This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.
What is on my mind?
Here is an excerpt of an interview with Rachel Naomi Remen by Jeffrey Mishlove. Rachel emphasizes that we cut ourselves off from the life force when we edit ourselves in accordance with the approval and disapproval of others. Her distinction between teams and communities also caught my attention.
Rachel Naomi Remen says:1
My experience of anger … is that the anger is often the first way we encounter the life force. It’s the part in us that wants to resist distortion, that wants to preserve our integrity, that wants to say no to the idea that we are broken. . . . In the form of anger, it is often not very useful. It can help us preserve our integrity. But often we have to connect to that kind of an energy directly as the life force, in order to live a life.2
I think often we have edited ourselves. We have fixed ourselves to win the approval of others. And certain of our human dimensions are birthrights we have repressed, disavowed, or disconnected ourselves from. In our particular culture, anything that is intangible—the soul, the intuition, the heart—are repressed.3
When a person becomes ill often they need their wholeness in order to recover, and they may need to reclaim for themselves the things they have been taught are not valuable, because these things may be the very thing they need for their healing.4
I think it’s a very human thing to trade wholeness for approval. And anything that has been fixed like that isn’t as strong as something that is whole … as a human being. It’s very difficult. The whole culture denies certain things. We are a very lonely people. We take pride in our loneliness. . . . Independence is not as strong a position as being able to receive and give in community, and to know oneself connected to larger realities through communion.5
The interesting thing about the medical system is that it is a reflection of the culture that is around it. All of the strengths of our culture, all of its dreams, all of its power is reflected in its medical system. And all of its illusions, all of its flaws, all of its woundedness, is also reflected in the medical system. So, the loneliness of the people in the culture, that loneliness is amplified between people in the medical system.6
A healing community are people who are engaged in each other’s movement towards wholeness, as much as they are engaged in the patients recovery of their integrity and wholeness. It isn’t focused on the patient. It is a relationship among professionals, which the patient is included into—a healing community. As the work gets harder and harder health teams burn out. Healing communities become inspired by the work, and are actually fed and nurtured by it.7
Generative organizing requires a community of people who are engaged in each other’s movement towards wholeness, as much as they are engaged in the integrity and wholeness of their work.
1 Rachel Naomi Remen: The Life Force (excerpt) — Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove, published 2010-08-28 (accessed 2018-08-05).
2 Ibid., at 0:10.
3 Ibid., at 2:05.
4 Ibid., at 2:35.
5 Ibid., at 3:20.
6 Ibid., at 4:44.
7 Ibid., at 8:42.
Organizing in between and beyond posts