Yoga and Journaling to Turn Your Sensitivity Into a Tool for Solidarity

Jun 16, 2023
rainbow for solidarity

Are you up for a cringey story?

I was at a yoga and social justice training: The Yoga of Solidarity. We signed up to have courageous conversations and empower ourselves to make a difference. Learn from my version of indie rock stars: Jacoby Ballard and Susanna Barkataki? I was frothing at the mouth for the experience.

Not to mention 5 days away from my family in JUNE?

Grateful doesn't describe it.

Most of my community will only get this version: I floated in the lake, enjoyed a 🌈🌈 on my birthday, stayed off my phone (mostly), and practiced ALL that yoga is. I learned tools to self-regulate, gained a new perspective on solidarity, and walked barefoot as often as possible.

You, friend, if you choose to read it, get the underbelly version…

On Sunday night, I was nervous. Other than the teachers, these were strangers. We didn’t know each other's backgrounds. Meeting new people is always awkward. I know I’m not alone in that. While I was elated to have some time to myself to recharge, I longed for belonging and connection too. 

My joints ached from the drive (and the effort it had taken to clear 5 days off right before the end of the school year) but I tried to stay grounded in my body.

Looking around at the multiracial group, I so wanted to be liked, to say the right thing, to be seen for the work I have already done, that I lost my center. 

I’m a recovering people-pleaser, and I relapsed. 


As we engaged in ‘ice-breakers’ meant to dismantle the barriers between us, I saw coldness and judgment looking back at me.

I heard myself as if from afar, inauthentically saying what I thought the other participants would want to hear. Soon, my tongue tasted sour as I sensed the contempt oozing from those I most wanted to accept me.

Was it emotional contagion?

Writing this, I’m wondering if my 'classmates' had their own fears about belonging and safety. Maybe the closed, critical gaze I saw was their fear, and my interpretation was my own? 

Feeling the pain in the room, I absorbed it, personalized it, and detached from my own inherent goodness.   

Yeah, I know my track record of honoring yoga’s roots, and learning about and advocating for antiracism, disability justice, health at every size, and LGBTQ rights. But last week I drilled deep, counting the ways I've failed to take courageous action. And I couldn't seem to dislodge my foot from my mouth. 😬

My sensitivity has helped me empathize with those most targeted by oppression... and it has held me back from confronting injustice head on. I believe solidarity = everyone is safe, respected, and beloved...

I haven't done enough. 

That leads to one of the journaling questions I’ve been planning for Beyond People Pleasing: 

What does enough feel like?


YOU are invited to sit with this question in YOUR body. 

  • While reading my story, what arose for you? 

  • Did you feel uncomfortable? 

  • Did you internally judge or defend me? 

  • Did your mind jump into fixing the problem? 

  • How tuned in are you to your body right now?

  • How is your heart? 

  • Do you feel that you're doing enough?

  • What does enough feel like in your body?

There’s no neat and tidy ending to this story. I see a way forward to more curious and creative leadership. We did end the week frolicking in the grass together, blowing bubbles and singing. But there was no closure. 

Noticing how my people-pleasing impacted my mental health and ability to connect, I’m even more committed to the 3 keys to thriving as an empath.

If I want to be an effective advocate, I need to stay connected to my values and my inherent worthiness. That connection needs to be embodied and empowered.

From there, intuitive, creative, and courageous solutions flow. 

I've got to disentangle my true self from the one that is defined by how others see me. Then, I’ll be less fragile and more clear on how to take compassionate action that upholds my values. 

Yoga and mindfulness give us the tools we need to break this cycle in one generation. Will you join me? 🌈🌈

Sign up now: Beyond People Pleasing: 3 Keys to Thrive as an EmpathIt starts tomorrow. Yes, there will be REPLAYS.

There’s no closure, but there IS growth. And it's nice to be home. 

Stop Walking On Eggshells!

Gentle yoga to release your stress and shift your mindset about struggle.

If you get your buttons pushed often by other people's issues, you may be hypervigilant. You might feel it in your body as clenching, tension, or chronic pain.

You'll become more grounded in awareness of your body.

Stop Walking On Eggshells