For years now, I’ve been in orbit around a cluster of ideas that I think are really significant, but which I still haven’t been able to really explore to the depth that they deserve. These are the ideas that I tried to go into in my series of 21st century anarchism posts, as well as my barely-begun series on presence, power, and popular education, but in both cases I got stalled before things could get really interesting These are also the ideas that most make me come back to this blog…because I know that there is something important here that I want to articulate, but that I need more time and experimentation to get it out.
Basically, I’m talking about ideas that relate to being a better organizer, building a better revolutionary movement in the U.S., balancing life and activism, and meaningful popular education. At the core of these ideas, there are a couple of key words that I’ve been playing around with for a long time: mutual inspiration, personal cycles, and presence. These are words that just keep coming up for me over and over in my life and my work, and there is something there that I want to unlock. There is new theory there. There is really strong organizing potential. But how to get at it?
The answer to this question, I think, lies in the concept of presence itself. It is a tremendous challenge to both hold long-term revolutionary vision for our world, and to be daily present within that world. Even more, it is so, so difficult to see the needs we have for the people around us, and their potential, but to be present with the people they are right now–especially with their own personal dramas–and to really work with them from there. Never mind the constant struggle to be present with our own pain, loss, and senses of inadequacy when we feel like we should be so much more. And in my own case, it’s really hard for me to present with myself for long enough to really develop these ideas that I want to contribute to the world.
And so I return to this blog, specifically as a reminder that there is a space where I can be present with myself; where I can give myself that careful mix of patience, challenge, and attention that make the concept of presence so powerful to me.
In my daily life, things have gone back to feeling so heavy, with the burden of a non-profit and its legacy on my back, with intense internal activist dramas burning around me, and with what seems like less and less time to both take care of myself and meet people’s expectations of me. With that heaviness, it’s even more important to assert what I think is most important for myself, and what I want to be contributing with the youth, the resources, the experience, and the time that I currently have. Because as I get older and as I say yes to more and more of other people’s requests of me, I feel the danger of losing myself and why I became an organizer in the first place.
So, with that said, I’ve cleared some space again to give this another try. To work on articulating these ideas that I think are so important…not only to the social movements around me, but to myself as I’m grasping for meaning and for air.