Session One Activities
Before We Were White
Below is the activities portion of your session one homework assignment for White Awake's 2021 Before We Were White online course.
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Activities for Session One
Throughout the course, we will ask you to do two main types of activities: an outdoor, nature communion activity and an ancestral altar activity. In preparation for this, your first assignment is simply to select a convenient spot outdoors for future activities, and clear a spot in your home for an ancestral altar.
Throughout the course, we encourage you to cultivate a quite, reflective relationship with a particular place outside. This spot should be easy for your to access. Hopefully it is a place that is already a regular part of your life. If you have mobility issues or cannot easily go outside, you might consider another way to connect with “nature” in your home (such as a houseplant or a window, hopefully one that opens so that you can hear sounds and/or feel & smell the air from outside).
The general activity you’ll be encouraged to do is to simply spend time with this place each week (once per session; there are two one week breaks during the course). We encourage you to spend 20 minutes or longer each time you visit, noticing things such as changes over the seasons and specific non-human members of the natural community in this place (plants, insects, and other animals; natural elements such as water, rocks, and/or moving air).
We hope that, when you visit your outdoor spot, you do so in a receptive mode. Note that in our industrialized, capitalist society the emphasis of our lives is to constantly “do”. Simply quieting our mind and maintaining a passive or receptive state of being is a powerful activity in its own right, and one that we believe will make a valuable contribution to your participation in this course.
Your first assignment is simply to select a spot to visit, and spend a little time there. We will give more specific assignments over the coming weeks.
This assignment pertains to a space we are asking you to create within your home. This space does not need to be large or grand in any way; you simply need room for a few items that can hold ancestral presence (pictures, everyday items, or other small tokens that represent an ancestor or family member who has passed). We do suggest that the space be one that is easily accessible to you, in a room that is part of your daily routines.
Your first assignment is to simply select and/or clear a space within your home for this altar. If you already have an altar practice, you might clear or clean (ritually and/or physically) your altar space. You may, alternatively, want to set up a different space just for this course.
We will discuss both activities during the first session, and give specific instructions as the weeks progress.