Intersectionality in Experience

Last night I was invited by a close friend to attend a Sundown to Sunup event sponsored by the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) http://gsodaycenter.org/ in Greensboro. The goal was to get together for a sleep out to remember the 8 people who have lost their lives this year while homeless. What was so powerful was that everyone had an opportunity to interact with each other, there were no assumptions or opportunity to put up walls. We were all forced to understand and be with each other. I ended up bringing some extra blankets we had around the house. As soon as I got there I noticed first off that there weren’t that many people there. For some reason I had initially thought that there would be lot of people there supporting the cause, connecting to others. Not as many people as I had anticipated, yet people were there. There was a lot of food, a whole table full, and maybe about 10-15 people of all ages laying down on the ground or walking around. Overhead in the trees there were some beautiful Christmas Balls that made the night seem magical, although this feeling couldn’t mask the true reason why we were there. People have died while homeless and most likely without the supports that were needed. We all need someone to love us, to care for us, to help us. There is no way we can do it on our own. I could only assume the stories of some of the people there, based on my own experiences while growing up living in a car and a tent for a short period of time I could relate to the struggle. It is such a thin line between paying bills and having a roof over your head, and then losing it all and trying to just survive day by day. I had overheard some comments that some of the people had made there that it was a great place to be, a free camp site. This was true.. certainly a safe place where people could rest their head, despite the frigid air. Everyone was dressed warmly and seemed to be in good spirits. The friends that I showed up with all knew sign language, two of them being Deaf, and I am sure within this interaction we all learned a little something about each other. Some understandings or previous conceptions may have been changed, if just a little bit. As I was leaving Becky, a woman I had met for the first time that night, ran up to me and gave me a big hug goodbye. It had warmed me up from the inside and struck me in a way that left me feeling so happy, overwhelmed, and vulnerable all at the same time. I spend so much time putting up walls to keep people out, to protect myself, that I wasn’t able to really accept people when they wanted to connect with me. At that moment something crumbled a bit more, and I understood the importance of allowing that vulnerability to show. To accept the fact that the common thread that connects us all is our humanity, that we all have these shared feelings of love and of fear. By understanding that we are all so much more alike than we ever have known, we then are able to reach out to others and create this change in society. Instead of creating more walls and divides–we can create unity and connection within diverse communities. Today I am writing to share this experience with each of you, and also to also understand what this means within my life. I’m wondering if I can connect the dots between this particular experience last night, my life experiences, and how to connect this to my future actions? Still trying to understand… I appreciate you all going through this journey with me. Hopefully some of what I write will spark something within you to reach out, to understand another person’s story, to take down some walls that you may have up. #PAYITFORWARD

Less Busy-More Mindful

After reading a FB post from my friend Cath (see below) I realized that there is something to be said about taking a step back and just doing nothing.

“NOTHING….is becoming rare and precious. Everything is hype, noise, desire, desperation, speed and greed. We in the modern world are good at ‘doing,’ but anemic at ‘being.’ Entertainment, busy-ness, texting while walking or even driving…’Efficiency’ is an addictive myth based on our fidgety fear of opening up. We can not ‘do’ properly until we can, first, ‘be’ fully. Practice doing nothing – then – we can accomplish…ANYTHING.”

Use #SundayStillness as an opportunity to practice doing nothing!