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  • Sarah Jawaid

"Don't Go Back to Sleep" - a post-election reflection

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”

doesn’t make any sense.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.”


This poem has been floating to me lately. Perching itself on my crown, asking me to consider the magic of many colors meeting and creating new hues. These words also remind me of the certainty in the uncertainty. The good intention of fear to tell the future as a mechanism to protect. The power of relationship as a source of power.

And so, I reflect back on the journey since the 2020 presidential election with the invitation to not sleep, which can be wrongly interpreted as not resting. No. Please rest. The invitation is to be awake to receive an answer to your deepest quiet whispers. To awaken at a new place, which requires rest, silence and an awareness of reciprocity with life.

With a new president, I feel some space and relief because there may be harm reduction. I also feel the imperfection of a new president that is speaking of unity with many who have supported facism. I’m worried about the possibility of war and drones abroad which has been a unifying tactic by many Democratic presidents.

The contradiction is heavy.

Don’t go back to sleep.

In the coming days, this country will walk into a period of thanks. The painful origins of this thanks-giving rooted in the occupation of land and pillaging of indigenous communities weigh on me. I’m interrogating how to hold myself accountable as a settler here from the South Asian subcontinent as a child of immigrants. We as an organization are also asking ourselves the same questions about deeper accountability and what we are coming to understand as the indigenous wisdom of reciprocity. How can we be in greater reciprocity with past, present, and emerging indigenous communities like the Tongva, Diné, Ohlone, Lakota, Ojibwe communities? How can we be in greater reciprocity with the land?

Don’t go back to sleep.

As I honor and remember indigenous communities here, I also do the same for all indigenous communities globally, including Palestinians, Kashmiris, Uyghurs, Rohingya, and many more. I pray for freedom for all communities and hold myself accountable to do more than remember.

Don’t go back to sleep.

Thinking of this year, I feel the countless lives lost due to inept handling of the pandemic, rising fascism of which the previous president is but a reminder of continued racist violence by law enforcement among others.

Don’t go back to sleep.

With the transition of power imminent, I’m seeing the petulant behavior by the previous president (whose name is not worthy of being printed) be compared to a child, toddler etc so many times. Our children are magical beings in touch with their raw emotions, welcoming in awe and wonder, closer to the core of what it means to be alive. Our children and him are not the same.

Don’t go back to sleep.

The work continues to protect our beloveds. And, we can take this moment to celebrate the work of black women in key states, Navajo nation in Arizona and elsewhere in the country, the wins at the local level with diverse representatives and progressive ballot initiations expanding what it means to belong in this country.

Don’t go back to sleep.

My prayer for us is to rest as we need it, to be awake for the wonder, for the protection of our beloveds, for movement work to be nourishing and to find home in ourselves.


Sarah Jawaid

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Check out our conversation with La Shanda Sugg, host of The Labors of Love podcast, about how Self is applied to life, work, reciprocal relationships and “staying the course”

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