Letting In: Visiting Dad
My name is Andy Swindler. For my Embodied Social Justice Certificate (ESJC) final project, I documented a trip to visit my father in the hospital. It touches on themes of family, health, emotional regulation, resilience, embodied awareness, entitlement and healing.
I believe at the core of social justice is facing hard things and moving through them. I have found this to be the truest path to liberation. In order to do this, I’m learning to let in the full experience and emotions of life.
The audio below is raw and unedited. I paused between different recordings over a two-hour period for a total of about 20 minutes. I was not attempting to create a performance, but rather narrate what I was experiencing and feeling in my body in each moment.
Letting Go: Burning What No Longer Serves
I recently entered into a new romantic relationship. It’s been a very long time for me and I have long considered romance to be the final frontier of consciousness work. Honestly, it’s absolutely wonderful. We are better and stronger together. We support each other in all ways big and small.
A few weeks ago, she designed a fire ritual for us to burn all that would not serve us in our new relationship. I had so many things to burn that I needed more paper! The relief in that moment was palpable (and pulpable ;). I released a former love that part of me was trying to hold on to. She did the same. We are now considering making this ritual a regular part of our lives together.
Later I would bring this ritual to close one of my men’s group gatherings and I similarly found them to be scribbling many many things. I wonder if this is a sign that many of us need more opportunities like this to let go, and perhaps even permission.
Minding My Business
I learned and felt many things in this course. One that rings in my ears is the foundational notion not to pick up the tool of the oppressor in the name of justice. So I notice more carefully when I’m judging, dismissing or tempted to make wrong. I pause to see what’s beneath that. Through this, I make space for my own growth and spend less time judging other people for not growing.
Rev. angel said, “Develop the capacity to be still enough to feel yourself and quiet enough to hear yourself and that will bring you into the truth. Mind your business. Have your grief and not someone else’s.”
I realize that this practice of embodiment is just that: a practice. It is never complete. It is never final. That would be death—to be completely disembodied. And that’s okay too when it happens. Just not yet.
For what it’s worth, I identify as a 44-year-old large-bodied straight cis white male empath living in Chicago in the United States.