Towards Purpose, Practice and Power – Diary of a Baba
Posted on November 23, 2017
I took some time to sit on this. I’m humbled by the positive responses to my post on the 3 Ps: Pessimism, Perfectionism and Purism – Dangerous Trends in the Movement. Many of you embraced my words with humility and curiosity. It was a self reflection of myself more than anything and glad it resonated with so many. I’m also super grateful for the people, young and old, who are following and reading my blog <3. It is what keeps me going.
Before getting into it, this is what has been grounding me lately. I’ve been imagining a world that will not only accept Collin but a world that will fully embrace and value all his gifts. Imagine if we lived in a world where from a young age we were all supported to be our best selves and taught to help others be their best selves. Where we all had healers and caretakers of all sorts to help us understand the world, where our parents/guardians/community were trained on how to be good stewards for us. In this world, everyone would have a healer, a buddy, to support our human development. Even if it was for the first 5 years of life, imagine how you, your surroundings, and the world would be different. The labor of healers and caretakers would not be invisible but fully visible and valued.
We are definitely not there and sometimes it feels very far from our reality but I see a glimmer of this with the love and support Collin receives from our community and honestly from the state as a disabled child. I’m constantly in awe of the all the people in the disability justice movement past and present who have fought and are still fighing for the rights of our child and for society as a whole. This is what grounds me these days towards my purpose, practice and power.
SO how do we do this? How do we build a now and a future towards Purpose, Practice and Power?
First, let’s talk about purpose. Many may not know this but I am a process person, that process person. I think and overthink more than I should. I want to do right, like every time, to a fault. From a young age, as the oldest son, I was taught to put everyone before me, to take care of everyone else, and to step up at all costs. I was not true to my purpose nor was I really supporting the people around me. When I wrote my post on Purpose Over Process, it was another reminder to myself.
People have asked, “How do you know if you are being purposeful? What is the “solution”? To me is is less about the “right” answer and more about the assessment of the situation and how that assessment was made. The less connected we are with other people, the less grounded our assessments are with our purpose. All campaigns need to have good strategy that is grounded by an assessment towards the purpose.
Second, then there is practice. what does that mean?? To me, practice means trying on things individually and collectively. We need to learn about ourselves and how to be in community with each other. PRACTICE. This does not mean we just do random things, fail fast or fail forward just for the sake of it. It means PRACTICE with PURPOSE. I have practiced a LOT as a martyr and it was okay… but sometimes reckless. Practicing with real comrades, and getting good at this over time takes us our collective (and individual) power to another level.
Finally, lets dig into POWER. This word has been misused and there is a certain connotation to some of us in the movement. We have an automated response that POWER only means: top down not grassroots, individual not collective, scale not depth, anger/rage not love, replication not transformation, to name a few. Many of us shy away from POWER because these binaries paralyze us. This is exactly what the system wants!! We don’t think enough of power as a dialectic based on interdependence, mutuality, and love. That is the kind of power I’m talking about. I’m talking about my full power and our full power – together. I’m talking about transforming big and small parts of society. Let us redefine the toxic and often static version of power to the kind of power with purpose and practice.
I know this post is coming at the complicated and contradictory time of thanksgiving or thankstaking, as many have called it. Let us channel some counter hegemonic love and power to thank our loved ones, to honor the stolen lives and the indigenous people and land we all are on.
In these times, we all need each other and are counting on each other to be purposeful, practitioners and powerful in our own ways. This is how we transform what we have. I’m going to use my time the next several days to recharge, love and be hella rigorous towards my purpose, practice and power. I hope you will be able to do the same.