“Tell me what you know about the answer to your question.”
This is the response @drgailparker gives when (white) folks ask that common (often triggering) question of “How can I help?”
This. This is the yoga.
1. Instead of depending on the emotional labor of the person being asked the question, it holds a mirror up to the person asking.
2. There’s a curiosity & an invitation to go inside & self-study in that question—“What do you already know?” In yoga practice, this is our svādhyāya.
3. This response moves white folks away from the external & the default of ignorance (“I didn’t know so please tell me what to do, as long as it’s not too hard & you say it in a way that’s not angry because I’m totally an ally”)
We’ve been conditioned by dominant culture to want the right answer. Right away. Right now. This urgency comes from an inability to take a breath & to sit with discomfort.
But deep in our discomfort is a small seed of remembering—a remembering that I am capable of so much more than the stories I’ve been told & the box of comfort I live in. This box of quick fixes & exceptionalism is not just mine; the foundation was crafted out of bootstraps that my ancestors stole. If I examine the structure I might see that it has comforts, but it’s existence will always be what it was built for—separation. But it is not up to others to break down my wall. They did not build it.
It starts inside. Getting still & moving through the reactivity. Cultivating that seed of remembering. Compassionately deconstructing, piece by piece, my walls of white-body supremacy & conditioning so that I can show up without causing more harm.
There is no growth without discomfort just as there is no yoga (or union; yoking) without examining the ways we’ve been purposefully kept separate.
For some wisdom, please have a listen to @tracee_stanley and her podcast episode with @drgailparker
Dr. Parker’s book is in my resources list & is available for pre-order (& kindle).
I hope every yoga teacher finds their way to it.