It’s been a doozy of a week. I’ve stumbled into, tripped over, and (re)heard some truths about myself. Isn’t it true that when the learning comes, it pours? I’ve been trying to take it all in (really in), especially the “feedback” from others, because it’s all true. And yet, it’s not easy to bear. It’s times like these that I become recommitted to building Beloved Community.

As I understand it, living into Beloved Community means that we will have to be more honest with each other – both about our glory and our shadows. This is because in community we are both more deeply known by others, but also because we become more invested in more deeply knowing ourselves. Being the love means living more truthfully into who I really am, not just the image of who I understand myself to be.

I am re-committed to truth-telling practices because the time for us to learn is now. The more adept I can become at hearing how others experience me, the more capacity I have for staying more closely to my center. In time, I imagine there will become less of a journey between the telling and the receiving because there will be more symmetry between my self-concept and how others know me.

My teaching on all of this right now is coming from those who are talking at a movement level about these dynamics I am describing at an individual level. It began first with Ngọc Loan Trần on Black Girl Dangerous, brought back to my attention this week by Asam Ahmad’s “A Note on Call-Out Culture.” They are both describing the “call-out culture” pervasive in political work. Loan Tran advocates also for “calling in.”

Calling in [is] a practice of loving each other enough to allow each other to make mistakes; a practice of loving ourselves enough to know that what we’re trying to do here is a radical unlearning of everything we have been configured to believe is normal.

I’ve been configured to believe that what’s normal is that I get to say who I am. This “normal” gets flipped upside down by the sheer reality of other beings! It’s not easy work, but one of the fruits of building Beloved Community is the blessing of being called in – and up – to my best self, a truth-calling best practiced by community.


image credit: top – Andy Wilson “Hearing Aid”