Alone In Her Presence: When Love Takes Over

Alone In Her Presence: When Love Takes Over November 5, 2014

When Love Takes Over. David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. Promotional image for media use.One of my favorite dance songs is “When Love Takes Over by David Guetta, featuring Kelly Rowland. There is something about how the pulsating beat explodes when Rowland sings the hook, “When love takes over (yeah-ah-eah), You know you can’t deny, When love takes over (yeah-ah-eah).” But more than the hook is the honesty in the opening lines.

“It’s complicated
It always is
That’s just the way it goes
Feels like I waited so long for this
I wonder if it shows”

Love IS complicated. And while she is singing about romantic love, I think the words apply to all types of  love, and the power of love. How often do you find yourself at the threshold of rapid feelings about people or issues that at times seem overwhelming? Love is a complicated choice, and no place is that more evident than in in dialogues about the Three P’s: power, privilege, and patriarchy. When faced with those massive dynamics, how can we let Love Take Over?

It is no secret that I write about about race, power, privilege, and oppressive systems. I feel it is part of my Goddess-given duty to make it my ministry. On more than one occasion, I have been in conversation with people of color, mostly black, and heard them say, “You get it!” Or other caucasian people will ask my advice on delicate situations about race.  I am by no means an authority on bringing race to the table, but I am a contributor to the dialogue. But that wasn’t always the case. Sure, I have black friends and was in a long-term relationship with a biracial man. But even the “you get it” guy had an issue with race. My issue was what I call ‘apathetic white syndrome,’ meaning I had convinced myself I was exempt from white privilege and accountability, because I had decided I was ‘one of them’ through osmosis. After all, I had a black best friend, and a black man on my arm, and isn’t ‘gay’ an oppressed minority?

Then maybe two years ago, I met Crystal Blanton through a mutual friend on Facebook and found myself in a dialogue where I wasn’t being patted on the back for being “Mr. White Ally.” Instead I was being challenged. Not in a confrontational way, though at that time I thought so. Who was this angry black woman and her tribe of sympathizers picking on innocent me? I was being asked pointed questions and my stock (apathetic) answers like, “You don’t know me, I have a black boy friend” were met with, “So what, what does that really mean?” or, “This is about systems, not the personal.” For a good four months, I was the world’s most antagonist Facebook troll ever. If she had a post, I had an opinion. Even when I thought my opinion was congruent to hers, it wasn’t, because my ego was on this quest for instant approval.  Because I was caught up in my story, I was not falling in love with hers. What was missing from the dialogue was the complicated work of letting love take over.

It’s complicated, it always is, when we choose to be part of the solution on any issue. It’s about bringing love into the dialogue. When I write about love, I am writing about that complicated driving force that accepts the challenge, that is sometimes angry, and is unmitigating. When we accept the challenge, love eventually does show. The step towards reparation was the choice to stop festering in privilege and in my opinion and to shut my mouth. The reason I “get it” is because I made the choice to watch, listen, and to step into knowing. In choosing to let love take over, I gained one of my closest friends.


 

Steps for letting Love Take Over!

Step 1.

Listen. Listen instead of making a rebuttal or chiming in. If you do anything, hear and understand what is being said, blogged, tweeted, etc. Please, speak less and just listen. Understand that your role is not to lead or speak for women or people of color or any other marginalized group that you are not part of. They are more than capable of speaking up for themselves.

Opinion sometimes is not desired or required. Instead of speaking out, try letting love take over from within. Interrogate yourself about why listening is so hard, maybe why you’re so upset to hear that your action or inaction has hurt someone. This is probably going to be the hardest action ever, because active listening isn’t something most of us are used to doing, especially when topics like rape, racism, poverty are so fraught with emotion.

There will be an urge to defend as I did with Crystal, even though the topic of the conversation isn’t specifically you. When Love Takes Over, we ignore that urge because:

  • No one cares that you’re not like that. You’re a stranger and your word doesn’t mean anything. Your actions will speak volumes.
  • Derailing a conversation to talk about how someone’s tone upsets, offends, or distresses you is not okay.
  • Any response to a discussion of someone else’s oppression that centers on you and your feelings is the wrong one. Why? Because it is oppression in the purest form.

Step 2.

Educate yourself. The greatest gift to the conversation is being educated. Be it following writers like Crystal Blanton, Thorn Coyle, YesheRabbit Matthews, even what you are reading today invariably invites wisdom and knowing. Also, learning is more than a few quotes by Maya Angelou, it is digging deep to let wisdom guide how love takes over your life. Your education is limited if you have never explored the voices of transgendered people, the poor, or survivors of rape. When love takes over, you choose to know. Read what you can when you can, instead of demanding an individual education. Like step one, it isn’t the oppressed’s job to teach you, though I have found many who make it their ministry to educate.

Step 3.
Let Love Take Over your actions. It doesn’t mean squat if you choose not to stand up and stand out! I find myself often interjecting into oppressive situation to be an actual ally. Recently Thorn Coyle was called a ‘n*gger lover” on her face book page. Nothing could be a greater compliment! It means that people are listening, even the racists. Sure, people of color and women can and do fight their own battles, but when you see someone being harassed, bullied, or verbally abused, let love take over and offer words of support, deflect a troll, rally to defend the marginalized online or in person, in whatever way is safe for you.

Step 4.
When Love Takes Over, we know that sometimes we need to remove ourselves from people we may have been in community with. Not every community has the same goals or the same needs. The veda teaches that we are the company we keep. Sometimes, we have to divorce ourselves in the name of love from situations.  Just like in step one, when love takes over you listen to what is being said, and if nothing else, know (from step two) that just because your community functions a different way, that doesn’t make it better. Sometimes the community needs to change.


 

Doing the work is complicated. Being the example of the work is even more complicated. My friendship with Crystal hasn’t always been easy, because as a perceptive mirror she is challenging me to be better: to give myself the permission to be more than apathetic, but instead be sympathetic and real. This is your invitation.  It is actually a beautiful invitation to come into Presence.  How can we become the drop in humanity’s bucket that realigns the world for love and service, for justice and peace?

When love takes over, we listen more and invite the challenge. We are faced with a choice to stew in our own experience or to Let Love Take Over, even when it’s complicated. When Love Takes Over, power systems are realigned with love. Love that is complicated. Love that is Angry. Love that is Fearless.  Love that is Divine.

How will you let LOVE TAKE OVER?


Photo Credit: © 2009 Virgin/EMI

Alone In Her Presence is published on alternate Wednesdays! Subscribe via RSS or e-mail.

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