Sunday, September 14, 2008

On Transformation and Change: Permeating all Layers of Psyche, Spirit, Community

The following is excerpted from the Borgmann-family-e-political-discourse. I am responding to my cousin Erin's thoughts on change. It triggered this reflection -beyond the political realm, to the psychological, spiritual, intellectual, mystical.
All I can do is remind myself that change is HARD. It's HARD to face what you've "known" or believed your whole life and think about it maybe having been wrong. Even if what you've been isn't wrong, but now you have to be something new, something more, it's a painful, painful process. - Erin Cederlind

This made me cry reading it. It makes me cry. Which just means that it has this deep kind of resonance.

If a goal is to really see CHANGE - in this country, in the world -- that change begins in the very core of our beings. In our cells. In our spirits. In our brains and how we store information and our capacity to dialogue and act consciously. And THAT KIND OF CHANGE - is the work of our lives!

I think of myself. I think of having to reconcile the privilege of being raised with overwhelming love and resources - with the recognition of working and teaching in overwhelming poverty and abuse. I think of how that called the deepest parts of me to change my perception, and change my actions, my career!

But then I hold that what has been the toughest thing for me to do, is just as fiercely difficult for my conservative brother-in-law, my homophobic pops, or some of my students and their families....!

I think of Shaylin Burn. A student of mine who was sexually abused for years by her grandfather and uncle. I think of her mother and father's role in her life, as two, seemingly happily married people living in the suburbs, raising their kids, sending them to this urban arts magnet high school, but masking the reality of the deep terror that permeated their family. I hold the knowledge of her parent's ensuing drug addictions. I think of what teaching Shaylin meant to me. I think of how I was taught by her daily.....
Can you imagine she had trust issues?
Can you fathom she had deep doubts of a teacher's genuine concern for her well-being?
Can you see her reluctance to have to change and
love herself when all that was modeled for her the first 16 years of her life: was that loving adults violated and abused you, said you weren't loveable-- and then tried to kill themselves?
What do you suppose Shaylin tried to do herself?

This kind of "change" that we all must experience -- is one that strikes at the very core of our comforts in identity. It's EASIER to rest in what we were raised believing and seeing and "knowing' - because it shapes so much of our psyches. To shift our thinking, is to go against the grain! Is to defy what the people who we have loved and trusted have taught us...(Why would they lie!? No one has to be "bad" or "evil" to misguide a person- just human... and that's messy, always - because we all are human!)

I'm not trying to shock anyone with this example, but simply speak to what, for me, are the most extreme forms of transformation, and how difficult this all is for ALL of us.

I pray about it constantly.


P.S. My former student's name has been changed. She is an adult now making her way as a kind of change-agent in the Cities.


Ernest said...

Great thoughts….

Ernest Darkoh

Julia said...

Lovely Melissa!

Julia Dinsmore Minneapolis Mn.