Thursday, 13 December 2018

Coming Out From the Silence

I caught wind of a rally today (through the oracle Facebook). It was to be a demonstration of support for the Unist'ot'en First Nations; who on this day, are in the Provincial Supreme Court, to defend their traditional lands, in the face of a Multinational corporation, that is intent on Fracking and pipelines right through their midst.

The five chiefs in the region have all said, "No" - the company is ignoring their rights to self-governance, determination and land management. They are ignoring rhetoric from all levels of government for continued reconciliation - they are ignoring the findings of the Reconciliation Commission; as well a U.N. declarations of Indigenous People's rights.

I have been blessed to participate in a variety of First Nations circles/ceremonies - all of which it has been said, contribute to on-going healing and reconciliation for all concerned (as we are, all in this together). I continue to consider how I participate in the "de-colonization," as the ancestor of settlers and of course, as one that has been advantaged by privilege. Today I decided this was how I would show up.

I have participated in a variety of "rallies".. I tend to approach them, with some discernment. It's my experience, that often there is what the rally is said to represent... but there frequently can be those, that show up with entirely different agendas. Even within the stated cause, I reserve the right of autonomy and will determine from start to finish, how I participate. I won't blindly follow any group anywhere. There is no collective that represent ones sovereignty and well-being at all times. I therefore, do not abdicate my power of discernment.

One of the rally components was the singing of politically pointed songs (using the tunes of a number of familiar Christmas songs)... it felt aligned for me to participate in that... I like to sing anyway & while I don't know the outcome energetically or otherwise, of putting these songs "out there;" I believe, that perhaps those on the front lines of this current battle,  might be heartened to see & hear they have support.

"Rally cries," I would again assess for myself... I can whole-heartedly say I stand with the Unist'ot'en and what they are trying to do.... I don't know, that the company in question "steals" (it wouldn't surprise me to find out they do, but stil,l I can't give voice and energy, to someone else's fabrication (without knowing the truth for myself). It's enough for me to try and express myself authentically.

There were times when the nature of the rally, what's at stake - taking a public stand, were emotionally triggering for me. Sometimes I felt on the verge of tears... How would I know where I am on the spectrum of healing with respect to colonialism, racism, my participation in the world, that has done nothing to lessen oppression; and continued to contribute to economies constructed, to advantage me, a white male and exploit the planet that is all of our home.

I'm trying to find my voice. I can remember in elementary school becoming physically sick at the prospect of giving a presentation in front of my peers. Another time, I was so completely reticent to put my hand up in the class to ask to be excused to the bathroom, that by the time the class was over and I was then walking the 20min. distance home for lunch, I couldn't hold on any longer & I let the whole works go throughout my pants.

Incrementally through 12 step rooms, I learned to speak in front of others, my voice was not welcome in my home growing up. I rarely spoke in groups of people (one on one only ) I seldom voiced my opinion - I just did what I wanted, without engaging the "discussion." Those that know of me now ... know I possess the "gift of the gab.." It might be difficult for anyone to believe I was effectively mute as a child... (no pathology of sorts... everything "functioned" ... I had a voice - I just largely surrendered it). I seek to strike a balance.. I acknowledge "listening" to be every bit as important as speaking.

The first time I saw a "performance" of the "Haka" I was stunned .... That brought me to tears ... I don't want to do the Haka... I'm not Maori.. it doesn't belong to me - it's not who I am.... what touched me upon my broken-heart; was just the power and conviction, that these people unapologetically expressed themselves..

I'm still looking for that voice ... not their voice - my voice... I sit in circles & I speak... I write and I write and I write... I've said before - the words of innumerable people from throughout history, inspire me. But then again, I don't give a shit, about what they've said. I most certainly love that they said it!! Still that is their contribution, not mine. I know the pain of a voice unheard! (at the end of the day, for me, I recognize that that silence was a choice I made)... Even if someone is "demanding" or threatening, in order to commandeer silence - it's me, that would need to comply. I'm more convinced now, that my compromised silence, is far more devastatingly painful, than anything, anyone, could inflict on me for speaking - even death.. Fuck 'em!!

I will find my voice... I am finding my voice. It will be a voice of compassionate power, flexible, but un-compromised. It will not be un-erring .. but the same integrity, that will be the foundation of my expression, will recognize when my voice must express accountability and reconciliation.

I'm more inclined now to cite something someone else has said, not to impress anyone with my familiarity with their words, or some variation of "name-dropping," but rather to give credit, where credit is due. I will show up with my words - to express my perspective. My voice cannot be developed, leaning on those of anybody else.

Will I ever say anything that is impactful, influential, significant, profound...... Maybe

Chances are I will utter them, or write them - have moved on and be expressing whatever is next & will never know, where & how, those previous words landed...

It goes without saying (actually I suppose it must be said) that words unspoken cannot impact anything...

R. O'Neill (December  13, 2018)


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