In this contemplative episode, April reflects on key insights she gained while on vacation. Rest and fun opened up the truth that despite leaning into heart- and spirit-led living, there is still more room–and even an obligation–to be fully and truly oneself. Movement toward that truth can feel scary, since humans sometimes (often?) compromise who we are in service to belonging. But belonging based on censoring our true selves is not true belonging.
Discussion and reflection questions:
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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.Unknown:
Shalome Hello, I am back from vacation. And it is so good to be with you. Thanks to all those who sent me messages over email and or social media to send me well wishes for my much needed and desired break. And and also those who didn't necessarily send me a message but just in spirit, sent me some loving support on that front. I received it and really appreciated it and had a wonderful week long part vacation part staycation. And I had and I got what I hoped for. And what I anticipated, which is a number of really key insights that I wanted to, I wanted to share some of those with you today some post vacation insights. See one more breath in tap on a couple of points. skipped some of the points and I'm feeling guilty that I missed them. And I wanted to go back through and get them. Ah, yeah. So I'm not ready to do a full rundown about my vacation. But I wanted to share some top line highlights that I think are relevant for this podcast. And for the work we will continue to do based upon the work we have done and we will continue to do. And there's various insights here and there. Like I want to be taking vacations and or breaks and engaging in play and fun more often, which I knew beforehand, they really crystallized that this is a strategic priority for me to engage in more fun, and for what it's worth. And maybe that might be worth doing a whole episode about. I'm having to do work similar to what I shared with you before about how I had to do work a few years ago around joy, and fun and joy are somewhat synonymous. But I feel like in part because I've cultivated it joy feels more accessible to me and fun, just by the very nature of my being. Like I'm still human. And that's so important, but it just doesn't come naturally. And by my the essence of my being I mean I'm by nature a pretty serious,April Baskin:
earnest person. And I can be silly when I'm playing with kids, but was silliness per se in certain ways or just like light hearted fun in the ways that some might think about it.Unknown:
It just isn't necessarily it doesn't. That's not what naturally flows from me joy can because there's a in certain ways their joy can be lots of different things. But to me joy can have this like earnest serious element. And passion to it anyway, anyway. So there are all those like there are all these sorts of things around that but I want to take more breaks daily, both macro and micro. And make more room for this because I'm realizing it's deeply in service of me having the capacity to one it's just worthwhile to do in and of itself and specifically for the kind of person I am as a mental projector as someone who is neurodivergent that a lot of my best thinking comes from me nourishing my spirit and my heart and comes through my spirit and heart is its channeled insight. Some of it's from my brain, but even the parts that are from my brain It's not usually from my conscious thinking. It's when I suspend my mental operations and machinations and let all the different parts of my knowing move, be moved intuitively by spirit, and dots are connected, right. And I know I'm not alone in this, right. So ideas come for me when I'm in the shower, or after I've spent time by a pool, maybe during the pool or even after like just taking a break and stepping away from the work. And so I want to build that into my life more. But here's the big Oh, and it's like, multifaceted. Ooh, it's a little scary to talk about. Here's my big takeaway that's really beautifully aligned with what I was speaking about, in my second to last episode, around moving toward the ocean, being guided toward the ocean being guided toward my deepest, most profound, most elevated most most in all the different ways, most intense process of surrender yet. And have, you know, I was just clear on my during my vacation that the big shifts that I am wanting to facilitate around my business are going to come from our from is that upstream or downstream. Think of upstream come earlier in the process. And there are micro shifts, there's so many things that I've been learning and have implemented over the years. And it's not as much about it's not at all, quite frankly, about learning some new strategy or learning some new esoteric insight. What I ended up doing and I was part I was aware and became more aware, as I was going through it, what I needed to do was revisit all of the key lessons and look back at it with more experienced eyes. And for me that looked like finding books that were adjacent to my teachers, because a number of my books for my teachers, I've studied them so much. And I will continue to study them that I was worried I wouldn't catch the nuance. So I needed to hear it from a different voice from a couple different voices. Hear similar things that I know. And notice, where is the discrepancy? Where is the but I've been telling some of my friends, even though it's not the precise metaphor I want, but it's close it up. Where are the peas underneath the mattress, this isn't some views or boulders or rocks. I can tell even though I've been experiencing dissonance, that the dissonance is from will be resolved by fine tuning foundational elements of how I operate and live and lead and exist. And I don't think this is the only thing but one of the key insights that I got around one of those peas. And these are like it's a similar theme. You know, and I posted on about it on Facebook and a couple different ways though. One thing is that I am now ready finally have enough work, I have enough grounding, have enough healing, have enough training all of the different things, to feel safe and ready enough, which is what I needed given my arc and journey and experience. And also processed a lot of the ways that I didn't feel safe and I felt absolutely terrified. viscerally terrified over the past several months. And honestly over the past few years, but as I moved through that and felt safe enough more it's been a it's been a multi year process, and more recently more acute over the past few months. Anyway, so the key the two and they feel interrelated and ORs parts of the same piece. The key insights here now that I've built up enough background and the like is Oh yeah, that I want to go all in that I wasn't before and before it got me huge results. But now at the level of nuance that I'm operating. It's it's it's it's an impairment. And what is that impairment is that as I was learning about leaning into living a joyous, joyful, high vibrational, confident, strong, committed life, right like living into the fullness of my being in different ways, which as you all know, in other episodes, and in future episodes, we'll talk about what helps facilitate that is going all in on My healing and diving into processing darkness and pain, right. But I'm talking about that right now right now. And right now I'm talking about positioning myself to be the most loving, abundant, powerful strategic, visionary leader I can be. And my insight is, was that I need to go all in full throttle on that. And that's over the past 1020 years, I haven't done that I really leaned into it. And it's helped me both. And what I'm talking about here is both joy, and also leaning into the wisdom and insight, applying it and integrating it into my being and how I exist, awareness of mysticism and metaphysical energetics. And being really clear that not exclusively but part of the work is really cleaning up my thinking and engaging in mind sight and noticing what's happening in my mind. And noticing to use Buddhist language that I learned through tick, not Han. Which seeds in my mind, am I watering? This is really helpful. And so and so I love this. So just had an idea, and I'm gonna share with you right now. And so, as I've been watering the seeds, it's felt so revolutionary, just to lean into watering the seeds, I want more. And as I started watering some of these seeds, I noticed I could water them even farther. But it would potentially make me very different from communities and different people I love. And also, in addition to certain characteristics, some of the other seeds that I might want, I'm stretching the metaphor here. Relating to there's joy and then also living a spirit and heart led life. And using my mind, mostly exclusively in service of the guidance from my heart and soul.April Baskin:
And I began applying that with remarkable results around big decisions like jobs, housing, relationships in certain ways. But in the micro day to day, I just wasn't developmentally at that point yet.Unknown:
And basically, now I am and there are ways where either because I just wasn't ready to I wasn't conscious of it. And or as I started to become conscious of ways that I could lean more deeply into further watering, nourishing and fertilizing these vibrant seeds of passion and joy and satisfaction, and pleasure.April Baskin:
Okay, there was a bit of a tech glitch, and I needed to actually switch browsers. But hopefully, we are okay. And I'm going to try to pick up where roughly I left off in, in my sharing. SoUnknown:
as I've been watering this garden of joyful, joyous living and leadership, there were certain ways where I, over time over turn out immediately because when I first started doing it, it was just fairly straightforward. But as I started to notice the depths and heights and distances that I could take this practice, it began to feel like it bumped up against different cultural or relational norms within various community and relational contexts and interpersonal relationships and dynamics that I had. And from my perspective, at that point in time, definitely some of it was fear. Like I think it some of it was really fear that I wasn't wasn't conscious of and another part of it felt like okay, well I'm going to hold back on some of these things because community and family and friendships these are all really important and they're very important to me. And I want to modulate what I'm doing so that I can maintain those things. And to kind of cut directly to the chase what I've come to realize is no not even though I learned this before but just learning it at its truest level that no no dear calling myself dear and perhaps you if it's applicable to you No no no no honey sweetheart. No. I at this level as someone who's already connected and committed to people and relationships and community because that is an important pieces is not an either or it is a rich and nuanced and layered both andApril Baskin:
I leaning into some of the wisdom From not exclusively, but definitely a Blackfoot and other indigenous traditions, self actualization,Unknown:
it's important that that be core and foundational before communal connection, not in place of, but that as Maya Angelou spoke so beautifully about as, as, and then as Brene, brown dug more deeply into and further clarified, particularly as an adult, but perhaps as a being in general, first and foremost, I need to belong to myself. As Maya Angelou put it, I belong everywhere, and nowhere, I belong to me, I belong to the divine. And then through that point, I connect with everyone else. And there is some of this, but now, there is some of that happening, obviously, in my within my existence. But at this point, I'm now leaning into more deeply, that coming first and foremost, and in, in as many areas as I can, and specifically prioritizing some of the key places where I've had it backwards, and where I've placed other people and communities, before belonging to myself first. And I'm at a point in my development, where that just before it felt like love and balance and a mindful middle path. And now I'm at a point where it feels like attachment, attachment to external approval, attachment to certain forms of internalized depression as a woman as someone who was once a young person, where I received messages, implicitly and explicitly all around me in various spheres, that some of my belonging was conditional on sublimating parts of myself in exchange for this conditional belonging. And not that it's going to happen overnight, but I am not. I am divesting from unsubscribing, from no longer aligning with that mode of thinking. And instead, because I love community, and I love a number of important issues, I see that it is more powerful, more clean, more from a place of integrity, it's time for me to belong to myself, first and foremost, and to really lean into and notice what brings me joy. And other various what helps me feel deeply in love, loved and loving, empowered, knowledgeable, to go all in on that, and not forsake community but but to do that for myself and then show up in community and belong first and foremost myself. And then determine my belonging at which is conditional and fluid in different ways. But, but navigate that, from the greatest level of wholeness, and rootedness and ongoing growth, and abundance and wisdom that I can cultivate. So I've identified that area, as one of the peas in my mattress in a place where my garden isn't doing well. It's not doing well in certain areas. Because I've been attached to certain forms of approval, and it's not even just approval. It's not just about my self esteem, it's about a sense of obligation and commitment to community that I feel that I'm now realizing is not so it's not effective at in this way in at this level of nuance. The community is everything that I'm doing, I'm doing it because of the sense of interconnection I feel to humanity to specific, beloved communities and peoples of which I am a part. But the point at which that belonging allows me not to fully manifest as the divine emanation I am meant to be is the point at which I need to either cross those lines or set boundaries and say, I know there are places in the world in the within the wilderness and perhaps even in the communities. I'm a part of If we are the fullness and beauty of my being and fullness of the power and beauty of my being, and of others, right, all of these things, I'm saying these, this is what I'm learning right now. And I think this is applicable for other for everyone else too. That wasn't already obvious. But that is the way that I want to enter community and I and as I noted in the last second to last episode, I may need to face rejection, and I might even receive some of it. But I think what's going to happen is that I'm going to find belonging community that's going to be even more wonderful in those same communities. So there needs to be a renegotiation in various relationships and various spaces. And a reconfiguring. It's not necessarily that it's going to be lost, some might be, but I think a lot well, but it's just going to be real, there's going to need to be some realignment and readjustment and how worth it it will be if, for that for me, and, and for others, that means that we are positioned to be our most whole loving, joyous, giving, abundant, balanced, courageous selves. So yeah, so I think now might be a good time for me to share a couple of quotes. Here's what Maya Angelou said to Bill Moyers and a 1973 interview. You are only free when you realize you belong no place. You belong. Every place. No place at all. The price is high, the reward is great. And then I'm now I'm reading from the book here. And from perhaps a different part of that same conversation and interview. Moyers Do you belong anywhere? Angelou I haven't yet. Moyers Do you belong to anyone? Angelou more and more. I mean, I belong to myself.April Baskin:
I'm very proud of that. I'm very concerned about how I look at maya. I like Maya very much. I like the humor and courage very much. And when I find myself acting in a way that isn't, that doesn't please me that I have to deal with that. Right. And so I'd read this book. It's one of my favorite books, braving the wilderness by Brene. Brown. And I read this quote before, and I understood it as much as I was able to understand it at the time. And I could also sense even then thatUnknown:
I wasn't able to fully fully belong to my self. And and at that time, part of that was around the choice that I named before that I felt like I wanted to walk a little bit of a middle path, the more and more I've come to realize that that isn't as liberatory or strategic. And in right balance, as I thought it as I thought it was for a number of years and part of what's helped me to realize that is that I have been out of balance lately. And I'm identifying this that okay, I've learned enough grown enough that now I'm ready to truly belong to myself, first and foremost, and then negotiate relationships. From there. And so here's another quote, from the same book, braving the wilderness that's from Brene Brown. Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don't belong. You will always find it because you've made that your mission. But we focus on growth, little racehorses, Teresa's interlude. Stop scouring people's faces for evidence that you're not enough, you will always find it because you've made that your goal. True belonging and self worth are not goods. We don't negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you. And now have a golden quote. It's literally highlighted in golden yellow in my book, yellow greenish, you get the point. True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are. I am so grateful. But no, we're so grateful that these women and and other wonderful leaders who are out there who have contributed to this collective knowledge have walked before me and that I get to stand on their shoulders right now. Oh, yes. Oh, oh, I need to repeat that back again. So good, right? True. Belonging doesn't require you to change who you are. It requires you to be to be who you are. And I'm seeing that in order for joyous justice to thrive in order for me to be the remarkable loving, joyously radiant ly resilient and visionary leader that I can be an abundant and connected and interconnected leader, I can be that I now want to lean in and go full throttle. around thinking about identifying what brings me joy, and listening, slowing down enough and getting out of the flow and autopilot that I've been in around conditioning around, running my business in a particular way, to let my mind relax, and not be the guiding force, not let my mind or my ego be the guide. But the servant in service of what my heart and belly and soul out of what my, the greater fullness of my living and being and the wisdom that I'm able to channel for my guides, and my ancestors, and the divine, that that is now going to be leading the way and part of what I've reconciled over vacation and in more recent days is I have different ideas coming through my brain isn't fully sure how I'm going to make it work with other things or make it tidy and clean that I need to in a different sort of way and the next phase, coming out of them magnificently messy March that I need to allow for some messiness, or some messiness, but potential messiness, and just follow the radiant Lee brilliantApril Baskin:
Epping phenomenal ideas, that joy and my heart and my soul inspire and compel me to do that my mind has been clamping down in different ways, out of a misguided sense of responsibility. Sometimes it wasn't even fear, it was just like, a while how is that going to work with other parts of the business knowUnknown:
that that I need to tell my brain brain get in your lane, take a seat, take a few breaths. I'm gonna take a few breaths there for you brain, I want to be anchored in my heels and pull energy through the soles of my feet from the earth up through my different chakras and energy centers. And get clear in my heart and my soul, and from what I see happening in the community and the ways that I have someone who is profoundly intuitively psychic and interconnected with other people filter all that knowledge in and from there and that insight, right? So inherently interconnected, always say, Where's my heart? Am I so what am I feeling compelled to do? And what about that would be bring me joy? Where's the path of greatest ease that leverages my strengths? that leverages the existing buy in and clarify the goal anchored in my heart and soul guidance, and then say, okay, brain, what's the first step from here? I don't, you're not good with the visioning piece of this a little bit in some ways. But you can be helpful in helping me figure out the next steps, but no more censorship for the time being? Nope. No.April Baskin:
Right. So that's, those are the two right so in some Facebook posts that kind of separated them out about going all in that I haven't been, I've really leaned in, especially compared to most people are compared to the average person. Yeah, yeah. I am. And, and, you know, in terms of this joy, like, as I'm talking about all these things, I'm hoping that as you're hearing it, you can feel into and notice where you are on your own journey with these things and what's right for you right now. Because even a year, a month ago, not even you know, like two years ago, 10 years ago, what I'm saying Sitting right now would be relatively radical for me, I'd be like, Whoa, I'm not ready for that, like community feels really important. And if that's where you are, feel free to be in that place. Like, there's still so many ways you can lean into joy and leverage heart and soul that guidance around key moments that can still be and will be hugeUnknown:
variables or influencers in you living a more easeful joyous empowered life, and also can still significantly shift your trajectory. Right. And I'm just at a place where this is my, this is my soul's calling, this is my life's work that I've been clear about since I was a little kid that I clarified and refined. And I have a profound desire to be of the most service that I can be and to be as effective and powerful as I can be in service of collective liberation. And so that has brought me to partly just on my own journey to get there with various resources I had and also significant resource deficits. I started learning about energetics to help me navigate when I structurally didn't have certain things. So I again, I will say it again. And again, I find it fascinating at times when people think about co creation or law of attraction as being about privilege. And I totally get that in some ways and in other ways. Like na one, this is something that actually its deepest origins comes out of indigenous communities. And this is something that people who don't have means leverage to make ends meet and to shift and move to better modes of living and existence, whether that's in material or spiritually and or both. And earlier, in my journey, as I was having different spiritual awakenings and different things happening, a big part of what led me into the mystical and joyous elements of this work was around efficacy, was noticing as a young activist and leader, that the ways I was operating even with some additional resources, it wasn't sustainable. Right and, and that I only have so much energy as a finite being. And then now I've learned in the last year, so as a mental projector even more my, my energy is really inconsistent. The brilliance and radiance that I can channel and the guidance I can provide is, you know, darn near Unlimited, but my capacity, that material to you know, manifest it myself or to create it myself, that's finite. And even if it weren't, or even if it were, even if it were not as finite as it is compared to most other people, I would still be human right, which is where I was when I was younger. And so that between beginning to connect more with the animal world and, and the senses and have visionary dreams that would give me guide key guidance around how to navigate things in my day to day life. I also came to the work of or came to the engagement of mysticism, and magic and spirituality. Because I could tell that just my logic and work wasn't gonna be enough in order to reach more people in order to have the kind of outsized impact that I wanted to have that would require me to be able to connect with people and wisdom and insight leveraged insight that could make could help me achieve things that might otherwise take me 10 years in two years or in six months by gaining access to insight and learning how to work with energy effectively right so yeah, it's just and that's part of what brought me to to these different pieces was in service of my heart and soul led calling callings. To help more people do well to protect our planet. So all of this to say I'm now in the I'm entering the wilderness. I'm not quite sure exactly where things are going but I'm trusting leaning into joy, and my heart and soul as my guidesApril Baskin:
First and foremost, and then connecting with various beloved souls and people with whom I'm interconnected in different ways, new folks and folks who have been on my journey all along, connecting with them from this more embodied, more me place and taking things a step at a time and see where we're gonna go from from there. So I'm excited about what's ahead. I don't exactly know what it's gonna look like, what so what does this meant for me in practice, maybe that's a good way to start to draw to a close. What does this meant for me, practically, is that during my day, I have some ongoing commitments that I'm honoring. But for me personally, part of this is very specific to me, right, is that since I do have finite and energy, I'm weaving more rest and more breaks into my day, when I have a day where I have many different meanings. As someone who is like really sensitive to other people's energies, it's you know, it's a benefit, mostly because it helps me really have a very clear sense of what's happening with a given person or given context. But also I'm absorbing I'm taking in that energy, so really doing more extensive energetic clearing and grounding work. And when my brain starts raining, and for some people that actually works for them in different ways, but I have a, I have a fixed brain, from like the human design perspective. So nearly all of my chakras are wide open, and my and my crown chakra and my root chakra are literally completely, there's no definition. They're just complete channels, they're wide open. And the only parts of my energy system from a human design perspective that are fixed and are very anchored in me, are my throat. So there's my vocal expression and my mind. And so for me, because of that is my makeup, I need to as I mentioned before, start to soften my mind a little bit so that I can receive insight from my other places of knowing and receiving of information and wisdom. And so you know, I'm reading have a wonderful encyclopedic type book on the chakras. That is really cool that covers how chakras have been understood across multiple traditions really centering the Vedic tradition, but also noting that this is something including within Kabbalah, right and various traditions around the world from nearly every or probably every continent. There are various understandings that align with the Vedic, the most popular, and one of the richest iterations of this the Vedic understanding and tradition of chakras. So I'm taking time to learn more about that a bit so I can help with my fine tuning, and integration of all these sources of knowing and energetics I think that learning about chakras in greater depth will be more so than I already have. really help to bring everything, all the different points of my knowing and being into harmony. So that's something else that I'm doing. And I'm also relaxing pressure that I placed on myself in different ways and just flowing, flowing more. And being aware that some of these things I'm doing will be permanent practices and some of them may shift as other things come into being but as you might have guessed it moving forward. My consistent Northstar anchor compass, form of guidance is going to be practice is going to be continually watering these key seeds and other complementary seeds in the garden of my consciousness of the different attributes that I want to be nourishing like why is discernment equanimity? Right Speech right perception balanced holistic perception, joy, satisfaction, relief, relief as it relates to letting minor things go relief also as relates to ongoing counter oppressive trauma healing work.Unknown:
Yeah, so this feels really sweet to talk about now. that. I remember well as I'm recording it, Passover still happening, but by the time you receive it, I love that some of these reflections and insights are receiving or being received by you,April Baskin:
after Passover after this season of moving out of narrowness, and I love how this is so deeply aligned with that, that's been the this these reflections and this processing has been the biggest part of my Passover, this year is really leaning into what is my individual liberty liberation look like? And really, really prioritizing that so that it can be in the deepest service and position me to be in the deepest surface of collective liberation. Very much, both and friend, very much both. And so with that much love, and I look forward to connecting soon, I'm excited for what's what's to come, I have some things, my heart and my soul are feeding me some interesting prospects and ideas. And I look forward to engaging you in them. And as always, feel free to reach out if you have additional thoughts, and all the places where you can email our choice justice Facebook group, if you're ungrounded and growing, feel free to ask me about it in that context, that I say all the things I think contact form on the website.Unknown:
I'm so glad to be in community with you. And I'm so eager and excited and you feeling more peaceful. That's what's cool about this too, is that I'm just feeling peaceful and balanced right now more of this, please, I wish that for you too. I wish greater peace and wholeness, joy and satisfaction and capacity to hear your truth. And as you're ready and as makes sense for you to align with it and champion it in the ways that your truth and you deserve for you to. And then as you do that, either immediately and over time you start to find community and belonging around your highest truth, but also can take comfort in knowing that, given the ongoing hurts that hopefully will continue to heal and all these different dynamics that community can be conditional, but that it's sweet and so powerful. The more we can lean into consistently and reliably, always unconditionallyApril Baskin:
belonging to ourselves and the divine and perhaps your divine spiritual entourage, if that also makes sense for you, that that belonging is something that no one can take away and that is always ours. Regardless, it is always ours regardless of how various other things may ebb and flow. Much love friend. See you next week. 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.comUnknown:
If you enjoyed 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