Listen: For the past week, I took part in a small social experiment on Instagram and Facebook called #amplifymelanatedvoices and it has been powerfully eye-opening. The premise was to center, promote, and amplify the messages of Black activists and artists while simultaneously putting our own messages on pause and truly listening to what they have to say. Without the need to draw attention back to ourselves, our opinions, our perspectives, our excuses, our discomfort. Just… listen. And then, lift up.
Because the truth is that Black people in America have been telling us the same message, over and over, in every way imaginable for hundreds of years and by and large, it seems pretty evident that we haven’t really been listening.
As a long-time, dyed-in-the-wool social justice warrior, I thought that I had been listening, but I am seeing more and more clearly just how much I was only half-listening, and sometimes actively avoiding listening- deeply, reverently, listening– to the larger conversation around racial inequity and white supremacist culture. How often I was missing the message.
I’m in no way an expert in any of this. I can, must, and will learn to listen better. This is deeply personal work, and I know that I need the help, guidance, and leadership of the people who have been doing this a lot longer than me. Maybe you are someone who has been working at being an anti-racist for a while now, and maybe you are someone who is just starting to see, understand, and unpack what all of this means. Wherever you are personally in your own journey, know that there are people who are skilled and ready and willing to support your growth. I’ve included some links to resources below:
What to do next:
RELEASE– Let it allllll out! Spend some quality time with your therapist, your besties, your support squad, your spiritual teachers, and talk about what you’re feeling/experiencing. Name all the feelings and fears that come up to the surface. Release your messy inside stuff. Cry hard and ugly. Shout loudly. Do this with the people who you can trust to be supportive, who can hold space for you without judgement or shaming- NOT with hateful internet trolls (I’ve learned this one the hard way). Release expectations from yourself to do things perfectly, to get it “right” the first time, to have all the answers. Release the need to be right. Release the need for other people to do their work. What else can you release? What else do you need to let go of?
REFLECT– After you’ve had a minute to let your mess out, take the time to process it. Reflect on what it means to you/for you, or if there is any deeper meaning to be found. Note: there isn’t always a gold nugget hiding in a turd; sometimes a turd is just a turd. Reflect on what you want to have happen next, and what some of the steps are that you will need to take to move forward.
RESTORE- Take. Good. Care. Of. Yourself. Restore your whole self with lots of rest, body care, nutrition, art, laughter, music, and so much Love. Restore the relationships that are most important and nourishing to you (this is not the time to feed the drain). Pray and meditate. Build up your community.
I am a teacher and a healer, and I am also here to listen and learn. I look forward to sharing more tips, wisdom, and love with you in the weeks to come. Stay tuned, and stay strong. I am in this with you!
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