“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” ~ Lilla Watson, Australian Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s
I felt excited and trepidatious as I made my way up to the Fritz house at Esalen Institute on Day 2 of the 2017 WisdomWomen’s Visionary Gathering. I was joining women who were interested in spending the day feeling into the Social Justice Visionary Council. I felt honored to be asked to facilitate this group, and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this a conversation.
I felt a lack in my understanding of the issues around diversity and social justice, but also felt tentatively confident that my mindfulness, self-compassion and shame resilience skills would be my rudder as I navigated the waters of this conversation. I knew that I needed to listen deeply with my body, notice when I started to move into my head to try to intellectualize or fix, allow myself to feel, and to stay even when I might want to flee for the door. I needed this conversation to both challenge me and invite me into the family of humanity just as I am. I needed this conversation to get a glimpse of what it felt like to be free.
The group was made up of women of diversity. Women of color spoke about their experiences of trauma in a patriarchal colonized society, the weight of expectations placed on them by white women, their anger over institutions that continue to actively cater to white privilege, and their exhaustion over having to continue the fight for justice.
White women spoke about their despair over lack of accountability and social justice in institutions of higher learning, their confusion and shame over how to navigate their way through white privilege, and their attempts to viscerally understand some of what women of color experience daily. Conversations were challenging, and all the while we held each other in our common goal to understand and share. [Read more…]