Disclaimer: This post is written by a white woman with primarily other white folks in mind. While I am deeply invested in the benefit of altering felt sense for all populations, healing of this sort looks different for different populations. There are many great authors who address what I am calling felt sense for white, BIPOC, and other populations. Please reach out if you would like more information.
I stepped outside the apartment and immediately had a moment of pause. I didn’t understand what was being said around me, not speaking the language, I also couldn’t read the emotion clearly. I’d never been to this location, but it reminded me of other locations in which it had been necessary for me to stay with others in a prescribed local. Should I run alone? Should I go right or left? How far was safe?
Over the next week, I developed a new way of sensing what was going on around me. I familiarized myself with the language, and I garnered a bank of new sounds. I came to have a felt sense for the safety of this area just as much as in my home neighborhood. My brain cataloged facts and reasoning, gathering unique sounds and visuals to create a new felt sense of safety. This is healing at it’s best.
Healing is an integration of new data and information within the person who is growing. Healing is essentially an openness to learning, but at a felt sense level, rather than mere cognition. True healing occurs when information effects who you are, enabling a new “gut” reaction. It so alters how you experience the world, that it also creates a different reaction to those around you.
When I first stepped out of that apartment, my base survival instincts alerted me to lack of recognized data for determining safety. I had to slow my flight, fight, or freeze response down in order to allow space to reason out the situation. My friends were familiar with the area and hadn’t given me any warnings about going out alone, there were many other people meandering about, plus there was a plethora of other favorable data that needn’t be detailed here. Once I had cognitively determined my safety, I could begin to allow the audio and visual cues to retrain my brain. By the end of the week, the sights and sounds that had originally given me pause now had a beautiful, homey sound as I walked or ran along the streets.
In our quest to begin healing the racial, cultural, and experiential unrest, notice if there are areas where you can quiet that initial unnerved response. See if you can reason out the, almost always, positive intent of misunderstanding. Once you’ve gathered more data on the circumstances, interactions, or customs, begin to allow the cadence of those things inform your felt sense, effectively teaching your brain and body a new and beautiful song.
In this way, our communities, our workplaces, our neighborhoods will see true healing. This is healing that alters our perception of the world, and thereby, alters our reaction to the to it as well.
Photo Credit: Hanny Naibaho, https://unsplash.com/@hannynaibaho
We are aware of the magnitude of this subject matter and the inadequate brevity of this post. For more, please reference our podcasts, our 1Community groups, or feel free to email us at Uniquelythesame@mission1race.org.
We also wish to address our inability to consider issues of sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse in our discussions on developing understanding and oneness. If you are in an abusive situation of any kind, we encourage you to seek professional and other help; and to realize that this content does not necessarily apply to your circumstances.