How Does Stillness Sit With Rage?10/06/2020
Loren Hansi Gordon shares her personal take on isolation, quietness, protests and the new world we collectively face. Is now the time for systemic change?
Can quiet stand beside the noise? Does an in-breath always follow out?
In my attempts to find calm in this current crisis, it seems I had disconnected. It’s as if my emotional capacity had run out of bandwidth. It wasn’t anger or rage that hit me this time, but grief and despair, right in the centre of my chest. Glimpsing the fury burning through my social media feed, my instinct was to retreat, to reflect. Beyond a quick reaction — an angry-face emoji, a comment, a meme, what could I do that was true to the depth of feeling?
Our world is overcome by pain, and people are clamouring to shout into the noise. My fear is that this cacophony blazes over the ground covering but doesn’t really reach deep into the soil, or the system.Stepping away for a moment I came to think about love. Action, taken on the premise of love. Love of ourselves and crucially a willingness to see, accept, honour and to love one another. It is in this that we can find true freedom.Bell Hooks teaches us in All About Love, that “a love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well. To bring a love ethic to every dimension of our lives, our society would need to embrace change”(Hooks, 2000, p.87).Now is the time to embrace change. To touch it, let it resonate. To make change happen.Some things are systemic. And “the purpose of a system is what it does’’. According to systems thinker Stafford Beer, this holds true even if what the system does is at odds with its official purpose.I have been reflecting on this in light of what is happening now. What are our systems of policing, healthcare, education, mass-media and culture doing? How might we redesign these systems to bring people together, to thrive and to love?
The week that took my breath away
In the early days of the pandemic, like many people confused by vague UK advice, I had a 24hour panic thinking I had the Coronavirus. In a short space of time I had given serious thought to the prospect of my own death. As I coughed un-continuously and occasionally followed a lung exercise video on Youtube, I became acutely aware of my breath. I decided that should this be the way I go — the result of a virus attacking my breathing apparatus — a breath meditation — focusing on the air flowing into the body, and back out again, would be the way to ride it out.‘I can’t breath’. The words pierce through my chest. Winded, I choke back tears rising as I know they will be of no use.Love is what love does. Love is an intention and an action (Hooks, 2000). Love is also a frequency. 528hz is an ancient healing Solfeggio Frequency that is found throughout the natural world, from the buzzing of a bee’s wings, to the refraction of light to green that makes a rainbow. It is present in our DNA and has significant mathematical and healing properties.At times I’ve had to shield from the pain laid bare across the world stage. Return to a breath meditation of loving-kindness and tune into the love frequency.Algorithmic systems on social media create echo chambers of like minds. Let’s remember this so that while we add our voices in solidarity, we also take action — offline. On the premise of love, with the intention of changing the system.
“Love is as love does” Bell Hooks (2000, p.4), quoting M. Scott Peck’s classic self-help book The Road Less Traveled, first published in 1978.
Read her further thoughts on Medium