This wasn’t meant to be this week’s Liberation Love Letter. What started out as a social media post, evolved into this writing. True soul centered leadership is about flexibility and integrity. It’s about speaking up even when we don’t have the right words. It’s about shining and leading from our light even in the darkest of moments. It’s about leaning in when it’s scary, uncomfortable and when we want to tune out.  Because a pretty instagram post, a tweet or a one liner in an email isn’t enough. Because bottom line should never trump people who are losing their lives for our collective evolution.

Because our soul, our light, and our liberation matters.

The horrific events that occurred in Charlottesville have made us all ask questions. These same questions have been patiently awaiting our attention, resting silently, in the back of our collective psyches. Questions that violence has a way of thrusting straight into the spotlight so that we can actively seek answers.

Racism, like we witnessed in Charlottesville has roots, deep ones that stretch generations and generations.

But, love has deeper roots.

Love transcends time, generations, and boundaries.

Sometimes love is holding hands and warm embraces and other times love is facing the issues and having the hard conversations that need to be had.

Love is both healer and fierce warrior. Click To Tweet

And I get it, hard conversations don’t feel good. They can trigger anger, sadness, rage, despair and make us want to throw our hands up in the air and run. But here’s the thing, whether we are experiencing the heights of happiness or the depths of despair the only way to the other side is through.

Yes, you can distract yourself and disengage from the conversation. But what will you do when this past weekend’s horrific events repeat? Post yet another inspirational quote or meme? Stay silent? Go on yet another social media detox? Will enough be finally enough when the proponents of hate are waving Nazi flags in your own backyard? Yes, this is where we are headed and in some places this is where we already are.

Heather Heyer, the woman who was brutally murdered, the state troopers who died in a helicopter crash while performing their duty, and the many people who were injured, were casualties of hate groups who have perpetuated unspeakable acts of violence for centuries. Their names may change, but their agenda is always the same — to spread an ideology of hate, fear and destruction. In order to dismantle these groups we must collectively face and heal what got us here.

This is a conversation, that doesn’t have a quickie one-stop-shop answer. This is a nuanced and introspective process that will take time, but if we come together and do the work it will be worth it. We will live in a world that we can be proud of, a world where our great-great-grandchildren will thank us.

So with love, I invite you to ask and examine:
Who is seated at your table?

Let me be clear, this question isn’t the ending place but the start of a deeper journey. There are miles to go, but this is a relatively easy start.

This is essential work if you are a person who has benefited from privilege, a person with any kind of public platform, or a person who lives in one of our beautiful liberal cities or progressive towns.

Asking and answering the question: Who is seated at your table? is important because there is an undercurrent of racism that exists in our world and it extends beyond America.

Let this sink in:

Many people of color are denied a seat at the table. This reinforces the narrative of “you don’t belong” and screams “your voice doesn’t matter”.

A seat at the table, is about having an equal voice without having to deny or downplay differences or DNA. It’s about sitting at the table without having to put on a mask or smile cordially when inside you’re cringing. A true seat at the table fosters inclusivity, celebrates diversity, and conscious communication. It extends beyond our workplaces and into our daily lives.

Because of being denied a seat…

We did what our ancestors did and sat down as Queens and Kings at our own table. This led to a lot of groundbreaking political and social movements. Subsequently, organizations, companies, magazines, networks, award ceremonies, distribution companies, podcasts, think tanks and online platforms were all birthed to honor the wide array of voices across the Diaspora. We took our rightful seats at the table with no apology. Many of us no longer cared about those coveted invitations because of the realization that the seat we occupied was actually a throne and it has always existed.

This is beautiful.
This is essential.
This needs to continue.

However, Charlottesville tells us that everyone at their respective tables waving cordially is not enough.

We need tables where everyone is welcome as full embodied human beings not caricatures of racial ideals.

And I’m not talking about having a token person of color at the table either. That has been going on for far too long and it will no longer suffice.

Being the token friend, employee, student, client, guest, neighbor holds an unspoken code. It’s imprisonment disguised as privilege, and creates division. In order to remain the token person of color, you must never parade your differences and you certainly can’t be controversial. You must fit in and the only difference between you and the person who invited you is the color of your skin. If you look at history, house slaves got the so called “honor” of being the slave inside the house, while others had to be field slaves who worked long hours in the hot scorching sun. However, many times because of this “honor” house slaves had to disassociate and distance themselves from other people of color in order to maintain their “status”.

It’s time to turn the page. The way to begin to dismantle centuries of racism is to start at your own respective table. Yes, we’ve come a long way in some respects, but it’s clear we still have got ways to go.

Ask yourself:

Who’s at your table?
Who’s (invited/featured/hired) at/in your…
home, boardroom, office, events, groups, parent circle, products, online show, podcast, blog and even social media feed?

Is there a token person of color here or there, maybe a sprinkling or is there a symphony of diversified beauty?

Once you’ve taken into account who’s at your table.

Then ask…

Are the people at your table talking about the issues that matter or you being polite and barely skimming the surface? How can you foster more inclusivity, diversity and conscious conversations at the table? How can you push your own edges? What’s your part in creating a world that celebrates diversity and raises consciousness?

Now take a look at the tables that you belong to and even aspire to belong to one day. Take a look at the thought leaders you follow, the organizations you support, the companies you love, the movies and tv shows you watch, the keynote speakers at events you attend, the products you consume and so on.

Does the ecology of your life and work reflect your progressive values?

If not, go outside of your comfort zone and speak up. Contact the people/companies/organizations you admire and ask them to be vocal about the issues that matter, like Charlottesville. If they don’t have the language, ask them to support those who do, and to listen and learn. Tell them that you buy/follow/support them and would like them to take a stand. Tell them you believe it is our collective responsibility to explore and take action on issues that matter. Ask them to feature more diverse voices and stories. Ask them to listen and learn without interjecting. Ask them to put their money where their mouth is and support organizations that make a difference. Invite them into the conversation.

This isn’t a one and done discussion. It’s a commitment. It’s starting to awaken. It’s starting at home and then radiating outwards. It’s acknowledging that work needs to be done. It’s being willing to roll up your sleeves and doing the work.

This is love.
This is soul leadership.
This is the beginning.

With Light, Love + Liberation,

 

 

 

 

This is food for the soul. Spread consciousness in your community. Send an email or two or ten. Spread light + hit share.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images, 2017 Getty Images

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