Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Remembering The Breath....of Social Justice
The article below was written in December 2014 at the request of my PR manager to be sent to Mantra Magazine. It was accepted for publication and was set to be printed in April of this year. At the last minute, it was pulled by the editors at Mantra Magazine who simply said it wasn't the right time. I am deeply disappointed in that decision, since it is a matter of convenience for those of us who are white to decide when is the "right time" to discuss matters of race. For far too many people, the issue of racism is ongoing, not something that we can discuss at "our convenience." The article itself is short and could go much deeper, but I wanted to print the "as is" version of what I submitted to Mantra Magazine.....
Remembering the Breath …of Social Justice
“I can’t breathe,” were the last words of Eric Garner, the man who lost his life while being held down by several policemen who were arresting him for the grand crime of selling cigarettes. The tragedy of Eric Garner’s death has rocked the streets and the soul of America ever since. Why should this matter? What does the world of yoga, meditation and holistic health have to do with social justice? Everything.
This is a deeply personal issue for me, not just an intellectual exercise. My journey into a holistic lifestyle grew out of a need to heal from the deep childhood trauma I experienced growing up in a home that was violently abusive, riddled with incest, and extremely racist. My own father used to brag about wanting to display a statue of Adolf Hitler in the parking lot of the business he owned. Our television repair man was the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (and a Democratic nominee for US Congress…scary). I remember many days as a child wanting to recoil in disgust each time I was expected to shake the hand of a friend of my father who often bragged about murdering a 12 year old boy many years before because of the color of his skin. I remember too the sense of freedom I felt as I grew into my teenage years when I finally found the courage within me to defy my father’s expectations and no longer shake the hand of his murderous friend. Needless to say, I left my family decades ago never to return.
My own personal healing journey however cannot be separated from the greater cause of healing our society. True, I did find traditional therapy helpful, but it was primarily through energy healing, bodywork, meditation and shamanic practices that I was able to unwind the deeper trauma and shame, as well as the ancestral and energetic imprints of racial hatred that were part of my family gestalt, existing in the cells of my body as well as my meridians, chakras, aka cords and other parts of me. How do we then clear the deeper shadow of racism from our collective psyche? It is time to step up, speak out, and devote our spiritual practices towards healing this greater wound in our society.
Spiritual activism is a very real concept. I view it as a natural extension of my own healing process into the collective whole. If holistic therapies changed me, healing my own internalized racism as well as the childhood scars, then why cannot they change the world? This is the real power of practices like reiki, meditation and yoga.