Ok, so this untethering.
In one of the first sessions of the Study Group I’ve been running (Experiments in Imagining Otherwise by Lola Olufemi), someone said the book left them feeling untethered. I noticed my relationship with the word. How is yours? Maybe pause for a moment to consider it.
I witnessed the knee jerk, eeeeek. Lacking security. Uncertain. Could end up anywhere. Disorientated.
Then I noticed the insight, ahhhh. Why, (and I cannot stress this enough) the actual fuck, would I want to be tethered to my experience of this version of the world?
Then I felt a swell of anger, gaaaaggghhh. They got me again. Those systems that convince us- better the devil you know! We might not be perfect but at least we are predictable!
And finally, I practiced a new relationship with the word. Mmmmmmm. Untethered. Untethered. Untethered. Untethered.
Did you ever have this experience as a child…
- Have a thought about something you would like to happen- someone you’d like to meet, somewhere you’d like to go, a skill you’d like to develop, what you’d like to do when you grew up, how you hoped someone would respond to you, etc
- Express this thought to an adult
- Be met with “that’s just not how the world works”
The well meaning adults in our lives probably thought they were preparing us to navigate a hostile world with increased personal safety. Don’t get your hopes up, avoid disappointment, embarrassment, ridicule, avoid any cost to yourself, because you are on your own.
They themselves were tethered to the limits of our present day social structures and norms.
Something new was emerging from you, and it was immediately crushed by ‘realism’, defined by the default settings of our society.
How different might the world be today if every child growing up with us had been encouraged to explore their innate desires for connection, reciprocity, affinity with the earth and nature, etc?
How different might things still become if we could untether ourselves from the stifling limitations of the structures and norms we continue to perpetuate? If we were all willing to co-create conditions where psychological safety was normal, belonging was inevitable and imagination was the most valued form of intelligence.
Our ‘leaders’ (the powerful- governments, corporations, ‘upper classes’, etc) are both
- committed to protecting their own interests in maintaining the status quo
- lacking the intelligence demanded by a radical imagination practice
They rely upon us being tethered to the sense that we are on our own, even though there are so many of us with the same, or similar grievances. Even though in many ways, we have the antidotes to one another’s struggles. And the medicines we don’t yet have, we could imagine.
If only we could untether our imaginations from these systems.
What could you conjure up if you imagined a world built from scratch?
I’ve got good news (finally!) babes. People are already doing this work. You don’t even have to start at the very beginning. You are not on your own.
Being untethered alone still feels a little frightening. Being untethered together feels hopeful.
I’m currently gathering people for another Study Group, this time Naomi Klein’s Doppelganger. Details can be found here if you’re interested.
If you’d like developmental coaching support to navigate anything I’ve covered here, or something else, you can see info about working with me 1:1 here. (I have some availability for one off sessions. These are £150 and include a comprehensive write up from me to you. You can book here). Finally, if you’re interested in working with me from January onwards, please book a chat with me here. All my packages have non-punitive payment plans available.