Guiding as Way-Showing
I struggle with the language I call upon to point at what my work is with the world. Western, colonial culture prefers to noun-ify everything, creating fixed shapes that are easier to file away. The relational entanglements that make life possible are often lost in nouns, as relationship is a co-evolving process that births multiplicity’s brilliance.
I generally call upon the word “guide,” whose roots would suggest a “way-showing.” And perhaps that’s accurate, in that I’m offering, to those who entrust their vulnerabilities, experiences, dreams, wounds and trauma narratives, fears and longings, a possible way of being in relationship with all of that, and more.
A way that depends upon inner and communal support/resourcing, curiosity and imagination, wonder and courage, somatic engagement, and the ongoing cultivation of knowing one’s “yes’s” and “no’s” and “maybe’s.” Our inter-connectivity and inter-dependence highlights both our permeability, as well as our discrete forms.
One of the resounding confirmations that points at why I am able to live the work I offer into the world is because others offer their trust to and with me. Without that, it wouldn’t be possible.
A relational field opens up. A ceremonial space that begs a particular question of me: how to get out of the way so that all the unseen ones, ancestral ones, liminal ones, more than human ones, lands, and more can be listened to more clearly?
For me, guiding means listening with all of my sensual faculties for the next step that might make itself known through shared curiosity, willingness, and wonder.
Listening in such a way that I also track my own assumptions and places of inexperience. By that I mean, I have a body of experience that is naturally different than another’s body of experience. And for that reason, I may not always fully understand what they share with me. But I can imagine, to the best of my ability. Imagining as a form of empathizing. And from that place, allowing the holy ground of shared-tending to reinforce a kind of trust and inner-knowing that lives in the cells of the holy other I am “with-nessing”.
The world is constantly in-forming the shapes of us, and we are constantly in-forming the shapes of each other. Guiding is not a one-sided affair. It’s sacred reciprocity. A way of making love with the world. We sense ways, together.
*"with-nessing" was imagined through the body of Bayo Akomolafe