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  • Writer's pictureKayla Morse Higgs

Speaking Up and Resting as Acts of Resistance: Confronting Internal Violence

Updated: Jun 24

In the continuous journey toward equity and justice, the challenge often lies not just in the systems we aim to change but within ourselves. At Nu Balance Consulting, we recognize that the struggle for equity is as much about dismantling external structures of oppression as it is about confronting our own internalized narratives. Central to this internal struggle is the violence we inflict upon ourselves through silence and the relentless demands we place on our time and energy.

The Silence That Sustains

Silence, while seemingly benign, is a form of internal violence that sustains oppression. It manifests not only in our failure to name the difficult truths about systemic inequities but also in the way we silence our own needs, particularly the need for rest. This silence is not a mere absence of sound but a deeply ingrained practice of self-censorship that maintains the status quo.

Drawing inspiration from Tricia Hersey's revolutionary work, "Rest is Resistance," we are reminded that our silence and our refusal to rest are intertwined expressions of internal violence. Hersey's call to reclaim rest as an act of resistance is a powerful antidote to the grind culture that disproportionately affects Black and Indigenous communities, perpetuating cycles of oppression and burnout.

Disrupting with Warmth and Rest

At the heart of our practice is the belief in disrupting with warmth—naming the hard truths with compassion and empathy while challenging ourselves and others to grow. This disruption is not just about external dialogues; it's about internal conversations. It's about recognizing when we're censoring our own truths, our own needs for rest and care.

Incorporating rest as a form of disruption requires us to confront the internalized belief that constant activity is synonymous with value and productivity. It challenges us to see rest not as a luxury or a reward but as an essential practice of self-care and resistance against a system that seeks to devalue and exhaust us.

Journaling: A Pathway to Awareness and Action

To navigate this complex terrain, journaling emerges as a vital tool for reflection and resistance. It offers a space to explore our thoughts and feelings about silence, rest, and action. Here are some guided prompts inspired by the themes of this discussion:

  • How have I experienced the violence of silence and overwork in my own life?

  • In what ways can I practice rest as an act of resistance against internal and external demands?

  • What truths have I been silent about, and how can I begin to voice them in a way that honors my needs and boundaries?

Embracing Rest and Voice as Pillars of Equity Work

The journey toward equity is multifaceted, requiring us to act with intention both externally and internally. By acknowledging the violence of silence and the transformative power of rest, we open ourselves to a more holistic approach to change—one that values our wellbeing as integral to the fight for justice.

As we move forward, let us commit to not only naming the difficult externally but also confronting the silence within. Let's embrace rest as a radical act of self-care and resistance, and in doing so, empower ourselves to sustain the long, necessary work of creating more equitable and compassionate spaces.

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