Mindfulness & Equity

Posted on October 7, 2020


As I began the work of the 21-Day Equity Challenge, I was glad to see that mindfulness practices are promoted as integral to the work. The negative emotions, physical symptoms, and social friction that can result from engaging in examination of our community in order to address injustice can profoundly impact our health: physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. This kind of work is a marathon, a lifelong project, and we must “train” like high-level athletes to sustain our efforts.

And we must sustain our efforts. Victories are never certain, and progress is minimal and s–l–o–w. And when progress is erased, it’s heart-breaking.

We must be as regular and punctual with our self-care practices as we are about attending meetings and carrying our weight in our organizations. If we aren’t, our careers as advocates for justice will be short-lived.

I started my advocacy career in 1969, on my first day of walking to school with my sister, who was teased mercilessly for traits she had no control over and that created significant challenges for her. As a five-year-old, I was powerless to make the bullies stop their terrorism of an innocent person, and my sister simply endured the abuse as part of the school experience, but ever since then, I have been willing to stand in solidarity with, care for, and advocate for anyone who faces injustice.

I am currently excavating a 25-year teaching career through the lens of gender equity, as the district has turned its attention to revising the Sexual Harassment policy. As I look at the climate of the school through the lens of my experiences there and through the stories of family, friends, and others who have worked there, the troubles locked away in Pandora’s box escape, but hope remains.

I fuel that hope by celebrating good work, good effort, good results that come, little by little.

And with beauty.

And with ceremony.

I recently had the occasion to visit my home town, as I was on the way home from elsewhere, and so, as part of my healing process of childhood trauma, I drove all the way around the lake, in the path of my childhood bike rides, remembering and reclaiming the land and its beauty, calling back memories of the good times that had been locked away with the bad.

Now that the predator who preyed on me is locked away, I feel free in my hometown in a way unknown to me since 1975.

As part of my healing ceremony, I look at the places where traumas occurred, focusing on beauty and renewal; I notice that there is no evidence of the trauma here. All is beauty and peace.

I drink deeply at the well of beauty and peace,

and breathe deeply,

until they (beauty and peace)

become me.

I park the car and walk the length of the park, bringing dead memories to life, holding them in judgement, rewarding the good with eternal life (or at least for the lifetime of my memory), and laying the others to rest as I acknowledge and thank them for the role they play in motivating me to engage in the struggle against injustice.

I memorialize this moment in photos of beauty and peace.

In beauty, I find healing for my wounds.

I reclaim this space as a place of beauty, peace, and healing.

I reclaim this space as a place where I can be free,

where I can be

just me,

just me.

lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com