For the majority of my life I internalized anger. This means that the energy of anger was suppressed inwardly. (I can see how my immune system got activated to self destruct myself)
In our dysfunctional society- children being angry is not acceptable. Women being angry is not acceptable. As a person of color being angry is not acceptable
So I learned to code switch to not make people around me uncomfortable. Not get in trouble, not loose opportunities.
I began my meditation and embodiment practices to try and find how to channel this overwhelming feeling. I began therapy to have an outlet. I now am able to say NO, NO THANK YOU, DID YOU HEAR WHAT I SAID NO and Not feel an iota of guilt or discomfort.
Now when I feel anger I do express it outloud (context of being in Seminary and experiencing lots of BS politics) I laugh inwardly when I observe how people's reactions are in wanting me to be quiet but guess what I will express myself and when people can have a direct conversation about great then we can have dialogue otherwise my empath self won't care how many times you roll your eyes or gaslight me.
I understand that MS also makes an angrier human.
I have learned to transcend hangry because of the amounts of fasting I need to do get my system to decrease inflammation.
Companies, Organizations, Universities, Seminaries should require all employees to receive disabilities training alongside empathy training on how to speak and work with people with varying abilities and illnesses.
I had an Advisor (also a Military Chaplain) that would actually dismiss/patronize anything I would say to them, try to justify what my complaints were about which was essentially gaslighting. (I can see that in a military setting treating people with tough love though not my style could be quasi passable)
Looking back I wish I had a recording device each time I was put through this ordeal because this treatment was a major no no professionally speaking.
However, the point is we don't know what people are feeling inside and when we dismiss their experience and their pain because of your own discomfort then you really are not being part of the solution.
I really hope this will inform people to be a lot kinder to others.
Learning to feel my feelings has helped me in being able to be with others in their feelings.
making friends with your prickly anger is the first step towards coping
As we shift into this collective awakening, it means that people are beginning to see clearly all of the suffering that has existed in their midst all along. While life went about "same as usual" in spite of not acknowledging (many times being the cause of suffering/gas lighting/defensive reasoning) and not fighting to stop this evil.
Awakening is wanting to take a proactive way to be part of the solution of eliminating other's suffering instead of being the creators of suffering.
The majority of civilizations have been anchored and created from taking resources from each other and whomever exerts the most violence gets domination over another.
Binary thinking needs to be shelved.
Our racist systems created a false narrative and hierarchy based on created binaries. Example, males throughout history have been allowed to dominate females. Whites dominate non whites. Humans dominate other species. Insert whatever group and you have a caste system with a created false narrative. Good or bad is another example.
Some people rationalize that to be a klu klux klansmen is the only way evil manifests as racism. So that will absolve most microaggressions steeped in white supremacy behavior because one thinks of themselves in binary good versus evil way.
So if we eliminate this binary thinking then one can begin to see how many interactions are actually very harmful and participatory of the very paradgim we say we fight against.
Think of ways that you have caused harm and then take ownership to change. This means action bases. See the behaviors you have participated in then apologize, make amends and don't do it again.
I had an individual who constantly engaged in microaggressions and made racist/ableist comments when I would ask questions to invite curiosity in this type of harmful interaction would use a pattern of wanting to reason and logic that it was perfectly alright what they had done or blame someone else or something else. Sometimes it would be as if they would try to talk so much to confuse me. I realized through my studies this was a deeper rooted issue.
Eventually I became more grounded in being able to address these harmful moments to address the conflict and I was astounded at how their apology was about making excuses. Going through their personal history of hurts. Sometimes they would resort to crying, again re-centering the conversation around their hurt.
This is a manifestation of white fragility. Not having the emotional container to work with conflict specifically conflict they inflict because of unhealthy feelings and then the moment the conflict is named.
Then at that point even though I had been the person who received the harm now I found myself to be emotionally bullied even further having to babysit and be present to this person's suffering again asking me to prioritize their well being.
Soon as the tears had been dried they would promise to not do it again or justify how they have been socialized in this system so what were they expected to do? And if I was able to see with clarity where was my compassion? In other words how dare I a person of color ask for healthy boundaries? Can you see they patter again of white supremacy rearing it's face?
Later that day or the next with the promises of awareness invoked they would engage in another harmful conversation/behavior.
That's not genuine change.
For white people we know how this country was founded. Your skin color has provided you certain benefits whether you use them or not.
Part of your work is to either use mindfulness, ethics, spiritual practice to begin to see when you begin to act competitive, make passive aggressive comments (those are considered microaggressions) emotionally mistreat yourselves or others (this includes policing hence why the terminology of Karen's derived or Amy Cooper making bullying threats) impose self harm of perfectionism and then want to bully everyone around you to be the same. The socialization of Whiteness as I learned has brought about a neurosis of the soul.
When you utilize spiritual practice/ethics/ mindfulness with the resources of wanting to learn and dismantle change is possible. If you really want to change then you will engage in difficult conversations, education, having teachers/coaches, therapy to do this work.
Your soul will expand, your personal suffering will begin to shift as you begin your healing work. Wounded people wound others.
Being the dominant group inflicting violence on others known or not know purposely know has hurt and brought huge suffering to everyone in this world.
For my Black and Brown family our healing is about erasing the false narratives. Making peace for our ancestors, healthy boundaries, finding our voice and speaking truth to power. It also means healing work on our auric fields our patterns that have been created to keep ourselves safe. Much deep work in loving ourselves. Having great joy in our loving communities which is something that has never been taking from us. Our connection to our beautiful bodies. Our connection to sacred embodiment.
But we all are being called to do deep healing work now. This old world is falling away. Do you want to stay on the shoreline for fear of the monsters in the water? Do you wish to stay anchored to this old world because you think the world is flat and you will fall off?
Or do you want to expand your soul to new horizons so you can become free?
Noone is free until we are all free. ✊🦋
Juneteenth a time to celebrate a moment in time of liberation. A time to lament what the ancestors endured and the ancestral pain that is carried.
Take 15-30 minutes (longer time for practice is even better) for some Spiritual,
Self Care/Meditation practice to be in your body and get in tune with the energy of emotions that reside within.
First prepare the space you will do this. Part of practice is setting the intention and preparation. It is like cooking. You need the ingredients, right?
Light a candle or incense. Lower the lights. Or open windows. See what you need to have a calming/sacred space.
Sit and take 3 deep cleansing breaths.
Click the link below to listen to the poem "Emancipation" as your mantra and focus. Listen intently to each word and see what arises.
Then close your eyes and visualize a white light washing over your whole body.
Then take 3 cleansing breaths.
Ask for forgiveness of creating suffering in others. You may express this out loud or say it in your mind.
Take 3 cleansing breaths. If sound will come out allow that as well.
Then picture a white light washing over your body again.
Ask forgiveness of yourself for harming yourself when you engage in oppressive behavior. You may express this out loud or say it in your mind.
Then stay in that quiet space and see what arises.
If you need to cry do so this means your body is cleaning itself. When waves of feelings come up to greet you take a deep cleansing breath and dispel.
When you are finished think of one behavior trait you will work on to relieve other's and your suffering.
Anti Racism Ideas- For white individuals think of words or behaviors of policing, perfectionism, putting down, selfishness.
Healing Inner Oppression- For Black and POC think of feeling hostile, rage, not trusting, feeling inadequate.
Put your hands over your heart picturing white light sending love and healing. It may feel cool or warm. You may feel sensations. (Bring forth the feeling of when you have felt love or happiness) Remember to Smile while doing this. (their is science behind this)
Finally, If you feel called to play music and dance do so.
If you feel tender and sad. Go take a shower. Drink water. Take a nap.
Blow out your candle restore the room back.
Priscilla Jane Thompson
‘Tis a time for much rejoicing;
Let each heart be lured away;
Let each tongue, its thanks be voicing
For Emancipation Day.
Day of victory, day of glory,
For thee, many a field was gory!
Many a time in days now ended,
Hath our fathers’ courage failed,
Patiently their tears they blended;
Ne’er they to their, Maker, railed,
Well we know their groans, He numbered,
When dominions fell, asundered.
As of old the Red Sea parted,
And oppressed passed safely through,
Back from the North, the bold South, started,
And a fissure wide she drew;
Drew a cleft of Liberty,
Through it, marched our people free.
And, in memory, ever grateful,
Of the day they reached the shore,
Meet we now, with hearts e’er faithful,
Joyous that the storm is o’er.
Storm of Torture! May grim Past,
Hurl thee down his torrents fast.
Bring your harpers, bring your sages,
Bid each one the story tell;
Waft it on to future ages,
Bid descendants learn it well.
Kept it bright in minds now tender,
Teach the young their thanks to render.
Come with hearts all firm united,
In the union of a race;
With your loyalty well plighted,
Look your brother in the face,
Stand by him, forsake him never,
God is with us now, forever.
Priscilla Jane Thompson was born in 1871 in Rossmoyne, Ohio. A poet and lecturer, she taught at Sunday school at Zion Baptist Church and self-published two books of poetry, Ethiope Lays (1900) and Gleanings of Quiet Hours (1907). Her work inspired the Harlem Renaissance. She died on May 4, 1942.
Just as a good relationship can have a positive impact on your life, stressful, draining, or imbalanced relationships can have negative effects on your health and well-being.
It is common to maintain a relationship because we feel the other person needs us or we believe that they will eventually change. We may also be afraid of hurting the other person or feel insecure in our ability to find new relationships. But knowing when to end a relationship and acknowledging that the pain will pass can often prevent greater pain and feelings of loss in the long run.
If you're in a relationship that is draining and has become unhealthy for you, rather than spending energy attempting to fix the problem or complaining, ask yourself what you really want from the relationship.
Consider whether the other person truly considers your feelings or if they are willing to change their behavior. Ask yourself if you've often thought about ending the relationship or if you feel your bonds have atrophied. While every relationship has ups and downs, when there are more downs than ups or the two of you are bringing out the worst in each other, it may be time to sever the connection. Be honest with yourself and your answers, even if the truth is painful.
Relationships thrive on honesty, communication, mutual caring, and time spent together. When one or more of these elements are missing, it may be that the relationship, no matter how passionate, simply isn't worth it. It's far better to end a relationship that doesn't feel right than to hold on to it and languish in feelings of anger or resentment. Moving on without struggle, on the other hand, can be the door that leads you to a more nurturing relationship in the future.
My grandmother sent me a box filled with items she is giving to each family member because she does not want her things to be "taken" as she puts it. Sadly, she is very angry with someone who married into the family and feels like this person wishes her ill and wants to take her stuff.
As a person observing outside, this animosity has been dished from both sides. So this is how I ended up with these dusty flowers that arrived in my mailbox.
I sneezed as soon as the parcel was opened. Then I laughed. Then I cried. For the realization came that my grandmother soon will cease to exist and these dusty flowers that made me sneeze were now a part of that fading part of me.
The little white lab mouse named Algernon (from the story Flowers for Algernon) in is initially just an average mouse, but he undergoes an experimental operation that makes him three times as intelligent as a regular mouse. My grandmother like the white lab mouse lives alone within her four walls, never being able to go out into the world as she pleases. Alone day in and day out. She relocated to Texas so all I can do is speak to her via telephone and via postal mail. It breaks my heart of her isolated existence. She like Algernon is brilliant. She has been a poet. She invented things that required patents. She has worked in factories. Was almost famous and on TV. She had to seek asylum in an embassy for counter revolutionary work. She has been a sinner and a saint. She has been a genius and mad. And she loves flowers both real and pretend.
So I took a photograph to remember her Flowers for Algernon for one day these flowers will be no more.
Five Hundred Years of Injustice: The Legacy of Fifteenth Century Religious Prejudice by Steve Newcomb
When Christopher Columbus first set foot on the white sands of Guanahani island, he performed a ceremony to "take possession" of the land for the king and queen of Spain, acting under the international laws of Western Christendom. Although the story of Columbus' "discovery" has taken on mythological proportions in most of the Western world, few people are aware that his act of "possession" was based on a religious doctrine now known in history as the Doctrine of Discovery. Even fewer people realize that today - five centuries later - the United States government still uses this archaic Judeo-Christian doctrine to deny the rights of Native American Indians.
Origins of the Doctrine of Discovery-
To understand the connection between Christendom's principle of discovery and the laws of the United States, we need to begin by examining a papal document issued forty years before Columbus' historic voyage In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued to King Alfonso V of Portugal the bull Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world, and specifically sanctioning and promoting the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories.
Under various theological and legal doctrines formulated during and after the Crusades, non-Christians were considered enemies of the Catholic faith and, as such, less than human. Accordingly, in the bull of 1452, Pope Nicholas directed King Alfonso to "capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ," to "put them into perpetual slavery," and "to take all their possessions and property." [Davenport: 20-26] Acting on this papal privilege, Portugal continued to traffic in African slaves, and expanded its royal dominions by making "discoveries" along the western coast of Africa, claiming those lands as Portuguese territory.
Thus, when Columbus sailed west across the Sea of Darkness in 1492 - with the express understanding that he was authorized to "take possession" of any lands he "discovered" that were "not under the dominion of any Christian rulers" - he and the Spanish sovereigns of Aragon and Castile were following an already well-established tradition of "discovery" and conquest. [Thacher:96] Indeed, after Columbus returned to Europe, Pope Alexander VI issued a papal document, the bull Inter Cetera of May 3, 1493, "granting" to Spain - at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella - the right to conquer the lands which Columbus had already found, as well as any lands which Spain might "discover" in the future.
In the Inter Cetera document, Pope Alexander stated his desire that the "discovered" people be "subjugated and brought to the faith itself." [Davenport:61] By this means, said the pope, the "Christian Empire" would be propagated. [Thacher:127] When Portugal protested this concession to Spain, Pope Alexander stipulated in a subsequent bull - issued May 4, 1493 - that Spain must not attempt to establish its dominion over lands which had already "come into the possession of any Christian lords." [Davenport:68] Then, to placate the two rival monarchs, the pope drew a line of demarcation between the two poles, giving Spain rights of conquest and dominion over one side of the globe, and Portugal over the other.
During this quincentennial of Columbus' journey to the Americas, it is important to recognize that the grim acts of genocide and conquest committed by Columbus and his men against the peaceful Native people of the Caribbean were sanctioned by the above mentioned documents of the Catholic Church. Indeed, these papal documents were frequently used by Christian European conquerors in the Americas to justify an incredibly brutal system of colonization - which dehumanized the indigenous people by regarding their territories as being "inhabited only by brute animals." [Story:135-6]
The lesson to be learned is that the papal bulls of 1452 and 1493 are but two clear examples of how the "Christian Powers," or "different States of Christendom," viewed indigenous peoples as "the lawful spoil and prey of their civilized conquerors." [Wheaton: 270-1] In fact, the Christian "Law of Nations" asserted that Christian nations had a divine right, based on the Bible, to claim absolute title to and ultimate authority over any newly "discovered" Non-Christian inhabitants and their lands. Over the next several centuries, these beliefs gave rise to the Doctrine of Discovery used by Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland - all Christian nations.
The Doctrine of Discovery in U.S. Law In 1823, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was quietly adopted into U.S. law by the Supreme Court in the celebrated case, Johnson v. McIntosh (8 Wheat., 543). Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice John Marshall observed that Christian European nations had assumed "ultimate dominion" over the lands of America during the Age of Discovery, and that - upon "discovery" - the Indians had lost "their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations," and only retained a right of "occupancy" in their lands. In other words, Indians nations were subject to the ultimate authority of the first nation of Christendom to claim possession of a given region of Indian lands. [Johnson:574; Wheaton: 270-1]
According to Marshall, the United States - upon winning its independence in 1776 - became a successor nation to the right of "discovery" and acquired the power of "dominion" from Great Britain. [Johnson:587-9] Of course, when Marshall first defined the principle of "discovery," he used language phrased in such a way that it drew attention away from its religious bias, stating that "discovery gave title to the government, by whose subject, or by whose authority, the discovery was made, against all other European governments." [Johnson:573-4] However, when discussing legal precedent to support the court's findings, Marshall specifically cited the English charter issued to the explorer John Cabot, in order to document England's "complete recognition" of the Doctrine of Discovery. [Johnson:576] Then, paraphrasing the language of the charter, Marshall noted that Cabot was authorized to take possession of lands, "notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens, and, at the same time, admitting the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous discovery." [Johnson:577]
In other words, the Court affirmed that United States law was based on a fundamental rule of the "Law of Nations" - that it was permissible to virtually ignore the most basic rights of indigenous "heathens," and to claim that the "unoccupied lands" of America rightfully belonged to discovering Christian European nations. Of course, it's important to understand that, as Benjamin Munn Ziegler pointed out in The International Law of John Marshall, the term "unoccupied lands" referred to "the lands in America which, when discovered, were 'occupied by Indians' but 'unoccupied' by Christians." [Ziegler:46]
Ironically, the same year that the Johnson v. McIntosh decision was handed down, founding father James Madison wrote: "Religion is not in the purview of human government. Religion is essentially distinct from civil government, and exempt from its cognizance; a connection between them is injurious to both."
Most of us have been brought up to believe that the United States Constitution was designed to keep church and state apart. Unfortunately, with the Johnson decision, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was not only written into U.S. law but also became the cornerstone of U.S. Indian policy over the next century.
From Doctrine of Discovery to Domestic Dependent Nations Using the principle of "discovery" as its premise, the Supreme Court stated in 1831 that the Cherokee Nation (and, by implication, all Indian nations) was not fully sovereign, but "may, perhaps," be deemed a "domestic dependent nation." [Cherokee Nation v. Georgia] The federal government took this to mean that treaties made with Indian nations did not recognize Indian nations as free of U.S. control. According to the U.S. government, Indian nations were "domestic dependent nations" subject to the federal government's absolute legislative authority - known in the law as "plenary power." Thus, the ancient doctrine of Christian discovery and its subjugation of "heathen" Indians were extended by the federal government into a mythical doctrine that the U.S. Constitution allows for governmental authority over Indian nations and their lands. [Savage:59-60]
The myth of U.S. "plenary power" over Indians - a power, by the way, that was never intended by the authors of the Constitution [Savage:115-17] - has been used by the United States to:
As Thomas Jefferson once observed, when the state uses church doctrine as a coercive tool, the result is "hypocrisy and meanness." Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court's use of the ancient Christian Doctrine of Discovery - to circumvent the Constitution as a means of taking Indian lands and placing Indian nations under U.S. control - has proven Madison and Jefferson right.
Bringing an End to Five Hundred Years of Injustice to Indigenous Peoples
In a country set up to maintain a strict separation of church and state, the Doctrine of Discovery should have long ago been declared unconstitutional because it is based on a prejudicial treatment of Native American people simply because they were not Christians at the time of European arrival. By penalizing Native people on the basis of their non-Christian religious beliefs and ceremonial practices, stripping them of most of their lands and most of their sovereignty, the Johnson v. McIntosh ruling stands as a monumental violation of the "natural rights" of humankind, as well as the most fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples.
As we move beyond the quin-centennial of Columbus' invasion of the Americas, it is high time to formally renounce and put an end to the religious prejudice that was written into U.S. law by Chief Justice John Marshall. Whether or not the American people - especially the Christian right - prove willing to assist Native people in getting the Johnson ruling overturned will say a lot to the world community about just how seriously the United States takes its own foundational principles of liberty, justice, and religious freedom.
As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Inter Cetera bulls on May 3 and 4 of 1993, it is important to keep in mind that the Doctrine of Discovery is still being used by countries throughout the Americas to deny the rights of indigenous peoples, and to perpetuate colonization throughout the Western Hemisphere. To begin to bring that system of colonization to an end, and to move away from a cultural and spiritual tradition of subjugation, we must overturn the doctrine at its roots. Therefore, I propose that non-Native people - especially Christians - unite in solidarity with indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere to impress upon Pope John Paul II how important it is for him to revoke, in a formal ceremony with indigenous people, the Inter Cetera bulls of 1493.
Revoking those papal documents and overturning the Johnson v. McIntosh decision are two important first steps toward correcting the injustices that have been inflicted on indigenous peoples over the past five hundred years. They are also spiritually significant steps toward creating a way of life that is no longer based on greed and subjugation. Perhaps then we will be able to use our newfound solidarity to begin to create a lifestyle based on the first indigenous principle: "Respect the Earth and have a Sacred Regard for All Living Things."
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 1, 8 L.Ed. 25 (1831).
Davenport, Frances Gardiner, 19l7, European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, Vol. 1, Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.
Johnson and Graham's Lessee V McIntosh 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 5 L.Ed. 681(1823).
Rivera-Pagan, Luis N., 1991, "Cross Preceded Sword in 'Discovery' of the Americas," in Yakima Nation Review, 1991, Oct. 4.
Story, Joseph, 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States Vol. 1 Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
Thacher, John Boyd, 1903, Christopher Columbus Vol. 11, New York: G.P. Putman's Sons.
Williamson, James A., 1962, The Cabot Voyages And Bristol Discovery Under Henry VII, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wheaton, Henry, 1855, Elements of International Law, Sixth Edition, Boston: Little Brown, and Co.
Ziegler, Benjamin Munn, 1939, The International Law of John Marshall, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Steve Newcomb is an American Indian of Shawnee & Lenape ancestry. For over a decade, he has studied the origins of United States federal Indian law and international law dating back to the early days of Christendom. He is currently completing a book on his findings titled, Pagans In the Promised Land: Religion, Law, and the American Indian.