I’ve been in some pretty heavy emotional work since COVID hit. There are times that I’m super present to everything and other times that I’m totally disconnected from myself. Being a reiki practitioner and a yoga teacher since 2012, I thought I know at least a little about the work of transformation. When the movement of Black Lives Matter took Center stage in the world, I realized I still have so much work to do and so much to learn.
As a white person living in a white privilege-filled world, I recognize that I have a karmic debt to fulfill As a person who believes in holistic transformation, I believe I have the responsibility to start with myself.
See, my ancestors are responsible for genocide, rape, colonization, slavery, and kidnapping. My ancestors stole land and enslaved lives. My ancestors created a system to keep me ignorant and safely tucked away so that the system continues to feed itself and grow. I have spoken so many times to the work of vulnerability, possibility, and love without always recognizing that it’s a privilege by itself. That there are humans, black people, people of colour, LGBTQ2S+, and Indigenous peoples that don’t even have the ability to engage in this work because they are not safe; they are struggling to deal with inflicted oppressions and traumas.
How can I talk about a wellness thrive when some people are trying to survive? So, as a white person who has the ability to connect and the freedom to do the work of transformation, I have a duty to learn more. To be mindful of power and privilege. To witness truths of stories of oppression and share the knowledge and truths I’ve gained. To dare to have the hard courageous conversations, particularly with people of my own race who enjoy similar privileges and might be still in the dark.
I think anyone who makes a living from transformation, whether it’s through the practice of yoga, healing or whatever it may be, has an obligation to learn more so we can learn how to all move forward. We are here to love of course, to spread love, to be in love, to live in love. But if we ALL can’t do it, then it won’t work and it won’t be holistic love. So what can you do now?
Consider that every time you march in a protest you are sharing love.
Consider that every time you are checking your assumptions, biases, and prejudices, you are unpacking love.
Consider that every time you have a conversation about privilege you are tapping into love.
Every time you learn something new that opens your eyes and heart, you are learning how to love again.
Every time you lean in to things that make you uncomfortable, you are opening your heart. It’s not going to be easy because it’s not meant to be easy. Heart work is hard work.
Shonda Rhimes says “Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams, fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
I have a dream for a place full of love for all, to leave the world a better place than I found it . . . but I have always said, don’t dream it, BE IT. For me, the dream means I have a debt to pay and I’m willing to pay it because I know that love is the answer and I’m willing to do that work to make it a reality for everyone.
I want to leave you with this thought. How wonderful would it be if we lived in a world where people of all shapes, sizes and colours are treated with love? With kindness? With the respect they deserve? Wouldn’t you want to do whatever you could to make that a reality for everyone? Wouldn’t you want to check your prejudice and biases? You fears?
How wonderful would it be if we lifted each-other up? How wonderful would it be if we had compassion and love for each other? I think about that and I can’t imagine anyone ever not wanting to be in that work. So please, let's all open our hearts as much as we can, know that I am there with you willing to learn with you. It won’t always be easy and that’s the point I think. Just like in yoga practice there are times when I feel like I want out or can’t hold something difficult, I have to lean into trust, stay in the discomfort, and listen. It’s often when I want out of a pose the most that I discover so much about myself. We are in what I like to call the emotional utkatasana right now. I believe that even though it seems hard now, what we get from staying in will be worth it.
And just like in utkatasana, it's a time of radical transformation, a pausing pose for us to get grounded in truth, open up to learn about how we really need to be for each other and how to reach higher, extend our hands to support each other. To share love. To open up.
Ann O’Brien is the founder and owner of Divine Amore Reiki and Readings. She believes in love, the power of compassion and is committed to making the world a better place one conversation, practice, and session at a time. Ann has a passion for holistic health, spiritual richness and transformation and wholeheartedly believes that developing a strong awareness of our energy is the first step in being healthy.
Find her on Instagram: @divineamorereiki Facebook & YouTube: Divine Amore Reiki and Readings or online: www.divineamore.com where you can download her Free Self Love eBook