You are now leaving colonized time

The following is a guest blog post from Hannah Zimmerman.*


*You are now leaving colonized time*

I throw off my watch and the Eastern Standard Time Zone, to [instead] use the sun and the birds as my clock.

I write this reflection in the woods of northern Michigan, several months after I attended the Thousand Currents Academy. As I sit among the trees, I have left all my belongings behind me, and can only tell time by the way the sun casts its reflection on the black rock beside me. I have made it an effort to come out to these woods as much as I can, since I learned this exercise at Thousand Currents Academy.

The exercise is simple. You remove your watch, leave your phone, and you wander. In this wandering, you transcend colonized time, and you discard your stresses. You are alone only with your thoughts and questions. You take only what is essential. For me, it is my Moleskin notebook and bright red pen. I tuck both into the pocket of my sweater, and I wander with my thoughts and questions.

It is in these wandering sessions that I have the ideas that settle. I think of grant making projects for students, and how to teach young people about the benefits from philanthropy. I think of the role I play as a student of philanthropy and a student of activism. At a certain point the sun will start to dim, and I cease my wandering, and return home. I put back on watch and check my phone, returning to colonized time.

As I return home, I think about the role philanthropy will play in my life. It is a topic that is new to me, and it is still a subject I seek to hone and study. I check my class list for the fall, and see I am enrolled in philanthropy seminars. I look at the emails on my laptop and see I am engaged in philanthropy, yet, I don’t know what to call myself. Then I remember my experience at the Thousands Currents Academy. I am an activist who is learning a tool (moving financial resources) to support other activists. I am a vocalist who is learning to sing the new genre of philanthropy that can help musicians thrive.

I am a member of a community that cares about more than what is on the surface. I am thankful for the sisters, mothers, and brothers that Thousand Currents gave me during our week together. We will continue to explore together. I am thankful for the teachers, and the wisdom that is carried with me. I am thankful for Thousand Currents for showing me that I am mortal, and in being mortal, I need time to restore my soul to fuel my future work.

So often now I find myself walking without worrying about the numbers on the clock, to let my mind rest and to dream up new projects and ideas. Thus, when I return to colonized time, I am refreshed and ready to change the world.


*Hannah Zimmerman is the youngest person to make the 2017 hercampus.com‘s list of 22 Under 22 Most Inspiring College Women. A sophomore at Stanford, Hannah chairs the Student and Labor Alliance, in which she founded the “Stanford Labor Panels” lecture series, and founded and directs Stanford’s first student fashion designer showcase. Majoring in Public Policy with a concentration in Discrimination, Crime and Poverty Policy, Hannah is conducting independent field research on income inequality in the American Rust Belt through the Stanford Anthropology Department, and is a Public Policy teaching assistant. 

Hannah sits on the New York County Committee and is New York City’s youngest elected official. At 16, Hannah was the youngest member of the National Delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention representing Bernie Sanders, after serving as his Director of Youth and High School Outreach for New York State. She authored the Student Organizing Manuals used by the National Nurses Union and Our Revolution, as well as co-founded their on-campus programs. 

When not attempting to politicize her friends, you can find Hannah singing or sewing on Synergy’s porch.

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