As another Halloween came and went, racist costumes came and went at my local liberal arts college. People of color were harmed. Forums, rallies, meetings. Implied death threats. Massive social media.
And the tension mounts.
The lines are broadly students of color vs. administration (some of whom are people of color). But there are many nuances.
We are in full conflict, and it hurts.
How to get through this crisis and grow stronger?
How to ride the emotions and the ego rushes and not let them over come you?
The first step is to get into the body, feel the feelings and get yourself out of flight and fight. I went through a process with my mentor that really helped me to remember my power and to lean in with my heart. Here are the steps to the process.
Ask: What do I feel?
Accept all the feelings. One by one.
if fear is one, then name what you fear out loud--preferably to a trusted person.
One of my first feelings was fear: Fear I'm not up to this challenge; that I'll screw up; that I won't be listened to.
My second was compassion for a colleague.
Ask: What do I want?
When I did this I was surprised.
I want everyone to feel valued and important. I want the student leaders to take good care of themselves and their academics. I want the faculty and staff to let go of control and embrace staying grounded in the vision. I want all those who fear loss with change to say it out loud and ask for support.
Ask: What am I willing to do?
I'm willing to offer my support to students, staff and administrators. I'm willing to hold space for transformation of the college community. I'm willing to model acknowledging feelings in a healthy way and listening to my heart's wisdom. My heart is leaning in with anticipation and hope for our community.
Crisis is like birth.
When the contractions are coming at their hardest and quickest, I remember saying out loud "I don't think I can do this." My entire team said "you got this, Amanda. Almost there, Amanda. You're doing great." When we are in the throes of crisis we need a mentor and/or buddies who will remind us that we got this and to keep breathing because we are almost there.
If you are in the midst of crisis, and you have a DEEP CALLING for racial justice, please go here to apply for a free Racial Justice Breakthrough session.
If you qualify, you will walk away knowing why you are stuck and at least one action you can take right away to improve your situation.