work has taken over much of my mind space these days. important deadlines that involve people i care about have me on a leash. at one point sometime last week, i realized i was dreaming my work. i took a step back this past weekend, re-read Audre Lorde’s “The Erotic as Power” and “Transforming Silence into Action” (two pieces you can find in Sister Outsider) and with her words at heart, i reflected on my own voice, self care practices, and their relationship to all my work (the mundane office work, the teaching, theatre group, and the youth work that i love). very easily i was able to reflect on how unhealthy some work practices can become if i am not careful with my time.
a sister-friend of mine and i had inspiring conversation yesterday on this very topic. how not normal it is to sit in an office for 8 hours a day and how the systems of pyschology and the pharmaceuticals are actually in place to help us “cope with the unnatural systems” we live in. in therapy our experiences are normalized so that we don’t feel alone. that is a good thing but it comes with a double edged sword. all the while we are feeling better that we are not alone, we are also learning to accept and better cope with conditions (living and working) that are unhealthy for our spirits, bodies, and minds. where is there room in the therapy room to organize our lives differently (not in isolation from the other folks that also experience the same “symptoms” of the system).
it may sound that i am dissing therapy and by no means am i not a proponant of individual therapy. i know the benefits of having someone (paid or not paid) to listen to my sh**. there have been times in my life that therapy saved me from total isolation…having that paid friend really comes in handy and is necessary for ones survival at different times of our lives. i get it. (i also get that therapy and that type of listening to be free of cost and much more readily available to folks of color, poor people, and youngsters much more than it is currently under the system of pyschology that practice in the united states).
what i am also shedding light to here are the limitations of therapy. like a good student of liberation psychologies, i have to inquire deeper and self reflect on my own practice (if i ever decide to return to doing 1-1 therapy or finishing up my MFT license) i wanna make sure that i have studied what i’d be participating deep enough where i can self critique as i do my job, and in general i think its important to understand the system(s) in which we participate in so that even if we choose to participate in them (for whatever reasons), we are armed with knowledge, reflection, and a strong community of folks to hold us accountable to ourselves and the mundo we are prefiguratively creating.
so then i ask myself, how is the work that i am choosing to do in the here and now, how are the relationships i am in (directly or indirectly), and how is my relationship to self and the visions (collective and individual) all working towards the same goals and dreams pa otro mundo que si es posible. i’ve learned that us visionaries have to be strategic with our dreaming and the actions that follow. the butterfly dreaming is necessary just as much as the outrage burning at our core. both are nothing if action is not following, pushing us to be better human beings to each other and to all the creatures of the universe, including la madre tierra herself.
living from this perspective gives me a lot of hope as well a lot of work! luckily, the many visionaries around me remind me by thier own living example, that laughter, dance, and deep joy are at the core of all our sueños in the making. without the joy, our fire will burn out.
**more reflections on finishing up the MFT license to come soon. while i was writing this post, i recieved an email from an a former pych professor asking for a referral for a 6 year old boy…i would be untrue if i say its not tempting to go back to that type of work. i know a mezcla of all the work i’m interested in/do is possible, a new book to be written. i feel grateful.