Rooting into Radical

We are sharing our own thoughts in response to this month’s prompt (Refer back to The Invitation if you have questions about what we’re doing here). Libby Smith shares her thoughts on our prompt:

What does it mean to you to be radical?

I immediately considered the way I use the word radical in association with things like…kindness, self-love, hospitality, acceptance. In general, this use often means that we practice the thing even in the face of “evidence” that we shouldn’t. That we are kind to people who are rude, that we love our body even though it’s not perfect, that we offer hospitality to someone that wouldn’t offer it to us, that we accept the reality of hard truths and even simple ones we cannot change. 

The root (etymology) of the word radical means…root (it comes from the same word as radish!). While these days it has come to mean extreme or fringe, I love this original meaning. What does it mean to get to the root of kindness, self-love, hospitality, acceptance, to practice these things in a RADICAL way? 

What does it mean to get to the root of kindness, self-love, hospitality, acceptance, to practice these things in a RADICAL way? 

Through repetition & reflection (practice!) we learn to let go of the “evidence” that we shouldn’t be kind, that we shouldn’t love ourselves deeply, etc. and we get to the root of their meaning. Like any kind of practice, there will be days we don’t want to do it, but it is through dedication to practicing something that we become radical. 

So that is what we hope to do here, to practice imagining, to get past all the “evidence” that we can’t imagine a different, better future. I can’t stress enough how important this work is on an individual level. 

I don’t need to waste any of my 300 words explaining the injustice and destruction that we see unfolding around us. I’ve sensed in myself for some time that the answers to “fixing what’s wrong” in the world are within each of us, that it is only through internal change that we will get to the root of our problems. In a world that demands urgent action, it feels like a radical notion to say, no…slow down, just be, remember who you are, and imagine. Make it a practice.

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