Eros & Social Justice
Once Upon A Time, In A Galaxy Far Far Away; I was a professional social justice organizer. While I remember the joy of a successful action, of building lasting relationships, of being a part of a movement; I also remember the rage, frustration, & bewilderment. The rage that I lived in a country that not only discounted me, but wanted me invisible, miserable & seemingly preferably dead. The frustration of having laws overturned or enacted that codified my “second-class” status. The frustration of the 2-steps forward, 1 step back dance that social change seemed to be (now sometimes it seems like 1 step forward, 2 steps back). My bewilderment that people could consider themselves good, decent people & preach hatred for me & my peeps & not see any sort of contradiction. My bewilderment that other marginalized people believed that my differences from them meant I should be marginalized even further. It took a toll on my work. Work that I initially came to out of love, love for my sistren/brethren/theythren & those who would come after them. I want them to live in a world that values, loves, & supports them. Work that I came to out of passion, my very fierce passion for a world where everyone is free to follow their path of light & destiny.
While I had a very active sex life at the time, and considered sexual liberation a part of the movement for justice; I was not connected to the erotic in a way that fueled my organizing work. So the continued setbacks, the limits of the NPIC, the competition among organizations all led to bitterness & eventually burn out.
"Within the celebration of the erotic in all our endeavors, my work becomes a conscious decision - a longed-for bed which I enter gratefully and from which I rise up empowered." ~Audre Lorde
But there is a different way to approach the work of social justice. What could life look like when viewed thru the lens of the erotic? How does that lens affect how we see our work & how we see ourselves in our work?
When we name, encourage & celebrate the erotic in our life, we have a never-ending well of joy to sustain us. Joy is not the same as “happiness”, that blending & erasing of all the constrictive, negative energies in our life. Joy connects us to Spirit within & around us. Joy mandates that we experience all of our emotions & celebrate them as part of what it means to be human. Joy allows us to revel in the very magic of our existence.
How do we view our work when we infuse with joy? What becomes possible in our visioning? How does that joy help us shift from a reactive vision of the world to a proactive vision of the world?
When we celebrate the erotic, we strengthen our connection to our passion. Passion is a powerful desire for something, in this case a powerful desire for justice. Passion is also the fuel that powers our work. How does our work change when we acknowledge that our desire for a just world comes from the same place as the desire we have for our romantic partners? How do our organizing relationships change when we treat each other with the gentleness & care we give to those we desire?
The erotic also allows us a refuge. When we’ve witnessed yet another senseless death by the police state; when we’ve watched our lawmakers enact laws that take away our humanity; it can be challenging to find that joy, to keep that passion flowing. Accessing the erotic allows us a place to leave our frustration, our rage, our grief so they don't slow us down or make us stuck.
When we are plugged into the erotic, we are more grounded. We marry the power of our intellect with the power & wisdom of the body allowing us to be more embodied & efficient. We have a deeper, broader, vision. We become better at having the work sustain us, rather than us sustaining the work.
So how do you access the erotic? Well funny you should ask that. If you are in the SF Bay Area, and you are interested in exploring how erotic energy can fuel social justice work, come to my workshop "Erotic Breathwork for Social Justice Warriors" in Berkeley, Saturday May 7, 12-4:30. You'll learn techniques that will connect you to your erotic energy so you can use it to charge your body, your soul, your work. Click here to register.