How I found my way and a role to play in the Deep Adaptation Forum
“I don’t think I was a white supremacist before, but my language has obviously shifted or the way that I post I know that I’ve posted quite a lot of Black Lives Matter and anti racism stuff which has engaged some of my South African friends quite strongly. Which I probably wouldn’t have posted, I’m sure I have posted in support of of anti racist issues before occasionally when they were in the news, but not as strongly as I have more recently, but then I don’t know if that arises more of my involvement in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.“Wendy Freeman
How I first joined the DA Facebook group, and why I stayed
I read Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation paper around October 2019. The paper reinforced and fleshed out some ideas that I already had. The blog post about the paper had a reference to the Facebook group. As I’m a heavy FB user, I immediately joined the group.
What has kept me coming back to Deep Adaptation, from the very beginning, has been the emphasis on solidarity and community-building, which reminded me of what I had been doing through yoga and meditation and being a volunteer in India. I sense that DAF is made of people who don’t want humans to go extinct. I find this emphasis on how to relate to each other, and to nature, deep and rich, and very engaging.
Another thing I really appreciate in the DA Facebook group has to do with the quality of moderation. For example, Dan is very good at bringing back conversation topics that might have been buried in the group but which are full of useful information. Generally the moderators do an exceptional job at holding space in the group.
How I became a Facebook group moderator
In the FB groups I’m a part of, I try to make sure that the space is safe enough for other people to speak, because I’m interested in hearing what they have to say. Also, I am trying to learn better ways of calling people in and making conversations shift from an angry tone to a more listening tone, so people can learn from each other. So when I arrived in the DA FB group, I got involved in some difficult conversations, and took on something of an informal moderator role sometimes.
For this reason, the DA moderators invited be to join the moderation team. As a moderator, I became much more aware of the subtleties of DA philosophy, because I did a lot more reading about DA.
Discussions in the moderators’ group, around what was happening in the public group, were very intense. On the one hand, it was a wonderful learning experience. But it got too much for me, and I eventually stepped away.
How I found my way in the DA field
When I began volunteering as an official moderator, I didn’t get much guidance as to what I should be doing. So I had to find my own way.
I found that there is a huge pool of resources and body of work about DA that not enough people know about, which doesn’t seem clearly indexed or searchable or available online. For example, facilitators holding space for Death Cafes; or Michael Dowd’s podcasts on DA, which are particularly useful to people who wouldn’t otherwise read long essays.
So as a moderator, I decided my role would be to make people more knowledgeable about DA, and how to best embody the DA spirit and way of being.
In doing so, I hoped to make sure people could fulfill their potential, especially people who may become leaders and strong voices, such as Greta Thunberg. For example, I suggested to Candy Dawson that she set up a new group more suited to discussing gender issues. I also sent her a lot of information about affiliated group structures, rules, etc.
As a result, Candy set up the DA Womxn affiliated group, which is now over 1000 members strong. Many rich conversations take place there, and Jane Dwinell is a senior moderator, which wouldn’t have happened without my involvement. I am a moderator, too. We now envision doing a podcast on womxn’s issues involving some of our amazing participants.
Being part of the Womxn’s group has made me grow more conscious of the subtle aggressions that ordinarily impact people who, unlike me, have non-dominant gender or sexual identities. Having this new awareness helps me to make spaces safer for people to come forward and share their knowledge, their tools, and their experience with others.
What I am learning as a moderator in the Womxn’s group
Being a moderator in the Womxn’s group has helped positively shift my relationship with [X], who is not heterosexual. Now I feel more comfortable discussing issues related to sexuality with [X], and asking questions which I wouldn’t have been comfortable with previously. Thanks to this, our friendship has deepened. We are able to do quite a lot of deep work together and have interesting conversations.
Thanks to being better informed and educated by [X], I have more to contribute to conversations happening in the Womxn’s group.
My work in the Diversity and Decolonising Circle
Having a trusting relationship with [X] has also provided a solid grounding for the work we do in the Diversity circle.
From the conversations we’re having in the Diversity and Decolonising Circle, I have become much more aware of people speaking from an unconscious place of privilege, and considering their own identity to be the norm. This makes it more difficult for them to hear and understand the struggles of people with more marginalised identities.
Since I became involved in DAF, a number of People of Color have reached out to me and become Facebook friends with me. I think this could mean that something in me or my language has shifted, or perhaps it is linked to the content I have been posting around the #BLM movement or anti-racism.