“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”
Today I got a flat tire (which, I’d like it to be noted, I was calm about and simply changed from skirt to work-out pants to deal with…it’s not my fault the jack was stuck in the trunk and I ended up needed a kind soul to help me…) which led to an auto shop where a woman named Diane and a mechanic named Osama were discussing the injustices in Israel/Palestine. I jumped in (of course) and by the end of the discussion Diane thanked me for helping her reframe her position as “anti-occupation” above all else (since “all-else” is fraught with false traps.) A month ago I was able to help advocate for an Ethiopian taxi driver to get an affordable apartment after he had initially been rejected (it was a miscommunication which my mediation skills (thank you EMU) were helpful in resolving). A few days ago I listened for an hour as a Colombian man told me about his experience working inside the politics of the coffee trade in el Valle.
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Let me put it another way: my ipod is usually on shuffle in the car– it swings from my uncle Franck’s band (Happpy Accidents– like them on facebook!), to EMU’s chamber choir, to Silvio Rodriguez, to Immortal Technique, to random arabic music, to Nickelcreek…and by that time I’m usually turning on the top 40 radio station and then flipping back to NPR.
Do you get it? Or does this all seem like just Random Facts about My Life?
Just think about it from my perspective, answer me this: What music should I be listening to? Who are my people? What kinds of discussions should I be having? How do I tie together who I have been and where I have been with who I am and where I am now?
The point is in the randomness, the point is I’ve come to realize that as long as I don’t try to focus too much, as long as I look just past the picture (like in those enraging magic-eye books we used to look at in Mauritania, where I was told if I stared at pink and blue dots for long enough a camel would appear…I think it did once) out of the tiny little dots of random that is the life of an organizer, that is northern Virginia, that is my playlist, that is my schedule, way of expressing myself, personality quirks….a whole appears. I hope that whole for the world is moving towards more justice, understanding and community. I hope that whole for myself is moving towards liberation, substance and wisdom. Maybe it’s not always; but it’s been fascinating trying to let go of the questions for a while– the forever questions of “What am I really doing? How is all of this connected? Who am I really? Where are we, where am I going?” and just go with it.
A pattern will appear. A pattern is appearing, though I’m not sure what it is quite yet.
In the meantime I have a postcard my dear friend Larisa gave me that says “Don’t postpone joy”. I’ve had it up for the past 3 years in my room somewhere, and I try to remember it when the many big and small weights of this broken world press down on me. Don’t postpone joy.
I have to disagree wholeheartedly with the Mennonite aversion to dancing– I think dancing and joy are intimately connected (lo llevo en la sangre) and for me this letting go feels like when I’m salsa dancing, feels like when I’m jamming out in my car– maybe I’m not perfectly free, but I’m pretty darn close.
Do you know what I mean?