Sunday, January 26, 2014

reflections from Music Makers night

I want to document and share my experience of the dialogue that James and I had following the Music Makers Songwriting night this week.  The dialogue felt significant to me both in our personal relating and in "the larger work" of paradigm-shifting.

I had struggled on Tuesday night in the group songwriting process, and I told this to James afterwards.  I had felt again like the kid in class, bearing through the calamities of (to me) too-fast-too-many-voices-all-at-once.  I felt my needs for spaciousness weren't recognized and weren't being met in the group context.  

I very much wanted to participate -- and spoke a request to facilitate this.  But most of the workshop for me was spent absorbing the new ideas, new questions, new parts of the process (all very cool) and it was all I could do to keep up and continually re-engage with the new things occurring (without having fully processed the last new thing yet), without withdrawing and zoning out.  

This left me completely exhausted with little energy to be an active co-creator in the songwriting.

The experience was all too familiar.  It was almost every group experience I have had up until a few years ago.  Growing up, in school, I believed that there was something just too different about me (something wrong with me) that rendered me incapable of participating in a class activity of this sort.  It was only in the last few years that I have found myself in different group contexts -- ones that were sensitive to what I need to feel fully invited to participate.  And it is only now, having had new experiences, that I can deconstruct and articulate my old experiences.
The more I spoke my experience to James, the more I felt into just how much I have been hurt by a system that silences and drowns out and excludes the quieter voices.  I keep thinking of the kids in class who haven't yet had a different group experience, who believe "that's just the way groups are" or "that's just the way the world is and I don't belong".  

I imagine they do not know that they will thrive in a different context.  

I imagine they do not know that their experience of being left out is neither personal nor accidental -- that it is a natural outcome of a system so deeply entrenched in domination and oppression that even the most well-meaning, loving, caring teachers will, and do, marginalize.

I felt that James heard me.  This was monumental, and healing.  It felt vital to shifting to a new system that includes and deeply values the vast diversity of ways of being among us.  

I heard from James curiosity about my experience.  I gather that my experience is quite foreign to him -- recalling the one house meeting in which my check-out was "I felt really safe to speak this meeting" and his followed, beginning with " being James...I've had the luxury of NEVER feeling unsafe to speak" (something like that).  

I also heard from James a desire to create a context that doesn't "marginalize the Ingrids", and I heard questions about how to do that within the existing structural constraints (e.g. schools' timetables) as well as how to do that while considering, too, the restless Jameses and myriad other beings in the class.  

Another thing I heard from James was the recognition that doing it differently would reach more people, have more impact, be more powerful!  All of this excites me, and even while he and I struggled in the depths of coercive thought patterns (there was definitely that happening in the dialogue too), I felt the significance of these events and revealings.  

I felt new possibilities for liberatory leadership and a liberatory world open up as we lovingly created a context in which I could speak my experience fully while he listened open-heartedly.