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How Do New Fractals Grow?

Vision, received or imagined, is not what I have imagined it to be.

Ten years ago, I imagined-received a yearning-vision in which I have labored faithfully—strategizing, implementing, creating favorable conditions for… A vision which has never been quite attainable, though I’ve learned a lot. Opened doors for those around me toward the vision.

The elevator speech? “To bring circle-way community practices into Dayton so Dayton could tell stories that needed telling and listen to stories that needed hearing.” Racial reconciliation and healing were always in the back of my awareness, as Dayton is one of the most segregated cities in the USA. I envisioned these practices of women-writing community were finally wise-enough, tight-enough, grounded enough to hold the traumatic stories that would surely come. If we built it well.

I also knew that my white face would not be sufficient to gather and welcome. I therefore went on a quest, of sorts, to show up for the work that was/is/continues to be mine to do to collaborate or be companioned toward this vision. I worked tirelessly within a configuration of expertise, giftedness, and…of course…whiteness…never quite able to “cross the rubicon” into collaboratively held, racially-diversely-led circles.

Finally, wounded and feeling a bit (or a lot) hopeless, I gave up the circle-way practices I had assumed would hold the vision. I relinquished any sense of knowing how to bring circle-way community practices into Dayton, so Dayton could tell…could listen to…our stories. Ultimately, I relinquished the vision I stewarded for ten years. Gave it up entirely.

In the last two months, even in the last thirty-six hours, I have been blessed to be in prayerful conversations with women of color, clearly rooted in their relationship with Godde known in Jesus Christ, and a woman of color also investing her life in the Black church while honoring her own non-church connection to Source, guiding her own pathway to freedom. Nothing I contributed invited these conversations, which found me anyway. Connections and listening and circling and loving are all beginning to blossom in my life.

Smiling, feeling not a little sheepish, it dawns on me this morning… So many of my strongest gifts—imagination, envisioning, strategizing, advocacy for implementation—were precisely the things getting in the way of my own vision, received and/or imagined. It wasn’t until I gave up, feeling hopeless, that Spirit finally had room to weave. When I gave up—surrendered—space opened in my life for unexpected connections rooted ‘out there,’ not in ‘my vision.’

I often still feel hopeless in the world’s chaos today. As my friend said yesterday, “I have all the incentives imaginable as a woman of color to do this healing work, and I often don’t want to do it. How are we to get white people to want to do this work?” I had no answer. But we listened, stayed present, laughing and getting to know one another better.

We felt hopeless…together.

For now, I wonder if this is more than we imagine it to be. Fractal, Fractal, how does your garden grow?

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