Dear Decaturish – Seeing is Believing
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I had cataract surgery last week and I’m seeing more clearly. After the operation, my vision was fuzzy at first. It took a couple of days to adjust to the new normal. Now that I’m used to the change, it’s delightful to walk through my garden and see colors and textures I haven’t seen for a long time.
My improved vision extends to my frank examination of racism taking place in our country. Like the cataracts that clouded my vision, obstructions of privilege, misinformation, and lack of awareness have been stripped away, revealing a view of our country that is stark and shocking. Thanks to new scholarly books, homemade videos of police interactions with Black citizens, and recently compiled information about racial disparities in matters of health, I see things differently. It will take a while to get used to what I’m seeing: systemic racism has blighted the lives of Black Americans, and I have contributed to it through my lack of awareness. Now that I see more clearly, I want to become part of the changes set in motion, challenging as they are, that will establish a new way. I’m optimistic that, like my cataract-free vision, the new normal will be more beautiful than any we can imagine. How to begin?
The month of August aligns with Stage 8 of the Great Round of Mandalas. I call this stage Functioning in the World. It is a time of clarity, energy, and productivity bringing visions to reality. Because I believe that the personal is political, and that individuals must do their inner work in order to make real change in the way things are, I have created a Mandala of Change and Empowerment. It lays the groundwork for my joining with others to build a more equitable community. I hope you will create this month’s mandala to reflect on your challenges and begin forming a vision of the new normal, whatever that means to you. Sharing your mandala can be a way to reach out to others and contribute to the dialogue of community building.
Mandala of Change and Empowerment
1. Draw a circle. Make the circle strong enough so that you feel the inside is a safe, protected space. Add line and color to make the circle stronger, if needed.
2. Put a symbol of yourself in the center of the circle. It can be a photo, drawing, word, shape, or color of your choice.
3. Gather images of sources of support around your center symbol: people, animals, activities, places, colors, nourishing foods, fragrances. (Leave space between this area of support and the outer mandala circle.)
4. In the empty space inside the mandala circle, place images of changes that are challenging These can be represented by photos, drawings, words, shapes, colors.
5. Display your mandala somewhere you will see it often. As you pass by, let it remind you that you have support through the challenges of change. Reflect on how you are benefiting from the challenge of this change. Be specific. Symbolize these benefits in some way in your mandala.
6. Share your mandala with others to spark communication and community building.
– Susanne Fincher
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