This journal was one of my work journals from the time I spent in India. It holds notes for re-writing and teaching a curriculum that taught women their worth and value to God. It is a journal that I hold dear, because of all the hard work it represents. Hard work when I didn’t feel like I could do it, hard work when I struggled to get out of bed, hard work when I was emotionally spent.
That’s the thing about work — it IS hard.
Work asks more of us than we think we can give. It asks us to set aside how we feel sometimes. Other times, we lean into those feelings in order to DO the actual work. Work can never be stagnant, never stale, never immobile. It requires sacrifice and surrender to the process. It requires action and movement.
From Stuck to Work
Before I started using this journal, I was stuck in my emotions regarding my first 8 months in India. I was battling depression, anxiety, and fear as what I thought I was called to changed harshly and unexpectedly. But I was still convinced I was meant to stay, live, and do the work I could do in India. And so I did. This journal represents my journey out of my emotions and into my work, which took grit, strength, creativity, and passion.
I think many of us are trekking along this same journey now.
One of the lessons I taught on often in India was about our emotions. Our emotions reveal what we are believing, what we are thinking, and ultimately–they will be a part of the way we act. They are an integral part to our acts of justice & peace in these days ahead.
Here’s where my emotions have been at over the past month:
All. Over. The. Map.
There are two sides to this:
One, I am an empath and feel for others, often just as deeply as I feel for things that are going on with me, personally.
Two, I am deeply saddened by the injustices that have trickled down from my own ancestry into a privilege of white skin and white lies that I live and move and breathe in.
I’m wrestling down my empathy to make it actionable “for the benefit of all,” but starting with what’s right in front of me: the Black Lives Matters movement.
Two, I am sitting with my own sadness and reading more to learn about the history of it, before I read books that confront it. This may sound like a copout, but I know my boundaries. Just like I know it is easier for me to digest material like movies before books right now. I need to know what I’ve missed, historically, before I can confront it well. Otherwise, I’ll be back in a trauma-informed response–freezing in shame rather than fighting for compassion.
That’s me & my emotions, out in the open for you.
As to the work I’ve started to do, visit this post for some starting places.
Where are you at today, emotionally?
Have grace with your emotions, but don’t let them define you or stagnate your part in the hard work ahead of all of us.
What role (positive or negative) have your emotions played in the work you’ve started to do?
Take time to reflect on the steps of action you’ve taken over the past month. Celebrate the victories, be honest with where emotions have held you back. Me: I had a full two to three weeks of being stuck in my emotions. I will have hours and days ahead to be stuck as well, I’m sure. But the work will continue, as will self-care and self-compassion. Because if me + my emotions aren’t operating in good health, the work I’m committed to won’t be healthy either.
I hope this was an encouragement to you. I want this blog to be a safe place to reflect on the work we are doing to affect change, justice, and strive for peace in our hearts & communities. I will be hosting Black women on this blog in the coming months to share their stories. Join the conversation. Subscribe, contact me, or start a conversation in the comments below. Find my list of resources and places to start here.