New Decade, New Year, New Chapter
“The journey begins here
With whatever is capturing your attention…
Whatever your focus,
Give your whole being.”
-Radiance Sutras, Yukti Verses (10)
I write as we begin a new year, new decade, and I begin, quite literally, a new chapter.
On Monday, January 13th, 2020, I officially began working on my dissertation. The two-year “clock” which counts down the time allotted to complete this project officially began ticking and cannot be stopped (you can’t take leave, pause the clock, etc.). I meet this ticking with excitement and faith in myself that I will complete the work. I commit myself 100% to this project and process, to showing up daily (or almost daily) and structuring my life accordingly to support this work.
The topic that has captured my attention, for some time, is the possibilities for decolonial education. In other words, the role that education can play in creating possibilities for other futures. Education is a world-making endeavor: what we teach and learn – from preschool through higher education – shapes the world(s) we create and the way we see it. As one of my teachers has said, you can’t judge a worldview on its own, but you can judge what it has created. While there is of course a lot of beauty that has come from the Western way of seeing and doing, we cannot deny that it has been at the expense of countless lives, through slavery, genocide, perpetual war, racism, sexism, and environmental degradation to the point that we really may not have a habitable planet for our children or grandchildren.
And we can’t just stop doing what we’re doing. Yes, we absolutely need to do that too. Stop the degradation, stop contributing to climate change, stop stop stop! But we also need to think differently, relate differently – how we relate to each other and the earth.
But it’s also not as simple as just coming up with alternatives. Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2018) put it eloquently when he wrote that “we do not need alternatives; we need rather an alternative thinking about alternatives” (p. 6; emphasis added).
So this is what is claiming my attention, what I will spend the next two years or so (or lifetime) asking into.`
I also want to publicly proclaim my spell for 2020, inspired by Adrienne Maree Brown’s spell casting episode of the Healing Justice podcast:
I let go of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and containers that I have outgrown.
I carry forward the preciousness of friendships, the fleeting nature of existence and the importance of asking for help.
I stand in my power as a mother, and lean into my creative power as a scholar, writer and teacher.
I practice working in liberating ways. I practice embodying my dissertation. I practice showing up daily to sit, write, connect to myself and that which is greater than me, in the service of the highest good and liberation of all beings.
As I embark on this journey, I realize my need to be intentional about containers of time. That when I am sitting down to read or write, to not have my email open. To set aside specific short blocks of time to respond to email (which is maybe during nursing time). To limit my phone and social media use. To use my morning time as sacred, to settle and ground and tune into myself and the world, to hone myself as a vessel and channel and lightening rod for creative energy and love to flow through. I will write myself loving affirmations and put them on my desk as reminders of my intentions and my highest self. I will delight in pleasure and self-care and commit to not neglecting these things as part of this process. I will let my Taurus sun heart love what it loves, indulge in what it indulges in,
I am ready to begin.
Santos, B. S. (2018). The End of Cognitive Empire: The Coming Age of Epistemologies of the South. Durham, NC: Duke