Portion of a mural in Fishtown by Amberella
Stay Engaged is first agreement of T.O. as presented at Philly workshops.
Stay engaged helps me to check myself on the ways that I sometimes tune out or withdraw myself when something gets difficult, uncomfortable, or boring. As I become more aware of this, I also find myself accidentally returning to the mental to-do lists and tasks with the speed that one flips from social media post to post to post.
If one needs to break any of the other agreements in order to keep this one, keep this one.
Over the past few months I have been spending many hours exploring and learning through Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O.). It resonates with me in ways I could not have predicted and in ways I do not fully understand just yet. Today I am grateful for this time, this learning, this glimpse of a path that I start to see before me. “Caminante no hay camino sino estelas en la mar.” (Antonio Machado- Wanderer, there is no path but wakes in the sea.)
Somehow from a variety of interests, a sense of direction that I have not felt in a long time has started to emerge. Between Quaker meeting, T.O., self-directed learning, and bike co-op for Ry, there are some definite themes. There is a strong sense of cooperative effort and yet I find myself more sure of my individual voice. There is less capitalism, less hierarchy, less rigid structure and this means there is more room for collective energy, branching out, and open-endedness.
T.O. Philly has four agreements to each workshop. The first three are similar to agreements that I have seen in contact improv, and the fourth would be applicable as well:
speak your own truth
expect and accept non-clousure
I plan to reflect in this space about each of the four agreements, and the surprise fifth agreement that often pops up. Any guesses which of the four is the most challenging for me personally?
w e f i t together, somehow
Healing. This new ink is an old visualization to which I return- the heart is a muscle the size of your fist (keep loving, keep fighting) … For me it’s an act of love that comes from the depth of a long friendship and from a personal commitment that solidarity and peace are actions requiring work, that I will remain present, engaged, and uncomfortable, that I will forgive myself even when my mistakes are messy; that I will continue forward with light and openness; that I will actively and imperfectly love. (With utmost gratitude to @sun.medicine for her listening, wisdom, vision, and of course, ink. xo)
the future is (still) bright