From 3/24): Mindfulness Part II
Why should we think about the vagus nerve (soul nerve) when we address white supremacy and other systems of oppression? What do we get out of incorporating the body into the conversation?
Reread pages 89-91 of King, “Life is Not Personal” — the sections on walking meditation. Do a walking meditation, ideally outside: with eyes closed or lowered to the ground and hands resting at your sides, walk very, very slowly — one foot in front of the other. Observe your breath. Feel the sensations of your feet on the earth. Observe the coolness or warmth of the air around you. Listen to the sounds around you.
Proceed for about five to fifteen minutes, then journal about it: What, if anything, did you experience? Did you feel strange, perhaps, or relaxed?
Reflect on your own body and mind’s response to the recent events surrounding coronavirus. Is your body tense, or relaxed? Some of both? If you observe any tension, refer to the Menakem “Your Soul Nerve” reading. Try at least two of the body and breath practices listed. (There are no page numbers, but it starts on the 3rd page of the PDF.) How did it feel? Did anything shift? Do you do any of them already?
(From 4/7): Allyship, Also Some People Hate the Word Ally
How do you define allyship? What does allyship look like to you in your daily life?
As per the Ayvazian reading on pages 626-7, do a little bit of research to identify some positive role models for your own privileged group identities. Avoid duplicating the ones already listed in the reading. This could include: men who have fought for women’s rights; white women who have fought alongside women of color; temporarily able-bodied people who have fought for disability rights; thin people who have stood up to fatphobia; citizens who have fought for the rights of immigrants and undocumented people; and so on. Tell us a little about who you find!
Reflect on the practice of calling in vs. calling out. In what kinds of situations would either tool be more effective?
(From 4/14): Moving Forward, Making Change
What do you see as the role of empathy and love in social justice education? In social movements more broadly?
As Audre Lorde writes in “The Master’s Tools,” “As women, we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression. But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist” (2).
Relate this not only to womanhood, but to humanity more broadly. What is the relationship between community and liberation? How can we create more harmonious communities without shedding our differences?
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