I just got back home from performing a healing ritual in at UC Irvine. Before that I led a retreat with my racial justice from the H.E.A.R.T. Mastery group.
In both spaces I was confronted with feeling. Feeling sad. Feeling angry. And resisting.
I don't know about you, but lots of us are afraid to feel our feelings for fear of hurting other people or property. Secretly, I think we're also afraid of not surviving the unpleasant physical sensations of anger and sadness. It also doesn't help that one of the rules of white supremacy culture is to pretend you don't have feelings or to condemn anyone who shows feelings as "unprofessionll" or "weak."
Here's what I know: You cannot heal what you won't feel. What you resist persists.
I did not make up these statements, but I've been watching my life and they've turned out to be true.
But how do I feel? Especially buried stuff. And how do I make sure I don't die in the process? Sounds dramatic, but when you put stuff off for a long time it seems to grow. It's like the boogey man.
That's where the experiment comes in. I've heard from numerous spiritual teachers that if you allow yourself to feel something difficult for 90 seconds, you can process it out of your body. The trick is to not keep adding thoughts or story to the sensations as they pass through you.
So, here's what I did.
I watched a 1 minute video on Facebook of a Black young man being physically dominated and thrown down to the ground by a group of white police officers. (I had put off watching this because I hate the feelings that rise when I see this kind of thing.)
I did not move to distract myself from the feelings. I did not forward it to others.
I set my timer for 90 seconds and breathed. I let the tears come. I rocked on the anonymous hotel bed. I let the sounds come from my throat. I closed the screen door so no one would check on me.
After the timer went off I breathed some more and determined to be kind to myself. Then I held space for transformation for 90 seconds. Then I prayed.
I waited 24 hours and then shared it because the young man asked that it be shared.
This took about five minutes.
Here's what I gained:
1. I'm not afraid to open that message now. I've seen it and am not avoiding it.
2. I did not die.
Rage and grief are not too low below the surface, but we're afraid of how much it will hurt us to feel them so we ignore or tamp down.
The problem with that is it takes energy to tamp it down. It holds the rage and grief in place. And then we find ourselves reacting rather than rolling. We yell at our kids, our spouse, our boss because the hurt has not been tended.
More on tending next week... I promise!
Peace and love,
P.S.--Mother's Day Sale on my digital art is still on! $1 for spoken word, music and poetry downloads.