Renew & restore the practices that serve your mind, body, and spirit
Updated: Mar 10
On behalf of the entire EcoWomanist Institute (EWI) team, I wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!
As we begin this new year, I want to highlight one of the three pillars of EWI—SoulCare/SelfCare.
Based upon our own life’s journeys and those of the women who came before us, my Co-Visionary/Co-Founder (Valerie Hill Rawls) and I knew that soul care and self care for Black women must be at the forefront of EWI. If there is one thing the history of systemic racism has taught us as Black women, it’s that the care of our bodies, minds, and spirits were not a priority.
Black women’s bodies have been viewed as commodities and repositories for the purpose of benefiting an oppressive system of greed and power. As the result of such oppression and our ability to “keep going anyhow” while “making a way out of no way” the myth of the “strong Black woman” emerged.
We are expected to do it all; take care of our household (and someone else’s) solve the problems of the community, serve in our houses of worship, contribute financially to all these institutions, and rarely, if ever, complain aloud about the load we are carrying.
In recent years, however, and especially during these challenging times, I am so glad to see the tides shifting, as Black women are speaking out and serving up some serious “truth-telling” with regards to our overall well being.
Authors and works such as Marita Golden’s The Strong Black Woman: How a Myth Endangers the Physical and Mental Health of Black Women, Chanequa Walker-Barnes’ Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength and others are calling out this oppressive and destructive journey that many of us have been traveling since (so-called) “girlhood”.
Join us for our KTT on March 31, 2022 at 6PM CST/7PM EST as we discuss "Too Heavy A Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength"
In the spirit of EWI “truth-telling,” writing a blog like this is bittersweet. I feel a combination of vulnerability and liberation to be able to share with you through this platform.
I have been carrying the “yoke of the strong Black woman” all my life. Even in childhood, I cannot remember a time when I was not either given the role of leader/doer or volunteered to do so. All around me I saw strong, hard working Black women, loving their families and communities rigorously.
Looking back, I did not know to look for the exhaustion that showed up on their faces and the way they moved with heavy feet at the end of a long day. I was too naive to unpack that what sometimes showed up as “the angry Black woman” was her crying out for some compassion and tender/loving/care that she never received and was able not to give herself.
In this season of my life, I confess that I have at times shown up as that Black woman—tired, with aches and pains, frustrated, overwhelmed, and bubbling up with anger that no one came to rescue me from this social construct of being the strong, all knowing, all doing Black woman!
I came into this New Year carrying the heavy load of Black womanhood—caring for household and extended family members (close loved ones dealing with serious health challenges), the continued lifting of my community and my workplace, and engagement in spiritual practice at my house of worship. I am committed, however, to using this monthly blog platform to hold myself (and those who desire) accountable to make radical restorative changes in this New Year. I love myself and I am recommitting to act like it!
Here are some favorite SC/SC practices that I have irregularly engaged in over the past decades: journaling; daily affirmations; smudging; visualization; praise, prayer, and worship; meditating; dancing; getting together with my sister-friends; EWI Kitchen table Talks; listening to good Old School R&B; reading; traveling to new and culturally interesting places; and retiring on my deck in the evenings with my lifelong partner.
I enjoy them all, yet so often I have gotten buried in the burdens and distractions that life imposes and unknowingly placed myself at the bottom of my priority list.
The SC/SC practices that I long to return to are aquacise, learning to REALLY swim (not just wade in the water), walking on the lakefront, forest bathing, getting regular massages, taking naps, strength-training, Qigong, and belly dancing.
In this New Year, my intention is renewing and restoring the practices that serve my mind, body, and spirit.
The entire EWI team invites you to join us on this journey by sending in your SoulCare/SelfCare practices/photos, truth-telling reflections, and insights on our FB and Instagram pages.
Let the EWI Radical Revolution of Restorative SoulCare/SelfCare Begin!
–Veronica Kyle, Co-Founder & Co-Visionary at EWI