Sunday, 8 July 2007

spirituality and our activism

I was talking to friends last night (over a damn fine veggie lasagne in Kennington's The Dog House; recommended) about our workshop, and the things we could have covered. That then occupied me in insonmnia at 3am. So I'll share them.

My friends agreed that it would be fascinating to think about why we do what we do - at the very least, why do we give up one Saturday a month to attend these workshops? Why do we want to bring about change (without being paid for it)? So many people don't; why do we?

Related, but maybe not the same - what are our values? Can we map or somehow visualise them? Do we do this ourselves? (I know I don't) Why/why not? Does that matter? (Then, and for me only then, we could look at what supports us in living out those values).

Grasp the scary language: what does spirituality mean to us - both in terms of a definition of the language, and how do we relate to it? Why are some of us turned off by the language, and why or how does it support others? How can we communicate better using or not using that language?

Do we each believe there is something bigger than us? (How) does that affect our activism? Does that affect who we are activ(ist) with?

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn,
Your questions are very thought provoking. I'd like to ask, do you feel that in terms of effecting change it is best to start at the personal level (eg 'the personal is political') and eg. think about tackling family and workplace disputes in a better way -- or do you feel that it is best to start at a global level eg by working with peace organisations, Greenpeace, Amnesty etc?
Similarly with spirituality I'd be interested in your thoughts about the relationship between our connection to the spiritual (however we experience that), and how we carry that into our personal lives?

DD said...

I like your questions a lot Kathryn, but don't have the brain power on this soggy Monday evening to muse back a response. Though it's a perfect example of why I give up one Saturday a month for the training -- I often do much more thinking after the workshop than doing. Not in a bad way, you know what I mean?

kathryn said...

For me the most interesting thing about my own questions is the fact that I never ask them! On the link between our 'spirituality', or at least values - my values probably embue most of what I do, though I don't think I realise it. I spent some time in the last year dabbling in Quakerism, trying to find a language to describe this stuff. In the end I discovered that what I see as goodness could be described as godness. And then I stopped going, but did explain to a bishop that I had seen god in a morning glory flower.

We work where we can, I think. I work far too far away sometimes, and occassionally think I should try to do more in Southwark. But we each have different roles to play. If we spend too much energy asking too many questions we run out of energy for doing. That said, though, the connections happen without us realising. I started doing Alternative to Violence Programme workshops in Aceh, Indonesia, now do them in London, and see the worse of myself in different light. As we discussed on Saturday, of course all the levels are connected, but maybe not as we expect.

not sure that's a reflective response!

Carl Reynolds said...

Hi all. I think we do need to examine our values and have a reflective practice and strive to weave this into our personal and working lives; and into any activities outside these parameters. Remember the Environment up to Mission/Spirituality ladder exercise some of us did in Brum at the TTT RP gathering?

As to where you start, I guess you start where you feel you can and anticipate the excitement of this being a life time journey; with diversions, roadblocks, landslides, acceleration, log jams etc etc.

As Zaria has said elsewhere, there's a hypermarket's worth of campaign, voluntary and community groups; act local, think global. Or act in anyway you can. The point is to create community (of interest and/or locality); as I think we believe that the way we act develops the way we want to live with one another.

So my personal actions include being less grumpy. My work actions are to continue developing the use of consensus; my campaigning is currently around climate and singing. And in the home I try to cook, buy and love/live with Z in an ethical and happy way.

cf The Importance of Being Earnest!