As a survivor of trauma, I (as so many men and women have shared in recent weeks) have been feeling every conceivable emotion (from anger, to sadness, to crushing anxiety) when confronted, again, with the alleged actions of misconduct by men in power. There is an intense, overwhelming sense of hopelessness that comes when I recognize that our society clearly, on the whole, does not equally care for, or actively oppresses, harms or seeks to render powerless its women, people of color, the poor, non-citizens, the young, the old, the differently abled, non-cis-gendered, and most other marginalized individuals. I believe what we are seeing at the level of politics and public discourse (if you can call it that) is a reaction to what happens when people in crisis repress anger and rage and allow these to fester until someone or something happens to validate it and give it power. And it happens in both directions- turned both inward and outward within those who oppress and those who are oppressed.
Addiction to power is insidious and always finds a way, in very much the same way addiction to substances will always find a way unless those under its power arrive at a deep desire to change. Emotions are energy, and when oppressive forces of power addiction are unchecked, those emotions can go inward, turning to rage and incapacitating pain. Resentments made flesh. I’ve experienced this. It is devastating.
I’ve deliberately tried to push through my mental blocks, blind spots, and cognitive dissonance around inequity and “isms”- as my spiritual practice demands that I do (or else it’s only another way to bypass human suffering- my own and that of others). Doing so requires a heartfelt commitment, steady effort, but especially putting myself in the company of others in similar inquiry- who wish to, in service of something greater than ourselves. In short, tapas, svadhyaya, and isvara-pranidhana. In sangha. The beloved community. From this, I feel a sense of empowerment, of possibility, even of hope. Those emotions can then move, shape-shift, and become a gift.
Here are some other, specific ways I’m choosing to engage that are helping my heart regain resilience in this moment of crisis- and many of these are inspired by the efforts of others like me:
I’m writing a love letter to Dr. Ford for her testimony, her courage, and to let her know how I appreciate her willingness to speak truth to power at great personal cost.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
c/o Palo Alto University
1791 Arastradero Rd.
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Because the same forces that oppress women are the ones that oppress people of color, I’m signing up for an Anti-Racism training. See “intersectional feminism.” https://www.racialequityinstitute.com
Because I want better representation at the local and national level, I’m voting on November 6, 2018 and November 3, 2020. Here’s where to register to vote online- and the deadline to do so is October 15, 2018 for the upcoming midterms. https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/Registration/Eligibility
You will need a Virginia ID and a Social Security number to use Virginia's online voter registration system. If you don't have a Virginia-issued ID, you can still register to vote by mail. You can register online until Monday, October 15.
I will continue to educate others about trauma, the formation of memory following a trauma, and how yoga teachers and helping professionals can more effectively and compassionately meet the needs of those affected by trauma. I do this as part of the Y12SR Leadership training, and will continue to offer my own Trauma-Informed training modules. Message me if interested in hosting me for this!
Whenever possible, and at whatever level is meaningful for me, I will contribute to organizations currently committed to fighting inequity, seeking justice, supporting reproductive rights, and increasing access to wellness for all:
I’m deepening my meditation and asana practice, committing more fully to my recovery community, and taking even better care of myself. This is the long game, and it takes all of me to play it well.
On another note, I’m always seeking like minded individuals (in person and virtually) to share with, learn from, vibe with, and just soak up the experience and wisdom of others. Message me if you’re into connecting in this way- in beloved community.