It has been extremely painful to witness the US government’s response to yet another black life lost to racist violence - sending their military to oppress their own people, sending their police to attack and arrest their own media, doing photo-ops, pretending to be an ally. What hurts more is knowing that this is not the first or last government abusing its power as such.
What’s helping me today is a quote I often think about: “Action absorbs anxiety.”
Anti-racism is a practice, a long-term practice. Just like we build up our capacity for awareness and compassion through a steady mindfulness practice over the years (even if it’s 10 minutes a day), we also build up our window of tolerance, our capacity to hold and transform suffering through a steady anti-racism and anti-violence practice (even if it’s one small wise action a day). In fact, this may be the only way to engage with any practice — a steady and tolerable rhythm spanning a lifetime, with a lot of self-care and patience.
Wise action can look like many different things: educating yourself, opening your heart to the grief, speaking up, donating, or protecting your mental health.
Here are some things that might help:
- Reading this piece from the Blavity team about how people of color are fighting a pandemic amid a pandemic.
- Finding an action you take today from this list. If you’re outside of the US, taking a look at the “international donation” section.
- Reading up among these anti-racism resources. Picking up a few books, as books are so much more effective than articles in ensuring a paradigm shift.
- Checking where you can do better by answering the questions on this anti-racist checklist.
- Reading up about spiritual bypassing.
- Being mindful of your window of tolerance. Noticing if you are triggered and dysregulated by certain words or sights. Remembering to bring yourself back within your window of tolerance (deep breathing, grounding, resourcing, connecting with a loved one) before you continue to engage with difficult emotions. Knowing that this is the only way of expanding your window of tolerance over time, becoming able to tolerate more of these difficult emotions and doing the important work of showing up for our communities.