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Sacred Activism: Embracing Collective Healing with Michelle C. Johnson

In the inaugural episode of “Embodied Justice,” host Dr. Judy Lubin sits down with Michelle C. Johnson, a multifaceted champion for racial equity, social justice, and healing. They delve into the transformative nexus of sacred activism, ancestral healing, and personal practices. This soul-stirring dialogue invites us into a realm where we recognize our interconnectedness and engage in the collective work of building a world infused with justice, and care.

The Sacredness of Activism

Rekindling Our Collective Responsibility

Michelle C. Johnson introduces us to the notion of sacred activism, a powerful blend of spiritual consciousness and social action. Sacred activism transcends traditional activism by rooting collective change in a framework of mutual care and integrity. It recognizes the importance of individual roles in nurturing collective healing. Johnson doesn’t shy away from the formidable: she asks us to engage with the profound, emphasizing the need for practices that call us into healing work and knit us closer together. Sacred activism, she suggests, is our calling to mend the world’s deep-seated wounds with reverence and intention.

The Significance of Ancestral Wisdom

Honoring Our Lineage for Healing

The conversation shifts towards the importance of calling in our ancestors for guidance in today’s quest for justice. Johnson speaks candidly about how ancestral wisdom illuminates our paths and provides strength for the arduous journey. The legacies of our forebears, according to Johnson, come with a mandate to alleviate the suffering on our planet. She underscores the transformative shift in global consciousness triggered by tragedies such as the murder of Trayvon Martin, which reverberates through our collective heart and demands an unwavering commitment to healing past and present traumas.

Contemplative Practices in Unsettling Times

Fostering Connection and Resilience

In an age where relentless urgency often marginalizes rest, Johnson brings up various contemplative practices that serve as lifelines to ourselves and our communities. Meditation, journaling, lighting candles, or simpler acts like gardening signify not just moments of pause but lifelines to something grander. Such practices anchor us amid chaos, allowing for an enriched connection with our ancestral roots and the spirit that pervades us all. Dr. Lubin reflects on this accessibility and highlights that even in the midst of constant assault, these practices offer a healing power that can’t be overstated.

To stay within the healing process, Johnson and Dr. Lubin discuss the critical role of dreaming. Visioning a future where another world is possible serves as a counterforce to the pain wrought by systemic oppression and racial trauma. Johnson posits that dwelling in spaces of dreaming and joy is as significant as naming our collective grief and trauma. An Embodied Justice lens is about understanding how we sustain our fight for justice while anchoring ourselves in spaces where joy and sorrow coexist.

Creating Spaces for Transformation

Navigating Change with Care and Intention

As we confront the realities of systemic neglect and trauma, Michelle C. Johnson reminds us that holding space for transformation comes with challenges. The fierce work of change-makers needs nurturing, prompting Johnson to stress the significance of finding solace in nature, community, and personal practices. She discusses the Embodied Justice Program aimed at supporting black change-makers, which embodies this ethos of community care. Creating these spaces enables us to face chaos with resilience, promoting a healing that is generative and transformative.

Michelle C. Johnson’s perspective on embodied justice challenges us to weave sacred activism into the fabric of our lives. By acknowledging our shared histories of grief and aspiration for healing, we equip ourselves to craft a reality where justice can truly flourish. Dr. Judy Lubin’s conversation with Johnson compels us to consider how we individually contribute to the collective alleviation of suffering. As we engage with Michelle C. Johnson’s profound insights, let us commit to a practice of sacred activism that celebrates our shared humanity and the dream of a more just and compassionate world.

Learn More about Our Guest

Michelle’s work focuses on the intersections of justice, spirituality, and healing, aiming to create spaces for individual and collective transformation. She has led dismantling racism work in many settings and two decades of practice as a clinical social worker.

Michelle is the author of impactful books such as “Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World”, We Heal Together: Rituals and Practices for Building Community and Connection, and “Finding Refuge: Heart Work for Healing Collective Grief.”And she also hosts the “Finding Refuge” podcast, where she engages with a wide array of guests to explore themes of social justice, spiritual healing, and collective liberation.

Connect With Michelle

On her website: https://www.michellecjohnson.com

On instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skillinaction

On her podcast: https://www.michellecjohnson.com/finding-refuge-podcast

Judy Lubin

Dr. Judy is an applied sociologist, racial equity changemaker, yoga and mindfulness practitioner, author, auntie, bestie and beach lover. Judy’s elemental nature is water, and with her she brings calming, reflective energy to hold space for deep listening, inner work and transformative dialogue. 

The curator of the Embodied Justice program, she hosts the accompanying podcast and co-facilitates events and dialogues focused on the collective healing and sustainability of Black changemakers.

At CURE, Dr. Judy has built transformative racial equity frameworks and change management processes that have impacted thousands of lives. She began her career focused on health disparities, recognizing that stress from societal racism can become embodied and manifested through “weathering” that prematurely ages the body and shortens the lifespan of racially marginalized communities. 

She is unapologetically committed to centering Black people and the communities that have inspired her life’s work. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she grew up in South Florida surrounded by music, her grandmother’s herbal garden, and the struggle to make it in a country that saw her family as outsiders. 

In 2022, after experiencing multiple health emergencies coupled with burnout from the intensity of the “racial reckoning” that increased demand for CURE’s racial equity services, Judy began a process of listening to the wisdom of her body, healing old trauma wounds, and reclaiming rest and her love of mind-body healing. During this time she explored somatics, indigenous and and ancestral healing practices and earned certifications in multiple healing modalities including yoga and energy medicine.

Emerging from a place of rest and listening to what her soul wanted to share, she now weaves mindfulness, body-awareness and spiritual activism to support changemakers and organizations to regenerate their leadership and give to the world from a place of ease and wholeness. 

Long committed to promoting women’s health and wellness, she is the author of The Heart of Living Well: Six Principles for a Life of Health, Beauty and Balance.

Find Judy on instagram or linkedin at @drjudylubin, where she (occasionally) shares posts celebrating Black joy, healing and well-being.

Shawn J. Moore

Residing at the intersection of leadership and mindfulness, Shawn creates sacred spaces for stillness and self-inquiry to help social impact leaders align their strengths, intention, and impact. Through his integrative approach, he holds transformative containers for self-renewal, personal discovery, and capacity-building that ease clients on their journey towards peace, clarity, and freedom.

Shawn is committed to empower changemakers to become embodied leaders – unified in mind, body, and heart – with the tools to mindfully pause, reconnect to their inner knowing, make strengths-driven decisions, and lead the change they believe the world needs.  

Reckoning with his own contemplation of burnout, purpose, and alignment, Shawn transitioned out of his role as Associate Dean of Student Life & Leadership at Morehouse College in the fall of 2021 to focus more on mindfulness and stillness-based training programs and workshops. 

While leadership resonates with him deeply, it is his personal and spiritual practices that allows him to continue to show up for himself and others. He is a yoga teacher (E-RYT® 200, RYT® 500, YACEP®), sound and reiki practitioner, meditation teacher, Yoga Nidra facilitator, and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, all focused through a Buddhist lens and 17 years of personal practice. He has contributed workshops, practices, and educational opportunities for celebrities like Questlove and Dyllón Burnside, and various yoga studios and colleges, Yoga International, Omstars, Melanin Moves Project, the Human Rights Campaign, Spotify and Lululemon. He currently serves as the Facilitation and Community Manager for BEAM (Black Emotional & Mental Health Collective).

Shawn hosts a podcast called The Mindful Rebel® Podcast that creates a platform to continually explore this unique intersection of leadership and mindfulness. Find him on instagram @shawnj_moore 

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