How separated families changed the direction of my Hakomi practice

Like perhaps others of you I was almost immobilized with grief upon learning about families being forcibly separated at the Southern border of the US this summer. Although this is not the first time such a thing has happened and it is not limited to happening there, it shook me to my core. I spent many days in a fog of tears and confusion; I made space for that grief as it continued to appear - and still does. And one day I decided to start learning, reading and acting. I knew clearly that such atrocious and heartless acts could not be committed without racism. These acts also required a severe disconnection from self and a deep-seated fear of “the other”.

Up until that point I had seen the healing work I do through Hakomi as needing to be more or less neutral or apolitical in order to welcome anyone into this transformative experience. I have long had a heart for justice; my earliest memory of this was in the 1st grade when I noticed ALL the African-American kids in my class were asked to leave when we practiced for a special ceremony for the “smart kids.” I knew in my bones there was something very wrong- and not just inside those teachers- but in a system where that would happen. But as a 6 or 7 year old I did not know what to do about it. I pursued social justice in various ways throughout college and in my jobs after graduation. But I burned out and had babies and couldn’t deal with the pain of the world and so I turned it all off. That is, of course, something that white privilege allows me to do; highly sensitive people of color will never get that choice.

Through Hakomi I found transformation and restorative somatic resources and I knew that this is how change is created- through mindful attention to the body and to underlying, unconscious beliefs. But I still thought I needed to keep my convictions to myself lest I offend anyone or make them uncomfortable (white fragility in action).

But now I see that I must integrate healing and justice work because they have been part of one whole all along and my effort to separate them only serves (and replicates) systems that are based on disconnection- from our bodies, ourselves and others.

And so now, here I am boldly proclaiming that Black Lives Matter and Families Belong Together and healing without justice is not healing at all.

I have some nervousness about this and yet my understanding of this is clear and I am determined. I believe in our human potential to confront hard things and know the relief and strength that comes from that process.

If you want help and support unraveling embodied dominance and oppression through mindful somatic practices or understanding how internalized patriarchy is making you feel inadequate and depressed, or embodied white supremacy is causing you to see the world through a binary lens- call me. I would be honored to work through this with you so that you can find more resources and a felt sense of self-compassion so you can be present not just to your own pain, but to the pain of the world and then an active part of collective liberation.

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