Status: living on Walden time 

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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Status: Living Boldly 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

~Theodore Roosevelt

Status: Contemplating “connectedness”

You have to give to the world the thing that you want the most, in order to fix the broken parts inside you.Eve Ensler

The more I read about allostatic load, epigenetics & Life Course Health Development, the more I have to accept that all is connected. The bio-psychosocial model is outdated. Can human experience be broken down neatly into 3 parts?

We are living, breathing organisms. Our bodies are alive and vitally connected to the societies they inhabit. Our pain, our trauma, forced through human brutality shapes us biologically–changes our genetic transcription process and continues to have effects for generations. Our healing, too, through social connection, changes our internal architecture: our brains, hearts and forges the tragectory of our lives. 

We are greater than the sum of our parts, both as individuals and as humankind. 

Status: Embracing my humanity

I like to be human because in my unfinishedness I know that I am conditioned. Yet conscious of such conditioning, I know that I can go beyond it, which is the essential difference between conditioned and determined existence. ~ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Confession: I have been blind to my white privilege

“The engaged voice must never be fixed and absolute but always changing, always evolving in dialogue with a world beyond itself.” (p. 11) -bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

Today in class we participated in an exercise on race, social class and structural determinants of privilege & discrimination. In the discussion afterward, I made a comment about how race was not as relevant as the intersectional paradigm in understanding social class.   My argument was the reality in America today is that people experience multiple and overlapping marginalizations on individual, social and institutional levels.  An intersectional perspective for analyzing complex social issues demands a broad, community-based approach.  I continued to stress the point that it is simpler to view populations as homogenous—the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill—but this is a simplistic approach that thwarts creativity to solving the problem.

As I spoke, I looked over at Sarah, my friend.  She was shaking her head. She said, “It’s all about race. It’s still about race.” I tilted up my chin, gave her an uncertain smile, “So it’s black versus white? I just can’t believe it’s that simple.” She looked at me square in the eye, “You mean to tell me that slavery wasn’t real?”
“Maybe it is about color,” I responded.  In Peru where I was born, it’s not black versus white. The dichotomy is European descent (white skin) versus Indio (yellow skin). However, the color dynamic is the same. In my family, I was the favorite because I had the lightest skin.  I remember being 4 and experiencing my blonde hair darkening as a fall from grace.
“I have to admit, Sarah, I did have a privileged status growing up because I was pale skinned.” Sarah fixed her gaze on me again, “You don’t have to tell me about skin color and privilege! I’ve been living in this skin my whole life…” She points at her arm and mouths, “Midnight.”

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