RULE OF LIFE
RULE OF LIFE DESCRIPTION
1. ...Rhythm Over Time: This means we seek to prioritize relationship, community, story, pain and healing over the construct of time. This means we work to deconstruct a western and colonized model of time, and use of time, that we are so used to, to make space for something that transcends the construct of time -- and allows for a remembrance of community that is ancient, tribal and integrated.
2. ...Centering the Margins: We believe that the least heard voices need to be centered and prioritized. We believe under-represented peoples should be offered space to represent themselves, and not just a seat at someone else’s table. We prioritize listening to the intuitive knowledge and wisdom from inside our own selves (as POC and QTPOC) and from our own marginalized histories.
3. ...Co-Learning & Co-Teaching: We believe in the wisdom inside us all, and work to move away from a hierarchy built on privileging the knowledge of a select few over the individual and collective wisdom in a community of people. We value eldership and unique gifts that each person holds, but we vision a world in which certain gifts and voices are not given priority as more valuable than the rest. We look to center the wisdom in all of us and learn in, with and through community-building and greater visioning with each other.
4. ...Whole-Self Contemplation: We believe that we are holistic beings - made up of all our parts - our physical form, our mental selves and our spiritual selves. We believe in grounding in the contemplative histories, practices and memory of our peoples, to hold the spiritual value and fullness of our whole selves - mind, body and spirit.
5. ...Community-Centered Practices: We were not made to exist only in isolation - and we look to abdicate a western model of individualism in favor of a community-centered approach to living, learning and growing. We cannot heal alone, or care for our spirit only in isolation, or seek justice for our communities, individually. We work towards centering our communal relationships in all these areas and move away from a western-centric model that idolizes the individual and individualization over all else.
6. ...Subversion not Reaction: We believe that we can create a subversive and liberative way of being in ourselves and communities without it being tied to a reaction of the wider world’s representation or repression of us. We believe in a subversive way forward that doesn’t have to always be connected to reacting to how others see or treat us.
7. ...Self-Care is Liberation: Liberation can feel like a long road. It makes us weary but we don’t want to stop. Our lives and the lives of those we love are always on the line. But, we have to pause, and breathe and care for ourselves because 1) we can’t make the long journey of collective liberation without our breath, our bodies, our healing 2) and self-care & healing is the liberation we can manifest today - for and in ourselves, and for and in our communities. We cannot forget to breathe - we cannot forget care and love for ourselves, otherwise we will forget, at a core level, what the struggle is for, and the value of our own selves on this journey.
8. ...The Monastery is the World: Inspired by the words and teachings from a foremother of this work, Dr. Barbara Holmes, this is a reminder that the world is our sacred space, our cloister, our monastery, our spiritual journey - and while we move with the Creator inside ourselves, we also move in and with the world. Our communities around us are part of our deep spiritual work and our mystical path. The point of the contemplative path is the return - into and engaged with the world, its suffering, and its joy.
"The world is the cloister of the contemplative. Always the quest for justice draws one deeply into the heart of God. In this sacred interiority contemplation becomes the language of prayer and the impetus for prophetic action." - Dr Barbara Holmes, Joy, Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church
9. ...in A Triad Of Connection: Contemplation, Action & Healing are necessarily interconnected. Each part of this triad is essential - neither one functions fully and completely alone, and each is more balanced by each other part of the triad. We need to be grounded at our spiritual center, working towards healing our pain, and activated to serve in the world - individually and communally.
10. ...Our Stories Matter: As POC & QTPOC our stories, our people’s stories, our ancestors and the true formation of history in relation to our experience, pain and intergenerational trauma, has been obscured. Our stories matter. They need to be heard. We must have space to tell them to each other, to archive them for memory, and be heard, in our truth, in the wider world.
11. …in Invitation Not Appropriation: There is a difference between being invited into someone’s culture, history and lived experience rather than taking those histories or cultures or experiences as if they are for the taking, or for other people’s consumption. We believe in inviting and being invited into the space of each other’s peoples. And we believe that if/when we are not invited in, it is not for us to have, consume or take.
12. …in Unapologetic Living: As POC & QTPOC our lives have inherent value, goodness, and meaning. We don’t need to apologize for who we are or the space we take up in the world. Our voices Matter. They need to be heard. Our bodies are beautiful, in every shape and size. We are whole and complete exactly as we are.
The RULE OF LIFE philosophy originates in Egypt in the third century AD and the first of its kind was crafted by the Desert Mystics (as a reminder: this means the original rule of life was created by POC, by Africans - the original Christian mystics). It was intended to be a series of guideposts to keep those living a contemplative life guided towards God/the Divine by not just static beliefs but living and breathing principles which would keep them on a spiritual path to deepest parts of themselves, where their heart and spirit could meet the One within them. It is a guide to our spiritual becoming -- individually and in community.
We are a community building a being-ness which is centered in the contemplative way of life, and grounded in action and healing. We are also, intentionally, centering that which is often unseen, ignored or invisibilized in contemporary contemplative frameworks for "being-ness" as POC. Often, the guidebook for wholeness, in contemplative space, is assumed as universal, when we hold a unique fingerprint of pain, suffering and barriers, not experienced by those functioning in dominant frameworks of whiteness and the associated privilege. We believe voicing and addressing these factors is CRITICAL to a wholistic vision of the POC spiritual path and contemplative journey.
As such, you can see our RULE OF LIFE is intentionally centering on our POC-being-ness, not as the sole nature of our being, but as integral to how we experience the world, how the world experiences us. It is centered on the things WE need to SEE, to BE, to move through our lived experience, and to fully ground into our being-ness. In essence, it allows us the space to nurture what is not often not nurtured (or even acknowledged) in a dominant framework contemplative path about our historical pasts, our living present, and our aspirational future. It allows us to engage, authentically, with the embodiment of our WHOLE SELVES which, at their core, is the WHOLENESS of the Creator, as well.
Welcome to our RULE OF LIFE. We invite you engage with this principles alongside us!