Saturday, April 3, 2021

see no stranger



See no stranger has become a practice that defines my relationships. . . .
 Seeing no stranger begins in wonder. 
It is to look upon the face of anyone and choose to say: 
You are a part of me I do not yet know. 
Wonder is the wellspring for love. 
Who we wonder about determines whose stories we hear 
and whose joy and pain we share. Those we grieve with,
 those we sit with and weep with, are ultimately those we organize
 with and advocate for. 
When a critical mass of people come together to wonder about one another,
 grieve with one another, and fight with and for one another, we begin to build
 the solidarity needed for collective liberation and transformation
—a solidarity rooted in love. . . .

Out in the world, I notice the unconscious biases that arise in me
 when I look at faces on the street or in the news. 
To practice seeing each of them as a sister or brother or family member, 
I say in my mind: You are a part of me I do not yet know. 
Through conscious repetition, I am practicing orienting to the world
 with wonder and preparing myself for the possibility of connection.
 (Sometimes I do this with animals and the earth, too!) 
It opens me up to pay attention to their story. When their story is painful, 
I make excuses to turn back—“It’s too overwhelming” or “It’s not my place”
—but I hold the compass and remember that all I need to do is be present
 to their pain and find a way to grieve with them. 
If I can sit with their pain, I begin to ask:

What do they need?
Valarie Kaur
 Australian aboriginal art