Celebrating National Black (Afro-American) History Month!
Why is it important to promote Black History Month? Well, I believe, as did Gandhi, that it is our ability to embrace diversity that reflects the highest aspects of being human and defines the very fabric of our nation. This month is an opportunity to recognize the central role blacks played in our history of the United States. This month has been set aside so that we may broaden our awareness, deepen our understanding and choose to celebrate and thank those contributors!
Consider the following intention-setting ideas to try this month in our efforts to elevate the collective consciousness of the world:
- Embrace Diversity. Embracing diversity challenges our ability to accept and respect differences. Each person is like a snowflake, unique yet similar. When we lean into embracing our uniqueness, we also need to explore our differences in a safe and nurturing environment. Embracing goes beyond simple tolerance and taps into our innate ability to feel empathy and compassion for one another as humans. Perhaps consider a conscious practice to move from acknowledging to embracing diversity, such as: 1) Shifting the cultural value meter on the scale of dependence/independence to the middle point of interdependence, appreciating that all of humanity is interdependent; 2) Practice mutual respect when confronted with cultural practices that are different from yours; and 3) Acknowledge the institutionalization of discrimination which creates an unequal playing field.
- Own Your Bias! We all have them! We live in a judgmental culture and learn to compare ourselves to others from a very young age. It is only through becoming more aware of our learned biases that we can begin the practice of discernment instead of judgement. In addition, research has shown that we have a natural tendency to hide biases from ourselves. So consider setting an intention to explore your biases, by visiting Harvard’s Implicit Bias site here and taking one or more of the online tests.
- Acknowledge Holidays. Last month marked the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., with many businesses closed in honor of his contributions to the world. How did you celebrate this day? January also included the Chinese New Year (January 25th – a Metal Rat year!) – again, how might you have honored this holiday? To support your expanding awareness of diversity, perhaps start by simply recognizing that people celebrate a variety of holidays and set an intention to take an interest in the traditions that are included in such holidays. Perhaps you ask someone what holidays they celebrate and explore one ritual that is included with them? Or you add some new holidays to your calendar and research them when the day arrives?
- Get to Know Someone Different Than You. This intention-setting idea might be a little more challenging. Consider actively looking for opportunities outside of your familiar circle to expose yourself to new experiences. Volunteer work is a great way to find people of all backgrounds and abilities with similar passions. Or you might invite a neighbor over so that you might get to know them on a deeper level, coming from a place of curiosity. Travel also lends itself to exploring different cultures. There are many benefits to leaning into our differences, including but not limited to reducing fear (think increasing love, peace and compassion), increasing creativity, and personal growth.
- Read ‘White Fragility’. This book is written by a corporate diversity trainer (who happens to be white) with the intention to challenge the responses white people have when their participation in racism is revealed. So, for those of us privileged white people (me included), consider reading this book to deepen your understanding how all white people are racist so that you might make different choices as you move through the beautiful rainbow world we all inherited.
As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share!