I hope you are well and in peace wherever you are in the world today.
I know we are currently living through a very dark time for humanity particularly in the United States if you are based here. It's hard to live in spaces and places where we haven't been seen as full human beings ever and our humanity remains under attack. This can activate a lot of the grief and trauma we already hold in our bodies as Black women.
I would like to invite you to an upcoming class: Master Your Healing: An Introduction to Somatic Healing for Black Women beginning August 1st. I designed this class as a safe container for Black women to get in touch with, and learn to nurture, all parts of themselves and gain the wisdom in knowing that they can accept all parts of themselves with compassion and love.
In the current climate of the world we are living in I think this is more important than ever. We need this knowledge and wisdom to navigate the spaces and places we find ourselves.
So please consider joining us in what I know will be a sacred time in our healing as Black women. To learn more please click the link here.
In my own healing and recovery process from depression, anxiety and PTSD, I have learned how instrumental and important somatic healing is due to the depression, anxiety and intergenerational trauma we all hold in our bodies as Black women. It continues to have an impact and harm us every day. We no longer have to suffer alone. We can heal.
If you have followed my work, read my book or have any interest at all, I invite you to join us for a sacred and healing time. I promise that you will learn something new about yourself and learn to love and care for yourself in a new way.
We have had to be disconnected from ourselves to survive for so long but it has come at a great personal cost to our bodies, minds and spirits. All parts of ourselves that we need to feel fully human.
So I'd like to personally invite you to join me. And please share this with any friends, family members, grandmas, aunties, coworkers, or just a Black woman you love and care about letting them know that I will doing this six-week course Master Your Healing: An Introduction to Somatic Healing for Black Women.
This is an opportunity to really slow down and tune into your body as a Black woman. We are consistently under some type of stress or in distress that we feel that we just have to "get through". But we deserve more than just survival.
We deserve to experience peace within our bodies. We deserve to experience kindness and compassion for our bodies.
This is only something we can give ourselves. It is clear that the outside world does not factor in our humanity.
Master Your Healing can be where you can begin this process. If you have any questions please let me know.
In Peace & With Love,
P.S. If this message spoke to you in any way I invite you to share this with a black woman in your life that you love and care about. It's important that we do this together.
PSA on Spiritual Helpers & Healers
This is a topic I have been wanting to write about for a while but it took on a new urgency recently. In my work as a somatic psychotherapist I hear all types of stories from people who are in their healing journey. They have sought out all sorts of folks for support which I am all for. Though I am a psychotherapist by training I acknowledge that healing needs to happen at many different levels and in many different dimensions and psychotherapy is one of many tools that can be used to support this process.
Often folks that I support tend to also be very spiritual and are led to seek the support of psychics, astrologers, bodyworkers, energy healers and other types of healers whose modalities are too various to list. And a lot of these modalities are wonderful. When practiced by the right people they can bring immense healing into the lives of others.
But something I have heard over the years, and I have observed in the circles I have traveled in, is people who purport themselves to be healers, psychics, astrologers, etc who say mean, cruel or insensitive things to the people who come to them for their healing services.
I have heard stories of body shaming clients. Clients being criticized and made to feel ashamed for how they show up in the world. Clients having their past trauma activated in the healing session and the practitioner not having the skill or the knowledge on how to handle this. Or when clients have voiced a genuine concern about the interaction with the healer they are minimized or made to feel that what they are saying is not real or all in the clients head.
All of this is extremely hurtful and all it does is cause further injury to the person they are supposed to be serving.
Humanity is in a very vulnerable place right now. Our society is spinning out of control and people are afraid and frightened. They are looking for ways and tools to help them understand the world around them and they are seeking support from all manner of folks who purport to have the skills necessary to do the job of guiding them and holding space for them.
I just want to say this: Be careful who you sit with. Be careful of who you sit with for healing and who you take guidance from.
As someone who has been on her healing journey since my early 20’s I know the urgency that is there to be “fixed” and be “well’. I know it and have felt it in my own body. But because this is often our deepest desire we do not fully vett the person from whom we are seeking spiritual services and support. Often the people can be wonderful but also there are folks putting out that they can be a help to others when they have not effectively dealt with themselves. Therefore when they are allegedly holding space for others they cause harm.
They have not effectively dealt with their own traumas and abuse histories. They think having spiritual abilities is proof that they are healed and they don’t have to deal with these issues. That is not the case. Being spiritually attuned does not mean that they can just skip over or skim past what it means to be human.
Being human can be a raw and painful journey for many of us. And if we are spiritually or energetically attuned and have a desire to share this with others, we have to be on our p’s and q’s about our own healing process. We have to do it. We just have too. It can be painful ugly work but it’s work we must do diligently if we are claiming to support others as healers. We can not cause further harm to others because we have not learned the skills we need to heal ourselves as healers.
When folks are seeking services from others do not just go by what you see with your eyes or what appears to be on the surface that looks good. Listen really listen to what the person is saying. Close your eyes and feel their energy as they speak. Just sit and see what you notice and observe in your own body. You can do all of these things for the most part before you even have an initial visit with them.
Also when folks start talking about this or that having a low vibration, get curious about what’s at the root of what the person is trying to say. People who make blanket statements or attribute things to low vibrations often haven’t had the necessary training to understand mental and emotional health so in their eyes that is having a “low vibration”. It is not.
Often when folks are in trauma time or in their trauma brain they are triggered and have trouble regulating themselves to bring their brain back online. That is not a “low vibration”. Having OCD behaviors or repetitive thoughts about their experiences is not “low vibration”. It is someone being in need of additional support that this person might not have the knowledge and skill to give them.
Also be on-the-lookout for people who have a lack of knowledge on their topic and lack empathy. People who are insensitive. The list goes on and on. I just want folks to understand that as humans we are in a very vulnerable space in general and particularly in this space in time and history. We are searching for answers and we are looking to others in the hope they can offer some guidance. That is not wrong at all, just make sure you do your due diligence by listening deeply and feeling that person’s energy to see if they are a right fit for you.
Then begin asking some critical questions about what you are seeing, feeling and observing. Then begin noticing how they treat others, their sensitivity and maturity level, etc. Just because someone is spiritually and energetically attuned does not mean they have the maturity and sensitivity level to be using these things maturely and appropriately with others.
A lot of younger folks think that having a desire to serve others with their spiritual talents is enough. It is not. Maturity, empathy and having done an abundance of their own healing work and continuing to do so are also non-negotiable factors. These are non-negotiables for all of us who purport to be healers.
One last thing: Be careful of folks who say that they are self-taught or self-trained.
Sigh…I know not everyone has the finances to go to formalized training regarding their area of expertise. This is one of the many things that is unfair and unjust about our current form of society. Being approved by white dominated systems is not something I support or agree with.
But I believe in training and mentorship because despite whatever natural talent we may have we also are human and would benefit from additional knowledge and structure around our craft whatever it may be.
Because we don’t have eldership in communal societies the way that we did in pre-colonial societies we often will have to pay for the learning and support we seek. But this does not mean we should not seek it at whatever level we can afford right now. We want to make sure we are not in our egos when we are working with others and with knowledge, mentorship and supervision we can have checks and balances. None of us are out here with all the answers so be careful of anyone that says they have them all.
And lastly, and this really is the last thing, no legitimate person will direct message you offering you their services. They will not claim to have all the power to heal you and your life. They will not pressure you in any way shape or form. They will not try to put fear in you or scare and frighten you. They will not try to scare or frighten you. They will not try to scare or frighten you. Listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you and please pay attention.
Depression & Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are prevalent in the black community…
It is a silent epidemic that affects almost everyone we know in subtle and obvious ways. Normally, when we see depictions of mental health or depression and anxiety in particular, we are not seen in those depictions. It is usually a white person, usually a white woman, looking sad and alone isolating herself from others. The majority of these depictions occur with an advertisement for medication.
Depression and anxiety turns up in a million other ways that we may not be aware of. For some depression may be:
Crying more than usual
Not sleeping well or sleeping to much
Lack of focus
Irritability or a “short fuse”
Using food to manage our sadness
Not enjoying your fun activities the way you used to
Excessive shopping to distract from loneliness and painful emotions
A decrease in work performance
These are only a few ways in shows up in our lives...
Anxiety may look like this:
Constant worrying that you can’t talk yourself out of
Sense of doom
Waking up with a feeling in your chest that you can’t explain
Upsetting stories playing in your head on repeat
Feeling drained from your own thinking
Using food to manage our anxiety
This is merely a few ways anxiety shows up in our lives…
Depression and anxiety if often overlooked in our community for a few reasons, shame and stigma being only one. Shame and stigma regarding mental health is a western construct. It is something that was given to us with the enslavement and colonization of our ancestors. The European colonizer has always had a fraught relationship with mental health and people in their society were often treated in a brutal and inhumane manner for that reason.
As that group colonized others and removed cultural healing practices that would have augmented prolonged sadness and other emotional disruptions if they occurred, to replace it we were given nothing. Only the idea that we should be ashamed of needing time heal and recover. And that if we needed to do this we were weak and non-productive. This was all internalized over many generations leading to a profound lack of self-care in the black community and being shamed for needing to give ourselves mental and emotional attention. This is seen is black folks being overly represented in poor health outcomes in every area of our society.
This is not accident. This is not only a lack of health education. This is ancestral trauma and intergenerational trauma leading to depression, anxiety and an overall lack of self-care and attunement with our own bodies and needs. Depression shows up in the black community in numerous ways that cannot all be spelled out here but it affects us deeply. In poor parental relationships, poor partner selection, poor child rearing practices, violence in our communities, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual violence and trauma to name but a few.
Depression and anxiety is all around us and it is up to us to begin to heal our own minds and bodies so that we can be the generation that break this cycle in our homes and communities.
What is intergenerational trauma?
In its simplest form intergenerational trauma means trauma passed down through the generations. It is habits, beliefs and practices that you learned because of what your parents, grandparents or previous generations experienced before you. They developed certain habits and behaviors to cope with extremely stressful environments.
Though the environment may not be as visibly stressful as it was for previous generations, we still respond in these unconscious way to stress in our lives. Many times these behaviors are maladaptive (meaning they no longer work well for your life) and continue to be experienced by us though we are unsure how to stop.
What does intergenerational trauma look like in my life?
One of the ways I often see intergenerational trauma show up in my clients is this need to work and do more. They literally don’t know how stop and when they are introduced to the idea of needing a break for self-care and healing they immediately encounter feelings of failure or of being lazy and undeserving. They experience a deep internal struggle about why they need to care for themselves.
Being called lazy and undeserving...what does this remind you of?
It should remind you of white supremacy and colonization, all of which we have internalized as a people. We have been exploited for our labor to such a degree that we have internalized the idea that we can never stop working, and that if we desire self-care and healing, that we are lazy and undeserving of even the simplest of healing practices to repair our mind body and spirit. I imagine this is what our ancestors were told when they didn’t want to work for free anymore and wanted their natural rights as full human beings.
This is what intergenerational trauma can look like for many people…
A feeling that they don’t deserve to stop, rest and be well. That they are somehow weak and unfit for needing to take mental and physical breaks to heal their body and mind. These are all internalized concepts of white supremacy and colonization and aid in our own oppression. They are built into the very fabric of our lives and surround us like an invisible cloak. We receive it in all messaging, often on a subliminal level, about our value and worth. That we can’t possibly we worthy of rest and repair because we are inherently unworthy as a people.
Well this is an internalized white supremacist lie.
We are worthy of healing rest and repair. We not only do this for ourselves in this moment but we do it for future generations to break the cycle of trauma ,so they will never experience it in the first place. We do it for our ancestors, to finally give them the rest and repair they deserved then but couldn’t receive but can receive now through our healing.
Emotional Health & Wellness
What does emotional wellness look like if you are a black woman?
This can often be an overlooked topic and one that can often be elusive for those of us on this search. The need for emotional health and wellness can be often ridiculed and looked down upon in our community and even by our own family members. If the need is expressed it is often met with responses like:
“Why are you so sensitive?”
“You’ve got a good job don’t you?! Why aren’t you happier?”
“You’re not being ungrateful are you?”
All of these responses induce feelings of shame and guilt. All things that are designed to be barriers to our own healing and self-care. As black women, emotional wellness is a revolutionary act. It is an announcement to the world that we are going to move and operate from a space of self-care and a deep love for ourselves. This is not often reflected to us so we are pioneers.
Love for our self is not selfish. It is actually centuries overdue and something that our ancestors were systematically denied. By taking the opportunity to do this now it is done for ourselves AND them. To heal many of the ancestral wounds that lie within our bodies, nervous systems and below our conscious minds.
What does this look like?
It looks like honoring your feelings and not being talked out of them.
Understanding that it is not okay for someone to hurt your feelings whether they be family, significant other, coworkers, etc.
That living with chronic emotional pain and being told to “get over it” is no longer acceptable.
It is resting.
It is taking naps or giving yourself whatever you need without explanation to others or the need for their approval.
It is moving away from toxic people, places and situations that don’t respect your desire to heal.
This is just the beginning but it is a start to reclaiming our bodies and minds from an oppressive society and turning inward to finally access what is naturally ours. Peace. Wholeness. Tranquility.
Somatic psychotherapist, avid lover of Star Trek and all things science fiction.