Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category
***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.:
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.
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.
It feels to me like we have reached a new place in this adventure. Six weeks ago we dove into our isolation pods, a weird combination of the comfort of home and the discomfort of the unknown. We have waited and seen and here we are, confused, vulnerable, still waiting to see.
The very last thing that I did before lockdown was a weekend retreat called the Betwixt and Between, a deep dive into the dreaming place where logic gets turned around and something softer emerges into a larger sense of the known and unknown. Where being in the world is about feeling in the world, and the natural order of things is more heart centered.
In this place we faced our fears, and in naming them and accepting them we integrated their gifts. We dreamt a collective dream of adaptability, of song and humor and beauty and faith, of the incredible resilience of humanity as demonstrated by the terrible history of sufferings we have inflicted and endured. A powerful message emerged, one that can be summed up in M. Gandhi’s words: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Strong emphasis on BE.
I am privileged to have a comfortable place to practice BE-ing in. Indeed, my home has just become dramatically more accommodating to a stay-at-home order, years of labor having only recently paid off in a spacious, bright, freshly appointed great room that more than doubles our previous square footage. It’s spring, and we have a giant yard in which there is a lush progressive bloom I have never been quite so present for. We had some savings and are getting government help to offset the financial hit. My son is a self-directed teen whose school transitioned relatively seamlessly to online learning. I am keenly aware of the sweetness of all of this.
And yet. It is hard for me to break with the cultural programming of producing something, of doing something, of busyness and accomplishment. I am a worker bee, used to being of service and deriving much of my self-worth from that service. I have done a smattering of online healing sessions with people during this pause, and as much as I see that it helps them, it is a lifeline for this part of me. Every week I must cancel 20+ appointments on my schedule, each one a person I would be touching; it is a painful exercise.
What I choose to notice about this is that within me there is a longing for connection with others. That the grief of that longing holds the richness of all that comes with contact–all the resonance, the learning, the laughter, the tears, the fullness of being a human relating to other humans that phone calls and video chats don’t quite deliver.
Boy am I glad we have phone calls and video chats, though! One of my favorite things I have done in lockdown is attend a dance party on Zoom, where I had all the room in the world to boogie around my living room while a friend played a set of “Dancing With Myself” themed songs and I had a Brady Bunch grid of windows into other friends’ living rooms where they were doing the same. Silliness, music, movement, joy: more of that, please!
And what else do we truly want more of? As we rest into this relatively quiet place, hopefully we are listening for what our hearts really need, and as we navigate into the larger world we will allow those needs to guide us.
If this is my dream, then we are compassionate, adaptable, and kind. We are finding humor and beauty and connecting with each other. We are learning to do the unexpected and suffering less than we think we might while doing it. We are lifting up the voices of the oppressed and learning from their resilience, surrendering the dance of dominance and recognizing the genius of collaboration and cooperation. In my dream we are seeing ourselves as part of the earth, borrowed bodies with gifts to contribute. In my dream we are giving them.
I have had this dream for a reaaaallly long time to get a thing going with other folks who do healing work in various disciplines. I’ve spent hours working on business plans and crunching numbers and as yet the time has not been right and the plan has not become more than a dream, but I did get excited a couple of years ago and set up an LLC and bought myself some url’s. Thought I’d point them here for awhile, while the dream drifts around in the ethers… here’s the nutshell:
Thrive Together Healing Arts is a collective wellness center currently in the idea phase of existence.
Thrive Together sustains a field of rejuvenating energy, invites you to feel better just by walking in. It is a collective of offices housing 4-7 independent practitioners of varying healing arts, sharing resources where useful. It is peaceful without being precious, friendly and engaging and respectful in its presentation.
Underneath all the struggle and strain, we are doing just fine; this place will remind us of that.
We are a Limited Liability Company owned by one of the independent practitioners of Thrive Together Healing Arts. Although other practitioners are not owners in the LLC, collaboration, collective responsibility and respect are keys to sustaining the common goal of Thriving Together.