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Paradoxes to Begin the Year

January 4, 2023

Do What You Want, Shamelessly. But Radically Change and Atone.

You can absolutely trust your heart. Your intuition.

You can trust your gifts and your pleasures.

You were not born to be a martyr. You were born to discover real peace, happiness, freedom, truth.

Don’t let anyone shame you out of your heart. Out of what lights you up.

Shame fails us. We know this.

And yet…

You are conditioned by a society that lies, exploits, and manipulates your feeling.

A society constantly downplaying and rationalizing its unjust distributions of hardship, poverty, and untimely death.

A society creaking and collapsing in climate crisis, rapidly abandoning responsibility to any current and future beings who drink water, breathe air, or feed on living soil.

In order to contribute to liberation from a culture of domination, you must be willing to implicate yourself. To get uncomfortable. To learn a thing or two about privilege, and unlearn a thing or two about meritocracy, prosperity theology, endless growth, or throwing things away.

Feeling shame, in this process, is all but inevitable.

Furthermore, it is not enough to change your heart, mind, perspective, and then wait patiently for policy to catch up. You must also take action, take risks, if your commitments amount to more than platitudes.

Don’t just do what you feel like doing. Do what is good and brave and must be done.

Don’t Push. But Deeply Convince.

It is true that once a shift in consciousness occurs in the collective, pushing will no longer be necessary, and might even become counter-productive. Rather, behavior changes will flow naturally.

It is entirely possible that the younger generations, deeply invested in healing trauma for both personal and collective reasons, will molt like snakes made wise with dry renewal, or supergenerations of monarch butterflies, reborn ready for the longest trip home, ready to shed and rub away any old, desiccated skins of denial and defensiveness.

Release the baggage and trauma that drove Europe to shackle, engine, and plantation the world.

Renounce the caste-based ideologies and regional imperialisms still dogging superpower nations of color after thousands of years.

Finally see that Zionism is not safety.

Embrace, instead, true apologies and atonement.

It could all shift in the space it takes a generation to grow up and say, “This was wrong. We’re sorry, and we want to make it right.”


So I agree: we don’t have to push, push, always push, contort the populace toward repentance and redemption.

If we tune in to our hearts, bodies, and spirits, and the voices, bodies, and spirits of those with whom we inter-are, all will unfold with maximum grace.

But whose momentum has brought us to this precipice of potential graceful, heartfelt change, the supergeneration of atonement, if not the momentum generated by those screaming, howling, hustling, burning, pushing, thundering for freedom?

I am tired of spiritual types being so dismissive of activist strategies.

And I am tired of activist strategies, too.

The photos show my two most recent foster kittens: Daenerys and Tyrion. Very little to do with the text! Just a snapshot of current home.

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