Insights from Southern Hemisphere
"The world will change. Because it has to change." (James Baldwin)
As we pause to look into the future, we often find ourselves at the open sea. In times of longing for familiarity, we may struggle with two seemingly conflicting desires. On the one hand, we want to keep ourselves afloat, connected to the fabric of consensual reality, to find a sense of preparedness in the face of so many layers of collapsing systems. On the other hand, we feel a pull towards the deep waters, the dark abyss underneath it all, out of which every living thing flows forth.
The deep dive requires us to move from a problem-solving mentality toward a solution-feeling state. Floating requires active surrender to the conditions. Either movement calls for trust. At this time, we are being collectively asked to befriend the unfamiliar. Meanwhile, our present choices and actions are under a magnifying glass, as the waves are crashing and the storms are forming — objects in the mirror, as we have learned, are closer than they appear.
Below are three ideas that have bubbled up from the deluge of awe and beauty that is 2022. Take them as medicine, as needed, or as supplements to enhance your walk as you journey across the waters of time toward the unknown.
Embodied aliveness as a path. No matter how high our consciousness might expand, we simply cannot hold experiences outside the vessel of our physical body. When we humbly embrace the delight or discomfort of our embodied physical presence, we can show up more fully. Remember: all pleasure is experienced within the body, so it makes absolutely no sense to sacrifice the body for a promise of future pleasure. Our body has limits, and honoring these limits is a celebration of aliveness. Honoring the sacred nature of the body's limitations is exercising a form of presence that liberates us to face this moment, here and now, not as an ideal to be performed but, as philosopher Donna Haraway puts it, "as mortal critters entwined in myriad unfinished configurations of places, times, matters, meanings". The body is messy, yes, in the way that only living things can be messy.
Look for the hidden colors. While winter makes the woods silent, summer is raging with song across the Earth. It is easy to get caught up in our own point of view and forget that day and night are unfolding at the exact same time (that's why we have time zones). Attuning to that which is not right in front of my eyes is an exercise in autonomy. If you live in North America, for instance, know that you are now reading the words of a South American woman living in the southernmost capital of Brazil. Ask yourself where your narratives about foreign places come from. Mass media feeds us simple stories because the more regressive aspects of our Ego are soothed by simple answers. How can you see with new eyes? More than opening up, actively seek out the people, perspectives, conversations, and stories hidden just outside your circles of familiarity — you will be forever changed.
Dare to dwell in the not knowing. Life is a tapestry of exquisite complexity, and we can't take it all in at once. It takes a second look, then a third... In dark times we often rush to conclusions out of fear. Travel with an open question in your pocket and everything you come across becomes a piece of the answer. It is a form of resistance (the good kind) to keep walking with the open question, even as it burns a hole through your pocket. We are living through dark times, and at times like this, we learn to find the light within the darkness. Even if you are a little bit afraid of the dark, open your eyes to the not knowing. How does it feel in your body? Can you breathe through it and keep the question open? In the flux of everyday shifts and profound transformation, "I don't know" is often the most precious knowledge one can possess. Infinite possibility hides in the unseen. In the words of the late Abraham Joshua Heschel: "There is only one truth, but there are many ways of misunderstanding it." Stay a bit longer in the not knowing — it will grow on you or, at the very least, you will grow.
As you journey through the year, remember that who you are is enough. The best you can do is enough. We have so much work to do, and we do not have to do it alone. I thank you. For being all that you are, and for doing all that you do — the big things and the ones that go unnoticed. You are a miracle and you are loved.
With blessings from the south, M
About Mariana Bandarra
Mariana Bandarra is an artist, strategist, and mystic with a revolutionary disposition. From circles to podcasts to devotional chanting, her work aims to inspire sustainable self-expression and awaken radical self-compassion. Drawing on a mix of ancient wisdom and contemporary findings, Mariana helps women and groups rediscover their wild brilliance, harness their personal power, and find their authentic voice.
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