By Karin Vanhinsberg, Circle Member
I still have this clear vignette of a moment 20 years ago during one of my work days as a nurse at a bustling city hospital emergency department. One of the doctors is telling me why her bright red lipstick is always looking more worn off than on: “One day I had just went to the bathroom and while there I reapplied my lip colour. I went to see my next patient and the patient’s son said vehemently ‘my dad is lying here dying and you are off somewhere putting on your lipstick !?’ and so since that day I have never fixed my lipstick during my shift again.” This is such a brief moment both in the experiencing and in the telling, but it went in deep.
I believe it is the tiny moments that matter the most. They are the ones I struggle with- agonize over later. It is so easy for me to forget myself, judge and say something just as similar if I am in fear, frustration, having minimal knowledge or understanding of a situation, stressed, fatigued or even unconsciously acting from my familial and cultural responses. And these moments are cumulative, they add up daily in our driving, our work spaces and moments of relating to each other in the myriad of ways we do each day.
For me I have come to understand that this is my work, my daily practice, to not perpetrate these injustices, these judgements, to not foster these misunderstandings and shoot each other down. If I were to graph my progress, the trajectory of this work has not and may never be a beautiful straight arch upwards; but, I believe that is the work of living in the heart and why we are ‘here’.
In a journey or waking dream to the Spirit of Injustice, I ask what my misunderstanding of Injustice might be. In my imagination I see the Spirit of Injustice as a tall Being with a barbed hook at its feet. In essence what I understand is the Role of Injustice is the offering of an invitation to choose between Solidarity and Unity. The challenge in the invitation is in the first bite , a delicious hook . A hook that is strongly set in plain fact…someone did something to someone; and how dare they?
Although I was not a witness to the incident of the doctor’s story, taking a big picture look or a heart centered lens of the vignette, is still possible. The doctor, after taking a moment to go to the bathroom, take a deep breath, rinse her face and freshen up; continues with the work of assessing her patients in the order in which the staff have deemed. There was no ‘code blue’ emergency called. The patient, already settled on a stretcher would have been assessed by the triage nurse and the nurse assigned to him; depending on his mode of arrival he may have been assessed by 2 paramedics as well, he would already be monitored and some tests might even have been done before the doctor arrived such as blood work and a heart tracing. The son speaks out from a place of aloneness- not seeing the care already occurring; fearful and powerless for his father’s state of unwellness- perhaps unable to bear the sight of his father’s condition.
A willingness to go deeper into the roots of the situation, like looking below the hook at the feet of the Being; or elevating the vibration by ‘ flying up sky” to view the bigger picture that holds unlimited potential – helps me gather some understanding and compassion, showing me the place of Unity. From this vantage, I am reminded that I am and we are each our own sea of known and unknown depths; unpaintable as only dark or light. How can we accountably be against another when we will never know them and their experience of the world completely?
Over time I have noticed that my own measuring stick I hold up to view my experiences has changed from placing a situation somewhere on a spectrum between Hate and Love, to asking myself if that situation comes from Fear or Love; changing again to: is that situation coming from Scarcity or Abundance? And more recently…is this situation coming from Solidarity or Unity?
At first Solidarity feels like Unity: being with like-minded or same-sentiment people, bonded for a common cause. Solidarity does not exist without an Us and a Them; a state in which hate, fear and scarcity can be included in the ingredients of a common cause. When I choose Solidarity it keeps me from acknowledging, co-creating and holding space for the infinite potentials of heaven that are right in front of me- it keeps me from relating to and searching for bridges to another’s point of view. The thought strikes me: Solidarity is hell masquerading as heaven.
Solidarity is such a very familiar place and -it has been that guide post that has helped us speak up for the standards and rights by which we want to be treated and live by. We could even go so far as to say we are born into it because it has been woven into our collective ancestry/survival for thousands of years: person against person, peoples against peoples, countries against countries…
How can I honour this dissolving Archetype of Solidarity while co-creating it’s evolution into Unity? I only know it is my choice over and over again in those tiny everyday moments whether I create sanctuary, bridges of understanding, make room for the highest potential to happen; or, whether I choose the comfortable and familiar ‘it’s us against them”. Perhaps it is not about choosing between Unity and Solidarity, and looks more like a conscious practice of walking with a foot in both places.
~ Sanctuary of Both Worlds, by Karin Vanhinsberg
May we be gentle with ourselves as we walk those wide and narrow spaces of Solidarity and Unity…
And the Universe shouts YES! with Us…
Karin Vanhinsberg (formerly Watling)
Taking a wander in nature where you live, connect with a flying creature of some form, perhaps a dragonfly, or a bird.
Imagine, what would it be like to fly up sky, raising each other up, to view the bigger picture of unlimited potential?
What does the place of unity look like, sound like, taste like, smell like, feel like?
What would it be like to activate moments of unity in your everyday?
Song: Ancient Sea
By Elephant Revival
Music has the capacity to speak directly to the heart and soul of the matter.
The Song “Ancient Sea” by Elephant Revival, to me, shares a wordless honouring of the depth of us all, our past and the beauty of our evolving Now.