Research resources

Hi Friends,

I know I made a commitment a while back to a series on clinical trials and on resources for those who might be considering participating in a research study. I am working on collecting resources, but frankly it is taking time to evaluate the sources I have found.

Most of the resources I have scanned so far are podcasts and news sources. The ones that are targeted toward clinical research professionals are pretty dry and a little difficult to endure (even for me). The ones that are more “mass media” related tend to dumb down the research in ways I do not believe are helpful.

I am enjoying “Short Wave” by NPR as a science podcast generally. They report on the COVID situation of course, but they also report on a broader range of topics. I especially appreciated their coverage of “challenge trials” and the ethics of people volunteering to exposed to the virus. In a relatively short time, they manage to convey useful concepts that may help non-scientists understand important principles.

Short Wave
A snippet from the site of Short Wave

I continue to hunt for better material, or might just start creating material on my own if I cannot find sources that serve. I am never one to re-invent a wheel so scanning the landscape was my first part of this project.

Be well. Feel free to ask any questions here if you imagine you would have if you would consider volunteering for a research study. That way I will know what your doubts and fears might be and can better speak to what comes up. Thanks!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Juneteenth

A lot of us are learning more about our history in response to recent events, protests and having a little more time on our hands. I confess that before this year, I knew very little about Juneteenth. I am an introvert and I do not gravitate toward large events.

This year, because it has become abundantly clear that people who identify as Black or African American have never been truly free in this country. We swim in history that is informed by a philosophy of white body supremacy.

Juneteenth
Link to the Juneteenth celebration website

I found a virtual Juneteenth event in Saint Paul that was co-sponsored by the Saint Paul Library. On the home page (linked above) are some beautiful read-aloud videos from staff there, children’s stories that have wonderful lessons for adults. Check them out.  They can be resources to help teach children about inclusion versus racism.

I will be tuning in this Friday. It is time to learn and grow, time to come together as human beings “alone together” on this tiny planet.

Happy weekend, friends.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Age 46 and alive

Hello Friends,

I find myself celebrating the past year for my birthday but feeling quieter and more reflective than in past years. When I read that George Floyd was also 46 years old I realized we shared an age, but are separated by a yawning gap of white body privilege. His life was cut short, and my life continues.

I spent the past week re-reading portions of “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem. I downloaded the audio book so I could listen to it as well. Coincidentally, Krista Tippett had a conversation with Resmaa on her podcast On Being just before the pandemic, but it aired only within the last week. If you have not heard it, I recommend a listen.

There is also a simple body practice that is about 4-5 minutes that Krista released yesterday that I really love. It helps us engage the vagus nerve and the psoas muscle in a way that is calming. Resmaa describes how “bodies of culture” must orient when they feel in danger.

Resmaa web photo
This photo is stolen right from Resmaa’s website. I hope he will not mind since I am using it to promote his work and not my own. 

One of my loyal yoga practitioners (Jackie) told me last week that Resmaa’s book is sold out right now, since she had looked for it online. I find that wonderful and hopeful. Maybe we white folks are ready to grow up and out of our privilege in a way that can support “bodies of culture” (I love Resmaa’s terminology) to achieve their dreams as well.

We must do the work, and we must begin now, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first. One thing that yoga teaches us is that we can stay with discomfort, a moment longer, to hear what it has to say. I love it that we have the tools to do that. It is our practice off the mat, and it is why we can succeed in this effort.

As a white woman from a multi-cultural (Swedish Mexican) heritage, I have struggled with knowing what my role can or should be in this effort. I have to admit I don’t have a complete answer right now, except to highlight voices that may not otherwise be heard. I also hope to hold space for other “white bodies” that know we must be part of the solution here.

Resmaa recommends we do our own work, with each other, to educate and get over our “fragility” around race discussions. In my 46 years of life I have never worried about being killed by a police officer. My level of discomfort is a tiny sliver compared to a daily stress of someone who’s life has been cut short by a police officer. While police bodies also need to do their own work, we can and must begin in our own bodies.

I close this reflection by saying all of this begins in our bodies. We unwind our stories and social conditioning by exploring their origins, questioning the protective habits that our “primitive lizard” brains developed, and by learning better ways to sharing the bounty we all have. When all do better, all do better (a phrase Paul Wellstone used to use frequently).

Best regards,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. Resmaa’s Cultural Somatics Institute offers a free 5-day e-course which summarizes the principles in his book. The videos are short and they are helpful. They will make you want to get the book.