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Episode 153 What Am I Doing About It?

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Release Date: 02/15/2021

Episode 161 Hilary Carr Jones, social worker, writer show art Episode 161 Hilary Carr Jones, social worker, writer

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Hilary Carr, my beloved aunt. Hilary is a Social Worker, Writer and our family Heart-Storian! I left in a minute of pre-show dialogue where I explain this new word I made up for her. I also want to prepare you for our spotty WiFi connection - as Hil says: it’s the impact of living in the woods of Maine. Sometimes Hilary’s word are slowed down, stretched like taffy and then sped up, a tad garbled, so I did my best to edit those awkward moments, trusting that the quality of our conversation will come through. Raising 5 wonderful children, working as a Social Worker in...

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Episode 160 Patrick Heffernan, yoga teacher, actor, dancer show art Episode 160 Patrick Heffernan, yoga teacher, actor, dancer

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Patrick Heffernan. Patrick is a skilled & gifted yoga teacher, actor, dancer and impassioned human. Don’t you love it when someone you love and respect introduces you to someone they love and respect and you immediately understand why they care for each other and feel blessed to join in the love fest! Well that is what I felt when introduced Patrick Heffernan into my life. Thank you, Shawna! Celebrating your kindred spirit sibling-hood with Patrick and delighting in the integrity, heart and humor you both infuse into your exceptional yoga classes and into life. I...

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Episode 159 Robert Episode 159 Robert "Zulu" Whitaker

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Robert “Zulu” Whitaker. Zulu was released from prison in early March after serving 38 years. When my dear friend, Tarik Greene, brought Zulu with him to pick up furniture that my husband and I were donating to a new residency that MADE Transitional Services recently opened, I was so moved by Zulu’s kindness. Within a few minutes of meeting this gentle, respectful man, I invited Zulu to be a podcast guest: I wanted to provide him a forum to tell his story. And despite his nervousness, his shaking knees, Zulu began to unpack his story. I am not an investigative...

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Episode 158 Take A Break show art Episode 158 Take A Break

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

I took a break last week and didn’t post an episode. You may not have noticed, and that’s okay. I know how busy life can be, how full many of our lives are and how hard it is to keep up with all that is in front of us. What I did notice was a different energy within myself when taking a break last week. I was kinder, gentler to myself. How lovely! An old energy that I am letting go of is the judgment and rigidity that sounded something like this: “You have to post an episode every week, you need to be consistent, it’s confusing for listeners if you skip a week.” Mmmm, not sure any...

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Episode 157 Kate Holby, co-founder of Ajiri Tea show art Episode 157 Kate Holby, co-founder of Ajiri Tea

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Kate Holby. Kate, together with her sister, Sara, and the appreciated support of their parents, started a small business 12 years ago, called Ajiri Tea Company. The Swahili translation of the word “Ajiri” means ‘to employ’ and that is exactly what the Holby sisters have done. Ajiri sources tea from small-scale farms in Western Kenya and employs 60 women in the Kenyan region to hand make all the packaging, using dried bark from banana trees. Ajiri asked the tea farmers and women where the profits should go, and they all agreed they wanted profits to be invested in...

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Episode 156 Cheryl Seeley, educator, doula show art Episode 156 Cheryl Seeley, educator, doula

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Cheryl Seeley. Cheryl is an Early Childhood Educator, Director of an After-School Arts Program and a trained Doula. It’s remarkably touching to hear about the countless children and families over the past 20 years, that she has advocated for and wrapped in her loving embrace. I admired Cheryl’s courage to step out of her comfort zone and speak up about two terrifying racial assaults. She shares the context behind what pushed her to post a personal statement publicly, regarding these seemingly unrelated attacks on 2 Black men: Christian Cooper and George Floyd. Raised in...

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Episode 155 Patty Forbes, psychotherapist show art Episode 155 Patty Forbes, psychotherapist

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Patty Forbes. In addition to being an exceptional psychotherapist, Patty is a dear friend who graciously invited me into the dying process when her beloved husband, Wayne Pedzwater, was struggling with stomach cancer 16 years ago. Wayne was a gifted, respected bass player, incredibly inspiring human being, who taught all of us who knew him, so much about living life fully, and at the all too young age of 48, about dying with dignity. Patty describes what she calls “The Gift in the Black Box”, all the life lessons that accompanied her deep loss. Patty understands what it...

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Episode 154 Equipped With Crampons show art Episode 154 Equipped With Crampons

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Two weeks after our 20-inch snow storm, the snow has been walked on, patted down, rained on, thawed and frozen over once again. My snowy path has transformed into an icy, crunchy, crusty, frozen path. Thank goodness for a pair of crampons a friend gave me about a month ago. It reminds me of putting on an old pair of galoshes, those rubber overshoes to protect our feet from rain. My new crampons have a rubber outline that fits over my boots, with spiked iron chains that cover the sole of my boot to prevent me from slipping on ice and snow. How appropriate for this week’s journaling from...

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Episode 153 What Am I Doing About It? show art Episode 153 What Am I Doing About It?

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Today we enter Week Three of Black History Month. I am moved by all the tributes on television and social media to Black artists, activists, trailblazers and truthsayers. May these tributes be infused in us, not just this month, but throughout the year, throughout our lives. Let us stay aware and awake to the courage and sacrifices made, as we all do our part to contribute to cultivating true racial justice. In honor of Black History Month, I’ve decided to do more inner work on racism in order to face my white privilege and take responsibility on a deeper level to dismantle white supremacy....

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Episode 152 Snowy Path show art Episode 152 Snowy Path

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

This is the second week of Black History Month and I am entering Week Two of my reading and journaling of “Me and White Supremacy”. We had nearly two feet of snow this past week and I found my snow walks in the woods to be a helpful place to process some of the thoughts that surfaced for me. I ventured out last Monday after 12 hours of snowfall. Oh how inviting! The snow was magical, quiet, a perfect setting to be present to the peaceful beauty around me, while letting thoughts about white supremacy, my white supremacy emerge. As I was sorting though these memories, the wooded trail had...

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Today we enter Week Three of Black History Month. I am moved by all the tributes on television and social media to Black artists, activists, trailblazers and truthsayers. May these tributes be infused in us, not just this month, but throughout the year, throughout our lives. Let us stay aware and awake to the courage and sacrifices made, as we all do our part to contribute to cultivating true racial justice. In honor of Black History Month, I’ve decided to do more inner work on racism in order to face my white privilege and take responsibility on a deeper level to dismantle white supremacy. Author Layla Saad provides a very helpful guide in her book “Me and White Supremacy” as I continue to read and dive into her prompts for meaningful journaling.

Toni Morrison’s powerful words years ago when interviewed by Charlie Rose, took white supremacy to task by emphasizing that racism is a white person’s responsibility to address.“If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is white people have a very, very serious problem. And they should start thinking about what they can do about it. Take me out of it.”

Racism is crazy, it is a neurosis, a cancer that will continue to metastasize in this country unless we, white people do our part to face it, be uncomfortable, inconvenienced and take responsibility for dismantling it. We have a serious problem, a very, very serious problem. What are we going to do about it?

One concrete thing I am doing about it is letting the journal prompts from “Me and White Supremacy” take root. Having just completed Week Two in Saad’s book, I was grateful to reflect on the topics of Anti-Blackness, Racial Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation. This book and these journal prompts call me to go within, to stop making it about other people. Who am I? How do I respond? Can I find meaningful ways to engage with other white people about our race, about our responsibility in creating, sustaining and benefiting from white privilege?  Can I stop my mental gymnastics that prevent me from seeing my own race or what my race has done to Black, Indigenous People of Color?

This past year I’ve also added Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), those working for equal justice and prison reform, social justice activists, enlightened political and spiritual leaders, those terrorized by police brutality and white supremacy to my daily Metta meditation. I think of these individuals and groups of people everyday, holding them close to my heart. I typically say these meditations while walking up to the top of Hook Mountain, but if I am not at the mountain, I make sure to say this wherever I am: sitting on my meditation cushion, walking in the woods, by the river, skiing, biking, wherever…

This is a small, humble way I personally take responsibility for my thoughts and beliefs. As Layla Saad says: “Create the change the world needs by creating change within yourself.”I take this very, very serious problem of racism to heart and will continue to create change within myself. May you be inspired to do your inner work.

Check out the links below to hear Toni Morrison’s interview with Charlie Rose and access the book “Me and White Supremacy”. Enjoy the podcast!


Links:
Toni Morrison clip with Charlie Rose
“Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad
Good Ancestor Podcast