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Ep 5 Bonus: Breathing Through

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 4: There is No Future if We Go Numb and Episode 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing, deeper into your life. 

Both of these episodes are about the second phase in the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects, Honoring Our Pain for the World. This bonus is a recording of Joanna leading a meditation called Breathing Through, recorded at a retreat in 2006. In it, she’ll guide you to create space to acknowledge and honor the pain for the world that you carry without numbing or getting overwhelmed. All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is a place where you can close your eyes and relax.  

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Ep 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing

Now we get to what may be the toughest part of reckoning with our planet’s situation: dealing with numbness, grief, and despair. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the many crises around us, and natural to want to numb ourselves to the pain. 

Joanna and Jess speak with great vulnerability and candor about what it takes to navigate our darkest feelings—and the strength and beauty that can be found when we honor our pain. 

Trigger Warning: In this episode, we discuss suicide.

In this episode:

  • When it feels like our pain could swallow us whole, it helps to remember that all feelings come and go
  • Desperation can take us to dark places, but we are more than our despair
  • Numbness—Jess opens up about her familiar tactic for escaping pain
  • Our pain becomes sacred when we allow it to deepen our connection with the world
  • Bonus Exercise: Breathing Through

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

Ep 4 Bonus: Breathing Through

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 4: There is No Future if We Go Numb deeper into your life. 

This bonus is a recording of Joanna leading a meditation called Breathing Through, recorded at a retreat in 2006. In it, she’ll guide you to create space to acknowledge and honor the pain for the world that you carry without numbing or getting overwhelmed. All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is a place where you can close your eyes and relax.  

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Erica Djossa: Releasing the Mother Load

What have we done to our mothers? Sociologists call our times “the era of intensive mothering,” a period in which moms must be it all and do it all for their children and families. Psychotherapist and maternal mental health specialist Erica Djossa has made it her mission to teach today’s mothers how to take care of their well-being in a sustainable way. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Erica about her much-needed new book, Releasing the Mother Load, and the steps we can take to challenge the norms and change the culture around mothering. 

Enjoy this empowering discussion of: values-centered mothering; mothers as martyrs; the pressures facing a generation of “overinformed, overeducated, and overwhelmed” moms; equally sharing our household duties; the cost of cognitive or invisible labor; boundaries; using the “load map” to redistribute the work; “mom rage,” its roots, and the unique nature of anger in motherhood; identifying the “red light and green light” times for difficult conversations with partners (and sticking to them); overcoming perfectionism; self-compassion; re-parenting yourself while you’re parenting your children; the disempowering belief that I’m failing as a mom; effective self-care for moms (it’s not just bubble baths!); advice for making changes—start small; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

Enriching Our Lives with African American Contemplativ...

My lifelong aspiration–and the goal of my new book, Joyfully Just: Black Wisdom and Buddhist Insights for Liberated Livingis to support people from all spiritual traditions and cultural backgrounds in using meditative practices to reclaim joy. Our spirits, bodies, minds, and hearts need to be buoyant to navigate the unceasing waves of grief, fear, doubt, prejudice, and devaluation that we experience internally, interpersonally, and communally. Joyfully Just is about tapping into that buoyancy, that levity, with diverse meditative practices.

In particular, Joyfully Just highlights practices, teachings, and insights from Buddhism and Black contemplative traditions. Black contemplative traditions include practices that bring forth insight and joy. You may have heard the expression “Black joy” and wondered, What is that, exactly? Black joy is self-transcendence. It is embodied resistance to shame, despair, and anything else that would limit our capacity to be just towards ourselves and those around us. It is the insistence on and expression of internal freedom despite external restrictions. Black joy is resilient creativity that creatively grows more resilience.

The Black wisdom traditions I explore in Joyfully Just include those shared through music such as Gospel, Blues, Rock, Jazz, R&B, and Hip-Hop; language and dialect practices; and dance and communicative kinesic (movement and gesture) practices. The musical genres developed by Black Americans are universally embraced because they help all people engage creatively with the joys and pains of life. As such, Black music is often a contemplative practice that can ground us in empowered well-being, even amidst our worst pain. As we sing our Blues, we invigorate our lives with joy. That joy creates spaciousness around our suffering so that we can develop insight into its meaning and value. Take a moment now and see if you can think of one song from any African American musical genre that deepens your insight, helps you navigate your suffering, or expands your joy. Write it down so that you remember that it is but one example of how listening to Black music is a contemplative practice that enriches your life.

Black contemplative practices are often misunderstood—especially when they are appropriated. Sometimes they are underestimated as simply entertainment or frivolity. In Joyfully Just, I offer practices to shed light on how much insight and guidance for wise, courageous living we can–and do–receive from Black cultural traditions.

I explore Buddhism and Black wisdom together because although the spiritual and religious traditions of Black people are diverse, as are Buddhist lineages, many secular Black wisdom traditions and overarching Buddhist principles share common insights. For example, Black musical traditions illustrate the unity of suffering and joy and the possibility for self-transcendence and enlightenment in any circumstance. The creative, lively resilience of Black life shows us, in so many ways, what enlightenment looks like in daily living.

Many African cultures, including African American culture, have rituals and practices that are uniquely contemplative and seamlessly integrated into everyday life. African dance is one example of this. African dancing is listening to the body, trusting the body to tell its story. African dance teacher Wyoma speaks of it as praying with the body.

How do you avoid cultural appropriation of Black contemplative practices? It’s simple, but not easy. When you engage with Black music, dialect, dance, or other cultural practices, reiteratively reflect on how you demonstrate or could begin to demonstrate love for and solidarity with Black people.

I invite you to ask yourself:

  • How is solidarity with and love for Black people already a part of my inner dialogue? Of my relationships? Of how I experience the world with joy?
  • How can I strengthen my connections with Black people and Black wisdom practices?

With these as lifelong inquiries, we gain insight into how Black contemplative practices enrich our lives, actualize our interdependence, and deepen our sense of connection with ourselves and the world.

Learn More
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Sounds True

Kamilah Majied

Dr. Kamilah Majied is a mental health therapist, clinical educator, researcher, and consultant on advancing equity and inclusion using meditative practices. Drawing from her decades of contemplative practice and leadership, Dr. Majied engages people in experiencing wonder, humor, and insight through transforming oppressive patterns and deepening relationships toward ever-improving individual, familial, organizational, and communal wellness. To find out more visit kamilahmajied.com.

Ep 4: There Is No Future if We Go Numb

We recorded this conversation just after news broke of the Biden administration’s approval of the controversial Willow Project, opening up millions of wilderness acres in Alaska to new fossil fuel drilling. Jess captured in real time how Joanna processes the fresh outrage and sorrow of this insult to the planet from the very culpable powers that be. It’s a master class in being present with these feelings—feelings that can give rise to determination, courage, and recommitment to our shared purpose.

In this episode:

  • As the news of the Willow Project breaks, Joanna flows through outrage and sorrow 
  • The second step on the spiral: what does it mean to honor our pain, and how do we do it?
  • Bonus Exercise: Breathing Through

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com

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