The Cycle of (Re)connection
We are entangled in the war economy culture, regardless of our values and desires. So long as our physical mobility is limited by state sanctioned borders, poverty is criminalized, and our systems are structured to produce waste, promote scarcity, and prioritize individualism, the war economy will remain inescapable from our lives. The good news is: the peace economy is all around us too! Not only is the peace economy present in our everyday lives but it is thriving and holds endless capacity to multiply. We can all learn to be tenders of the peace economy and transform our world – beginning with ourselves and our communities, and witnessing the ripples beyond.
The process of divesting from the war economy is like a spiral: While certain themes and challenges remain present, we return to them with new embodied wisdom with each encounter. Learning to connect to ourselves, one another, and the great miracles of our world is one of the greatest sites for teaching and thinking outside of the war economy. There are many different ways to access this information, but we identify grief, care, joy + celebration, as some of the key entry points for connection and reconnection. Tending to grief, care, joy and celebration opens channels for meaning making and relationality, inviting depthness for feeling rooted in oneself, community, time, and in this universe. While the entry point to awakening from the war economy can begin or renew anywhere, the cycle of (re)connection offers a guide to befriend and return to throughout your journey into the Peace Economy.
Moving Through and with Grief
“There is a price in not expressing one’s grief. Imagine if you never washed your clothes or showered. The toxins that your body produces just from everyday living would build up and get really stinky. That is how it is with emotional and spiritual toxins too.” – Sonbonfu Somé
“Unblocking our pain for the world reconnects us with the large web of life” – Joanna Macy
The war economy controls a very particular framework for when and how it’s culturally okay to grieve. Grief is invited only when a loved one is lost, and for just a short amount of time. If contractually awarded the ability to do so, one can take just a few days off from work before being expected to return, fresh and ready to continue the capitalist grind. When we listen to our bodies, we understand that grief looks much different than this. Grief takes time, rest, movement, and the work of loving in community. Grief can also be felt outside of the loss of a dear one. Francis Weller, author and psychotherapist, names 5 gates of grief – or five different kinds of grief that people experience, ranging from ancestral grief, to experiencing the sorrows of the world.
There is immense grief in knowing that many teachers throughout your life have taught you a narrow, biased, and untruthful version of history. There is grief of being separated from family, community, and culture, or from a language or family recipe that’s been disrupted by imperialism. There is grief of learning of a new policy that threatens the well being of someone or somewhere you love. There is even grief that comes from confronting the paradigm of the war economy and deciding to live differently. To truly move into this work requires parting from old habits, many of which have likely provided you with great comfort over the years. There is pain in letting go. Pain deserving of grief. Parting from these ways may be uncomfortable, as many changes in life are. Tending to the grief that is involved in this process is an important piece of healing justice, for oneself, one's ancestors, and one's greater place in community and in the world.
Grief is an embodied honoring of the beautiful gifts we have been fortunate to receive in this lifetime, or those we have deep seated wishes to hold. It is a paying attention to what needs to be moved through the body – what needs to be metabolized and tended to. Grief, for those who have been dismembered, provides an invitation for re-membering. Grief speaks to our desire for connection, love, and meaning.
“The most anti-capitalist protest is to care for another and to care for yourself. To take on the historically feminized and therefore invisible practice of nursing, nurturing, caring. To take seriously each other’s vulnerability and fragility and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it. To protect each other, to enact and practice community. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care.” – Johanna Hedva
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde
One of the greatest lies of the war economy is the platitude that self sufficiency is a sign of strength while dependency is a sign of weakness. There is no living creature on this planet that can survive in isolation and humans are certainly not an exception. From our dependence on the caretakers who raised us, to the farmers who grow our vegetables, to the plants that produce oxygen and food so we can breathe and eat – no one, absolutely no one, can go about this world without the support of other living beings. Nor do we want to! Caring, like grief, is in our nature – something we are born with an innate sense of how to do. While the war economy narrows the lines of who is worthy of giving and receiving care, we have all experienced the great gift of what it feels like to give and receive care. Through extending our hearts, we too are nourished by the spirit of generosity and reciprocity. Caring offers a mirror into understanding how to be in right relationship with ourselves, our community, one another, and the earth. The more we pay attention to care in our lives, the more we are able to recognize the rich economy of care – the unrecognized and underappreciated labor of human and non-human care workers – that we could not sustain without. Care is the true sustenance of life on this planet and by embodying, naming, and tending to care we can feel deeper into the vast network of interdependence we are all a part of.
Integrating a Practice of Joy + Celebration
“What each of us practices at the scale of our individual lives is what is then possible for us at a large scale. I’m a microcosm of all the possible liberation, justice, pleasure and honesty in the universe, and I act accordingly.” – adrienne maree brown
“Joy alerts us to the moments when our alienation diminishes, or, even, disappears. It reminds of us our wholeness, our togetherness - which is the truth." – Ross Gay
The war economy feeds a landscape of fear, violence, isolation, unworthiness, and scarcity – all of which prohibit our abilities to relate to one another and ourselves with love and kindness. Another way is possible though, as life continues to show us its persistence on both micro and macro levels. Each morning the sun rises and the birds awaken us with their songs, reminding us of the powerful force of life that pays no mind to the war economy. There is so much in our lives to celebrate and find joy in and taking time to nourish this invites us to connect with our bodies, communities, spirit, and the earth. Take time to revel in the joy of song, the sweetness of fresh fruit, the smell of the sea. Simmering in joy invites a somatic and sensorial connection to the wonder and sweetness of life. As adrienne maree brown teaches us in her writings on fractals: there is a relationship and echo between the small things in our life and the ways they reverberate beyond, creating an effect much greater than ourselves. Celebrations have this impact as well. By carving out time for ritual and intentionality, the experience of celebration and gathering invites people to step into a collectively constructed space where together people can experience meaning making in community, tapping into embodiment, and feeling deeper into collective. This is what wealth and abundance looks like in the peace economy.