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Taking a Break


[Content Warning: mention of sexual abuse]


Taking breaks. Moving slowly. Being in transition. Pausing. These are hard things for me. My inclination is to move quickly. To dive deep. To push through. To put anyone and everyone before myself and my wellbeing.


Yes, much of it is being socialized in racial capitalism. It’s also my Aries Rising. It’s also a survival mechanism. It’s a lot of things.


But I’m here to tell you that…


I’m taking a break. I’m pausing. I’m deep in transition. And I’m trying to move slowly. I’m trying to trust.


My teacher, Kimmy Johnson, once told me to take a break from my ancestors. We had only known each other for a month or so. I was a student in her Indigenous Knowledge class, a class where we learned about indigenous cultures from around the world, tended to relationships with our ancestors, and discovered the practices our ancestors held sacred. As is my nature, I dove in head first. Genealogical research. Seeking stories, names. Googling up a storm. Praying to my ancestors. Opening to their wisdom and their pain.


It was a lot.


It was too much.


Just a few months prior to this class beginning, I had uncovered memories of sexual abuse from my childhood. Depressed doesn’t feel like a comprehensive enough word to describe my emotional state. I was in total darkness. I was numb. I was at the edge of tears most of the time. I was deep in it, I was drowning.


Ancestor work was still new to me, it had been just a year since my teacher, Atava, introduced me to my ancestors.


I shared all of this with Kimmy and she told me to take a break. To focus on the medicine of my lineage. To tell my ancestors that I’d be back but that I needed some time, I needed a break.


A lot emerged from this break. Deep healing and transformation. That’s a story for another time, though. The story of beginning with (and coming back to) the medicine of our lineages.


It’s been almost 8 months since I moved back to Pennsylvania after 16 years away. It’s been over 2 years now of a global pandemic. Y’all, it’s been a lot. I know a lot of us are struggling to be humans amidst all of this change and heartache. I’m only beginning to uncover the impact COVID has had on my emotional and mental health. And I could work from home, I always had a full fridge, I’m able-bodied with an immune system that’s not compromised. I haven’t lost anyone I love from COVID. And it’s still been hard, it has still changed me.


Moving back to PA has been beautiful in so many ways, it’s also been really hard. I’ve been confronted with parts of me, my family, and my ancestry that have been challenging to see. I’ve been lonely, I’ve been overwhelmed, I’ve been sad. I don’t need to explain myself but it feels important to set up a picture, to be transparent.


Through all of this, I’ve been holding space for folks doing deep healing work. Building relationships with ancestors and place. Confronting white-bodied supremacy and how it lives in us. I’m so grateful for this work. I’m so grateful for all of the beautiful people who trusted me to support and guide them. I’m so grateful to the ancestors who led them this way.


I’m grateful and I need a break.


As of this writing, I’m no longer taking new 1:1 clients and I’ll be finishing up with my current clients at the end of May. I’ll still be teaching and facilitating. I’ll still be writing. But first and foremost, I’ll be tending to my spirit. I’ll be nurturing and nourishing myself. I’ll be doing work that can offer me some financial stability. I’ll be in a space of deep care for myself.


This is not my tendency but it is my work in this lifetime. To care for myself first. To orient to myself first.


I don’t know what will emerge from this place but I’m trusting the process. I’m going to move slowly. I’m going to take deep breaths. I’m going to ask for help and support.


I’m going to take a break and spend time with the medicine.


Thank you for reading this. Thank you to all of you who supported me in coming to this decision. Thank you, again, to all the people who showed up for this work and trusted me to guide them.


Sending love and blessings.


Erin


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