Living healing justice (Farzana from Healing Justice Ldn)

This is the final episode of season 1! We can only do a season 2 / iterate and improve this with your feedback: so please, let us know how you’ve found this season using our super-quick feedback form.

Episode 14 of the Resist + Renew podcast, where we interview Farzana from Healing Justice Ldn.

“And at some point, it stops being about recovering yourself, and it becomes about uncovering who you’ve always been, and it’s the uncovering, and then expansion that is super, super delicious.”
– Farzana

Show notes, links

Healing Justice London website, Twitter and Instagram.

And a few things mentioned in the episode:

  • Loss and Grief: a litany for survival (a research project on loss and bereavement within marginalised communities)
  • Voices That Shake: Bringing together young people, artists & campaigners to develop creative responses to social injustice
  • INCITE: a network of radical feminists of color organizing to end state violence and violence in our homes and communities
  • Lumos Transforms
  • Molly Boeder Harris from Breathe Network (a network that connects survivors of sexual violence with healing arts practitioners for trauma-informed, holistic support)


Ali: This is Resist + Renew.

Kat: A UK-based podcast about social movements.

Sami: What we’re fighting for, why, and how it all happens.

Ali: The hosts of the show are:

Kat: Me, Kat,

Sami: Me, Sami,

Ali: and me, Ali,

Sami: I’m recording this now baby

Ali: Shit it’s a podcast.


Ali: Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining us again for this episode of the Resist+Renew podcast. And before we go ahead and pass to Katherine, who’s gonna introduce this week’s guest, just wanted to say a couple of things about this being our final episode of season one.

So as we mentioned last week, we have some thoughts and ideas around doing a season two at some point. But we’d love to get some feedback in the meantime about what’s been working and what you’d like to see more of what you’d like to see less of. So if you are up for that we have a Google Form, which we’re putting with the show notes, and also sharing on social media. So if anyone wants to let us know what, yeah, what your thoughts are, that would be really great, and really appreciated, and help us think about future episodes.

Ali: One other thing to say about this episode is that during the editing process, a couple of the segments asked to be changed by our guest. And we’re really happy to do that. But it just means the audio quality is a bit different, as these were voice notes sent to us later on. So a little bit of a warning about audio quality, but stick with it because there are gems in there. Over to Katherine.

Kat: Right. Okay, so, welcome to the Resist + Renew podcast, and we’re joined by Farzana Khan. Welcome. It’s really great to have you. And because great and Farzana is the executive director and co founder of Healing Justice London. Her practice works on building community health repair and self transformation rooted in Disability Justice, survivor work and trauma informed practice working with communities of colour and other marginalised and underrepresented groups. We’re so glad you’re here. Thank you for joining us.

Katherine: So the first question, and that we’d love to ask you is to just invite you to share a little bit about the context that you’re organising in

Farzana: the context. So I guess that’s like, the political reality and the social reality. I think we are living in a world that is chronically unsustainable, and has been designed to be so it brutalises our bodies, all our bodies, but particularly those that are authorised on racialized class gendered ableist sexist lens. And so I guess that’s the context in which I am organising is how do we, within the real limits and confines of these social constructs that we are forced to live in, but also live the cumulative impacts of everyday and reproduce? How do we restore agency? How do we access profound connection in these worlds that separate and thrive on our separation? And, and also live meaningful lives that feel fulfilled and generative and and as whole as possible? So I guess that’s it. And the context of what is being revealed right now, of COVID, global political uprisings is very much the, the the revelations of that

Ali: I just wanted to hone in on you said that the world we’re living in is clinically unsustainable, and that definitely feels true. And you said, it’s designed to be that way, like what what, what is your analysis or understanding that means you you see it as as designed that way?

Farzana: I think when we look at some of the most dominant power structures, which aren’t isolated, even though I might be talking about it, so if we look at white supremacy, we look at capitalism, look at neoliberalism, we look at these dominant paradigms that we live in our products of what they thrive on is things that contribute to unsustainability of planet of people, relationships, they rely on breaking and disconnection. And to me a lot of my work explores, and has had to explore violence and the heart of violence is disconnection in the spectrum of ways that we become disconnected, emotionally, physically, spiritually, energetically,, communally, And and so when we see we think about what those paradigms rely on is this that that absolute unsustainability in in not just an external level, but also what we internalise. So we internalise behaviours and patterns that mean that things are not designed to thrive, to generate, but to operate in a very exploitative and extractive way. So things are only as valuable as they produce. And, and and that that modality, that brutalised modality, is one that and isn’t sustainable in and of itself. But it’s also something that when we really connect with it, and we are not the the few that are in the power powerful don’t seek to sustain as well. So I think that’s what I mean. And I think it becomes really localised. When you look at your own self and how you’re trying to liberate yourself and work through different forms of oppression and or even navigating life, then I think it becomes clear how much the chronicness of unsustainability informs our our lives from the ways that we are routinely having to self abandon, you know, even in our organising even in our community work, because these are the the structures in which we’re operating in. So I think that’s, I definitely see it as chronic, because it’s cumulative. And, and I also, and I want us to have an analysis that isn’t just that it’s been continuous, but that each moment then accumulates deeper layers of oppression and and harm and abuse.

Ali: I found that definition very clear. And I definitely appreciate it. They’re like locating exploitation and unsustainability in our bodies. Like I feel like I don’t know, like if you think of like, Marx, Marxist texts, it’s like exploitation and accumulation of capital. It’s all very abstract. It all seems like, yeah, there’s a system, but I don’t really get how it interacts with me, except when I go to work. And then it’s under certain conditions or whatever. But yeah, like locating it in our bodies and locating in day to day interactions, choices, even our organising, I think that like grounds it in reality that I’m living, and I guess those moments are also choices where I can choose to not do that. And I guess that leads me to like the question of like, why is healing justice? And like, how does Healing Justice London See, doing things differently?

Farzana: So I can only speak more for myself in healing justice, because there are lots of people who make up healing justice, from a core team, to core practitioners to a whole bunch of practitioner networks, which is huge. and international. Healing justice is a framework that really connects the relationship between oppression and liberation and healing. And it’s emerged out of survivors, disability, justice, communities of colour, and also connecting the relationship between our health, our personal sustainability, and also what are the ways that we do get to heal ourselves that are non-Eurocentric modalities that don’t re rely on whiteness, to to save us. And also capitalism, as we see with the wellness industrial complex, so I think that within healing justice, a lot of our focus is trying to create a space to build analysis, information, share around what community health is, especially for those that are marginalised and what the types of health needs are, but also to disrupt public health because we do have it here in the UK context, in the ways that it participates in our oppression from, you know, eugenics, which are still present in our public health systems, to the deep gendering to the class classes and ableist ways in which not just the NHS but surrounding public health systems interactive, which or other parts of public infrastructure in interact. So, you know, we know that predominantly deaths in custody have been folks who experience emotional mental distress.And so really thinking about what what does wholeness and health look like without the normative model or framework being centred on a white male body, which is why you know, as much as there’s so much value in Marxist analysis, it was still generated from a white male body that doesn’t have to experience even itself because itself is the norm. And so when you made that connection between the body and not an act things marginalised bodies are forced to encounter oneself and what we know about and oppressors is that oppression oppression oppresses don’t experience themselves. And part of that disassociation then enables abuse and harm and violence to take place, which is why the redress is so often connection and reconnecting.

Farzana: And so yeah, healing justice really does explore those kinds of those points of health healing, and, and oppression and liberation, the other side of it, like what is the alternative? And we have lots of different interesting ways that we explore that kind of our three main strategies is one to build internal capacity. So capacity within our own communities right now. And those those, you know, what’s the language we have? What are the tools that we have? What are the networks that we can access that supports our communities to become robust enough, so we become robust enough to have the agency to participate in determine and shape the second part, which is external capacity, public infrastructure, or policy or to participate in our lives and our realities, because you can’t do you know, a lot of the time was like, everyone needs to just like be active or politicised, but actually to be present in your body enables you to be able to know what you’re asking for, and to follow through and be accountable. So the second part of our work is really about shifting the external, which is public health systems and corresponding spaces. And, and within that we look a lot around challenging whiteness or or particular model we have is disarming privilege. So dominant identities, not just whiteness. And then the third is sustaining capacity. So how do we support our emerging leaders? And how do we have an ecological sense of leadership? How do we support the frontlines? And what is the healing, the conflict work, the choosing to be in community that we all need to participate in? Because we don’t know we don’t know how to do that. And so those are kind of three strategic kind of intervention points, but within that we have particular approaches and particular entry points that we explore that are specific to our communities.

Farzana: So for example, you know, we mentioned trauma informed as an approach Disability Justice and approach but then, we are the entry point for us. For example, in one of our research is “Loss and Grief: a litany for survival” in homage to Audre Lorde, and particularly looks at looks at loss and grief bereavement, because black and brown and people of colour communities experienced disproportionate loss and bereavement. And there is a strong correlation to the lack of apparatus or support around loss and grief, and criminalization, and those who are criminalised who experienced loss and grief. So for example, One study showed up to at 90% of adult male population had experienced, young adult male population, had experienced up to six bereavements. And so what does that tell us about how people cope? What are the mechanisms? And what behaviour is criminalised? And what survival mechanism are criminalised. So that’s an example of how we are trying to be responsive and work with the things that matter to our communities. And within the work and there is you know other things that are led by different folks in the group, like a beautiful piece of work around medical and institutional trauma that’s being led by Dr. Jiffa and a team around that. So it’s really yeah, I could speak about it all the time and not do it justice, because so many people are contributing to making that happen.

Kat: Thank you so much for sharing all of that. Like it’s it sounds like phenomenal work. And yeah, really, really exciting to hear the range of projects that are underway as well. And I think it’s something that’s arising for me I’m curious how Healing Justice London came into being. And what drew you to create this, this manifestation in the world

Farzana: Healing Justice London came, I feel like one thing I should say is, and other folks may have heard, I feel I have been entrusted with healing justice, and I will only be with me for as long and my team, we talk about this all the time, actually, like we say we’re entrusted with it. Sarah, who’s a co founder with me, we say we’ve been entrusted to support it and the moment that we’re not right or someone else’s better, we need to, like, know how to transition and we’ve constantly to build, so that that is possible. And so I feel for myself, I was entrusted with it, it came out of multiple different things for me personally, prior to healing justice, I was working on Voices that Shake, and coordinating and running a lot of the work there, which is a youth race arts and power programme. And, you know, that was one side the other side that was I was working with a lot of young women of colour, also doing a lot of community work. And in East London, predominantly Muslim, predominately working class living under Prevent. And within the, with the young women, a lot of the issues that were surfacing for these young women of colour was around gendered harm and gendered violence. And so what I was doing was

realising what my work then was supposed to be about a youth programme was actually really concerned with the safety, consent culture, gendered harm, structural gendered harm, not just interpersonal. And, and so really, and also how state the state is the first abuser, really. And so within that I had started designing survivor work practice that then I didn’t have the language for it. That wasn’t, that also understood we were living under Prevent. So you know, there was a lot of data capture happening, and that the state also was traumatising a lot of young women and taking them into foster care or criminalising their parents, even though that wasn’t the correlations between most what happened to them or what they were experiencing. So just knowing that the areas that one might seek for health and support will actually just violence spaces. And it became violent on the intersections of, deepened the violence, from race to class to Islamophobia. And then also mental health, which are, you know, of course, your mental health is affected if you are a survivor. And so, you know, and, and, and then, so, within that context, I had started building frameworks that were looking at healing, that are non Eurocentric, that that the young women could access or relate to connected to their spirituality, connected to what made sense. You know, for example, we would have consent conversations, so connected to chicken and chips. So we would be, you know, thinking about what nourishes our body, what can enter our body, what do we give permission to, I don’t know, sounds a bit trite here. But we, you know, we’d do full sessions that moved from food and nutrition and nourishment to consent, but in a way that honoured and charted people’s realities. And while I was trying to get that work, funded, it was just wasn’t being funded, the local council saw it as public health work, but and ranked it like one of the leading initiatives, but wouldn’t fund it because I was under youth work. And so there was a clear need, that this work that was being understood by local authorities, public health, couldn’t be done there, but also shouldn’t be done there because of prevent and data in the way that, you know, that was happening.

Farzana: On the other side, again, for myself working on shake, you know, there was a lot of increasing vocalisation, from young people, about the levels of cumulative trauma of like wanting to show up, but on the day, you know, they might be given an opportunity to, or shared an opportunity to take up a panel space. And, you know, on the day, they can’t get out of bed, or when they are in that have taken up a job, they experienced so much microaggression they’re not working for three years afterwards. So like really looking at what does it mean, where previously, we were saying, essentially, representation, more representation, that representation without participation, like you being present in your body is performativity. And it’s also harmful. So where is the infrastructure and the ecosystem that supports us to know how to show up, and also to, as a cultural norm, understand that that’s not a static thing that one day you when you live in oppressive systems that one day you’re like, you’ve come into your full self, and that’s it. But actually, it’s dynamic, it’s nonlinear. And you also will have appropriate trauma and survival responses as all of us are doing right now with COVID. And, and so, I think that those two two things to myself provoked me to do a call out to shakers. And within that two folks had responded. And Sara being one of them the other. She was working with us, but then had to prioritise her own mental health and took some time out. But we are super grateful for her initial work. And yeah, since then it just kind of grew. What I should say is that during that period, I had gone to INICTE, which is the colour of violence conference, you know, Mia Mingus, Angela Davis, who you know, or presenting. And that’s where I heard the term healing justice as a framework. And then we came, I had come back to London. And, you know, just we’re exploring the term. And, you know, we had a whole collective of people come in, and we were exploring the term and a lot of people felt it’s, it sat, but also honoured the continuum, that we’re not doing anything new, that this is, you know, we sit in a continuum of people who have always tried ways from tried to find ways to survive, to be in community, to source their own healing. And so, you know, while healing justice maybe doesn’t capture all of the work we do or might not completely fit. And we, it’s okay for us to honour it, and say, we’re part of the multiple different iterations of this continuum that is seeking healing and justice. And, you know, sometimes I’ll use liberation practice, or sometimes I’ll say, abolition, sometimes I’ll say something else. And I think it’s also okay to surrender semantics for what is felt and what we are longing and seeking, and not get too preoccupied with it.

Ali: So great to hear that story of how it came to be like, yeah, I’m having been aware of Healing Justice London for a little while, and like, reading little bits of this, but that strung together feels like a, yeah I don’t know how to phrase it but

Farzana: I really want to also honour that so many other people were like the litany for survival team that we work with. They’ve really taken it one way, Sara’s practice, the team that we’ve got now like, there’s so many different manifestations, but that spirit of seeking and longing, almost liberate itself almost joyful and generative and fulfilled self is I think the thing that connects us and knowing that anti oppression work is part of that.

Ali: Yeah, amazing. I think a thing you said in the previous question, which struck me was the the point about being in community and like the fact that we don’t necessarily know how to do that. And as someone who’s like, been organising for a while, and like trying to build community through organising or living in an actual place that we call the community that’s like an intentional community and feeling the difficulties of that and feeling like how bad I am at conflict and how bad we are, like creating space to like, hear each other and work through those differences. I wanted to ask, like, what, what kind of practices Do you have internally for Healing Justice London, for community and like putting these values into practice?

Farzana: I think like everyone, we’re still figuring those things out at the moment, because of COVID. And, you know, our team has expanded during COVID. Prior to that was predominantly Sara and I and the research team on litany for survival, we very much historically have always paced. That was the thing that we were always, you know, timelines weren’t, were irrelevant, because we had other responsibilities, care responsibilities, children, those types of things. And really understanding that, in one moment, one of us might get to show up, in another moment, someone else might have to be supported. As our team has grown with the really navigating those things, and the context of COVID has applied another level of not just organizationally figuring that out. But also because the demand around our work is so high, like, you know, for the first, you know, just before we’ve even gone into lockdown a few weeks before, I was in a lot of kind of policy spaces as the only person of colour talking about race in relation to COVID. So it was also startling, that or, you know, that we would, you know, healing justice was being invited to space. And not because people aren’t doing the work, because there’s lots of community groups that are working around our health, around our well being around our wellness, but just that there hasn’t been an infrastructure, a public body, something that on a kind of resourced level that could intervene existing. So I was so often shocked to receive those types of intervention, invitations but also to then be in these spaces. Are, you know, valuing our work or recognising our work, maybe not valuing it but recognising or finally understanding the relationships between race and health. And so I think that there’s that another layer of like figuring out expanding the team, and how do we do that all virtually? How do we do that all responsibly. And I think one of the things that we, you know, as I mentioned earlier, is also around the trust, right, that we know, were interested when they’re working with loss and being transparent about losses, that it’s not a failure to wind something down, you know, we received the largest amount of funding, which is still quite small for other organisations, but for us, it was huge. And we, you know, our initial, you know, response was, you know, how do we make that money work? How do we make it work? If we’ve got one shot, and one year, how do we make it,
do its most radical thing, but also be responsible to the people around us? We do, you know, we make sure that folks are paid well, and labour is honoured, that we have folks with lived experience on our team, our organisation is led by lived experience of the multiple different intersections of from survivorhood, to disability and chronic sickness, to lots of different other intersections beyond race. So that that nuance is part of our culture. And we also have a deeply reflective team, I think we can, there’s always space to be more reflective, there’s always more space to be, you know, building better practice, things like, you know, trying, one of the things we’re trying to do is like a collective movement session together, we try and ground, we also watch, I work really hard to not have a punitive culture, even on a like low level passive aggressive, if, you know, that can just happen. And also thinking about power. So for example, I’m the executive director, but my cap for being an executive director is three years. And and the reason that it’s three years is one, that’s enough time to responsibly support anyone else to come into that role. And accountably do that, but also that it puts the onus on me, and our work culture to build the infrastructure and systems that any one of us who wants to lead or take it in a new direction can. And I think that that is really exciting, because it’s not being dishonest about the different levels of labour that you know, or expertise or experience, because sometimes, you know, a lot of the Marxist, you know, spaces, we like flat structure and be completely invisible eyes labour, we completely invisible eyes experience, and skills. And actually, what we’re saying is, let’s be honest, let’s honour that, but let’s build mechanisms that start to level the power, and let’s do that responsibly, not just like, you know, I handed in my notice one year of, you know, and you’ve got like, six months, but actually, it’s part of our culture. And, you know, I think that that has been something that I feel constantly invites me, you know, to make decisions knowing that, you know, okay, I’ve got, this is the time where I’m gonna step into a different role, sidestep, I might become a practitioner, I might become an advisor, and still work in healing justice. So it also puts the pressure that I want to be in a culture that also nourishes and supports me when someone else is in maybe a leadership role. So there’s a lot of, you know, exciting things that we have to figure out. And we are thinking about and also trying to make accountability, something we think about together. So we’ve had a recent session where we’ve tried to collectively map out what are the things that we need accountability on? And then how do we find the pathways to those accountability, and a lot of it is building culture. It’s not just like a happened and B happened, because that’s tends to be around conflict, but what is the culture and patterns and things that we need to start fostering and nurturing. And in that a lot of that is also on an individual level. And, and one of the great things about our teams, and definitely, also with our practitioners, we’ve definitely seen many times when we’re not looking at things in the same way, or we’re bringing different perspectives. And what’s been really beautiful, is that we tend to like take time apart, apart, think about are we projecting onto this, what has informed the thinking, the positioning, and we’ll come back together and yeah, have moved through it and one of the kind of beautiful phrases by adrienne maree brown, where she’s talking about how in conflict, there can be a breakdown of trust, and that’s health that can then actually deepen trust, or clarify a boundary. And I think these really generative ways in which we can, we’re thinking about what it means to, to be able to have accountability to move through hard conversations, clarify boundaries, deepen trust, is really central to some of the cultures, we’re nurturing. But we’ve also been able to participate and experience and that feels really good. Because so much of this work can feel like theory and, and frameworks. And actually, when you are in the practice, and you get to feel into where it feels good, and it feels possible, then that invitation means that we continue to move forward and build this politics, knowing that it’s, it’s completely possible. And that feels really, really good.


Ali: Incredible. There’s just so many things in what you just said, that are sparking things off for me. I really like the idea of like, loss being not being a failure, and like, honouring winding things down, or like, at least two or three groups that I am normally have been a part of, and might even be people think I’m still a part of and I pretty sure they don’t exist, but we don’t have no one’s ever closed it and there’s no like honouring that for ourselves. And there’s no honouring, like making space in, in like, the movement ecology for like other groups to pop up because they think we still exist. It’s just like, I really value like composting, spreading nutrients out and let somebody else grew up from that space. Because, like, yeah, it’s done.

Farzana: Completely. And I think, you know, we forget that, that we come from traditions where things are cyclical, and dynamic. And also, you know, there’s a lot about whiteness, that wants to perpetuate itself. You know, capitalism wants to perpetuate itself. And it’s that I think, therefore, I am, like, I continuously exist. And actually, what happens when we, you know, a lot of, you know, one of the things that we do in, in healing justice is that we do allow our spiritual selves to show up, and from our different traditions, our different practices. And for all of us, those things revealed to us also that loss isn’t failure, it’s not an end. It’s an entry point. It’s a portal, it’s the, the next iteration. And I think that also allows us to trust loss, or trust, the completion and the last healing justice principle, is how we honour the cycles of life and death.
And so I think that we, you know, definitely are, you know, in a habit where we do see completion or things, you know, think people moving in different directions, things completing is just healthy and normal. And, and, and creating.

Ali: And, and I think another principle you mentioned earlier, I wanted to pick back on was the idea of being trauma informed, because I guess, with this understanding of like, deeper structural oppression that affects different people in multiple ways, like, trauma is obviously a part of all of our lives, but in particular people who face like the multiple oppressions. So, how, how do you what was your trauma informed practice look like? How do you how do you? Yeah, approach it in a sensitive way?

Farzana: Thank you. That’s such a pertinent question, given the context that we’re in and the cumulative and compounding experiences of distress and overwhelm and trauma that many of us are appropriately feeling. I think what’s important for me to kind of hold is one, that the field of trauma, and in a lot of ways, is expanding and evolving. And some of that is actually remembering a lot of indigenous and cultural and spiritual wisdoms that already know, and have tapped into and tuned into what it means for us to process and reprogram traumatic experiences and forms of slow violence or cumulative harm. And the other, you know, and within that we see the field of racial trauma, and expanding and being understood more deeply right now, and the ways that that shows up. And also, that, you know, sometimes, you know, especially in the kind of activist and organising spaces, while there’s an acknowledgement of trauma, sometimes it can be weaponized or used to absolve a behaviour, bad behaviour, or not create opportunity for the being able to practice accountability. And so I’m holding all of, and there’s more ways in which I really want to be conscious and responsible, talking about trauma, and just on a practical level, and Nkem Ndefo, who does incredible work. And I think some of the most pioneering work around trauma informed work, and you can check out her organisation lumos transforms, and we’re really lucky to be able to work with Nkem so frequently, and can really, recently with running some sessions with our team, and, you know, she reminded us that even the word trauma can have an effect on people. And folks sometimes aren’t even ready to see their experiences as traumatic and so sometimes interchangeably, we use the word like overwhelm, or stress or distress. And so I think that’s also really important to bring into the space in terms of how our organisation builds in trauma informed ways. I need to hold like session or day because there’s, there’s so much so much in that work, and to do that really sensitively and appropriately and told the different nuances because the thing with the ways in which trauma shows up is specific to our stress responses and coping mechanisms, which they may fall under, you know, fight flight, freeze, and fawn. But they also have different kinds of iterations or manifestations across different contexts and communities. And so what we can do in trauma informed practice in a more generalised way for this podcast I can touch on is really think about anchoring calls it resourcing we talk about as capacity. So we one of our phrases that you’ll see with our organisation, we always talk about creating capacity for transformation. And so what is the resourcing that needs to take place to support people to be here or not be here, actually. And in particular, one a reference another incredible practitioner in the trauma informed, trauma informed Work, work, particularly around survivor work, which is Molly Boeder Harris, from the Breathe Network. And again, really lucky to be able to build with Molly Molly recently reminded us of the phrase that’s like, what are the ways in which you weren’t allowed or able to be here that allowed you to be here. And I think that’s it that kind of skillful awareness that we have to build. But we also have to do it as a culture, of understanding that a different context, we need to be adept, and we need to be able to adapt and to support people to be congruent with the context that they’re in. And so that the responses that they’re having is congruent with their reality. So if it’s appropriate for you to shut down and you know, disassociate, then how are you supported in accepting that or being held in that way without shame or stigma? Because there are so many things that we shouldn’t be able to survive and Audre Lorde talks about like, we were not meant to survive in the context of oppression. And so we also don’t want to reconfigure it. So it’s just a little bit workable. And so when we’re thinking about trauma informed processes and methodologies, we’re really thinking about holding the different communities, the different contexts in which we might be designing a programme in which we might be building a project, we might be working with an individual, and what are the the different entry points, the different access points when people can in a more dynamic way, participate or not participate. And I think this is really key. So we do a lot of, we use a lot of scaffolding, we normalize, the different coping mechanisms in our work, we do a lot of opting in and opting out. And we also support in certain spaces that that resourcing and resilience building through different types of programmes, and people can choose to participate in that in ways that feel appropriate to them. So kind of work around embodiment and somatic practice, we’ve got a regular yoga session, where if that’s what you need, and that’s where you feel you can, you want to kind of build that that bank and relationship consensual relationship with your body, then we have that, we have meditation and breath spaces, and those spaces are where you can kind of do that regular kind of building of resilience, while also the holding the context that that may not be the appropriate thing for you. And we again, we’ll set the space and say, you know, opt out, adapt, or, you know, be there in a capacity that brings comfort and support. And so there are a lot of ways to be doing that. And I think there’s another aspect, which we particularly look at, which is the trauma or distress, or that is caused by structural failure and harm. And I think, often when we, when, especially in medical spaces, or mental health spaces, that absence of, of, of, of how structural violence, and harm impacts us and creates distress and trauma is that analysis is also runs through our work. So you know, and as a result, we have to do, and practice the liberation work, we have to practice the anti oppression work and, and deepen in it. And because of the ways that those things are also trauma and distress inducing. So I don’t know if that gives you a little bit of a flavour and insight. And, again, I want to have these conversations in responsible ways. And definitely do look into the two resources. And also, we have a whole live programme right now, if you want to get involved more deeply on medical and institutional trauma. And so there are spaces and opportunities where you can kind of get to know that and that’s, you know, held with people with trauma informed backgrounds and trainings. So, and you can kind of interact with that in a way that feels right for you. Yeah, I hope, hope that kind of touches on it a little bit.

Kat: Yeah, great. And, and I’m really appreciating the kind of caution with that feels like it’s spoken of so much, especially at the moment, that it can lose all sense of meaning or depth. And, and also thank you for sharing those resources, we’ll make sure to add links to those places when we share this podcast. And there’s been so much covered, and just in the last little while, and but I am imagining that people listening to this might might be hungry for more. So we’re curious what our listeners might be able to do if they are inspired by what they’ve heard you talking about this evening? How can they find out more? Or where should they go next?

Farzana: And so you can go to our I would say our Instagram first because you know, just until recently, we were very small team, we still are very small team, given the amount of work that we do. And so our Instagram, which is actually @healingjusticelondon, at the moment documents, all the events that we do, and we have events all the time from regular continuous things to things that are a bit more, one on one, and that so for example, tomorrow, we’ve got an event on nutrition and led by Michelle Patrick, who’s an incredible holistic healer and acupuncturist and what we do is we make sure that all our practitioners that we invite who share
are folks with lived experience and aren’t part of the dominant analysis around public health. And so you there are a range of different modes by which you can engage in. So for example, if you just want to come in and you’re in a very cerebral space, and you should learn from someone, and you know, that’s where you are at, you don’t want to be doing bodywork or meditation that’s completely legit and fair, then you can come to one of these sessions, or we might have, we’ve got a session coming up. I forgot what it’s called, I think it’s called like sweat. And I’m gonna say sweat, enjoy. But it’s like a movement session led by Jade. And again, a brilliant practitioner, and on conscious wellness. And so there are just different ways that you can engage because of COVID, we’ve kind of rolled out a programme in honour of Arundhati Roy, you can tell we love writers, and call “through the portal”. And that’s coming to an end. But all of the workshops that have been run, including some for safeguarding reasons we didn’t make live. So conversations around suicidality and disability will be on our website by the end of the year. So you’ll be able to have an abundance of resources. And but if you want to be attending sessions, so you can look on the on the Instagram, and also we are working on and you know, living litany for survival, this research project, which is a hot, we want to be a community co-production. So we started some of that work last year on loss and bereavement. Similarly, around the work on medical and institutionalised trauma. So there are other ways in which folks can get involved. And then the website as it’s being built will reflect more of the resources and where you can go. And I mentioned pace. So we’re just slowly doing it. And we know we’re going to be here for a while. So we’re taking the pressure off the team and just letting things roll out in a way that’s really honouring people’s capacity too.

Kat: I can even feel my own body relax, when you say that, I’m just really appreciating that that way of being truly is really important. And, yeah, I just love to ask if there’s anything else you’d like to share, and that we might not have got to in the questions, anything else that you want a bit more time on, it’d be lovely to hear.

Farzana: I think maybe what a lot of people ask me about and I think, you know, if we are going into another second wave, and we are never left a second first wave, we’re going to know the lockdown. And, you know, you know, irrespective of without a lockdown or not, we are we’re gonna still be dealing with the impacts of the scale of loss, not just physical bereavement, but ways of being what we thought was our future jobs. All of these things, loss of connection, all of this stuff. So, um, I guess I really want to affirm two things. One, that there isn’t never like, there is no standardised or normal, normal in quotations, quote, unquote, way of coping and grieving. But there are apparatus that can support you. So we’re not, we’re trying to minimise harms that we might reproduce. And we don’t get it all, all right, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But I’m taking time to invest in your body. So one of my favourite affirmations right now is I let my body lead me to love. And I say this every day. And I say this because it every time I’m listening to my body, which I didn’t always feel safe in that I just about recently started completely trusting as much as one can, lets me know how to navigate things. And so during this time, while there’s lots of things that are uncertain, you have the certainty of your body, and you also have agency and it may have been diminished and it may have been harmed. But that so many survivors will attest to you that it’s absolutely possible. survivors have multiple different harms, to access joy, profound intimacy, pleasure, connection, but also to navigate life in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s so consuming and overwhelming. When we start working with the body in the body starts feeling like the safety or the certainty we can offer ourselves. It doesn’t you know, I really want to say it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no right or wrong. way to do it. And if anyone is telling you, this is the way you need to do it, remind yourself, you know best what you need. And your body’s probably informing you of that. And if you’re also not feeling anything in your body, that’s also okay. And so starting with simple habits that you might want to introduce, you know, even, you know, I say simple, but like, even just putting oil on your body, so you just feel what your body is, like, you know, and I say that simple, but whenever we’ve you know, shared that as our practice, people struggle, it’s not comfortable. But just whatever feels appropriate to you start there, one habit, one, you know, 30 seconds breathing in your day, just to allow an invite yourself to meet yourself, which is a really delicious being. And for me, as someone from a spiritual tradition, you know, you are an aspect of the Divine. And so, when you allow yourself to
show up, you invite us to experience what the infinite possibilities and that you are, and that’s possible for us. So taking that time for yourself is probably the most loving and accountable thing you could do for yourself. And for other folks. And whatever that looks like for you is absolutely appropriate. And ask there’s so much more resources out there now, we’ve never had this much resources. And, and you’re not alone, in it in seeking and longing. And at some point, I’m going to park here, it stops being about recovering yourself, and it becomes about uncovering who you’ve always been, and it’s the uncovering, and then expansion that is super, super delicious. Like that’s the only word to use it like it’s just delicious. And, and your dominant experience then becomes joy, because real life happens. And but your dominant experiences, it’s joy. And, and I and I feel I can attest for that for myself. And I wish it for anyone who’s listening on this call.

Ali: Thank you so much for that. I think that’s such a I’m just going copy. It’s a delicious like to have that as like, it might not be what you’re experiencing now we are going through a crisis, but to know that like through small, small increments like simple, but powerful practices, there is that kind of thing to aim for and keep uncovering. And yeah, that’s really that’s really like hopeful to have as a as a vision. And this time has gone so fast to me, I can’t believe like an hour has passed, and really, really grateful for everything you’ve shared so far. And yeah, thank you so much for spending the time with us. And it’s been amazing.

Farzana: Thank you for having me and receiving me. I really appreciate it. I love seeing both your faces, listeners. I can see their faces and it’s just so lovely and delicious. Delicious, the very infectious word. I think that’s why I like it. But yeah, thank you for receiving and putting this together as well.

Ali: My cheeks. A little achy from the smiley Yeah, I haven’t had that for a while. So that’s nice.

Kat: amazing.

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