Hello all who are reading this! If you are familiar with the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence you know about the Season for Nonviolence, which occurs from January 30th to April 4th. These two dates signify the anniversaries of the deaths of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If you have never heard of it, your luck has just begun because I’ll tell you a few things you need to know! The Season for Nonviolence provides you with some of the necessary tools and building blocks to deepen your understanding of nonviolence, nonviolent communication, and different ways to strengthen your peace of mind. During these 64 days you examine and partake in different practices which promote and encourage community building and growth all within a nonviolent scope. Every single staff member, whether they are full time or part time, partakes in Season of Nonviolence.
We have daily check-ins and during these check-ins with the staff we build community by bringing our best selves. During the Season for Nonviolence we use the daily practices for each specific day as a prompt and guide for over conversation. We looked at the article Social Justice and Accountability article in the daily practice lens of “acceptance”. I have some thoughts about the article and our current state of political affairs. Acceptance is vital in taking the necessary steps towards the future, it needs to be well understood and ubiquitous, it is not synonymous to one human being. I’ve noticed that I’ve been too optimistic about the relative timing for the change of our current political climate. It’s really unfortunate that it feels as though we are escaping a bad emotionally and mentally abusive relationship; you get that breath of fresh air and then realize you have an enormous amount of healing to do. In the article it states “it’s daunting, it’s tiring” and truer words have not been spoken.
Internally I feel an immense amount of pressure, to continuously strive and create a new reality with those who really, really care about the future. Then I realize as it states in the article, that in order to move forward, there has to be, let me correct myself, needs to be some form of acceptance of the current circumstances and acknowledgement that maybe the people who contributed to said circumstances could have possibly had a change of heart.
Repair. Harm. Transform. We each have our own definition of those short words but applying them fundamentally to our lives takes more effort. I’d love someone to correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t we all tired? Completely exhausted? After the election, an insurrection, and another failed impeachment trial? I’m also exhausted with the dialogue around these topics especially when it relates to healing transgenerational harm, but there are no clear or concise plans to start this work. I digress, I know this is a critical part of acceptance, internalizing and “sitting” with the stuff that hurts.
I realized for my own personal growth and progression that I needed to “work through” situations, not “get over” them. The most pivotal piece of restorative work and transformative work is to recognize the harm, pinpoint who it affects, and then when the time is right find ways to transform that harm and heal the community. Untreated harm is a wound that has calcified and hardened, trying to reopen it once it heals and creates a protective barrier can be tougher than just addressing the wound when it is fresh and open.
Acceptance is something I actively work on, it’s not as easy as breathing. It’s strategic and objective. See things for what they are, and those things you cannot change, try your best to accept them. We all have an individual and collective part to play in healing and accepting the current state of affairs but most importantly, actively working through the harm into the healing, will for sure give us better grounds to stand on. I believe using these daily practices during the Season for Nonviolence will actively contribute to individual and community growth. The Season for Nonviolence hands us tools for shaping the future, in a positive way, I personally believe these practices are a necessity for everyone, child and adult alike. Let’s allow acceptance and love to light the way of the future!