Nurturing Personal and Communal Alchemy…[Rooted's OPEN!]

You may be new to us in Rooted, or you may have been skirting the edges of our global village for a while, curious but cautious.

In any case, welcome. We have opened the doors to Rooted NOW for our coming year of play and bodily exploration, and in a series of upcoming posts, we'll be sharing more about this space and why we value it so highly.  

And why not begin with story?

Have you ever read a book or seen a movie that centered around a kind of school or organization for folks who, through no fault of their own, have been deemed different? In these secret places a protagonist finally finds belonging.

The character gains access to the knowledge(s) they need to develop and grow and they become part of a group who are all embracing unique abilities while healing from the injuries that come with being deemed “other.”

These stories are about more than being accepted; they detail the connection between belonging and vitality.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “…when an individual’s particular kind of soulfulness, which is both an instinctual and a spiritual identity, is surrounded by psychic acknowledgement and acceptance, that person feels life and power as never before.

This exile/belonging motif is also explored in the common fairytale, the “Ugly Duckling.”

Rooted is many things; but if Rooted had a fairytale motif it could be the motif of the Ugly Duckling.

The Ugly Duckling is a swan that mistakenly hatches in a nest of duck eggs and from the beginning of his life faces rejection for being different.

Being born into a nest that does not recognize him, the ugly duckling is deprived of the essential self knowledge he needs to find his way in the world.

This wound leads him to seek belonging anywhere, readily changing himself, taking risks, and even tolerating harm just to experience a sense of belonging.  

After a series of failed attempts to form relationships a kind farmer finds him freezing in a pond and brings him to his fireside. The farmer offers him an essential gift — unconditional care. For the remainder of the winter the ugly duckling is kept warm and nourished because he needs it, not because he embodies what has been deemed “normal.”

Come the spring, the kind farmer releases him back into the wild and the ugly duckling finds himself amongst a flock of swans....

At first he assumes they will reject him too but as he turns away from them in fear he catches a glimpse of  his own reflection. Instead of a skinny little hatchling covered from head to toe in gray feathers there is a beautiful swan who looks just like the birds he thought would not accept him.  The lost baby swan has finally found the self-knowledge he needs to claim the collective that will receive him.

Rooted is a fireside to be nourished by as you heal from the injuries of supremacist systems.

Rooted is a container for the relationships that support encounters with unconditional care as you uncover your unique abilities and gifts.

Rooted is a temporality, a quality of time, in which there is abundant space and tools to deconstruct the stories+systems that reproduce supremacies while imagining into your own liberatory ways of being.

Supremacy systems rely on the lies that care/belonging are only available to an elite few and that there is no way to fix the essentialized inadequacies that come with being born “other.”  

Rooted deconstructs this harm by acknowledging a co-journey of liberation that recognizes the necessity of being able to be:

  • vulnerable enough to fail,
  • brave enough to risk rejection,
  • and loving enough to witness healing and transformation over time.

The Rooted Global Village is a communal space. We're interested in experimenting with the repair of racialization and other supremacies in a body-centered way with things like art-making, play, creativity and imagination.

Why does it matter if you engage supremacies in a body-centered way? Isn’t knowing what change you want to make enough?

What we and many others in Rooted have found is that awareness of the impacts of racialization without an understanding of how structures and systems become embodied risks an intellectualization of the repair.

In Rooted we are asking how another kind of engagement (bodily) and through art and kin-making, could open us up in and to new ways of being, and experiencing ourselves and others.

How do we both acknowledge and exceed the ways in which racialization, for example, has shaped experience without recreating the very categories rooted in racialization?

How do we unflatten ourselves and others so that we might be(come) these ever-unfolding beings that can surprise us?!

Rooted supports people to be able to tolerate the larger imagining necessary for a broader form of repair that risks taking us beyond the neatlines of our known maps and into uncharted territory.

In our coming emails, we’ll explore more of what we do in Rooted, and how we believe it serves what we’re dedicated to nurturing.

This is about communal alchemy, as much as it is about a personal alchemy. We believe in us.

We believe in our ability to reclaim our creative agency to re/imagine our lives and worlds.  

This article is part of our...

Planting the Seed

Rooted Public Letter Series

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About the author(s):

Liz Deligio

Liz Deligio is a community psychologist with over ten years of experience in the psycho-social accompaniment of impacted communities. Liz has worked with communities throughout Chicago and internationally. She began her career accompanying communities impacted by the loss of public housing. As she pursued a Masters of Divinity and then later a Ph.D. in community psychology, her work became more expansive, focusing on state violence, memory, and collective healing.

About the author(s):

Karine Bell

Karine Bell makes her home with her two kids, her partner and a dog.

She’s a somatics teacher and abolitionist, dedicated to embodied trauma

alchemy. A bi-cultural black woman, she’s also a culturally reflexive anthropologist exploring the intersection of where our bodies/psyches/experiences meet our collective histories.

She believes in the healing made possible at the personal and collective level by the work we do through transforming experience in our bodies today. She combines continued study in somatics with studies in depth psychology with a focus on community, liberation, indigenous and eco-psychologies at Pacifica.