Letter from the Editors
What is the path to unity?
Why does the journey between head and heart sometimes feel so long?
How might we live in wholeness with all that is?
These are questions that invite us to explore the spiritual nature of connection. In the reflections, stories, and ideas throughout this issue, we can see that these questions are personal, relational, and systemic.
In one of our final meetings before publication, as we were checking in, Nadia noted how the mind-clutter of the 24-hour news cycle and the endless stream of headlines can trap us within an atmosphere of fear and anxiety. The repetitive glimpses of sensationalized and negative news can flatten all of our stories; can lead us to think in binary terms; and can force us into consuming meaning made by others instead of making it for ourselves. The potential of the media, however, is in its ability to connect us to people, places, worldviews, and ideas beyond what we already know.
As a magazine with the mission of creating a different kind of conversation, we take seriously the challenge of curating articles, essays, poems, and fine art that support our readers in unlocking the power of reflection and discernment in order to grapple with the essential questions of our time in ways that lead towards connection, healing, and growth. Perhaps more than ever, rising to this challenge feels urgent, particularly for those of us working for social justice.
In this issue, our contributors have taught us that in order to engage in the spiritual work of connection and justice with integrity we must be able honestly also to name disconnection, difference, otherness, and power.
Multiple pieces in this issue examine structures of oppression, tackling the ways that power and privilege impact how people show up to see and be seen. We feature Arts Connect International, an organization seeking to overturn the racism embedded in the art world by connecting artists of color with institutions that hold power in the art world. Heather Bryant takes on the ideas of being silenced and discovering one’s voice in complicated family and social circumstances. In “How We Get Free,” Monique Harris and Perry Dougherty invite us to examine how we have internalized ideas about difference and how reorienting ourselves to those ideas may support us in a quest for collective liberation.
The photography of Alia Ali and the prose of Allison Coffelt take on the ways we see, process, and define difference between nations, cultures, and people, inviting us to explore questions of belonging, presence, and identity.
The spiritual teachings in these pages encourage us to explore the paradoxes of connection and of belonging. One such paradox is beautifully captured in C. Paul Schroeder’s practice of seeing compassionately. Schroeder helps us understand that discomfort arises when we realize that the people around us are not simply the constructions of identities we have built in our minds, but that they are their own people, distinct and unique. This realization itself is part of our practice, and it is only when we risk disconnection from our worldview or our images of others that we can enter into real connection.
We are honored by the ways our contributors have articulated the messy spiritual work that pursuing connection calls us into.
You don’t have to follow the news cycle to realize we live in a time when disconnection, fear, and anxiety abound. We hope that Anchor invites you to pause and consider how you might courageously choose connection, discovering in the process what it means to transform, heal, reconcile, see, and be seen.
We hope that these pages can guide you into deeper contemplation of the spiritual work of social justice.
Perry, Nadia, Elissa, and Tim