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  • Writer's pictureJulie Quiroz

Urgent Lessons

There’s a storm coming. Let’s go together.

-- Norma Wong

In these past weeks I’ve searched my soul, again, for what is most important to do in the world. As human made fires, floods, war, pandemic, and racist violence surge across the globe, what matters most?

Searching for wisdom, I turned to the notes I wrote down this past spring, when I joined with over 160 organizers and community builders across the country for a series of 15 spiritual and political guidance sessions with Zen teacher and movement strategist Norma Wong. The series, sponsored by Resonance Network, was called, "The Art of Waging Peace Across Seven Generations in Collective Acceleration.”

I took a breath and repeated to myself what Norma always tells us: practice who we want to be, and let what we do flow from that.

Norma calls us to practice wholeness, in ourselves and in the world. Always, and especially, in these times. This means nurturing our own wholeness, even though, as Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson named in one session, we’ve internalized a belief that cultivating our own wholeness is a “privilege.” This means generating wholeness in the world, with strategy that recognizes the need to evolve humanity beyond our present unhealed state, expanding what's possible beyond "win/lose."

Practicing wholeness feels radically urgent right now, as do the many lessons* from Waging Peace...

“Move with grace and consequence."

"Move with agency in present time and space, and with agency across 7 generations. Understand that what we’re doing now will not play out for a long time --

and that every moment is consequential.”

“Move with patient persistence toward the horizon.

Disrupt the desire to ‘get there today.’”

“Be quiet to know and see

the doingness that is choosing you.”

“Don’t let yourself become impatient.

When you become impatient you stop.”

Make wholeness the goal and the practice.

“We must bring ancient wisdom forward to modern times,

to evolve wholeness instead of hierarchy.”

“Create a path for the yearning for wholeness. Practice a way of being that

threatens those who benefit from conflict.”

“Wholeness is in you and needs to be restored.

Don't become a desert that other people need to restore.”

"Without a mind/body/spirit practice it's hard to bring forth wholeness."

“Right now there are an insufficient number of people

with the capacity to create wholeness.

We need to accelerate the number.”

The world has already ended. Be the next one.

“We are at the end of a 4,000 year run on a patriarchal world view

that does not serve us. Our current state of affairs is an archeological site.

For humans to live differently requires an evolutionary turn.

We must stand with our ancestors for our descendants yet to come.”

“We need to grow the parts of humanity that count.

There’s nothing more useless than a strategy on paper

waiting for perfect people.”

"Even when you are protecting people, move toward something."

“Courage is wholeness, determination, and action even in the face of fear.

Sometimes courage is quiet, sometimes it’s loud. Sometimes it is overt

and sometimes it’s stealth. Don’t live into culturally defined expectations.”

“Ask questions that fill us with possibility rather than doubt.”

Tell a story of the future.

“In order for a story to unfold it must be told.”

“We must narrate the future. To do this we must take a societal goal

and stretch it beyond now.”

“We must cultivate a future story of who we will be in the future.”

*These are my interpretation of what I heard and wrote down during the Waging Peace series. Quotes come from my notes and may contain slight paraphrasing.

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