My Love Letter to You This Month
This is a major time for change. The Solstice is coming. Can you feel the quickening weather changes? The tides turning? That SOLAR energy asking us to burn the old and snake-skin shed into our BECOMING? Yeah, me too. And it's not always easy to shed our skin.
When I heard of the murder of George Floyd weeks back, I intentionally held back on speaking. Truthfully, my own nervous system felt just completely overwhelmed. I wanted to process in order to be able to respond appropriately. I wanted to be able to come to the community as a beacon of stability and love.
I feel that capacity online in my system now. I know this is not about me or what is going on in my personal life. I just want you to know why I didn’t respond immediately. It was because I wanted to respond thoughtfully, authentically and from a resourced place.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve been communicating with trusted friends and colleagues, both BIPOC and white friends that I know have a background in race equity. They have recommended resources to me, both professionally and personally, to deepen my education on how to be a better race equity advocate and ally.
My response has also been slow because I'm committed to authenticity. I don't want to be just another white person parroting back the current narrative used by many, and then moving on. I actually want to be changed and melted by this. This is the definition of yoga - to have the unconscious stuff made conscious.
This is a whole body, emotional experience. It is not enough to simply write an instagram post. I want to act and stand in solidarity with the Black community in dismantling racism once and for all.
I realize that as the leader of this school, I have the honor and duty to speak up about race equity both nationally and worldwide. I come before this topic with much humility and even confusion. I am not an expert, in any way shape or form in this realm. I am a somewhat new student to this world, and I will make a conscious effort to continue to learn because it is important to our mind, body, soul and the well-being of others.
I am also deeply aware that it is so difficult for many white folks to speak at this moment in a way that doesn’t hurt, dismiss or offend and I want to walk gently. I believe that our silence is complicity in the perpetuation of oppressive systems and beliefs.
We must shed light on systemic racism, frustration and the hurt that black and indigenous Americans have endured for hundreds of years.
So here is what I am committed to doing:
Perhaps by hearing this, you may feel inspired to write a list of actionable items that you will commit to do to bring about change.
- I will speak up-personally and publicly, even if I feel uncomfortable-while making every effort not to do further harm while doing so.
- I will personally commit to deepening my ongoing education on race equity and history by reading books and following black leaders who I feel embody both wisdom and fierce love.
- In addition to the work we have done with charity and scholarships programs here at Shakti School, we will be doubling our Diversity Scholarship recipients for the 2021 school year.
- We'll be partnering with our teachers to create more learning content that addresses issues such as racial equity in the wellness/Ayurveda community, diversity, cultural appropriation and other concerns.
- I am also committed to doing the inner work of softening and, I am committed to becoming a better listener.
- I will personally make a donation to the organizations I feel are in alignment with the support of black voices and healing. We will also include some of these in our resource list to you below.
I am not perfect. None of us are. I am going to do and say things, perhaps even in this letter to you, that may hold unconscious aspects of my bias and ignorance. But I am committed to showing up fully, with the capacity that I have each day, and in a way that feels right in my heart, towards being an ally to the BIPOC community, as well as all beings who need to be heard. I ask that you truly use this school as a home for your body to unravel pain patterns. I ask that you USE the support and resources you have learned here with us to do the work as well.
It is also important for me to say that I am NOT an expert in race equity, I am very much a student. But what I am really good at is helping myself and others come out of nervous system states of trauma and feeling overwhelmed. The Shakti School can support you by sharing ancient health wisdom that can support our bodies and minds in this incredibly challenging moment to come back into wholeness and goodness and safety. I can support you all by guiding us back into our bodies in a time where the images and news media’s words, while necessary to stay informed, are oftentimes so overwhelming and unsettling to our animal body and bones.
In the words of somatic therapist, Resmaa Menakem, on where we find ourselves now:
“There is a way out of this mess, and it requires each of us to begin with our own body. You and your body are important parts of the solution. Your body, all of our bodies, are where challenging the status quo begins."
These are the areas where I feel I can most support this community during this time. And it is in Resmaa’s words that I take solace that I CAN be a part of the solution. Here, with you, in this school, because we are SO firmly dedicated to being a place where the body can heal. And I am good at holding space for this.
Lastly, I am also aware of that which does lie beyond our colors and races and backgrounds, which is the spirit within. This spirit is untouched by the injustices of the past and the present. Allowing this part of us to ALSO be here, alongside the pain and reactivity and confusion and fear and anger. Allowing this part to ALSO be here in NO WAY detracts from the deeper and uncomfortable work that we must do, especially those of us who have existed in a world that values whiteness, to unravel that bias and unawareness and yes, even our fragile reactivity.
It is HARD to take a look at our shadows, both culturally and individually, but if it is done in the spirit of Kali (fierce love) it is the fastest way towards our growth, and towards actually being able to connect with one another.
I hope you will join me in this global effort. Let’s stay engaged and in dialogue together.