I.ve worked with people for over 50 or more years, doing some kind of healing or justice work and this year, is the worst I.ve seen I’ve not seen such divisions and polarization-- so much violence and anger-- between black and white; white women in rage; black and brown not united; young and old disconnected; rich against poor; rural against city-folk, red states against blue; police against their communities— I’m sick of the “divides”, saddened now, when we need more unity in our diversity. I.m. personally creating a program to do something different, to create something new in re-wiring humanity towards harmony. It.s time to breathe to feel to heal the divides
Ayo Handy-Kendi, the Breath Sekou, founder, Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.): Black Love Day, Feb, 13 CEO, PositivEnergyWorks
George Floyd’s murder is this generation’s Emmitt Teal “wake-up”, whose murder helped galvanize the civil rights movement of the 1950’s just as Mr. floyds’, brutal, murder has kicked off an international, racial” reckoning” not seen since the ‘60’s. An activist for justice and peace, since the '60's-- today's climate of the many divides, I still see in 2020, around race, diversity and gender, really saddens me. Yet I.m. still hopeful, because so many are rising to bring "peace" to chaos and reconnect us . We won't stop. I won't stop.
Dr. King envisioned a world where one day we would not be judged by the color of our skin, but the content of our character. Yet, TODAY IN THIS TIME OF polarizing rhetoric and behavior, we see a new heightened, level of divisions that are pulling this country and seems like the world apart, around race, gender, economics, class, religions and spiritual identifies.
It's been challenging to birth a new course, due to COVID and my own depression over the world I see today. Just like Mrs. Obama, I.ve struggled to deal with what I.m. seeing before my eyes. i.ve cried over the murders. Screamed over the injustices. Felt pain and triggered seeing the violence.
But thank The Creator, that I.m. blessed with tools to help me cope with my anger and sometimes rage. i affirm one day, that I will be able to share my tools with Mrs.. My intention is to help many of us dealing with "vicarious trauma" which is indirect reactions of internalized stress from "feeling" the pain and concerns of others.
Now, seven long months of a global pandemic that has disproportionately taken Black and Brown lives; Black lives stolen by police violence, a nationwide uprising and more fallen Black heroes than anyone was equipped to handle, 2020 has been especially difficult
At times the world seems upside down, and it seems to be forcing us to rethink normal, and making us open the door to truly transformative change. So, in this current moment of truth, after the talks, protests, and editorial commentaries; after more senseless deaths, destruction of lives, and more injustices
While there is a ground-swell of support with many reeling to denounce the injustices of racism and inequality and with a showing a huge resurgence of interest in anti-racism. To me that means "pro-peace."
What if we learned how to breathe to feel to heal all of the stress, the trauma, the wounds, the pain and the sickness that is racism, instead of suppress it. We teach Transcendence Breathwork, as the O.L.B. tool to unpack, race-based trauma and un-conscious biases, also to carthart to release to de-stress.
SO I GOT BUSY THINKING ABOUT WHAT I COULD OFFER TO HELP US IN DEALING, COPING AND STRUGGLING AT THIS TENSE TIME.
"Now is time to share these tools" I proclaimed. "Here is my solution - a whole new process in diversity training and healing racism and inequality, using breathology and transformative practices and offer it virtually".
So, my course is still in need of "tweaking" but I.m. taking "imperfect action" now, because we are killing and hurting each other as the "divides" continue
IF YOU ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE POLARIZATION, THE HATE, THE INHUMANITY AGAINST HUMANITY, AND YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, HERE'S YOUR CHANCE.
NOW, I.M. CALLING ON OTHERS LIKE ME TO JOIN ME IN A NEW PRACTICE. I.m. looking for 100 courageous people, to help me "fine-tune" my course, give me feed-back, and then use the tools of racial/diversity healing for yourself and for your communities. BE THE CHANGE.
SO, IF YOU ASKING THE QUESTION WHAT’s NEXT, PLEASE ASK YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
Do You feel you can make a difference in the struggle for justice, human rights and dignity”?
ARE YOU PART OF THE PROBLEM WITH ‘CREATING THE DIVIDES’?
COULD YOU BE DOING MORE TO STOP INEQUALITY?
ARE YOU READY TO ADDRESS THEN SHIFT YOUR OWN ATTITUES AND BEHAVIORS THAT ADD TO THE PROBLEMS, BUT DON’T KNOW HOW?
ARE YOU READY TO TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO CHANGE THE LEGACY OF EQUAL RIGHTS AND HUMAN DIGNITY BEGINNING WITHIN?
AFTER YOUR OWN SELF-CARE, WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TAKE LEADERSHIP IN HEALING THE DEEP WOUNDEDNESS OF ALL PEOPLE AROUND THE ISSUES OF RACE, DIVERSITY AND GENDER INEQUALITY”
IF YOU SAID YES TO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS, YOU MAY BE WILLING TO JOIN ME IN A NEW APPROACH… A NEW DIVERSITY TRAINING MODEL IN HEALING RACISM, INCREASING TOLERANCE, REDUCING RACE-BASED TRAUMA AND UNCONSCIOUS BIASES
.WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO PLAY A PART IN UNPACKING RACE-BASED TRAUMA, UNCONSCIOUS BIASES WHILE CREATING A NEW MODEL OF DIVERSITY TRAINING.
BREATH CIRCLES TO HEAL THE DIVIDES FORMERLY Breath Circles for Race, Diversity & Gender Healing is a wholistic course that offers an interactive virtual circle of support for participants to experience a 7 step group process of power-ful and life-changing breath techniques, transformative and diversity healing practices to shift the divides and polarization around race, diversity and gender inequality by changing attitudes then behavior rooted in the subconscious mind.
This virtual leadership development experience, offered as a 3 day intensive, informally called "The “Circle”, will be handled like a 12 step anonymous program accept in 7 steps. The “Circle” connects in a group process along with self-care work. It can be customized to meet the unique issues of your group.
The Circles require that we connect (link) with others and stay in the circle or group process, re-learning , new and more tolerant ways to get along with someone who isn t like you and when the message of that circle is received and internalized. We only advance into the next circle when the goals/messages of that circle have been met.
People in need of race-based trauma or chronic stress, and people desiring to change their biases, will learn skills for self-healing and are encouraged to take leadership to share their experiences to support others in their healing.
Participants stay in their step work until those who feel relieved of race or inequality stress/trauma or until those who perpetrate racism, oppression and support "the divides", instead feel authentic insight to shift and change.
The Circles , offer a real solution to “unpack racism" and inequality for tolerance and justice, by sharing it’s methodology that "we must breathe to feel to heal" the painful earliest memories that have been repressed, suppressed and buried on the level of the “sub-conscious”. Real transformation occurs here, and from here, we will see more harmonious, evolved, conscious and empowered behavior, due to new embracing, attitudes and behavior shifts.
This video of a Black and White toddler, reminds us that children don't see color. They are taught the differences from their family and environment at very early ages. If the child is exposed to hate and indifference, they will grow up with these attitudes and behavior. In a nutshell, we raise "racist, white supremacist, haters. But, we can change that by learning how to raise people who embellish differences and reconnect our society to love and peace. Do no Harm.
BENEFITS OF BREATH CIRCLES to HEAL the DIVIDES
Offer a replicable model of leadership training to encourage owner-ship of the model and take responsibility to encourage others to share and use this solution-based approach, as well as use it to heal one-self;
While our society needs to have the critically hard conversations around the issues of racism and equality, the talk seems long overdue, and dialogue, merely scratches the surface of the deep conditioning and internalization around these polarizing issues today.
While many diversity programs encourage the dialogue method to help heal racism and other inequalities, “the Circle” help people actually “unpack” racism and intolerance in a supportive system that includes wholistic principles and Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B) training and diversity practices. 4 practical breath techniques taught are simple to learn, yet transformative, in this intensive .
With supportive, practice you will be able to change attitudes and behaviors that were programmed and internalized from within our environments, pre-birth and within the first 7 years of our lives. Simply, we act based on what we have been taught and unless given new information, use what we know. You will learn simple, but deeply impactful techniques that work on the sub-conscious level of the mind which absorbs our earliest beliefs passed on from our parents, their parents and our tribe (group).
Offers race-based, emotional trauma release and mental strength by experiencing the principle of ‘we must breathe to feel to heal”;
Helps heal the deep wounds of inequality and race-based trauma often shown chronic stress which leads to emotional and physical illness;
Offers practical as well as transformative tools to cope with the daily stress of “living black, oppressed or marginalized”
Shift un-consciousness biases from hate/violence/separation/intolerance to peace/love/connectedness/tolerance.
Restores healthier, harmonious relationships that will help heal the divides and polarization,
Gain tools to help people shift by emotionally releasing in these intense, polarized times,
We gone way beyond the need for a national "conversation about inequality and social justice.. Now we must accept our need to change. People are being hurt due to the "divides" of race, class, ethnicity, gender and more. Be the Change.
Instead of having that conversation or dialogue about very intensely emotional and painful, issues of inequality of which the earliest memories of such feelings have been repressed, surpressed and buried on the level of the “sub-conscious”, the Circles encourage us to “feel to heal”
Using group interactive processes and exercises, along with the transformative practices, participants will re-awaken quickly to their inner humanity.
Explore Healing Racism and Intra-Racial techniques, Breathwork, and Transformative practices that opens the deep wounds of racism, diversity and gender prejudice, to support healing on the, sub-conscious, cellular level, for new rewiring with growth layers of tolerance, inter and intra-racial understanding, quilt and trauma release, forgiveness, compassion, and reconciliation.
Come prepared to be moved emotionally and to change your community authentically
The Circle will use modalities as:
Silencing, a form of breath contemplation and mindfulness cartharting movement, toning, meditative writing, forgiveness, spiritual, cultural rituals, role playing to heal consciousness, and offer behavior modification. breathwork to shift “unconscious biases and prejudices”; along with breathology/breathing techniques to release race-based trauma and stress in addition to coping for daily conflict resolution..
Here's what YOU will experience with Transcendence Breathwork one of Sekou Ayo's signature O.L.B.practices and primary mover in THE CIRCLES
VIDEO FROM BREATH CIRCLE FOR RACIAL, DIVERSITY, GENDER SESSION AT YWCA RACE FOR RACISM WEEK IN ASHVILLE, N.C. in which we first offered The Circle to a multi-cultural audience . Note the quick Transcendence Breathwork impact.
TRANSCENDENCE BREATHWORK FACILITATED VIRTUALLY
What is we learned how to breathe to feel to heal all of the stress, the trauma, the wounds, the pain and the sickness that is racism, instead of suppress it. We teach Transcendence Breathwork, as the O.L.B. tool to unpack, race-based trauma and un-conscious biases, also to carthart to release to de-stress. Carthart, Release, Play, along with me. Notice how relieved you feel - less tense, more calm.
Transcendence Breathwork pushes through the "old baggage" and stuck energy of the past. Internalized trauma, stress and deep wounds have the bandage pulled off, so that the underlying, infected emotional wounds get exposed, thereby healed.
Breathwork affects the non-conscious realm of the mind, while breathology works on the conscious surface of the mind. The combination of breath techniques with other transformative practices, provides a one-two punch for intense "breakthroughs".
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM BREATH CIRCLES TO HEAL THE DIVIDES :
So-called White Americans (or white people)
African Diasporan people (black people from all over the Continent)
Native Americans (Indigenous People)
People of Color (POC)
Hispanic (people from Latin orientation)
People who self-identify as gay, queer, LBGT, etc. (gender diversity)
Women of Color
So-called White Women
People of Color who live outside of the U.S.A.
White people who live outside of the U.S.A.
People who know they are challenged with PTSD (post traumatic slave disorder or present traumatic stress disorder)
Potential Circle Leaders who want to help heal the divides, racism, ethnic issues, etc.
Institutions of Learning, especially colleges that benefitted from the institution of enslavement
Ministers, spiritual leaders
Activists, Organizers, Social Justice Advocates
Anyone willing to take leadership and who wants to support peace in the world.
Who is in the Room: Up’s and Downs; The Covenant, a bonding exercise.:
Guided Self-Inquiry, and written self examination of what we believe and how our beliefs are shaped from our past.
Identifying our unconscious bias What have We Endured: Walking the Line and Share your story- All exercises help us gain empathy of others and their circumstances, while we bond through story-telling.. Theater of the Oppressed – to role-play the pain of “ polarization” and intolerance.
Time for Letting Go: Guided Visualization, Transcendence Breathwork, Drumming, Movement – A transformative process to take a deep dive into the sub-conscious for greater awareness of the issues
Silencing and Meditative Writing for Radical Forgiveness of Self, Ancestors, Nation-state, others who we believe have hurts or the society.
Ritual of Reconciliation: Public and Private Apology , offers a ceremony of forgiveness and reconnecting; We get to grieve and celebrate each other for unity in diversity, together in ritual. Sharing our story.
Reconnection and alliances around common goals: Celebration of Unity in our Diversity.
the Adkinkra symbol that displays "unity in diversity"
ON-GOING AFTER WORK: We encourage participants to consider their first CIRCLE as a “deep dive” into the healing of racial, diversity and gender issues, but consider “working” The CIRCLE as often as needed until the the group (or individual) feels a sense of completeness or closure of that issue. Consider re-visiting the CIRCLE work whenever new issues arise. Deep healing to address polarization requires patience, self-care as well as group support, and is similar to any other area of emotional healing. .
TRAINING: Although the CIRCLE is an easy to simulate process, it’s outcomes can be very transformative offering that Spiritual Transformation which creates The Revolution of change in our society. Thus, Circle leadership is very important. Circle Leaders take on the responsibility to learn more about their facilitation role as well as learn basic administrative tasks to run a good group circle.
THE CIRCLE PROCESS: Critical to the “Circle” process is time, location willingness of the participants.
TIME: It is recommended that “Circle” Leadership Training is organized as a 3 day long-training, held virtually for approximately 5 hours daily.. This gives ample time for comfort breaks, emotional melt-downs, snacks, and lunch break. . People should make a commitment to arrive on-time and stay the entire day, for best effectiveness.
CRITICAL NOTE; The “Circle” introduces participants to the steps, takes them through the entire process, and encourage continued “step work” of each individual, who commits to working through their issues until resolution.
WILLINGNESS TO PARTICIPATE: The persons who attend the “Circle” should be given a thorough introduction to the “Circle” process and after-work; are encouraged to attend the group with an open mind and be open to transformation; and are reminded of patience and perseverance as the process of healing racism and prejudice take time. We say expect miracles while taking the journey to the end..
COURSE CURRICULUM EXAMPLE FOR 2 DAY BREATH CIRCLES TO HEAL THE DIVIDES
SUBJECT TO BE CHANGED and TIMES APPROXIMATE.
DAY ONE: 9:45 arrival; 10: a.m start
IN-GATHERING THE CIRCLE, PRAISE, CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY
Libations – an African ritual of prayer to the Creator and honoring the Ancestors. Eye to eye Connection Circle Members meet and greet, say their names, add a prayer or intention. . 10:30 – 11 a.m. GETTING COMFORTABLE: Welcome from Host. Housekeeping agreements for the course. Course overview and objective.
11 a.m. – 11: 30: BREATH STRESS BUSTERS to loosen up with short exercises.
11: 30- 12:00 – CIRCLE ONE – GETTING TO KNOW YOU AND CONNECT Up/ Down Technique provides an easy, interactive way to get to acknowledge the diversity of the Circle participants which shifts our “boxing” or stereotyping behavior. Participants will elaborate on “who they are” providing name, passions, birth place, etc.
12:00 - 1:00 Identify key terms used in diversity training to find common ground understanding i.e., equality;racism; prejudice; un-conscious bias; implicit bias; color-ism; marginalization; inclusion; discrimination; oppression; intra and inter-racial; inter-sectionalty; white supremacy; white privilege; ally-ship; misogyny; homo-phobia; sub-conscious, ancestral, cultural and collective memory; trauma; generational trauma; vicarious trauma;
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. CIRCLE TWO - EXPERIENCING THE TOOLS FOR HEALING, TRANSFORMATION, RECONCILIATION and CONFLIC RESOLUTION/DE-ESCALATION
Identify key terms: Breathology, Breathwork, Mindfulness, Meditation, Cartharting Experience Cartharting Release Techniques – screaming, singing, toning, humming, laughing, jibberish, journaling, moving, creative expression music, art, or theater; Experience Optimum Life Breathology practices to include: Relearne How to Breathe; De-Stress Breath; Conscious Connected Breath; Transcendence Breathwork practice; Intro to Silencing/ Meditative Writing: Learn how to stay in present moment consciousness and how to go within for inner awareness, checking in on the breath, quieting the mind; 2:30 – 3 p.m. Practice Silencing/Meditative Writing to Discover Unconscious Biases; Homework assigned:
DAY TWO: 9:45 arrival; 10: a.m start
INGATHERING THE CIRCLE, PRAISE, CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY Review Day One and Homework 10:30 -12:00 a.m CIRCLE THREE- “BECOMING CONSCIOUS” Remembering our Unconscious Biases to Break Stereo-types and Polarization
Circle participants use Silencing/ Meditative Writing to explore their remembrances of the “old tapes” that have been “wired” into behaviors and conditioned responses that previous generations didn’t address” to examine: .
Consciousness” of their thoughts, behaviors and feelings about diversity; stereotypes, myths, and biases shared and possibly passed down for generations;
Impact of earlier conditioning of parents, ancestors, environment;
Trigger in the “sub-conscious mind” by “bringing up” words or images held in their tribe to describe the “others”. Participants authentically share, dialogue, breathe thru and carthart as they share their words, images, and stories, to speak the truths of their “group/tribe consciousness around “differences”,
Our own or group micro-aggressions and white privileges.
Integration of Experience. Group bonding ritual.
12 -2:00 p.m.- CIRCLE FOUR –ACTING OUT PAIN/TRAUMA; HOLDING SPACE FOR OTHERS Theater of the Oppressed offers a deep dive into empathy, and opportunity to share our truths and reconciliation moments by “telling our story” through the technique of “role-playing” to re-live our personal or group fears, pain, rage, sorrow, anger, or deep wounds over an experiences of injustice, inequality, oppression to;
Decrease denial of these issues; Increase empathy and tolerance;
Challenge the “old tapes” and perceptions of systemic inequality/racism;
Use transformative tools to encourage the release of emotions and feelings;
Learn active listening skills for better ally-ship and inequality facilitation;
Create more compassionate out-comes;
2:- 3 p.m. Integration of Experience. Group bonding ritual. DAY THREE: 9:45 arrival; 10: a.m start
IN-GATHERING THE CIRCLE, PRAISE, CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY Review Day Two:
10:30 – 11:30- CIRCLE FIVE –ACCEPTING OUR TRUTHS TO WAKE-UP Unpack systemic inequality/racism by tracing its historical roots and evolution using a dramatic, guided imagery visualization, to pull the scab off the wounds of inequality/racism to allow the resurfacing of the underlying infections of the brutal past which keeps showing symptoms in present day reality to:
Break through the suppressed emotions to step out of denial, guilt and shame, anger, pain; resentment, hate; violence, polarization, etc;
.Encourages cartharting and breathology as transformative release tools to help awaken and release the cellular memory of race-based trauma;
Break thru the resistance to change and grow, so intolerance becomes tolerance and love overcomes hate;
Enable us to mourn over “stuffed down” issues to allow release of stuck energy;
11:30 - 1: p.m. CIRCLE SIX: BREATHE TO FEEL TO HEAL Use Transcendence Breathwork to shift the sub-conscious mind, to become aware of our own and groups’ need to release the “baggage” of inhumanity to repack for a new journey of humanity. This deep, empathetic dive into the deep scars and woundedness of the unjust past, takes us beyond surface “dialogue” to the sub-conscious root of inequality/racism.
End Generational, Collective and Ancestral Race-based Trauma using Transcendence Breathwork tm which includes cartharting, drumming, movement, self-touch release work to reconnect members to the past for a better today.
Integration/Talk Back of Circle participants; 1 p.m. – 2:30 CIRCLE SEVEN: RECONCILIATION AT-ONE-MENT. Experience “The Ritual of Reconciliation, an Atonement ceremony of forgiveness, recommitment towards repairing the damage and reunion around commonly shared goals for humanity. Circle participants will create reconciliation statements of public apology before the group, or private apology journaling.
They include written commitments towards taking personal responsibility towards repairing the damage through atonement; healing self-care and prevention of our race-based trauma and biases; and ally-ship with “Another World is Possible Declaration”
2:30 – 3 p.m. Integration and Circle Close in UNITY IN OUR DIVERSITY.
Referred as “The CIRCLE”, this program was developed by Ayo Handy-Kendi, reknown as the Breath Sekou, a master teacher who has practiced breathing techniques since 1970, breathwork since 1996; social justice/ diversity training since the ‘80’s and founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13th and the Ritual of Reconcilation in 1993. She introduced Breath Circles for Racial, Diversity, Gender Healing, 4 years ago at the YWCA Race Against Racism in Ashville, N.C.
As a survivor of child sexual and emotional abuse, who had stuffed the wounds in her sub-conscious, she has championed the belief that we heal only when we feel. After, 30+ years of wholistic training she found that the key to racial/inequality healing is to release repressed trauma held in the cellular memory to break cycles of collective and ancestral trauma, along with conditioned responses and behaviors of “un-consious or implicit biases, attitudes and iintolerant behaviors” that will prevent repression of inequality
Recognized as one of the breath experts in the Shift’s Network Breathwork Summit in early March, of 2020, she introduced “The Circles” on the broadcast, but, the program was delayed, due to the COVID shut-down. Shortly thereafter, the murder of George Floyed by police brutality, and the systemic white supremacy that keeps us divided raging in the streets around the world, pushed her to introduce this pilot program NOW..
Much of Handy-Kendi’s earlier work with social justice was done within inter-racial and multi-cultural groups which inspired her to start several commemorative holidays and rituals around diversity and healing racism -- Black Love Day, Feb. 13, in 1993, The Ritual of Reconciliation in 1994 (still on-going) and Unity in Diversity Day (UIDD) I, and II on the National Mall, in 1999.
As founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13, an international commemorative holiday for 26 years, she has organized programming for diverse communities in conflict resolution and prejudice reduction trainings as well as facilitated cultural and ceremonial reconciliation gatherings or Libations, to stop violence and increase peace to heal all of our relationships.
The CIRCLE was birthed from her learning how to use various breath techniques to help her relax and cope with the stress of racism experienced as an African-American woman social justice activist in multi-cultural coalitions and as a community organizer and counselor in inner city communities. Breath techniques also helped her cope with own life-style challenges and adversities, such as domestic violence, homelessness, the murder of her 17 year old son and the deaths of her former husband and in-laws, within 3 months of each other.
Despite many certifications and practice in wholistic health and breath techniques, she continued to have bouts with depression, numbness and spiritual dis-connection with self. She coped by playing with mind-altering, stimulating substances for 15 or more years. Recreational drug and alcohol use turned into self-medication and she became addicted for 2 years to cocaine and alcohol. Transformative breathwork helped her recover.
Her break-through experience came in 1996, as a “conscious-connected breath technique” opened the repressed sub-conscious mind, which had blocked the pain, the shame and repressed the cellular memory of childhood sexual trauma and emotional abuse she had experienced at age 8 – “Unconsciously”, she had acted out the self-harming symptoms of this energetic trauma for close to 30 years
Renewed from this discovery that “you can only heal when you feel”, she was able to forgive her father, her closeted abuser, forgive herself, appropriately grieve all of her personal and material loses, grow and evolve to breathe with millions of people on radio, t.v., in print, on stage, in workshops and on the Internet. She has remained addiction free, overcome many adversities and has successfully managed to live a fairly-balanced life, while contributing to making the world a healthier, harmonious planet. In 2004, she developed Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) a system of training to share “breathology”, the art and science of breath awareness, the mechanics of breathing and the application of 10 breath techniques and 4 breath practices that advance the spirit, mind and body.
She developed a certification and became it’s first Certified Breatholgist and has since certified over 188 Breathologist in 7 U.S. states and exposed in 9 countries internationally. Within the system of O.L.B. she has created 2 signature practices: “Relearn How to Breathe and Transcendence Breathwork”. They are being offered as the foundation for her new program “Breath Circles to Heal the Divides” now, proudly offered to you through her company, PositivEnergyWorks.