Transform. First as a monthly e-journal, and now as a full-blown blog, evolved from a simple newsletter that reported on just our little universe into the premier periodical for reflecting upon and lifting up the emerging field and movement that has become known as Transformative Social Change.
You can feel things that are unknowable—and should stay that way—to our minds. That’s the third lesson that I learned, which I knew and which was affirmed by this profoundly messy, wild, disorienting space that Occupies Wall Street is. In the progressive community, we like to take pride in our willingness to extend ourselves into difference and bring difference forth. As profoundly important as that is, we have to find spaces of shared practice.
Just as London was beginning to be set ablaze by Blackberries, I was bracing myself for the current Hollywood reboot of Planet of the Apes. The 2001 remake starring Mark Wahlberg left me mortally wounded, having claimed itself a “revisioning” of the original story and movie, it managed to not only leave every racist/colorist myth in place but it was also elevated it to a spiritual plane by being robed in pseudo-Himalayan garb so that the apes were a cabal of ill-compassionate, slave-owning monks and priests. It was one of only two movies
…it’s the sun that dragons and butterflies need to fly…but they need the dark to grow their magic wings. So do we. It is only once we emerge from the darkness that we will dare cast off our hardened shells to truly take flight. In its new form, the dragonfly can dive breathtakingly into a precipitous vertical drop, become a mere blur as it darts about at breakneck speeds, only to come to an apparent dead stop, hovering magically in mid-air. For the most part, it’s the sun that dragons and butterflies need to fly…but they need the dark to grow their magic wings. So do we. It is only once we emerge from the darkness that we will dare cast off our hardened shells to truly take flight.
Beyond survival and security, self-determination is the underpinning of justice…Beyond simple survival, being able to determine our own path is the hallmark of self-expression, self-fulfillment, and most importantly, self-love.
Questions abound as to how the all-knowing US didn’t see such a wave of revolutions forthcoming: America’s deep-seated racism and perceived religious-cultural superiority conspire to make the quiet swelling of a sea of brown and black People calling for their freedom with fearlessness, grace, and unwavering determination a political improbability. To see them do it in succession, leaving the realm of mere anomaly? Impossible.
The fact that the task is already pre-determined to be impossible, and one commits to it anyway, assures that it isn’t about you—-your sense of gain, accomplishment, or even your fear of failure—-AND you put your full effort in. And the most important thing is — it must be something you cannot possibly do.” What is that task for you?’ Zen Buddhists the world-over chant what is called the Four Vows.
Where we find ourselves now is a unique moment in time in which the ability to dig deep into this internal arsenal to express our full collective selves as the mighty and powerful agents of justice, freedom, and love that we are is available to us en masse. We can wait for a messiah, preacher, guru, or President to part the raging sea of conservatism or we can disarm the resistance with our capacity for charismatic conversion. Who needs to win when you can win over?
As agents & allies of social change, we, too, represent Hope for a world that has gone a little astray from the path of expressing the best humanity has to offer: love, compassion, fairness, security, sustainability and self-determination for all living things. We have our work cut out for us. But with a grounded theory, a willingness to learn the art and a committment to practice, practice, practice, we can and we will be our best and through our example, through our leadership, we’ll inspire the best in everyone.
But when Death comes to Friend you, as it will, you can’t ignore it. Where will your vast but virtual network be then? Will they be there to sing songs, share stories and send your ashes back to ashes, and dust back to dust? Will they memorialize Yes, connections can be made quick, Friends, Followers, and Fans, but relationships are still slow…and the best ones are grown over time. No matter how lofty, your leadership, status, role, or position won’t separate you from Death, so don’t let them separate you from real life: one that is in a true relationship with others.
Just three days after the New York Post’s brazenly racist cartoon managed to slip past all editorial checkpoints to subtly (or grossly) depict the nation’s first Black president as a rabid chimp gunned down by NY’s finest, the online Opinion section of NYTimes ran an article on race.