"I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it." Maya Angelou
Welcome to The Healing Process newsletter, Let's Heal Together.
How are you holding up in these challenging times? I love this picture taken after the Living a Life of Plenty workshop in January. It illustrates the diversity of the women in The Healing Process and the Let's Heal Together communities. In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and the growing awareness of racial inequality around the world, I have had a few weeks of rich conversations and deep reflection.
With 60% of my client base being white, I am asking myself how do I show up as a professional and as a black woman. I live in this intersection and cannot separate these two parts of me. During my time as a mental health student and spiritual aspirant, I was used to being the only person of colour in the room. Now as a therapist and facilitator I've grown accustomed to being the lone black body standing in front of a room of white faces. I remember the first time I heard the term white supremacy - it felt like such an extreme way to describe a system of racism. Like patriarchy, white supremacy is created by design. White supremacism is a spectrum of behaviour, from killing those considered an inferior race, all the way down to racist slurs, and not calling out friends or colleagues on their racism. For example, being silent on Facebook when friends share racist posts, or silencing a person of colour when they speak about their own experience of racism. It can have very debilitating mental health consequences for those on the receiving end of it. These can include stress, anxiety, depression, and increased use of drugs and alcohol to manage the pain. I have often wondered if racism is itself a mental illness. According to social researcher Jeremy Adam Smith, racism does not appear to be a mental illness, and you cannot treat it with talk therapy and pills. However, both racism and mental illness thrive in silence and isolation. Recovery requires talking openly and frankly, and then having the courage to listen. These are tough times which calls for some deep soul searching on all our parts. If you're white, you can choose to engage and disengage with the reality of race at will. As a black woman and a therapist where I work with black clients struggling to navigate their mental health under the system of white supremacy, there is no choice. Do all lives matter? Of course they do, but all lives cannot matter until that includes black lives. Race is a hot topic for most people, black and white. I have had to look deep inside myself to examine how I contribute to upholding the system of white supremacy and how to create programs to support both my black and white clients. So I have created a one-on-one session called Racial Awareness & Wellbeing, specifically for white women who want to explore the subject of race in a safe non-judgemental space. You can find out more about this offering below.
In addition, I will be facilitating a master class with the Govinda Valley retreat called Anti-racist Tools for the Peaceful Warrior for a white audience. See more details in our upcoming events section below. I will also continue to offer safe healing spaces for black women who are impacted in a negative why by racism through my online program Ubuntu Afro Sister Circle. In this issue you will also find anti-racist resources from Karine Bell who is a therapist, cultural anthropologist and somatic abolitionist. I will be taking some much needed time off next week to connect with my partner, a white man, to celebrate our anniversary. I will also embark on 3 days of silence to explore the themes of compassion, empathy and courage especially in these highly charged times. We are barely half way through 2020 and I want to recharge my emotional and mental batteries so that I can show up to support all my clients for what else 2020 has in store for us. We are slowly recovering after the recent hacking of The Healing Process Facebook page. If you haven't done so yet, please Like our new Facebook Page and if you've experienced any of my services, I would appreciate it if you could Write a review. These are unprecedented times, with many challenges to our mental health and serenity. Please look after yourself and stay safe.
All the best,
Remember to join The Living Soulfully in 2020 community to watch my weekly Facebook live. Check the Facebook group for any sessions you may have missed.
See you there!