Spirit and Love

Posted by in letters to the boys

By Connie Tom

I emailed one of my professors today who has been very generous and flexible with  me.  I found myself rambling but also decided not to censor myself and just went ahead and hit send.  Here were some of my meandering thoughts…

I started an essay for class about a month ago about love, as paolo friere writes about it.  i found myself agreeing that love is essential if one is to overthrow their oppressors and retain his or her humanity…but why?  what is it about love that is timeless, enduring and essential? I know this question has been asked a thousand times but I suppose that each of us has to learn it as though it is the first time.

I saw Robert Putnam speak and I saw Clifton Taulbert speak… and Love was important to both of their talks.  I’ve been reading ‘spirit matters’ by Michael Lerner…again, Love is essential.

I did an action research project with a few hundred adults and youth this past weekend and posed the question, ‘what MUST we do together than none of us can do alone?’  Adults had answers like ‘motivate students to graduate from high school’ whereas youth overwhelming talked about changing the world through youth voice and  love.  It was beautiful, really.  Quite a few adults who were active in the civil rights movement were hearted to see this (all the responses were posted on a 60 foot wall in a public space) and said that the sentiments that the youth shared this weekend reminded them of the feeling that they shared in the 1960’s with a focus on love, and on “we” not “I”.

I am thinking deeply about the books we are reading in class and making connections to a lot of other work and reading that I am doing.  Thanks for giving me space to explore.  My mind is racing and I have an inexhaustible need to consume new ideas around love, spirit, the universe and humanity…

In fact, I went to a psychic for the first time because I am also trying out new experiences… and she told me that my son and I have been intertwined for a long time… that once we were brothers and once he was my mother… and it made me think about our essence (soul?  spirit?) and how it isn’t gendered…. it has no race…. no sexual orientation…. and maybe that’s the violence with oppression… to take something to pure and beautiful as a spirit and ask it to conform and limit itself to the point that it’s barely recognizable and it’s light can’t shine.

That’s what I meant in class the other day… what dies when you have to lie or conform?  Is it psyche?  Is it spirit?  The ego?  Why is it that authors that we read in education rarely seem to wrestle with this questions and instead leave it ambiguous?

And at this point maybe I should have started a few papers instead of writing this long email…