Season 2 Ep#57 Dreaming as Strategy: Envisioning Ourselves as Future Ancestors
Welcome to Season Two of the Your Story Medicine podcast. I am your host Jumakae, and my medicine is supporting change makers, conscious entrepreneurs, and radical healers in finding clarity in their message and confidence in their speaking. I want you to be able to share your story, grow your legacy, and heal generations before and after you!
Main Topics Discussed:
- The beauty of entrepreneurship and sacred activism
- How we can leave behind a legacy once we become future ancestors
- The truth about “self-care” and finding time to rest
I have been processing a lot about what “seasons” mean to me. I have just completed a workshop for the California Faculty Association called Dreaming as Strategy: Envisioning Ourselves as Future Ancestors.
I stayed up late the night before putting together PowerPoints last minute (which I rarely do, by the way) because I felt like I needed it in order to prove that I was a professional or that I knew my stuff. And as fate would have it, when it came my turn to present technical glitches happened to where I had to rely on my story medicine.
And without any script, I just shared, from my heart, the story of my time as a community organizer, working in transformative justice after I was released from my job as a rape crisis hotline counselor when I was in the nonprofit world. But even when I was doing transformative justice work, I felt like there was something missing.
In the spaces that I was facilitating, those who would come to our gatherings were so passionate about wanting to help others in their communities who have been harmed. But very little time was invested in learning how to care for ourselves in this work. We're talking about it now, but even four years ago, this still felt like a very new concept.
I ended up going back to Thailand afterward and studied with a traditional healer to learn about the ways that my ancestors healed and how many indigenous healers, such as the village midwives, aren't even allowed to share their medicine because of their lack of credentials or else they'd be criminalized by the government for practicing.
And their lack of credentials don't come from their lack of knowledge, but because many of them weren't taught how to read or write. Instead, their teachers were the plants around them and the elders that passed their wisdom down for generations—a practice that has been lost with the stigma we have toward aging and the culture of capitalism that emphasizes “out with the old and in with the new”.
Now I'm not saying that you can claim yourself a healer and to go out there charging for your work, especially if it doesn't come from your own ancestral lineage or you're practicing without honoring the lineage it derives from. But what would it look like for individuals to be community critical?
This is the beauty of entrepreneurship as sacred activism, where we have testimonials and other ways for those who have worked with us to share their own experiences and where we can restore the culture of mentorship or apprenticeship outside of institutions like universities, where we need to be accredited.
After all, schools and nonprofits are technically businesses too, that have mostly operated under the guise of white supremacy. It's also not a waste if you have gone that route too, because those who are credentialed can access spaces that other people can't, such as the indigenous healers I speak of that many of us are descendants of.
Okay, off my soapbox.
I closed out my presentation at this conference with a guided visualization, taking the participants back to their younger selves to a time in their lives when they were once a student questioning whether or not they even belonged at the university to the version of themselves that had dreams and visions of one day being the teacher.
And here they are today existing as their prayers answered. And while it can be so easy to get caught up on all the things we haven't accomplished in life, how amazing is it that there is a future ancestral version of ourselves that is cheering us on?
I mean, did leaders like Bell Hooks, Audre Lorde, Yuri Kochiyama, Malcolm X, Grace Lee Boggs, and Martin Luther king know that one day we would invoke their names at this conference as a chosen ancestors on our altars?
What is the legacy we'll leave behind in this lifetime of how we chose to show up in times of darkness and despair? Can we give ourselves permission to embody more pleasure, joy, dance, music, song, and rest?
During the Q&A portion, a participant asked a seemingly innocent question: “How do I find time for self-care and to make space for rest when there is so much to do?”
The term “self-care” is still mistaken for bubble baths, massages and sleeping in. And while I freaking love doing those things, sometimes self care is doing the tough things like waking up to brush your teeth; taxes; turning off Netflix to actually make time to read, meditate, or journal; cut vegetables and clean the kitchen to prepare for a healthy meal; and actually showing up for your workout.
Self-care also looks like boundaries of who you're willing to share your time with.
And in terms of rest, our ancestors didn't work year round. I come from a lineage of farmers. My family would work in the early mornings before the sun would come out so that they could rest for the remainder of the day. While they were not financially rich, they were well-rested and they didn't have electronic devices or social media keeping them up at night.
One participant responded to my answer with, “But my ancestors weren't allowed to rest. They had to work year round or else they were beaten for it.”
I don't want to glorify the ways that all of our ancestors lived, especially here in the United States, a country that has been built on a legacy of trauma. There is a legacy of people's ancestors who were given false promises and were forcibly removed from their countries to build this nation from Chinese and indigenous workers that built the transcontinental railroad to people of the African diaspora, working in the cotton fields, as well as people's descendants who were slave owners.
But there is also a narrative that precedes the 500 years of racism. In the grand scheme of things, 500 years as a blip in time. So what is the legacy that we are going to leave behind when we become ancestors? How can we allow ourselves to dream, to imagine what we get to co-create beyond the destruction of these systems?
While we can come up with a perfect strategy of how to dismantle racism, or even how to decolonize our businesses from a heart-centered place, none of it matters if we are not practicing the values of love and equity within our homes, within our workplace, with every interaction.
This is going to go beyond strategy. Instead allow the strategy to become the by-product of living in alignment. Transformation can happen when we give ourselves that permission to embody being a good ancestor in the here and now, knowing that we're going to fuck up while also seeing these mistakes as opportunities for growth versus beating ourselves up for not doing “well enough”.
This also means making more room for celebration for how far you've come instead of dwelling on all the things that are not working.
“What are you celebrating about yourself today?” is the very first question I ask my clients, as well as my guests on this podcast. Instead of feeling like I need to work year round, entrepreneurship has allowed me the flexibility to create a life that honors my own seasons versus repeating the hustle and grind culture that my parents assimilated.
This has also allowed me to dream about where I want to take Your Story Medicine moving forward. So, to honor even more spaciousness in my life, I will not be releasing episodes every week. It will be every other week—maybe bonus episodes here and there.
If you're not on my email list yet, I would love to gift you with one of the very first meditations I created, where we call upon our chosen ancestors. I'll be sure to leave a link in the show notes.
Your feedback is an absolute gift, and I will see you in the next episode.
Download my free guided meditation on how to connect with your ancestors bit.ly/ancestorinthemaking
Intro/Outro by Marcus Fung of Higher Calling Music