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January 2021 HBB President Update

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January 2021 President Monthly Ezine
"But Lightwork is not always Light Work"
 
"Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines..."
~Maya Angelou
 
This isn't the ezine I planned to write this month.
 
It is possible and imperative that we learn
 
What I was going to write about were the ways in which we as a global community of healers have connected with each other during the pandemic. About how the promise of vaccines brings hope for this new year. However, the events of the past week in the U.S. give me cause to write something different and revise what I wrote last summer.
 
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
 
In June, I wrote about the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, of how my country was inflamed and in flames in response to the everyday legacy of systemic racism. Protests in cities across the U.S. and throughout the world led to additional police brutality, violence, and riots. I found myself frequently checking in with friends and colleagues in the cities affected, as well as my African American and Black friends, students, and colleagues who continue to reel from the collective trauma of systemic racism and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic because of it. Sadly, those phone calls and text messages haven't stopped.
 
One of those colleagues wrote the following on Twitter after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol: "The anger you feel right now - the rage bubbling up your throat, the thing you cannot quench or alter or give voice to - this is part of the existence for Black and Brown people. Internalize this sentiment - memorize its physical properties. This is what lives under the skin." Another wrote, "White allies, please use this opportunity to talk to your family, to your friends, to your colleagues. Remember this helpless feeling and realize it's all some of us ever get to know." 
 
And as Lisa Anselme and I worked together to clear space and support healing and peace on Wednesday, my inner knowing stated clearly "activate your network."
 
So, I'm revising my previous ezine.
 
When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
 
I take these ezines seriously knowing that our full email list has tens of thousands of subscribers worldwide. I try to be judicious with my words and work to strike a global tone and not be too U.S.-centric. But right now, what's happening in my country is the best example of why the Attributes of the Heart and why our global healing presence is so desperately needed.
 
Our global community of students, practitioners, and instructors is one of the things that gives me hope. When I turn to the news and encounter the darkness of the world, the knowledge that I'm part of a community of people who truly care about others gives me hope. I know that I am working toward a collective purpose. For example, I take comfort in the knowledge that book clubs and discussion groups focused on healing, equity, and social justice arose from our virtual conference this year. Knowing my Healing Touch colleagues are invested in doing the work to become anti-racist while promoting healing and holding the light fills me with hope.
 
When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe
 
But lightwork is not always light work.
 
I have no idea what it means to be a person of color. No concept of all that comes with that given the history of the U.S. and colonialism writ large. But I cannot turn my eye away from it. To do so, to remain silent and ignore it is to, in effect, condone it. To view it as too political, too harsh, too much...well, that would be the easy way out that my privilege as a white male affords me. And racism and bigotry go to the very heart of the violence in the U.S. that the world witnessed this past week.
 
But I choose to leverage my privilege in any way I can for equity and social justice. Too political? I would argue that in today's world, the Attributes of the Heart - compassion, unconditional love, healing presence, innate harmony, and joyful service - are political acts. In a world that often seems bent on capitalism and survival of the fitness, even in the face of a global pandemic and at the expense of the lives of others, those qualities of the heart are a gracious act of defiance, compassion, and hope.
 
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
 
So, as we continue to ride out the storm of the pandemic, of racism and bigotry, and of all the other things that make us all too human, please join me in intention and meditation. Focus with me on the Attributes of the Heart. Sit with me in discernment so that when the pandemic passes, we do not merely return to normal, or even a "new normal." Let us set intention to return to something better. 
 
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
 
 
Stanzas from Maya Angelou's poem A Brave and Startling Truth have been woven through this ezine. Dr. Angelou wrote this poem to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. To read the full poem and to listen to a recording of her reading the poem, click here.
  
In light,
Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, FGSA
President, Healing Beyond Borders

Comments

  • Guest
    Chele Saturday, 06 March 2021

    So grateful Joel, for this group! And leaders like you to guide it, thank you.

    Though no one can go back and make a new start
    everyone can start now and make a new end

    Richardo (Chico) Xavier

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