Learning to Manage Grief and Racial Trauma
Joining me on the podcast today is a dear friend who is an Anti-Racism Consultant and Therapist. He’s been doing the work helping people deal with grief and racial trauma for more than 20 years. He is uniquely positioned to acknowledge what is going on in many people’s heads and give us action steps to continue to show up during this incredibly difficult time.
So many people are suffering right now. Between the global health pandemic and the scourge that is rampant racism here in America, people are suffering. And more than that, they are angry that the world changed without their permission and they are struggling to name what is going on with them.
We are most in trouble when we’re struggling with what used to be—and our desire to have things as they were before. That is gone.
In this episode we discussed:
- The different ways that people are grieving right now, it’s not just loss of a loved one.
- With the global pandemic, what other emotions are wearing us down in addition to grief?
- What can we do now to deal with grief about the current state of things?
- The main thing we do that saps our power and keeps us stuck.
- How and why Black people are operating at less than their full energy.
- How racial trauma shows up in our bodies and what to do about it.
- How to improve the results you get from meditation.
- How to tell if you are managing your racial trauma well or need to seek additional support.
Who is Ray Fisher?
Ray Fisher, MSW, LCSW, PCC is a psychotherapist, executive coach and facilitator who has worked with a variety of individuals’, families’ and couples. He is a relationship expert who utilizes this knowledge throughout his therapeutic and coaching engagements.
He has over 20 years of clinical experience and over 10 years coaching leaders, Ray’s style is forthcoming, connected, personable, and grounded in research based techniques focused on helping individuals, families, and couples reach their stated goals.
He holds a Master’s degree from Smith College School for Social Work (where he is also an adjunct professor), attended the Teleos Leadership Institutes Coach Development Training Program, is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF), and certified in the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) through the Hay Group.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Contact Ray via email, Ray at Raythetherapist dot com
- Journey through Trauma: A Trail Guide
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
- The Calm meditation app
- The Headspace meditation app
Other Anti-Racism Resources:
- White Marketers, Where are You?
- Podcasts about Race you Need To Hear
- How to Be an Anti-Racist
- Anti-Racism Resources for White People
"Feeling good during this crazy time doesn't mean that you're not aware and feeling what's bad. You can do both. ~ Ray Fisher
"Feeling good is a form of protest and rebellion during this time. I refuse to let the pandemic or rampant racism steal all my joy. ~ Allegra Sinclair
"We are most in trouble when we’re struggling with what used to be—and our desire to have things as they were before. That is gone." ~ Ray Fisher
"Everything we do and experience is a lesson. Ask yourself what is this lesson trying to teach you? Then you can move yourself out of the story." ~ Ray Fisher
"When we talk about grief, we have to create more space in ourselves so we can hold more and process out what we need." ~ Ray Fisher
Allegra Sinclair 0:03
Welcome to the your confidence self podcast with Allegra Sinclair. Get ready to punch fear in the throat and gain confidence like never before. I help corporate women get the confidence to ask for the job they want, and do the work they love. Isn't it time you got unstuck and showed the world how fabulous you are? Hey, this is Allegra Welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. Today is definitely a big girl panties type show because we are going deep. And today we're talking about grief, but in a different way, then you may have heard it discussed in other places. We're talking about grief, and how you grieve situations and circumstances in life. And we're also going to dive into grief and racial trauma. So my guest today is Ray Fisher, and he is a psychotherapist and executive coach. And a facilitator who's worked with a variety of families and couples. Because he's a relationship expert. He uses all of the knowledge that he's gained throughout his career in order to help them move forward to address what is and then move towards what they would like. He has over 20 years of clinical experience and over 10 years, coaching leaders, his style is so accessible, and so warm and non judgmental. And it's grounded in research that's based on techniques that focus on helping all of us reach our stated goals. I am super excited to dive into this very touchy, but very important subject with my dear friend Ray Fisher. Welcome to the show, right?
Unknown Speaker 1:38
Hey libre, how are you?
Allegra Sinclair 1:40
I am good. I'm excited to talk with you. But yes,
Unknown Speaker 1:43
I am good.
Allegra Sinclair 1:43
And it's funny because I feel weird saying I'm good when so many things in the world are not. But I feel like my being good is a little bit of rebellion. is a little bit of protest. So
Unknown Speaker 1:56
I'm good. Yes. Good. Yes. Now there is a lot of going on. But being good in this going on doesn't mean that you're not aware and feeling what's bad, as well. So that's a good thing.
Allegra Sinclair 2:10
It is. But it's so funny how we tend to see things in black and white. Right? So when you have to be either or so one of the things I learned in coach training, which I found fascinating was who says it has to be either or why can't there be something in the middle?
Unknown Speaker 2:26
Well, isn't that the beauty of life? Right? Like, really? There are two sides, right? We're both both sides. Like we're good. Yeah, like yes, as this goes on.
Allegra Sinclair 2:37
I think it's particularly apt for people of color, when we say they're good in bed, because so often we're wearing a mask in most of our lives. But I'm jumping the gun. So let me back up just a minute, a couple months ago, when the pandemic kicked off. I think we were talking about this before the show, and I'm naturally an introvert. So when they told me that I had to shelter in place, I was like
Unknown Speaker 3:00
Allegra Sinclair 3:02
I will continue to do many of the things that I have been doing because I'm happy alone, right, and I have everything that I need and the things that I don't have somebody will bring them to me. So, but what I noticed pretty quickly was whether it was talking with clients or family members, there were people who are really suffering, they were angry that their world had changed, and no one asked their permission. And they really were struggling with not being able to name what was going on with them. Have you been seeing that as well?
Unknown Speaker 3:35
Absolutely, absolutely. As you know, I think what was really interesting about the pandemic, and not what I was what I hopefully help my clients with and coaches with was, I found that when they were most in trouble was when they were struggling with what used to be. So there so there does desire to have it as it used to be. And that's fine. Right? And so to have them pivot, and to ask themselves the question or ask the universe, God, whoever, whoever one looks at what what about me? Do I need to leave behind? And why is it has this come from me? Now? Does that make sense? what I'm saying?
Allegra Sinclair 4:24
Yes. I was trying not to talk while you were talking. But you can see me but I'm waving my hand. Because I think the challenge to change the challenge to grow always includes in it. I'm comfortable where I am, even if where I am right now hurts me. I'm terrible with the pain because it's familiar. And now you want me to go to this different place and you didn't ask me. Right? There's a lot of that feels like a five year old, kind of like stamping their feet. So for people who are like I'm not sheltering in place or I'm not social distance. Or I'm not wearing a mask all of these different things we're seeing. I understand it. But it's still troubling.
Unknown Speaker 5:07
Right? And I mean, go ahead. No, I'm sorry. It's such an acting out. Like it's such an acting out around. If you think about where developmentally if I put kids, you know, don't five year doesn't want to do anything. And they stay on their feet. Things say no, you know, all those things
Allegra Sinclair 5:34
are allowed to throw things. I was unfamiliar with that.
Unknown Speaker 5:37
Oh, yeah, they're
Unknown Speaker 5:39
not in my house.
Allegra Sinclair 5:43
If I had thought about throwing some things in my house, I wouldn't have thrown in a second time. But I do. I do understand what you mean. But yes, this rebellion we're seeing is people who are grieving the life that we had before. And yes, of, well, I know, I have learned a lot about grief recently, haven't I, I didn't want to, I want to stay at my feet and not learn about it. But one of the things that I have learned is in that first stage, when you're just like, why I don't get it, like, what is that denial?
Unknown Speaker 6:14
Is that one of the stages? That is one?
Allegra Sinclair 6:17
So um, I had a, I have a friend who when my mom first pass would like, send me notes, hey, here are the stages of grief, where do you think you are, I was like, This child is ready to meet Jesus. And she's a me woman again. I love her, but I'm gonna have to love her at a distance. Because ximedus asking me like there's a schedule. So what I know about grief is that there is no specific time. And they grieve individually. But it's interesting in this case, because we are all grieving of what the world looked like before. Right, so we're looking at time when I'm gonna try not to talk about the present. But we're all grieving a time when there was different types of leadership versus the type that we're seeing now. So tell me
Unknown Speaker 7:02
one thing. I'm sorry, go ahead. No, I just want to make that bigger. This is bigger than that. This is bigger than leadership, this is bigger than I could. Not only is then grief there, but there's a huge amount of fear, because we don't know what's going to happen. And I say it's bigger, because what we're sort of seeing, and this is this is also part of the grief is that the systems that we have in place don't work. Right. And so there's a major restructuring going on, not only in our systems, but in ourselves. Oh, that was good. That's good enough to tweet that is.
Allegra Sinclair 7:45
never listen to the show. Yeah, I'm like this all the time. I think that is so delicious, in that the things that we always thought, well, even if I'm not thinking about them right now, but I know I can rely on x that is broken. Yes. So it is grief on so many levels. And I think one of the things that helps people is acknowledging that you're grieving, and I don't see a lot of people doing that. And I definitely don't see a lot of people of color. And most of the time, I'm surrounded by women of color. So I don't see a lot of women of color, who are willing to name what they're going through, right? We think that we have to like put on our cape and keep, you know, looking good, doing good showing up. And when you're in the midst of grief, you can't do that. Because here's the thing, grief is disrespectful, and it will wait. So you decide to try to ignore it for like, I don't know, whatever period of time, it will wait very patiently. And then at the most inconvenient time. It'll be like, Hey, remember me? I'm still here, you haven't dealt with me. So let me just rip some stuff up right now. So that you will deal so yes, kinds of things can people do right now to deal with just that grief around the different life based on the pandemic? Because we're going to touch on another aspect of that grief. What kinds of things can people do today? To better handle this grief?
Unknown Speaker 9:15
One, you have to identify that you're grieving. Right? Right. Like you have to. You know, I'm a big sister and my big sister quietly. Yes, meaning that I sit and contemplate a lot. I'll tell you a little funny story about that. I meet with a group of friends and we do all this sort of like coaching work with each other. And since last summer, I kept saying, I just want to walk away find a cave, and I just want to sit there quietly, for as long as possible. Because I felt like something wanted to come something wanted to emerge and independently Get out my wish, oh, no, I got my kids. And it was a beautiful thing. And I say that because what I realize is, we don't sit still long enough to figure out what's happening. What am I feeling? What am I experiencing? What do I need to do? Right? So that's the thing about grief. Right? I have to sit with this thing, this pain, this sadness, this denial, whatever it is, I have to sit with it enough to learn what it's trying to tell me. That's good stuff right there.
Allegra Sinclair 10:47
We're going to repeat that for the people in the back. That was really good stuff. And it's funny that until you said that I hadn't thought about the pandemic as a way to slow us down, or a big city. As like a big sitter, I was that but, um, I love that. Because I'm seeing some people taking the opportunity to do all sorts of things, right, just activity. So there's people decluttering, and there's a lot of people, I say, when things feel out of control, we control the pudding out of the things that we feel we have left to control. I've seen a mere amount of that. But I have also seen people saying, I've always wanted to learn how to play the piano. So they like taking classes online, or I've always wanted to learn whatever and using this as an opportunity for some sort of personal development. So that is interesting. Kind of the forced sitting. The forest route, right, the forest, reflecting that is deep way so that one of the first things we can do to help battle the grief is acknowledge it, acknowledge it, and then don't fight it. I heard you say sit with it. Deal with him. Is there a third step?
Unknown Speaker 11:57
Yeah, let me let me go back to the sitting with it to one of the really important things about when we're sitting with grief or any other feeling. The tendency is the field of feeling, and then tell a story about the field. So yeah, let me say, so. My aunt died last year, I was really sad. And the story that I would tell myself about that was four months before that, she sent me a card saying, you know, we're not going to we're not going to be on this earth for much longer. So you need to come see us. And I did. So the story. This is a true story. So the story is, you know, not only am I sad, but now I'm shamed because I didn't, I didn't go see my odds. Right. So, so I then I get into the shame. And never process the sadness. Right, so I need to stay in. I'm really just sad, because she's no longer here. Right?
Allegra Sinclair 13:09
I didn't know that. So I'm sorry. But the interesting thing in that is, why do we tell this is telling the story delaying dealing with the emotion? Or is the story, a different emotion? What's
Unknown Speaker 13:22
going on there? This? I don't you know, it's very interesting. And that story, shapes us. But my experience is the story keeps us from growing from. And let me let me back up for a second, I may just give a little philosophy of how I see how I've learned these things, or how I'm how I come to understand this whole thing a little bit better. Everything that we do experience happen says is a lesson. If we can hold that everything that happens to us is a lesson, then the question is, what is it trying to teach? Right? So then I can move myself out of this out of the story. Because what the story is doing is just keeping me it's sort of like running in mud. It's just keeping me stuck because I'm in a story. And the story is not really that important. Right? What's really important by the feelings, and what are they trying to tell me? Huh, that's really good.
Allegra Sinclair 14:40
So it seems that the story is like putting a bandaid on something that actually needed stitches. Mm hmm. mean, they also think, I don't know you're the expert, but I also think the story removes us from response. ability for whatever happened. So if there's a story around something, I'm not talking about your case in particular, but I'm saying if I didn't get a job, I didn't get a promotion. And the story I'm telling myself is I didn't get the promotion because the boss is racist. Yes, that may very well be true. But what can I do about that? Right? So staying stuck in that particular story, keeps me from dealing with the fact that there may be racism in my workplace, and how do I work around that? How do I succeed? In spite of? So that stops me from growing? And it removes my power?
Unknown Speaker 15:35
Yes. Yes, exactly. So if you think if you think about all of this as energy, right, we're all energy. So let's go with the racism. So I don't get the I don't get the promotion. So therefore, so then what happens? I get really angry. I don't express the anger to somebody. So now I'm holding it. Right. So now, and not only do I not have 100% energy anymore, I'm also using 20% to hold that 25% at bay, right? I'm not gonna go off on my boss thing, right? Yes. So now I'm only functioning with 60% of the energy that's available.
Allegra Sinclair 16:23
So how powerful does that feel?
Unknown Speaker 16:25
Exactly? Right. How can you be on 60% of you? Exactly. And so let me just flip that again. So then, really, if you think about people of color, and especially give a big shout out to black people. Look at what we've done on 60% of our energy. Hmm, yes.
Allegra Sinclair 16:50
Yes. Wow. That's something so elevating about that, and something devastating at the same time?
Unknown Speaker 16:59
Yeah, I mean, yes. And, yeah, like, yeah. Oh, my
Allegra Sinclair 17:05
gosh, think about all the amazing things that we have done. Because as I sit here, I'm just awash in images of all of our amazing accomplishments. And then, because of these last couple weeks, I'm immediately thinking, can you imagine what we would have seen, if not, for the 40% drain on our energy source? So that's why it is elevating and exciting. And I want to dance if I had any rhythm, which you know, I do not. There is
Unknown Speaker 17:33
a part of me that's
Allegra Sinclair 17:34
like, Oh, my gosh, that's amazing. And that is a part of me. That's like, Oh, my gosh, I want to hurt someone, because you don't even so, great racing the pandemic are combining for me right now. Right. And I keep telling people, racism is the other pandemic. Yes. This going on at this moment? It is just as deadly. And we're kind of dealing with to only this one, no one's working on a virus. I mean, what do you call it? No. One's working on. Racism, if
Unknown Speaker 18:01
only Right. Exactly. Exactly. And, and just, you know, I know, we're talking about grief. But and to say that also add to that is that I have a feeling. And that what you just said about white people is the switch. Right? I think that's the term I think that's why there's so much. So much pent up anger that's being released out into the universe, right, that's what these uprisings are about, right? Like this. All this intergenerational anger and hurt and sadness and shame that has just been held for centuries. And grief, and grief, right?
Allegra Sinclair 18:45
And grief on top of that sucks salad. That was all that you just thought. And it's no wonder we're seeing, but are there different strategies for dealing with grief? If it's based on racial trauma? And it's interesting, and I want you to talk a little bit about why you call it racial trauma. So let me just as neg question, because I'm good for asking at one time. So talk about why you're calling it racial trauma versus just racism or how we're currently acting towards one another.
Unknown Speaker 19:14
Right, right. Right. So, you know, there's been a big push about around trauma lately and about how trauma impacts our lives. You know, if you think about it, no, you think about trauma. That example people use is you've been in an accident, everybody's been in that accident. And every time you get in your car after the accident for a while, every time you put on the brakes, you have you know, you have a flashback, and it's not necessarily it's actually not a flashback, it's actually a reliving of the trauma, like the trauma lives in your body. Right? So it's not a flashback, right? It's an actual real living of that moment. See, go through them over and over. Over and over. and over again. And so if you don't do something about it, it just lives in your body. So I, you know, I have no, no data on when we started calling this racial trauma. But I want to say in the 2000s, that it started to people start to talk about the how racism impacts black people. And the trauma that lives in our bodies. There's another part I want to add is intergenerational trauma, which was, you know, which was born out of research around host Holocaust survivors. And what they found was that 234 generations later, Jewish people whose parents or family members had been in the Holocaust, were experiencing issues related to trauma, even though they hadn't experienced that. So, right,
Allegra Sinclair 21:05
right, so like, you can pass down a predisposition of high blood pressure, you can also flat pass down your trauma.
Unknown Speaker 21:13
Right? So if you think actually, if you think about black people in America, I love that you use this medical thing. If you think about those medical things, as a racial trauma, we will have you have a different outlook on what's actually happening. Right, it's not that we just eat bad. We, it's like literally that there's in our bodies, the memory of enslavement.
Allegra Sinclair 21:44
Who that is deep. And the thing that is so striking about that is, I had a very interesting reaction to the video of I know her name is not Karen Bumble, call Karen. I had a really interesting reaction to Karen in Central Park, who was weaponizing, her voice against a black man who asked her to follow the rules. And the interesting thing to me was, I'm very visual. So I'm really careful about what I expose myself to write, I expose myself to high quality, good content on purpose, because I know how my brain works. But I got that one, unawares, I didn't expect to be seeing it. And then all of a sudden, I saw that. And I physically felt scared to death, like I was him. Mm hmm. And I didn't understand that because it was not me. I don't know him. And what you just talked about explains it to me, because all of us have pieces of that in our bodies.
Unknown Speaker 22:39
Allegra Sinclair 22:41
I think was that Snoop Dogg tweeted the other day, that we are the grandchildren of the slaves, you could not kill?
Unknown Speaker 22:48
Yes, I loved that
Allegra Sinclair 22:49
so much. I want to put it on the cupcake and eat it.
Unknown Speaker 22:53
But that's my other affirmation, right? That goes without alarm. So I didn't mean to cut you off. I just want to say this. But that goes with the other part about our energy and how wonderful we could be, we must as black people, and I know everybody is on this call, but we must as black people remember who we are. That's part of our healing. That's part of the grief healing, we have to remember who we are. We are the descendants of people who were stolen, looted from their countries from their continent. They were chained at the bottom of ships, shoulder to shoulder living in feces and urine, fan, some subsistence level food for months and then adored, and the humiliation of slavery. We are those people, we are from those people. Do you understand what I'm saying?
Unknown Speaker 23:53
Unknown Speaker 23:56
that, that holding that, that's how, that's how we get through all of this stuff. Like that's how we deal with grief. That's how we deal with any of the sort of issues that we have whatever mental health issue it is, we have to remember that we are strong and capable. And that this we will get through.
Allegra Sinclair 24:19
That was so good. I can't wait to hear this episode. So I can just listen to this all over. I have goosebumps That was so good. Because often. And in the last couple of weeks again, I'm really careful what I'm exposing myself to because I'm too vulnerable and I cannot be walking I cannot be a bowl of rage. Yes, I have spent a lot of years being angry about a lot of different things, and I didn't like it. Once I realized that I could choose differently. I'm very protective of that. But when you're talking about how we need to remember who we are, I think we went through a period where we wanted to forget about Where we had been, we wanted to believe that we had risen above that, or we had put that behind us. And one of the things I noticed from the time President Barack Obama started running for president was it was not far enough away.
Unknown Speaker 25:13
Allegra Sinclair 25:15
People who I had known for a very long time. Hello, you know, we grew up in a predominantly white, very affluent community. And I had known lots of people of all different races, because that's how the area was right wing. People who I had known my whole life responded to Barack Obama's candidacy in ways that blew my mind. I'm like, Oh, no. I thought we had left this, it is not far enough away, because their response was, so I was like, Facebook is the great. I don't like Facebook for a number of reasons. But it did help me see who some people in my circle really were. And that was important information to for me to know. But I think we went through this period where we were kind of almost apologetic about our past. And I love that you just gave that a complete spin and lit it on fire. You're like, remember who you are. We survived x. And we are killing it right now, with 60% of our capacity, because of what is in us. That is a very different posture than I was a slave. Right, the story that we tell about descending from I was thinking about this. It's something I'm still working for. But I think to myself, why is my mom not here? No, no, that's a part of the grief. Maybe we should counsel? No, I love you. We can't counsel, you need to counsel with somebody. Right? You need to work with someone who's not like a family member. And I'm like, No, I'd be playing and talking to you about chocolate, we would not do good works again. I know that the fact that I'm still holding on to that question means I'm not done. I'm okay with that. But I'm just saying, yeah. But I thought to myself, my mom remembers whites only fountains is not far enough away for me to act like that's not affecting me still. My grandmother, grandmother was not alert, allowed rather, to learn how to read and write she learned in secret. Yes, it is not that far away. And for a lot of younger people. So I'm interested in your thoughts about the intergenerational trauma. I'm interested in how young people are responding to this, because prior to the last couple of weeks, and definitely prior to the protests, I thought that a lot of young people of color that I saw talk about it, and I'm not going to name a particular person, but you know, somebody said that slavery was a choice. I'm not going to. But people who were younger, who talked about that, I'm like, do they not get what we went through? Right? Why are they acting like it couldn't have happened to them. And I was think the story I was telling myself was that they didn't want to internalize that that had happened, because they didn't like it. But think about how much more powerful it would be if they did internalize that and use that as fuel, which is what you're talking about, right? How can I be a less than when I'm standing here with you through the best, and the worst that you had to offer me? And I'm still standing here, and I'm surviving, and prospering. And I have joy, and I have a love. How can I not feel amazing, when that is how I'm standing here?
Unknown Speaker 28:15
Right. But the problem is, that's how that's how whiteness works. Like, when I use the term whiteness, what I'm talking about is white, white supremacy, like the sort of institutional and structural structures and how it also impacts itself in our bodies. Right? So the story is, we should be ashamed that we were slaves, right. And we should be ashamed that, you know, we were poor, and still majority poor or whatever. But in actuality, we should, we should actually hold a lot of pride about who we are, how we manage to hold this country accountable. And to indoor, everything that this country has thrown at us.
Allegra Sinclair 29:12
Unknown Speaker 29:14
So it's actually it's a it's actually a way that white supremacy keeps us disempowered. Right, it's because they control the narrative.
Allegra Sinclair 29:26
To a great extent. Yes. Right. And if they can't control it, they tried to kill it.
Unknown Speaker 29:31
Exactly. Exactly. So it's, it's really, it's really hard to sort of, like even watching the news, like even the news, like it's one thing to call it looting. It's another thing to call it a uprising.
Allegra Sinclair 29:45
Yes. It's one thing to call protesters, people who need a little understanding and something altogether different called them savages or thugs. Exactly. And if we were to say if this if this were happening in another country, it would would be written differently, they would be reporting it differently. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 30:03
Right. Especially if it was like a Muslim country or China or something that would they be saying something different? Right. And that's, that's, that's just power period. But anyway, I digress. I'm sorry.
Allegra Sinclair 30:19
It's funny because I work with people all day long who aren't in America. I'm like, I'm one American on a team of people who are mostly in the United Kingdom and Scotland, both Scotland part of it, but I'm just saying, I'm like the American. And it's really interesting, day to day, even before this happened, being the American in that group, because they think about and do things differently than we do. So it's been really educational for me. And I'm way more diverse in my thinking as a result of that
Unknown Speaker 30:51
experience. That's wonderful. That's wonderful. Yeah, you can.
Allegra Sinclair 30:55
The thing, I did that on purpose, and that's the thing. That's one of the reasons why I was telling, I'm the gentleman who reached out wanting to create a group of black women. I'm like, Hey, I'm all for anybody who wants to amplify our voices, as long as it's not like a token thing, like, okay, they feel guilty for being white. So let me throw a little money over here. And then I don't have to think about it anymore. As long as that is not it. I am all for it. But I'm really interested as you talk about, like trauma in the body. Because I don't, I don't really completely understand what that does. But I know for years, I had a lot of stress that I ignored. And then there came that time when I couldn't ignore it anymore. And I wish I wish I had paid attention when the stress was trying to whisper to me,
Unknown Speaker 31:41
can we talk? Can we
Allegra Sinclair 31:42
talk to you for a minute? Because when it started yelling, I was really unhappy. So what does trauma and how does that show up?
Unknown Speaker 31:51
Yeah, well, I mostly physical, right, it can show Well, I shouldn't say they can show physical. And it can show mental. I think, you know, people can have terrible fears about certain things. But people can also have body breakdowns. There's a book called body holds the score, and I am going to look it up because I forget what the
Allegra Sinclair 32:16
body holds the score. Okay. Please tell me who wrote it and add it to the show.
Unknown Speaker 32:25
How the body keeps the score,
Allegra Sinclair 32:28
score, and what does that mean?
Unknown Speaker 32:30
He talks about how trauma lives in our body. And if we don't pay attention to the signals, it sends it sends us it shows up in different ways. So I mean, it's, um, it's actually pretty amazing. This thing called our body, right? And like, how learning how to listen to it helps us learn what it is we need to know.
Allegra Sinclair 32:59
So how do you listen to your body?
Unknown Speaker 33:01
Allegra Sinclair 33:05
I didn't tell you I was gonna ask you that. Did you did that? That's a good ending. See, you don't know what I might do? Things I didn't know.
Unknown Speaker 33:15
And I love that. Because really, you know, in this, well, how I see this world is like, my life is just an example of how one could live or what one can learn in life, right? So how I listen to my body now, especially, is I meditate twice a day, I meditate twice a day. I do it for as long as it feels right. I listen to what shows up. You know, like what's showing up, I do a great example. I didn't have this power wall in my bedroom, which is kind of funny, actually. It's a whole nother story. One of the one of the prayers says, Dear God, you know what my talents and abilities are? I want to, I want them to be in service of you. So if you can, please show me the first step. So the other day, so I've been saying that for about two weeks, three weeks up, but so the other day I said it right before I went into meditation, so I'm like, meditating, right? And like, every time I would like, start to meditate, you know, of course, the thoughts come in. So thoughts are coming. And they're coming about this, this podcast that I want to do, what is video I want to do and like the whole thing is coming. I'm like, okay, Oh, good. Yeah, I'm gonna do this right after I get done. meditating. Right? So I tried to go back and the story would keep going. And I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna do that right after definitely. I'm gonna do it right after. And the third time is like, do you remember your prayer when I say that, That because a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to slow myself down enough to hear the message, it would have taken me longer to get that. Right, so slowing down. That's why I got really disappointed about watching I live, I can see 95 from my office, I'm looking at it right now and the beginning of the pandemic. There were no cars for about three weeks. And then I started to see traffic pickup, and I could, I was so fascinated when I started to feel really sad. I was like, What the heck, like, why am I so sad? And then part of the reason why I was so sad is because people were taking the gift that was being provided to them the set and just understand what was going on what was being said in their bodies, what messages were they were their bodies telling them, right? And so even when you said people were doing all this activity, I was like, Oh, you know, like, could you just sit for an hour a day, please?
Allegra Sinclair 36:13
It's hard for people, though think tension spans nowadays. So I have a cousin who has children, and they don't have a single book in their house, which I thought I should take those babies are How does she do I call 911? I was like, there's no books in your madness. Black nonsense was that he didn't have any books in our house. So the two youngest kids were over here. This is several years ago. And one of them said, Hey, can I do such a such thing? You want to play a video game? I was like, I don't have any video games. He's like, what? I was like, I don't even have like the device like the player. I don't. I'm a grown woman. I don't have those things. What it was so alien to him that I didn't have that. And then I was like, oh, and the TV in the living room. Yeah, I don't have cable I have so right. I'm explaining to him why he cannot do what he normally would have done. And I was like, sit still think of something else to amuse yourself. He looked at me like I had suggested he murdered people. It was so alien to him. So I was like, okay, hey, look, we're just gonna sit here together. Here's a magazine just flipped through the pages, right? So I'm sitting there. And he was so physically uncomfortable. It was like, I could almost see him twitching, like visibly see him? Because he doesn't sit still. He doesn't. He doesn't slit it. There's, he's a child. And he's just doing what he always has done. But what's interesting is I'm thinking okay, so he's eight, he doesn't know any better. I was watching other people in the room. They were doing this. Right. So there were adults in the room, too. We are on our phones. We're doing 100 we don't slow down. And when people slow down, we think that's odd.
Unknown Speaker 37:58
Mm hmm. Slow.
Allegra Sinclair 38:01
I understand being like, wait, why are they dismissing? Why are they like, not valuing this gift that they have been given? Because we don't present quietness and thought and reflection as a gift?
Unknown Speaker 38:15
Allegra Sinclair 38:16
it's funny to me to think that you said the first thing you said when I said, When I asked you how you listen to your body, the first words that mouth were meditating twice a day. And everything in me was like, wait, I'm not the only black person. I didn't know we did that. Right? When I was coming up who not for nothing. I have a cousin who's 103 years old. If I tell her she should meditate, she leans on me and call her. Right. Yep. That just wasn't word of mouth. I'm like, it is simple. It is free. It's something you can do. a skill that you learn because I'll never forget, I learned about meditation, what three years ago in coach training. I am before and I remember the first time we had like a moment of quiet with some guided meditation. I was like, Is everybody else restless? Because I was like, I'm comfortable being quiet. But in that setting where they told me to be quiet and let my mind go blank, I didn't know how to do that. Right? It's new, right? As I sit here now thinking back I'm like, Well, of course it was uncomfortable. It's new. It's a skill you learn like any other skill. But in that moment, I was like, well, there can't be any value than this. Or it would be easier. Right? Which is nice. But think about how simple as it is to meditate to you now.
Unknown Speaker 39:33
But for somebody who doesn't do that at all. Right? And we start out with five minutes way and and I want to I want to back up to something you said about and your mind goes blank. I haven't had that experience yet. And I think that sometimes can be people misgivings. Oh, that they're not doing it. Right. Right. Right. Exactly. And that, you know, really, it's just about, you know, until you get to that space, you know, to Just about seeing the thoughts and not getting into the story. Right. So I see the thoughts of I'm anxious about doing a podcast today and I see it and then I grab the thought, and I pull it down. And then I tell a story about it. Why I'm so nervous, right? Why you're
Allegra Sinclair 40:22
judging the pudding out of
Unknown Speaker 40:24
yourself. Exactly, exactly. versus just letting it go and be like, okay, yeah, I'm nervous. I see it, I see you that kind of thing. So it's, I think it's a skill we have to bring back to our community because it also loosens up perfectionism, and also loosens up the sort of expectations that living in America, places on people's power. Give me a kink, provide a lot more space. Right? That's the big thing that when we're talking about grief, everything, like we have to create more space in ourselves, so that we can hold more and process out things we don't need.
Allegra Sinclair 41:16
Oh, that sounds like a whole sermon in and of itself. We have. I'm sorry, it just does. You're gonna be back. That's just all there's to it. So if you're still nervous about podcasts, I hope that referred to like trying to create for yourself, and if so you don't have to be nervous. I will help you what it was about being a guest on a podcast, we're just going to touch an agree right now electronically, that it's okay. It's not painful. Because that feels like a whole other movement. We have to create more space within ourselves. Whoo. Yes. Doesn't that sound like another episode?
Unknown Speaker 41:46
I think I do. I actually do. Do
Allegra Sinclair 41:51
a meditation app.
Unknown Speaker 41:52
Now, you know, I tried to use both calm and headspace. And I think they're both wonderful. When I'm telling people to begin meditation, and I really do I tell all my clients, and they are like, I can't do it. I'm like, that's fine. Just try. All you got to do is try. One of the things I tell them is one of the things that's always been helpful to me, is to start out with a short, guided meditation. Mm hmm. And the reason why is because the guided meditations help interrupt my thoughts. Yes, oh, that's brilliant way. And so then, at the very least, I'm not all in my thoughts, the whole guide. And I am sort of following the words so that I get some benefit of it. Oh, I love the thing. Yeah, I'm sorry. The other thing I want to say is I was talking to somebody the other day, and they're like, I fall asleep. And I'm like, well, that's what's supposed to happen. Like, that's the thing about meditation, you start to realize that what you need shows up.
Allegra Sinclair 43:02
The other day, I'm trying to think which racial trauma it was, I cannot. The sad thing is I can't pinpoint which one it was. Because there have been so many recently. But my old college roommate and I are on zoom like all day, every day love her. It's just so funny. The relationships that endure, right, I'm like, she knew me when I was all sorts of messy with Bluetooth and everything. But um, she was saying that she was trying to do some breath work, which I think is just her way of saying meditation, but that she had fallen asleep twice. And she was like, talking all this smack to herself because she fell asleep. I'm like, maybe we're tired. Maybe you've been tossing and turning at night? Yes, create a little bit of a deficit, and you need to deposit a little back into the sleep bank. But I was like, I'm glad she fell asleep because that meant that she had peaceful slumber. Right. Like I know.
Unknown Speaker 43:51
Yeah, I know that in our spirit needed sleep.
Allegra Sinclair 43:55
She had not been experiencing that. So I was like,
Unknown Speaker 44:00
Allegra Sinclair 44:01
In order to let your body is there something else?
Unknown Speaker 44:04
Yeah, I mean, even like walking meditation is good. But any kind of exercise. I just just learned, learning how to thing about meditation and exercise and all those things. Too often, we live in our heads. Right? So people always start started, we'll start a sentence with I think x. Right? So I think it's coming from my mind. And what I'm asking is, what's in your body. So that means I have to put my attention below my neck. Right? And that's what we teach in coaching programs, mostly, like, people live above their neck and there's nothing below.
Allegra Sinclair 44:49
I knew I like guided meditation, but I didn't know why until you just said. And I'm like, okay, that's why I love it. So I have an app called brain.fm. And I listened Do it every day because they have modules. I discovered them first because they have modules. And I can't remember, some sort of brainy music. That's what I call it. It's like music for your brain. I don't know what the scientific terms are, you'd understand them better than I. But yes, it is.
Unknown Speaker 45:17
Beta is not some sort
Allegra Sinclair 45:20
of music, some sort of brain music magic, but I listened to it every day for focus. And I was on Twitter one day, and I said something about how I wanted to try meditation. And then somebody tweeted, oh, I use brain FM for that, like, wait, this app I've been using all this time has a meditation, how about it has a relaxation, action, and a meditation session, and I never looked at that. I only had booked HIPAA focus part. But I didn't dig the meditation one because it wasn't guided. And I wanted my brain to shut off. Because it doesn't, it is constantly worrying. So guided meditation works for me, because there was direction. I'm very coachable. There was direction and something specific that I could think about instead of the 900 things that I was thinking about, normally, when I first started thinking, Okay, so how can I listen to so myself more, because really, what I wanted to do was trust myself more. I wanted to get to know myself better. And I didn't want to continue to like sleepwalk and live somebody else's life. I wrote stuff down on a piece of paper, even if I never intended to read it again.
Unknown Speaker 46:25
Oh, journaling, oh, my God, like
Allegra Sinclair 46:27
I don't is that journaling? Because I did like put it in the book and come back to it. But I would grab a piece of paper, if it's journaling. Great. I've been doing that for years. But anyway, grab it. And whatever was like worrying in my mind, I would just write about it. I wouldn't judge it. I just write it. And then I just walk away. Yes, exactly. Because sometimes I would start writing about one thing. And then I would suddenly be writing about something different without consciously saying, Okay, now I'm gonna write about this. But is that another way of listening to my body? Or is that listening to
Unknown Speaker 46:56
yourself? It can be both. I would add to that. What are you feeling? The thing to remember is, you know, thoughts are brain oriented feelings live in your body. Feelings are the way that go out on a limb here. But feelings are a way that spirit talks to us. Members, talk talks to us. Okay. Right. So the more we can go down, the more we start to have this conversation with the universe about what it what it wants us to know. And I also wanted to just say one thing about worry. And worry is a big one. Like there's a lot of worry people out in the world. And my journey has been I'm a worrier. Both ways. But uh, I have learned at work, worry is the opposite of faith. Mm hmm. Right. So whenever I get to that space, and I'm worried about XYZ isn't going to happen in the future. I have no idea that that's true. Right. And so I pay myself back to the present. Yeah. And just be like, ah, but that didn't happen yet. Right. It's losing money, right. Everybody doesn't about money. Well, if I leave this job, even though it's killing me any money in the future? You got money right now? Right.
Allegra Sinclair 48:36
Okay. And maybe you worried about the money that you have right now. But foe, so you might be able to decide that worrying about money isn't necessary for
Unknown Speaker 48:45
you to have money. Exactly. And that might be an old story.
Unknown Speaker 48:50
Unknown Speaker 48:51
All right. I'm in a Ph. D. program right now. And it took me a long time to get here. I said I you know, I mean, no, but a group of coaches and coaches. One of the things that came up was that I'm not smart enough. Right. So we all laughed. is clearly very old. Yes. But it still lives. Yes. And it was time for it to die. Right. So it's just so that's another thing, right? So to understand where these stories are coming from, are they are they old tapes? Now that tape was elementary school? Right? Nobody said that since
Allegra Sinclair 49:38
okay. Remember earlier today? When I said Oh, I didn't think I'd ever have a podcast because I didn't think it was interesting. I did you get a Riverside?
Unknown Speaker 49:47
I did for a minute. Okay.
Allegra Sinclair 49:49
I still remember Miss Leyden telling me I wasn't that interesting. Yeah, I was what first or second grade. Now I could go back and examine all the reasons that she decided that she needed to pour that into an eight year old, but I don't have time right now. But my point is you were like, why would you think that? And I was like, I don't know. Yes, I do. Mrs. Leyden told me I was not that interesting. So I should talk less. Yes. When I was in the first grade, right. And I was still telling myself that when I was way beyond first grade,
Unknown Speaker 50:18
that's how those messages show up. That's
Allegra Sinclair 50:22
how trauma shows up. Hmm. Winnie Leyden let me stop. She's been gone a long time that affect her but it was still affecting me. Right. There is magic in recognizing that that doesn't serve me anymore.
Unknown Speaker 50:39
Right. And that and if you think about it, it's that's a traumatic. Yes. Sounds the
Allegra Sinclair 50:44
only black kid in the class to start with. And I was very introverted and shy. So I didn't usually talk and I don't even know what was going on that day. Why? I'm reliving it right now. How embarrassed I was sitting there in my Garanimals, while this teacher told me in front of everybody that I wasn't that interesting. And I should talk less. Right?
Unknown Speaker 51:03
Exactly. So you can see how that lives in your body. And you can, you can, you can let that go. Okay. As every time it shows up. Like, every time I'm writing the paper, and that little little man shows up. I'm like, I don't think I can read this paper. Right? It's like, you know, hundreds of papers at this point.
Allegra Sinclair 51:26
I'm just gonna tell you right now, I'm gonna call you, doctor, you do something like that in your people? I'll tell you. I'm not calling you. Yeah, I'm gonna call you. I might call it to you in advance just to help you that into existence. I'm just saying. I'm just saying here. When you get it, I want to know it.
Unknown Speaker 51:44
call you, doctor. That's a completion of a cycle of work. A huge cycle. Yes,
Allegra Sinclair 51:54
I'm so excited about that for you. But okay, so I want to be respectful of your time. And we have covered so much stuff. And the show notes for this are going to be epic. But I do have a question since you are a licensed therapist, right? So when I'm talking to an expert, because I talked to lots of really skilled amateurs, but as we're looking at grief around the pandemic, grief around racial trauma, and we're talking through some things that people can do today. So we've talked about a lot of things from not running from it, you know, kind of sitting in it, you know, not making up stories that aren't true about whatever it is that you're feeling, naming and acknowledging what it is that you're feeling, remembering who you are. That's my favorite every time I said, I get goosebumps. But we also talked about listening to your body and slowing down, creating more space. Here's the thing. Suppose all of that isn't working? How do we know when the things that we're trying to DIY aren't enough? How do we know when we need to reach out to somebody like you?
Unknown Speaker 52:55
Okay, so I want to say to that,
Allegra Sinclair 52:57
is that okay? I kind of threw that one at you. But I'm like, hey,
Unknown Speaker 53:02
let's do. One is, there's never a time. You can't or should reach out to a professional. Even just to get support around the store. Okay, right. That's what to when you're stuck in the story. And you keep trying things that aren't helpful. You're doing the same thing over and over and over again. You need help. clear enough, right? Mm hmm. Think about all the relationships one has been in. Like, if you see a pattern.
Unknown Speaker 53:47
Allegra Sinclair 53:51
if you get a rash every time you eat grass, yes, you might need to leave perhaps maybe somebody else will be able to help you see that quicker, so you can spend less time the murders. Exactly.
Unknown Speaker 54:07
Just simple like that. It's called a journey through trauma. And it is a field guy on trail guy. He calls it a trail guide to the five phases five phase cycle of healing repeated trauma lives. Gretchen smeltzer s ch m e l LZ. Er. I love this book. Because too often and trauma work. There's not enough sitting in the sensation to get the work done. So this book has a has a sort of plan about just like, you know, there's a whole period of preparation, right, like you're in the preparation, you know what's happening, but you're not ready to move to the next stage yet and what you've done Do in that stage. I love it. And I think it's really, really helpful around racial trauma. Like these are the kind of traumas she talks about, that are happening over and over and over again, some be like, I think in her book, she talks a lot about like, sexual trauma, where I think some physical traumas, but I've also used this around racial trauma, which is like, which is a perpetual, continuous feeling of disempowerment and continued repetition of having an experience of dealing with traumatic incidents based on race. Awesome, so I like that. Well, I
Allegra Sinclair 55:54
thank you so much for being here today and pouring all this, you absolutely are going to have to come back because there were so many other things that I mentally stuck a pin in, because I'm like, ooh, I want to I want to chew on that or Oh, I want to chew on that. So I thank you today for taking time out of your incredibly busy day to help my audience. Oh, if they want more from you. Where can they go get it?
Unknown Speaker 56:19
They can reach me they should just send me emails I my email kind of guy. Okay, email, Ray at Ray the therapist calm and they can send me emails, questions or help app or whatever, whatever.
Allegra Sinclair 56:38
Hey, this is Allegro. Hope you enjoyed this bonus episode of The your confidence health podcast. If you'd like additional resources on coping with grief, or racial trauma, please visit the site at Allegra Sinclair comm slash trauma. There you'll find a full show notes from this episode, as well as other anti racism resources. I'll catch you next time.
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Wonderful to hear two childhood friends discuss a most relevant topic in a fun, non threatening and insightful way.
Hey Greg! Thanks for checking out the episode and leaving such a nice comment! I hope you got something out of the conversation besides a reminder that I have no rhythm. 🙂 Have a powerful day!