Grandmother's Hands

These past few months the world has been feeling a lot of anxiety, uncertainty and sadness from all the division, anger and uncertainty over the past month. We all want to do more, know more and be part of the solution, instead of simply talking about the civil unrest, COVID 19 and economic collapse.

A friend of mine, @sallyjenkins, and I were talking about #BLM and she shared that she had a book for me to read and sent it to me. The book is: "My Grandmother's Hands" by Resmaa Menakem.

My Grandmother's Hands

: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies

Mr. Menakem eloquently creates the conversation about generational trauma being stored not in our thinking brains but in our bodies. Resmaa explains that trauma is a spontaneous protective mechanism used by the body to stop further potential danger. It is a highly effective tool of safety and survival. Whether the perceived threat is accurate, inaccurate or entirely imaginary, our bodies respond to the threat by either fight, flight or freeze.

In these times, people continue to cultivate conversations about social injustice and creating solutions to these systemic problems. But let us not forget that the palpable answers may lie in our bodies. Resmaa has brought up some interesting points that are fascinating. He purports that white bodies have been culturally conditioned to view themselves as vulnerable and need the police for protection. Police bodies have been culturally conditioned to view black bodies as disruptive and possibly dangerous. Black bodies have been culturally conditioned to feel constantly unsettled because of a long history of enslavement and subjugation exacerbated by racial profiling, targeted aggression, and institutional disregard. Resmaa says that the way out isn't through the brain, it's through the body. We need to release the stored fear and trauma we all have from generational conditioning.

Unfortunately, in a society where unsettled bodies are encountering other unsettled bodies, the interactions tend to intensify the unsettled state rather than mitigate it. Until we recognize that our internal state of being and our ingrained beliefs create our external realities of our institutional narratives, we will have a tough time changing our society. We may find that by connecting with our body by sitting down and taking 10 deep breaths and feeling the oxygen replenish our brains and our bodies may begin the process of healing within. Changing the world begins with changing yourself. As Mahatma Gandhi reminds us, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

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© 2019 Lisa Haisha. All rights reserved.