Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Tummy Time for Adults!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

In my own adventures of owning and maintaining a human body I have (re?)discovered the joys of “tummy time”. Parents will be familiar with tummy time as a thing we have our babies do to develop their back and neck muscles that eventually becomes rolling over, crawling, and the like. We basically plop them down on a blanket on their bellies and try to entertain them while they work for that strength and coordination, and they automagically know what to do.

Well, guess what? All the sitting, slouching, forward leaning posture we spend our lives in means that as adults we begin to lose that lovely back extension we worked so hard for in our earliest days, and we don’t seem to automagically know how to fix it. I am finding that a few minutes on my belly on the floor each day goes a long way toward making me feel more balanced, strong, and coordinated. I credit Vitality Pilates and Heidi Gans, PT, for having me do this regularly, and my own silly brain for connecting it to the thing we all did as babies quite naturally.

I found a nice little video from Bex Burton on YouTube with some basic Pilates-inspired tummy time exercises that is a great place to start. IMPORTANT: Supporting your spine by lifting the navel off the ground is the foundation of this exercise. If you are sacrificing that lifted navel to accomplish any of those other moves, back up, hug it up, and make the gesture smaller. When my back is really mad or I have been bent over gardening or working for awhile sometimes simply laying face down and hugging my spine with my navel and just thinking about extending is enough work.

Remember that the intent here is to counteract a deep and enduring slouch and that even if all you do is lay stretched out on the ground on your belly you will be accomplishing some of that. Lifting your navel makes it safer for your low back, and the other moves she throws in there make it more challenging and effective.

See you on the rug!

Educating myself about Anti-Racism

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

***If you are a person of color, you are welcome to read this, but this isn’t written to you. This is written for you, however, in an attempt to take on the burden of understanding and bringing my white friends and family along with me.***

For interested white folks I offer this peek into my ongoing quest to educate myself, and invite you to join me. I am a student in this space, bumbling along trying not to hurt anyone and aware that living here and not doing anything is actively hurting people. It is long past time to do something to change the fundamental realities of life in America for our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) neighbors.

First, we have to understand the problem. Let’s start with a bit of humor, because it helps to see the absurdity in any difficult situation. Thank you, Michael Che.

I began tackling the Me and White Supremacy Workbook last year (before it was a book) and got stuck. I didn’t know enough, really, to answer the prompts honestly. So I spent a several weeks with the 11 Step Guide to Understanding Race, Racism, and White Privilege, digesting concepts as I ate my lunch or took a break between clients. It’s thorough and engaging and by the end I felt like I knew more. Not enough, but more, so…

Here are some of my favorite podcasts, an easy way to keep learning while cooking, cleaning, commuting.:

Code Switch

Justice in America

The 1619 Project (also a series of articles in the New York Times Magazine)

Ear Hustle

White Lies

What’s Ray Saying?

The Third Season of Serial

Robin D’Angelo is a white lady who coined the term and literally wrote the book on White Fragility. I haven’t read her book yet, but I have used her resources page, which is packed with tons of good links.

Ava DuVernay’s excellent Netflix documentary The 13th is a primer for understanding the racism at the core of our criminal justice system. I have not yet had the courage to face her film When They See Us, which takes that understanding to a personal level, but I will be watching that ASAP.

Ijeoma Oluo is a local treasure. A self-described “internet yeller”, her words sometimes feel like a slap in the face, but always illuminate. I recently read her book So You Wanna Talk About Race, and I have a copy to give you (at this moment) if you want it. Check out the “writing” page on her website for linked articles.

I bought My Grandmother’s Hands last year and it’s next on my list to read, seeing as it is directly linked to the Somatic Experiencing work I do.

On Instagram I am following Rachel Cargle who also does thegreatunlearn, and the #meandwhitesupremacy hashtag, which has led me to follow #shecolorsnature and privtoprog among others. It has been really helpful to get those messengers into my feed to hear what they are saying on an ongoing basis, and I add more as I find them.

There are so many threads in this fabric- the deep and inherent flaws in our criminal justice system, the long-term effects of discriminatory lending for housing which then cascades into issues around environmental exposure (like Flint) and therefore health outcomes, with schooling and job opportunities, etc. It’s pretty overwhelming and hard to know what to do as an individual.

One very easy thing to do that helps break down implicit bias is to enjoy media that shows the full spectrum of black life in America. I LOVE the HBO show Insecure and have really enjoyed the Netflix show Dear White People. In one of the “extras” the creator of DWP talks about how growing up he was well aware of all facets of white culture in America because all of the TV and movies are about us, and in this show he is attempting to fill the substantial gaps between common black stereotypes and turn the tables on us. I appreciate that!

I am only just figuring out how to tangibly contribute to change beyond educating myself. It seems like we can have the strongest impact by taking action in our own communities, so this week I wrote to our mayor, Jenny Durkan and asked that she take the pledge that the Obama Foundation is recommending to address police use of force policies. I also made a donation to the Persist PAC to help women of color get a seat at the legislative table in our state, where their voices are sorely needed. And I am sharing my process with you, so that you and I can work together to figure out what to do next.

Please feel free to reach out, to collaborate, to educate, to tell me what you are doing that feels useful. I am always up for a compassionate conversation about white privilege and what we can do to dismantle it.

***UPDATE 6/24/20:

Changes to entrenched and inherently racist systems will be driven at the local level. In my community there are people of color already telling us what they think will make the biggest difference, so I have subscribed to the Black Joy newsletter put out by the folks at King County Equity Now. They have outlined several actionable requests and are asking for support in the form of money, calls, emails, and petitions.

I spent the weekend listening to this excellent series from 2017 about whiteness, what it is, where it came from, how it persists: Scene on Radio Season 2: Seeing White. We also watched the first half of When They See Us, and it was unsurprisingly difficult. My son at one point said, “Why did you think I would enjoy this?” and I replied, “I didn’t think you would enjoy this at all, I just think it’s important for us to know.” I look forward to the second half, where I believe the men are exonerated.

In the future I will just update this as a list with brief blurbs. I’m interested in what you are learning as well, so feel free to let me know.

Invisible Illness

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

A couple of years ago I was interviewed for a film about invisible illness by Mystère Poème-Dawson. Invisible illness is when you are not well in one way or another and the medical system can’t seem to figure out how to help you. If there isn’t a clear diagnosis or path of treatment, it makes you feel invisible. This in addition to whatever your original symptoms are can be pretty miserable. Mystère was stuck there herself and decided to make a documentary to at least build a sense of visibility. Check her film out at https://invisibleillnessfilm.com.

Mind/Body/SPIRIT

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Sometimes my clients are working with stuff that won’t budge despite all their efforts- therapies both physical and emotional, diet changes, lifestyle tweaks… everything helps a little but the sticky stuff is really stuck.

Many years ago I was stuck in just such a cycle and a trusted colleague gave me a brochure for a shaman she knew. I rolled my eyes and threw it into a stack of stuff and kept trying with the therapy, the massage, the Rolfing, the acupuncture, and still, I was waking every night in pain. I got fairly desperate. I gave the shaman a call.

He could tell that I was reluctant/skeptical and he was kind about it, encouraging me to go ahead and allow myself to show up for the work since I had already gotten myself there and paid for it. He had a point, so I went with it, and we did some soul retrieval work together around a traumatic incident that had occurred a few years prior. I remember not knowing quite what to make of it, but thinking as I left about how spirit doesn’t often factor into health care in our modern world. From a pragmatic and less woo-woo standpoint, he had made me confront something I had been avoiding and had given me at least a metaphor to help me release it. And my pain went away, I began sleeping through the night again.

Since then I have seen a few other practitioners who I would generally fit into a “spirit” category- intuitive healers, a medium, shamanistic healers. Sometimes the work they do would feel weird to that earlier version of me, but I have surrendered at least some of the skepticism (when working with a vetted practitioner) and can allow myself to receive what they offer. Many times what they offer is help discerning the work I have to do myself, and I then have to go and do it. I would credit one such healer with basically giving me a list of beliefs that I had to surrender and some possible techniques that might help me do that. That list didn’t include but eventually led to the Somatic Experiencing work that I now practice.

I want to put this out there as a real and valuable tool for you. Mind/Body/Spirit is not just a catchphrase. I can usually help you with your body. Check my resources page for folks who can help you with your spirit.