Black Lives Matter Where I'm From
A yoga friend invited me to join an online BLM (BLM = Black Lives Matter for those living on another planet) focused yoga training. Intrigued by the idea of a well-intentioned group of non-Black people in the fitness focused, revenue driven yoga arena getting together to "offer" a donation based 100 hours of training to just black folk, I signed up. I donated $20. If it sucked, hey, I was only out $20. If it was amazing, I got $1,000 worth (by western yoga training standards) of CEUs for only 20 bucks.
(*Note to the reader: There will be lots of parenthesis and quotation marks in this post to illustrate all of the side-eyes and side-thoughts I have about the whole thing, if you haven't already noticed.)
Already, the training is a bit of a shit show. There are a number of reasons for this, but I might be a bit biased. Because I already am a RYT, which means that I spent roughly $3,000 and 200 hours to earn a Yoga Alliance approved certificate that says I am a Registered Yoga Teacher, I decided to take WHAT I WANT from this BLM (and really, why name it that, lol) training. What I wanted was a bit of inspiration. I wanted a bit of freshness. I wanted to be taught by someone else. I wanted to be taught something new. What I wanted was connection to other black people in the wellness space.
I'm struggling with how well-intended ideas somehow fall short in delivery. How that intention is sometimes lost for the intended. Do we really need to call it BLM? Is that for the black lives involved in the training, or is that for marketing purposes to show symbolic solidarity? I'm black. My life matters. I don't need white people to give me things that say BLM. I need white people to be about the action. Period. But, like I said, I'm willing to take what I need and WANT from this without attachment to an outcome.
So far, one of my favorite parts of the training are the written assignments as assigned in our required reading, "Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World." The book is actually a great read so far. AND - I love to write my thoughts. I don't do it nearly often enough (you could probably tell by the length of time between each of these blog posts). There is a poem by George Ella Lyon called "Where I'm From." Our first written assignment was to create our own version of this poem. While the book gives you a cool mad-libs (age telling here) sort of fill-in-the-blank guideline, I tried my hand at making it my own. Wanna hear it? Here it goes:
Where I am From
A Poem by Ran
I am from love letters
From head scarves and marine corps duffle bags
I am from Alta Vista Place, open doors, extra cars in the driveway and extra family on the couch
I am from gardenias and incense and roach clips in my braids
From late night radio requests and oil on velvet paintings
I am from Trisha Ann and Bub Bub
I’m from the Taurus the Bull and the Sensitive Crab and the heart of the Leo and the irresistible Scorpio
From “Can’t beat out the bone what’s born in the blood” and “Pretty is as Pretty Does”
I am from the deacon and deaconess and teachers and preachers and poets and speakers
I’m from Pontiac - No Place to Be Somebody and Ohio – home of runaway enslaved Africans and PWT, from jooba jabba, Onezeye Twozeye and nectarine cobbler.
From the Saponi Nation, the Polish-Polynesian Maítre De, silver gray hair, always dressed and fresh with a gold-toothed smile.
Where are you from?