“Black Lives Matter”

I “see” a person independent of their skin color, in a way. 

Over the years I would as a wounded child, now healer, find my self in conversation about faith and spirit. Naturally, it was easier to find and talk to people of color about this than any Aryan.

By Aryan, I mean ANYONE tall, blonde, blue-eyed well-formed and attractive. These folks for good or not, have a particular clarity of vision and naturally impact on others in a room to the point that others are smitten. Literally. There perception of G-d, is different than mine.

Lesser beings become slavish to them because they are ‘beautiful’.  That is my thesis.

As a dark-eyed 5’7” (I lost a couple of inches since) brunette, I’ve experienced something similar only once in my life. That was when I stepped out of my hotel room in Nepal, not the Tamil district popular with Europeans, but another busy section of Kathmandu that bustled with locals. I was taken somewhat aback, as stepping out of my simple hotel room, I was immediately immersed in a sea of brown toned beings. Everyone was easily a foot shorter than me. So many people paused to look at me! I felt very self-conscious.

Throughout those travels to the third world, I saw many whites demanding and rewarding obsequiousness.

Fortunately my heart WAS among a sought kindred spirit, and my startle softened. I was left feeling not more or less watchful, than if I were anywhere else.

It was fascinating to experience that; on the surface each person similar, and yet individually different. And always human as humans, as humans can be.

While I’m cautious, Jeff, my soon-to-be-ex, would say “paranoid”, about being around anyone who looks slightly unfriendly. Actually uses my care to belittle me. And yet, I should be fearful.  

Once, when I was in my twenties, I was mugged on a Sunday in broad daylight walking back from the grocery store in a Back Bay Boston neighborhood. The young man, who happened to be black, approached me very unassumingly though he was carrying what turned out to be a metal stick, After demanding my belongings, which I initially desisted and resisted, he slammed me to the ground and took my pocketbook!

So I’m not naïve or careless- and avoid doing things that would make me look stupid.

A few summers ago, when my kids were in camp, one of them took karate, while the other one kayaked. Sitting in the dojo, with my 11 year-old that day, we watched contestants doing work-outs, katas, kicking and sparring. Movements of fierce beauty executed by belts of all color. Most participants, it is true, were Asian or White, the rest very few.

Of the two African-Americans in the room as I recall, one was sempai, Sensei’s right hand man, young but middle-aged, I’d known him for about a year.  He tended towards fixed ideas, disliking others (at least in body language), and was bitter from his divorce. It always felt frustrating to talk to him. Sempai was going for his fourth degree black belt: his 14-year old son, also in the room, was competing as a brown belt, for his first. 

It had been a scorching hot week and over 90, mid-August in the PNW.

Sitting there an hour already, the room was stifling hot and sweaty.

We were onto the advanced belts now, each going for their next. To watch was truly amazing. Graceful, strong and athletic, it was a pleasure to share space. Sempai, a teacher with black belt lower than Sensei[1], did well but with his form had some rigidity. 

As sempai made his bow and turned back to his sitting, I was watching him carefully – and critically – as he’d ‘invited’ me to judge him, by competing. I noticed just the slightest stagger and a sway, as he walked to his seat on the floor by wall with the other teachers. Don’t forget, tournaments are long!

Not more than 2 minutes after he sat down, he slumped over unconscious.

While people hollered, “he’s having heat stroke” and threw water on him, I ran and assessed, kneeling at his side on the floor in my full-length silk dress.

Finding no pulse and time rapidly slipping, I initiated CPR while surrounded by screaming. Of course that means giving two rescue breaths, then starting chest compressions. White mouth touching black mouth, in another time was a crime.

(Jeff had taken a break from watching once Josh competed for his blue belt, leaving to read the paper in the waiting area. Stirred by the commotion as kids were quickly heralded out of the studio, …he realized something was wrong and soon sauntered in to help, thinking, “whatever it is…Jennifer can handle it!”)

Sempai wasn’t responding and I sensed his spirit separating. Yelled out, “we’re losing him” as his eyes and tongue bulged, bloated and blue.

At that, Jeff forced more deeply and I gave a bigger fervent breath, then with coughs and sputtering, sempai came back to life.

We’d saved him, for that day at least, and he was still a father to his son in the next room.[2]

In the end, I got a card from the dojo, but never from the man. My back went out for a couple of months and I was emotionally traumatized. And of course it was my luck, the dress was a mess, but since then I’ve worn it.

So what I write next must be taken with the above, for black lives matter, as much as oneself.

No one can be saved from himself or herself in the end. Anger, bitterness, and rage, poison wells and one’s kin. Learn to love for real, despite the distortion of color, your undressed image reflected in your mirror. We are all spiritually tethered, when we are willing.

Personally, I wish to avoid confrontations with armed power, especially as I could be a target -“weak”, white, and woman. So I don’t unnecessarily go out, but prefer to be accompanied and still clever.

As long as violence rules this land, and not the Golden Rule, nor the laws as they are written, the answers are within you and fighting’s not your friend.

Fighting IS engagement. Engagement entrains your’ energy. Thoughts and emotions rapt, further create your reality. In all of this, our body must WORK. And work with, on, or over time, creates power -for better or for worse. Power can feed, but power can bleed.

Those used to abusing power will often (always?) see you as a threat. Power is not relinquished freely, but with disengagement, can be lost.

As long as you’re engaged, brother you aren’t free.

Never forget the truth, that in our physical release, gives opportunity for spirits’ further lightening, or so state all the spiritual books, and after ~NDE, I’d agree.

Wear a camera, have a friend, and be sober. Re-read X’s autobiography leaving out his hate! There’s gold in those words, but don’t forget your faith. And try to remember, they are taping everything!

[1]And I’m sure many other important distinctions

[2]There were no other risk factors than heat stress and chronic anger. EMTs came and took him away (unaccompanied). But finding little wrong after his ER evaluation, and without any witness (EMTs hadn’t wanted me to go with him, nor inquired about what I had ‘seen’, though I shared observations), he was about to be discharged without further monitoring. – and without insurance, he wanted to leave. Luckily Sensei shared my concerns, and advocated a stay.  Sempai ended up with an ICD implant after V TAch was noted on by the cardiac team. 

By Dr. Jen Wyman-Clemons, MD

Dr. Wyman-Clemons treats the body, mind, emotions as well as spiritual wellness using tools described by established teachers and authors and her own experiences. She has ~thirty years of clinical experience as an allergy and internal medicine physician (ABAI, ABIM) and recently completed requirements to practice as a yoga teacher, USUI Reiki Master and astrologer.

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