State Of Grace: Liberation and Surrendering the Body's Agreements to Hold onto Trauma | Episode 36
Merging Mindfulness and African Traditional Religions to Protect Your Peace
Joshua Young is a spirit-led guided meditation, yoga, and emotional intelligence teacher based in Atlanta, Ga. They guide meditation sessions that merge African Ancestral practices and philosophies to support the reimagining of wellness as we know it today. They empower BIPOC to seek a deeper connection to àṣẹ and Ori by merging guided meditation with what we & our ancestors know. Joshua cultivates practices that provide tools for moving through awakenings that encourage, vulnerability, community building, ritual, and empowerment to take steps towards healing. They contribute content for insight timer and continue to utilize this resource to make meditation more accessible and inclusive for Black, Indigenous, People of color and LGBTQ+ community members.
This episode we discuss
🌈How mindfulness can serve people of color and marginalized folks
🌈The key to releasing feelings from the body
🌈How we've been socialized to reject emotions
🌈The importance of working with healers that honor your lived experience
🌈Using money as a love offering
Body Liberation for All Theme
They might try to put you in a box, tell them that you don't accept when the world is tripping out tell them that you love yourself. Hey, Hey, smile on them. Live your life just like you like it
It’s your party negativity is not invited. For my queer folks, for my trans, people of color, let your voice be heard. Look in the mirror and say that it's time to put me first. You were born to win. Head up high with confidence. This show is for everyone. So, I thank you for tuning in. Let's go.
This transcript was generated with the help of AI. Becoming a supporting member helps us improve accessibility and pay equitable wages for things like human transcription.
This conversation was aired as a livestream just days after the January 6th attack on the capital, a frustrating but by no means surprising reminder of the double standards in this country.
Joshua’s insights about managing high periods of stress felt so relevant in the aftermath of the most recent mass murder of LGBTQIA+ folks in the US that I thought it an excellent time to revisit this conversation.
Dalia: I'm so proud of us right now. Look at us, just mastering the technology. Okay, so we're officially starting now.
Hello everyone, thank you for joining us. You know what time it is. You know how extremely stressful this week has been. We already knew America loved white supremacy, but we might not have known how much and maybe didn't know how we would be affected by watching America show its ass this week.
I know for me; I was so easily triggered this week and just everything pushed me right over the edge. Someone tried to condescend to me, another dietitian on TikTok. And I like literally lost my mind, immediately. She just assumed because I'm a brown person and because I'm in a bigger body that I don't know anything and wanted references at random and I was just like, NOT TODAY.
And I just didn’t want to feel so reactive. So, I was happy that we already had this scheduled. What can you tell us about how you have been processing this week and how long you've been working on your mindfulness and being non-reactive?
Joshua: Yeah, so first off, thank you for having me. This week is interesting.
As a person who's really wanting to be living the life that is wellness, there's a lot of things that happened for me.
And one of the things that I know is that if I'm not making myself a priority, no one else will. And so, this week I had to do what I had to do and that was taking a week off of work.
And I've literally dedicated this whole week to giving something back to myself or connecting to something that's always been really important to me and making that the big news, making that the biggest thing that's happening for me.
That’s been what's serving me. So, I've been like cooking, I've been talking to friends.
I've been just doing my best to exist in the way that I want to exist. And yeah, mindfulness and meditation and all those things show up in those spaces as well because I gotta really know who I am first.
Before I can realize, oh, it takes this, it takes that, it takes this. For me wellness, meditation, mindfulness is the only thing that I have when it comes to existing and being well, when oppression is still a thing. And it's always been.
And when it, you know, as it relates to like my body and what I'm doing with it, how people are perceiving it, wellness is like my medicine. And so, meditation is just my thing. I don't know. It's always been my thing. I think that like very early on in my life that's what I was doing.
I was just sitting, and I was just paying attention to what was happening around me. And you know, family label this as shyness, like, oh, Josh is just shy. I'm not shy. You decided that, and what I decided was that I'm gonna be mindful. I'm gonna be mindful of what's happening around me and how I'm feeling.
And that work just continued and it expanded into this, where I realized like, oh, there's like deep value in that and knowing who I am. Knowing how I feel, being comfortable with it, whether it's something that's really good or not so good. And realizing oh, I can teach people this too.
I'm a great teacher because I've been watching people and understanding how we're learning, how we are retaining information and how we're utilizing it.
So, a lot of things have been on my side when it comes to wellness and meditation. And I'm happy.
Dalia: That's so interesting that you naturally have that inclination.
And I know for some people who, depending on how you process energy and information, it is more intuitive to make the room for introspection.
I also know that for a lot of us who have dealt with so much trauma over our lifetime. We’re afraid of silence and afraid of introspection because if we get in touch with our emotions, it feels like it may just break something loose, and we'll feel outta control, we’ll feel overly distressed, and so we're afraid of it consciously or unconsciously, and we keep avoiding the silence and avoiding things like mindfulness. And this year in particular, it's been very difficult if you've been running from emotions and if you've been suppressing them. It's been hard to keep that running going because there has been so much space and room for introspection.
Dalia: But like you mentioned before the call, if you don't feel the feelings and you don't process the feelings, they get stuck. So even when we think we're protecting ourselves by avoiding our emotions, running from them, they can't really be escaped. Can you talk about that more?
Joshua: Yeah. Okay. So first I wanna say this.
When I talk about the experience for people of color or from the lens of people of color, I'm talking from the lens of a Black person. I'm a Black person, and when I think about from the very start, right, learning what the emotions are all about, how to express them when it's appropriate to, what I find in conversation with other people is that we're limited to those experiences.
Sadness is not something that I was like openly allowed to experience. Like people were trying to constantly fix it. People were constantly telling me, boys don't do that. You need to cut that out. You know, this is something that you have to stop. And, you know, it was almost like in this family, you know, space, only certain people at certain levels could experience things.
So I had no room for anger. I was doing something wrong by being angry or by being sad or sometimes like expressing too much joy.
Like, you know, if we're just getting down to the truth of it. This is just, this is just it. This is kind of what's happening in the family dynamics. And so now as a young adult, I've been through it all.
I've had the anxiety attacks; I've gone through the depression. I’ve had all those experiences and I guess what I'm realizing right now is every single thing that I've ever experienced from the beginning, I'm still carrying with me in some way. So, when I'm feeling anxiousness in my stomach, or if it's getting really crazy and now it's in my heart and in my chest, it's the same thing I was feeling when I first experienced it.
So, it's just in this space and it's sitting. And so, when we are doing the work of being honest with ourselves, being open with ourselves, loving on ourselves, being, seeking out that liberation, what we're doing is we're finding the opportunities to say, hey, you are here. I don't really know why or I could know why or I could be like turning a blind eye to it.
But you're here and it's my responsibility to step into that knowing that you're here and to do something about it. Like, you can live here, I guess but personally, I'm not willing to take anything from this year into the next year with me. And the reason I'm not willing to do that is because when I do that, I am attaching myself to my past.
And it's like this thing, this chain, this connection where no matter what happens, this is always gonna be my experience. And when I'm diving into these practices, I'm giving myself the opportunity to be free.
I'm unwilling at this point to, you know, have the first experience with sadness continue to be the reminder that this is what sadness is all based on this one experience.
You can go to therapy all you want to, you can talk about it all you want to, but I'm in here and I'm gonna stay in here until you do something about it. So that, that's a lot of what like the emotional intelligence piece of my work is all about is like getting to that saying, hey, you can go if you want to.
You know, like creating the gentle invitation to just like leave. And then usually we find that that's not the case. Like it's there, it's been there and then the other invitation comes where we say like, okay, so what does liberation look like for you? Like there's something, some little part of me, some inner child that's holding onto something. How do I free that up for you? And, and that is what I'm offering people.
Dalia: Oh, I love that. When you developed your most current offering, was it this year in response to this year or what triggered it? Why state of grace and why now?
Joshua: Yeah. It's so interesting, all of the people who know me, on a very personal level they know that like the one thing that I crave more than anything is quality time, but in that quality time, peace - peace within, peace within those around me. I really jumped into teaching guided meditation and emotional intelligence this year.
I’ve already gone through the yoga teachers training, meditation trainings, like all the things, and it felt like the right time to jump in. What I realized was that when COVID was happening, it was starting, people were freaking out - I don't know how I'm gonna be at home by myself. I don't know how I can be with my thoughts for this long.
It was a lot. And so, for me it was like I do this all the time, when no one's paying attention to me, I'm sitting in a conference room in a meeting and I'm thinking about myself. I'm figuring something out about me.
And when I'm doing something like that with ease and all the time, and it’s like my natural thing, why not be sharing it with people, you know? And so, this time was the birth of private sessions, where I was one on one with people and giving them a real opportunity to say, I'm terrified. I don't know what to do.
Who am I? If I'm not working, if that's not my purpose, then what is my purpose? This is a lot of what was coming up. And so, this course you know, it's just like the thing that needed to happen. I, outside of this work, I work at a therapeutic boarding school. And so, it's like all these kids, all these emotions, and I'm like a lot of people's moms and I'm a lot of people's dads.
In that space, I've been learning how to hold space in a real way, in like, this live action its happening in front of me way, you know, I have to be thinking on my toes. And, and what I realize is like, I even walk in that space with grace. People can be yelling, screaming, destroying things, and I'm there saying, if that's what you gotta do, you know, let it out.
Like don't hold onto it. And so, I create this course, with that understanding like, things are happening, and people's responses are their responses, but the real work is figuring out how to support them in letting it go. And how to be liberated from it and how to do that with, with grace.
Dalia: The prospect of liberation, even though oppression it's just beautiful. For some of us it might feel unattainable, but I'm excited to see so many healers of color and Black healers in particular, because the amount of abuse we have sustained in this country is just, it's astronomical. Sometimes it almost seems like fiction. It's unbelievable the crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated against Black people in this country. And people are continually trying to gaslight us and say, it's not that bad. I'm like, what are you talking about? Have you ever read a book?
But to know that no matter what happens, we are going to be all right. We are able to not just survive, but to thrive and to even do healing that the generations before us didn't have the space for. It's wonderful to see how many people are dedicating time and energy to that work. And it does make me feel more aligned this year, now that I've made that shift myself to really focusing on serving marginalized people.
And if someone who isn't in those marginalized categories resonates with the message the way my boundaries are, I'm still comfortable working with them. But anybody who doesn't resonate with the message of serving the most vulnerable, serving the people with the largest amount of trauma from daily threats against our safety, constant undermining of our identities.
And then it gets even more complex and then there are more layers when we look at being somebody who's queer and Black and not finding safe places easily.
It's a whole thing.
How did you get to the point that you realized not only was it safe to integrate all of your identities into work, but that it would be healing for people?
Joshua: Yeah. Well, I wanna say something about what you just said, cuz like that is a huge part of why I'm doing the work. When I started to practice meditation, the first person of color that I ever saw doing meditation was on a TV show called Run's House. It's like Reverend Run, he's like trying to sell to Black people, like meditation's a thing.
And that was like the first Black person. And so, every person before that had been like a straight white person, like male or female, didn't matter. And they are going and like going to India and they're like bringing back this knowledge and wisdom and they're the ones who are teaching it for some reason.
Not to say that what they're teaching is not credible. But it's like this is what they're teaching. And so, in, in that meditation space where I'm like, oh, I'm starting out, I'm learning. I'm like sitting in meditation for the first time. They're like, okay, close your eyes and let everything go. And I'm like, everything, what do you mean?
I'm, I'm barely holding onto what I have. What do you mean let go of everything? And the messages of like, yeah, what's happening on the outside world, like that doesn't matter. And I'm like, but it does, you know, like there's, you're missing something here. And I think what was missing was like the other experience.
Which is like the, the people who look like me, right, who are living like me, you're missing our experience. And there are rarely times where we can say, oh yeah, nothing matters. Like, I'm the only thing in the world that matters right now. That's virtually impossible. When we think about the typical structures of our families, when we think about how we show up to workspaces, how we show up in our friend group.
Like, Nah, that's just not possible. And so, I was disconnected from meditation for a long time. I was like, I'm not listening to a white woman tell me I don't need to worry about what's happening.
Dalia: Just don’t worry about it, yeah that’s like the mantra of the white healer/coach. Just don't worry about it. That's your ego. That doesn't matter.
Joshua: I don't know. It's, it's really crazy to think that we are now just kind of stepping into this understanding of like, oh, people have different experiences, and we must be creating offerings and spaces that welcome them.
How we're just getting to that understanding, I have no clue. This has always been something that I've understood, but it's taken a lot of work on myself, right, to realize like, this is true. And no matter if the world is saying this is true, Black Lives Matter, that doesn't mean that it's not real.
This is a real thing and it always has been. And so, what I'm, what I'm really hoping to be doing is supporting people and realizing like your ideas of wellness, they're not luxury.
They've been sold to us as luxury. I talked to a homegirl and I'm like, yeah girl, things are getting heavy, like you are telling me a lot but like, I can't hold onto that. Have you ever considered a therapist? And she's like a therapist??? You know, and it's not like I would never speak to anyone about my issues cuz like, you're doing that with me. It's more of like, well, why would I invest my time in that, my money in that? And really when we think about it, when you do prioritize yourself, like you get all this stuff back, like everything comes back to you and you are the one who's prioritized.
So, I don't think I answered your question. And I think I like lost it in that,
Dalia: you know, I really get about, just following your train of thought. It just makes so much sense that so many of us have trouble prioritizing our own emotional needs because we were raised by people who really had to work hard to keep us alive and to keep themselves alive.
And when survival is your number one priority, you don't make room for that type of emotional work. You can't prioritize releasing those negative emotions, you have trust trapped in your body and you can't prioritize really developing a practice of cultivating happiness in a hostile environment because first you have to feel safe enough to be able to do those things.
And so, no one modeled these things for us. And you're right, I always saw meditation and self-care put out there as luxury items. And when you don't see anyone Black or anybody who you know is suffering some from some kind of systemic oppression modeling, like I use this for self-care because number one, these tradition traditions originally were practiced by people who were suffering from different degrees of marginalization, even while it was being introduced to the west.
A lot of people have been using this for centuries. It's not connected to privilege really, but that's just how we've seen it used here. So, when you use these deep ancient practices to help wealthy White people feel better about themselves. Mm-hmm, it's not that like the practice is trash, it just isn't applicable to all of us because of the lens that it’s coming through.
So good for you. You get to feel better about your life as you process the human experience, which is very trying. But we are going through the same human experience with all these additional layers of systemic oppression. And your superficial spiritual practice isn't gonna do anything for me. I need something deeper.
I need something that goes beyond just this whitewashed, capitalistic kind of vapid thing, you know? And there definitely some people who are part of the dominant culture and are privileged, who are profoundly spiritual people.
But you'll notice that they would have the wisdom to say, you know, maybe I don't have all the tools I need to really help
Maybe I should bring in a guest or collab with someone else with relevant lived experience. It's just so interesting. The people that are the most irresponsible about how they, you know, help heal. Are the ones that are the most visible. And so, yes, that's my experience as well. Like everyone who was trying to sell yoga to sell meditation wasn't aware of the fact that there's more than one type of human on the planet. We're not all cis white het.
Joshua: Right. Yeah that's so true. So, when I show up in these spaces, like yeah, I show up in the spaces and I give everything that I can give.
You know, but like the challenge is like all of those people I'm still up against. So, I'll share this with you because I think this needs to be said. I do guided meditations on Insight Timer, which is like the meditation app, the number one in the world. So, I'm like contributing meditations and COVID hits.
And I watched every single person who had been working super hard, like I was giving as much as I could. I watched all those people get knocked off and then like these big names show up. And I'm like, wait, wait a minute. Like I've been here doing the work and these big names have not been contributed to anything.
How are they being the priority in this space when like, I've been the one giving to the community? And you know, it's things like that which continue the process of, hey, we're this white guy. He has really long hair, so you know, like he can put it in a bun. That's kind of like what Buddha has on his head.
Like, you know, like, and then like close your eyes with him. Like he knows . He has the vision. He's calm, he’s peaceful. Yeah. But he's also not oppressed in any way. Right. His oppression to him, right from his perspective is like us being upset. . It's like us saying Black Lives matter. That's his oppression, right.
and it still doesn't affect him because somehow, he's still making his way to the front cover. While him doing that and taking up a space that should be for me and supporting the people who I've been supporting and loving, like, I don't know, it's confusing. So, we have companies and organizations that are ran by White people who really, really, like, don't get it, like, I'm still sending them emails like, y'all better figure this out.
I'm not gonna sit around here, you know, while y'all are prioritizing white faces and I'm doing the work out here. That's not, that's not what I'm doing. Nah, I can't do that.
Dalia: % I'm just agreeing with people in the comments. First of all, the comments are cracking me up. Your, the people, I think these are mostly your followers,they love you and someone has shouted you out during the early days COVID.
It is incredibly frustrating though when you know you've been doing the work and you see someone else get like pushed ahead of you. It's just sickening to know that you have to do twice as much sometimes to get one eight of the recognition.
Yeah. So, it, it's justifiable to be angry, to know, hey, I've been doing this work and I've been giving all this love, and what do I get in response? You know, just like a spit in the face at a kick in the stomach - not very nice. But what I like is the concept of now that's a concept of now that so many of us are working on decolonization, there are more of us who are not going to contribute to that.
We're not gonna keep doing that to each other. And when we're focusing on serving other marginalized people who really are dedicated to decolonization, when we show up for our people, we are getting that love and response.
And I love the idea of being able to see my money energetically and that I put my money toward the people, the things, the programs, the practices that I want to see more of, and that it really is a love offering.
And I want for healers of color and LGBTQIA+ healers, who actually are gonna ask, what are your pronouns? Who actually are going to ask? What has your experience through this major civil rights movement been like? And how is that affecting your work? That's who I wanna work with. That's who I wanna give my money to.
That's who I wanna support. And we know that there is a way to be ethical in how we do business, but we haven't really seen it modeled for us a lot. And so, some people have this idea that, oh, if you have a gift or you do healing, you must take a vow of poverty and live on the street or something.
I just don't think that's sustainable. And then my question would be how are we modeling thriving for the people that we want to support?
So I definitely want to have healers that I can showcase like you to show what programs and offerings they have that are specifically tailored to us, that we can give them love offerings for in the form of money and receive a level of healing that other people, honestly, even if they could do it, they obviously aren't concerned about it because the way people have been pretending at the llth hour that they don't hate Black people.
Did you see the Aunt Jamimah people saying, oh, we just realized this might mammy/enslaved person imagery might be problematic. And then when AMC was like, we just realized that maybe Black people are tired of us playing Gone with the Wind every two minutes. Oh, we just realized that y'all are tired of, all this mammy stuffy, we care we really care.
You know, like you were so late on that we're not falling for it. And no you can't have my money anymore. I can make my own cereal, or I can buy it from like, somebody who is being oppressed in the same way as me or maybe being oppressed in another way. I'll take all adjacent suffering people.
Joshua: Yes. You know, so like the, the idea of stepping into the space and like needing to have to work harder, that's real. And so, for me, like what I realize is like, even in that hardness, of like, you're making this real difficult, but like, there are a couple things that I know. The first thing I know is that when I'm in this space, even if you're saying, oh, you gotta wait, you gotta hold on.
That's cute, that's fine, because all I'm doing is like deepening my intentions for the work. So, like, while you might think you're holding me back, you're not right. I am still diving into my practices as deeply as I can because now, I'm doing it with the purpose, which is when it is time for me to show up, no one can deny that I am doing the work.
This is not just me putting on the face smiling, crossing my legs, closing my eyes. This is me struggling with myself, with what's happening within me, what's happening as it relates to the world. And so, when my offerings come, they cannot be duplicated. You can try to hold a course that is guided meditation and emotional intelligence, and that's gonna be real cute. But the truth of the matter is, when it comes to the work that I'm doing, I am doing this for myself. And so, what I know I'm doing is creating opportunities for those who look like me or who are experiencing similar things to me, or even not experiencing similar things to me to get the healing right.
Dalia: That’s a powerful way to … it's not even a reframe, it's just accepting the full reality of the situation is that it is making you stronger. It is making you a more powerful healer and you can't duplicate it. That is powerful because I know almost everybody who's tried to do anything or even ever gone to work has had that experience of someone who just isn't you, try to rip off your idea and you're just like, that's what you came up with. And even if you see people celebrate it because the information came in the package, they wanted, - the person had straighter hair, or they had loosely curled hair, they had lighter skin or whatever. And people were like, oh, it's so great coming from you. But you knew that compared to what you generated; it was a really bad copy. That environment may not get you and appreciate you, but the more you lean into just being yourself and who you are meant to be, the more you realize that there is no such thing as competition because there's only one you.
And people who want to work with you or who want to be close to you, they know there's no substitute. That’s why you can say with confidence, oh, that's real cute, but you're not gonna nail it, you can't copy me. Cause there's only one.
Joshua: Yeah. So, when I'm doing the work of really understanding my connections to the emotions, I can look, I can literally be in a room, and this has happened before.
I've been in a room, I have said something and five minutes go by, minutes go by and someone says the exact same thing. And like, it's like, oh, oh, perfect, that is the solution. And because I am doing the work of loving on myself and prioritizing myself in my healing. I'm sitting there with grace, like, yeah, it is, it's a great idea.
But like, the idea is great, but what you're missing is like my plan. So, you can like say, oh, let's do this just because you heard me say it, but you don't know my thoughts behind it. You don't know how to get there.
Dalia: I've had that experience. What would you do at work? So, if somebody snatches your idea like that, are you just like, oh yeah, sure, but then you don't give, you don't collaborate anymore, you take ownership of that. Good luck.
Joshua: Yeah. You know, it's an inside laugh, like inner joy. Like damn you was right. You know? Whether anyone wants to open their mouth and say it. Yes. Now I just sit back, and I be entertained.
Like, this is when I watch you scramble. And you realize, oh, I stole this idea, but I don't even know how to bring this to life. And so now I'm watching you do too much. While I'm in the back and I'm like, I mean, skin's moisturized, I’m drinking water.
Dalia: This is my goal; this is my goal.
It sounds a little petty. And I say that with positive connotations because sometimes pettiness just, it gives me a level of joy I just can't explain. But I wanna be petty and not bothered at the same time. Is that a spiritual concept or am I deluding myself?
Joshua: I love that question.
Yeah, that's grace. That’s knowing like that you right and they're wrong and enjoying the fact that now they need to figure it out. We’ve been using pettiness as like this terrible thing. We’re framing it as ego.
Right. And if we're really doing it from a space where we're like, I am prioritizing myself, like I'm taking care of myself. I know that was my thing. I don't have to fight to know that was my thing. And so, I'm showing up and I'm being petty, but like, as long as I'm putting some grace into it, like, yes, I don’t feel bad about it.
Dalia: Yes! unbothered. I just love that. That made my day. That's the takeaway everybody. You can be petty in a spiritual way. I love that. Yes. Tell us about, for a lot of us who maybe were raised in really Christian traditions, we might not know about traditional African religions. Yeah. And so not everybody's gonna be familiar with ‘trust your ori’.
Can you tell us what Ori is and how do you bring traditional African practices or philosophies into your work.
Joshua: Yeah. Okay. So super interesting. We know traditionally African people, the African traditions are you know, like really against queerness. This is like the thing that I think I've always been up against as it relates to like being African or understanding my heritage and connection to it.
And so, a part of building that I don't know, like building that energy, or building that connection, is realizing like, well, I'm gonna come into this space and I'm gonna bring in whatever I got. And my hope is to shift it. So that people can get this idea that queerness is un-African out of the picture.
Because it's not necessary. And so, for me I practice Ifa. Which is the philosophy\tradition that is based in West Africa. And ori is like in the front of the practice. So, when you, when we think about the practice, we typically hear about like, aha.
It's like, oh Oshun, Elgua, and Chango. These are that are being pushed in front, like these are the most important things about the tradition. And as I've continued to learn and explore and really dive into the practice, what I realize is that the tradition is based on principles, but there are a couple that like really stand out. So, one of the things that stands out is that before we come into this world, we have already decided our destiny. And so, it's like in, in the realm of spirit, like before you show up in flesh, you already know what you're coming here to do.
You already know how to do it. And the work that that is, I'm just needing to recall. I just need to remember what it is I need to do, how I need to do it. All of it is like stored in the top of the head, like in the Ori like this is the space, the inner wisdom.
This is where we are divinely connected to our forces. And so, trust your, ori is trust that space where I do my best to remind you like, yeah, you are going through something, but you've probably gone through it before. It probably looked like something else, and you already know what to do.
And so, this is, this is what the practice is based on. And so, you know, there's a lot of, like, I was expecting for a lot more people to get it and then I was like, oh wait. But like the orisha are so much more like what people are looking for. We as Black people and people of color we love to put someone else in front of us.
Oh, let's look at Beyonce, oh, you know, like let's look at like all of these different people as people to model. And when we are focusing first on ourselves, which is what this work is all about, and we're focusing on this inner knowing, then what we're doing is we are developing ourselves and really doing it so that we're creating this opportunity to show up with good character.
Like that that is like what this is all about. It’s not about going to the ocean. It's not about the river. It's so much about building yourself to be the best person that you can be and doing that work from within, right before you step out and go into the world to do it.
Dalia: I love the idea of having all of that wisdom inside you the whole time.
So, many different faiths encourage you to look outwardly for guidance. And they give lists of rules instead of principles.
Dalia: Do you find people are uncomfortable with having to navigate morality or what is the right thing to do on their own?
Joshua: Yeah, definitely. I think what I, so I find two things.
One of the first things I find is that people are willing to try it. Which is like shocking to me. I'm like, wow, like people are willing to do this. Like not realizing, you know, the work that it takes. On the other end of this, people do struggle, with is this right. You know, what will my mom think? Like my aunt saying like, this is like devil worship. There’s a lot that's happening. It's even happening within my own circles. And you know, what I'm finding is that people are fearing things that they don't know.
People are fearing things that they don't understand. And when we allow White people to be the voice of our practices, our purpose, our intentions, our philosophies, our traditions. They will make it look however they see it. And, this is what we see like in the media. Where, you know, Black people doing all of this stuff, you know, to themselves or leaving offerings at the river and the ocean, like what are they doing?
This is demonic. And really, it's not. Really, if we think about it, this work is so centered around connecting to and understanding and showing gratitude to the forces of nature that are with us and within us. We can do all that work within ourselves. I don't need an ancestor alter.
Like they're already here. I am them. They're sitting in me somewhere. It's my responsibility to do the work of revealing that truth to myself and of making space. And so, this is like what all of the work that I'm offering is all about. Let's go in there, let's see what's happening.
Let's make some space. So that, I don't know, you know, just so that spirit has room.
Dalia: I love that concept of not having to do a lot of external things because I know that's one thing that's always intimidating to me. When I look at other religious practices I feel like there is so much I don’t know. There's all these things I would know that if I was raised with this - how do you make an altar? How do you do this? How do you do that? And how do you integrate those traditional practices? If you do still love Christianity, how do you mingle the two? Cause plenty of people have done that. Entire nations have done it, but it feels like, oh, it's so much to learn.
But I love the concept of the wisdom being within you and your work being to reconnect to that and that it doesn't have to be complicated. and it is within your reach. That's definitely a new framing for me and so much with really traditional Western religions, is that there is a process for indoctrination.
So, if you're afraid of doing things wrong, we've all been raised to be afraid of doing things wrong. They have a process, you know up front what classes you're gonna take and what things you have to do before they're gonna welcome you into the new congregation or baptize you or do whatever. There's a whole thing. But with these other religions, they're almost so, and maybe more philosophies than religions.
They're so broad that it's scary. I think a lot of us are like, where are the rules? Is an ancestor gonna get really mad at me because I didn't face this offering toward the east or something like that.
Joshua: Yeah all of those, those ideas, there are principles.
And one of the principles is you need have no fear.
And so, all of those things that have me thinking like, oh I could be doing this wrong. If we understand the principles, which are super simple, then we can realize like, oh yeah, if I am focusing on the fact that I'm prioritizing what I'm not doing right as it relates to my own connection to the divine, that's fear.
I'm afraid to be doing something wrong. I'm afraid that something bad will happen to me. What I'm finding is that the fact that people are afraid to do things for themselves is the part that makes it scary. When it comes to doing the work for ourselves, like we have to find within ourselves, the confidence and the courage to say, you know what?
I know I gotta try this. I'm gonna dive in deep. I'm gonna see what happens.
I can shift, I can adjust, I can make changes if I need to.
And it all starts within. I can read the books, I can do whatever, but if I'm doing something and I feel like this is just not right, then it's probably just not right.
Dalia:I love that, that concept that it's gonna be about building your connection to your intuition. So, tell us who is the ideal person for the current offering? Who needs this grace work?
Joshua: State of Grace is a guided meditation and emotional intelligence course. And the people who need this are people who are ready to take this energy, this new energy of trusting the self into their communities. The idea for this course is that we are showing up for whoever shows up. People are literally signing up from all around the world and we're showing up in this space.
And in this space, I am being vulnerable. I'm building community. I am building a conversation with myself, with those who might not be like me or who might be like me. What I'm really doing is I am creating this opportunity to go within. And so we are in this course, people are invited to go as deep into their past as they want to.
And people are allowed to stay on the surface as long as they want to. Right. But the people who this course has been created for are the people who realize there is room for more of myself and I am unwilling to continue carrying all of these things, or I'm just willing to understand myself a little bit more.
When we take a look at like what's been happening in the world, and I mean the election alone, like I was watching people have at it. People were screaming, crying. So much was happening and it's like, why am I doing that? Why is that my response to my experience?
And so, this course is so much about redeveloping and renegotiating, my emotional responses. Like how am I showing up in the space? And when I'm doing that with intention, when I'm doing that with understanding, and when I'm doing that with grace, nothing can take me away from the power of spirit.
Like this is all me, you know, that stuff can happen, and it will happen whether we want it to or not. But how I'm dealing with it, how it's taking place in my body is another story. And so, this is like the people who are wanting to undo oppressions from within. We are starting inside the earliest thing that's ever happened, we're doing our best to undo that to liberate ourselves from those experiences.
So, I hope that answered your question.
Dalia: Unraveling our internalized depression, that's massive. I don't know anyone else who is focusing their meditation work around unraveling, internalized oppression. Our blocks, I know for me personally, come from internalized depression and I started getting coaching this year from a decolonization business coach, a fem of color, who is also a queer person.
The number of ways in which people of color are in their own way in business related to internalized oppression and related to us being cut off from our own body and our own intuition and from spirit, because we have been told, you need to be able to prove everything, you gotta justify it, you gotta test it, you gotta do everything in this very colonized way. But still, even after all this time and all assimilating that we've done, it doesn't resonate with us. And then we find ourselves procrastinating, working against ourselves, because we don't wanna fully lean into these practices that don't feel right because we haven't done our decolonization work.
But honestly, before this year, I would've been like, what is decolonization work? I didn’t know anyone who was doing that. I certainly didn't see people doing it around specific things like business and relationships and how you deal with people if you're working for other people. So, I feel like as much as this year has been a monster, because no one ever told us how awkward, uncomfortable, and traumatic it is to live through a major civil rights movement.
Nobody mentioned it. It was too painful. They never mentioned it. Even like I know one of my parents was living, well, he is from down south. He was here and he was in high school, early in high school when they integrated. He has never talked about it. My dad is such a communicator, that lets you know it was a shit show.
It was a freaking nightmare.
This time because of technology we can process together, and we can make shifts in what we offer to serve us in a way that helps us move through all this. It's beautiful to see. So, I could see this workshop being useful for anyone who's trying to see how are my issues with internalized oppression, making my life more difficult than it has to be?
Joshua: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. That's real. So, let's talk about medicine. Let's practice a little bit, if that's all right with you. And so first I wanna say this yeah, the piece of like, I didn't realize until you just said it, like we are, I'm living through a civil rights movement.
Like I was trying to like not look at it for a second or didn't even realize I was turning my eyes away, but that's true. And so, one of the things that's been medicine is a seat at the table, like Solange's album, that's medicine. I'm listening and I'm like, you, yes, you forecasted the weather correctly, someone should be paying you for doing that in particular.
But that's medicine, I'm listening to that, and I am understanding this is what it can sound like to be in a space of undoing that from within, because that is what the album was all about. It was like, I'm going within, I gotta figure this out for myself.
And this is, this is the aftermath. This is what it looks like and its beautiful medicine. So, if you're not listening to that, have not listened to that. Get your medicine. Okay. But I do want to guide us through like maybe a minute practice. I know we're kind of coming to the end of our time.
Dalia: That would great.
Joshua: Cool. Okay. So, wherever you are, just try to get comfortable.
So, if you've been sitting, like, we've been sitting for a while, so if you need to move your spine, whatever you gotta do, get yourself comfortable and then just notice what your breath feels like.
So, you're just breathing in and out through the nose, noticing what that feels like.
And whenever you're ready, just take a look at everything that you can see in front of you, and then just gently close your eyes,
So, you're just taking a mental picture of what's in your space, where you are, and when you close the eyes. Just continue connecting to your breath.
You're feeling into the breath from the inside, you might notice that on your inhale, the belly's expanding. You're filling up and, on the exhale, the belly is dropping back towards your spine,
Just rest in that space.
Noticing what it feels like to exist, knowing what it feels like to be in this space as you are.
Not needing to change, not needing to shift. Not needing to meet any expectations.
We're gonna move into the body and just notice whatever's happening, however we show up. That means we're not undoing any tension. We're not changing, shifting, adjusting. If those things happen naturally with the exhale, then just allow those things to go.
Start at the top of the head and just allow the, the attention to just move down, all the way down to the feet.
You're passing the face and the arms, the chest in the back, the thighs, the butt, the groin, the legs, the feet,
Just let the attention move throughout the body freely.
Again, just taking this as your opportunity to notice what's happening for you right in this moment.
And so, I want you to notice the body as deeply as you can. And I want you to notice any subtle changes, any shifts in the body, no matter their size when you hear the word sadness, noticing if anything is different, noticing if anything's changed.
I want you to go into this space that is most noticeable. Whatever space was the loudest. Just go right there and then take the next few moments just to look at what's happening where in the body it’s showing up and what that feels like.
Take this as your opportunity to offer up surrender. So, you might just say, hey, I surrender you. You can go.
And notice if it's still there. Notice, if it's just sitting. If it's like, mm, I'm here. Mm-hmm, it's not enough.
And, continue paying attention to it. Taking in as much information as you can about the feeling.
And so, then I want you to continue being in the space. And this time I want you to tap into your inner wisdom. And so, you're just gonna say to the space, what is it that I can do to liberate you?
And then just gently listen for the answer. It might be a word, it might be a sentence, it might be a full plan.
And when you feel like you've heard or you've gotten the message, be in the space just a little bit longer and take this as your opportunity to show gratitude. Right. This could be. Thank you for letting me know.
And you can bring a hand to the belly, a hand to the heart.
And when you get your hands there, just press them into the space, just like a little weight on these spaces.
Feeling the connection into the space that is still moving, even in your moment of stillness, feeling into the place and space that is a constant anchor in our existence.
And take a deep inhale through your nose and you can let it all out through your mouth.
And then when you're ready, you can blink the eyes open, coming back into the space as gently as you can, and with grace.
Dalia: That was just beautiful. Thank you so much for coming on today and thank you to everybody who joined us. If you’re watching this on IG, you can already see Josh's handle and you can connect through the bio. I'm sure you have your workshop link in the bio. Yeah, watching this on YouTube, I'm gonna put all of the relevant links in the notes, and they've also been popping up on the screen.
I love featuring healers of color. If you want to see more content like this, you should visit. My YouTube channel, and it's just Dalia Kinsey. Make sure you hit the alarm bell, the little bell so that you get a notification whenever something new is out there. And my podcast is also centered on BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ health and happiness.
This is absolutely my favorite type of content that's focused on real, tangible things that we can use to thrive, not just to get by and in spaces where we're not just tolerated, we're celebrated, we're centered, and we're welcome. So, thank you so much for creating this space with me today.
Joshua: Yeah, thank you for having me. It's beautiful to be in a space where we can have these conversations and to do it with knowing like, these just need to be had. So, thank you for creating this space too.
Dalia: Absolutely. I will absolutely be keeping in touch. I feel like we should do something like this again.
Joshua: Yeah, let's do it.