At the last minute, I’m scheduled to go on an Alternate ROOTS retreat in Arden, N.C. in the mountains with trees, one of my favorite recharge and meditation spots. I will be in a cabin with bunk beds and plastic covered dorm room mattresses. (My back will let me know it’s not happy.) My assigned roommate or roommates might snore, or be late-night people who like to go to the open mics held from 12-2 p.m. and make noise when they return to the cabin, and then talk about the rambunctious, outrageous performers.
It’s a bit like summer camp, but the session have a special purpose for the artists dedicated to creating art with social justice themes and working with community to bring about positive change.
This year I have paid attention to my neighbors and neighborhood in S. E. DeKalb. I joined NextDoor.com and began to listen to their concerns. I started with a neighborhood coffee, a community group, and a monthly subdivision clean up based on what my neighbors expressed an interest in.
It’s not a trendy inside-the-perimeter area around Panola and Redan Road, and we have a long way to go to trust and work together, but we are trying. For September two women volunteered to speak about their domestic violence experiences, and how they are thriving now.
At the retreat I expect to learn more about myself in connection with gender bias, racism, and cultural stereotyping. To do this I must go with an open heart and mind, give what I can, learn what I can, and rest. It’s not my job to fix anything, but to listen and try to understand. As a writer I’ll be taking notes, being curious, napping, and playing at recess. Whatever I bring back to community is a bonus.
This self-care offering looks interesting.