I moved every couple of years as a kid. Moving sucked and even though I grew up in small communities, I was unaware of the power of place until my teens when I fiercely bonded to a beautiful sea town on the east coast and began to develop a sense of place and find “home”…
Now moving again.
PrayerFarm has been chosen by others, exactly the “others” it would be easy for me to judge as not right to hand this precious place to—yep, Californians (like my husband Carlos BTW), yep, Californians who want to retire up here. As far as I know, they are not cultural creatives or farmers or community builders or any of the things on my strong preferences list… But I admit, I have no actual information and am either “right” and guided by intuition (and we all trust my intuition don’t we?). Warning: It is entirely possible that what feels right and real and “intuitive” is actually prejudice – this is really important to humble myself to – brains are amazing storytelling machines and our tendencies towards inclusion and exclusion, well, remarkable, and dangerous… here I am using myself as a model of this possible obscuration of truth. Staying curious and uncertain is the remedy.
Letting go of our home and its abundance of water and land, as my heart broken daughter keeps telling me, is crazy. So why?
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
(There’s that curiosity and uncertainty.)
In my life I follow guidance (like everyone, I also argue with guidance) and this movement is guided. I know this because I have wavered again and again and it keeps coming back – sometimes the arguments end up becoming confirmation and yet the guidance only led us as far as “let go” and we literally have no idea what or where is next.
Not my favorite plan.
On to what will initially seem like a tangent – New Year’s Day on our morning beach walk we encountered a bonfire still burning on the beach presumably part of the evening prior’s festivities… upon closer look we discovered it was not driftwood burning, it was the remnants of 20-30 tires aflame with over 30 more rolled all over the dunes… Just a huge WTF?!
So… we set about cleaning it up, we learned quickly that the fire was too hot and too intense for us to put out. Meanwhile, along comes an ordinary looking man… he begins taking photos of Carlos, Lily, our truck… Carlos approaches him expecting a hand and instead receives irrational accusation, lecture, and…fear. As Carlos attempted to speak reasonably with this man, his “your kind” and “you people” rant escalated… I was way down the beach collecting an errant tire and only realized what was happening when I got close enough to see and hear my terrified and distraught daughter.
Whoa. My child got to live on Earth for 11 years, protected from racial reality… and boom. Over.
What terrified me the most was how she immediately strung together a story of being hunted/tracked down, hurt, and even shot by this “bad” man. I know these stories live in the collective but this is a child who has never watched TV in her life, who has still only seen Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. My daughter is a mix of white colonizer blood, and colonized and oppressed blood – and she carries those epi-genes in her body. Now she was turning this man into an extreme version of “other” via freshly awakened trauma imprints.
The story I am telling is a story of how epi-genetic imprint lives in us and how it wakes up… this is the important part and while I’m telling a fairly heart-breaking story, I am about to twist it into a brain science-y story that points us all toward hope.
Though this irrational human terrified her and though she would have greatly preferred me to stay, I raced up the dunes and confronted the man. I told him he’d terrified my child, that we were on the same side, that his support and help was what was needed… as I stood there and tried to engage it seemed apparent he was struggling with some mental health challenges, but I saw him put some puzzle pieces together as my whiteness and motherness and fierceness filled out the storyline. It’s not great that that was necessary and I’m not inflating my actions to make a happy ending, but from a brain standpoint context is key and most humans make a generally positive meaning of “family”.
For days we’ve been working with the fear imprints in Lily – balancing them with the courage imprints, the compassion imprints, the anti-racism imprints that can wake a different kind of epigene in our child. We’ve been unpacking how Carlos watched his father ignore racial attacks his whole life and how this has trained him to become passive under stress, to generally be unassuming, and many other things – including becoming a person who typically sets people at ease – a skill he learned via racism.
My own experiences of oppression of course are related to being a human with breasts and a vagina – many terrible stories could be told but the other story – of growing a strong and clear and powerful voice, of finding courage and using it, of staying with what is right… well, those epigenes got woken up in me young and I credit the many women at my back, known and unknown, who lived and acted in courage even under their circumstances which were certainly harder ones than mine…
All of us, all of us, have an ocean of brilliant, courageous, innovative humans at our backs.
Yes. Humans ARE brilliant, courageous, and innovative at our core. Like that man who somehow learned to fear “brown”, our imprints can make us scary and irrational – OR we can apply consciousness. This is not something spiritually elite or that only sages have access to; consciousness is awareness and attention. Awareness and attention give us space and space gives us the ability to question and then adjust our thinking and actions.
New Year’s Day was POWERFUL and has instigated exactly the conversations and explorations that our daughter needs right now as she begins to wonder (literally, she asked this) “what happened to us that we began to do and make so many things that hurt each other and the planet? “ She ended that question with these words: “It’s scary being here.”
Yes, my child, it’s scary being here. Yet, here we are.
And we are, each and all, here to serve Life, to develop an unwavering ability to attend to the moment we are in and use our awareness to shape the future and what is possible. Our brains are wired to fear change and to look away from what is overwhelming – kind of smart really. Yet, our consciousness allows us to re-evaluate, moment by moment, what we want to let be true, where we want to place our attention, and how we want to ignite the strength at our backs, from that mighty ocean of humans we come from as well as by accessing our inner forces.
This is the revolution folks, your revolutionary actions of care, kindness, and refusing to succumb to hatred and fear – it matters. One of the best tools we have to strengthen this muscle is community… with or without PrayerFarm as our home for this work, we shall continue to gather, continue to challenge the reality being presented, and continue to ignite the ocean of brilliance, courage, and innovation just waiting for us to say YES.
Hope to see you at one of our upcoming events—