I have written this opening line over and over again. I keep deleting it. I have no confidence in how to speak about what’s happening right now. But I do know that silence is worse.
To the women of color in our Awakening Shakti community, I want you to know how sorry I am for the trauma and loss you may be experiencing as a result of the current violence as well as the devastation of the Black community with the pandemic (and of course the list goes on). You deserve to live in a world that is safe for you and your children. It is my prayer that you are finding ways to nurture yourself, regulate your nervous system and get the support you need right now.
The shock of George Floyd’s horrifying murder (along with so many others recently) has confronted me anew with the systemic racism that underpins every level of this society. Also my complicity in that system as a white woman who benefits from it. The truth is painful. And it cannot be avoided if I am truly a woman committed to awakening, consciousness and love.
There is work to be done.
I know many of you have been involved in anti-racism and social justice work for a long time, a lifetime. Thank you.
I’m at the beginning. I have no answers. I’m reaching out to open dialogue in this community. Because there’s nothing more important. It’s relevant to all of us who claim to be awakening women. I am not offering any solutions but I very humbly share the following ideas and resources for those of you wondering what to do.
~Don’t go it alone~
Several years ago, I asked six local friends (all white women leaders) to join me in an anti-racism study group. We’ve been meeting monthly ever since (lately on Zoom) and we stay actively connected through a group text thread as well. Together, we read books, take classes, share resources, and go to events.
We’ve created a safe container to call each other out, process our stuff, and have difficult conversations about racism and privilege. Last week, we spent part of our time just grieving together in silence. For me, having a trusted circle of women to collaborate with is absolutely crucial to doing the deeper work and being accountable to it.
If this idea inspires you, please start your own circle or find a study-buddy.
~What Can I Do?~
It’s a question a lot of white people are asking. Check out this post by Ally Henny who has done the emotional labor of providing some good specific answers.
Resources on racism are abundant and everywhere. Here’s a good Anti-Racism Resource List and there are many, many others. Watch a film, listen to a podcast, follow Black voices and WOC who are speaking out – whatever your medium, just dive in.
~Find Your Teachers & Pace Yourself~
I seek out educators and activists who open me up and push me, gently but firmly, out of my comfort zone. I know how to be with hard emotions and I’m also a sensitive and highly empathic creature. I need to stay aware of how much I can metabolize and how fast.
I acknowledge that this also speaks to my white fragility and the option I have of stepping in and out of this conversation while POC cannot. I get that. I’m learning to be with and expand my capacity – if this is speaking to you, know that you can too.
~Know Your Role~
Check out this Social Change Ecosystem infographic by Deepa Iyer and figure out your unique role. Not everyone is a Disrupter or First Responder for example. Maybe you’re skilled and gifted in being a Weaver, Healer, Visionary or something else. All roles are necessary.
Support the Black Lives Matter movement and other organizations working to dismantle racism, bail out protestors, and provide mental health resources. Here’s a list of suggestions.
I am supporting the Loveland Foundation which gives financial assistance to Black women and girls so they can receive therapy. That feels really right and aligned for me personally.
What is falling apart now has been crumbling for a long, long time. We are making way for something new. Marianne Williamson offered in a recent prayer that touched me, “May this moment of deep unrest be a fever that serves to heal us.”
Wherever you find yourself right now, please double-down on compassion for yourself and others. Times are very volatile and trauma responses are up for everyone. Let us connect ever more strongly to our own sacred feminine heart and our Shakti practices as our ultimate source for navigating this moment. May we return again and again to our capacity for fierce love and envision a world of greater justice for all beings.
And let us do the work that needs to be done.
With so much love,