Emotional alchemy

The sun is out. The snow that fell yesterday is melting, starting with the highest branches. There’s a metamorphosis of light, a scattering of stars in place of the white tracery of snow. Fat drops fall from the sky. High branches above the picture framed by my window.

All is right with the world in this moment. Brave folks speak out against injustice, drag predators into the light, unearth forgotten histories. Tell stories from ancient lands and distant times: stories with acute relevance to us now.

I have been steeping lately in their stories, noticing when longing arises. Jealousy. Outrage. Confusion. Grief. The truth is, I’m in recovery from emotional denial. From armor, callousness, repression, and perfectionism. It feels transgressive and alien to have an emotion—especially to be able to name it. My condition may be a form of dyslexia. Dysemotia?

My rehabilitation is in its infancy. I have had some kind, talented mentors. And I have more work to do.

For today, I will read and write, plan and attend to practicalities. Step by single step, I will do my work. It is work that I love, although sometimes I forget this. I will pause for moments of deep gratitude. For having this work, for my colleagues and collaborators. For this warm house, for the sunshine that is glittering over everything, for the quiet white blanket that fell yesterday. For how it erased the lines between hard and soft, between us and them.

So much in this hurting world is broken. And so much is changing for the better. Dire warnings give way to loving reconnection. Alienation transforms to longing. Shame and blame become empathy. Ignorance yields to listening. Bullying to kindness. All of this is real. It is inside me and it is out there in the glittering, thawing world of possibility.  

Recent reading, watching and listening:

When Do You Know You Are Emotionally Mature? 26 Suggestions from the Book of Life

Scene on Radio’s “Seeing White” podcast is hereby declared required listening for all of us with minimal skin pigmentation. If you’re wondering what can we do about racism in this country, give this a listen. And I do mean: all 14 episodes. It will shake up your preconceptions, teach you some history you never knew, change your perspective, challenge your identity, and change you forever. Be warned! Also, it’s the freakin best podcast ever.

As if “Seeing White” wasn’t brilliant enough, the podcast Scene On Radio also tackled MEN – patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, non-binary gender, toxic masculinity – and so much more. It’s astoundingly good.

Bryan Stevenson on what well-meaning white people need to know about race

Surviving r kelly series

Layla F. Sadd’s “Me and White Supremacy” workbook

Fahrenheit 11/9. Some of the usual fun Moore antics and some of the righteous outrage. Intercut with hard truths about the water crisis in Flint, MI. It’s revealing and alarming and maddening. See it.

And, finally, this short video on why we are all addicts, from the School of Life. “Real addiction is using something, anything, to keep our real emotions, fears and hopes at bay.”

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