynote speaker, Sr. Simone Campbell of “Nun’s on the Bus" fame, skillfully paired tragedy and humor to give me hope and direction to become a woman for just change.
I came away with a better understanding of today’s turbulent politics, and how its culture of fear and individualism breeds hate intended to divides us. I understand I need to share my fear to reduce its impact, to speak out of my experience, and be a good listener. I know I need to work on radical acceptance and compassion for “those we want to vote off the island” as Sr. Simone quipped. To do so I need to understand my own shortcomings first. I want to be able to speak my truth with joy and humor and articulate a vision I can fight for, not alone, but with others who also include radical acceptance and compassion for oppressors. I want to nourish a holy curiosity and be able to talk to and listen to people who think differently about issues--and then engage in sacred gossip and share what holy curiosity taught me. I need to moderate my exposure to news broadcasts and electronic media. And when I feel overwhelmed I want to be able to share that feeling with another for relief. I want to remember it’s not all up to me, but to listen for, and know my part. I hope to meditate daily to help me know and accept my part.
As a woman who walks in the white skin of privilege, I learned much from other women’s stories of oppression—stories that have broken them open to radical acceptance and compassion for the other. The Woman’s Spirit 2017 conference was a joyful but intense experience that left me exhausted. I was so very grateful to return to my home and the prospect of sleeping in my own bed. As I stepped into my shower before bed, I thought of the world’s immigrants, who have not home, or bed, or shower. Grief overwhelmed me.
What if we, who walk in the skin of privilege, could be overwhelmed with grief for the other more often?