Dear Collective,

In these past weeks, I have been feeling resistant to writing. Resisting the use of clunky words that try to tame this wild moment we are inhabiting.  Resisting the sense of urgency to apply new language and structure to Good Medicine. It still seems too easy to fall back on the well-worn path of our colonized collective conscious. The quiet voice that seems most true and clear in my heart is whispering, “Patience. Patience, girl.”

Slowly, slowly like a spiral downward, the strand of a theme returns again and again to me in ever more nuanced layers. What does it look like to truly die to ourselves, our constructs, to the core values that have shaped our entire existence? As I think about what that means for me personally and for organizations like Good Medicine, I turn to the words of Nigerian author, poet and teacher Dr. Bayo Akomolafe in an interview with Ayana Young on a podcast called For the Wild.

In trying to climb out of the pits that we’ve dug for ourselves, the pits become resilient. In trying to escape the prison, the prison gains its form. We are in a crisis of form, and this form is the indeterminacy of things. We need new ways of dancing…to sanctuaries where we can shapeshift.

Sanctuary is this place where we gain different shapes, where we lose shape, where we compost… We do it by listening, listening to our wounds, sharing our wounds. By sharing painful feelings. By sharing our jealousy and our grief. We do it by sitting with the trouble of being alive.

Sanctuary is an invitation to incapacitation, an invitation to shapeshift, to take on different dimensions- to let identity spill. Sanctuary is an invitation to descend, an invitation to fall. Descent and demise are shockingly generative spaces. Spaces where art, and the aesthetics of the new can thrive.”

What feels utterly necessary in these times of monumental shift is a sanctuary, a “fugitive space,” an escape from a world dominated by values which one may apply a label such as patriarchal, white supremist, capitalistic, dualistic. We may trace the many threads that have led us to our current value system, but the fact is that we are here swimming in it, imprisoned by it.

Imagine this “fugitive space” as a sanctuary that allows us to “fall apart” instead of “pull ourselves together.” A space that authentically invites us to break down, not as part of a promise on the pathway to “wholeness,” but breaking down for its own sake. A space where death is revered as much as vitality, where we locate ourselves within the greater cycle of all that came before and all that is yet to be dreamed. Imagine a sanctuary that offers ceremonial spaces allowing us to simply be, without the underlying mantra of perfectionism, productivity, growth, urgency.

Dr. Akomolafe says, “I’m wondering about how brokenness can redeem us from the incarceration of wholeness.”

This makes me ponder Good Medicine’s first principle: “Everyone deserves to be whole.”  What if that was born from the wrong paradigm? I’m wondering about this, instead: “Everyone deserves to fall apart.” In our brokenness may we meet each other and become whole.

I will be re-examining all of the Good Medicine principles this fall. Allowing much to die and become the fertilizer for the emerging next iteration of Good Medicine.

Much love and gratitude for this sanctuary space we have created that allows us to compost the very values upon which this organization was built.

In reverence for this journey, now and always,
Liz Strawbridge