Surviving My Immunity to Change™

I’m silently observing from the back corner of the classroom.  Bent over art supplies and paper, the students are bringing to life images of a world at peace, drawn from a guided meditation I’d led them through moments before. A visitor to the room might guess that they’d entered an art class, rather than the Women’s Leadership Seminar I had the honor of teaching at Mills College for seven years.  Overseeing this creative moment, a part of me feels excited and proud. But that part is drowned out by my beating heart, sweaty hands, churning stomach–physical manifestations of genuine fear and dread coursing through me. In this moment–the first time I’ve brought my identity as an artist into the classroom–I feel exposed and vulnerable. I feel afraid. For my students, the point of this exercise is to make images of a world free from injustice. For me, the point of this exercise is to stand in this fear, to observe myself within it, and to answer the question of whether or not I can survive it.

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