What happened when we made space for harvest

What happened when we made space for harvest

As the pandemic(s) continue, and in the midst of the great resignation, global unrest, and the unfolding of the anthropocene, we are still here. Like so many of you, we are still working. Still worldbuilding.

And like so many of you, we’ve been doing this work alongside colleagues we haven’t hugged in years. Some of whom we’ve never even met in real life.

We’re doing our best to build connection and humanity through Zoom screens, phone calls, emails, and DMs. All the while, doing our best to support one another through the urgencies of life — elder care, child care, health emergencies, grief, and loss. And celebrating the beautiful moments too — life milestones, celebrations, small and big joys.

Last fall, our team members called for a season of harvest. An intentional period of reflection and beingness — being with one another and what we’ve learned over these last two years.

We knew that these learnings did not just exist in Google docs, meeting notes, and post-event surveys. What we’ve learned also lives in our bodies and in our collective memory. And needed space, time, and intention to surface.

And so we did. Our team set a number of objectives for this harvest: investing in the interpersonal relationships on our team with spaciousness and care; taking in the worldbuilding lessons and impacts we’ve been experiencing in our selves, communities, and systems; and in this process, building out a map of what is next for Resonance.

We have surfaced so much already — and the learnings are still coming, but these three are the most vivid in this moment:

1. Being with what’s real (instead of just pushing through)

In the fall of 2022, we began planning an in-person team gathering for October. After two years of being unable to be together in person, we painstakingly chose a location based on our team members’ care needs and travel abilities. We discussed COVID protocols and settled on a time, place, and flow that felt right to everyone. Several team members took the lead on developing an agenda that prioritized ease, joy, and togetherness–and also planning and visioning for the new year. (The kind of work that happens best in 3-D, with access to post-its and art supplies, dry erase boards and tea.)

We were so eager to gather.

Then, less than two weeks before our departure date, two of our team members had family medical emergencies. Caretaking responsibilities would likely prevent them from traveling. The agenda team re-convened. We adjusted the flow of activities, and with the consent of our team members, we decided to move ahead with gathering. Then another team member had a family emergency.

We adjusted once again, wanting to remain in the energy of what was possible. We explored ways to weave in team members as they were able. But one by one, life intervened until, days before we were meant to depart, only 3 of us were able to attend in person. And it became clear it was time to shift course.

And just like that, we found ourselves back on a Zoom screen. In some ways, the mutedness of online space felt even harder after the prospect of in-person connection.

But this whole experience was a vivid lesson in being with what is real. Every step of the way, we adjusted to meet ourselves where we were, and to be with what was possible in each moment. In the end, that meant shifting our plan entirely. And we were holding disappointment and grief at not being able to gather — but we also still had work to do.

And in the ensuing weeks and months, that work has taken shape — in small groups, and in a different flow than we’d planned, but it’s happening. Much of it online. Some of our team members are close enough to gather in person, so that happens sometimes too. We’re meeting each other where we are, and finding flow where we can.

2. Working with the seasons

Last year, the Resonance team embraced a rhythm of work and rest that parallelled the flow of the natural world. A way of being, once again, with what is real — the energy of the seasons — rather than the notions of capitalist production that invite us to sacrifice our wellness and connection for our work.

Above all, we remain committed to our individual and collective wholeness.

We know that rest is necessary to be in integrity with ourselves–and the world we’re building. And there just isn’t space for rest in the dominant worldview. But there’s something that feels right about taking a cue from the seasons.

Our bodies are already a part of nature; we are already feeling the energy shifts of the seasons. This has simply been a practice of honoring that. And what we’ve been reminded of in this practice is that — there are different kinds of work. And being in the flow of the seasons makes space for all of them.

The spring was bright and full of energy, activity, and programming. There was a buzz to that time that began to ease slightly into the summer and fall. And now, as the days shorten and winter draws in, it feels right to be slowing down. The earth (in the Northern Hemisphere where most of us are) is supporting us in that.

Colonial capitalism tells us that production is the only kind of work that matters. We know that’s not true. And giving ourselves space to feel into the other kinds has been a gift. This fall and winter has met us in a depth of reflection — individually and together — and investing time and care in relationship.

Trusting that we have everything we need is a practice of being with what we have, what is here — and trusting in the wisdom that lives in the moment, and everything that conspired to bring us to it.

Being in our harvest period this fall…felt right. Fall is a season of harvest. And our team was able to be together (albeit virtually), and harvest from the richness we’ve cultivated together over the last two years. (Metaphorically) making jam. And being in community.

This is a part of the work that requires space and intention. And will enrich what comes next.

3. We have everything we need

Our beloved co-director, Alexis Flanagan said these words on a staff call a few weeks ago, and they were met with silence as we all took a moment to receive them. In full transparency, this is a lesson not that we’ve learned, but rather one that we are learning and leaning into, individually and together.

Trusting that we have everything we need is a practice of being with what we have, what is here — and trusting in the wisdom that lives in the moment, and everything that conspired to bring us to it. It is a practice of looking within, rather than seeking ‘more’ outside of ourselves.

In a culture that says we can never have enough, trusting that we have what we need is a bold transforming of the scarcity and lack in capitalism and white supremacy.

It is a practice of trusting that we are enough.

At the end of the day, what else do we have but ourselves and each other?

We are enough.

What would it feel like to trust that you have everything you need?

originally published at The Reverb

Resonance Network  is a national network of people building a world beyond violence.

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