A few weeks ago I wrote a blog inspired by a bump with Woodstock graffiti see http://createbridges.co.za/living-apart-entwined/. Today I noticed the graffiti has changed to Living Entwined and it got me to thinking a little deeper.
In light of the significant facilitation of consciousness sparked by the #rhodesmustfall campaign regarding transformation, it is clear that we are living entwined. Our lives are entwined with our apartheid past and our colonial past before that. Our lives are entwined with each other’s responses or lack of responses to the emotional and psychic wounds and psychologies born from our past.
How my life moves forward in South Africa depends on the manner in which I engage with your life. And visa versa. We reflect each other and we need each other’s versions of the story to integrate our own lives going forward. Neuroscientist, Dr. Dan Siegel, talks about how integration promotes health. To live with a chasm between one’s inner life and one’s outer reality is detrimental to one’s physiological, mental, emotional and spiritual health. We continue to see this owing to our Apartheid past. Simply put if there is sadness and depression inside and on the outside one appears buoyant and ‘fine’, the two will war until they come to a grinding halt and integration is put on the map as medicine. I think we’ve reached this point in our society.
The integration of Black experience, thinking and needs, is being begged for by UCT students and some staff. Frustrations are being voiced. Some ears are open and other’s are resisting, perhaps mostly from fear for themselves and lack of comprehension. For to listen means to integrate new information that can potentially greatly, if not fundamentally, alter one’s paradigm of being and behaving.
It seems to me that as a society we are being asked, begged, to pause long enough to listen and then longer to digest the feelings and experience of black students and professionals at UCT who reflect back to South African society the true issues we need to address within our communities and society at large. It is not east to digest or to know what to do with, but digest it we must and this needs time, absorption time.
Anger is the guardian of sadness that drives its transformation. We are hearing urgent calls to listen. I sense fear in many white spaces, which will prevent an open listening. The ‘attack’ is not on whites but on our shared past which needs to be turned over, interrogated, dissected, pulled apart, debated, shared…until a new paradigm for living with African and Western paradigms of being and thinking emerges. It’s exciting and revolutionary. If we remain humane with each other, kind, open, humble, compassionate and stay connected to our shared humanity, we might birth a completely new era of wisdom, a golden age where truly different paradigms converge and build together. Imagine that. Imagine that.
South Africa sits with a profound ethical call. To digest what is being shared, to imbibe it and let it form into a new consciousness, and then to let what unfolds grow into a new way of being. The how will unfold. It is the what we need to focus on now.