Hot Potato Conversations and why we need to have them

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Hot Potato Conversations and why we need to have them

Hot potatoes are the things we don’t want to hold because they hurt, so we offload them onto other people or we throw them out of the community circle altogether.

But these topics are part of the cultural conversation and they’re coming up in Arkitekt gatherings, and they’re the conversations you might be having inside of your head with yourself already.

I want to to help create a larger brave space where we practice telling the truth to each other. I know it’s not easy and we will mess it up, but we have to start somewhere. If we wait till we think we will do it right, we will never do it.

I feel bone DEEP conviction that it’s not ok to not know how to think about these things anymore. We need to know better so we can do better.

I know we mostly avoid hot potatoes because we are afraid of hurting and we are afraid of hurting other people. I feel the same way.

And I’m still going to try and show up anyway and practice being uncomfortable for the sake of my own freedom and that of my community.

This month, I want to talk about our experiences in systems and in communities where it was not ok to be who we are.

I want to share with you more about my spiritual upbringing and my spiritual trauma and I want to talk together and ask questions because bringing our stories into the light unites us and compels us to love ourselves and each other.

One woman standing up for her own life can ignite a revolution.

Will you come support me and Sara and each other as we practice standing up for our own lives and for our kindreds’ lives?

These things don’t hurt as much if we bear them together.

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What did 2018 hold for Arkitekt?

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What did 2018 hold for Arkitekt?

Kristin ad I want to share with you some of what this year has held for Arkitekt.

The practice of reflection is a compliment to the spiritual journey because it provides space for eyes wide open living. Reflection allows you to notice the rhythms of the year, the ways the days turn into patterns. Reflection expands your capacity to both see and hear because it quiets the internal voice that is always clamoring to comment and to judge. It drops you into the deeper knowing that life is not haphazard and you are not alone. To know what is next, we must look at what has just become.

But most of all, we want to thank you for being kindreds on this journey of all of us coming home to ourselves. The way is made by walking.

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Tiny steps make a big difference in the long run

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Tiny steps make a big difference in the long run

stubborn ounces.jpg

"All you can do is what you can manage to do, secure in the knowledge that you're making it easier for other people- now and in the future-to see and do what they can do.  So, rather than defeat yourself before you start, think small, humble, and doable rather than large, heroic, and impossible.  Don't paralyze yourself with impossible expectations.  It takes very little to make a difference.  Small acts can have radical implications.  As Edmund Burke said, if the main requirement for the perpetuation of evil is that good people do nothing, then the choice isn't between all or nothing, but between nothing and something."  - Allan G. Johnson

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Standing in the middle

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Standing in the middle

This work of standing in the middle is my work right now.

Along with my partner, I go to a trauma therapist every two weeks to help me feel what I feel and be with myself while I am feeling it.

Every time I go, I feel humiliated that this seemingly most basic of human functions is so hard for me…which is of course part of the process: how to not judge myself while I feel what I feel.

One of my most effective survival strategies is my tendency to live inside of my mind. It’s a steel trap up there and I don’t like to leave it. It feels safe in my head. Turns out it also lets me dissociate from what’s really going on and get away with it because I can talk a mile around the thing while I’m not actually experiencing the thing.

This is my work, and I am sharing it with you. I want to be embodied. I want to live at the intersection of my mind and my heart. I am practicing because I have a well thought out opinion that the more I can be with myself in the midst, the more I can be with anyone and anything in the midst. I can offer gentle presence, unconditional friendship, compassion; I can bear witness. I can sit with all that is unresolved and I can trust that this is the way through- not to strong arm away, explain away, figure it out, fix it….but to be with it.

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
— Aristotle
there is not a day of my life that I am not critiquing myself to see if my politics are borne out in the way that I live and the way that I talk and present myself.
— bell hooks
It is necessary to remember, as we think critically about domination, that we all have the capacity to act in ways that oppress, dominate, wound (whether or not that power is institutionalized). It is necessary to remember that it is first the potential oppressor within that we must resist- the potential victim within that we must rescue-otherwise we cannot hope for an end to domination, for liberation.
— bell hooks


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Asking for what you need

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Asking for what you need

We talk a lot in Arkitekt about asking for what you need, and yes, it’s way way easier said than done.

Asking for what you need means taking up space, and taking up space means people will see you, and people seeing you means they might judge you, and people judging you means you might be found unworthy, right?

Unworthy of the thing you are asking for.

This is what we risk.

We risk putting ourselves out there and getting a verdict of “found wanting.” A sentence of “not enough.” Someone’s eye rolling opinion that there are other people out there who really need help and you should just suck it up, stop whining, and figure it out on your own.

It’s the backside of the American Dream: you’re a self-made person. You can make your life be whatever you want it to be so pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep on truckin’. Which means you are responsible for you, and only you, and whatever happens in your life is either yours to take pride in or yours to feel shame about.

This kind of thinking is called individualistic. It is a way of viewing the world that says we are fundamentally alone.

We practice the opposite of this in Arkitekt.

In Arkitekt, we practice the belief that we belong to each other.

That we are an interconnected organism and when one person suffers, all suffer. When one person rises up all rise up. When one person has an anxiety attack, we all take responsibility to be to each other the experience of LOVE we long to find in the world.

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Contract to Expand

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Contract to Expand

This message is primarily for facilitators, but includes my thoughts on what it means to Contract to Expand, how to move against the “do more, be more” cultural current, and how to practice sitting with yourself and giving yourself permission to feel what you feel.

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What does the fall hold?

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What does the fall hold?

It's 27 minutes of content.  Less time than a Netflix episode.  Also less characters than a Netflix episode. And maybe less cinematography.  But we have tears. And a lot of journals in the background.  And this is the best way I know of to reach as many sisters as I can with what we are learning about Arkitekt, and really, we've been around now for 4 years, so 27 minutes to try and describe where we're at seems warranted.  Hang with me? 

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Privacy Policy and Informed Consent

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Privacy Policy and Informed Consent

Our hope is to foster a safe and 100% confidential space, but we cannot guarantee this.  And that's because one of the foundational aspects of Arkitekt is that we're doing this in the presence of a diverse community.

This means we're engaging a countercultural practice of face to face longevity, consistency, and vulnerability with people you didn't hand select, who do not think or act or look like you do, and that's not something we do that often these days.  It's risky.  And it asks much. And we recognize there are varying levels of risk represented in every gathering.

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When your back is up against a tree

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When your back is up against a tree

When things are crazy, how do we practice rest?  

from Mark Nepo's The The Book of Awakening:

“Like everyone, I'd rather not experience the undercurrents of life, but the challenge is not to shun them, but to accept that over a lifetime we will have our share of them.  

Avoiding the difficult aspects of living only stunts our fullness. 

When we do this, we are like a tree that never fully opens to the sky.  And dwelling on our difficulties only prevents them from going on their way.  When we do this, we are like a great tree that nets the storm in its leaves.”

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Mother is not a biological designation; it is a position of the heart

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Mother is not a biological designation; it is a position of the heart

On Mother's Day four years ago, I had the honor of getting up in front of my church and sharing this story about a husband and wife who fell in love with a child and changed their whole lives so they could bring him home.

This Mother's Day, I find myself again in a church, singing worship songs with a band and my eight year old daughter.  Growing up, my Dad and I sang together all the time, with my mom in the front row cheering us on and taking pictures.  Now I'm the grown up, singing with my daughter in public for the first time while my husband takes pictures from the front row.  It feels like some kind of full circle coming home of my child self, my grown up self, my daughter, and her future self.  

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Why is everything getting harder?

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Why is everything getting harder?

Why this leg of the spiritual journey feels so difficult, and why this is totally normal.

from Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson:

"Fundamental change is not a casual occurrence.  We cannot casually commit to the process of spiritual transformation...

Our entire being is called to the task, for the journey from density to light involves every aspect of who we are. 

Whether we are angry at the dry cleaners because they've ruined our favorite sweater, upset with a friend who has broken a promise, or frightened at the diagnosis of cancer in the breast of a best friend; whether we're worried about the state of our marriage, looking for a new job, or anxious about nuclear bombs and terrorists in our midst, we see that everything we go through is a step along the path.  We are taking the mystical journey as a way of transforming the world by transforming ourselves. 

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When Colleen woke up

When Colleen woke up

But I fear I am beginning to enjoy the unraveling too much. Like one of those wayfarers who hop trains and always with the dog and the dreadlocks, the one who decides to leave before knowing there was an alternative option to stay, the realization hitting them like the train in which they are barreling west through the Bonneville Salt Flats and at this point why not just aim for the Pacific?

Filling my well and loving my women

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Filling my well and loving my women

There is a river that runs, that carries the overflow from the water table, the excess from wells; the same water that runs through our bodies.  There is a community and belonging that lies in the water: in our bodies, in our wells, and the river.

The river, this flow of life and grace and disruption.

The river is another metaphor for the Divine and our communion with it as we come to discover our True Selves.  It is the journey of Arkitekt.

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Where is delight?

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Where is delight?

It's in my seven year old coming into my room early on a Sunday morning to tell me she does not feel good and she may not be able to go to school tomorrow, she's pretty sure.

It's in her spit-filled speech and how proud I am that she kept her new blue sparkly retainer in her mouth all night long.

It's in the weight of my dog on my chest as I lay under my down comforter. “Weight” might not be the exact right word for her seven pound terrier body, but the warm rise and fall of her breath and the way she nestles in around herself is everything that makes a morning peaceful.

It's in the sound of my six-year-old pulling open the pantry, grabbing the Honey Nut Cheerios box, opening the drawer with the bowls, pouring the milk.  It's when I get out of bed and find him sitting in his Very Hungry Caterpillar pajamas at the dining table reading the cereal box like I used to do when I was little and still ate cereal for breakfast.  

It's in my older two sons spending the night at a friend's house and my husband heading to the mountains at 5 am to snowboard which leaves me time and space in vast uncommon dimensions.  

I light a candle. I sit cross-legged in my chair by the fire and read two paragraphs of Pema Chodron. I watch the light from the window go from cold blue to sunrise warm...

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A letter to my pre-Arkitekt self

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A letter to my pre-Arkitekt self

You will probably not believe this right now (and that's okay), but you are going to love yourself. Like, actually LOVE yourself. Not just SAY that you love yourself.  One day, you will start hovering beside yourself and watching with awe, saying, "Wow, this girl! Look at her! She is so interesting and strong and brave."

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People who climb down into the hole with you

People who climb down into the hole with you

There have been so many, strangers even, who have entered into the blackness with a meal, with a check, with a coffee, with a knitted blanket, with an offer to babysit, with a "show up on your doorstep unannounced" kind of care...

Only when you open your arms wide

Only when you open your arms wide

Since I can remember, I’ve lived with this dread that the other shoe is about to drop.


I don’t have all the answers as to why yet, but in short, I think it has to do with some
deep anxiety in my ancestral history and a religious upbringing that was
preoccupied with Armageddon and whether you’d be on the right side when it all
went down, compounded with the fact that the world actually is a scary place that
often feels like it’s getting scarier by the minute.