These are days of delights. There is nothing like Spring awe, the soul stirring of birdsong and blooms. Amidst sad and scary news the trillium unfold, holy and hopeful. As I witness this wonder, I ponder my own unfolding. 

Ami, unfolding

June 2023 will mark 10 years of publishing my personal writing on Wow. Certainly a milestone to reflect upon. I’m proud of my consistent contributions to the collective narrative. Of the generative conversations and collaborations connected to my work. It is worth the effort to orient towards healing even as the world breaks my heart in every direction. 

I’m reminded of this beautiful, poignant song by my dear friend Valorie Miller, Not for Nothing:

I know it’s not for nothing when I write, though of course sometimes I feel like it is. The dominant narratives which hold us all hostage are ever powerful and omnipresent. The momentum towards the status quo is irrefutable. Alternative narratives are continually drowned out, or, equally harmful, co-opted. It’s enraging. 

And all the more reason to continue telling our truths. 

These have moved me recently: 

Transmuting Ancestries of Exploitation

The latest episode of the For The Wild podcast, entitled “Transmuting Ancestries of Exploitation,” features a compelling interview with Morgan Curtis. Her bio reads, “Guided by the call to transmute the legacy of her colonizing and enslaving ancestors, Morgan is dedicated to working with her fellow people with wealth and class privilege towards redistribution, atonement, and repair.” 

One part of the discussion which many of us can related to was around process of white people moving past guilt and shame. Host Ayana Young shared, “And I know personally, guilt and shame were, gosh, like leading actors in my life for a long time and they’ve guided me to, in a lot of ways do the work that I do. And there was beauty there. And I’m, in a sense, grateful that I felt anything honestly, because so much of the dominant culture is the desensitization of our feelings, both ups and downs.” 

Morgan Curtis responded, “guilt and shame are natural, empathic, human responses to benefiting from injustice, as you said, like, oh, to feel something, to feel something in a world that is painfully wrong and to be on the side of that wrongness in such a way that’s giving us perhaps, material comfort, perhaps, some semblance of safety for however long, but ultimately, is hurting others along the way. If we’re not feeling something about that, that’s the first step is to figure out to listen for, to notice where our heart is able to open and to lean into that and to let it shake us. And it’s also not the destination.” 

“I think shame and guilt points us somewhere, it takes us somewhere, like you said, it can bring us to work that’s ours to do, it can bring us to responsibilities that are ours to take, but it won’t sustain them. It doesn’t have an energy that carries us through the challenges we inevitably face when we make different choices than the ones that dominant culture or our families are wanting us to make.”

The conversation points to ways to tap into energy and actions that will sustain this shift. 

“Perhaps the world that we are longing for is one where abundance is not wealth, but rather right relationship – with land, with ancestry, and with each other.” 

Envisioning Reparations

Last month, Dr. Dwight Mullen, chair of the Asheville Buncombe Community Relations Commission, gave an illuminating talk on “Envisioning Reparations,” hosted by Carolina Jews for Justice West at Land of Sky UCC. His remarks were fortunately recorded. You can watch/listen here

Breath is a reciprocal relationship with the earth

The Embodiment Institute (TEI) is “a training institute, research entity, and culture change engine that strategically develops people and organizations to be agents of transformation in families, social movements and the environment.” They are incredible, you can donate to support their work here. We are lucky that TEI regularly shares practices such as this potent one led by Kasha Ho, “Breath is a reciprocal relationship with the earth.” 


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2 thoughts on “Transmutation

  1. Ami, thanks for sharing your wisdom. There is one sentence that I would add to. It is not just momentum toward the status quo; there is also an effort toward chaos and division. Take care. Ron Katz


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