embodying privilege + risk: the stakes is high

Some folks may not quite understand why the stakes are so high for me and those I love.

I am aware of my privileges:

I am educated. I attended a private boarding school and a private university where I earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.
I am a U.S-born person whose 1st language is English.
I am a cis-gendered heterosexual.
I am married.
I do not live with a disability.

I also embody a space where the targeted and marginalized aspects of my identity make me vulnerable to practices, policies, and dominant cultural beliefs that have denied or would attempt to block my humanity as well as my civil rights:

I am a Black Woman.

I am the daughter of an immigrant.
My father is from Trinidad. His family has roots throughout the Caribbean.

The great-granddaughter of immigrants.
My maternal great-grandparents were Canadian.

The great-great granddaughter of an immigrant.
My maternal great-great grandmother was a German Jew who married a former slave and Civil War veteran.* 

I am the mother of a bi-racial, multi-ethnic child.
I am the wife of a man who has a disability.
We live on a fixed income.

I am a Buddhist.
I am committed to the path of compassion and liberation for myself and others.
I come from generations of women who have held positions of service in the social work, education, and public health fields.
It’s in my DNA to give a damn.

I know and love people who are targeted and vulnerable.
I know and love people who know and love people who are targeted and vulnerable:

Immigrants, non-native English speakers, lesbian, gay, same-gender loving, transgender, gender non-conforming, elderly, poor, uneducated, disabled, Muslim, Jewish, of other non-JudeoChristian faiths, atheist, agnostic and more…

I have every reason to be mad and every reason to wish to protect myself and those I love from harm!  I am committed to social justice, equity, and reconciliation. It takes emboldened truth-telling. Even as I uphold the criteria for skillful communication, I will not be silent or soft to make anyone feel more comfortable.

*For the curious or surprised, I offer two insights:
The family history I compiled and the regional ancestry results of my genographic test, which my reflect a genetic composition that is 65% Sub-Saharan African, 13% Mediterranean, 12% North European, 5% South African, 5% Southwest Asian.

I share these results not to diminish my Blackness but to illustrate interdependence and just how bound to one another we are.

A Few Places To Start:

10 Tips for Christians Supporting Trump

Allies For Change Glossary

Matrix of Oppression

Teaching Tolerance

White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack

embodied practice: the magic of mellowing out

Last Monday afternoon, I sprained my ankle. So, instead of teaching, I spent a couple of hours mellowing out in the ER. For my trouble, I returned home to witness this milestone: my 4-year-old son riding his bike without training wheels for the first time (and after only one previous practice with me)!

gets splint loses training wheels

A little magic for the madness…and a lesson in mindfulness. Not only in movement, but also in knowing when to rest. I heard the Universe loud and clear! With a deep bow to my cosmic enforcer Mercury Retrograde, I diligently took care of my injury and enjoyed several days practicing the Buddhist art of having nothing to do, nowhere to go.

My ankle’s mending well, and I’ll be back on the mat tonight to teach the last of two #MellowOutMonday Yin + Yang Yoga classes before my summer “sabbatical.”

In year of espousing to friends and practitioners the wisdom of self-care and self-compassion and leading mindfulness practices in cultivating refuge and relief, I am taking a huge dose of my own medicine! I’ll be taking an extended break from teaching my evening classes for July and August to fully live the lessons I teach about mellowing out.

I look forward to introducing you to my friend, mentor, and teacher Sybil Shelton-Ford of As You Are Yoga who will teach on my behalf, July 7 – August 11. My friend Belinda Thurston, owner of Just B Yoga, will cover the rest.

Join me, wherever you may be, to take refuge + unravel + rest in sweet relief!