What is this really about?
The first time I read the phrase Black Lives Matter, I thought, "Of course they do!", but what is this really about?
- Is this a political issue?
- Is this unique to the West, where wealth has been accrued through discrimination and disregard of life?
- Perhaps this is more relevant to certain countries and cultures?
- Is this about setting right the wrongs of the past?
- Is this about George Floyd?
- And how does this affect me?
- How does this affect our practice?
I took a moment to scroll through the EFT International Practitioner Directory to find the practitioners of colour. There are few. Not many, but a few. What does this mean? I don’t know. I asked myself how many of these Practitioners and Trainers have experienced Racism? How many would be willing to share their stories? How many are uncomfortable with prejudice and discrimination?
For myself, I don’t like to speak about prejudice. It’s uncomfortable. Polarising. And when people start to speak about white privilege, I squirm.
Is it a privilege to ignore the plight of one’s coloured brother and sisters? Is it a privilege to never know what it is like to be picked on for the colour of one’s skin? Once again, I don’t know. I went to a privileged boarding school for 3 years and everybody seemed equally angst-ridden and lacking in confidence, despite the colour of their skin.
The personal journey
My husband, Eddie, and I have experienced prejudice most of our lives, yet we haven’t been particularly scarred or affected by it. We have not reacted to it, and we appreciate how being detached has served us. We have chosen to respond with compassion and understanding to anyone that has judged us on appearance alone.
I have lived in Zimbabwe and seen someone being beaten because they were the wrong kind of black. I have taken into my arms a woman who has been beaten to pulp because she touched a man of a different caste. A friend sat with me, sobbing because her brother's head was split open in a racial attack.
I have had my teacher make fun of my name in class. This teacher decided the name was too much of a mouthful, and said that from that moment she would call me "Fred". And everyone thought it was ok. I have also had names and food thrown at me.
Interestingly, I have never needed to use EFT on this issue. I can only assume that all the other EFT work I have done had the required generalisation effect. As I look back, I feel peace. I believe in the innate goodness in humanity. I also believe that being present in every moment to whatever shows up is incredibly powerful, and can have life changing consequences.
Eddie and I sent out a message and issued a statement for all our clients, students and practitioners on 8th June 2020:
Following the recent current events, I continue to investigate the issue around racism and prejudice. It got me re-visiting memories that I didn’t intend to re-visit. For example, in school, I was targeted due the colour of my skin, called names and bullied. In University this continued, and I was the target of racism and sexism. It was and is still important to me that I did not feed this with anger, hate, or resentment. Instead, I decided to choose a life that did not focus on hate but on celebrating race, culture, life.
Embracing truth, the harsh realities of stories untold, and acknowledging the massacred and marginalised lives is an important part of healing humanity’s psyche. However, we do not want to feed the conflict, the confusion, the suffering.
A statement needs to made, one that is inclusive of ALL those we work with.
The Emotional Health Centre stands in solidarity with all its Clients, Students, Practitioners, Trainers and Trainers of Trainers, regardless of colour, creed, sexual preference, gender, religion, cultural backgrounds. We support the battle against prejudice and hatred. Together, let us address prejudice with clarity and compassion. We invite honest conversations, a non-judgemental call to action in the name of Truth. We stand together.”
Soon after, we had several clients calls in relation to #blacklivesmatter.
- One young client, a half black, half Indian lad told us how, as a child, he was beaten up by three white boys. This was in front of the boys' white parents, who did not do anything to stop this travesty.
- A white client spoke about how she was worried about losing her friends of all colours if she spoke about how she really felt.
- Another client felt silenced. She said she was reclaiming her identity without being limited to colour, and now this.
- A half-black client was saddened by how her white mentor was attacked and then had a heart attack because he couldn’t breathe.
I feel compromised that as I write this. I am mentioning the colour of my clients, which I would have never ever normally have done. #blacklivesmatter is actually quite a complex issue, and not as simple as a catchy slogan. Social Media is a good place for outrage addicts to hang out.
However, what I know is that EFT can help us and our clients overcome the limitations that we place on ourselves and others. It is a wonderful tool to meet outrage with calm, compassionate clarity.
This brings up so many questions.
- Do your clients want to be defined by their past or their colour?
- Do they want to be defined by their desires and potential?
- What do your clients and students want?
- How can we help those that lack resources?
Eddie and I have been giving free sessions and offering scholarships to our trainings for years - since 2003. I believe this has helped us reach out to those who would not have had access to our services otherwise.
My response now, alongside #blacklivesmatter, is #youmatter, #lovematters, #truthmatters.
Here is an invitation
Speak your stories.
Let us hear you.
Let us welcome change with compassionate awareness and growing emotional intelligence.
Ranjana is an Accredited Trainer, Practitioner and Mentor. She specialises in Complex Issues, Supervision and Mentoring. She and her husband, Eddie, run The Emotional Health Centre in Sussex.