Often times what we most remember and cherish from our lives are the moments when we felt deeply seen and cared for - and when others felt deeply seen and cared for by us.
Where we could bring our whole, authentic selves to others and be received in such a way that heals the cracks in our spirit that we didn’t even know was there. Where we are all cared for because we are all caring - giving freely, receiving freely, and inviting in freely.
But too often we are afraid of showing our whole, authentic selves to others. We live in a society that says we must conform to a certain standard of what’s “acceptable”, including how we look, what jobs we have, how we talk, and how we behave. So it can be scary to be different, to live unconventional lives, and to not fit into the system, even if it’s killing us slowly.
We also may not know how to be with others in a way that invites in consensual care and addresses handle conflict or tension with others. In our society, there is a strong push to act like everything is always good, to not rock the boat, to be polite - over being present to what is (which can sometimes be painful and violent) and over sharing our truths (which can be so different from other people’s).
So often we deny our own feelings and needs, run away from conflict, and ignore the tension in our bodies and in the room. We often tell ourselves to keep pushing forward and just stay silent - until we blow up because we can’t take it anymore.
And it doesn’t have to be this way.
Mindfulness is a powerful practice that can help us turn toward our feelings and needs with gentle patience and humble curiosity and turn toward conflict and tension so we can transform them into opportunities for reconnection and healing.
But that’s only if we actually turn toward our fears and pains with mindfulness.
Which is very hard to do by ourselves. It can feel overwhelming to turn toward such emotionally charged feelings. It can also be triggering for people with trauma.
This is why we need the sangha to hold us as we hold ourselves,
As we identify the toxic messages we’ve internalized from our society, particularly from systemic oppression. Messages about who we should be and how we should act in order to be ‘good’ and ‘right’ in the world - so we would be allowed to survive.
As we reconnect with the parts that kept us away from ourselves and each other.
As we rediscover the joy of relaxing into who we’ve always been.
As we embrace our life purpose and share our gifts with our beloved.
As we nurture deep togetherness where all are cared for because all are caring - because all are cared for.
Sandra Kim brings together social liberation and spiritual liberation, weaving the dharma, anti-oppression analysis, healing, and organizing together. She’s the founder of the popular independent media website, Everyday Feminism, and online healing and training website, Re-Becoming Human. Everyday Feminism helps people apply intersectional feminism to address everyday violence, discrimination, and marginalization and is visited by millions of people every month from all over the world. In 2017, she moved on to launch Re-Becoming Human, which helps people heal from oppression and co-create a more liberating future together.
Sandra is dedicated to nurturing caring communities that support every individual in embracing their life purpose, which in turn benefits the greater good. She shares key lessons from her own journey from internalized oppression to greater spiritual wholeness, with the intention of inspiring others and modeling a different way of being. Her approach is grounded in the belief that, as human beings, we are inherently whole, interconnected, and one with nature. But systemic oppression tears us away from these truths, leaving us feeling disconnected from ourselves, each other, and the world. She believes that, in this painful state of brokenness, we rely on systemic oppression to survive and therefore, believes we need to heal from disconnection and dehumanization in order to get free spiritually and socially.