Foundations...for those who wait (Email 3)
7 minute read
Note: This is an archive of an email from the October 2021 series and pre-enrollment for those on my email list who have been waiting for Foundations to open up again after a year away to grieve the loss of my beloved.
If you're still with us on this journey of building belief, it's good to have you back. If you've just arrived, you'll find links to the previous two emails below (read those first).
Over these five days, we're examining four regions white people encounter where belief can be built to help sustain us on this liberation journey, and I'm offering my suggestions for a 'road map' to move forward in each one.
Thursday's email addressed why we need to build belief as a ready answer for when the shadow of doubt looms large and curls up over you (because it will). My intention for writing this series is so that you have words that create a world where you can believe in your/my/our ability to transform.
Friday's email shared the story of finding and losing each other, and a perspective shift on failure, offering you several ideas about staying put with people on your journey.
Today's email is all about hope.
(And what to do in the moments when it's fickle.)
I'm going to assume that you are here because you are fully committed to the movements for collective liberation.
You no longer need any convincing.
Every time a story goes viral with another display of injustice - it confirms your worst fears about our world.
It's like being dropped into a dense forest.
Jomo and I call those the "flamethrower days".
They are the days of righteous anger where you may begin to believe that the only way out is to burn everything to the ground.
You look at what you are doing, have done, and plan to do and doubt comes looming.
"What if it's not enough?"
If you are like me, you find yourself searching aimlessly; walking in circles trying to find one sign of hope - some berries, a scrap of fabric tied to a limb, a trail of trampled ground, a glimmer of sunlight...some way to will yourself back in step with the vision you have tucked away in your heart for a more just world.
And when you find a berry or two within that forest, you swallow them down, suppressing hopelessness back down where it belongs. You try to imagine yourself nourished - when in reality, you are not. You are still hungry, scared, worried, and frustrated.
If we are honest, hope within our liberation movements often feels fickle, at best and unreachable at worst.
Someone who looks like our brother or nephew walks into a school with a machine gun.
Another Uncle or Aunt kills a Black person they were sworn to protect.
A sea of our family storms the Capitol.
People who could be our fathers, mothers, sisters, or brothers vote to take away the right to vote.
We get the news and we slump.
Hope turns casually and disappears into the dense forest.......again.
We might even panic and eyeball the lighter in our backpack.
"Let me just burn it all down - then I can find my way out of this..."
Hope's absence allows voices of old to rush in.
"It's not possible."
"There's no way out of this."
"I'm not sure why I even try."
"The problem is too big."
Will you do me a favor?
Promise to set a timer sometime this week for 5 minutes with this prompt:
"what's the first memory of when hopelessness showed up in your life?"
And give some loving attention to yourself there.
It's my belief that hopelessness shows up as a result of internalized adultism and as such - it will continue to hook all of us until we heal.
"We don't heal through telling the story of what happened, we heal through safely releasing the shaking, trembling, tears, emotion, fear, raw aggression, postures, and images that unwind the bound energy of our self-protective responses. Leading to a reclaiming of our relationship to our own body and a new found capacity to regulate our fears, worries, and insecurities."
- Jake White
Reclaiming hope...not the few berries...but real, nourishing hope comes by way of healing.
So we must spend some time there when we find ourselves in the dense forest of hopelessness.
Pause, heal, reclaim our best selves, make a plan, and then move.
You see, hope is both a feeling and an action.
It's desire, aspiration, and longing.
It's looking for, imagining, and expecting.
And the reason I offer it to you after "staying put with one another" is because getting lost in the forest of hopelessness is a completely different experience when we are not alone.
All it takes is for one of us to offer a little assurance...
"There's no need to panic. Of course this is happening.....again. We haven't yet found enough of our family members in this forest to build real, authentic, substantive belief that our words create worlds and that change is on the horizon."
We can ask "what do you need to be able to go on?" or maybe just sit beside the person who's holding a match and tell them "I'm with you. I'm right here with you." and stay with them until they find the courage to go on.
I bet you can think of someone in your life that may need these words. Say their name out loud. And if after reading this, you have a better understanding of how we get out of the forest of hopelessness, send this to them...or set up time to chat...or send them a text "I know this liberation journey we are on is hard. I was just thinking about you and I wanted you to know I'm with you."
And if you need a little help, reach out.
We build belief in each other...
Stay put with each other.
I'll be back tomorrow.
I love you.
I'm with you.
I'm back with one more question to answer.
I'm interested in joining a cohort but am curious about the size of the group. I do best in more intimate cohorts.
As an introvert, it took me a long time to be able to show up in large liberation spaces and create the intimacy with a few around me that I longed for. It's one of the reasons we use break out rooms often, offer exercises that don't cater to extroversion, encourage teaming up with other participants, and create a slack workspace for every cohort to discuss what's coming up for them, make plans to connect, and build belief in each other.
You might consider this as another "choose your adventure" opportunity for you to figure out what you need in order to be able to join a group of any size and make it work for you.
This year, I'm also working on something special I'm not quite ready to share...but will hopefully be able to share soon. If all goes as planned it will be a much more intentional way for you to connect one-on-one with people in the cohort...go one inch wide and a mile deep.
And even with the intentionality I've worked to create, size is one of my biggest struggles because it affects price.
I've charged nothing - and worked another full time job to support my need for shelter, food, etc. - which is not sustainable.
I've charged $600 for groups of 15-30 - which is very economically limiting.
Which brought me to my current price - $297 with a Pay-As-You-Are-Able option. This keeps the cohort accessible for a wider range of our white family members and aligns with my belief that our entire community needs these kinds of spaces in order to dismantle the system of racism.