A Body Centered Approach to Healing Racial Trauma


I purchased Resmma's book in April after a touching conversation with a fellow somatic practitioner and wise woman of color. I had been grappling with a perceived imbalance of diversity within the healing/self-help communities of which I was a part, and wanted to better understand how I may be contributing to the dynamic. I left our conversation with a clearer view of my own inherent bias, triggers, and places in need of continued growth and healing. Since then I have been reading, sharing and exploring the step-by-step, somatic based practices offered by Minneapolis based therapist Resmaa Menakem, telling nearly everyone I know to Read the book. Share the wisdom. Explore the practices. 

My Grandmother’s Hands is a CALL TO ACTION for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body.
— Resmaa Menakem, SEP
image: Joao Silas

image: Joao Silas

For many of us who practice conscious dance or other somatic based practices, we know the greatest healing happens in and through the body. Although open and honest dialogue can expand awareness and point us in the direction where growth is needed, it’s generally not until the body is engaged - until content is moved from thought to sensation - that the core issue(s) being addressed can be mended. Tended. Healed. 

If you're thinking, "I'm not racist; I'm a good person," or "White-body supremacy has nothing to do with me," Resmaa encourages the same orientation we explore in the Open Floor Movement Practice: 

Pause. Simply notice your body.
Pay attention to what is happening. 
BE with the experience...allow subtlety to reveal itself to you.
Note what sensations or emotions are present.
Note any thoughts that are arising. 
Stay present without suppressing or holding on...to anything. Let all of it move through you like a wave.

For me, Resmaa’s work is a ray of hope for these tumultuous times - a thoughtfully designed, step-by-step, somatic based process that ALL of us can access and explore, first alone and then together in community. I am honored to be part of a peer group that is forming this fall to address the racial trauma that lives within white bodies. I feel supported by many others across the city and country who are doing the same. If you would like to be part of a group like this, send me a message and lets connect! 

May the work be a gift that keeps on giving! 

Love, Teresa