In this vulnerable episode, April shares recent experiences uncovering and working to heal old wounds including feelings of rage, betrayal, and fear. She shares details of fear she’s been navigating and ways it’s been holding her back and that she’s ready to let go of. For April, transparency around her process of feeling and transmuting suffering toward healing is a strategic move to help counter the perception that to have joy we must deny or ignore suffering.
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You're listening to the joyous justice podcast, a weekly show hosted by April Baskin with Tracie Guy-Decker. in a complex world in which systemic oppression conditions us to deny others and our own humanity. let's dedicate ourselves to the pursuit and embodiment of wholeness, love and thriving in the world and in our own lives. It's time to heal and flourish our way to a more joyous and just future. Hi, friend, how are you doing? You are finding me, in the midst of I think getting to the other side of a significant period of profoundly deep healing and transformation. And I've been in regular consistent one quotes a perpetual but consistent transformation for a couple years now. And the last couple of months of navigating insomnia and low grade night terrors for a while for almost nine weeks in a row. While living a life that is full and vibrant, and beautiful, but is dependent, is structured around me getting sleep has been, it's been an interesting journey. And I think I'm getting to the other side of some really important healing. And it's just been a weird time. I don't know if you happen to hear if you listen on Spotify, or if you're one of the like, early listeners of the podcast each week. But it seemed like a, like an electronic demon grace to the intro of the podcast, and Tracy later corrected it, and re recorded it and, you know, perceived that the file was corrupted, but I thought it was interesting that it was it seemed more to me like there was weird energy happening and, and something that I've learned over the years that I think is what's happening to me now it's just happening on a bigger scale. And even that makes sense, given the investments and what I've put in and my big dreams and what I've been risking and putting on the line that my big dreams would be countered by lots of funky energy, but I find with different folks and you know, you might have a particular way of speaking about this, this isn't original to me. And I think different people have different ways of speaking about it. I think I've heard of that planners call it like event day, I don't remember whether it like haywire. I don't remember what they call it. But I've noticed in the past 10 plus years that whenever I'm in the midst of a big upward trajectory shift that something really negative or tough comes up. And it's either an old lesson that I need to revisit and affirm or finally work through and close or it may be other energies or just weird things that are happening. And my sense has always been that it was some sort of clearing of excess Old Energy like a energetic detoxing, of sorts of of my experience and or perhaps an energetic balancing or an energetic offering, that either the universe or my guides were making to keep things energetically in balance. Some other examples of how this has happened at times is, I mean, there's just so many I'd love. I'm wondering what you what you're thinking of that relates to this if you are relating to this. And if you're not, that's okay too. But the example that comes to mind is I've had two friends and I've spoken I in both instances I well one instance it was with indigenous mentor of mine who has a lot of knowledge about specifically in Linux a metaphysical understanding and also just cross indigenous understanding of of energetics. Anyway, over the past 10 years and seven or so there have been two instances where someone was either taking on a big new opportunity or moving. We're engaging in a massive move or life shift and a dead bird they presented themselves on their doorstep or by a window. And this mentor who is an ex partner, who I'm not crazy about and relationally, but has a lot of wisdom, you know, interpreted, you know, explained to me, the times people can perceive a dead bird as, as an as a bad omen. And his understanding based upon different variables and talking through and considering different factors was that the bird offered itself. And pardon me, this is concerning for some, but sacrificed its self to intercept negative energy that was swirling. And in one case, it was fascinating. It was in my friend's kitchen, and it was a large parakeet. And we spent time researching it. And, you know, we found out that actually, this parakeet This species is indigenous to is indigenous to the New York City area. And it was just fascinating and, and she and I were both grateful that I had happened to be there, because she knew I was more closeted and very quiet or much more quiet about the things I was learning about this sort of thing at the time. But it was interesting that it happened right around the time that I was visiting her prior to her move. So there's just been a lot of different energy swirling in different ways and a lot of things going haywire. And I don't fully understand it all, but I'm starting to understand and be at peace with it more and see that I believe it is all in support of my becoming, in ways that I'm used to and have accounted for and other ways that honestly, I am used to, and I've accounted for two but not at this level of intensity. And, and also scale. And it's it's brought me to my knees in different ways. And it's helped me access. What I didn't mean, I guess anyone some level, but what I wasn't really wasn't a part of my conscious awareness until the last few weeks, were really big, old repressed feelings, from my early life from my birth from, you know, being in utero through the age of three. And I don't think I want to get into all of the specifics. Right now, I wanted to take this episode in a different direction, but it's just been a lot. And I also have this thought, which the thought came to me to share it, and then I momentarily decided to mask but I will unmask and share it, which is that I've been saying it more. And it seems like most people can stay with me with it, whether or not they specifically choose to subscribe to this belief or not, it's fine. And this is something that I cultivated over a number of years. And perhaps I've mentioned it on the podcast before that I'm at a point in my spirituality and practice that I believe that everything is working out for my highest good. And that most of that is divinely orchestrated, and anything that I have a hard time believing I just don't believe, or I don't want to believe that something so awful or upsetting, could be divinely orchestrated. Then I generally still lean into that belief, and less from a place of from perceiving that everything is working out for my highest good because of divine orchestration. And more into to come coming from a place of rocket, eternal grit and determination. And the understanding that that belief serves me and helps me continue to take to continue to engage in a rigorous practice of appreciative inquiry and use what is available to me to make the most of whatever is happening. And I want to be very clear here that in both instances, there are moments where this thought is very helpful for me moments of frustration and even in moments of upset and there are other times even if I can sense that it may be divinely orchestrated where I don't hold that as an act of thought. While I'm moving through the hurt, and the energetic healing and response, my body has to the blow, right like as if I were getting hit in the chest and the witness getting knocked out of me. I may or may not briefly think like oof, somehow I don't know yet this is working out for my highest good, but I don't hold on to that thought I let the pain were the intense stimulation reverberate through my body, and, and take care of myself until I can regain my breath and then regain my breath and then do whatever it is I need to do to heal after that impact, whether it's shakeout shake out the trauma of the actual physical blow, or take time to cry about the betrayal. And to be clear here, no one is physically hitting me with baseball bats, but at times in my career, and in interactions, I feel like a proverbial baseball bat or like a slingshot with a rock energetically hits me. And the my process is that I avoid it when I can. And at times, I can't. And I see it. That in the night note, I see it's coming from me and I can't avoid it. And then I brace myself and I let it reverberate through. And then I take time to do healing and tend to it and then I store I don't say ignore it or deny it. I collect that energy and I process it. And I take hold of it and move, have my leverage it for healing work. And then I convert that energy into power. And for those who are watching those videos, I am using my hands of those who are watching on YouTube, and then channel that energy in service of what I want. And it's gotten to the point where I've done it so many times over so many years that it's starting to kind of feel like a superpower. And lately I've been what's been happening this is good. This metaphor is that I've been getting hits from multiple different places, and the ground is getting shaky from underneath me it started feeling like quicksand. Or like I'm in the water. And the normal nutrients I get to keep me swimming aren't there and there's no buoys. And I don't see a lighthouse. And it's and it's interesting to me the way it aligns. And my sense is it's in terms of this idea that everything is working out for my highest good. And I didn't come up with this independently this came through with one of my longtime trauma healing counter oppressive laboratory trauma healing coaches. I love that it's called a prayer can you hear that? It's gonna take a moment to pause and breathe and honor my connection with the divine and the connections presence and that my neighbors as Ramadan is so close are preparing to be in deeper, more intimate, loving and devoted relationship with the divine and with each other and sacred community as my Muslim partners, Jewish. Beloved, the specific parts of Ramadan don't all align with me. But there's a number of principles and themes and maybe I can talk about it with him and find my Jewish partner version of doing it with him. If you've been listening, you know, I really love opportunities for mindfulness and loving surrender a dynamic relationship with the divine Beloved. So as I was saying, oh, yeah, I was talking about being in quicksand or in the ocean. And feeling lost. And to me the part of what I've been experiencing in aggregate that feels divinely guided. And I was able to reach this clarity as I was saying, for my longtime trauma healing teacher, who I just adore is that because I'm so resilient my senses, because I'm so resilient, it would take many, many, many, many things being uncertain or trying or difficult or painful and various things going haywire. But I you know, too much for me to compost it all at one time. And, and things specifically that I can't compost because there are pretty hefty things because of the trauma. I've navigated over the course of my life, other things that are incredibly difficult for people that I tend to be I've just had more experience and also support over the years. Isn't healing from learning how to really effectively navigate more treacherous terrain but there are more subtle elements of living around relationships around commitment around just other parts of living that are parts that are tender for me and and so my sense is that I've been being divinely guided to release more and get down deep. And being prompted to feel anger at, at God or and I think actually it's not actually the divine I think it's an old feeling as we teach in my program nearly always big feelings or old feelings. And then just as affirmation of this, of all things. Just a few days or within a couple of weeks of me having this realization, as I was bopping around Tik Tok, and watching some really great watching the thought leadership of recently so to to really great, trauma informed therapists who have been watching who most therapists tick tock they say things that I'm through my counter oppressive trauma, healing, and through my years of healing, training, and, and healing, and then through my years of having been in therapy, and also just my understanding of the human experience. They don't say things that are new to me. And lately, I recently found to creators, to therapists who a good amount of it isn't new, but a good amount of it has nuance, and deeper sophistication that I've been hungering for. And this isn't necessarily new, but one of these folks said in one of his podcasts, you know, and when kids are little, we know when kids are young, and throughout childhood, parents are like God. And he also said, sort of specifically what I was feeling so that was further affirmation of Ah, yes, right now it feels like God is betraying me, which is, through everything I've been through, that's not a common thought, for me, at all. But it has been of late given the relationship that I feel with the Divine and which I understand to be like spirit and oneness. It's not that I'm thinking it's like a person in the sky. But still, I still have a, an increasingly robust relationship. And, anyway, yeah, so I think there are just ways that I'm becoming more. So all of these different challenges like I would need a bunch of different challenges coming through in order for me to get to a place that it's basically it guided me to my repressed feelings of rage and betrayal. From my from my earliest moments of living, in response to a caregiver, who was deeply, deeply wounded, very high functioning, but deeply wounded, and in no place to be a caregiver to anyone in a place where she really needed profound one way, healing time, after years and years of harm and abuse. And I'd been told by an energy healer a few years ago that I had deep rage in my, in my subtle body, and I didn't understand it because I just haven't function most of my life feeling like a fusion I get mad but and so it seems like all of these different circumstances and energy that my guides that divine that divine orchestration was working to help me discover and find the places in my recessed memory in my subtle body, where the steep loss and pain and betrayal resides. And also fear and so the other thing that was prompting, it is part of it is profound terror that I had. And so I've been doing multiple things to process that I've decided, sort of for the first time in an effort to start to be more open in general to share about this on Facebook in different measured ways and maybe not feel measured to other people but it's still quite measured in light of the material I'm processing and then my analysis etc. And I that's been interesting. And it's a part of a longer term strategy. And the nice thing about it for me is that it's really cool for me that I've been at a point. And I'm at a point in my healing and balance that even that I'm also clear in this moment that I have deep mind sight. And that I'm clear in this moment, even though I'm being tried, in ways that feel like some of the toughest death, certainly that I've had in recent memory over the past 10 years. And it's just a very maybe some time in college, I think, in early in my early college years before I went to medical leave, that maybe that's when before I took time to get tests and figure out what was happening and and before I'd learned so much more on the healing journey, so. Thanks for tuning in around this, I think. So it's so anyway, so it's felt really good to me to play a lot start to play a braver and longer game around sharing more of my thoughts and also my experience and leaning into greater transparency. Especially as someone who is the founder and CEO of joyous justice, I, I want to demystify the elements that deeply and profoundly undergird my joy. I also want to because I get a sense that not from everyone, but a number of people sort of see me as this anomaly who's always happy and joyful, and just let things roll off her back. And I mentioned that I do rigorous healing work. But now I'm starting to give folks a window into that. So that it is more clear and evident to people. And I want people to hopefully not be re stimulated or traumatized by what I'm sharing, but to feel some discomfort in it. And to see that I am in a place at moments of, of suffering and deep difficulty. And using the tools that I'm using. And also super, I'm here for a variety of different tools, a number of circles, I'm a part of consistently have the one thing they do. And I think that there's a range of different things. But offering these are some of the tools that I use most you might use others, but seeing that I can engage in facing the unfeasible and in time steadily moved through it and just normalize this as a part of a practice of high performing well adjusted incredibly loving and ambitious, emergent, liberatory leaders. This is part of what that looks like. And still, I am still unquestionably confidently the director of joyous justice. Because to me, joy is not this like white, delusional white, dominant, delusional culture, either or thing, like it's all joy, and only joy is good. But joy is one of the vibrations and energies that is the most strategic, and the most in service of good health, and visionary strategic leadership. And it's just fun. It's next level fun. One of the fears that I've been navigating my way through during this period and one of the things that's been coming up in different ways. I've been really afraid to fully fully live into and express the results and the ongoing evolution of my afro indigenous coming homework and weaving that into my Judaism. And I've been so afraid of losing belonging within the Jewish community. And also I'm wanting to step up and I've been wanting to for a while in different ways, but I've been avoiding leading powerfully in certain ways that I think can be compelling, because various Jewish communal leaders with whom I'm acquainted or who I'm with whom I'm lightly connected, or one degree of separation from, but as a movement leader, and a movement strategist, I hold a number of different folks who are deeply aligned with me and who also aren't exactly aligned, but I care about their well being. And I see that even if I don't always agree with their analysis, and I think that fear and scarcity to consistently impact their leadership, I see that they're doing brave and important work every day, to lead our community. And so even as I've been looking to be courageous He just bold leader, I've been withholding a lot of my leadership and power in order in an effort to think well about the coalition that doesn't actually officially exist. But I imagined in my mind, I'm actually in a number of different ways. But in the context of the Jewish community that I've invested a lot of my career into thus far. And I've continually been working over the past, approaching a year of beginning to expand and not even officially, it's more like, six months. And internally, I've been gearing up for that, to start to expand outwards, not leave the community, but expand out, open up. And I've been just so terrified to do that. Mostly not for the reasons that are thought of, you know, at times, it's often thought of for like funding. And I'm barely, like, I have two really, really wonderful funders who provided some supplemental support, most of the operations I run with enjoys justice are independently run. And for the first couple of years of the business, I had various side gigs or jobs that I did, and I funneled a lot of that money into self fund, joy, asbestos. And it's just felt really terrifying to start to share my voice more openly, and not knowing what the results will be, and really fearing the loss of and it's worth, it's not really a loss, because the connection wasn't fully there anyway. But I've been cultivating different connections, like I play a very long game. And I also make look for to make short term progress in various ways. But there are lots of folks who I think I'm on their radar. And I think they think that they're not on my radar, but they so are people in different within different philanthropic and Jewish communal positions. And anyway, I think it's time for me to, to let go of have that high level of commitment to folks. And when it's not, when it's not reciprocated at this time, and when it's keeping me from being the most powerful leader I can be. I wrote in a Facebook post that I you know, I use the metaphor that I've been reserving seats in my heart for folks, which is also meant there are lots of people now, right now, maybe who are even listening to this podcast, hi, who have wanted a seat. And, you know, we've been at my heart, but in the context of my work, and what I pour my heart and labor of love into, and I've been reserving them for folks who really, really wanted to come along, not even specifically with me, but in an alignment with me as they were ready to. And the thing is, it's just taking time and doing this for 20 years. And it's taking more than 20 years at this point. And it's and it's time for me to continue to lean into my becoming, and reach more folks and say more of my truth. And say it in ways at times, I think will resonate with a ton of folks in the Jewish community with whom I'm more deeply aligned. And also, maybe agitational. Or just, you know, like, it just might be as a former colleague of mine, let me you RJ like maybe she want me to say her name on the podcast, but um, hi G. I'll just say that she would talk about my material being like salsa, mild, medium, and spicy and I have lots of really spicy and picante a content that for a lot of my kindred spirits aren't even that spicy, but it's spicy, because spice is also relative, as many things are and for a lot of the Kindred folks with whom I want to be working. Some of my space might be spicy for them and for a number of them they're like oh, this is great. Yeah, bring more let's do this right and I want it to and need to, for my own spiritual becoming and also because of what I see the needs are in the world to continue to evolve and I've been trying to hold this expands literally across oceans and across ideological difference and I need to stop reaching because my arm is getting sore and I need to use it too. who lead and teach folks who are here now. And so I'm not closing the door to my heart, or my organizing and leadership to these various folks. Probably ever, it's just not who I am. And I've just had too much healing, to do something like that. But I'm removing the Reserved sign and inviting the folks who want to come in who are ready and with whom I can do brilliant, creative, joyous, work, transformative work, and healing and visioning and movement strategy, and just phenomenal, vibrant work, like, let's go, let's go, y'all. I've been holding back and I don't want to be holding back anymore. And I think I was thinking I would start with this. But I think I'll end with this. There's a poem that I heard the other day by Khalil Gibran that so beautifully summarizes a much of what I've been feeling lately. And, and also what I'm starting to notice. So I've been very, very afraid there are certain things that have gotten really sparse in my business. And I've been so afraid about that, in certain ways, not, though, not the actual limitation, because I've experienced resource and financial limitation in my life before, but it scared me as a business owner as someone who, in a number of ways, which that may shift with time, but still fundamentally around certain things. I'm very much a rule follower. And so the thought of certain resources getting low and me not being able to follow certain rules or meet certain obligations, is terrifying for me. And I thought, in certain ways that I thought it was moving toward one goal. But where I ended up where I've started to end up landing is yes, I would like to work on shifting and upping these different resources. And also the fact that these resources, resources are low makes sense in light of strategic pivots and risk taking and shifts that I've been doing. So that's all normal and I'll and also my commitment to integrity in certain ways, and my refusal to engage in certain practices that aren't in alignment with my values, and believing in the beauty of my dreams. And that belief has been tested. And despite so many different, immense fear and terror, I'm really clear about my strategy and my purpose. And I thought what I was working toward was a solution around how to fix this resource issue, and more of what's been coming up for me is deeper equanimity, and surrender at a deeper, more peaceful, more rugged, gentle determination. Around should I believe before, but just getting to it at like a bones, dirt, bottom of the ocean Center of the Earth, kind of vibe of what will come will come, I will continue to be agile and adaptive. And believe in the beauty of my dreams, and listen for different signs and move through things. And trust. That everything is working out for my highest good or that I will heal and function in a way such that everything does work out for my highest good in collaboration with friends and colleagues. That's always a given for me and these sorts of statements. And if it gets tough, it's very scary for me in this moment. But, frankly, bluntly, I've been through much tougher things and will navigate it. And I will notice and mine the lessons along the way. Because I'm never giving up on this which is not the same as repeatedly doing the same thing. I'm never giving up on believing that people are incredible, and that oppression is awful. And those things get conflated. And that people especially but even before but especially when they engage in counter press of healing are profoundly powerful. And we have immense capacity to bring profound Healing to our beautiful, aching world. And I will continue to position myself and lead in such a way that within like healthy boundaries and all those things, I'm willing to do whatever it takes. This is my life's mission. This is why I'm here. I do feel a bit attached to my current business model and the things I figured out the things I poured years into offering, and that's continuing to steadily grow. And it's just deeper is just a deeper, which just amazes me how the depths and heights that are possible in this human experience, because there's so much rigorous work I've done but just a deeper level of sovereignty, of internal sovereignty and also surrender to source to the Divine beloved, to my interconnection with all that is and my willingness to do whatever. Again, from a healthy perspective it takes to to advance collective liberation and well being and love and joy. So with that, and I love that this poem really beautifully articulates that and so speaks to what I've been navigating and, and also as it indicates, it's so aligned with the human experience. So perhaps you can relate to it too, with something you're going through in this moment and or have or will journey through in time. So to draw this episode to a close with love and mindfulness. am loving gentle yet rugged resilience, radiant resilience. I want to share with you the poem fear by the amazing legendary Khalil Gibran. It is said that before entering the sea, a river trembles with fear, she looks back at the path she has traveled from the peaks of the mountains, the long winding crossing forests and villages. And in front of her, she sees an ocean so vast, that to enter, there seems nothing more than to disappear forever. But there is no other way. The river cannot go back. Nobody can go back. To go back. It's impossible in existence. The river needs to take the risk of entering the ocean. Because only then will fear disappear. Because that's where the river will know. It's not about disappearing into the ocean, but of becoming the ocean. Thanks for listening to this episode. If you have reflections or thoughts you want to share, feel free to post them and tag me if you want to write about it publicly or send me an email at info at choice justice.com or fill out the contact form at choice justice and let's be in touch we are in community. You listen to me in this podcast, I would be happy to listen and engage with you. All right. Much love. I am embracing gearing up to enter the ocean and I'm starting to see signs that I will become the ocean and I will become okay. I won't disappear or have a huge loss. I'll be gaining so much more and I'll be more whole and myself. I wish that wholeness and peace for you too. Much love friend. Thanks for tuning in. To learn more about joyous justice LLC our team and how you can get involved with our community. Check out the info in our show notes, or find us at joyous justice.com If you enjoy this episode, show us some love. Subscribe wherever you're listening. Tell your people share what you're learning and how your leadership is evolving. Stay humble, but not too humble. And keep going because the future is ours to co create