I’m still processing some of the materials I worked through over the last few months to talk about trauma, resilience, nonviolence, and atonement. So I’m still reading Copeland’s work on embodiment and the value of human lives, and it’s echoing for me as I read headline upon headline of more Black death.
Meanwhile, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose chairman addressed the UN’s Human Rights Council today, still needs support in resisting the Dakota Access pipeline that will cut through Lakota/Dakota sovereign territory if not redirected.
All of these stories have common exploitative DNA and Copeland nails it here:
The new imperial disorder rises arrogantly over the bones of the bodies of conquered children, women, and men. The bodies of the indigenous peoples were the first to be sacrificed, eliminated, and contained; then the body of the earth was raped and mastered; finally, the bodies of yellow, brown, poorwhite [sic], and black children, women, and men, were squeezed through the winepress of ‘new’ empire-building.” —M. Shawn Copeland, Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being
When we’re convicted of the inherent value of life, we get to stand against every system that makes humans prey and that accommodates the destruction of the Earth.
I see no way to accommodate what’s happening. I can only glimpse a few ways for us to pause and be able to press through, acknowledging the taste of grief, creating regardless, reaching for joy wherever we can enter in, and holding our center.
“Being centered,” John Heider writes, “means having the ability to recover one’s balance, even in the midst of action. A centered person is not subject to passing whims or sudden excitements. Being grounded means being down-to-earth, having gravity or weight. I know where I stand, and I know what I stand for: that’s ground.”
Tonight, I value lives. I listen to music. I write. And I know where we stand.