The limits our circumstances can place on us often creep in incrementally until we wake up one day and realize we aren’t allowing our full selves to shine. Originally an Instagram Live, this episode finds April reminding herself she can and has created space for what she wants and who she is. There is room for our whole selves in this big wide world–if we’re courageous enough to claim the space.
Discussion and reflection questions:
What in this episode is new for you? What have you learned and how does it land?
What is resonating? What is sticking with you and why?
What feels hard? What is challenging or on the edge for you?
What feelings and sensations are arising and where in your body do you feel them?
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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. Okay, so I am tired, but also still excited to try to rerecord another live taping recording IG live initially, and then perhaps conversion into the next choice of this podcast, which I think will be our podcast. As far as joining the different moment podcasts on. So I wanted to come on and do a live recording of the podcast on Instagram. And share with you some insights that I have taken a break for about a month ish from the podcast. Not precisely planned. But I'm meaning more deeply into belonging to myself, first and foremost. A lot of travel over the last month did my second to last cohabit retreat in New York. And last week, I was at the end of April took a vacation in China already spoke about that. And then more recently just did a trauma healing leaders retreat for Jewish trauma healing leaders and a community of a part of that was an international conference that happens every four years is a friend of mine says Jen said like the Olympics, and just came back from that. So I'm back and I want to try we'll start recording these podcasts here on Instagram and see how that goes possibly on other platforms. And here's the insight that I wanted to share with you all. But I just had recently had this breakthrough around work I've been engaging in an exploring over the past few years. And one of the things I've grappled with and been trying to navigate in recent years, is the fact that I really feel like there's not so many places where I can express and engage my the power and breadth of my expertise and leadership in the Jewish community, but not exclusively in the Jewish community, but also primarily in the Jewish community. The big sort of also not so obvious epiphany that I had the other day about this is that the position that I had up until a few years ago, so for about 10 or 15 years, it's not what I'm saying position, I don't mean a specific job, but I just mean more of like, generally feeling like there was a place for me within the Jewish community. I recently remembered, so obvious that that position wasn't there. When I started my career, it wasn't given to me. I in collaboration with other movement leaders and organizers created it over a matter of years. And also that I created it and CO created it with other partners within the Jewish community and that it appears in ways that are similar and different that I've reached a point of evolution of knowledge and expertise that that needs to happen again. And and the reason why this is such a big epiphany or why it didn't occur to me before is because I thought when I done this originally, in my mid late 20s That that was sort of a final intervention that I had successfully created a sustainable and meaningful space for myself within the Jewish communal milieu. And what I came to realize and the last few days or so is that I don't think it's a coincidence that this insight came to me after five days of an intensive trauma healing workshop with other Jewish leaders that I realized that I need to do it again. That that there isn't a space for me right now but also Oh yeah, I've been here before and I co created a space for myself at the level of collusion that I thought I and other folks deserved. And it's time for me to do that again. And now what's interesting to me about that is that I don't just want to repeat the pathway I took before, which was to do a lot of work, a lot of work and engage at times and unintentionally, but at times, and sort of self sacrificial organizing, and during that time, I did a lot of work for free. And I really stand by and appreciate all that I did during that time. And now I'm in a different season of my life. And I also know so much more not just about the Jewish community, social justice, collective liberation, decolonization, but also about what sustainable, joyous leadership looks like, what embodying that looks like and what feminist and anti racist, racially, just leadership, what I want that to look like, for me what I want, how I want to model that. And so I'm excited about that challenge, to really live into all the lessons I've learned and highlight and try on different strategies based upon that knowledge and applying that in real time in the context of the current terrain. But the cool thing, and the cool announcement is, I've been holding back a lot of knowledge and insight and analysis, because it just felt like there wasn't a ton of attention for the meaningful ways, but there is some attention for it. And like I coach my clients, and at times for certain things, whether it's like social changes are sometimes we really need there to be massive change. And other times, particularly when we're beginning something or looking for something, certain things in our career, we don't need the whole world to align with our values, we just need a few folks or at times, even one employer or one partner, to meet us where we are, at least as a starting point. And so I'm remembering that right now that it doesn't, it doesn't have to be it doesn't have to be that there is this cushy, spacious spot for me within Jewish life or in the world. At large, it's more that I can show up in my fullness and share the brilliance and analysis that I have. And I want to share and see where their points of meaning and have fun with that and engage in some of my most beloved and cherished, like bringing up some cherished memories and applying them in similar and new ways around collective organizing and co creation and leveraged collective action, in addition to specifically carving out my own space that it's on top of that I do and it's actually really perfect timing. It's been a few years that I'm trying to figure this out. And it's not like sitting around doing nothing during those few years I'm approaching and may or may not this is made in me here August, I will become ordained as a Jewish priestess. And I specifically chose the coconut Institute to be the Jewish portal through which I could do the most profound integration work around the different facets of my identity. And to someone who had been stewarding and championing belonging in the Jewish community for so long. I am and who continues to evolve myself. It's not like that's a static thing. There are greater depths of it. And increasingly over the past several years, I've started to increasingly want that for myself, and not simply have some parts of myself that were kind of in the wings because of oppression or because of less resourcing. So I came to the coconut Institute. I'm sharing all of this not just to share myself all of that has value in and of itself, but I'm sharing this because I suspect that I am not alone in this that there might be for folks who are listening now live or who might be catching the replay later or listening to this when we publish it through our podcast portal. That way There is in a massive way, or in a more subtle stream of your living, that there might be some place in your life, where it feels like it's not big enough for the wholeness of who you are. And so I just want to share and model that I'm someone right now who has been for several, several years feeling like, I've grown to a point where there wasn't enough spaciousness, and beloved communities and beloved spaces I'm a part of, for me to be my full self. But I thought I remember that that was originally kind of how it was at the beginning of my career anyway, and I know a thing or two about how to create more spaciousness and how to shift and expand the collective consciousness. And it seems not that I would take it on all by myself, but in the ways that I can contribute to that, it looks like that gets to be a part of my task list now. And for me, as I mentioned earlier, in this live, I get to be widely discerning, and deeply self loving, around how I want to take on those tasks and how I can also be incredibly strategic, and really just choose leveraged actions that create more spaciousness for myself and folks who have similar and different identities for me, who would really benefit from there being more oxygen and spaciousness within the Jewish communal experience to share the truth of our experience to share the depth of our analysis, and commitment and devotion to our community and to the various commitments and intersectionalities that we embody, and our living and our leadership. So I'm excited for for once I had around this, maybe you can share a little bit slightly more specifically what I'm thinking about here and what's on my mind about this, which is that whether it's around the Enter marginalized group identity, Jewish conflict surrogate as often as the black Jewish complex circus advises, LGBTQ plus or environmental Jewish conflict, and my black is conflict circus. But there's patterns of these convergence moments that that occur. And I have a ton of thought leadership on this, I want to share, I think that there is confusion in our community and some of the some of the things that I want to share about the Jewish community. And some of them are also beyond the Jewish community. Like I was talking with a couple of your counselors on the other day about I really want to do a talk or start sharing some of my thought leadership, about the concept of enoughness. And how I do think it's valuable, but I also think at times, and it's like a good intermediary step. But I think it's also not enough. Paradoxically, like, I think actually, most of us are more than enough. I think we're actually sacred, and brilliant and wonderful and miraculous, and phenomenal. And I want more room and space and support around us, lifting that up about each other. So there's just lots of different things that I was waiting to kind of have a home because I made a home for myself before and I spent the last few years taking time to pursue ordination as ahead as a Hebrew priestess, specifically because the High Priestess Institute felt like not the only but one of the only, and certainly the only that worked in the context of the kind of culture and love. The arc of the ordination journey works really well with my timeline and my leadership style, the places where I was becoming. But it was one of only a very small handful of Jewish institutional spaces that felt truly and completely, maybe one that truly and completely safe for me to bring the fullness of my identity and have that be deeply held and be safe and included and that I could do my afro indigenous and mystical and spiritual coming home work and evolution and growth and have that been nurtured, and also be seen as intricately woven and a part of woven into it with a part of my Jewish identity and my ongoing Jewish leadership. And during this journey, as I've been doing all of this work, I started to get the sense that maybe I needed to take my work elsewhere not to leave the Jewish community but kind of expand beyond it and I still want to expand More. But also I'm realizing also part of my work is to also expand the collective consciousness in collaboration with fellow movement leaders and other wonderful minds to explain it. It's continue to expand the collective consciousness of the Jewish community, because I think it's gotten kind of stagnant and understandably so the whole world, I think a lot of things have gotten stagnant during the COVID pandemic, the COVID community, and we are still navigating that. No question about that. And there's a lot on the line and some of us are, have started to have more spaciousness. And if we're going to be doing that I want to be there lovably to be like, that do we have for the spacious lists, let's put some attention on how we can strengthen our attention and our capacity to be as courageous as we can be, and to look at and to together, continue to suddenly as we're ready, and as we feel safe, and are willing to stretch, look and face the invisible. We've got and face some of the unfeasible material that a lot of us choose to ignore that on the face of all material. But as I've taught in some of my live workshops, and I'll continue to be teaching more, it's a misnomer, that time heals all wounds. Time doesn't heal all wounds, time in and of itself is actually benign. social construct, heals nothing. And the reason why we think this, besides the fact that we hear its head in movies, and we've heard our most beloved elders say it is because at times some of the things that happen within time, and create healing. But that's a huge misnomer in our society. The Time heals all wounds, time, actually, in and of itself, feels nothing. Healing heals, all wounds are healing can heal all wounds. And yet in the Jewish community, and also in other parts of the world, that profit field and our social justice movements. We operate as though consciously and subconsciously, based upon the conditioning that we've received in society at large that we can just act like the sources of pain and our living are the difficult things to look at that continuing to avoid looking at them is going to help us get through, but look around as you but I don't think that's really working. And so, through my life, so many different trainings through the opportunities I offer, I want to offer you several different alternatives, where we where we can learn together, how I can teach some of multiple strategies we can use to look and face look at and face some of the untraceable and strategic measurement responsible ways. And not just look at it and proceed operate on it, but actually look at it in a way and engage in embodied practice in ways that help us heal and help us regain capacity for greater insight and capacity to navigate more complex terrain. And I'm ready to start talking about this more now. Now that I've realized that I've been waiting for a space to be made and forgetting that I previously created that space. And so I'm for now strategically, in partnership with a number of kindred spirits, co creating that space those spaces for me and for others, because the other thing is that it's not like I haven't been endeavoring to continue to create additional spaces for greater water, and we're bold and courageous consciousness. But it was really triggering and now to the point where I'm kind of getting excited about it. But over the past few years that I've seen now at first, it was just once but now it's twice in the past two ish or so years, were initiatives that I designed to serve either explicitly Jewish leaders of color, or Jews of color and or Jews with marginalized identities that I designed explicitly to be deeply laboratory and profoundly unquestionably empowering to the folks for whom the program was designed, that in both cases of programs that either created or CO created after I left, the word I would use to describe it as Claude, is that the institutions were created those programs they declawed programs they took out in one way or another elements that were some of the piece Those that made the program most empowering. So in one instance, they shifted a program fellowship I created, where I designed it so that Jews of color and Jews with other marginalized identities, would be given an opportunity to engage in radical imagination. And then my team were the team that the leader who replaced me could then work with those leaders and also other parts of this broader network to find initiatives that were already similarly aligned and help them actualize that vision. Right. And so they took out that entire component, and placed those leaders in apprentice service roles, I believe we're free, working with institutions in that network, helping them with having them in like a helper role, which is a completely different, a completely different situation. And another scenario, actually, I think they I've been in conversation with them. And they've since made some adjustment adjustments, which just warms my heart is that I designed to another program to empower Jews of color to deeply nourish and support them and engage in equity measures. And after I left, instead of continuing what was happening, which they did do, they also removed that offering to some of the people who put on the program was designed and put them into a leadership role, which in some ways, there's some benefit to that. But also, to me, that's highly problematic, because everyone who they placed in that leadership role about Mr. Khosla being in that leadership role, but they still should have also received the mentorship and profound support, because all of those folks really are deserving of especially in a broader network where senior executives in that network aren't even resourcing a route to coaching. So certainly, Jews of color who aren't in a senior executive role, for darn sure, same theories were on Instagram, I'm not sure, for darn sure should also continue to receive the highest levels of mentorship, coaching and support. So because I'm seeing this pattern happening, and I continue to engage in my own trauma healing, I know and also, I also through the coconut Institute engaged in deep and profound Afro indigenous coming home work woven into my ongoing Jewish spiritual leadership development. I'm now in a place of greater wholeness, where I feel ready to continue in a new revised, hopefully more laboratory and creative way than just like group work, which is what I did in my 20s, a lot of work and I eventually burnt out, but to say, we all deserve better here. And let's start getting creative about this. And I have different things that I want to teach and share through programs and through through the opportunities but let's continue to expand the collective consciousness of our community and of the broader communities we are a part of, because a lot is at stake. It's not like we're living in the den. It's not like we're living in the Garden of Eden, or we've achieved collective liberation. I love it just been chillin and having fun. And luckily, for me, this is a labor of love. So in its own complex way, this also is brings meaning and joy, right? Otherwise, I wouldn't do it. But I'm ready to be putting out calls for us to raise the bar and specifically invitations for leaders who are interested who have similar inclinations and similar desires and haven't been able to find places or coaches or mentors, who have the knowledge and also the commitment to say yeah, like, let's, let's raise the bar, there's so much more that's possible, and a lot is at stake. So let's take time to learn how to efficiently strengthen our leadership to address and circumvent different barriers that are chronically showing up. How do we nip these things in the bud? How do we circumvent them? How do we dissolve them entirely, these are all tools that I've gained in my toolkit and that for various reasons I had been afraid to share but not a bridge anymore. And I'm not gonna waste my time I still be looking out for if there are spaces and places where folks are truly ready for this in our community and beyond because I think they're out there. And the only way I'm going to really find them is if I start to show up and let y'all know what I'm looking for and at times offense as as has often been the case in my career. It's not just me fighting that was actually putting out there my knowledge and saying what's what, from my analysis and perspective and hopefully finding residents and also engaging in sacred Holy debate at times, which I'm really into not from triggered trauma based debate, but like, ah, like you're saying this, this resonates but like, how about this, like I'm here for that class. toxic, toxic lucidly, but in part very Jewish dynamic of engaging and rooted together around a variety of different themes, and just not accepting mediocrity. Yeah, so let's get started. I'm excited to engage mindfully incredibly powerfully and wise discernment in creating a space for myself and also putting myself out there so that if there are spaces, and places where my expertise and knowledge is desired, and can be leveraged folks know that they can call me. So I think that's it for now. Thank you for tuning in. If you catch this, replay later, please write, write hashtag replay. If you have any questions or insights, I would love to hear that. And I look forward to being in touch part of the reason I forgot to mention this, I mentioned this in the other recording when the sound was horrible. So I'm re recording the whole episode. It's called a similar and also totally different episode because I based on the energy of the people who are in the space, one of the things I said is that I want to practice saying I want to try out, try on pilot. And that's the key word I want to pilot initially recording some of my podcast episodes on Instagram and or on other platforms. Because I often want to be in dialogue with people like the whole reason why I'm doing the podcast is for you, is for the person listening in and like I really don't need to hear myself talk, I'd rather be like getting a massage or reading or learning or doing any number of things. And so at times, I think of things to say. And I also really want to know if this would resonate on what's happening and up for people. So I think it's all just one big experiment. But I think I want to start showing up more live and building a bit more of an active real time community here so that we can be in collective conversation and I can then tailor my knowledge to what's coming up for you. And y'all in around thinking that I have to further tailor it so that it's relevant, and also that I can hear and see how it's landing in real time and, or in the replays. Because I want to be of service. And there's a lot of need out there. And I've spent a lot of time learning a lot of stuff, and a lot of different nuanced intercultural ways. And I'm excited to be in conversation around it. So I think that's it for now. Thanks for tuning in. Especially shout out to FIFA. So Avi to all love that. I'm only following you. Okay, well, and thank you to those who are listening to this, wherever you are listening, have a nice break, but I'm eager to dive back in and get rolling with some of these additional tweaks. Maybe I'll figure out and land on a regular lifetime so that folks we can start to build a bit of a live in real time community. So now and order on the replay, feel free to share any thoughts that you have, I truly would love to hear it and my core leadership style. Sometimes I question it, but I still have been coming back to a lot lately is the I learned this from Erica Brown and her book on Jewish leadership. She had a whole section on Shepherd leadership, and I hadn't heard of that before. But as I read it, I was like, Yo, that's my leadership. Like, I'm really big into leadership. And I also studied sociology and I don't leave just to leave I leave to be of service to people for whom with who I'm leading in some sort of way. And so I really prefer to hear where people were my people, whether that's my Jewish people, or brown people, my black people, my come from marginalized identities, my courageous, courageous, badass warrior heart, people like I have a lot of different peoples and yeah, like I'm a projector. I don't know if anyone knows much about human design, but I'm a projector and something that I spent some time reflecting on in my kohat journey is the fact that I have some things that are really specific about me, but a lot of my consciousness and my being is pretty neutral and open. And like I do have strong opinions about the things that really matter but around a lot of things and like what do you want what would be helpful and where would my guidance and my mentorship and my perspective in combat station's been helpful, and I'm super happy to be a service. It's my life's work. So this is the first or two of the first and more to come, perhaps will be episode, I think part 135 or 136 of the Joyce's podcast adds one team member who will be editing it and more to look forward to hearing from you, thank you for tuning in. Whether you're catching this in real time or the replay. I really appreciate an interview with you it is a gift. And I'm excited to see what we can do together I really starting to enter a season where I want to focus on ease and fun and also lovingly and strategically. I think shut up and being stopped up. Like I am the kind of like this mystical spiritual like finding like kind of clearing also kind of the pool. I want to start to make some holy, sacred, strategic noise together and not noise just to make noise by seeing complacency in places where I think it's pretty toxic, like rest is important. But when we start to move into complacency around various things that matter. I think some hallway stretching, at least has its purpose as place please. So I'm excited to do that with you. Alright, until next time, take good care of much love. 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 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