by Synergi Community Wellbeing Facilitator, Dilhani Wijeyesekera

A community call toward rest as a form of activism is a call to slow down and listen and care. It is an empowered place fuelled by the shared goal of becoming more human….
Community care and a full communal unravelling is the ultimate goal for any justice work, because without this, we will be left vulnerable to the lie of toxic individualism.” 

Tricia Hersey, Founder of the Nap Ministry, Rest is Resistance

My name – Dilhani – means heart of the sun. Born in south London, I come from and carry with me a lineage of strong Sri Lankan femmes, often outspoken, fierce, deeply loving, and wholehearted creators of things that serve others (including the most delicious daal and I don’t say that lightly).

There’s a power that rises in my body when I express these words, it’s a kind of call-in to remember who I am. Things that were forgotten and probably even pushed down for many years as I navigated surviving and even attempted thriving in white spaces in work, life and as I started to seek out spaces to support my wellbeing and mental health.

I come into this space as a facilitator and practitioner who draws on healing and wellbeing tools, practices and knowledge which have emerged primarily from wisdom traditions outside of Euro-centric systems. For me this is a deep form of reclaiming, resistance and an act of love to myself, to my ancestors and offered to anyone who’s navigating the complexities, heartbreak and joy of our liberation journeys in this lifetime.  

No story or song will translate the full impact of falling,
or the inverse power of rising up.
Of rising up.”

Joy Harjo, Poet Warrior, A Postcolonial Tale

Embodiment acknowledges that our thoughts, experiences, and feelings, leave an imprint on the body as well as the mind. When I first learned this I found it really hard. Was this why I experienced so much pain and tension in my body despite all the movement and care I gave myself? It landed as another thing to fix. But it was when I started to move away from needing to be fixed (when I started to find safe liberatory spaces led by Black and Brown folk), and I started to move towards a deep lovingness and tenderness with my own body, things started to shift, open, release and that gave me space for the first time.

A dear friend reminded me that though the body remembers the hard stuff, it also remembers the good stuff – our joy and hope – so we can build from that.

When we work on embodiment in the context of how we have been and continue to be harmed by systemic forms of oppression like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism to name a few, we can begin to reconnect to what has been taken from us too. Pathways or rivers that help us to return to our bodies as our home. Home as a place where we feel safe and whole. 

Healing and embodiment work can be for ourselves, but it can also be for our lineages, communities and all beings. Ancestral, current and descendant. 

Somatic practices offer us tools to find ways to tap into the mind-body connection on an individual and collective level. These practices can come in many different forms, and for me there is space for imagination and experimentation. It can be a form of liberatory practice that offers us the possibility to explore uncharted territory that may be unique to us or to the community that we’re part of. 
Over the next four months, I will be gently guiding Community Wellbeing Sessions for Synergi grantee-partners to offer a space for folks to rest, explore somatic practices, and be in a supportive environment of self and collective regulation.

Dilhani (she/they) is a freelance social justice consultant, wellbeing facilitator, coach, founder, community organiser/activist, speaker and writer. They are playing at ‘Freedom Rising’, an emergent space dedicated to abundant strategies to rest, regather and dream for Black and Global Majority Communities.