We Can’t Heal If We Don’t Acknowledge the Pain

There is a significant amount of pain that’s being acknowledged in the US right now, individually and collectively. It’s tempting to turn away from pain – either by spiritually bypassing or by burying your head in the sand. I’ve done both in my past, and if I’m being really honest, I’ll probably do both in my future. Despite, or maybe because of that, this is my commitment to doing better, now that I know better.

My work is with individuals. My own process of learning has always been solitary. (Yes, I was the person who hated group projects in grad school!) While I have great admiration for those who are doing work with large groups and in very public forums, that’s never been my style.

I’m still working to make my peace with that.

There’s a voice that says I should want more. When I question that voice, I realize that it comes from the very old story of my worthiness being connected to what I do, accomplish and check off a to-to list. Right now, a lifetime commitment to anti-racism work is a non-negotiable for me. That commitment makes that voice in my head pop up even more. I should educate more, I should share more, I should create a bigger platform.

So, I pause. I examine that voice and the pain that creates it. I acknowledge it instead of burying my head in the sand; and then I can heal it. This is another lifetime process – acknowledging the pain so that it can heal.

Which brings me to the collective pain. There is pain that I, a CIS woman born with white skin into a certain level of privilege, will never understand. I won’t pretend to understand it. I will continue to learn about it, to not pretend that because it is not my pain that the pain does not exist. Not only because it is unkind to bypass the pain of others, but because it is unjust. It prevents even the possibility of healing, which is unacceptable.

I’ll end with 3 things:
1 – My first blog posts waaaaaaaaaaay back in 2014 ended with “Thanks for being on this journey with me” and that feels incredibly appropriate right now.
2 – To borrow and paraphrase my podcast co-host, Kelly Stewart in our upcoming Season 2 finale episode: “If this journey and learning is not for you, I respectfully submit that this may not be the right place on the internet for you.” HUGE hat tip to Andrea Owen who in a recent newsletter shared a sentiment that I’ll also echo: “And if you don’t want to hear it, if you want to skip past it and only consume the things you feel apply to you, I’m here to tell you that our values are out of alignment, and I’m not the best teacher/author/podcaster for you.”
3 – A nod to L’Erin Alta who many years ago when I took a course of hers, said a phrase that’s stuck with me: “All timing is right timing.” That’s particularly appropriate right now, because for days I had no idea what I wanted to say…and then on Saturday afternoon some texts with one of the new teachers I mentioned a couple weeks ago + a very old friend inspired these 541 words.

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