I reached out to Bianca and Michael because I was turning into an asshole.
Specifically, I was full of rage and outrage and judgment at all the racists out there.
And the fact that I was right, and on the side of right, and standing shoulder to shoulder with people of color, and fighting against systemic oppression that has been going on far too long – just made me more of an asshole, to be honest.
There were two costs to my assholery that I became concerned about.
First, the cost to my own mental and physical health. I was angry, and reactive, and negative – all of which can trigger a cascade of unfun chemicals that wreak havoc on the immune system, digestion, nervous system, you name it.
But that would have been OK if the societal upside were positive. You know, if my righteous anger were productive, effective, leading to meaningful change.
Which brings me to the second cost: while I was preening my virtue on social media, getting kudos from the choir, I was completely alienating everyone who didn't agree with every single word I said. Rather than bringing people together in understanding, I was actually contributing to the divisions and fears and traumas that are at the heart of our society's great suffering.
And I know – know in a fully-intellectual and semi-experiential way – that judgment of others is essentially me projecting my shit out onto the world. The spiritual traditions that have nourished me over the years are quite clear that me feeling better than others is me in the full grip of illusion.
So I “should” be full of love and compassion for all the racists, for all the deniers, for all the intellectualizers, who are failing to rise to the moment. Who are fighting tooth and nail for their right to oppress, to harm, to degrade, to objectify, to exploit.
But… but… but…
That's when I reached out to Bianca and Michael. They've been on the show before, talking about conscious living. About love and transcendence and meditation and universal consciousness and all that stuff that I was tossing overboard in my crusade to help Black people.
And they had just sent out an email broadcast from Conscious Living TV, written by Bianca, titled, “The First Time I was Called a ‘N*gger.'”
And just before the cute-as-a-button photo of 3-year-old Bianca, before the article itself, about her not being invited to her friend's birthday party because her daddy didn't want a person of her color in his swimming pool, there was that wonderful Rumi quote:
“Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.” – Rumi
And I thought, “Huh!”
If Bianca can hold that Rumi quote, about there being a transcendent perspective that doesn't include right and wrong, in her heart as she tells the story of painful hurt and discrimination, maybe she can help guide me to a more constructive relationship with race, politics, and allyship.
Bianca is Black. Her husband and business partner at Conscious Living TV, Michael, is white.
And together they are my (and perhaps your) guides to love, healing, humility, liberation, power, and karma.
We talk about all the negative things: guilt, shame, fear, anger, hatred, senseless pride.
And explored the path forward. A path that can hold both righteous anger and love. A path of worldly action and spiritual contemplation. A path in which reparations – repair – is contextualized as karma rather than political or economic calculation.
A path in which we may acknowledge, remain curious about, and bravely face our own pain-bodies: individual, ancestral, and cultural.
Guided by Rumi, St. Francis, and these two beautiful souls, I hope we can all find racial healing in this conversation.
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
Bianca's blog post: “The First Time I was Called a ‘N*gger.'”
Babies, on Netflix
Some uplifting music: Beautiful Chorus
Become a Health Coach
New cohort beginning Fall 2021. Live classes will be 10-11:30am US Eastern Time on Wednesday, so this is a Europe- and Africa-friendly class. Also for folks in the US, Canada, and Central/South America who have flexible mornings.
Find out more and apply here: WellStartCoach.com.
New Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by . Click the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.
This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive compensation from your actions on such links. It don't cost you a dime, tho.