Hey Beautiful Human,
How are you doing? Really?
In my last newsletter I talked about feeling like January was the 13th month of 2021 – in other words, it didn’t feel very new year-y.
It’s February now – Happy Ground Hog Day for those celebrating.
And we’ve moved into the new Lunar Year. The year of the Water Tiger.
I’m beginning to realize that my body might be more connected to the lunar calendar than the Gregorian – a shocker, I know. More connected to nature and its flow, to the earth that we’re born from and will return to, than some artificial construct of a 16th Century pope.
This feels more like the New Year for me – how about you?
I am feeling a little more energy to tend my priorities – health, family, community, business, changing the world. And with Imbolc marking the halfway point between Winter and Summer Solstice, I feel hope for spring bubbling up. Just a little bit.
It’s been a week here in Canada’s National Capital Region. At writing, we are on the sixth day of siege by the “Freedom Trucker Convoy” – a group of unhappy people who’ve travelled across the country to overthrow the government and ‘get their freedom back’.
Speaking as an activist who’s spent many days and hours demonstrating and protesting on Parliament Hill over the last 20 years, this week is unprecedented in the displays of white supremacy and hate, bullying, violence, disrespect, and desecration, disrupting the homes and work of people living here.
The residual stress is a lot. My heart goes out to those who have endured the blockade of their streets and communities with an endless barrage of air horns and diesel fumes.
While it is difficult to impossible to access the city, I have had the privilege of observing from the distance of our country riverbank perch.
I’ve noticed in the observing that my brain and body go into fight mode, with a desire for justice that is informed by systems of fuckery – capitalism, colonialism, racism, the patriarchy.
So instead of taking a transformative, restorative justice approach, I want revenge. I demonize. I want punishment and retribution.
But whatever their motivation, it is clear to me that these protesters are not happy people.
Happy people don’t deface, publicly defecate and urinate, disrupt, bully, and threaten other people into submitting to their will, all in the name of ‘freedom.’
I’m pretty sure I’m right about this, even if it is a hard pill to swallow.
Because it means, whether or not my body screams for it I would not be happy disrupting, bullying, or threatening other people into compliance with my version of an ideal world. That and it wouldn’t work.
Even if I was capable of it, I can’t just exact revenge and expect anything to change.
It’s not that I don’t believe we should not be accountable for our actions. We absolutely should.
But, as Audre Lorde points out, the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
It applies to me just as naturally as it does to the people occupying my city.
The question remains though – what do I DO?
And the answer is this: I seek community.
This is not a realization I came to on my own by the way. I just knew in my body that I needed to be with my people and attended the Slow Burn Monday morning musing session this week hosted by Larissa Parson. *
The next day, I attended the final main lesson of the ReBloom advance coach training * – Unlearning Systems of Harm and Co-Creating with Life Itself.
And in that discussion, by bringing my authentic heart the place of safety and consent, someone shared this offering (as well as a description of the Water Tiger and its significance) from Daria of Accountability Mapping. He teaches transformative justice through the body.
I’m signed up.
My nervous system is feeling soothed, and my capacity for taking this next step in healing and growth has increased.
Community: It’s a simple and elegant antidote to the trauma of isolation and individualism that systems of fuckery espouse.
We’re not meant to go it alone.
It all starts in the body.
Find your people (and just in case you need to hear this, EVERYONE is not your people)
Find the places where you feel safe and held. Let them fill your cup.
The world needs you.
Until next time, with love,
Janine Bertolo (she/her)
Anti-capitalist crone and culture maker
Trauma-informed somatic coach
* You may have noticed a trend here. Do two newsletters make a trend? These are my people, and you’ll probably hear more about them if you decide to stick around, because this is the space where I share what I love.
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