Updated: Aug 21
There is no one singular definition of embodiment, but I personally define embodiment as what naturally happens when we are able to witness our physical, emotional, and spiritual experience without judgment or urgency to change it.
Somatic (body-based) practices help us develop the capacity to turn inwards towards our experience with compassion and curiosity.
So, in answering the question, why embodiment for mixed race people?, we have to consider what embodiment means for mixed race people and how it happens. . . or doesn’t happen.
As multiracial people, our experience of identity and belonging is complex. As a result, many of us struggle with our self-perception and self-worth. We constantly worry if we are “enough” or something to claim it, and some of us feel we have to atone for the elements of our identities that are more aligned with privilege.
In doing so, we are distracted from turning inwards and really seeing ourselves. We might be living “outside” of ourselves, constantly feeling like our existence is something we have to fight for.
We therefore might spend our time looking outside of ourselves for reassurance, advice, and permission. And our attempts to be in relationship with others in an authentic and sustainable way is therefore inhibited, and this can leave us feeling misunderstood and even more isolated.
A lot of my clients resonate with the idea of feeling fragmented, like they can't be their whole selves, but only parts of themselves at a time. So when it comes to their relationships, a lot of them have been cultivated in a way where we still have to hide aspects of who we are.
Furthermore, our efforts to address white supremacy and other harmful ideologies can come from a place of over or under accountability. Rather than experiencing the transformation we desire, we can remain trapped in the characteristics of white supremacy culture - perfectionism, urgency, defensiveness, fear of conflict, etc. - which in turn harms us and those we are in relationship with.
We deserve to build relationships that liberate. These are the kinds of relationships where we are seen, celebrated, and held lovingly accountable.
Resmaa Menakem’s concept of somatic abolitionism, which he defines as “an individual and communal effort to free our bodies—and our country—from their long enslavement to white body supremacy and racialized trauma,” is one framework that has become central to my work with clients.
Another person I’m inspired by in my work is the late organizer, speaker, and writer Grace Lee Boggs, who said that "we need to embrace the idea that we are the leaders we've been looking for."
While she meant it in a political context, it’s also extremely relevant in our personal lives (the personal is political, after all).
For mixed folks, choosing to embrace the leader within us means that we embrace somatic abolition as an active and lifelong practice that is critical to our personal wellbeing, ability to build community, and capacity to transform oppressive systems.
Furthermore, embracing our inner leader also means recognizing that we don't have to do this work alone. Leaders need teams: mentors, supports, peers, cheerleaders, you name it.
I'd be honored to be a member on your team.
Use the link below to schedule your free consultation for therapy. I can't wait to see your name on my schedule!