Quantcast

The First Time I Reiki'd My Kid

Motherhood

For one half of summer 2018, my daughter Sanaa wore her hair in blue and purple box braids. She's an artist; a lover of a fresh notebook with a penchant towards carrying all she cares aboutin her hands. She wears her heart on her sleeve, which she got from me. This summer, my daughter learned just how powerful her voice rings when she chose to speak her truth, which landed her square in the ire of my ex in-laws. "Don't raise her to be selfish likeyou," my ex-husband's mother left on my voicemail.

My child's feelings had been hurt and she made an executive decision to put her needs first, even if at the time they laid nameless. It's funny, deciding at any age to take ownership of your safety and healing is both revolutionary and offensive.

Since early 2017, life had run me ragged.

I was going through it, as sage smoke poured from my closed bedroom door more often. In search for some relief in between therapy sessions, I set an appointment to receive my first Reiki session from a friend I'd known since high school. She had recently received her Reiki II certification and was taking on new clients. Along with my appointment came an email detailing what I am to expect during my session. "You may have lucid dreams," she said just before I closed my eyes. I laid in bed, preparing myself to receive something I'd never experienced, and felt my body float above me.

Related: I Tried Energy Healing & It Transformed My Life

I dreamt of 4s and foundations being uprooted and repaired. I woke up feeling the pull of a mission. More and more, I'm seeing black women going back to move forward. We are taking court with our ancestors asking to be given what generations before us deemed unbecoming: the tools to crack ourselves open and change our trajectories.

The bravery to look up as our feet hit the ground.

The spells to block, heal, break, manifest.

The power of Grandma's Hands.

To live and thrive in spiritual duality.

They tell you that good things come in 3s. That sequences of numbers should be paid extra attention to. That dreams aren't simply symbolic: they often show glimpses of the future. My great-grandmother visited during meditation to tell me I have a gift. I saw myself as a healer, acalling I ran from for years. Readers have told me to go heal.

But to heal, I had to accept the journey to continuously heal myself.

Writer Joi Donaldson and her daughter Sanaa

That's the moment I finally moved towards becoming a Reiki practitioner. Many of us are taught to break ourselves for love, to starve our wants and needs to make a belly full outside of us. It's as if our natural posture is that of bent over and grateful to be alive.

I learned that initially in church. As I stretched my spine through praise dance to show the lengths I would go to serve a God I couldn't question. A God who had to be a He. A God who never says sorry. For this, and many other reasons, I began to largely denounce segments of my Southern Baptist upbringing. I still give a hum and wave at a gospel classic. But many of the foundations for me have crumbled. The standards of exclusion, fear mongering and unquestioned agreeance left holes in my spirit. A connection to something bigger than this Prepackaged Dogma began to call out to me.

And for once in my life, I allowed myself to listen.

I received my Reiki I Certification after a day of intense spiraling. There was no break in between - I wanted it all at once. I left hungry but not for food; angry with no sole root as to why. My teacher told me anything goes during the 21-day incubation period and to allow what comes up the room it needs to surface. It was rough; learning how to channel through multiple mediums and listening in a completely new way. My already sensitive, empathic nature was now raw with friction. I didn't think I'd make it past the 21-day period, let alone up another level. Receiving my Reiki II Certification was as intense but surprisingly more fluid. By this time, my activation coursed through me with less fear, less resistance. My teacher said the guides had been waiting for me to get to this space. I was honored to finally be there.

To be completely honest, I was nervous introducing my belief system to my child.

For the last seven years, all she'd known was me heavily into church serving on multiple ministries. On Sundays now, I'd much rather go to the river. I'd rather run cool water over my crystals. I'd rather mix herbs for candle work and write down my latest pull. Sanaa has gotten used to sage smoke. When her friends come over and they predictably ask what's that smell in the air, "Oh. My mom's clearing her room."

I've taught her how to sweep her room for negative energy, how to pay attention to her dreams, and how to listen and move when something doesn't feel right. And at a moment in summer 2018, on the cusp of her first big trip without me, she felt the pangs of anxiety against her chest. "What if something terrible happens? What if I get hurt? I'm scared, mommy."

I looked over at my altar, my grandmother, great-grandmother, uncle and aunt stared back. My eyes then turned to my hands as I felt the energy surfacing. I still had my doubts.

What if she doesn't get it? I'm still working to get it.

What if she thinks I'm weird? A step past our usual views of weirdness.

What if she chooses not to believe? Sometimes my doubts ring louder than my prayers.In the midst of my doubts,

I stretched out my hands over her heart and crown chakras. I reminded her and myself to breathe. My palms felt warm and I peeked to see her reaction. She stood still. Stoic. Cautious. I again reminded us to breathe. I went where the energy directed: I blanketed her 3rd eye, her back, her crown, her hands, her belly, her heart. I prayed. I let out deep breaths and watched as my child relaxed into a new tradition. I asked her how does she feel. "A little better. Tired." As I expected.

I told her to look to the altar where her ancestors were. "Repeat after me: I am brave. I am safe. I am protected."

"I am brave. I am safe. I am protected."

Sanaa's braids are now ruby.

She's walking into fourth grade with a foundation of emotional intelligence that I think surprises even her. As we move to a new state, her notebook has become a cell phone; her drawings now photo collages. She breathes easier, allows herself to feel even when it's too much.

Introducing Reiki to my kid hasn't been a magical cure-all, it's been a wake-up call. I notice her calmness when it gives way to anxiety and I ask if she needs help. She's become aware of her triggers and more open to exploring her power instead of accepting she's selfish to have it.

We meditate when we can but more than anything, I no longer hide this side of me. Instead I bring her in to take parts in the rituals I call my own. And that is when the energy has room to flow.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com.

All images courtesy of Joi Donaldson

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

The queen of everything Ms. Naomi Campbell, known for being a pioneer of every single element of what it means to be a super model, is now a mommy! She surprised fans with the news, accompanied by a photo of baby girl's tiny feet back in May, captioning the photo:

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Nothing says, "I wanna spend a little bit of quality time with my man" quite like a well-planned out date does. And personally, I agree with someone I was talking to recently who said that the traditional dinner and a movie can get kinda old, pretty fast, mostly because it's so predictable and typically lacks creativity.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

Joie Chavis has been fitness goals for many of us since she danced her way into our hearts a few years ago. She is a mother of two, one being kid superstar Shai Moss, and a fitness influencer, as owner of Joie In Life fitness brand. She also has her own YouTube channel, where she showcases her daily life as an entrepreneur and mom, a channel that has well over 140K subscribers.

Keep reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion is such a breath of fresh air. To me, she represents women that are unapologetic about doing what's best for themselves. In a world where women, *cough* Black women *cough* are so policed--from hair, to behavior, to reactions--she shows up as a superhero, inspiring and representing a young generation of women who are authentically themselves. And not only that, they're women who don't stray from getting what they deserve.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'Insecure' Writer Mike Gauyo Talks His Journey From Med School To The Writers' Room

"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."

Latest Posts