Yesterday was the first day of September, a month that will transition us from summer to fall. This also means it’s time for a new Word of the Month. Our featured Behaviorist is Bulaong, and she’s chosen “connection”! It’s hard to believe that this month is Bu’s one-year anniversary writing for Model Behaviors. Her first post for us was a review of the documentary “Brave Miss World” last September. I love the passion and honesty that Bulaong continues to bring to each of her posts, and I can’t wait to see with this dynamic social justice warrior accomplishes in the next year.
Here are her thoughts on “connection” and what that word means in her life.
This past year has been full of self-discovery. As I think about words to describe my journey, I always return to “connection.” Becoming more connected to my community, my racial identity, my gender, my sexuality, my family, and most importantly to myself.
The Black Lives Matter movement has confirmed for me the fact that people, Americans especially, are extremely disconnected. It’s kind of funny because we have all the technology in the world at our fingertips yet know very little about the experiences of people not exactly like us. To truly get to a place of understanding, compassion, and empathy we must get to a place where we are making real, honest connections with others. Connecting is life saving. It can pull you out of the darkest places, it can mold friendships, and it can create and sustain movements.
After experiencing betrayal and heartbreak, I turned inward. Through meditation, self-reflection, tears, and numerous glasses of wine, I became more in tune with my own feelings and emotions, which in turn gave me the strength and self-assurance to discover a more purposeful path for myself. I was able to reopen myself to connecting with other people, building life-long friendships, and allowing my heart to welcome new love.
As of right now, I try to remain deeply connected with my own emotions and humanity as that informs the work I do as a social justice educator fighting for the liberation of all people. I listen, feel, and imagine what struggles the man standing on the corner might have faced in his life; what stories the single mother who works at Walmart might never speak; and what histories in my own family are kept tucked away out of shame or fear. For me, this is the beginning of connection, the imagining, wondering, and envisioning. However, the real work happens when we engage with others, ask questions, learn, and grow.
Even our own stories, struggles, and joys connect to animals, trees, the sky and sea, things that are so natural we don’t think about how they sustain us.
As a social justice educator and as a human being, I truly believe there will be no universal liberation without a foundation where we can all recognize the humanity of others and continue to work toward equity. How else do we empathize? How else do we unite? How else do we connect?
This Week’s Challenge
I believe it’s best to work from the inside out, so this week I think we should all focus on ourselves. First, ask yourself this question—what times in my life have I truly felt like myself? Those times when I felt joyful, content, and confident in my path.
Second, ask yourself what led you to that point?
Third, what can you do now to rebuild this inner connection? It can help to journal these thoughts out, but even just taking a few moments to think through these questions can lead to a firmer connection to your own heart and happiness.
Don’t forget to share this challenge and your thoughts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using #wellnessMB. See you out there!