Who else will hold us if not each other
Posted on November 5, 2017
(Image of the CPA team during our Generative Somatics retreat learning and practicing how to use the jo stick collectively. There are people in open stance with their jo sticks with their backs facing in a karate studio.)
I’m writing this in a pretty raw and reflective place, I just came out of a 3 day Generative Somatics training with the CPA team last week and I’m so so proud and inspired by seeing everyone in their full power.
As I’m learning to become more open and vulnerable, I’m constantly fighting my tendency to hold it all in and do it alone. Growing up as the oldest son, I’ve learned to get good at this; in fact, I didn’t realize I was practicing this tendency every single day. My conditioned tendency is to be a giver and then to be a fighter and defender when necessary. To be a container for others. To hold space for others.
Every container has its limits. Who will be my container, when I hold too much? Who would even know if I was holding too much? Often we think of ourselves as superhuman and can keep holding and doing for others but it shows up in all we do (like resentment, guilt, judgement, ego over impact, competition over mutuality, the list goes on).
Sometimes we wait until our container cracks or gets too full. I’ve had many moments like this in my life and it was ugly. I burnt out, let people down, and felt shame. I blamed myself and the “movement.” For a long time, I felt the “movement was a lonely place.”
But every time it happened, I learned more about myself and the community around me. When my container needed care, I had others hold me and care for me. This is the beauty of dialectics and reciprocity. It turns out that I’ve been doing so much for others that people were ready to care for me. Truth be told, some were just waiting for the other shoe to drop for me to be ready to accept the care.
I learned that we don’t need to be martyrs and that we are all deserving of mutual care and support. But waiting until I was burnt out was not the business. There is too much at stake and there are consequences. It shows up being on the frontlines, in our campaigns, our friendships, and in our relationships. We need more comrades (and homies) and less martyrs. What would it look like if we got good at being aware of our needs, asking for support while still boldly entering our full power?
“We need more comrades and less martyrs. What would it look like if we got good at being aware of our needs, asking for support while still boldly entering our full power?”
So this isn’t just a reminder, it is actual not a real option if we truly want to transform this world, especially in these precarious times.
When Collin was diagnosed with autism near the time of Trump’s election, I was devastated and I already felt my container getting fuller and fuller, exploding at times. I knew I needed another container and many other containers to support me, Collin, my family on this life long journey.
I began to practice something different — openness and vulnerability. This is another gift from Collin.
I trusted the community around me (sometimes even strangers!) that I could show this vulnerability AND be in my full power at the same time. It is an everyday practice.
I’m a leadership commitment to being a BOLD, PRESENT, BABA and I’m also a leadership commitment to trust that I will be held when I need it most because who else will hold us if not each other.