When we are experiencing great growth and challenges, the pain that comes up can often feel isolating. Our growing pains can distract us from the truth, and at times, feel like an exhausting dance with our ego. I’ve been there too and I know, that while I continue to learn and grow, these feelings can and will come up again.
Consider the following 10 ways to support yourself, while embarking on this decolonization journey.
Rewiring your brain, retraining your thoughts, and exercising patience can be hard work, but we are in this together.
10 Ways to Support Yourself While Decolonizing
1. Be in Community
When possible, it is extremely valuable to co-exist with others in your cultural community. Humans are relational beings so seek the support of those with shared experiences. Oftentimes, it might feel difficult to reach out to folx, so creating micro-communities and safe spaces amongst friends is just as valid. In community, our feelings and experiences are acknowledged, heard, and reflected back to us by others and as a result, we are furthering our self-understanding through this mirroring.
2. (Re)Educate Yourself
Be kind to yourself while seeking Higher knowledge. What we once knew might not be what we the know today. Constantly re-educate yourself and be humbled by the process of filtering and redefining your wisdom. Seek the comfort and support of books, articles, and the resources around you to rewire your thinking. Make it a habit to seek deeper Truth and knowledge.
Repetition rewires the brain and breeds habits. - John B. Arden, Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life
3. Observe Oral Knowledge
Acknowledge the value of oral knowledge through the form of stories, myths, and sharing experiences. When receiving oral knowledge from elders, family members, and community leaders, try observe what is true for you and what serves you at this time.
4. Listen to Elders
In western society our elders are often dismissed and unfortunately, seriously undervalued. Listen to the things our (personal and community) Elders share with us. Ask questions. Empathize with their experiences. But most importantly, listen more than you speak.
In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves. - Rumi
5. Seek Mentorship
In relation to listening to Elders, it is important to seek mentorship where and when appropriate. These can be personal mentors that you personally spend time with, or teachers that you find in books/ speeches/ online teachings. A mentor can help challenge our knowledge and growth, and help us understand our experiences through guidance.
6. Spend Time in Nature
Being in nature is deeply healing. When we simply observe nature and remain in the present moment, we can learn many things about existence, Humanity, and the nature of life. Look at trees, watch animals, care for flowers.
Being a caretaker for nature is our human right and responsibility. Mother Nature continues to teach us in many ways, just as she has taught our Ancestors. - Tasha Jade Banate
7. Teach Others
When we teach we are solidifying what we know within ourselves. Teaching something helps us repeat and deepen our knowledge by having us explain and re-experience the learning process from a beginner’s perspective. To be a teacher does not mean you must take up a new career path and position, but rather, reframing your responsibility in how your speak and share with others.
Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care. - Gautama Buddha
8. Take Care of Your Body
Your Spiritual sight and experiences can be impacted by your physical body. Taking care of yourself, eating well, and developing healthy habits are all integrative ways you can create healing for the long-term. When you take care of your body you are taking care of the vessel that is transporting you through your Human experience.
9. Exercise Non-Judgement
Don’t judge what comes up for you on the journey. Don’t judge the emotions, resistance, questioning, ego battles, and the pain. Acknowledge what you learn, watch it, observe it, and…(see #10)
You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody. - Maya Angelou