As anti-racist and anti-oppressive practitioners and as practitioners who support others engaged in anti-oppressive and anti-racist practice, we know intimately how tough this work can be. We understand the toll ‘doing the work’ can take on our physical and psychological health.
At the present hour, ‘doing the work’ is even more taxing and we want to acknowledge that. But we want to do more. We are a community that aspires to help build others who do this work and, we would like to offer those engaged in anti-racist and anti-oppressive work support to help them connect with joy and/or to simply to connect.
We launched a JOY AS RESISTANCE space. It provided an opportunity to understand why joy is not only vital to sustaining us in the work we do, it fundamentally challenges structures of power. We are planning to continue to hold spaces to connect with joy and the script below is extracted from our launch event.
At the bottom of the page, you will also find a link to download the slides of the event (they are, as is the script below subject to copyright). We are sharing them as a celebratory gift! And to say thank you for the support.
The meditation script below has been designed to help you connect and experience joy as a deliberate, mindful and self-care practice. Feel free to use it to help you in your anti-oppressive work and generally to support your well-being. It may take you a few tries to get there…but most of us can and find mindful meditation useful, with some practice.
If you struggle at any point, simply kindly re-centre your breath. If you find the exercise unhelpful, it’s ok, it may not be for you. Engage with joy differently.
Please read the entire script a couple of times, before giving it a go.
And remember this practice is just ONE in our arsenal of tools to engage with joy, beauty and pleasure. Plenty more activities in Living While Black, which you can order here.
You are about to engage in a practice of resistance by connecting with joy.
Sit as comfortably as you can, in a private and quiet spot.
Close your eyes or if this feels uncomfortable, lower your gaze.
Take a few moments to centre your breath – there is no specific instructions here, simply notice your tummy rise and fall as you exhale and inhale. Notice how grounding and safe this makes you feel, focus on your breath for a minute or two.
Once at ease and relaxed, take a minute or so to remind yourself of the last time you felt joy.
Where was it? When was it? Who was it with? What were the circumstances surrounding that joyful experience?
It might have been the sun on your skin on a glorious day, the smile of a child or of a loved one, a random act of kindness, an encounter with beauty or pleasure, a sensuous touch, a moment of connection with nature, art or with a friend or something else.
Once you have identified that moment hold it in your mind, in your heart and your body as to help us embody joy, we need to connect with our head, heart and body.
Let’s start with your head, what ideas or thoughts were evoked in this moment of bliss? Contemplate them for a few moments.
Descending to your heart, what did it feel like to experience delight right in your heart? How did your heart respond? Try to remember its rhythm or dance. Once you are there, pay attention to your heart for a few moments.
Let’s embody joy now by centering the wellness it brought to your whole body – remind yourself of the sensations and feelings you experienced from your head, your back, to your lower body and feel free to explore how joy felt in any other parts.
How light and and carefree your whole being felt. How connected you felt in this joyful moment. Allow yourself to get lost in the sensations. Take them all in. Smile. Stay in this joyful place for a few minutes.
When you have taken enough joy in…recentre your breathing, focus on your tummy rising and falling once more for a few moments.
When ready slowly return into your quiet spot, with your head, heart and body full of joy.
Remind yourself that you deserve to experience joy.
Remind yourself that you can practice this minfdul meditation whenever you need it.
Remind yourself that connecting to joy is connecting to your humanity.
Remind yourself that joy is resistance.
JOY AS RESISTANCE – the slides
To access the whole presentation on Joy as Resistance click the download link below (remember we will retain your contact details to get in touch and enter you in your newsleter list)
JOY AS RESISTANCE SLIDES
Send download link to:
If you are interested in attending future joy as resistance events, manifest your interest here.