If we are going to get free, we have to work together.
“Collective liberation” is the theory, but how do we actually deal practically with annoying comrades, group conflicts, and disagreements in politics and strategy that keep us from advancing our cause together?
For many, our legacies for how to practice in community have been actively interrupted.
Capitalism depends on our individualism, our tacit agreement to solve our problems ourselves without the help of others. White supremacy, heteropatriarchy, ableism, fat hatred, classism all work to destroy our language, practices, and cultures for responding to suffering together as a community. As a white, fat, queer, neurodivergent, mixed class, nonbinary femme, I am a person shedding centuries-old patterns, listening to embodied wisdom outside dominant cultures, and relearning.
Our liberation guides are in community practice.
One of my most honored spiritual teachers, the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, says that we cannot wait for messiahs to set us free. “The next Buddha is sangha,” he says. Another way to say that is: Our liberation guides are in community practice. He shares this teaching not from some lonely mountaintop hermitage, but as a refugee from war-divided Vietnam. His taste of liberation grows out of the real-life suffering of this world.
So, how exactly do we do better work together?
I was jokingly going to call this blog “Group Work” because many of us have some real wounds to heal from our experiences trying to work together on school projects and workplace teams.
But in talking with folks, I have found that the triggers around even saying the phrase ‘group work’ are too intense!
When healing deep wounds, our first work is to resource ourselves and those around us.
We resource ourselves by taking a breath. By eating or resting or talking with a friend.
We resource ourselves by remembering and re-rooting in our power.
We understand that “resourcing ourselves” is not just about our singular bodies. If we need *more* to do the work in front of us — more money, more people, more time, more wisdom — we set our next steps so we can draw those resources to our work.
This grounding in our resources allows us to show up with a different presence in our groups, workplaces, and communities.
This is the kind of advice I am excited to explore with you!