Don’t talk about politics
“Don’t talk about politics, sex, or religion at the dinner table.”
That was a bit of a mantra in my childhood home.
Thinking back, it was lunacy. For a start, religion was all we ever talked about. That part of the rule apparently didn’t count.
But sex — never. A suffocating secret kept so tightly under wraps that anything could happen.
And politics — politics was more dangerous than both religion and sex. Threatening to destabilize everything. So it was kept under wraps. Supporting the silence and the domination.
But no matter how hard we tried, politics, sex, and religion were always at the dinner table.
They are at every dinner table.
“Don’t talk about politics, sex, or religion at the dinner table” is like saying “don’t gather for dinner at all.”
It’s like saying:
No humans allowed.
No humans in groups trying to live together in a way that allows each other freedom and safety and opportunity without taking away those same privileges from another.
No humans continuing the race, inhabiting their bodies, experiencing pleasure, experiencing heartache.
No humans asking questions. Using their minds to wonder. Looking up at the stars and down at the earth and reading and talking and wondering what this all means. No trying to understand why things happen or how they happen or how we can best honour the fact that we here. And here together.
No politics, sex, or religion at the table.
But when we gather for a meal — when we gather together — we can be ourselves. Perhaps?
And if we can’t be ourselves with all those feelings and questions — they don’t disappear — they’re there, just indirectly.
If we avoid the things that make us who we are it relegates conversation to Netflix. It relegates conversation to what we will buy next. It relegates conversation to the mundane, to again and physical health and money. Transformation, however, is off the table.
Because transformation requires human connection at all levels. Transformation requires sex, politics, and religion.
And who does this benefit?
What is the purpose of this so-called conventional wisdom?
To avoid upsetting others?
When our culture creates an administration that hates anything but their own power and wealth we have to question the foundations of our culture. We have to question what our culture is built on.
We have to ask just who benefits when we are not allowed to question the foundations of our selves. When it is forbidden to explore why we are here and how we relate and how we love and lust — who benefits? Who benefits when human beings are half-alive?
I have been afraid to speak. I carry my history and the history of the one that I love and they have become intertwined. I carry the history of my clients and my friends. I carry the history of our culture.
As my need for safety begins to work creatively with my need to speak the truth, the writings in this book have emerged.
It can be work to create the space for this.
We don’t have to jump from where we are right now, living our daily lives, to some idea of activism such as signing petitions, or going on protests. Although that may be where we are called. But not necessarily.
The first leap — the first shift — is to create a space where we exist. Where we live. Where we live alongside ourselves. With ourselves moment to moment.
This takes a long time. It’s difficult.
And as we do it, we emerge. Our selves emerge. It’s astounding.
It’s astounding when we allow space. Space to be awed.
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