black lives matter

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter. It’s really that simple. Except of course when it’s not.

Once we get past the simplicity of racism is wrong, the fight against racism becomes more complicated. We need to be willing to learn from people who are suffering from racism.

Sometimes it’s not simple because white folks don’t understand the details of systemic prejudice, how the system stacks up against blacks (and other people of color). That’s the easier part of complicated because that just takes educating yourself. Social media and the internet make it easy to connect with individuals, parents and organizations working for racial justice.  

And sometimes it’s complicated due to inner obstacles that keep us from experiencing the love in our hearts, making it easy to project blame on others, on the system or on the government, any place where we can pretend we have no part in it.

We have to do better

Have you ever been hurting and tried to explain how you feel to someone who just didn’t get it? Maybe didn’t seem to want to get it?

This happens in relationships. At best, it’s a difficult conversation. At worst, if it happens often enough, it creates a rupture.

Now imagine if the majority of your country’s population is not getting it. And not even trying to get it.

It’s hard enough when the person not getting it is a peer, a friend or a partner or a mate. It’s entirely different when that person has power over you, especially if they are charged with protecting you.

Many of us—maybe all of us—have been unfairly accused at some point, but for blacks, it’s on-going.

I am white. I’m no expert in racism. But I don’t need to be an expert to know where I stand: I am unequivocally anti-racism. Every piece of my heart tells me racism in any form is wrong. No discussion needed.

Yet I know, even with a strong lifelong commitment, I still could make a mistake, or miss racist implications in situations personal, social or political. I’m educating myself and remaining humble in the face of the epidemic of racism threatening our country.

Epidemic racism

It is up to each of us to heal this epidemic. Some of that, we’ll accomplish through changes in policies and laws, but a significant part of this change is an inside job.

We can create laws that are truly just and against racism, but racism isn’t only a matter of law. It’s a matter of heart.

Even as more of us, both private citizens and public servants, are beginning to listen, there is a critical piece each of us can do as individuals to move ourselves and our society forward.

Deep, lasting healing must include spiritual healing. Spiritual healing is needed to:

  • dissolve the roots of racism within each of us
  • recognize which actions will create racial justice, and take those actions
  • sustain our on-going efforts.

Now we’re seeing powerful momentum, but the creation of a more just society is a marathon, not a sprint.

Dissolving the roots of racism

Racism is both itself a deeply seated problem, and a particularly egregious symptom of another systemic problem: spiritual disconnection.

If you don’t instinctively know how wrong racism is, you’re not in touch with your heart. Not the physical organ beating in your chest, but your spiritual heart, your inviolable, timeless core.

That disconnection can be healed through spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation and Reiki. The goal of all spiritual practice is to bring you present in your heart, now, in this moment. But you have to actually practice.

No matter the color of our skin, in our hearts we are one. When we experience oneness, we are motivated to change. But to experience oneness, we have to actually practice.

Spiritual practices anchor you in your heart, that sacred inner space where animosity and wrong understanding give way to profound love and respect. As that transformation unfolds, you begin to see the changes you need to make as an individual so we can transform as a society. But you have to actually practice.

Spiritual practice helps you make the changes within that support lasting changes in your behavior. How do you start?

Meet yourself where you are

The door to transformation opens the moment you’re willing to sit with yourself and look inside.

You cannot correct a mistake you don’t know you’ve made or heal a wound you don’t admit you have.

As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Find the courage to look within and acknowledge your mistakes. It’s time to start accepting yourself, healing your hurt, and learning to do better.

Find that courage by turning within to your safe haven, your spiritual heart, where you discover the power to forgive yourself, to heal and to not simply change, but to transform.

Heal your broken heart

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

If you hate, you can heal.

If you’re fearful, you can heal.

If you’re angry, you can heal.

As we individually heal our hate, fear, rage and outrage, we gain the understanding needed to create a truly just society.

As we individually attend to our own need for spiritual support, it becomes more possible that together we can find solutions to racial injustice.

We each need to play our part. Healing our society starts with individual healing, making a commitment to ourselves and engaging in self healing. Self healing is your responsibility; no one can do that for you.

True self healing is a spiritual matter; that means it’s individual and personal. Our spirituality is the most intimate part of our lives. It’s the abode of our inner resources, where we discover purpose and meaning, and qualities such as gratitude and forgiveness, for ourselves and others. Our spirituality is how we feel about ourselves and about life itself.

It is through engaging with our spirituality that we can skillfully address the vulnerability of human life, discover poise in the midst of uncertainty, and uncover our power to transform ourselves and our world.

We are each responsible for developing a relationship with our spiritual selves. Spiritual practice is how we do that. You might already have a spiritual practice, such as prayer. Practice consistently and whole-heartedly.

Start at the beginning, with yourself, and your next steps have a solid foundation. We may or may not be able to change other people’s hearts and minds, but we definitely can change our own.

With Reiki practice, we start healing our hearts simply by placing our hands.

Reiki self practice makes a difference

I’m not saying Reiki self practice alone will end racism; of course not.

I am saying spiritual self care is a good place to start, and Reiki is a uniquely simple, accessible, effective spiritual practice, profoundly soothing and comforting, and flexible enough to be practiced even as we protest.

Reiki practice is gentle and simple; it evokes healing from within. There’s nothing to resist, especially when practicing on yourself. Reiki self practice can be useful in healing trauma.

When you self practice consistently and bring mindfulness and contemplative self inquiry to your practice, healing happens even faster.

If you’re not black and wondering about your next steps against racism, Reiki self practice can help you heal so you can listen and learn and correct your behavior, as needed.

And it will be needed. We can want to do the right thing and still do something not so aligned. Being rooted in your heart and paying attention means you’re more likely to make good choices, but change can be messy. When you make a mistake, Reiki self practice helps you stay humble and keep learning.

black lives matterChange is never easy

Change is always too slow or too fast. When anger fuels change, things can change faster, but there’s always a mess to clean up.

Maya Angelou said, “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Lasting change is made from that light that exists within each of us, a light that is more than the opposite of darkness.

When I saw this exquisite rose blossoming from behind bars, I realized that’s what self practice offers, the possibility to be resilient and bloom despite obstacles.

Do better

Let’s distinguish between being a racist and racist behavior.

If you’re a racist, you have a lot of work to do, and maybe not a lot of motivation to do it. I’ll leave you to work that out.

If you feel in your heart that you’re not racist, and you know black lives matter, realize it’s still possible to make a mistake or even exhibit racist behavior out of ignorance. It’s up to each of us to heal our hearts and remedy our ignorance. And to be humble in the process, because pride gets in the way of learning.

Even if you know you’re not a racist, it’s time to listen. When someone is hurting, listen. Don’t get defensive. Don’t try to fix. Listen.

Listening opens the possibility of healing. In your spiritual practice, you listen inwardly. That’s how you learn to listen to others.

Have difficult conversations

Difficult conversations can improve any relationship, taking it deeper, making it safer, helping everyone feel cherished. Gaining skill in having difficult conversations—and actually having them—enhances your life on many levels.

Before you dive in, take a moment to consider what makes any conversation difficult. The difficult part is staying present.

When you can stay present, when you have the connection to your heart and the skill, perseverance and dedication to truth and healing to stay present, you’re aware of oneness. In the recognition of oneness, there is spaciousness, tenderness, and all the time you need.

Black lives matter

Black lives matter. I am anti-racism. I might make a mistake, I might get confused in the moment and blunder, but I am committed to love, and to love unconditionally. I am committed to love as a transformational choice, even when love is not what’s coming at me.

Because if black lives don’t matter—or any life doesn’t matter—what does my life matter?

I stand by my black sisters and brothers to build a more loving, just world, one in which there is more support for more people than there is in today’s world. And I am honored to stand behind them as they courageously take the lead in this long overdue social and political change.

My Offering

online community Reiki self practiceIn early March 2020, seeing the oncoming viral pandemic and knowing people would need support, I began offering free online global Community Reiki Self Practice sessions. I saw people gripped by fear, anger, and hatred and offered three of my favorite quotes to contemplate, the same ones I’ve shared here. It occurred to me only later that all three are from black leaders.

We continue to practice community self Reiki on Tuesdays and Saturdays. These practice sessions are completely free and always will be. Everyone is welcome.

If you haven’t learned Reiki self practice, you can simply follow along and experience the benefit of laying-on-of-hands self care. Let’s come together to take better care of ourselves in community so we can take better care of one another moving forward.

Racism and Healing: Vera’s Story

Black Lives Matter is an Italian translation of this article you can print and share as is, without copying or changing the content or presentation in any way.

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40 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter”

  1. I 100% agree with you and deeply appreciate this article. I stand for equality, justice, and dismantling the systemic racism that this country was founded and what we all have been conditioned with.
    I am committed to not staying silent anymore and willing to make mistakes along the way if that is what it takes to bring this new world that is emerging to light.

    One area of discussion that I am looking for some insight or opinions on is the “we are all one” phrase.
    Of course, I know this to be the Truth and I do firmly believe and know that in my heart.
    The challenge I am having is when the term is used as a way of spiritual bypassing or other people in spiritual communities comment with “we are all one” or other ways of saying “all lives matter” when I bring up racism.
    Or even implying I am creating more separation by focusing on the topic and I should “rise above” it all (or something along those lines).

    Any advice on how to best approach this? I find I mostly ignore some of the comments, but that is not taking action or helping the situation.
    Thank you and many blessings to all!
    Any advice or

    1. Thank you for your comments, Jenna.

      There is no formula for having an uncomfortable conversation other than to stay present, respectful, loving and listening.

      Sometimes we are more concerned with being understood than with understanding. That can lead to defensiveness or looking for the “right way” that puts us above the discomfort. But that’s not helpful, or even real.

      Deciding to no longer be silent doesn’t mean it makes sense to engage people who aren’t interested in engaging. Be sage and choose your timing.

      More daily self Reiki practice is always a good idea in times of growth. I recommend at least 30 minutes a day.

      If someone says “all lives matter,” you could agree with them and qualify, something along the lines of, “Yes, of course, I totally agree with you on that, yet when one of my children is in need, I give her more time and attention and show more love until she gets back on her feet” with whatever details are true to your life.

      It’s a real trap to judge that someone else is “spiritually bypassing.” Isn’t it more helpful to be alert to our own tendencies and remain benevolent towards others?

  2. I was Born on a segregated army base in Arizona in 1944. There is not enough room in this comment box to hook together the dots of my life being born captive in dark skin. At 5, I started public school in Big Bear Lake California as the only black child in the school. I was pinched and called the “n” word. A word that I hadn’t heard before. I surmised it was not a good word. Children painted me white so I’d look like them. The teacher made them wash me but there were no explanations. I’m the first college graduate in my family. Tommie Smith was my classmate at San Jose State University. I began to read and hear about Civil Rights beyond a Jet and Ebony magazine. I was so proud to see my classmate hold up his fist at The ‘68 Olympics. I taught school for the Los Angeles School District for 42 years and have lived through 3 major uprisings. My first teaching position was in Watts after the riots. Each has changed our city but not enough and still I have hope. Last year I took my first trip through the South. I started at The Lorraine Motel where Dr. king was murdered. At the balcony, there is complete silence. People are very choked up. My pilgrimage took to the church in Birmingham where the four little girls were bombed. In Montgomery there is the National Museum for Peace and Justice Commemorating the thousands of lives lynched and murdered. I walked over the bridge in Selma, remembering the people that just wanted to vote and be Respected as Americans. Each of the 9 places that I visited had a special sitting place to meditate because what one sees is indescribably horrific. There is much needed action that our country will have to address for the reparation of what has happened to over 6 generations of enslaving people and the Economic oppression of people. Reiki and other spiritual programs have helped me in my journey to love myself and others. We are all of the same human race with many ethnicities. I’m humbled to read what is written by Pamela. I would highly suggest that one views, meditate and discuss the documentary “The 13th Amendment”. It’s available on YouTube and Netflix.

  3. Regina Goulding

    The floodgates have opened. Kind, generous, articulate, and smart people who are loved and respected are now fueling the fires with disinformation and fear. We can be the change that needs to seen in the world. A spiritual Reiki practice supports this and will help heal our vulnerable, beautiful, and sacred world. Thank you, Pamela for articulating this so well.

  4. Thank you for articulating this, Pamela. There is so much in the world that needs healing, but we have to begin with healing ourselves. Our spiritual practice gives us a way to do that.

  5. Beautiful article, Pamela. Like you said, we have to do better. I often find myself reflecting on you talking to us, in my first degree class a few years ago, about what the world would look like if everyone practiced self-Reiki. As we know, peace begins with inner peace. I stand against racism. I stand against injustice. I stand for equality. I stand for love.

  6. Bonnie Freirich

    Thank you Pamela for so wisely and with love sharing the truth of what is and what can and must be. And the how of connecting with our hearts and being present to our black and brown sisters and brothers. Your words helps fan the flame within me to show up more again and again. I too stand for anti-racism and for love for all.

  7. Thank you, Pamela. Your words of encouragement are a beacon of light in a tumultuous time. We must stay the course knowing compassion and love are the great healing forces.

  8. Undoing racism is a major step in humanity’s evolution. I stand against racism .. I stand for listening .. compassion understanding .. justice for all beings .. thank you for your insights ??

  9. Thank you. I don’t consider myself a racist. I have black friends that I value highly. However, I also think it’s almost impossible to grow up in the South, especially in segregated communities, and not absorb racism almost by osmosis. Your writing was helpful in many ways, but especially in suggesting a place to start.

  10. Well and beautifully stated, Pamela. I stand with you . We need to help warm and soften the stone cold hearts that still will cling to their racist beliefs. There’s no place for that now, or ever. Thank you!

  11. This article is a MUST READ ! It covers every aspect in the most logical and heartfelt manner. I always thought I was anti-racist, but am finding racism is so embedded in my DNA I need to take a deeper look, learn more and take a more active stand for anti-racism. Offering Reiki to myself and to others is where I can start. Thank you so much for your Tuesday and Saturday Reiki and your wise words. So appreciate your work.

  12. Thank you, Pamela, for stepping up and writing this important post. I stand with you. I stand against racism. And I stand for one unified world, where all beings know respect, love and equality. May this be true for animals, plants, trees, air, waters…. may this become the way of being for all creation.

  13. Carol Zimmerman-Shaich

    Pamela,
    This was wonderful and so beautifully said. I thank you for all the good you share with us and the world. Change can happen with more people like you around.
    Many thanks,
    Carol Zimmerman-Shaich

  14. Thank you so much for sharing with the online Reiki community who is listening. I too stand against racism and for love.
    Love and light to all forever.

  15. Kristine Baker

    I read this after my Blessed Boundaries practice and whole heartedly agree. I was brought up in a home that held no prejudices. People are people, colour does not matter. What is in their heart mattered. Someone asked me what I would do if my daughter dated a black person, a considerably older person, or any other type of person. I responded that I didn’t care if they had horns and a tail. If they were kind to my daughter and had a loving heart…that’s what mattered.

    1. Thank you Pamela.
      Yes, it’s time for change. We have a lot of work to do.
      I want to share something I read recently. It is a good reminder.
      “No matter how open-minded, socially conscious, anti-racist I think I am, I still have old, learned hidden biases that I need to examine.
      It is my responsibility to check myself daily for my stereotypes, prejudices and ultimately discrimination.”

  16. This year has opened my eyes and heart to many issues that need change. With Reiki I have felt a shift in how I see my world. Thank you Pamela for showing me how important self-Reiki is.

  17. Pamela, thank you for your words and generous action. I intend to learn more and listen more. I commit to practicing daily self Reiki. And I pray for equality and unity.

  18. Carol Garlington

    Thank you Pamela for this heartful writing and for offering a way out of spiritual disconnection. Self practice is the key.

  19. Your candor exudes the courage and demonstration of Love that is required to adjust the balance of justice and equality in America. The collective consciousness of our government, leaders and citizens must begin to atone if we are ever to realize that we are one.

    Thank you for your willingness to be transparent.

  20. Thank you for speaking on this issue Pamela, it’s so very necessary in our community. Too often I’ve found many have struggled with the discomfort and they choose to bypass the existence of this issue and/or the need for healing. Reiki can surely go a long way in facilitating the healing needed to make a lasting impact and positive change. Thank you again for speaking out and assisting others to find their way through this beautiful practice.

  21. A beautifully expressed, heart felt article. The analogy of how we feel when our hurt is not acknowledged or understood by our own close circle is something many can relate to I feel and opens the door to beginning to understand how the BIPOC community can feel when their ongoing pain is brushed aside or made light of.

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