Reflection by Katharyn Wheeler
I read My Grandmother’s Hands following reading White Fragility as a congregational book discussion. While both books are blunt about the need for starting within oneself to start the work of racial healing, I felt that My Grandmother’s Hands gave practical and applicable practices to work through the emotional and physical changes that are needed in one’s own body. The practices aren’t always easy, but they were worthwhile and have helped me to identify specific emotional and physical responses that I hadn’t realized were happening.
The book distinguishes clean versus dirty pain in a way I hadn’t ever had words to explain before. I realized through this book how important it was to identify when my pain was dirty and unhealthy and move towards clean pain. The section I presented included chapters 12-13 which I linked to 2 Corinthians 7. The bible passage starts “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” Purifying the way that pain and trauma are sitting in my body and learning to settle my body has been an awakening. The use of the 5 anchors to work through conflict was a great resource in learning how to work through issues in a healthy productive way.
I hope others are open to reading and diving into their own selves through this book. I find that I am able to see trauma more clearly after reading this and I have a better understanding of the work that needs to be done to resolve and grow. The need to settle my own body and mind is probably the biggest take away I have from this book, and having new tools to use is incredibly valuable.