I believe that the world is a better place when individuals choose to go on a healing path and do nervous system and trauma healing work. Personal healing impacts relationship with self, with family, with loved ones and more. There's an undeniable magic and power that happens when we face our shadows, overcome our shame, offer our pain and hurts empathy, learn how to love up and parent our wounds, and do the dirty work of seeing our manipulative and oppressive patterns playing out in relationship dynamics and with loved ones. Without a focus on healing ourselves individually, I'm not fully convinced that collective healing is possible. BUT, without collective healing--and therefore tangible change in the toxic systems we're all operating within--I'm not so sure that individual healing fully works. Regardless of how much individual healing work we do, we're still swimming in the toxic waters that got us here in the first place. Because we are all a part of the whole, none of us can be totally free when others are still oppressed... especially when they're oppressed by our freedom. This doesn't mean we shouldn't try to get free. This doesn't mean we need to give up on our individual healing journey. This isn't an invitation to feel shame and guilt around the powerful healing work we are doing. Rather, this is an invitation to do our healing work outside of a vacuum, looking at it from a collective lens instead. For example as white folk, we need to learn to sit with our pain so we can understand how our pain contributes to the oppression of BIPOC folk. We need to understand where our defensiveness comes from, so we can show up in relationships without attachment. Healing work isn't supposed to be self-indulgent. It's supposed to support the whole. Through our understanding of self--our accountability, embodiment, regulation, liability and resiliency--we can fully show up for building community, relationships, and the movement of collective healing and liberation.
THE MYTH OF SAFETY... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Most of us (especially white folk) have lived under an illusion of safety. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Safety in particular neighborhoods. Safety in the police. Safety in money. Safety in capitalism. Safety in achievement. Safety in education. Safety in marriage. Safety in government. Safety in certain groups of people. Safety in particular religions (predominantly Christianity). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Maybe we've even been blessed to feel a sense of safety in our families, homes, schools/institutions or work places. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One of the realities the pandemic sunk me into me though was that there is no such thing as a safe place. We could hide in our houses, take precautionary measures, wear masks and live under the illusion of impenetrability. But these measures didn't actually guarantee safety. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ With the uprisings I see an urgency in coaches/healers and/or spirituality/self-help orgs to develop business strategies making “safe spaces for all. But these spaces were NEVER safe for BBIPOC or other minoritized people, and changing website wording won't change that reality. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Rather than focusing on making spaces safer, we need to focus on making ourselves safer within our own bodies. Finding a grounded, rooted knowing of one's self. A secure attachment with one's self. A merging with one's self. A relationship with one's inner worlds. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This isn't easy, and unfortunately it's not often taught. Most of us are living with trauma, pain, and imprinting from society, family and culture which keeps us locked in shame, guilt, pain or fear and away from a felt-sense of safety within our bodies, hearts, souls and psyches. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ How can we begin making safer spaces within ourselves, so we can actually show up for others? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We gotta start with meeting ourselves. Seeing the defensive bits. Understanding patterns. Knowing our needs. Learning to receive. Allowing and requesting support. Understanding how to love and nurture ourselves, before rushing into loving and nurturing others, especially when it’s outside our capacity. The only space we can truly make safe is the space inside of ourselves. Image via @tinamariaelena
ROOT SYSTEMS MATTER. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I strongly believe that strengthening our roots--whether they're body roots or ancestral roots or earth roots or spirit roots or sacral roots--is a necessary part of ALL movement work. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lately I've been engaging in conversations around race, white supremacy, activism and healing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One of the things I'm often tracking while engaging with others are body sensations. How rooted am I inside of myself in each moment? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For example, if I'm talking to someone who hasn't done similar anti-racism work as myself and/or are defensive or resistant to the idea of white supremacy, and I get triggered, I sense a quickening of heart rate, body pulling in, shallow breathe, racing thoughts, etc. As I notice these sensations I try to pause, tuning into my feelings/emotions/needs and noticing: How connected to my roots am I right now? In order to be with and heal ourselves, and be with and heal the supremacist systems living in our bodies and culture at large, we must learn to slow down and notice sensations, tune into our emotions and feelings, and root into our souls. Rooting = Regulating. Becoming “settled” in our bodies (as @resmaamenakem says), connected to our souls, and tuned into our emotions/feelings/sensations creates space to fully engage with bodies, souls, emotions, feelings and sensations of the world. Regulated nervous systems encourage other nervous systems to regulate. The more we work on healing our trauma — including the trauma of whiteness — the more we can show up in a calm presence, which impacts those we connect with and therefore the culture at large. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I strongly believe nervous system regulation is a necessary component to anti-racism + ALL healing work. This idea does not originate from me. I've learned from mentors and guides--many of whom are BIPOC--at the forefront of these theories. I recommend the book “My Grandmother’s Hands” + @resmaamenakem ’s free cultural somatic ecourse. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you're a white body and desire deeper understanding on this, the “From Freeze to Action breathwork workshop recording is in my profile + there’s a “Rooted in Ritual” course in the works.
HOW TO SHOW UP WHEN WE WANT TO HIDE. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ White body-supremacy trauma lives deep inside of me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For the past week this has meant that I experienced a freeze response in my body, particularly around wanting to do things right and perfect. With many opinions floating around the Internet, with many white folk shaming other white folk, with many inquiries in my inbox about the best way to move forward, with many conversations in my personal life with friends and family and clients, the people pleaser in me went wild and my nervous system felt overloaded. The desire to hide was strong. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So I paused. I sat with and listened to the collective wisdom of leaders coming through. And I sat with and listened to movement elders on a personal question of: What exactly is the best way for me -- a politicized trauma resolution coach who has done some anti-racism work and led white caucus spaces -- to show up right now? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We're all on different points of the anti-racism journey, and therefore no one person's instruction is going to work for all people. The important thing isn't to listen to every person in our feed or to read every recommended book or donate to every organization. I believe the important thing is to begin doing our own trauma work, regulating ourselves enough so we can thaw out and SHOW UP in SOMETHING. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's not about perfection. Forget about doing it right. It's about showing up in our intention, moving with doable actionable steps, offering self-compassion, noticing and holding shame, and creating resiliency in the body so we can sustainably show up, again and again, even after we fail. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Healing the trauma of white supremacy in our bodies is lifelong work. It's a commitment to healing that requires integrative approaches, from learning what being in a white body means, to understanding complacency in racist systems, to relearning history and our ancestor’s stories, to understanding post traumatic master's syndrome. My affirmation last week was: “I know my intentions are rooted in justice, I know my intentions are good, and that matters.” I am here to do this work. This is how I am showing up. It matters.
ANTI-RACISM WORK IS NERVOUS SYSTEM WORK Our nervous systems play a huuuuuge role in how we’re showing up right now, yet few are speaking to it (shout out to @resmaamenakem , @tadahozumi, @kelly_germaine, @energeticjustice and others for guiding my thoughts and understanding here). I want to be clear that when we're talking about nervous systems, it's not to excuse people's behavior or let folk off the hook. Rather, it's an important lens to utilize, especially when we’re trying to navigate our own actions (or inactions) as allies, and how to show up in coherent ways. White folk: to be an effective ally, it is important to check in with your body right now. What’s going on? Perhaps ask yourself… Am I experiencing hyper-vigilance? Do I feel guilty for being white (or non-black)? How is my guilt affecting the way I’m showing up? Am I acting from a place of fear of being called out or being told I’m “bad” or “wrong”? Am I experiencing a response of hyper-socialization? Am I performing my activism? Am I constantly questioning if I’m doing the “right” things? Making the “right” posts? Reposting the “right” thing on my social media account? Or being the “right” kind of silent? Am I in a hyper-aroused fight response? Feeling defensive? Frustrated? Angry? Moving at a fast paced speed with impulses to act NOW without a breathe or moment to consider the action I’m taking or words I’m saying? Am I in a hyper-aroused flight response? Do I want to run away from these conversations? Do I feel anxious and afraid of everything coming in? Do I ignore the news or posts my Black friends are making? Am I experiencing hypo-arousal in the form of a freeze? Am I confused about what I can do? Does it feel paralyzing to post anything? Have I gone to a protest and felt completely overwhelmed? Does all of this feel like too much, like I can’t handle it? Am I in a hypo-arousal of numbness, especially in my feeling body? Are my feelings hard to access? Do I feel cut off from emotions or my internal experience? Do I feel nothing? (Cont. in comments... 👇🏼)
artwork by @kahyangni - check their profile for art prints + fund to bail out black moms + caregivers out of jail ----- To white folk, myself included: there's a clarion call to wake up from the spell white supremacy has held us under for 100s of years. We are in an uprising where Black bodies are saying, NO MORE. It's time to recognize the pain of this exists in us, too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I'm offering a Moving from Freeze to Action Support Group + Embodied Breathwork Circle white caucus space on Saturday with 100% of donations going to BLM organizations on the ground. I am offering this for those who feel stuck in a freeze/flight so you can orient yourselves towards Black movement leaders and take action with more stability in your nervous system. Link in my profile. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Many white folk have a very small window of tolerance around racism work, meaning our nervous systems aren't attuned to being able to hold the intensity of this work. That's why these conversations often lead to running away, shutting down, defensiveness, violence, or something even more detrimental. This is a “normal” response from a nervous system angle. AND it’s something we need to grow capacity and resilience around. It’s not okay to continually be hijacked by our nervous systems when black bodies are continually subjected to abuse and murder. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Many white folk weren't prepared for this current wake up. We haven't done the work. Haven't been part of communities naming racism. Haven't had an anti-racism reality check in terms of our work and voice in the world. Haven't found ways to move through our trauma connected to racism that actively lives inside our bodies. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The stark reality is that white people lack resilience. We can't deal with our shame and guilt. We get defensive. We lack an ability to be accountable, or to look at our racial shadows. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ From a trauma perspective (one that was really honed in for me by @resmaamenakem’s work), this is how racial trauma lives in white bodies. And the only way to heal trauma is through the body. It’s time we build resilience to show up to the work we are being asked to do by Black movement leaders.
#Repost @minaa_b ・・・ “If your self-healing work doesn’t include confronting your implicit and explicit biases, acknowledging your privilege and it’s power and examining the importance of community care aside from self-care, then that means you have some unlearning to do and it’s time that you get uncomfortable. I’ve shared this in my stories already, but I will plug these resources here. Please refer to these individuals who offer endless amounts of resources on how to do the work of anti-racism: @mspackyetti @iamrachelricketts @decolonizingtherapy @ogorchukwuu @rachel.cargle @theconsciouskid @moemotivate Pay them, follow them, share their resources, tell your friends and family to unlearn with you. Please do not DM them asking for personal mentoring. Utilize google. Read books. Listen to BIPOC stories. Invest in a local grassroots organization. The resources have always been available, you just have to want to learn. Community: let’s begin here with having those uncomfortable conversations. How are you practicing the work of anti-racism? What resources, books and accounts have your learned from? What are you doing to challenge yourself implicit biases?”
YOU CAN'T RUSH THE PROCESS... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the healing journey, we just can't rush the process. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As much as we may want it to go faster, or be somewhere we're not, I have learned the hard way that rushing has never actually benefitted me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This doesn't mean that parts of our healing can't happen quickly or through big momentary shifts. But trying to be somewhere we're not doesn't get us there any quicker, and pushing ourselves to get there actually generally backfires. (And, when we are talking sexual healing, our genitals/p*ssy generally don’t respond well overall to push energy.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ People selling quick fixes are full of poo. There just isn't a quick fix. Healing takes time. What there IS though is a miraculous, powerful medicine delivered in the slooowwing down--giving the body time to sort through the pieces and find integration and reclamation through the safety and trust cultivated within, by being with what IS. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You might think you have a timeline for yourself. But darling, you are nature. Built and made of the earth. Nature has a blueprint of health and vitality and essence that evolves on its own natural timeline. There are seasons. There are cycles. There is death and rebirth. There's aliveness, and there's stillness. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Just like there's a blueprint in nature, there's a blueprint in YOU. A blueprint of your naturaL cycles and rhythms and essence. And that blueprint comes out when the imprints — the pain or abuse or trauma — are held, listened to, offered space and guidance, and are then alchemized into a dust that glows your essence UP. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In the end, we just gotta be with the process. The process offered to you by your unique wisdom (and perhaps a little guidance), allowing this innate power within to uncover. A treatment plan that has its timeline attuned to you. A treatment plan that doesn’t want to be rushed, but instead desires to unfold like a spring flower, getting recognized in each step of the awe-inspiring journey you’re on. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo via @santymito_nudeart