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Teacher, Trade Unionist, &
Social Justice Activist

Former President, NASUWT

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One-on-One Coaching

There are times when, as an activist, you struggle with being in toxic spaces and being the focus of others' negativity, and it's hard to separate those feelings from you as a person. 


One of the hardest parts is trying to find a space to work through these feelings linked to actions you can't control or even influence. Without a safe space, it is hard to work through how it impacts all aspects of your life, especially your emotional wellbeing. I had burned out before as a young activist and had to step away for a 4 year hiatus, reassessing my life choices and where to channel my skills and energy. When social justice is your core value, asking for help is challenging in case it is seen as a weakness that can be used as a weapon at a later point in the name of 'politics.' This makes this work incredibly lonely at times and isolates in a way that means that your safest place is only in your head.


A 1-hour conversation with Dr. Keisha left me feeling safer than I have in 4 months as I enter a transitional phase toward the next steps. Fighting to change an institution from within takes an energy, armor and force-field that we aren't taught how to maintain 24/7-365. After a particularly difficult, challenging, and energy-destroying meeting over 2 days, I was emotionally exhausted and couldn't shake a negative feeling that was hard to articulate.


The most important thing is to talk, but you can't until you feel safe both inside and out.  Although you may be a small cog of a part of a bigger machine, it's also a level of empathy that means you take care of others by not adding to their burden. It really is a struggle, but it is internal as well as external.  I had retreated with the internal, and Dr. Keisha saw that from the get-go.


We started with breathing and truly reconnecting with the physical, recognizing that our bodies also react to the emotional struggle. We talked through how my body was reacting, and I realized that I had seen health issues I hadn't experienced before. Dr. Keisha kept me returning to conscious breathing, and slowly, this expanded to counted breaths, which she helped name with purpose. By breathing with intention, I became aware of the importance of giving my body the oxygen it needs to share the mental load.


Although at the end of a call, my body started to release, and I was able to start to articulate my feelings and emotions, which until then had been jumbled and intertwined. By talking through this step in a safe and permissive way, I was able to name the feelings that had been causing me emotional pain, locate them, and sit with them. It became real, and I wasn't scared about it coming to the front again. With Dr. Keisha's help, I was able to explore how this emotion was linked to my core value of inherent human goodness. Within moments, I felt seen, but most importantly, that I wasn't walking alone. Dr. Keisha was right there with me, reminding me to breathe and bringing this journey back to my core belief. 


During this long journey of more than 30+ years of struggle, Dr. Keisha walking beside me for even a short part of the way has left me feeling lifted, valued and connected. Today, this sister reminded me of how much this work is bigger than one person, but that one person is able to play their part.


Dr. Keisha's wide scope of lived experience, understanding of the human spirit, and ability to heal was nothing more than powering, empowering, and validating every part of our humanity.  Dr. Keisha is more than responsive to the person in the moment. She listened keenly, and because of this, she gave me the right tools I needed so I could hear the 'click' of that moment of clarity. The catharsis of finally understanding where I was (and am) was earth moving, and Dr. Keisha guided me in a way that was genuinely caring and centered entirely in this moment.


This was more than coaching, mentoring, or even therapy; this was healing.


Already, I know that I am getting ready to continue my transition to the next stage, and already I hear Dr Keisha's voice reminding me of the importance of giving myself grace for the 4 months I have spent in my head. I need to spend double that time on me.


People come into our lives with the skills and energy you may not recognize. You need someone to help share the load, and I feel blessed, grateful, and appreciative that Dr. Keisha has been with me.

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