I am constantly challenged in life by one burning question: Do I trust Love?
Do I trust that Love will lead me and those I care most deeply about to Love’s embrace?
And what of disappointments? What of the moments and times when people fail me? When institutions I’ve hoped were safe spaces that represent the way of Love turned out to not be that?
Broken people who, in their unhealed state, project their brokenness onto others equates to dysfunctional families and messy institutions. Unsafe spaces that lead us far from home.
In the bosom of Love’s embrace, I’ve come to understand the degree of my healed emotional capacity will always determine the level at which I am present and consciously participating in relationship with others. In the absence of healing, I will choose rightness over relationship and protect my defended self with ferocity every single time.
Love is the foundation for mutuality. Love is the foundation for safety, wellness, and unconditional acceptance. Love is the structure in which freedom is governed. To the extent that I do not trust Love, I will not trust that I can find home in the world.
As a Black woman with over four decades of living, I’ve become an expert in reading the comfortability thermometer of white bodies in dominant culture spaces. Discomfort is the great deterrent of belonging. I’ve learned how to adapt, shrink myself, change my tone of voice, my patterns of speech, diminish, or even become invisible to accommodate the discomfort of white bodies. These are all tricks and tools of the trade to “go along to get along.” Things you absorb and “just know.” Things that are said with the eyes and head nods or expressed as warnings cloaked in cynicism that’s really birthed in fear: “You smellin’ your own piss.” “You thinkin’ too highly of yo’self.” “Some places ain’t for you.”
And yet, this is not the life I want for myself, to diminish myself because of someone else’s discomfort with my personhood. I can do it because I have to.
But what I most want is to live in a world where the welcome mat for my whole self is laid out. I want to live in a world where space is made for me to exist how I am as I am without any threat to my personhood.
I want to live in a world where bad gets better. Where a renaissance of inclusion and acceptance blossoms. I want to live in a world where fear does not rob us of our freedom to be. I want to live in a world that is safe to call home.
It takes a lot of inner work to get to the place where you can allow yourself to be the same person no matter the situation or circumstance. To not become a chameleon who changes based on reading the room, I need places to be my whole self. To be seen, to be known, to be valued, to have my voice and self-expression held in concert with others without any demands of assimilation, conformity, or diminishment.
We all need that. We all need places and people who hold our safety, wellness and dignity in the highest regard. Even when we are not conscious of its pull, belonging is the thing that drives us.
Can I trust these people will hold me in kind regard and have the best intention in mind for me? Where are we most welcome?
Where is home?
We are all constantly looking, searching for home. Home is the place where connection with you is prioritized. Home is the place where your heart is handled with tender care. Home is not the place where you are dominated, manipulated, controlled, or required to be anything other than yourself.
Home is the place where you are free. Even when your expression of freedom may not be understood, it is still allowed. Space is still made for your choices, your expression – the fullness of your personhood.
How do we begin to come home to one another? How do we participate with Love to create communities of care where everyone is at home in their body and at home in the world?
Establishing home, the lived experience of safety, wellness and dignity is an on-going, infinite process of attentive, intentional care that is lived out day to day as we dance with Love.
Establishing home begins with being honest about what we do not know. From a posture of humility, we can see what we need to un-learn and where our actions have been harmful and our words have erected barriers to establishing a welcoming home for ourselves and other bodies.
Establishing home begins with inner work, healing our inner child. The wounded inner child who fights with such ferocity to protect and defend herself. The one whose natural inclination is to choose right over relationship, to guard her heart with anger and rage. To choose retribution as a form of protection.
How do I come home to her? How do we come home to ourselves?
For me, it all begins and ends with Love. Love is the Source, the Ground of All Being. Love is the deep source of wisdom within, the fount of our life energy. To find my way home to myself, I have to find my way home to Love.
To establish home in the world, I must first establish home in myself.
How do I become a welcoming, inclusive person? How do I move to a posture of unconditional acceptance instead of judgment? The capacity to become who we long to be already exists within each of us. We are, after all, created in the image of Love.
We all bear the imago Dei in our personhood (per sonar, the holy innocence or sound of the genuine that sounds through each of us). Even when we’re doing stupid shit and participating with destruction, creating chaos instead of safety, the imago Dei does not change. The truth of who we are does not leave us. Like Michelangelo once said his job was to carve away the excess stone that hid the finished work. Every carving is complete beneath the stone.
Much of who we are (the truth of our being) lives cleanly below the surface of our defended selves – the excess we protect. With lots of patience, the practice of stillness creates room for unearthing the truth of our being. There in the quiet, we learn to trust – Love, ourselves, and finally, others. Trusting Love changes how we see and what we are willing to allow. Trusting Love is the path that leads to establishing home.