First I want to tell you that I'm thinking of you and all the compassionate people who spend their days helping others and trying to make our world a better place. I hope you and your loved ones are safe.
I also wanted to send you a short note to tell you two things, in case you're interested:
1) Today I started a Caring Safely blog and my first post is: Stay Safe While Advocating for Anti-Racist Policies
2) A reminder that the live stream Trauma-Informed Practice training starts tomorrow CLICK HERE to learn more.
If you have any questions, please reply to this email.
Sending you good energy!
Charlene Richard, B.S.W., M.S.W., RSW
Social Worker. University Instructor.
Founder of Caring Safely
In my research and while talking to some most well respected social justice advocates (the white ones) I discovered, like most things- many people need to see it to believe it exists and it is through their *Shock* of actually seeing racism without anything getting in the middle...that examining happens. So here we are, in the middle of a pandemic seeing it....
THE WILLINGNESS TO EXAMINE
As I take my time to move slowly through the book "Women Who Run With The Wolves," I had a conversation with a very sweet young man in his twenties and an older man who has taken him under his wing to help him make the journey, holding him in his rite of passage toward basically, learning to hold his own shape and own his own space with dignity and respect. Much of the time, the beauty in my life right now is many people refer to me as some kind of relationship guru (which I am not) and other expressions. As I was listening to this young man go on and on regarding this woman whom he was in a deep connection with and she rocked his world, turning him inside out and upside down, he mentioned "I never know a woman could be so mentally ill, so devious, so malicious. It was almost as if he was completely traumatized and it was the most adorable thing I have witnessed in a very long time. His shock and dismay was visible. As the conversation progressed when I said "Well YOU are one of those mixed messages dudes, you are causing your own problems!" This young man busted out in laughter as the older man shook his head and said "His mother told him the same thing." In the conversation he mentioned his desire is to be seen and known and loved because he has never had that before. Yet, what he really means is...because he has had that with his mother......he wants to be fully seen, known and loved by a woman who is not his mother. In this beautiful space....he's just a young man who is just now examining who he is and what he wants and through it..he's growing organically, being held by an older, wiser man who wants to see this young man shine. Shining through the doorway of seeing himself clearly, waking up, being accountable, recognizing...he's not nearly as perfect as he thinks he is. This means he is being held by an elder in a very real way. He can barely tolerate learning the fullness of a woman. When we talked about the book I am currently reading, I commented "This book is not for you, you wouldn't be able to handle it" and he really wouldn't. He's not ready and he's not alone by any stretch of the imagination. Madam Toni Morrison is speaking into that exact knowing. There is nothing inside of me that wishes to beat that young man up for where he is in his development. What we want is for him to remain inside of examining so he may get to a place where he can have what he wants without all those man games that do not and will not serve him in any way, shape or form. His kindness and his softness has a lot of hidden control and is loaded with tremendous levels of mixed messages. Yet his shock and his focus on her behavior is blowing his mind. We don't have to worry about him because he has an elder who will hold him to account while also holding his greatness with patience and awareness that he is on the path.....
There was a moment between the younger man and his elder brother. The younger man was caught in that men against women thing, he reached out to his elder to get that manly high five. The elder man shook his head "No, I am not giving you a high five for that."
In certain locker room cultures, this man's "no" would be deemed him being a coward and going against the man code, causing the young man supposed "humiliation" but the truth is, his willingness to want more for this young man than to promote him hating women and therefore creating a harder life for himself, is what I would call a much bigger love than anything taught in the locker rooms.
His mother "You are sending mixed messages" His elder brother who wants more for him "No, I am not giving you a high five for that" This young man is being well held. His growth is supported full out.
Now back to Racism and accepting the invitation that Madam Morrison is offering white people which is a level of generosity that only those who have supreme moral authority have the power to offer.....The invitation is to examine....
DIGGING DEEPER and not being afraid of the harder things
Let the examining begin. To help....Here is a wonderful Ted Talk that allows those harder most unpleasant feelings room to breath so we can examine.....
As a member of the Association of Transformational Leaders, she has been recognized for her thought leadership and influence in personal development. Dr. Rosenberg has been featured in the documentaries “I Am”, “Pursuing Happiness”, & “The Hidden Epidemic” w Dr. Daniel Amen. She’s been seen on CNN’s American Morning, the OWN network, and PBS, as well as appearances and radio interviews in all of the major metropolitan media markets. A California-licensed psychologist, Dr. Rosenberg speaks on how to build confidence, high self-esteem, core emotional strength, and resilience; achieving emotional, conversational, and relational mastery; integrating neuroscience, psychotherapy, and supervision; and suicide prevention. An Air Force veteran, she is a professor of graduate psychology at Pepperdine.
"STAY PRESENT, STAY FULLY PRESENT, YOU CAN DO IT, WE CAN ALL DO IT" (and she gives people an actual workable formula!!!!!!!!!)
Now that there is no shaming for being wherever we are and allowing those unpleasant feelings to move us into freedom.....It changes the game.
Looking within, my own story, my own history....babies, boys to men and a moment with my own son.......
“Mom, I can’t breath”
When a football player punched him in his throat during a football game. He couldn’t breath and I could see that he couldn’t breath from a distance
If you know the rules of football, there is no such thing as throat punching. It's not hockey.
And all the men said to me “don’t do it, DO NOT go out there...don’t “humiliate him” Gosh how horrifying for his MOTHER to run out on the field. WE NEED HIM TO LOOK GOOD. Worst thing in the world you could do is care about your own son.
And everything inside of me said...
I'm going... My son can't breath, I'm going.
So that’s what I did.
My son was not at all humiliated.
He was genuinely scared. The look in his eyes, how he reached for me. The whisper/tone of his voice “Mom, I can’t breath” I can’t even imagine not being there for him in that moment. Like you want me to not show up?
To just sit on the sidelines and oh well, at least I didn’t humiliate him.
To cause the illusion that I, his mother would humiliate my own son...and I should just sit back and allow him to "man up" this moment came up for me very vividly when I witnessed the video of George Floyd as we can see, hear and absolutely feel it when he speaks up "I can't breath"
Accepting the invitation to examine.....
Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another
Allowing the elders to heal you, even if you are an elder......it's never too late.....
Another way to heal would be to use this Pandemic time to watch one of the most beloved T.V. shows: THIS IS US. Let Jack heal you as he has been healing many old school, old time fathers move into seeing their son's fatherhood as "better than theirs."