The Spiritual Work of Leaning In

Competition.  All-or-nothing.  Ranking.  Goods guys v. bad guys.  Us v. them.

All of these things are parcels of the worldview called White Supremacy Culture (WSC), and reside under the umbrella of Either-Or thinking – which is one trait of WSC.  WSC is that broad way of being in the world, and with each other, that is the very fabric upon which all forms of oppression are embroidered.  Either-Or thinking plays out in all of us, in a million different ways, every day.  Breaking it down directly weakens the threads of that WSC fabric.

I recently had the remarkable experience of witnessing one of our own People’s people enter into a courageous and definitive alternative to competitive thinking, and wanted to share it with you.

Our AR-Discussion group had been exploring ways to respond to racist remarks and behaviors, and we touched on the importance of seeing the humanity in the person speaking the oppressive words.  All of us – even ‘them’ whose comments we are offended by – are just trying to find our way through life using the ways we have been socialized into – using what life has taught us through lived experience.  Emma’s Revolution would say “we’re all [just] swimming to the other side”.  And that includes those we disagree with and offend us.

This person I’m describing made the decision to discover and read a book that helped them understand a large group of people that robustly supported our current President in the 2020 election – which the subject of my story did not.  Think about it.  Instead of demonizing, or rendering this group irrelevant, or fighting against them, this person is leaning in and making an effort to see ‘them’ as fellow swimmers.

For me, that’s real antiracism work.  And it has inspired me to dig back into reflections on how I dismiss the behaviors and beliefs of those who ‘oppose’ my political goals and perspectives.  Jeeez … this is hard work!

May all beings be safe,
Carolyn Heineman

Antiracism Discussion Group
Open dialogue for People’s members and friends.

Every 2nd Sunday after worship on Zoom.  (December 13 will begin at 1:00pm) Contact Carolyn Heineman for the Zoom link (

And beginning Tuesday January 5, we will add a weekday AR-Discussion time every 1st Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:00pm.

Please join us !!

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