On the other hand, I use lowercase when referring to white people. This stylistic difference helps to bring attention to the systemic bias that typically centralizes white experiences and invisibilizes the experiences of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other People of Color. Language is rarely easy, and this decision was made after careful review and consultation with many People of Color, both scholars and laypeople. This style choice is consistent with that used by the Brookings Institute. Just take your deep breaths, and trust it to relax naturally. Don't worry if you're doing it right or wrong, and know that each session of relaxation may feel different from the last one. Instant Calm Skill #2: Progressive Muscle Relaxation Again, our muscles tense when our sympathetic nervous system is activated to get our bodies ready to fight or flee. By relaxing those same muscles, we're sending the signal to the body that the threat is gone, which promotes the relaxation response. Follow these steps: Sit in a comfortable but sturdy chair. An office chair is fine, as long as it doesn't recline so far that you can lose your balance. Start by controlling your breathing (in for four counts, out for four counts). Ball your hands into fists, and tighten and curl your toes and feet. But in my fear of being like her, and my hostility toward so much of what she is, I wouldn't admit it to myself. It was quite a revelation to me. I feel very relieved after this session. Diary after seventh group meeting When we discussed the requirements of the department, I had a feeling that the group shared a bond in this, as we haven't before by virtue of our different problems. I was finally able to verbalize my doubts about a vocation, which I wasn't able to do before.

It was a hard thing to get out but I felt better afterwards. I felt a close sympathy with Anne and her inability to talk. I've felt that way a number of times in the group sessions. It's just an inability to centralize the problem and verbalize it. More detailed and nuanced explanation is articulated in their report, Not just a typographical change: Why Brookings is capitalizing Black. However, I also want to draw attention to the ableism of using the term blind in this metaphorical sense, which can perpetuate a negative view of blindness. Words are not just words, but tools that help shape and inform our perception of the world. When we use pejorative metaphors about a group of people, it's a lot easier to see them as less deserving of respect and inclusion as people in a more favored group. Best to avoid the many negative disability metaphors that have slipped into common usage. Examples of metaphors to avoid: The economy has been crippled by debt. He was deaf to my protests. That joke was so lame! See my explanation in the footnote on article 3. The clothes do not really exist, but the emperor doesn't admit he can't see them as he doesn't want to appear unwise. Keep them tensed for a full eight-second breath count (four counts in, four counts out). Then release both and let them flop and relax, as if there were no bones in them at all, again for a full breath count of eight. Repeat until you can feel a faint, calming throb in your hands and feet (some people describe it as a humming or buzzing). As you continue your controlled breathing, keeping your toes planted on the floor, lift your heels and tighten your calf muscles. Tense your forearms without tensing your hands--keep your hands open, palms down. Keep arms and calves tensed for a full breathing count of eight, and then let them flop for a count of eight.

Repeat until they begin to gently throb. As you continue your slow breathing, squeeze your thighs together and flex your biceps for a breathing count of eight, then let them flop for a full count of eight. Repeat until they begin to gently throb. Repeat this process with abs, then chest, and then finally your neck. Diary after eighth group meeting This problem of meeting requirements and a career is looming pretty large for me now. I find myself wandering around with a sense of failure and defeat. At first I couldn't express this in the group, but I find it much easier since Laura feels the same way about it. I feel that there is a cohesiveness to the group now that we didn't have before; And we seem to be moving to some climax. Diary after tenth group meeting I felt as if I have something really cleared up in my mind today. I realized suddenly that I had been saying things that implied this feeling all along but that the concept of what it was was still not clear to me. It was the concept of self-worth. IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S OUR CULTURE You belong in your body. You belong in this world, and we belong together. You wouldn't know that by looking at the current state of our world. Consider the astronomical rise in inequality in the United States in income, education, housing, and health care, pushing the middle class into the lower margins, lessening the possibility that anyone other than the uber-rich can better themselves financially, and contributing to growing disenfranchisement, alienation, social isolation, and divisiveness. We are increasingly disconnected from ourselves, from each other, and from the world around us.

The fallout is heart wrenching: depression, anxiety, suicide, drug addiction, and violence are all on the rise. Also on the upswing are hate crimes, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and incarceration. We can--and must--do better. The truth is, we don't need to create connection with each other, or even within ourselves. The key is to do it in the same sequence every time. The body learns what to expect and will already begin to relax the later muscles while you work on the first. With practice, you'll instinctively know how long your deep, controlled breath lasts and won't need to keep count anymore. The whole process should only take a few minutes. Eventually, you'll also be able to work through the progression faster, which gets you back on track faster, too. But remember: Speed is not the goal. Feeling relaxed and reenergized is. Instant Calm Skill #3: Positive Imagery Picture yourself sitting on a warm beach at your favorite vacation spot. The sun is shining; I realize that I have been walking around feeling like a sad sack pretty much all of my life, and that it was this that kept me from fighting for my goals. A sad sack never wins, and I took the conviction without ever proving to myself that I was capable. This sort of gave me an added impetus to work for the comprehensive exam, I think. I had the feeling this session that we were all coming down to pretty much the same basic problem only that we all had different ways of showing it. It made me feel closer to the group. Diary after eleventh group meeting

I felt pretty good during this session. I felt that I had really accomplished something last time and that I really understood so much more than in the past. I think that in verbalizing my difficulty with my mother over the week end, and in verbalizing to myself what I felt was the solution to the problem, I clarified to myself the stand I was going to take with my parents in the future. Not really the stand, but the relationship between us. It is already there. What we need to do is restore the innate connection that has been severed by a prejudicial culture. Being and belonging are our birthright and our future. Let's reclaim them. THE FIRST PLACE WE'RE NOT ALLOWED TO BELONG IS IN OUR BODIES When we talk about belonging, we're usually discussing how we relate to other people. We understand loneliness, isolation, and lack of belonging as something that happens between people and in our world, broadly. Loneliness or isolation usually focus on rejection or exclusion by people or systems, being shut out of a group, not fitting in, or being discriminated against by others. All of these things are important and true, but missing from the conversation is the fact that the first place we're not allowed to be ourselves and belong is in our own bodies. Forced alienation from our physical selves is perhaps the precondition for loneliness and social isolation. A gentle breeze wafts over you, carrying the scent of ocean air and coconut lotion. You take a sip of a delicious, cold drink as you crack open the new article you've been looking forward to reading. Your family is off doing something they enjoy; Stretching before you is a leisurely two hours in which you have nowhere to be and no one looking for you. How do you feel? Positive imagery is a particularly powerful and transformative tool, because it involves all your senses.