About 2 weeks ago, I - like I imagine much of the rest of the world already out of sorts form being in any routine of normal, we have been in a pandemic-of COVID-19 and now the world is ever changing with a hope for justice. I couldn't help but notice a major divide in my social media of the response.
One thing I was surprised of in myself, is that I noticed how clearly I knew where I felt and stood on the issues.(I'll get to the surprise part of that in a moment) for me, black lives matter, and it's needed to be said and repeated and repeated some more because if it's not- would it matter to me as a white person? could I go on about my day and not have to say or think black lives matter?
As I mentioned I am now aware of how many people in my circle choose to not need to say this and as a reaction choose to point out lives that have always mattered to them- matter to them more than entertaining what saying those other 3 words means. I am not an expert nor am I going to say this as succinct as I'd like to make the changes needed happen, but I had envisioned that I should build and offer a bridge. I know why and where we need to change as a country and I understand that I still need to listen and learn more to fully empathize with the experience of being a person of color in this life and in this world, and having been blind to it for many reasons for many years, I had imagined those that are still not quite valuing the importance of honoring humanity in all lives but not processing in their view of all lives as those black and brown friends that need to be included as such to say it. if it's even hard to read for you that black lives matter, why? did your politics or guts wrench by this? what did you feel in your body- pause breath. because- you are breathing and can still breath. embracing black lives matter does not devalue you or your loved ones or your believes in any way, just as one can never have enough love or compassion- it does not expire or sell out, there should be no consequence to say black lives matter if you didn't need to be aware that they did before. it's not a limitation it's an opportunity to expand your heart to more spaces.
after being quite crushed of really not reaching anyone else that was on the side of the bridge I was hoping to help cross over- and quite frankly being told I was wrong on social media and to my face (well my zoom face) in Yoga, I decided to dig deeper within my heart- self maintenance practice, meditation, yoga, drinking water, and reading. I am also still listening and learning to be a better anti-racist.
what I learned in my- self designated purpose to bridge the gap in thought is it made me feel miserable, many of my friends who also believe as I, took the time to relate and respond, but I was either deafeningly ignored by family and friends or shamed for asking for accountability, or muted. the heels of the one side were dug deeper, the other side wants the space to be heard. please speak- and I will listen.
(any heel diggers? this paragraph is for you to either read or skip- always an invitation) so I decided to metaphorically burn the bridge I was trying to lead you to. I don't mean that I am severing relationships, I am going to try and meet those that I believe differently from a space of patience and kindness my yoga has helped me with this. I think you need that. because you seek the light of love by digging down into the earth beneath the soil only to be dug down so deep that when you look up very little light shines in and it's such a sliver that you have to grasp for that small little bit and cling to it tightly- I hold space for you- my light and my love is big enough to hear and do my best to hold that space for you and still love you. Understand that does not mean I will never speak of these things you choose not to hear of. If you engage me, respectfully understand that saying what you have to say and then shutting down the conversation will not abide. we will converse- I will hear you- do you hear me, will you un-bury your ears to listen. pause. breath. I will no longer allow a platform monologue - expect a conversation.
I digress- so I came across and was reminded of a tool that I learned about in yoga training. the Enneagram. if you are unfamiliar, I will try and enlighten you.
the Enneagram plots out 9 personality types. As fun as it is to discover the type you are, and it is really fun to take the test and discover the things that feel spot on for you. unlike your typically buzzfeed quiz, or horoscope reading, the Enneagram is not about finding your type and then being done with it or forming a judgment around it. the Enneagram is a way to figure out how you navigate the world. and in times of uncertainty this type in you acts as your protective shield (armor or maybe a mask) as you work your way in life. so in my review of my type and my way to process- my enneagram bingo card became full in the ways that I was reacting and responding and posting.
I will get back to my surprise to how I feel about black lives matter- my surprise is, and if you have ever had to coordinate meeting me in real life- ask me where I want to go- and in my typical enneagram type- I will not make this decision well- I will want what you want and that is the truth. I want everyone to be happy, and then I believe I will be happy. so my surprise is that I didn't see someone disagreeing with my plight of black lives matter as an option. it just is, this is not something that I will back down from or complacently agree with you because you think differently. I am horrible at making decisions or being firm on my opinions but this time. I am firm- make no mistake - every fiber of my being will blast through my armor of protection to be agreeable with you this time. that's surprising- I imagine that's why maybe some of those said on my platform were so surprised too.
so my work is not done, but acknowledging that we all have our armor or mask to shield us, this is how we navigate. I am much clearer on how I will be on my quest to seek justice for black lives matter. my armor was sorting out how to be harmonious - but I don't think in our society anyone is singing kum bah yah right now.
If there was a way to say that there is unity is do we not all have our protective shields up right now? how can we navigate those walls or protection to get to a heart to heart conversation.
a few resources if you would like to dive into the Enneagram or revisit it yourself- feel free to comment below what is your type?
to test, learn more and find your type:
if you know your type a book to check out:
The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case
The Enneagram for Relationships by Ashton Whitmoyer-Ober
An incredible conversation about how the Enneargram and social justice can play a part: this was recorded before March but couldn't be more relevant now.
Power & Vulnerability - https://www.instagram.com/tv/CA5S6cDgvlE/?hl=en
I'm Valerie, Yoga Teacher and following my Sankalpa!