Racial justice educator Rachel Ricketts talks inner work and finding her light.
– KEYS SOULCARE
As a racial justice educator, spiritual activist, healer, and the author of the forthcoming bookDo Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing From White Supremacy, Rachel Ricketts has dedicated her life and career to making the world a better place.
In fact, she describes her life’s mission as helping to heal “the collective divide by dismantling white supremacy (and thus all forms of oppression), supporting healing for Black and Indigenous women+, and helping us all reclaim our freedom—mind, body, and soul.” That might sound lofty until you actually speak with Ricketts, who is laser-focused on her goals and can achieve what most people do in a week in mere hours. (We know, whoa.) She talks the talk, but much more importantly, she’s out there walking the walk, and she understands exactly why this work is so important.
We recently chatted with Ricketts, who shared the most important work we can do for our souls.
Has your work changed or evolved this year?
Even though the world has come to the issues of racial justice and social justice in a hyper-focused way, it hasn’t changed for me or any other Black or BIPOC activist who has been working for racial justice for a lifetime. Nothing I am saying is new; all of my ancestors have been saying [these things] for 400 years. But because the global pandemic is creating this sense of stillness, and the distractions are gone, people who have the most power and privilege are paying attention. That’s wonderful, but it’s frustrating that it’s taken a global pandemic. For me, as a spiritual person, this is the universe, spirit, or Mother Nature’s way of forcing that attention to be paid, because it’s long overdue.
There was a lot of awareness about racial justice over the summer, but that has already started to shift. What are your thoughts about that?
Racial justice is not a moment; it’s a movement that has been in motion for hundreds of years. It may be new to a lot of people, but it’s not new. Unfortunately, it was treated as a moment in many ways.
Now, not very many months later, people have gone back to business as usual. I’m [already] not seeing the same fervor and outrage. People have gone back to watching their sports shows, going out to dinner, and turning a blind eye.
This work requires spiritual activism. The work I do is around infusing racial social justice and ending oppression in all forms in a way that requires us to do the work from the inside out.
Can you tell us more about this work?
This work needs to be heart-centered and embodied. It’s healing work. It’s trauma work. And, it’s necessary in order to be able to sustain showing up for yourself and showing up for those who have been most marginalized.
What would you say to people who are new to this work?
It’s wonderful to see more people involved in racial justice, but the work has to be from your head to your toes, from the inside out. It isn’t just posting a square or going to a rally. It’s the hardest work you’ll ever do.
Energetically, when we commit to healing and do our own inner work, it transcends past, present, and future. The work is to get out there and take action for those who have been most marginalized. This is soulcare. In my book, I write about [it]: What’s the inner work that tends to your soul and heals your trauma, so you have the capacity to create change? That’s what’s needed most now.
If you’re doing your inner work to commit to racial justice — to have an understanding that my oppression is your oppression, which doesn’t mean we experience that equally, because we don’t — everything shifts. What you do [and] how you do it shifts.
How are you currently finding light?
For me, soulcare is the inner work I need to do to tend to my own heart, so I can understand the full spectrum of my human emotions. It’s rooted in culturally informed and appreciated practices: meditation, breathwork, and the eight limbs of yoga. Nature is incredibly healing for me, and I use meditation as a practice for connecting with nature. I call on my people — the folks I have in my life — as well as my spirit guides and ancestors for support. I ask them to continue to ground me in knowing that I’m not alone.
Really taking time to check in with myself is important. It’s so easy to go, go, go, eight million Zoom calls a day and not check in: How am I doing? To tolerate our human emotions, we can talk to a therapist or engage with therapy. All these things are incredibly helpful [for] active resistance in a society that often tells us to just keep going, just keep producing.