We are all in kindergarten regarding the necessary paradigm shifts we are feeling coming, knowing are necessary, maybe working towards. Our culture is built upon non-accountability and this is deeply embedded in every aspect of how we function as a nation and as a collective. The disconnect and forgotten history of violence and oppression between us as humans has led us into the sicknesses of racism and genocide, and hierarchies such as white supremacy and extreme capitalist values. This even deludes us that we can “own” land and forests, waters and ecosystems and do with them as we please.
Historically, humans respond to crisis and clean up our acts in the final hour or we extinct ourselves…here we are again though this time it might be all the way off the planet versus just becoming a people remembered by the bones and architecture they left behind.
Maybe you are tired of me speaking on this subject, this makes sense from a brain standpoint—we are literally wired to block out what makes us feel helpless. And if the mess we are in does not make you feel helpless, I do not know what will.
Whether we can clean up the mess we have made is definitely in question. So what? Lie down wait for the aliens? Give up and keep shopping on Amazon? Annihilate ourselves as we are each and all inclined to?
Maybe it’s time to be with what is and point our compass towards what we CAN do—drum roll….which is…REPAIR. Where we start with repair is via small, personal, actions and begins with being with. Subtle, quiet, but a potent initial movement. Courageously being with is the movement that empowers us to get to meaningful repair.
The language of repair can be learned, it is very very simple, but it is also not easy. Here is the “secret”—to begin the work of repair we must become 100% BOTH defenseless AND accountable. The secret is defenseless accountability. Whoa.
The underlayments of our nation have taught us—and this teaching has seeped into our bones—that our actions are and were justified—those people were lazy, those people were savage, “this land was made for you and me”, or this person, place, thing or idea is dangerous….oh it goes on doesn’t it?
The tendency to justify our actions, however “wrong” they may feel to our souls, is a deeply embedded imprint in all of us. Honest attempts at accountability often go awry when we can’t stay in the humble place of defenselessness and accountability. So often we get sidetracked by wanting to make sure “the antagonist” (often a beloved person) knows their mistakes and crimes as well…this happens in all of our relationships and so often illuminates in couples work as one of the biggest barriers to healing—“I’ll be accountable if you’ll be accountable.” This gets us to our current predicament and the shit-show of non-healing, or looping argument, of chicken and egg-like scenarios which leaves everyone frustrated and stuck on repeat.
Defenseless accountability. It’s simple, it’s hard; you must make it a practice if you want to learn it and apply it to your life. Start with small things that are easy enough (yes— I did spill the milk, forget to empty the garbage, tell a half truth—and I will make it right), then work your way up to the more emotionally and culturally charged things like shifting from “I don’t want to look at how I might be perpetuating racism or oppression in my community.” to, “oh, whoa, what do I need to see or learn here?”. Along the way, notice where you become reactive or shut down, notice when you want “other” to do their part 1st—when you get stuck in your own shadows of defensiveness, righteousness, arrogance. Notice, and then shift back to curiosity—from here you should be able to practice defenselessness and accountability again…practice.
Creating defenseless accountability in yourself as a way of being will be work and will take time. Just like with any practice, notice, breathe, shift your course, repeat. Learning to live in the place of defenseless accountability matters and it is time.
Let me know how it goes and know that all of the groups and offerings School of the New Work, and I offer, are to support this shift in you and in us together, as a community. Both Wake Up Calls and Tune Up series are strong and meaningful containers for your own practice and self reflection—in community, this can make all the difference.