Let’s Learn Together. Let’s Care Together.

Well, the last two weeks have been emotional and intense for me. I was at first saddened by the brutal murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who had already been subdued, by a white police officer, while his colleagues stood by and watched. He repeated again and again that he couldn’t breathe and nobody would listen. He went limp. The people revolted. They responded with righteous anger, with protests, at first in a peaceful way, and they were ridiculed. Then they got more aggressive, and rightly so, because it was, and is, a life and death situation for black people every day, and nobody would listen. The problem isn’t just one bad policeman, the problem is systemic racism in every country, even Great Britain. Looking deeper I saw that it was just history repeating itself.

I feel saddened and heartbroken that even friends of mine deny there is a problem. All lives matter they say. Well of course they do, but how can you say all lives matter when history – ancient and modern alike, shows that black lives, and those of ethnic minorities, clearly don’t.  All lives matter they say, it’s not a problem over here they say, slavery was abolished centuries ago they say, it doesn’t affect me, I’m not racist they say, I prefer not to get involved they say, white privilege doesn’t exist anymore they say.

Well, that is wrong and incorrect. Totally. But I get it – I do. It’s hard to recognize what is so embedded in the culturescape that we can’t always see it. There is a popular meme that is doing the rounds on social media that I feel says it all with regards to the all lives matter response:

“If my wife comes to me in obvious pain and asks “do you love me?”, an answer of “I love everyone” would be truthful, but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. If a co – worker comes to me upset and says “My father just died,” a response of “Everybody’s parents die,” would be truthful, but hurtful and cruel in the moment. So when a friend speaks up in a time of obvious pain and hurt and says “Black Lives Matter,” a response of “All lives matter” is truthful. But it’s hurtful and cruel in the moment.” (Doug Williford).

I didn’t understand it at first. I didn’t understand how the world is so cruel to our black and minority ethnicities.  But I love humanity, all of it, and I’ve dedicated myself to learning more, with humility. To ask my black friends what they need me to do and how to truly be an ally. I am learning to listen.

Racism, white superiority, systemic racism, and cultural bias affect all of us. We are less then human if we don’t stand up for those who are suffering because of the color of their skin.

As a spiritual person, it is not enough just to pray and meditate. Those actions are to help set ourselves up in order to get in contact with our hearts, with our intuition and Divine knowledge. We all have different abilities, skills, and roles to play. Your heart and soul will tell you how you are supposed to help. When we know what our souls have whispered to us, it is time to take action. This is all a call to action! But we should all dedicate ourselves to learning about the history and experiences of the oppressed, and actions we might unknowingly take on a daily basis that serves to keep them oppressed. Feel uncomfortable? Good – uncomfortable means we are learning and growing.

We are spirit having a human experience. We are soldiers for truth and justice. Won’t you rise up with me and fight the good fight? Let us educate. Let us support it. Let us grow.

To start with, here are some definitions, as I feel like the BLM movement has been misunderstood by some. It is not about condemning white people, it is not stating that only black lives matter. The issue runs deeper than any one of us individually. It is systemic and in future posts, I will explain how. I will share as I learn.

Ally:

“Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways.

Allies commit to reducing their own complicity or collusion in the oppression of those groups and invest in strengthening their own knowledge and awareness of oppression.”

SOURCE:

  1. OpenSource Leadership Strategies, “The Dynamic System of Power, Privilege and Oppressions.”
  2. Center for Assessment and Policy Development.

Black Lives Matter:

“A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

SOURCE:

Black Lives Matter, “Herstory

Institutional Racism:

“Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.

Examples:

  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).
  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.”

SOURCE:

Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building. Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens and Barbara Major. 2005.

Structural Racism:

“The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access and quality of care and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things. ”

SOURCE:

  1. Structural Racism for the Race and Public Policy Conference, Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center.
  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building. Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens and Barbara Major. 2005.

White Privilege:

“Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally, white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.

Structural White Privilege: A system of white domination that creates and maintains belief systems that make current racial advantages and disadvantages seem normal. The system includes powerful incentives for maintaining white privilege and its consequences and powerful negative consequences for trying to interrupt white privilege or reduce its consequences in meaningful ways. The system includes internal and external manifestations at the individual, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels.

  • The accumulated and interrelated advantages and disadvantages of white privilege are reflected in racial/ethnic inequities in life expectancy and other health outcomes, income and wealth and other outcomes, in part through different access to opportunities and resources. These differences are maintained in part by denying that these advantages and disadvantages exist at the structural, institutional, cultural, interpersonal, and individual levels and by refusing to redress them or eliminate the systems, policies, practices, cultural norms, and other behaviors and assumptions that maintain them.
  • Interpersonal White Privilege: Behavior between people that consciously or unconsciously reflects white superiority or entitlement.
  • Cultural White Privilege: A set of dominant cultural assumptions about what is good, normal or appropriate that reflects Western European white world views and dismisses or demonizes other world views.
  • Institutional White Privilege: Policies, practices and behaviors of institutions — such as schools, banks, non-profits or the Supreme Court — that have the effect of maintaining or increasing accumulated advantages for those groups currently defined as white, and maintaining or increasing disadvantages for those racial or ethnic groups not defined as white. The ability of institutions to survive and thrive even when their policies, practices, and behaviors maintain, expand or fail to redress accumulated disadvantages and/or inequitable outcomes for people of color.”

SOURCE:

  1. White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women Studies. Peggy McIntosh. 1988.
  2. Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity, CAPD, MP Associates, World Trust Educational Services, 2012.

White Supremacy

“The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever-present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.”

SOURCE:

Dismantling   Racism   Works   web   workbook

I hope that starts to make things a little clearer for us all. Using the correct language can help us to discuss the issues of race and discrimination more efficiently and with love, and may help to reduce defensiveness in those we are discussing the issues. It certainly helped in my defensiveness. I’m still learning. Won’t you learn with me? Won’t you stand up with me and with all of those precious black lives?

Make yourself a cuppa, and let’s go!

Much love, and many blessings,

Lucy L XX

Photo Credit: Iamaneducator.com

Sources:

Racialequitytools.org. 2020. Glossary • Racial Equity Tools. [online] Available at: <https://www.racialequitytools.org/glossary#white-supremacy&gt; [Accessed 11 June 2020].

Williford, D., 2020. M.J. Love. [online] Facebook.com. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10222713907704588&set=a.2039420233395&type=3&theater&gt; [Accessed 11 June 2020].

 

Resistance Is Futile

Life happens, that’s a fact. No matter how spiritual we are, no matter the kind of relationship we feel we have with the creator, sooner or later, challenges come up that we have to face. We live in a world where we do not only have our free will, but everyone’s free will.

There is a collective unconscious, and a collective Karma, as well as our own. We also have the lessons we agreed to learn before we incarnated into this life. And then the choices we have made – whether they were wise choices or not. There is cause and effect.

Sooner or later something will happen and we might feel like everything we have worked towards, all we have learned, is lost. We feel lost, we feel scared, angry, confused, hopeless. These feelings are natural of course, and then when we feel them we feel that we are back at square one.

We may feel that we have reached a stage where we “deserve” not to encounter such inconveniences again. I for one, when something like this happens, crumble for a moment. You are likely to find me, sat on the kitchen floor like a child, melting into tears. Expressing my anger and disappointment for a few moments. Letting the tide of emotion wash over me. Resistance is futile. The feelings are real. You can’t stuff them down. They will come again as illness in your body. As dis – ease. Neither can you find solutions when filled with the tension of these feelings.
You have to sit with them for a while. This is just one example.

Life is a rollercoaster. There are things outside of ourselves that we have no control over. War machines, bankruptcy of the companies we work for, car accidents, earthquakes. We can’t control other people’s choices or behaviours, we can’t control the forces of Mother Nature.
Resistance is futile. These things will happen no matter how evolved we are as individuals, at least until the whole world evolves.

If resistance is futile, and all of these things are out of our control, then what is in our control? Who is the one constant in our lives? We are. You are. You are the person that you will have known the longest in your life. You are the person with whom you are in relationship ALWAYS.

This is where the strength lies. I have been on a rollercoaster these last two years, of joy and sadness, of scary learning and empowering learning. What I have been crafting most is my relationship with myself. I have been learning how I tick on a much deeper level, and trust myself now. I am my own best friend, and I like who I am. In fact, sometimes, I think I’m a pretty cool person. It’s taken a lot of work. I know now that, no matter what happens, I will survive, learn and grow. I know how to get back on my throne when I get knocked off, as the Queen, the Goddess of my own life. Granted, I won’t enjoy it when these lessons come around, when life does a 360 on me, who would?

The time to cultivate this self-knowledge, and the tools and habits to help oneself get back on one’s throne, is when everything is going well. It takes work and discipline, but discipline in a beautiful way. Discipline is controlling your thoughts and words in order to cultivate unconditional love for oneself, to cultivate your life purpose, your dreams, and the ability to listen to and to know you deserve what you need at any given time.

Over the coming months I will be sharing tools and practices that can help to build this throne and to keep you on it, but there are two tools that I have always advocated that you can start right now.

1) Writing a journal – Yes I know. I am always harping on about self-awareness. But really, if you don’t understand who you really are and what makes you tick, what makes you stronger, then how can you make the most life affirming choices? Do yourself a favour – go to a bookstore or stationers and treat yourself to beautiful notebook or diary, one that inspires you to spend time with it. Maybe even a pen or two in your favourite colour. Write in it or draw in it at least three times a week. Your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Your dreams for the future.

2) Meditation – at least 15 minutes a day. You can listen to your breath, or say a mantra or repeat an affirmation, or even listen to a guided meditation. You can find plenty of free guided meditations online or even download one onto your device for your convenience. This will help you to develop the skill of listening to yourself, of presence and being mindful and accepting of what is happening in the present moment. It gives your body time to rejuvenate and slow down as well. It’s a win – win really, isn’t it?

I would love to hear your own thoughts and experiences – please feel free to share with me. Also, watch this space for details on how to receive practical tools and tips for developing your relationship with yourself, and how never to miss a blog again.

Wishing you love, and Angel blessings,

Lucy Loizou

Happiness

Something has switched in me recently. I am beginning to crave true and lasting change. Too long have I remained attached to my past and the feelings of unworthiness that beset me too regularly from my negative experiences. I thought I had dealt with them all but in the end I feel I may have got stuck in rumination. Have you ever experienced this? Where you feel that you won’t have moved on from something unless you have fully analysed the situation and yourself? It is possible to get stuck in this phase and then it blocks you from truly moving on – rehashing the old wounds and keeping you stuck in a cycle of sadness and grief.

Once the lessons have been learned it is time to move on and actively engage in life again – in the things that bring you joy. As some of you may know, I am an avid reader, and my passion lies in what makes us tick. Why are we here? How are we here? How to make the most of our sojourn on Earth? I have come to realise through my reading sessions that we are here to be happy. We are built to be happy. Happiness isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity and the key to our well being.

In William Bloom’s book – The Endorphin Effect (2011) – he describes how our bodies are built to receive hormones that induce inherent feel – good. Feelings of wellness and joy. indeed, not just us, but even single celled organisms contain these receptors. He goes on to say:

“That tiny single – celled creatures posses endorphins is a profoundly optimistic piece of information. It means that every cell of our multi – celled body is capable of experiencing endorphins and that the propensity to experience happiness and euphoria is biologically built in to each of us. This allows us to put forward an unexpected but exact scientific statement: Happiness and pleasure are built in to the biological foundation of the human body.” (p24, Bloom, 2011).

This, to me, is good news indeed. I have always believed in a higher power, and knowing that there is the built in capacity for joy and happiness leads me to believe that happiness is a natural part of our make up. We are supposed to be happy.

So why is it harder for some of us than for others? Well, many of us are waiting for outside circumstances to change before we allow ourselves to be happy. Many feel we are born with a tendency to low mood and depression. many of us that we have no right to do things that induce happiness until we have completed the many goals and tasks in our life plan, that never seem to get completed. Some of us feel guilty when we feel happy.

Did you know that there is now scientific evidence that proves how our happiness levels are affected? In her book, The How of Happiness (2010), Sonja Lyubomirsky explains how our levels of happiness are made up. 50% of our happiness is controlled by our genetic make up – we each have a built in happiness set point which is controlled by our genes. So if our parents suffered low mood and depression there is an increased likelihood that we will as well. From her research, it was discovered that only 10% of our happiness levels are affected by outside circumstances, such as bereavement, promotion, an increase in wealth etc. This leaves us with 40% being affected by our day to day choices and behaviours. This means we have a whole 40% of control in which happiness is an inside job. In which it is our responsibility and choice to determine how happy we are.

This, to me, is extremely good news and I am currently experimenting with myself as to which behaviours, changes and attitudes I can adopt because I now believe that is it inherently my right to be happy most of the time!
I will be sharing my adventures in happiness, so please stay tuned, and feel free to share with me your views and opinions and any interesting experiences on this topic.

If you feel stuck and could do with a gentle nudge in the right direction from your angels, please feel free to get in touch with me and book a session for an angel card reading. It might just give you the next steps you need to take to find your happiness.
Much love and many blessings,

Lucy Loizou

William Bloom, 2011; The Endorphin Effect; Piatkus; London.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, 2010; The How Of Happiness; Piatkus; London