Critiquing the Deeply Embedded

You may not be able to do much about the deeply embedded reality of another person, system, or structure. It’s sad and may be cynical, but it’s also real.

The deeply embedded knowings, truths, or realities of others mean that they have made commitments that they aren’t likely to release.

When someone commits to something so strongly, they have cultivated a way of being that they naturally protect. They hold it tightly. After all, what’s a commitment if you don’t keep it?

You may be able to reframe what you see. You may be able to affirm that the system is seeking familiarity or that the person is doing what’s familiar. You may stretch in your imagination and see the fear of change that is present.

But those are reframes, imaginative attempts for you to adjust to what’s real, and that is that some situations don’t change. Some people don’t change. Some structures have to end on their own choking path.

Maybe your critique is better suited for who and what can accept it, house it, and respond to it. Maybe.

Contemplation Plus Fatherhood

My friend said something to me years ago that I can’t remember. He says things I like to remember but the way he phrased his words slips me. What I haven’t forgotten is what I’ve done with what he said.

In my mind, what I’ve done is try to pull together the strands of fatherhood and contemplation. I do remember leaving that conversation thinking, “How can I be a contemplative father?”

I think back to his words, said to me on the street in our neighborhood and just outside our mechanic’s office, when I hear people say of their own child-rearing, “The years run by.” Or something like, “Don’t blink. You’ll look up and they’ll be leaving home.”

When people say this, I think of contemplative parenting. I think of my conversation with my friend. In my mental world, contemplative parenting brings together being a parent and being in the moment. Contemplation means being where you are. It means being centered and keeping your weight over that center. It means to be present.

Pulling together contemplation and parenting, it’s impossible to miss moments. Your practice is to be in those moments. You certainly don’t remember them all. Your brain does things with memories that you and I can’t understand. There are things that you lose or let go of. You forget. You will forget but that doesn’t mean you will have missed the moments.

You will have lived them. You will have participated in them. In that sense, those moments as a father (for me) will always be there (in the present), have been there (in the past), and left me available for being there (in the future). If my orientation is to be in the moment, I miss nothing. To be sure, it is exhausting, this orientation.

It’s easier to obsess about a future. It’s easier to fume over yesterdays. It is hard to be right where I am. May God continue to help me.

Jesmyn Ward on Returning Home

I fantasize about living in that fabled America. And then I remember that one cannot escape an infinite room. Moving across a few state lines is not going to help me escape this place that tells me I am less. The racist, misogynistic sentiment I encounter every day in Mississippi is the same belief that put in place the economic and social caste systems that allowed America to become America. It is the bedrock beneath the soil. Racial violence and subjugation happen on the streets of St. Louis, on the sidewalks of New York City and in the BART stations of Oakland. I breathe. I remain. I remember…

Read the full article at Time.