Focusing on Identity and Diversity – exploring embodied experience of whiteness
10th November 2022 - 1st December 2022 Zoom
Thursdays 6.30-9pm – 10th, 17th, 24th Nov & 1st Dec – £130 – on Zoom – 3-5 places max
Do you have an interest in exploring your own cultural identity and how this might impact on your being in the world, your being with others? This is an opportunity for those identifying as white to engage with our own identity and our experiences around difference, power and prejudice in a small experiential group, to support taking responsibility for ourselves in these areas. Focusing is a great way to explore such issues which challenge us, as the radical acceptance in the Focusing attitude allows a safe space for being and exploring. Exploring identity and diversity can also be fascinating and uplifting and helps us deepen our empathy for others and compassion for ourselves.
Exploring our identity and response to difference through the lens of our embodied experience allows an expanded awareness and potential to shift bodily held states (often influenced by fear) which keep prejudice in place. Focusing has a unique capacity to hold us in our own inner exploration of this complex and emotive area and support us to a place of greater openness to dialogue non-defensively around issues of race, to be connected with our shared humanity and live in a more proactively anti-oppressive way. This will be a small group to ensure a safe space for sharing and learning with openness rather than self-blame.
You can join this group if you already have experience of Focusing partnerships: if you have done an Introduction to Focusing or more. If you are interested but have no/less experience of Focusing, do get in touch to see if we can arrange one to one sessions to give you the necessary experience to join. I may also run another course at a later date for those with no prior Focusing experience and/or a daytime version.
TO BOOK – http://www.suzimackenzie.com/focusing—short-online-courses.html
The course will involve inner exploration and group sharing. There will be Focusing partnership work each week and exercises to do between sessions. The content will be adapted to some degree as the course goes on, so may be subject to change.
Week one: We will settle in as a group and begin to explore white awareness, reflecting on our own white identity and white fragility as it applies to us, noticing embodied responses to this exploration.
Weeks two and three: We will reflect on vignettes and experiences of racism and their embodied impact on us. We will consider how need for safety impacts on our ability to relate to and process such experiences. We will explore self-regulation approaches and apply the radical self-acceptance implicit in the Focusing approach to enhance our resilience to stay in contact with these experiences and enhance our empathy for those experiencing racism.
Week four: We will reflect on our changing level of openness to our own experience of our racial identity and that of others. We will explore how we can more effectively dialogue around race and act in positively anti-racist ways, considering how we may carry forward any learnings.
Some aims of the course are:
- listening to the body (noticing both reactions and blocks that indicate prejudice – and feelings of empathy and compassion)
- physically expanding our capacity to hold difficult feelings (self-regulate) in relation to self and others – and to feel greater empathy for others
- developing ability to be relationally present with challenging aspects of our experience and others’
- developing an accepting inner relationship around such issues rather than self-blame and denial
- connecting with our inner values and potential to carrying forward our work around identity and living forwards in a more proactively anti-oppressive way