Community is challenging, but it is not impossible. It requires self-awareness and a specialized set of trauma-sensitive communication skills, coupled with an understanding of the social construction of ego and a willingness to put the whole before the mind-made self.
In this module, we deconstruct the traumatic lived experience of oppression and marginalization, in all its forms, in order to heal it. We acknowledge and aspire to heal the trauma of:
- The dispossessed people of all genders and ethnicities who have experienced abandonment or gaslighting due to a misunderstood complex, chronic illness.
- The experience of vulnerability for being female and homeless, while perhaps still trying to protect and provide stability for children.
- The “least-worthy-of-help” status that the patriarchy ascribes to white men, even when they are sick and broken and most in need of help.
- The broken social contract for protection, prioritization and healthcare of black, indigenous and people of color in the United States of America.
- The oppression, exploitation and violence towards indigenous cultures worldwide, and who have STILL upheld the unbroken knowing of wholeness as a resource for when the human family is ready to return to it.
In this module, we are most deeply inspired by the work of Courage of Care and their RISE model of Spiritual Activism.
COURAGE OF CARE COMMUNITY PRACTICE AGREEMENTS
- Courage — Co-Create a Culture of Care:
- We take care of the “me” and ”we” by doing our best to honor, attend to, and anticipate personal access and care needs for ourselves and others.
- We are mindful of what we’re contributing into the “we” space by reflecting on the possible benefit and impact of our shares for the group before doing so.
- We affirm each person’s unconditional belonging and communicate our perspectives with respect and care even when boundaries may be needed to mitigate and prevent harm.
- We honor the importance of consent and ask for it, rather than assuming we have it, by recognizing that each individual has personal boundaries (whether they be physical, emotional, etc), doing our best to anticipate those boundaries, and asking for consent before approaching them.
2. Reveal Truths — Co-create a Counter-Oppressive Culture:
- We create space for a diversity of experience and perspective and engage each other with curiosity and care, while attuned to the realities of power, privilege, and oppression.
- We find ways to respectfully share differences in experiences and perspective without invalidating or criticizing the experiences or perspectives of others.
- We are mindful of how we take up space and experience power and privilege and proactively take action to share space and challenge the systems and structures that give us power and privilege within a space.
- We practice expressing ourselves from the perspective of our own experiences and avoid making generalizations and assumptions about the experiences, identities, perspectives, and bodies of others.
3. Invest in Healing — Co-Create a Healing-Centered Culture:
- We each take responsibility for attending to our own care and internal experience while also recognizing that we are all in a position to perpetuate oppression and harm and working to be attuned to, challenge, and change how our own shaping, beliefs, and actions may harmfully impact ourselves and others.
- We practice communicating about when we are experiencing something that may affect our full presence and participation in the group, as much as feels possible.
- We practice taking action to call ourselves and each other into deeper learning and compassionate accountability — especially those who share our privileges — rather than placing that responsibility on those who are experiencing marginalization, inequity, harm and/or oppression.
- We honor the inherent worth, dignity, and belonging of each person, affirming our individual and collective capacity to positively shift in the direction of greater care, understanding, justice, and compassion.
4. Sense Alternatives — Co-Create a Culture of Possibility & Emergence:
- We practice being open to and exploring new possibilities and perspectives and proactively seek to learn about what we do not already know.
- We invite spaciousness and pause to strengthen our capacity to be with discomfort, attend fully to what is being shared, engage, and respond from a place of grounded intention, care, and clarity.
- We practice asking ourselves, “What is going well? What more is here? What else is possible? Who am I not including? What am I missing or not sensing?”
- We practice using a “both/and” rather than an “either/or” perspective, substituting “and” for “but” when possible to acknowledge and hold space for multiple realities, perspectives, and experiences.
5. Embody Beloved Community — Co-create a culture of commitment and solidarity:
- We practice continuously checking in on the well-being of the group and how we are upholding our community agreements.
- We invite a process of collaboration, emergence, transformation, and shared responsibility in the co-creation of our community and group culture.
- We work to follow through on our expressed values and beliefs through evolving practices, agreements, and commitments.
- We are mindful when engaging with and practicing new possibilities, always doing our best to ensure individual and collective care and to seek out support, collaboration, and consent, when needed.
- A growing body of research that demonstrates the value of Indigenous and local knowledge to conservation science and sustainable land management.
- Borderland Restoration Network‘s commitment to Equity, Inclusion and Justice
- Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers
- Fundamentals of Anti-Oppression in Community
- Bessel Van der Kolk’s Trauma Research Foundation
- The Hum– Transformative Learning
- Movie– Uncomfortable Truth
- ProsperityNow — Transforming our Economy to Work for Everyone