Grounding in Your Culture: Intro

By: Raven Cras

Each blog post is where the combination of social justice and wellness happens. It is done with the aim to provide tangible and practical steps towards a more just, kinder and healthy society.  This first post is about grounding yourself in your own culture. Grounding is a practice that centers your full self in your philosophy, truth, peace or state of equilibrium. Earthing is grounding oneself with direct contact with the earth servicing environmental medicine. Grounding is a necessary practice for those of us who are victims of purposefully oppressive societies.

  1. Each culture has their own grounding techniques, but in a general form:
    •  simply find or create a quiet space.
    • stand or sit erect with muscles relaxed.
    • take a deep breath feeling up your lungs and gathering the tension in your shoulders and neck for 4 seconds.
    • hold for 7 seconds while releasing your shoulders away from your ears.
    • exhale out your mouth making a sigh.
    • repeat and speak some affirmations, philosophies, proverbs, truths that feel good, etc.. 

As a collective practice of cultural appreciation, it is crucial to credit the people responsible for producing the customs one wishes to adopt. Some counter-culture cultural critics have conflated appreciating a culture with its oppositions: appropriation and exploitation.  Exploitation is one of the five faces of oppression in which the ruling class (such as the whites), grow their wealth from the creations and labor of people while not fairly compensating them for their contributions. Yes, the kardashians but also...

This looks like the face of yoga not reflecting its Indian roots but being rebranded by wealthy and entitled white women getting grounded for fun. Yoga is on track to become an 11.6 billion dollar industry by 2020. Those funds are not being funneled into India, the birthplace, religious and cultural practice of yoga. White Americans have a rich history of immorally extracting the sacred practices of other ethnic groups and deceptively crediting themselves through representation and access. In this offensive act of disregard via cultural exploitation, the victimized groups are silenced, stigmatized and kept from the accolades and profits that their creation has yielded. Nothing about that process is just or fair, which is the furthest one could be from yoga. 

So what NOW?

Grounding yourself in your own culture can help establish boundaries and empowerment to those of us who are victims of the many nameless culture vultures. Grounding in your own culture affirms your identity and my favorite, honors culturally relevant ways your people heal. I invite with a slight plea, for writers of color and Black writers of the diaspora who are keepers of their culture to re-claim elements of your culture that you believe needs to be re-established as your own (cue Jamaica's reggae).  In the midst of globalization, while more and more non-white communities are pushed to the margins, we cannot afford cultural amnesia or we will forever be blindly looking to our oppressors to tell us who we are.

Zora Neale Hurston

"If you are silent about your pain they will kill you and say you enjoyed it"

-Zora Neale Hurston

Word, so what NOW?

Part 1 and Part 2 is coming soon: "For The Culture" and "Culture for Sale"

For writers aiming to participate in this cultural grounding for their community; submit your pieces here, and identify what your cultural customs are. Here is a cheat sheet. ^_^

Culture Iceberg

What is culture?

Culture is social behavior and norms situated in human societies carried out in unique ways to sustain its people.