Postcard from North Carolina -- November 2023Nov 03, 2023
The last couple of weeks I have gotten really clear about some thing.
I have always chosen a side. Since the very beginning. It’s not ever felt hard or ambivalent to me. For better or worse, if you asked my friends and teachers from HS they would describe a passionate idealistic young woman who said capitalism would ruin us all.
As a child, I walked around the strip Malls of Westchester county lamenting the bodies buried below the asphalt. I mean I knew they weren’t buried, they were people parents children soldiers and medicine people slaughtered and left in mass graves.
I read about the holocaust and I saw the way history and greed repeats itself on an existential loop.
While there have always been masses of people shocked by their own fear and confusion at the choices leaders make on our behalf or regardless of our hopes and dreams - our democracy has always felt somewhat rigged, doomed to fail. You just cannot see the wealth disparities that exist in our country and not ask some hard questions.
I want to talk about the data.
The other day, I went to my friends house for a walk. She’s a math teacher. We share identities as queer anti racist Jews and although we hadn’t checked in about the genocide in Gaza, I felt confident she wouldn’t be on the side of settler colonialism. My friend described for me a text she had received the night before for a friend in Israel asking for a math formula to explain the percentage of Jews killed and kidnapped as related to the total population.
She and talked about having compassion without joining people in their analysis and how far that can get one in a time when choosing seems like the name of the game. Choosing under circumstances that are nuanced, tragic, and too often made to seem ahistorical.
Who can I talk to openly about my ideals? My values? The tempers, the ignorance - what kind of Jew am I, what kind of anti-racist am I? Where will the antisemitism come from next?
But this whole math formula has me thinking. What’s the math formula for excess? For how a nation spends their bounty? And then I wonder at my plans next week - to be in Japan, a nation with the 3rd largest economy on earth, and I expect to see first hand what they do with their bounty, how they manage their excess. How many people in Tokyo will spare change us on the corner. How many tent cities will I see? I expect there to be not a lot of poverty. Think about that.
So what’s the formula for how we in the US delight in spending billions on war and show little to no regard for healthcare or access to food?
And how do we stay present to the everyday needs of teams and organizations, families and neighborhoods while everything around us explodes or threatens to explode?
As you know by now - I’m a fan of these habits:
- Feeling your feelings - in your body. In the air, in the water, feel like your heartbeat. Cry your tears. Call someone to go can hear your grief and be with you.
- Dance, sing, play music. Make a playlist for being alive at this time. Share it with squad.
- Have a squad. Find the people who can hold the absurd hard beautiful ways we are being asked to live. People who laugh at your jokes and can call you in when you isolate or get snotty.
- Get snotty in nature. Go to the woods or a park; find a tree. A real looker. Spend some time asking questions. Listen to the answers in her bark, her leaves and branches.
- Branch out and find some new guilty pleasures. This fall I’m into pomegranates, k-pop and sneakers.
- Move your body. See #2. Complete the stress cycle.
Poem of the Month
How We Take Our Grief by Kimberky Grey
We take our grief privately and in the morning.
And drink our coffee and drink our tea.
We hold the newspaper out with our arms
and we hold the fork that holds the egg that holds
hunger. We put it in our mouth. We put it
in our mouth. Twice the clock strikes three
and privately we sit together. We think
the orange juice is too bright. We pour it
in a glass and think. We drink the brightness
and it disappears. We take the last muffin and
split it into three.
Our two mouths hold each other.
Privately, we think it’s the mind that holds us.
We sit striking the thought. We hold the clock
that holds the mind. We think the clock is
in our arms. We think the clock is our arms.
Privately, the thought disappears. We pour
the morning. We drink the morning together
and split the brightness. We take the morning
out of us and put it in our mouths. We drink
it. We hold our grief out in front of us.
We think this is private. We take our grief
and pour it in a glass. We think we have
mouths we think we have arms to hold it.
Provocation and Nourishment
What do you practice? I watch this video whenever I feel discouraged. It makes me smile, giggle and get back to work. Enjoy
Change Elemental is putting out some wisdom on their blog: The following questions have formed the basis of our governance and leadership evolution (we’ve shared more about our leadership evolution in recent blog posts here and here):
- How might we realize deep equity and liberation in leadership and governance?
- How might we evolve leadership and governance structures to share power and work in more networked ways?
- How might we align leadership and governance practices and culture with our values?
I am on a never-ending journey to love my body. I go back again and again to the wisdom of Sonya Renee Taylor:
For more on the connections between antisemitism and white nationalism, I like this PBS piece.
Jews are showing up for Palestine in larger numbers than ever before. It makes me feel hopeful that we can re-wire some of what it means to be justice seeking Jews here and in the Middle East.
Check this out: Seven Web-Based Somatic Excursions!
Disability justice seminar: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qIftC6kKbOA
Healing in Community Summit: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC5CUvq0sI9c19l5kDKZecJQ/playlists
Email me for a coaching spot in 2024~
Organization of the Month