Fante Asafo flag from Ghana
This past few weeks I've had the pleasure of sitting in online councils with elderwomen from different cultures across the globe. Grandmothers have always held a special place in my heart. I was partly raised by my maternal grandmother, and in my eyes she was a magical woman. Together we would paint faeries, visit folks in need at the wayside chapel, and sit on park benches in Redfern gambling with scratchies. Needless to say, she was an interesting character with a big heart.
And that is exactly the wisdom that the Grandmothers have been sharing in council- that at this pivotal time, our greatest task is to rebuild the bridge between head and heart.
Too long have we lived with this separation. This disconnection shows up not just in our individual lives, but also in the rupturing that exists within our relationships with each other and our other-than-human communities.
So what does it actually mean to reconnect our head and heart? I feel it means holding both discernment and compassion. Boundaries and forgiveness. Intellect and intuition. It means softening into the inherent vulnerability that comes with remembering our interdependence with all living things.
As old structures are dismantled, we are being asked to meet this moment with enough humility to admit that we can't control everything. And yet, the paradox is, if we can fully embrace our place within the greater web, we find we have so much more power than we realise.
There are many actions we can take in our communities that foster respect for the diversity of life on this planet, human and otherwise. I also believe that for our actions to be most effective, it's important to simultaneously reignite our capacity for deep listening.
That way the knowledge that we learn passes through the fires of the heart, alchemising it into wisdom. And it is here that we might just find an emergent future to walk into, a landscape "beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing," as Rumi would say.
May we lovingly tend to a world with a broken heart. And that begins with being an ally with our own, so that we may companion others from a place of integrity and be of service to our collective cultural regeneration.
With open hands and a heart full of questions,
// This talk, "Decolonising the dead," on working with the ancestors for cultural healing, with Dr. Bayo Akomolafe and Dr. Daniel Foor.
// The art of Alexandra Levasseur.
// Bongeziwe Mabandla's new album, Iimini.