A Time to Heal: An Interview with Jenée Johnson
by Tova Green
“You can be authentic, grow yourself, and claim your right to flourish,” says Jenée Johnson, who will be offering A Time to Heal: Insights on the Path to Healing Racialized Trauma, a four-week online class beginning May 6.
The class will introduce participants to an understanding of trauma, investigate the culture of white supremacy, explore practices to cultivate response-ability and resilience, and engage in the power of envisioning. It will include meditation, music, journaling, and racial affinity break-out groups.
Jenée draws from several spiritual traditions in her approach to healing trauma, including mindfulness, HeartMath practices, Christ-centered ministry, and the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
HeartMath practice, Jenée explains, helps us build coherence, harmonizing mind, body, and emotions in order to bring a better self to what we’re up to—our battery becomes full. Not having our emotions and thoughts aligned is a major source of stress. To deal with race and racism we need sustained coherence, which builds our capacity for resilience. This leads to increased stability when we talk about racism. It’s not cerebral; it’s in the body.
Jenée also draws from the work of Resmaa Menakem, a somatic therapist whose book My Grandmother’s Hands, Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies she recommends, though reading the book is not a prerequisite for attending the class.
“Our trauma work should be nested in being mindful. We need inner calm and resilience,” qualities Jenée cultivates in her work for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, where she heads the Trauma Informed Systems of Care Initiative.
When Jenée’s son, who is now a young adult, was a teenager, mindfulness practice helped improve her parenting and allowed her to access peace of mind.
Jenée says the foundation of her work is love. “There is nothing to hide, prove, defend, or protect.” Her vibrant, life-affirming energy shines through her words and is contagious. Come to her class and see for yourself.