Simplest Truths: Resilience, Racism, and Our Response

In lieu of my usual content round up, I want to share with you June’s Newsletter for Heart-Centered Humaning, in case you aren’t a subscriber.

Simplest Truths.

May 2020 earned itself an expletive of Goliath proportions.

And in response, I’ve Goldilocks-ed this newsletter three four times so far.

Too small. Too big. Too quiet. Too loud. Too bold. Too scared. Too little. Too much.

I know I’m not alone.

When a client is stuck with head and heart too full and flooded, I ask them to breathe. And to start with their simplest truths.

So, I deleted every draft of my newsletter.

I pulled the simplest truths from each.

I declared “pencils down.”

My software crashed, and I lost everything. Because it’s #$*&# 2020.

So I wrote one more time.

Here goes.

Newsletter Version 1:

How to cultivate resilience in the sh*# storm that is 2020.

My simplest truth:

The resilience tools and practices that worked for us in the past may not be effective, sufficient, or accessible right now.

And resilience fatigue is real.

What many are witnessing and living right now is stretching the fabric of our human. It’s beyond worksheet exercises and thinking our way through it. Resilience in the face of deep suffering, trauma, or chronic vulnerability requires connection. To ourselves. To others. And to something bigger.

I uttered the words, “I am not OK,” this week to another human. This may have been the first time I’ve ever done so. And what’s important is that I followed “I am not OK,” with “but I will be.” Because I know what resilience looks like.

Beauty, hope, love, joy, care, and goodness are all around us.

But accessing them requires healing and connection.

At home or at work. It doesn’t matter.

We don’t get to OK without social and spiritual healing and connection.

I hope you find both right now, and we’re here if you need resources or support.

Newsletter Versions 2 – 4:

Brave, humanized leadership and the continued oppression, trauma, and injustice of our policies and systems.

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor.

And hundreds of years of countless names that have no memorial to honor and mourn.

Humans helping. Advocating. Connecting. Using their time, talent, and treasure.

Humans silencing. Hurting. Dehumanizing. Abusing power and control.

My simplest truth:

(In “I” statements because lead thyself first.)

My Head

I acknowledge —

  • Racist policies and systems are the source of oppression and injustice and weapons of trauma.
  • When I engage in a racist act, or fail to engage in an anti-racist act, I reinforce these policies and systems. And I become a weapon of trauma.
  • I’m not a whole, well human if my head and hands aren’t aligned with my heart.

My Heart

I believe —

    • It’s unethical and utter BS for me to advocate for humanization, courage, and authenticity if I don’t also…

Create —  and work to expand —  containers where it’s safe to be brave and authentic AND
Actively work to dismantle the dehumanizing policies, systems, and beliefs that make courage and authenticity unsafe for black people and others targeted by prejudice and discrimination.

My Hands

I will —

  • Continuously listen and learn.
  • Not put the burden of my education and self-awareness on others. Accept education and self-awareness when others offer it.
  • Continue to identify my biases, blind spots, and conditioned tendencies.
  • Put down and pass the mic more.
  • Check in on my black friends, colleagues, neighbors, and clients. I will affirm their experiences without defensiveness. I will honor their boundaries – others don’t owe me visibility into their pain or a seat in their circle of support.
  • Not ask those being oppressed and discriminated against to carry the emotional labor of our conversations or ask them to make me feel better.
  • Speak truth to bullshit when I see it. Make amends when I don’t.
  • Continue to build the skills for navigating the discomfort of hard conversations and witnessing without looking away.
  • Hold compassionate space for white friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, and clients wanting to learn and transform. Hold compassion and care for those who don’t while also maintaining anti-racist boundaries.
  • Do more. Every day, not every news cycle.
  • Be open to feedback and make amends when I screw up. And I will screw up. Likely daily. I will want to vomit and retreat. I will sometimes fail. But I will try again.
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On Daring Leadership

Right now, leading ourselves and those around us with courage does not change.

  • It means learning to act in vulnerability and discomfort without armoring up or tapping out.
  • It means being willing to learn and be wrong and to proactively engage in both.
  • It means cultivating emotional intelligence and staying mindful so we can use emotional competencies effectively.
  • It means empathy, compassion, and care. For ourselves and others.
  • It means doing the work on “I” while holding “we” as the outcome.

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I’m not rounding up content for this month. Instead, my focus will be elevating others’ content (e.g., #AmplifyMelanatedVoices) and prioritizing sharing resources for resilience.
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“No wonder then that we are a nation of people, the majority of whom, across race, class, and gender, claim to be religious, claim to believe in the divine power of love, and yet collectively remain unable to embrace a love ethic and allow it to guide behavior, especially if doing so would mean supporting radial change. Fear of radical change leads many citizens of our nation to betray their minds and hearts.” – bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

Gratitude

Last week, I said goodbye to my companion of nearly 17 years. Oscar has been with my family through every moment of joy, change, and grief life brings. The void of his absence is palpable and a reminder that quiet can be noise, too.

I keep saying I can’t grieve one more thing. But that’s not true. Gratitude, joy, and connection are all foundations for resilience. If we can allow ourselves these things, we will never lose our ability to grieve. And to be OK.

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