I recently attended a professional development workshop organized by Teaching Tolerance. We learned some amazing techniques for social justice teaching 101 and facilitating critical conversations around race and racism.
We talked a lot about identity in these workshops.
There was an exercise we did that I found quite intriguing.
We wrote 8 categories of identity make-up: gender, sexual orientation, race, socio-economic status, national origin, home language, religion/spirituality, and ability.
After we completed the categories, we were asked to mark off one identifier. Ultimately, we marked off all the identifiers in a fairly rapid pace (leaving little room to second guess yourself), except for one identifier. Then, we had the opportunity to share with our table partner why we chose to mark all other identifiers off except the one identifier.
Interestingly enough, my table partner and I chose the same category, the last man standing so to speak – religion and/or spirituality.
Which is interesting because that’s something we don’t often talk about in education or business. But, for many of us, like my table partner and I, we have a strong “greater than me” guiding force that serves as the foundation to our work.
The exercise clearly piqued my interest and led me to write to you about identity.
While all those categories are important in making up the pieces of each of our uniqueness, I must say that I’ve spent many years learning to let go of my identity in my mindfulness, meditation, and yoga practice.
It’s still a practice and it’s still a process, but in the words of one of my favorites, Maya Angelou, in her poem Human Family, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
I tend to fall on that spectrum of perspective-taking.
I see the more “alikes” than “unalikes” and while I know that our “unalikes” make us unique, I also know that when we break the barriers of different and other, we create a new space to learn, teach, and grow together.
It’s an exciting time to be a parent, educator, and leader. There are many shifts occurring and, in my opinion, there are some pretty darn good ones taking place.
One of the very positive shifts I see taking place is what I call the identity shift.
We are moving away from ethno-centric, gender-centric, etc., to a more human-centric identity in a community that once included separate neighborhoods with street names with little intersectionality to a community that includes diverse social media handles and a network of new friends across the globe.
Why does this matter to you? To your students? To your kids?
It’s the most awesome time to create the life you truly want, despite the past and present barriers of racism, classism, and all the other “isms”.
Yes, many of those “isms” still exist. Yes, we must take a stand. Yes, we must transform them.
And… technology and social media are widening the game of life.
There are so many tools disposable at our fingertips.
We live in an age where leadership is no longer about title and role, but it’s about a way of being, an intentional, values-based choice we can make in our everyday life.
Leadership isn’t for white, male dominated bureaucracies anymore.
It’s for you. It’s for me. It’s for your students. And, it’s available to you regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability.
If we want change, we have the choice and ability to make it happen. But sometimes, the sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming.
When we have too many choices, our brains get maxed and use up a lot of energy. Decision fatigue is real. So, where do we start this new game of life?
That’s one reason why I created my free mindful living masterclass called Nine To Shine.
I give you my personal roadmap to help you de-stress for success. Say goodbye to decision fatigue and doubt, and hello to creating the life you desire with clarity and confidence.
My mindful living masterclass, Nine To Shine, will help you develop the personal leadership qualities and skills in your life so you can to step into becoming the person everyone loves (including yourself!) – whether you are an educator or parent.
Ultimately, the identify shift starts with you living your most authentic and brightest self. Maybe you find yourself doing things “just because that’s the way they’ve always been done”.
Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself if there is a better way to shine the light forward so your kids, your students, your teachers, and others can see the courage within themselves to live a brighter, more impactful, and connecting life.
Class starts May 6 -14.
It’s completely free and it’s all on-line. Click here to read about it, hear what others are saying, and register => https://www.solsenseyoga.com/nine-to-shine/
If you are ready to take the helm and create something that not only makes your life extra brighter, but it impacts the lives of others, join me for an identity-shifting journey.
It’s time to shift things.
And, that journey, starts with you taking the first step.