Hitting RefreshSeptember 8, 2010 Leave a comment
Just yesterday in a meeting of the Senior Associates at the Interaction Institute for Social Change, Gibrán Rivera made a comment about the ways in which being too fixed with an identity prevent us from getting to a place of liberation. I’ve heard him talk about this before – and am challenged by it every time he says it.
In part, I’m challenged because I find myself thinking about the importance as well of what’s come to be known as “identity politics,” especially in these times (one of the things I cling to). Though I sometimes fear what clinging too fiercely to separations may come to mean, I also am challenged to try not to swing the pendulum too far toward dropping all of that. But somehow yesterday it fit in with some things I did while on vacation this summer.
The previous day, I was on a long walk listening to a recording of Pema Chödrön talking about her continuing understanding of the ways that a fixed identity are the cause of suffering. Specifically, she was talking about the ways that we fix on our identity of who we are and who others are and do everything in our power to cling to that – even when all evidence is to the contrary. I’ve been playing around some with watching how this is true for me – the ways that I have a fixed view of others, or a perception of who I am, to which I rigidly cling – seeing what effect it has, and trying, even for a moment, to let that go.
And so yesterday, when Gibrán was talking, I started wondering about the ways this plays out in organizations or movements as well. In what ways do our fixed ideas of each other impact what we can become and do with each other? How might this limit our movements for social change? Are there also ways this strengthens our work? What do you think?