Fourth of July Dialectics

July 3, 2020

Cause my dry bones to live and breath life into my soul.  Awaken my senses; fill me with wonder, may I speak with Spirit.  Ezekiel 37:13

I've been thinking about dialectics a lot lately-the true sign of a DBT nerd! (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). Dialectics refers to the idea that two different things can be true at the same time.  For instance, we can experience two different feelings at the same time. You can recognize a dialectic when someone as a "both and," instead of "but."  I talked about dialectics yesterday in my peer support wellness group and how they help me. One of the themes we talked about was keeping on going, no matter what.  Dialectics can help when feeling discouraged.  An example: "I feel like giving up And I know I can keep on going."  Here is the slide I used to explain:

Dialectics also help me process my Fourth of July feelings and thought they might help you too.  It's not that I did not know about racism before this year, but before all the videos of racist murders by our police, our nation's White Supremacy did not fill my awareness and the immediacy of needed change in the same deep way it does now.  On top of everything, Covid-19 adds another disturbing layer over every single decision involving advocacy, or really, just people, in general.  Relatively easy decisions are now life or death.  Trump's and Kemp's evilness combined with the true facts that our nation is founded on genocide and slavery takes away my patriotism and yet, this is where I live.  This is where the people I love live.  Despite it all, this country is my home.   Dialectical behavioral therapy is about making sense of dialectics, the gray, the complexities of life.  
And so here are the dialectics that I am leaning on right now:

I can feel love for my family and hate white supremacist ancestors. 

I can love the city of Atlanta and detest gentrification. 

I can love my country because it is my home and also know that my country commits evils. 

When I look back at history, I can see that evil has always been among us, and yet I can claim to follow Love. 

I can acknowledge that I am a part of a White Supremacist nation and yet I can commit to being as anti-racist as I possibly can. 

I can acknowledge that I will make racist, defensive statements sometimes, and I can take those moments as learning opportunities instead of wallowing in my emotions.

I can acknowledge the deep sadness I feel on this Fourth of July and yet I can also acknowledge my joy in being alive and being a part of the solution.   

I can acknowledge my feelings of anger and participate in a prayer protest walk in Kirkwood tomorrow and yet also host a little celebration tomorrow night with my roommate-we will roast marshmallows in my new fire pit!

 I can hate the actions of many past and present leaders and yet still feel immense pride for the many change makers that have and are working for good.  

I hope thinking about dialectics can help you process your emotions too.  When I celebrate at my fire pit with my roommate and his boys tomorrow, I will be celebrating all of those working for real change.  I will be thankful for my church, my recovery community, the female leaders of color that are running to make a difference.  I will be thankful and joyous for myself, my friends, and the ability to choose a different way.  I will be thankful for the idea and destination of freedom, even if it will not be reached during my lifetime.
(Another slide from my powerpoint-thank you to my friend who let me steal some of her words.)

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