In this episode, I share on the subject of codependency, which is the destructive form of self abandonment we adopt in response to living under the system of racism (white supremacy). Details of the show are as follows:
What is racial codependency within the system of white supremacy?
What is codependency in relationships?
The codependency 12 step recovery fellowship.
The characteristics and behavior patterns of codependency.
-Low self esteem
The power of detachment with love.
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Links, books and authors mentioned in this episode:
This show is quite a deep one so make yourself a herb tea, take a deep breath and have a seat.
This episode is the second part of a series on 4 layers of racial pain, our internalised white supremacist, the family of origin, our community, and the external collective oppressor.
Last week, the focus was on our internalised white supremacist. Today, I weave the other 3 layers into the connection between slavery, child attachment, and how ‘disciplining’ our children with violence enables white supremacy’s mission to kill the souls of our people, and destroys our ability to have healthy adult relationships.
Greetings Mindful Yardie’s, I hope the day finds you well.
In today’s show I share on one of four layers of racial pain, the four layers are;
1/ Internalised racism and the relationship with self.
2/ Recycled trauma within our family of origin
3/ Community pain and the silence, enabling racial codependency which feeds the system.
4/ Oppressive social relationship with the institutions that control and maintain our oppression
Today’s focus is on our internalised white supremacist. I talk openly about the trauma of being black, and the impact this had on my relationships and identity in early recovery with a white sponsor and fellows. There are also lots of tools and nuggets to empower you and help you begin to understand and manage the pain of living under this system. The other 3 layers mentioned will be covered in next week’s show.
Links, books and authors mentioned in this episode:
One of the most delicious things I adore learning is the powerful art of building relationships. When we lack self awareness, sometimes our connections can be a painful cycle of defensive reactions. However, as we learn more about ourselves, we can respond and nurture our relationships with a lot more emotional intimacy, awareness and clarity.
In today’s show I’m sharing 3 powerful ways to nurture your relationships today and beyond 2017. This holiday break is a great opportunity to begin nourishing the people and community that means so much to us.
I’m beyond excited for you today because it’s our first proper Yard of Greatness podcast show!
Today’s topic is about navigating boundaries, racism and the holidays. Most of us know that annoying person who drinks to much at this time of year, then thinks they can bring their fast self to you, asking for things that don’t belong to them (if you get my meaning smh!) Or you may have family members, pressuring you to engage in festivities you don’t like. With so many invites and celebrations to attend, it’s important to share how to practice good personal boundaries.
I also talk about why I flung Santa out of my yard, and all the epic stuff I do instead. Once you’ve listened to the show, I’ve included a downloadable empowerment sheet at the bottom of this post, to help you get clear on your holiday values and build a more authentic presence whatever rituals you choose to include going forward.
It’s my birthday today!!! Yay! My blackalicious, melanoid magnificent, 48th earthday! Yes, I did say 48, and yes, I know my melanin is on fleek and I don’t look my age! #mytoyboydaysareover lmao! Ok, ok, laughing aside on a serious note, I’m incredibly grateful for another colossal year of growth, opportunity, and abundance. Whilst i’ve experienced some incredibly painful shifts in my personal life and as I’ve built this business, the experiences have seeded some rich layers of vulnerability and strength which have allowed me to connect with my delicious little plantain (Zuri), and my community at a much deeper level.
I just want to have some fun with ya’ll today, so I’m doing a little personal Q & A which you may find interesting or scroll on past. Either way, it’s my birthday so I’m going to be talking about myself for a change, tee heee. That was my professional cue to start talking about the importance of self love, etc but no. Today, I’m feeling very cheeky so I’m just going to bomb some random questions and answers to amuse myself and entertain you for a few mins. 🙂
I will run from….
Cockroaches! When I was 7, I went to Jamaica with my dad. At my grandmas house, there was an outdoor toilet in the yard. The seat was a plank of wood with a hole cut into it, but as I sat down to do my business, I felt something touching my bottom. When I stood up and looked to see what it was, the inside was crawling with cockroaches. I ran screaming from toilet and from that day, I just can’t..
My funniest parenting moment is…..
On Sunday’s I like to do a Jamaican soul food roast dinner with rice and peas, plaintain, apple crumble etc (yes, I know crumble is British before you message me!). Anyway, this one Sunday I wasn’t feeling well, so the dinner was basic and stripped of the cultural elements with the peas etc. When I served it up, my daughter gave me her disappointed screw face, and proceeded to tell me that the dinner was ‘white’. I’m still cracking up as I’m writing this!
A secret folks don’t know about me is…..
I’m actually an introvert! It’s still a struggle for me at times to be visible and connect with people, but I’m challenging myself daily to take bigger emotional risks. I am currently working on some podcasts and would love to do some public speaking in the future. I’m starting to get asked to do this kind of work a lot more recently so watch this space!
My 15 mins of fame is……
I worked as a professional model for 5 years and loved it! I had the opportunity to travel, do catwalk, magazines and music videos. It was an awesome experience, but what I also learned is that external validation is temporary and self esteem can only be built from the inside. That said, it’s still really cool looking back at my 15 mins. Recognise anyone?
I am most proud of……
My recovery journey hands down. Most of my past relationships were addictive, codependent and very destructive, but as I worked through the layers of shame, denial and rage, I found and rebuilt my broken self. In finding the courage to now practice racial intimacy, not only do I have more self esteem, but I am able to connect with my daughter and others in a way I never thought possible.
I got into this work because…….
As a third generation Jamaican slave descendant (born raised in the UK), I inherited an inter generational pathology of unexpressed, recycled trauma. After I passed my Psychotherapy foundation year, I hit another rock bottom after writing my dissertation which explored the consequences of slavery, attachment and intimacy in my life. Whilst the paper gifted me with a distinction, I was overwhelmed with the reality of how much racial trauma was still destroying my life and those I love. My rage at white supremacy and the pain of feeling powerless is what got me started.
What drives me is…….
Every time I feel like I want to give up, my daughters delicious brown face reminds me of what needs to be done. Seeing her grow, learn and thrive is what drives me. When I crawl through the grief layers of leaving those still committed to acting out their pain, I remember the importance of service, compassion and wisdom. I must pay my sobriety forward to those who want it and stop torturing myself trying to rescue those I think need it. What motivates me, is seeing the benefits of teaching counter racist behavior and practicing racial intimacy. What drives me is seeing my people win!
My shero is……
Dr Francis Cress-Welsing. A third generation physician who devoted her life to understanding the system racism (white supremacy ) through her book The Isis Papers. My work is about honouring her theories and building a safe platform around it for people to understand and process the difficult feelings which accompany living inside this abusive system. I hear alot of people saying that the answer to our liberation is self knowledge through studying our history, many say that it’s economic empowerment. These are valid pieces to the puzzle, but I believe our authentic freedom begins with facing AND feeling the truth of our traumatised history. We must find the courage to process the loss of our blackness, so we can rebuild our self esteem which will in turn nurture our communities at a deep level as a natural consequence.
I am now working on……..
The Isis Papers book study course which will be released in 2017. I can’t wait to share it with you. Register for updates at www.theisispapersbookclub.com
My vision is……
Black people have absorbed so much racial pain over the years, that our very blackness has become the trigger that disconnects us. My vision is to build something that will help us find each again and love fearlessly the way RA intended in the beginning.
Thank you for sharing my birthday and being part of my journey. Please pray for me as grow and continue to live in my purpose. I pray that you will also find the courage to become an active part of the movement for our healing through emotional empowerment, racial sobriety and fearless change to produce justice in our communities.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Till next time, your Sista in truth,
P.S I’d love to stay in touch so if you have not done so already, join the email list below for weekly inspiration, tools, and updates on services to help you shine in your blacknificence.
The true meaning of wealth has been lost under the guise of cash hustle, generational assets and shiny, big ticket trinkets. In our aggressive pursuit of wealth, we can get stuck in the fantasy that having more, means that we are more.
Emotional wealth on the other hand, is a deeper level of understanding and ownership of our emotions. When we’re emotionally wealthy, our life has meaning. We can love fiercely and grieve deeply. We stand in our truth, even if it sometimes means standing alone. We nurture our sense of worthiness and receive abundance in all its forms.
As a consequence of our abusive racial history, many of us did not inherit healthy tools for nurturing our emotional wealth. Instead, we were passed down dysfunctional legacies of shame, disconnection and anger. We were robbed of our ability to be happy in the enmeshed expectations and demands of others.
We all deserve the right to thrive in an environment which mirrors our commitment to abundant personal growth. In our culture of denial and avoidance, many of us are afraid to feel our feelings, but sharing in a safe space can help us understand our pain, and open the door to relief, wisdom and clarity. When our inner circle is emotionally broke, we can give ourselves permission to detach with love and move forward with those committed to change.
Emotional wealth is the root where all riches are seeded. To be happy, we must protect and nurture it like a savings account. Regularly deposit positive emotions and cultural experiences to build racial esteem. Be mindful of any people, systems or things trying to make unauthorised withdrawals. We cannot control the behavior of those trying to get access, but we have full control over how we respond and take care of our account.
Fearless ownership of our emotions means that our happiness becomes a magnet for abundant financial wealth in its purest form. When we commit to taking better care of ourselves, we also create a legacy of racial serenity, strength and empowerment within our family and the community.
Today, I claim my right to happiness, just as I am. In this moment, I own my feelings and choose some loving actions to nurture my well being.
And so it is.
Till next time
June. aka Mindful Yardie
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Now that the school summer break is in full swing, how’s it going? Are you tired and fed up yet? I’m sure a lot of parents on social media saw the meme’s flying around at the end of term showing teachers jumping for joy, and parents already counting the days till their children return to school in the autumn. As much as we love them, caring for our children over the summer can often be emotionally exhausting. Many of us are left daunted by how we can enjoy the break and hold onto our last frazzled nerve at the same time.
A couple of summers ago beneath my fake, ‘strong black mother’ cape, I secretly dreaded the holidays and buried my shame around not really understanding how to bond or connect with my child. To avoid these feelings, my default was always to lean on the summer clubs so I wouldn’t be emotionally overwhelmed, or disrupted by the changes to my term time routine. Then last year, it hit me how fast my daughter Zuri was growing up. I felt ashamed and guilty about not enjoying the break, so I decided to plan a more strategic approach last year and use the space to love bomb her with cultural events and activities to make memories, focus on our relationship, and build our racial esteem as a family. This compassionate space was so powerful, that Zuri cried a lot when it was time to go back to school. I also missed her terribly which had never happened before.
Some of us may find this level of parental intimacy uncomfortable, because we’re not use to engaging with our children in this way. Our work responsibilities may create limited time, or maybe you were raised in an environment where parental play was not a priority so this feels awkward. If this is your story then it’s important to really be gentle with yourself. It might feel hard at first, but little and often works, and this is also a powerful opportunity to upgrade your pathology, and begin building a deeper legacy of connection with your child. Today, I am excited to serve you by sharing the tools and ideas we now use every year to slay our summer.
Create the space to build closeness.
In order to be more present for our families, scheduling space to have fun and hang out is crucial. This will not only be used to spend more quality time with family, but also to give yourself permission to rest and be more emotionally available during the activities. Book and schedule whatever time you can get off work (even if it’s only a few days) and reschedule anything in the family diary where possible, that doesn’t support this commitment.
Use these bullet points to build your family bucket list.
I love this part of the process because everyone gets to be involved in building the program of fun activities. Set a time and call a family meeting to brainstorm the following……
Write a list of how each of you wants to feel about the holidays.
Ask each family member to contribute activities that are connected to how they want to feel. (this tool helps to build a child’s emotional intelligence, as they not only learn how to define their feelings, but also how to articulate what actions will meet those needs.)
Research local events, music festivals, and museums etc, for any activities to explore. Include some same gender specific activities also to nurture the male/feminine energy.
Choose some cultural s/hero’s you can research and learn about together.
Have a good list mix of scheduled events and chilled home activities, this way no one gets too overwhelmed with all the organisation and running around.
Plan how and when you will spread the events across each week.
Set some gentle boundaries around daily screen time, so you can all be engaged and committed to the activities.
Capture the summer experience in a creative way.
With most of us posting and storing our memories on social media these days, a hard copy family diary or scrapbook is a refreshing way to record our feelings, joys, challenges and events with good old fashioned paper and pen. A trip to the local pound/dollar store will provide plenty of scrapbook crafts to bring the joyous family quotes, pictures and stories to life. You can still post your fun on social media, but it’s always wonderful to read the diary entries at a later date and relive the warm fuzzy feelings that accompanied them.
Teaching life skills, feeds empowerment.
Teaching is so much more powerful than rescuing, but sometimes our busyness keeps us caught up in checking off our lists, instead of empowering our children with what and how things needs to be done. Cooking a simple meal, growing something, or sharing some easy financial literacy, are simple suggestions to get you started. As your child practices and perfects her new skill, you save valuable time as she’s now empowered to complete it independently. As a natural consequence of sharing this energy, The relationship will build between you as your self esteem and confidence grows independently. As a side note, it’s also important to say that this is not only about practical tasks, but also a chance to review and teach the family values. I have an earlier post on this with a free ebook, which will help you define and implement them as a family. www.juneallen.net/values
Build racial esteem with cultural education.
The summer break is now one of our favourite times of year to work as a team, (hopefully with some sunshine) to explore, educate and celebrate our identity. What could be more irresistible to our black children than having a cultural learning experience within the community with engaged parents who adore spending time with them. In this month already, my daughter and I have attended our annual African storytelling festival which honoured the late Jamaican poet, Louise Bennett. We’ll be highlighting Marcus Garvey’s birthday on 17th August and also attend the annual steel band competition on 27th August at the Notting Hill Carnival. The African presence is not always taught appropriately (if at all) in ‘mainstream’ European dominated education. However, our cultural S/hero’s continue to provide a rich hue of flavor and black brilliance around the globe so we must continue to absorb and re-tell their stories as part of our legacy.
I know this piece has focused specifically on the summer holidays, but including more time for family to play during term time (even if its a hour at the weekend) is a great way to nurture and maintain your family self care. If your summer break has been a disaster up to this point, I hope this piece has provided some value to give yourself permission to restart and reclaim the joy in your family space! When we make the time to prioritise and implement these tools, our children will not only experience our love for them, but also how much we actually like them and adore being in their. I’d love to know you spent yours in the comments below.
With all the tragedy in recent weeks along with our daily busyness, it can often be hard to stop, reflect, and be present. Our overstimulated minds from aggressive advertising, multitasking and the illusion of needing more, constantly robs us of our inner calm and natural, spiritual place of wholeness. We belong in nature, and when I give myself permission to take a power pause and reconnect to the earth, I remember how easy it is to attune to my Higher Power, especially around trees. The glorious weather in London has been the perfect excuse to wander barefoot in the park and recharge my melanoid soul.
Being outdoors during the summer has always been an important family event and I’ve taken my daughter camping at music festivals ever since 2010 (when she was 2). Despite enjoying the time we spent at these festivals, there was always a longing to experience it at a deeper, cultural level with other black people. Last year, I could hardly contain my excitement at discovering a wonderful organisation who flipped the ‘black folks don’t camp’ myth on its head. I finally found a space where melanin rich folks could celebrate our culture through the power of storytelling.
I know there’ll be those who whine that having black only spaces is ‘reverse racism.’ P.S.A. Black people cannot be racist, because our choices do not affect white people as a group, e.g. we can hate racist white folks all we want, but it won’t stop your whiteness being prioritised for a job, bank loan, housing etc. but I digress and that conversation is for another blog post. The truth is, these black spaces are needed in response to, and having some respite from the ongoing everyday racism we experience. Also, with all the recent racial trauma and deaths, it is even more difficult for us to grieve and heal as a community, so it’s actually as healthy boundary, and act of self love to take time out from the people and structures which enforce and enable the abuse. It’s important just to spend time with each other in our shared experience to recharge.
My first experience at the African Storytelling festival when I arrived, was excitement in the car park as brotha’s and sistah’s pulled up in over packed cars, with children hungry for woodland freedom. There was a warm sense of family from the beginning, I had offers to help build my tent, and Zuri (my daughter) was off in a flash exploring and chatting to other children as they arrived. The storytelling workshops were a wonderful opportunity to share and identify, we learn history, our values, spirituality and the importance of community. The performances were also powerful tools for connection that had me initially terrified of speaking amongst strangers, to embracing a childlike joy as I embraced the freedom of engagement. We must never underestimate the glory of hearing stories about us, told by us. Mirroring is a powerful tool for building our identity and raising self esteem.
I cannot even begin to convey how healing it was to absorb the power of the drum which echoed throughthe woods the whole weekend. I remember thinking, despite the traumatic journey of my ancestors from Africa, to Jamaica and then onto the UK, my soul remembers it’s source, the rhythms, the fyah and ancestral energy ricochet straight back from the Motherland.
One of my favorite memories last year, was when a large group of us were strewn over the grass outside my tent, reasoning, sharing and laughing as we shared food and snacks. My pot became became their pot. I arrived a stranger and became an sistah to many, the auntie to a beautiful little girl who was happy popping by to explore my tent and play with my daughter. The campfire at night was a delicious space for chatter and song, I even saw a breadfruit being roasted and devoured with abandon. I felt right at home, here is a sneak peak from last year.
As the year has flown past and the countdown begins before to unpack my tent again, I just had to grab the founder and powerful warrior for a chat about how this project was brought to life and what to expect this year.
JA: Tell us about yourself and your movement?
GC: My name is Griot Chinyere, and I’m a storyteller and the artistic director to ashanti-chi which is a company whose main aim is to promote, preserve and celebrate the oral tradition of African storytelling. I use it as a leadership tool to train and empower people. I use it with children, adults, prisoners, young people, the suited and booted, the rough and ready, domestic violence victims, the homeless etc. It’s a powerful tool that was introduced to me at 10 years old and I love the healing power it gives when used correctly.
JA: How did the festival project come about?
GC: I come from a long line of storytellers and I wanted to find another way to preserve the tradition. I have also been to lots of others festivals where I’ve been the minority and loved being outdoors, but always wondered where my community was? I’m not one to complain about things so I wanted to do something about it. I began by doing some expedition leadership training where I learned how to build fires, map & compass reading, food foraging etc. and then I worked to combine the things I love about the old traditions and nature, together for people who looked like me. When I was 10, I went home to my mother’s village and it was an amazing feeling to experience being in a village, to be surrounded by people who look like me and recognise me. There are many (Africans) who live in the UK who may never have that experience, so I wanted to create a space for us to be who we are, where we are. This is how the Nne Agwu Afrakan storytelling festival was born.
JA: How has the festival evolved over the years since it started?
GC: When I first started it was just an evening with a few storytellers walking through the woods. It then progressed to an overnight event from 6pm till 6am, then 2 nights and it grew from there.
JA: Why do you think black folks don’t camp?
GC: When I first started, I heard a lot of people saying that they didn’t want to do the camping thing, but I’ve noticed over the years that more people are willing to give camping a try. There is also the option to attend the day’s events and not camp overnight, the venue is accessible via the tube.
JA: What can campers expect from the festival this year?
GC:It’s the first year that we are using the festival to honour someone. It was mentioned that it was the 10 anniversary of Louise Bennett (Miss Lou’s) death on 27 July and how did I feel about honouring her this time which was a no brainer. She was a storyteller, a poet, a folklorist, an oral traditionalist more than anything. She went to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in England, and although they spoke BBC English, she was an advocate for her authentic, Jamaican voice. She probably stopped a lot of Jamaican children getting clipped around the ear for speaking patois, as they became familiar with her work. The way that she told her stories, as well as the stories themselves encouraged Jamaicans to be proud of who they are, it was an acceptance of self. She also revealed the connection between patois and some of the African languages, for example in Igbo language, we say ndeewu means, greetings to you (one person) but if there were many people it’s ndeewunu and unu in Jamaican patois means you many. She was able to make those important connections across our journey.
Linton Kwesi Johnson is a massive fan of Louise Bennett and has recently become our patron. His poetry tells stories which transforms the negative to the positive. He provokes thought with ways of moving forward, giving us jokes so we feel good about who we are. We are having our opening ceremony with him on the Friday. I am also hoping that one of Louise Bennett’s relatives will also attend. We want to set the right tone so we can enjoy the space and support each other and any newcomers.
Throughout the weekend we have musicians, yoga, night walks and the best storytellers from around the country. We have a wonderful vegan chef, a wellbeing area, a herbalist, and a small African market with actor Chris Tummings who will be sharing his hand made bamboo saxophones. It’s our way of connecting with and honouring our ancestors. We give thanks and listen in order for us to rise and shine in our greatness.
Whether you’re able to make the festival or not, make some time to get outdoors and explore Ra’s glorious creation, it’s great for your health and an amazing opportunity for family self care. For my melanoid family in the US, I found this gorgeous site which organises inspiring camping events for black people. http://www.outdoorafro.com/
The Nne Agwu storytelling festival runs from Friday 29th July, to Monday 1 August 2016 Full details and the line up can be found below. Don’t miss it!
Have you have ever just sat down and thought consciously about what really matters to you? Are you making choices in line with what feels peaceful at soul level? After writing my previous post about the power of legacy and the late Muhammad Ali, I was inspired to write this one as a springboard to get you started building your own.
Values are personal principles that many of us have absorbed without question from our family, community and social environment. We get caught up in doing the ‘right thing’ in line with someone else’s values, even when it doesn’t support us, or sit well in our spirit. If you’re feeling a little confused about which values belong to whom, I’m taking this time with you to get clear on these fundamental principles to build your vision.
Consciously defining our values is an important part of claiming and redefining our identity, especially as we grow. For people of colour, values are particularly important in order to create and maintain a sense of cultural identity, safety, and consistency around resisting the onslaught of racism we experience on a daily basis.There are so many areas where racist ideology is aggressively projected onto us, that we can unknowingly prioritise the values which uphold this dominance, and enable the ongoing subjugation and neglect of our own cultural needs and values.
What often brings us to this point of personal exploration, is a significant life event that calls a halt to us doing, and demands that we pause and think of our being. My pivot point came in the summer of 2007, as I sobbed inside the bottom of my wardrobe clutching a positive pregnancy test. It wasn’t having a baby that brought on my tears, but having to face the ugly truth that I had nothing to give my child, except a trunk of recycled dysfunction and my emotional rock bottom. I didn’t know who I was, and was terrified of the kind of parent I would be if I did nothing. I did know, that I wanted to be a great role model both as a parent, and a black woman. I wanted to model a strong sense of self in line with my values, and was willing to go to any lengths for her to stand in her own power.
I began turning this around by first defining what MY values were. Not what my family thinks, not what is socially dominant, but what did I actually think about my position in the world. What did I obsess about? What makes me laugh? What makes me furious and where do I feel love and compassion?
To begin, I Goggled a list of core values and began working through them to see which ones moved me. This clarity was where I began rebuilding my self respect and sketching the blueprint for my future. I wanted to focus on 3 to keep it simple, but there were so many I wanted to keep. I especially struggled to choose between culture, family, spirituality and education which are all key parts of my personal growth. After much deliberation, I finally chose three core values I knew would broadly cover the previous topics I could not whittle down. My final choice is……..
On a side note, it’s also important to be mindful and prepared for people in your close circles to question and challenge your new values as you begin implementing changes in line with your vision. I encourage you to stand firm in what you believe and give yourself permission to set gentle boundaries with those who refuse to honour who you have now chosen to be. You don’t have to accept anything that is passed onto you, it’s healthy to question everything and move forward to build the awesome life you deserve.
Defining my values was such a powerful exercise for me, that I decided to turn it into a mini ebook, which I’m excited to be offering free to help you begin living the life you want and building the legacy your children deserve.Once completed, you will benefit from the following….
You’ll make clearer, confident choices about your career, relationships and social environments.
You’ll be a lot less stressed because your choices can be made quicker.
The clarity will keep you focused on the results and accountable for things which are not in alignment with your list.
Your behaviour will now mirror everything that is important to you.
You’ll build a stronger family unit as everyone is involved in the process of maintaining these redefined values.
I hope you found this useful and would love to hear your experience of working through my worksheet. You can find the free ebook as promised at the bottom of this post. Please come back and comment to let me know how you got on.