Since last week, protests have broken out across the nation and overseas in response to the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police; it followed the recent shootings of other Black Americans including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade.
"Make no mistake. This moment of meditation is not about removing the anger, the frustration, the crying out."
Fighting for justice, no matter what those efforts look like, is exhausting, especially when such efforts have been going on for years - that's what therapist Precious Avorkliyah is aware of, and due to this, she also knows the power of replenishment. Avorkliyah, LCSW, founder of Modern Therapy Now and author of Just Breathe, released a meditation on Instagram on May 31 for those who may need it.
Avorkliyah has been a mental health practitioner for over 10 years and in private practice for seven. She started officially using meditation and mindfulness techniques in her therapy sessions three years ago. "The meditation was for everyone being impacted by the current cultural climate," Avorkliyah told POPSUGAR, noting that it's for those who are "simply coping through it" and for those who are fighting for justice. "We are all in this together, and the dissension is creating mass trauma. I wanted to create a moment for mass healing."
In the video, Avorkliyah explains that this meditation, which starts about seven minutes in and includes guided breath work and repeated phrases of encouragement, is not about extinguishing what people feel. Instead, it's a moment of pause. "Make no mistake," she says in the video, "this moment of meditation is not about removing the anger, the frustration, the crying out. There is a mass crying out right now, and that's not something that needs to be removed."
Instead, Avorkliyah notes, it's about replenishment amid the turmoil. As she explains in the video, "Right now, a lot of my brothers and sisters are in the battlefield, and any time the troops go out for battle, they also come back to camp." She further told POPSUGAR, "A mindful moment allows us all to restore emotional and spiritual balance. Filling your attention with more complexity than simplicity creates imbalance. We need to allow ourselves some calm in order to reset."
Avorkliyah continued, "Many people feel guilt and shame for their feelings. I believe that no emotion is problematic. The necessary first step in healing is allowing your feelings to happen and validating them. If we don't allow our emotions to happen, we experience blockages and an inevitable disruption in our ability to endure."
"It's important to remind ourselves that we have been resilient throughout our life journey."
At the end of the over-20-minute meditation seen above, Avorkliyah invites on author, activist, and motivational speaker Jamila T. Davis to lead a prayer. Davis begins by stating that the prayer is spiritual and not meant for religious purposes. Ahead of this, Avorkliyah reads from her book and repeats the phrase, "I am a conqueror." Saying this, she explained to us, counters helplessness and powerlessness.
Many people are feeling unseen, unheard, and hopeless. "It's important to remind ourselves that we have been resilient throughout our life journey," Avorkliyah said. "We are a conqueror because we have conquered and we will conquer hardships that lie ahead. It gives hope to the traumatized."