We can’t deny that there has been a lot of anguish and tension in the US with the recent deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. I myself have been feeling a range of emotions but mainly a deep sadness and anger at the injustice that is happening to our black men and women.
This is not about anti-police here nor is it about dismissing all the other violence that’s happening worldwide. This is looking at the systemic racism and injustice that’s happening right in front of our eyes, captured on camera.
Sadly this isn’t anything new. We just have cameras on our phones now that give us an inside look at the reality that is very real for Black Americans and has been for centuries.
I feel guided to bring up this issue because it’s been on my mind and heart heavily these past few days, crying myself to sleep at night. And I know if I’m feeling it, so are you.
I know that when we keep our own eyes open, our hearts open, and face the reality of what’s occurring then we can use our resources to create forward movement and positive change.
Situations like this are heartbreaking and we must feel it. We are challenged, our buttons our pushed, we are literally being broken open and that’s the only way through. Healing happens when we are willing to look, to engage in the deeper work and to take right action.
To create change in any area of our lives we must first acknowledge that there is a problem. Pretending like it doesn’t exist is not bringing it to the light. The racism that still exists in America is a large part of the shadow side to the “Home of the Free.”
The United States of America was literally built over hundreds of years by the use of slavery and many of these slaves even fed their very own breast milk to white ancestors, nurturing and nourishing the next generation of slave owners. The constructs of slavery are still weaved into the fabric of America today through systemic racism.
In order to bring healing to the shadow, we must face it eye to eye.
There’s a lot of talk out there where people don’t want to acknowledge race or they claim “I don’t see color!” but to me that’s the problem! The truth is that the world is a myriad of races, colors, cultures, and languages and that’s the beauty of our humanity.
Your race is every part of who you are in this human experience and deserves to be acknowledged, seen, and accepted.
When you fail to do this, then you fail to fully see the person as a whole and denying a huge aspect of who they are, where they came from, the accomplishments they’ve made and the struggles they have faced.
And as humans, one of our innate desires is to be seen and loved for who we truly are – and that includes the color of your skin.
By not seeing that there are racial issues then there can be no solution. Sure we can focus on unity, love, peace, and oneness but how do you ground that into tangible action to create change. This is so important for those who choose a conscious way of living. Just because you claim “love and light” doesn’t mean that all you focus on is love and light.
This creates spiritual escapism and actually numbs you and diminishes your light. Do not try to bypass or advise others to bypass their feelings. If a friend is in anguish, allow them to be in their feelings and not circumvent the situation by telling them to be happy, be the light and not to feel a certain way.
Grounding your divinity into humanity is to be present to what’s happening, keeping your eyes open amidst the pain, and doing your part to bring further healing, justice, and freedom for all.
Here are a few insights to help you navigate your own emotions and what you can do to take action.
1. Give yourself the space to grieve, to feel, and to let the emotions run through the body. The last thing you want to do is to suppress it or let is fester within. Be sure you have people you can be vulnerable to speak about it with.
Express the emotions you are feeling, whether that’s sadness, fear, anxiety, or anger, a voice. You can say “I am sad (or angry, hurt, enraged etc) because…” and let yourself freely speak, feel, and heal. Do not sugarcoat, do not censor, and do not hold back.
As I mentioned before, making yourself focus only on love and light numbs you to the depths of what truly needs to be healed. Give this gift to others as well, allowing them to be with their feelings and not forcing your agenda on them.
2. Engage in the power of prayer. The moment I hear about another death like this, I immediately go into prayer. Pray for the families of all the victims today and in the past, pray that the Souls who have passed are escorted back to Spirit and is are at peace, and pray for the officers who have lost their lives in Dallas.
I also used the power of prayer to restore my faith in goodness. I seriously was feeling like WTF is wrong with this world! So I needed to reset my energy and connect back to my faith in knowing that people are innately good.
I have a prayer partner I pray with daily and I was feeling so distraught over everything that I asked that we pray this prayer instead. I found this prayer from the Affirmative Prayer Library.
Every breath, every heartbeat is the breath and heartbeat if the Living Spirit. All of creation is the outpouring of Good, the gift of the Divine One. The Beloved creates life out of Its generous nature. Infinite and Eternal Love reigns over all of existence with its Goodness.
I live in the breath and heartbeat of the Beloved. The Love of the Beloved is alive in me.
I release all dark thoughts. I release all fear and doubt. I release all hesitation. I surrender all struggle to the love of the Divine One. I open to a greater faith, the faith of God. I know in my heart and in my mind that goodness always prevails. So I choose today, to align myself more fully with this Good. I practice my faith by seeing the Good in all of life. When I falter, I return quickly to this Spiritual Truth: the Good of God reigns supreme over all of life.
I am so glad that this is so. I relax and take it in. My heart is grateful and filled with faith.
I release this, my word, into that sacred law of life, trusting it completely.
And So It Is. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
3. Know when you need to take a break from the media. Give yourself a breather from social media, the images, videos, and articles that are being posted everywhere. Now I want to be very clear that this is not about hiding or turning a blind eye from it all but to give yourself the care that you need so you can show up for others. The reality is that for people of color, we never truly get a “break.” We don’t get to turn a blind eye or pretend that this doesn’t exist because we live through these kinds of experiences every day. However, taking care of ourselves is imperative.
In an article in the New York Times, Monnica Williams, a psychologist, professor and the director of the University of Louisville’s Center for Mental Health Disparities, says “race-based stress reactions can be triggered by events that are experienced vicariously, or externally, through a third party — like social media or national news events.”
It’s a lot of energy to take in at once and for energetically sensitive peeps like you and I, this impacts us greatly. So be sure you are executing self-care such as going out in nature, being with people who make you smile, writing to express yourself, or listening to soothing music.
I stumbled upon this beautiful video created by musician and cellist Cremaine Booker, in light of the recent deaths. I encourage you to listen to it with headphones and close your eyes. You may want to grab a few tissues, it’s that moving, comforting and healing!
4. Turn your anger into action. Contact your local representatives to urge policy solutions. A great resource is Campaign Zero. They have a 10-point plan all listed out helping you find your local representative, details of what our presidential candidates are proposing when it comes to police reform, and the actions (or non-actions) that each state has been taking to create change. Prayer isn’t enough. The actions you take out in the world and behind closed doors is what’s going to evoke change.
Prayer isn’t enough. The actions you take out in the world and behind closed doors is what’s going to evoke change.
5. Use your money for good. You can support activism groups and legal defense funds to help further their current work in the world. Check out the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which also has their own Legal Defense and Education Fund website too, and the American Civil Liberties Union for more information. There are organizations and people on the ground in the front lines doing this real work so if you’re going to give money or try to raise money for the cause, seek out an organization that has already been leading in this space.
There are organizations and people on the ground in the front lines doing this real work so if you’re going to give money or try to raise money for the cause, seek out an organization that has already been leading in this space.
6. If you’re having a hard time understanding how race issues play a role in today’s society then get educated on the existence of systemic racism. Be vulnerable and examine what are your own biases, stereotypes, and racist viewpoints because like what Maya Angelou said, “When you know better you do better.” Be discerning about how the media portrays people of color so you don’t fall into the brainwashing that can be done in the media that upholds racist perspectives for black and brown people.
Here are some resources to check out:
The Black Lives Matter Syllabus
28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age if Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Television and Societal Effects: An Analysis of Media Images of African-Americans in Historical Context
7. Listen and take action where you are being called. I’ve had several clients reach out to me because of all the tragedy that’s happening in the black community. They have voiced where they are being called to step up and create change and I encouraged them to answer the calling. Find those organizations, people, leaders, local groups that you can team up with, learn from, and join their movements. If the calling feels huge and scary, remember to do you what you can with what you have right now and allow your faith to lead you!
Meditation, affirmations, and love and light can only take us so far. We must be Spirit in action.
Unity and freedom for all can be achieved but in order to do so then we must acknowledge that YES #BLACKLIVESMATTER! Open your hearts, lead with compassion, be vulnerable in what you don’t know and hungry to know more, and give the power of your presence to these issues.
I know Spirit works in mysterious ways and it also works powerfully through a rising up and revolution.