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EPISODE 16
Rest is Liberation with Jordan Maney


Jordan Maney (she/her) is the Radical Joy Coach™. She helps bleeding heart entrepreneurs and leaders learn to be advocates for themselves and their communities through the practice of rest. Jordan has coached business owners from a variety of industries like: public relations, life coaching, floral design, event planning, copywriting, and local government learn how to rest, dream, and (imp)act. Having spent four years lovingly disrupting the wedding industry as a planner and advocate of marginalized couples, she pivoted exclusively towards rest and joy coaching with an equity lens in 2020. She’s been featured in New York Magazine, Yahoo, Attn, Oprah Magazine, San Antonio Magazine, and Martha Stewart Living. She currently serves on the Liftfund’s Women’s Business Center Advisory Board in San Antonio.  

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Discussed this episode:

  • Jordan’s evolving relationship with feminism
  • How Jordan went from wedding planning to DEI consulting to her current work as a Radical Joy Coach
  • The short-lived interest in DEI work after George Floyd’s murder
  • Historic and systemic reasons why most people do not have a “rest ethic”
  • How purity culture and being a preacher’s child affected Jordan’s relationship with rest
  • Rest is more than sleep and bubble baths
  • Jordan’s E-A-T (energy, attention, time) approach to rest
  • Rest as liberation and breaking generational trauma
  • How to view rest as a collective movement
  • The responsibility of creating self care for your team, clients, and community
  • Creating a rest ethic isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it

Resources mentioned:

Learn more about accountability coaching with host Becky Mollenkamp at https://beckymollenkamp.com

Becky Mollenkamp:

I’m excited to talk with you today, Jordan. Thanks for being here.

 

Jordan:

Thank you. I’m so excited for this conversation.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I’m asking everyone to tell me about your relationship with the word feminist.

 

Jordan:

I think my relationship started first as aversion because I grew up. It’s so interesting, it was never anything that my parents imposed, but just by nature of the environment of being like kind of Baptist and a little religious, it’s something that I was very averse to because I wanted to be a ‘good church girl’. I wanted to be obedient and kind and all those other things, and you hear the word feminism and it just sounds like She Devil, the worst thing ever. But what I feel like I’ve been able to grow into is the ethic of living, and ideal of living, in which there’s equity for all of us that have been overlooked, that have been made vulnerable, that have been taken advantage of by these really shitty, can I cuss?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

You sure can. And they are shitty.

 

Jordan:

Rally shitty systems of oppression. And so I feel like I grow into that and I get more and more comfortable with that. But yeah, it didn’t start off really positive, and even now, there’s still like vestiges of that, where I feel like, oh, I’m coming up against that, like subconscious, like, don’t be a difficult woman, don’t be difficult, don’t be bad, don’t be mean. But it’s really about using your voice to make things better for other people who’ve been taking advantage of as well. I know that’s an incredibly simplistic view of it, but in terms of what I practice, I will leave the academic lens of it that’s incredibly important to people who study it because I didn’t. But the practical aspect of it is that’s where I find myself.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I love that you mentioned about using your voice because I pulled from your website, which I know your copy may change by the time this comes out and that’s totally okay. But at one point in your life, you wrote this and it really struck me. So she’s like, uh oh, what is it? So I’m going to read just a snippet of what you wrote, which is ‘I felt othered. My body was too big. My skin too dark. My hair too unruly and my voice too loud. I didn’t fit. And yet you couldn’t miss me.’ That line really got me. ‘In 2013. I found my voice again. And you talked about Michael Brown and some of the issues, you know, how that’s, I think, sort of helped to re-spark for you some things or change something inside of you that you felt, and then this piece I thought was important too, ‘I felt the heartbreak from the lack of empathy for vulnerable lives from white folks I had loved, lived with, and worshiped with. It shifted every day for me. I shifted.’ And I know that your journey of self-employment and entrepreneurship, I think began, and you can tell me if I’m wrong, but doing more DEI work, working with more white folks on some of these issues. So tell me a little bit about that. Like what shifted in 2013 and is that what brought you into that work?

 

Jordan:

Ooh, okay, so 2013, I think I was still operating from that, you’ve a church girl vibe and the process of both like deconstructing the faith and beliefs that I grew up with. And at the same time, deconstructing how that impacted, how I saw myself in the world and how I saw others in the world, that really began to like shift things in 2013. 2015, I started my first business as a wedding planner, and it had that equity lens because I saw so many couples not being served, couples of color, couples with different ability levels and disability, couples who were queer, just like not being served in my market at all. And we’re like the seventh largest city in the country. And we also have the largest concentration of queer parents in the country, so which always surprises people, but we do. And so it was just kind of like…

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And just to tell people you’re in Dallas, right?

 

Jordan:

San Antonio.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Oh, San Antonio, sorry.

 

Jordan:

So like, I was like, okay, so that was another shift, where I shifted into this, and I started to see just how political something as ‘silly,’ some people might think as a wedding really was, but my politics were getting heightened and heightened and heightened within that. And so 2020 happened, I had already been doing a lot of DEI training specific to the wedding industry prior to this. And I wrote for a feminist wedding magazine called Catalyst that I absolutely adored. But then 2020 happened and the entire industry was like, what are we, live events aren’t happening, so what are we doing? And I focused more on kind of broadening that horizon for DEI work. And at first, I really enjoyed it. At first, it felt like, ah, I’m making a difference. And it felt really good and I was good at it. recognized two things. First, I was kind of replicating what had burned me out in the first business, which was, I’ll take it on. I just need to be told that I’m a good girl. I’ll do whatever necessary, I will absorb every aspect of your stress as long as you can just give me that little hint of validation at the end of it. And I felt that creep up and I was like, oh. I was watching these relationships being… These relationships, particularly to white women who were a large part of my clientele, I was watching these relationships shift in a way that made me uncomfortable. I felt I was coming from a place of like absolving vs. teaching vs. holding space, and recognizing that I hadn’t really provided myself protection in that container for them to fail or mess up or come up against some of those subconscious beliefs that they had that are harmful to me. So it was really weird. It was like in a cartoon where they like run across the canyon and then they realize there’s nothing that they’re actually stepping on and they look down. That’s what it felt like where it was like, oh, it was really disorienting. And I never told anybody that before. But I recognize I was like, oh, I’m close, but this is not where I really want to land with this. I know whatever I do, it will always come from that lens. It will always come from that core of equity, of inclusion, because that’s just who I am. I’m not going to build something that doesn’t include that. That doesn’t have that. But yeah, I feel like it was a process of the voice kind of opening up in 2013, starting the business and recognizing there was so much space in the wedding industry to really dive into those issues. And then of course, 2020 happened both in terms of public health and also socially with George Floyd’s murder where I was like, oh, I wanna bring more of that. I wanna bring more of that out. I really wanna talk more about that. I don’t want it to be business as usual. I don’t want it to be, everything’s great. This is my lifestyle business, I’m so happy, I wanted to talk about real shit because real shit is happening and real shit is hurting people. And as business owners, we have this great opportunity before, like more freedom than any generation that’s come before us. We have this great opportunity to do something with that. And yeah, so that shift from 2013, honestly, into 2023, the last 10 years of opening up and using that voice more, and also building a space from the equity lens in which I had boundaries to protect myself and serve at a capacity where I wasn’t burning myself out. Does that make sense?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

What I heard in there is almost this mutual relationship of folks looking for validation from each other. You’re saying, I’m kind of in this space, thinking if I do a good job, then at the end of that, you’re going to tell me you did so great and thanks. And some of these white women coming and basically looking for the validation that no, you’re one of the good ones. Right? And so you’re kind of having this mutual relationship in that way that ultimately isn’t really serving either of you because it does no good for me to have you say, ‘oh, you’re one of the good ones.’ If I’m not growing, right. And it’s not helping you obviously, because that’s just burning you out and then perpetuating the whole like my validation comes from outside of me. But it’s so common. And now that you say that, it’s just interesting for me to sit with that and even think because I think any coaching relationship, if we’re not careful, whether it’s dealing with kind of big issues or anything can become that. And so it’s something for me as a coach to really sit with and just explore where that could be happening in ways that I’m not even consciously aware of. So thank you for bringing it up. I think that’s interesting. And I bet it’s something that’s happening a lot in that space of DEI or of white women trying to approach these issues.

 

Jordan:

It was honestly a moment where I was like, oh my God, this is amazing. This is stuff I have literally, you could, you could find speeches I wrote for academic decathlon in high school where I was talking about, like that thread was there, right? I have always cared about this. I will always care about this. And yet I felt this feeling where I was like, this is not going to last. Like this level of like interest that particularly white people, particularly large corporations, have in DEI right now, this is not going to last. Like I felt it. And I didn’t wanna say it out loud because so many friends who are in DEI, I didn’t wanna feel like I was encroaching on their hope that like, oh, we have this moment, let’s seize it. And then we saw what happened with 2021 and 2022 where a lot of people were like, we’re gonna put this plan into action, didn’t put a plan into action. Didn’t really change things. Actually did things that were counterintuitive to what they said they wanted to do in 2020. And to your point about coaching on a small, intimate or large level, I think the job is to give people space to practice and space to fail. And a lot of people didn’t want to even try to fail. They just wanted to get it right, tick the box, and move on, and that would crush me. Knowing that if I wanted to continue that, I would have to get used to this being a box that people simply want to check because the stakeholders are not in the room. They’re sending someone out, in a corporate environment, they’re sending someone out to like, get me some type of DEI consultant to help employees, but they’re not in the room. So how are things really gonna change? 

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Even at the one-on-one level of solo entrepreneurs or small business owners, it seems like I think we’re seeing that, right? Three years later. Unfortunately, I think most of us have seen that there’s been plenty of news coming out about the amount of dollars that are going to DEI work, the amount of hours and interest and all of that and how that has waned.

 

Jordan:

Nose dived. And I felt it. I was like, this is not as sad as that is to say out loud when the very people who are in the position to cause the most harm are the ones driving the dollars towards it, towards an industry that’s literally like, you got to stop. You got to change something fundamental, something subconscious. I just knew it was going to swing in the opposite direction. And I didn’t want to break my heart, to be quite honest. And I could feel myself going there. And I was like, and we’re going to pivot out of that. But what was beautiful was, had I not, my business advisor said this to me last week, because I love the Wizard of Oz and she didn’t know that at the time, but she said, at any point in time, Dorothy could have clicked her heels three times and gone home. But there are things that she needed to learn to take with her to go back. And she was like, nothing that you have learned, nothing that you have done before this point has been a waste. It’s still something that you can take with you. And so I’m appreciative of the time that I spent, even though I like dipped my toe in and dipped right out for DEI, because had I not, I did a training for the city of Portland. And I had such a great response from that singular training, but someone said something about like, hey, I wanna do more. I always wanna do more. But I have a crippling depression. I have a couple other issues that are taking up most of my mental energy, and I just don’t feel like I can ever give what I want to give. What do I do? And I had been posting these reminders on Instagram and I wasn’t, it’s just funny now, I wasn’t really like, I wasn’t really sure where they were going to take me, but I was just like, rest on Sundays. Rest. But that opened up everything because I realized one who I was talking to was who I’ve always been talking to, which is bleeding hearts. Change makers with bad boundaries. People who want to change the world, who want to advocate for others and literally don’t have an internal practice of advocating for themselves. So, of course you’re exhausted, of course you’re tired, you do all the things, you’re trying to kind of pick up the slack of everybody else who’s saying they’re going to do what they’re going to do and don’t. But then you don’t know how to, you know, you want to do the protest, do the sit-in, go talk to your senators, but then you don’t know how to ask like your friend for help. Do you know what I mean? Like there is no internal mirroring of what you’re trying to do on an external and big level. And so it’s flat. And so you burn out, you get really passionate about a cause and you’re like there for six months and you go hard, and then you’re just fried for six years after the fact. And I saw that not just in business owners, but people who worked in, especially people who worked at nonprofits who were just trying to advocate for others and not advocating for themselves at all. And those two things can’t coexist for a long time. It’s not sustainable. So had it not been for that opportunity of really listening and hearing the feedback from that training, I don’t think I would have gotten to this place of recognizing, one, what rest is, two, how it impacts us, and three, how necessary it is for everyone, but particularly to the people that I’m talking to. And then it really isn’t just about sleeping, it’s about advocacy. It’s about using your voice, about shifting into saying what it is that you need and allowing people to meet that or for them to walk away. But yeah.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Well, I had a conversation with CV Harquail, who’s also gonna be an episode of this podcast. And we were talking about that similar thing and not just in the, I mean, the activists and the people that are really doing the work, yes. And folks who are just trying to do business differently, maybe who are using their voice and talking about these issues, who are trying to sort of unapologetically show up and say, this is what matters to me in my business. And knowing the resistance they may receive, that’s also exhausting. Like all of those things, just the mental load of that is also really difficult. And so rest and we were talking about it more in the need of community support and not trying to go it alone, but rest is such an important part of that. So I know now you helped burned out bleeding hearts rest. And so I think that’s wonderful. And I can see that journey now. It makes so much sense how that journey has, how that’s evolved. I’m going to guess, then, that the DEI, your lived experience, and everything else has helped inform you on why rest is such an act of liberation, and such a liberatory process. So talk to me a little bit about that. Like, what do you think when you think about rest as liberation?

 

Jordan:

It’s so interesting because pandemic sweeps through, we were all in this collective state of trauma, shock, and grief. And I remember saying to myself, I was like, oh, this is going to define the next decade. And it was so funny because it was when Tom Hanks posted on Instagram. And I was like, oh, this is going to define our next decade, which nobody wants. I didn’t say that out loud to anybody because nobody wanted to hear that right then and there. But what I found so interesting was this, how people dealt with the grief, the after effect, which I think we’re kind of in right now, and why the rest was so prevalent. People keep talking about burnout recovery and rest and you should be resting, you should be resting. Nobody has an understanding or practice of what that is. Nobody has grown up, we’ve grown up with work ethics. Nobody has grown up with a rest ethic. The more you talk to people who come from families of color, the more you talk to people who are first-generation, the more you talk to Americans, the more you talk to people who have that immigrant experience or disability or whatever it is, the more you recognize how collectively rest is leisure, rest is luxury, rest is something that is an option that that you can take advantage of when you hit a certain income level. But then, if we look at it like historically, who has been allowed to rest? Who’s been allowed to rest? Of course, no one has a rest ethic,  no one understands what rest is. Of course, people are struggling to figure that out. Of course, it feels uncomfortable when you first start to practice it. Because historically, rest has always been labeled as something that maybe white men and maybe white women can have. But everybody else has to break their back just to get a little bit. And so of course it feels like really uncomfortable. Of course it feels sometimes even wrong. Like how dare I? And when you have the experience of like your parents immigrated here to give you a better life and you saw how they struggled, rest feels like a slap in the face to them. My parents grew up in Jim Crow South. So me being like, oh, need a nap feels, even now, I still have to get over that first feeling of like, oh my god, how dare I? But it’s a necessity. You turn your computer off, you put your computer in hibernation mode. You recharge your phone. Are you not worthy of the same like ability to recharge, to shut down a little bit, to sleep? To spend time with your friends, to take care of yourself? Because honestly, when we’re talking about rest, that’s what it is, taking care of yourself, taking care of your, the people in your community, right?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And I want to talk more about what rest is and isn’t in a second. But first, because I think you touched on something else that got me a little excited, and I wanted to talk about those links to purity culture and religion because that’s your background. And I know for so many women, I work mostly with women, that I work with, purity culture stuff is pervasive. Even if you weren’t raised in the church, we live in a, if you’re in the US, purity culture just is part of the waters that we swim in here, and what I think is interesting about rest and what you’re about is like the morality that has been attached to like being productive and doing and working, you know, that work ethic, but there’s like this morality now attached to it because rest, that’s lazy and lazy is like a morally bad judgment of someone, right? Yeah. And yeah, so I just wanted more about your experience with because, you know, obviously there’s some of the systemic things that we’re talking about as far as like who had the privilege But then I also wonder about some of the systemic issues around purity culture and the church and the morality part that has gotten attached to that and what your experience is with that.

 

Jordan:

I grew up Baptist and my dad was a chaplain in the army. So we were always exposed to a lot of different people. Like I was used to going to church with Black, brown, like Asian, everybody, right? And then when my dad retired and I started going to church in college, I was like, oh, this is segregated as hell. What are we like? This is, what? And so there were still some like carryover of that purity culture, but it didn’t really ramp up until the church I went to in college, which was white-founded, majority white students, like it really did not ramp up until then because it was the most important thing. Stay pure, wait for your husband to come, like everything was through that lens of getting married was the best thing that you could possibly do. Don’t have sex. Do not even think about sex. Sex is the most impure thing that could happen to you. Desire, pleasure, that’s not on the table. So much so that we had like a retreat conference for the church the first year. My friend, still my friend now, an absolute brilliant historian, Black women, we were like coming down and to the great room, and this girl was at the front just crying, like just like, like she’d almost look like she was about to throw up, just her whole body just. And I was like, what the heck did we miss? Like, is she okay? And she gave testimony that she wanted us to witness that she had, you know, oral sex with her boyfriend. And she’s terrified that she’s going to go to hell because of that. And she knew it was wrong and that she’d sullied herself. I mean, just even then, even when I was in it, I was like, this feels wrong. She didn’t do anything wrong. But that intersection of white supremacy, ableism, sexism, that I know there are so many people in that faith that are trying to root that out, but it’s there. It’s there. It is that thing that kind of hangs over your head a little bit, be a good girl, because being a good girl meant being thin. And so many of, I don’t think I’d ever met someone who had disordered eating or an eating disorder before going to that church. That was mainly our weekly Bible study, was people talking about something that they needed help from a therapist, but like if only I could pray this away or I’ll hold on to these scriptures so I don’t eat this, and I just remember being exposed to that and being like, is something really wrong with me? Because here are these thin, able-bodied girls who were highly desired by guys in the congregation and they feel shitty about themselves and I didn’t. So is something wrong with me that I need to? Right? There’s so many intersections of oppression that happen in church. And even for a second when I felt like, ooh, maybe I’ll be a minister. Maybe I’ll be just like my dad and I’ll be a minister. My dad was like, I would love that, but you also need to know, like, there are some crazy people. There are some really harmful people who, fundamentalists who do not, who are never going to see it for you simply because you are a woman, especially because you’re a Black woman that makes you dangerous to them. And now that makes me like, ooh, that makes me excited. Then I was like, oh, something’s wrong with me, right? Because everybody else is freaking out, but I’m not freaking out. So does that mean something is wrong with me? That sense of like, you need to get married, you need to keep yourself pure. Even the like, the little promise ring, I had like the promise ring. And even looking back, I was like, what the heck? But that sense of, and this is why it’s so, this is what I feel like is missing when we talk about fundamentalism, when we talk about conservatives, is if you can give people a sense of belonging, even if it is fraught with the fear of what happens if they are no longer belong, it’s not like open, like, hey, you can come, you can go. But if you can give people that sense of belonging, commiseration, they will cling and hold on to that for as long as they possibly can. And so many people are probably reasonable, but when it’s when it’s like your whole life, your whole community, your whole everything is tied into this and acting according to these rules and if you step out of line you’ll burn in hell. If you interact with people stepping out of line, they’re gonna go to hell. Do you wanna go to hell? When it’s spring.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

That fear of rejection is like one of the most fundamental human fears, because, you know, in our history, if you weren’t part of a group, you were ostracized, rejected, you would die. You couldn’t do it alone at a time in our life. Like there just was no way. I mean, it still is not something that we should do because it’s not great for our mental health. But there was a physical like you will die if you don’t have a community. And that still is such a fundamental fear that I think it shows up in that way. So it’s interesting. You also mentioned that you were posting on Sundays about rest, and it made me immediately think of, hmm, is that also born out of the church?

 

Jordan:

Absolutely. Because the thing that was so funny was Sunday was not a day of rest for me as a preacher’s kid. It was the day to show up. You wake up, you got to look a certain way. You got to, and it’s so interesting that transition from being the preacher’s kid to just being a congregant because I didn’t know how, and it showed up in community as well, where it’s like, I know how to be on, I know how to facilitate, I know how to moderate. I don’t know what the hell that is. And so Sunday wasn’t a day of rest for us most of the time. It was a day of like, we’re doing stuff. We’re in church all day. We’ve been in church, dag on all week. We’re just trying to get things done and we’re smiling and we’re waving and we’re looking happy because if we don’t look happy, then people are gonna be like, ‘what’s going on in Pastor Maney’s house? Blah, blah, blah. You know what I mean? It was very performative. And so it’s supposed to be a day of rest, of that and so much of that work ethic, the laziness, the idle hands, idleness being categorized as moral faith, moral failing instead of, well God rested after the days of creating things? Like, if God needs rest, why don’t we? And not seeing how so many things in any religious text usually get taken out of context, but especially if you can put money behind it. If you can get money out of it. So there was all of that coming to rest felt wrong. It felt like something’s wrong with me, something’s wrong with me. And I had always been that way, where my mom would say, my mom would know I’d be like, oh, I don’t wanna go to school today. And it wasn’t like I had a physical sickness. I was burned out. She knew what it was. She didn’t know the term for it, but she was like, okay, this is the day where you just need to chill and not be around children. I get that. And so I feel like so many things were counter to what it is that I’m talking about now. And I see how, religious it’s still that rest is bad, not doing anything is evil. I should always be making something. I should always be producing something without recognizing that productivity isn’t our relationship solely to working. It’s the relationship between working and resting.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I think there are people for whom rest feels bad. But I think the bigger, more insidious thing is the shame piece of, ‘I’m bad for resting.’ And that’s the part that’s really hard to challenge within people, right? Because that’s shame-y stuff, we avoid that we’ll do anything to avoid it. And what I heard you saying too, is, you know, you Sunday, which maybe was meant to be a day of rest, you know, the way you were raised Sunday was meant to be but you weren’t allowed to. Your job then became about caring for others, facilitating. And it is interesting to see the ways that may have been replicated then as you moved into the different parts of your career, right? And you saying too, like that would be the struggle to hold boundaries so that you could tend to yourself. Well, of course, what a learned behavior that was ingrained early.

 

Jordan:

What a learned behavior. And the thing that’s so fascinating now is that shame piece that you just talked about. People feel such shame, because it goes back to that, how dare I, how dare I take a nap? How dare I take multiple vacations? How dare I do whatever it is necessary for like you to feel fulfilled, good, ready to go, even when I know it’s ‘evil, bad, a sin,’ or my parents weren’t able to do this, or my grandparents were never able to do this. You know, we carry so much of that.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah, because there is also that piece, that ancestral thing that I think happens a lot, especially I find with people with more marginalized identities, where there is that like, well, that is just not what we do. I was, who am I to do that when other people I have loved couldn’t, or continuing in my own world now? And I think that’s where some of the bleeding heart part comes up too, like I’m in the fight, so I can’t rest until everyone can rest, right? It’s not, that’s not, to do it when I see others hurting others not being able to.  And I yeah, we can go into a bunch of that still in a second too. I want to hit on one other thing, which is what you were talking about of what is rest. Because I heard you mention in the purity culture stuff around pleasure. And again, whether you grew up in the church or not, I think, especially women, but I a lot of people, all people probably are baked into this culture that says pleasure is dirty. It’s naughty. It’s bad, right? It’s a sin. You can’t do that. So even if you don’t have the beliefs around heaven and hell, there’s still this like, ooh, that’s what bad kids do, that’s what bad girls do, right? When pleasure to me is such a beautiful word. And when I think of rest, I think of it as being, I think rest is short for restoration or restorative. And pleasure to me is restorative. When I feel good, that helps to restore my energy levels. I think rest often we think of as like either just sleep, or when we talk about self-care in the way that all of the girl bosses talk about self care, then it’s like bubble baths or whatever. And those both are great examples of rest, but I think it’s such a limited, we have a really limited view of rest. So how do you like think of rest?

 

Jordan:

When I first started working with clients, I’m like, whatever you thought rest was, I want you to throw that away. How we define it is it’s a form of nourishment. It’s how you eat, E-A-T. It’s the energy, attention, and time that you give to yourself. In a individual level, in a collective level, if you’re talking about community rest, it’s the energy, attention, and time that you give to one another. And I just talked about this earlier with somebody, when you first hear that, I would rush this part in trainings before and be like, okay, next stop. And I’m getting to this place of understanding with this work, you got to give people space to interact with things. You got to give them that time to like sit with stuff. If rest is the energy, attention and time you give to yourself, it’s not just a nap. That’s included, but it’s not just sleeping. If you can sit with that for a moment and reframe it, you’ll recognize, hopefully not from a place of guilt or shame, but curiosity, how much you’ve denied yourself. Why is that? And I specifically say, denied yourself. Because you’ll often, I don’t mean. Systems of oppression are so good at giving us the tools to self perpetuate.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah because when you say deny yourself, I absolutely hear it. And I immediately kind of go, and I don’t want to make it just about the self, which I know you don’t. But, you know, because it’s like systems of oppression do that where it all becomes well, it’s your own fault, when it’s really so much bigger than you.

 

Jordan:

So much bigger than that. And then in the same ways that we may deny ourselves, how are we denying other people rest? Right? How have we denied other people the ability to have energy, attention, and time to themselves and to their families, to their communities? And when you look at, at least for me in a historical context on my mother’s side, we always talk about like generations or years. I think that creates a distance where trauma can feel like, oh, so far away, I should get over it by now or whatever things that people like to say. I’m four people, four people removed from enslavement on my mom’s side. Four. So of course, when we’re talking about models of behavior, of course, there was no like rest ethic. Oh, you know, you rest. There was no resting. There was no agency over your own body. There was no ability to say no. And that’s a huge part of rest, is the ability to say no, the ability to choose, the ability to advocate for yourself. And even from the context of not just being Black, but also being a woman? No? No. I’m not laughing like it’s like it’s a laughable thing, but from this idea that really all of, so much of our freedom has really just happened in the last century. And so it’s easy to take for granted, but when you put it in that personal context, we’re like at four people?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And it’s still happening, depending on what identities you’re holding. Yeah, we’re not even on the other, we can’t even be looking on the other side of it. We’re still in it in so many ways.

 

Jordan:

We’re so in it and it’s so entrenched and it’s such a personal thing, but it impacts the collective in such a big way. And so when we talk about rest as a liberatory revolutionary practice, the ability to advocate for yourself, the ability to be able to advocate for others is to care, is to love, is to allow people to feel good about themselves, to experience pleasure, to experience joy, it’s allowing us to be human. Right? Not perfect vessels to be put on a pedestal, not less than human, not machines. but it really just comes down to advocating and allowing for our collective humanity. And so yeah, it’s a simple definition, but it really changes everything.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

That’s the liberation piece, right? It is the saying, I don’t wanna participate in these systems. I’m not letting, you know, like I am saying no. I’m saying no in the ways that I can. It’s these small but giant acts of resistance, of rebellion, of fighting. Just to think like four people ago, that fourth person in your line saw you taking a nap, would they not say, wow, look at what’s happened. Like what a liberation, right? And I think that with my grandma who was never allowed to stop having children until her basically her uterus fell out, like, for her to see her granddaughter, choose to have one child, and to choose to rest and to create my schedule. And in no way am I drawing a link or comparison between our two stories. For all of us with these different identities, ee don’t have to look too far to say, what I’m doing right now, they would say, oh my. I don’t think it would be a how dare you it would be a thank God. Thank God that this has happened for you, right? And to me I love to look at the legacy piece of this, that ancestral piece of it, as a what a gift I’m giving to them. If only they could have had that gift and they were denied that gift. And to be able to do that, like that to me is like, I don’t know, I get teary eyed because it gets me so emotional. Like that’s liberation. I love that.

 

Jordan:

And honestly, I think so often we think about what we do impacting down the line, right? Kids, grandkids, so on, so forth. But I really do feel, and I mean, I’m not, I’m not Baptist, I don’t consider myself Baptist or Christian anymore. I really do feel, maybe this is spiritual for some people, that what you heal in yourself, it goes back. I like to think that. I like to think it goes back and it goes forward, and it goes out to other people. Because so often what has been the most liberating for me is to witness different choices, is to witness different ways of being in the world. So many things that I way this is supposed to be, incredibly dogmatic, got blown to bits simply by being with people who were doing things differently. And oftentimes that challenge of seeing someone live their life with love. Or in the instance of couples, seeing polyamorous couples, seeing couples queer couples shifted so much of what I thought. It has to be this one way. There’s so much liberation from when we get to see people saying, actually, no, it doesn’t have to be this one way. And I think the personal liberation part of it is like, oh, how do I want to practice this internally, but recognizing that if it feels selfish, reframe it because everything you do for yourself is like kind of like. My best friend, her daughter, one time we were getting lunch and she like tugged on my dress and I was like, what’s up? And she was like, so you don’t have any kids? I was like, no, I don’t have any kids. Her face like cracked because she was like, but every adult I know has kids, you just don’t. And I was like, yeah, I don’t have any. And it was cute. It was just a cute moment. But those things, the way that we show up in our life, they do impact other people. People see that, and my hope is when people begin to rest, when they get to prioritize their pleasure, when they take agency of their life in a way maybe no one else has, and we don’t have a blueprint for it, right? We are the blueprint. That opens things up for other people. And some people will rebuff, obviously. Some people will feel that challenge and be like, no. But other people will be like, will get curious. That’s really my hope, will get curious enough to be like dang you take a whole month off, how can I do that? Wow, you have these hours? How can I do that? Like, what would that really be?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Just even the, you mean that’s possible? Like I think I see for that little girl, that moment was a, that’s a possibility for my life? Even if she decides she wants to have children because she wants to, the fact that she now knows that that’s a possibility that she doesn’t have to, that’s huge. And I want you to know that you are doing that because you are leading by example. I’ve known you now for several months and we’ve been in partnership on some things that we’re working on together. And so I’ve had the opportunity to spend a good deal of time with you this year. And you have role modeled rest to me in multiple ways. One, in claiming space for yourself for rest saying, I’m prioritizing me right now and that means I’m not showing up in the way that you might want me to for this thing. I may not be there today, but that’s because I’m prioritizing me. That’s always challenging for me because I don’t do enough of it for myself when I see others do it, my immediate reaction is the dark ugly side that I don’t like, but that is it’s the baked in stuff of how dare she, right? I can’t believe she’s doing this. And I have to challenge and confront that myself and then get to that place of like, it’s not even about her. It’s about that voice is me saying, I wish I could do that. And then having to confront the voice that says, you could do that and you don’t. Right? So all of that stuff that you’re challenging me. And then also the time that we have spent in space together and the ways that you have been really great at advocating for rest within productivity, within our productive moments and thinking about how to bring more rest. So you are doing that. And I love that you are bringing up that collective experience of change. When I talked to CV, that was part of her definition of feminism is that it needed to be collective, right? If it’s not collective, then what is it? It’s not, it’s not feminism, it’s nothing. It’s your own ideology, but what does that really mean? And so I love that you’re talking about the collective, and I’m just curious, like, I think what we just talked about is a bit of that, but when you think about rest as a collective movement, what gets you excited in that? Or, you know, what are you talking about, thinking about form of like rest as a collective movement.

 

Jordan:

Oh my God, okay, I just got goosebumps because it makes me so happy. Did you see Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I didn’t, I’ve heard good things about it, so obviously I need to.

 

Jordan:

Great show, I just wanna talk about this one scene to illustrate what I feel about collective rest. Towards the tail end of the show, Mare and this other character are friends and they’re talking. This other character has really just been through it, right? And Mare, Kate Winslet’s character, opens her arms to give this character a hug. You know how you give people cute little hugs or just like, ee-hee-hee. Yeah, girl, hey. And so her friend leans in for that. But the way that Mare opens her arms, she’s like, no, give me more. Come on, like really, I’m here, right? And we see the friend’s body, and I get goosebumps every time I think about this scene. We see the friend’s body shift into Mare, and they fall to the floor while she’s still holding her. But she allows her to just exhale. When I think of that scene, that’s what I think of collective rest is, is the ability to exhale. I feel like so many of us are in this very interesting moment where we’re talking about rest, talking about burnout, but we it’s kind of like a middle school dance where nobody really wants to dance with each other just yet. A part of that I feel like is the pandemic, where like, there is risk in interacting. There’s always been risk in interacting with one another. But like where we are collectively as a country, where we are in this other phase of a pandemic is I don’t know if I am safe with you. I don’t know if I can trust you. I don’t know if I can lean into you. I don’t know if I can rest with you. And so as much as we talk about healing, rest, community coming together, that collective rest starts when we can lean on each other, when we can trust each other to just really exhale. And that is going to require vulnerability. That’s gonna require risk. That’s going to require failure because it’s new for a lot of us. It’s different for a lot of us, but it’s risky and absolutely necessary. It’s just, it just is. And so for me, the process of collective rest is, if I, and it shouldn’t have to be sequential and I don’t think it is, but when I take that self-critic, the inner self-critic to self-advocate, how can I be there for you? How can I show up there, show up for you? How can I let you exhale? Because I know what it looks like now. I know what it feels like in my body. How can I be that for you? With boundaries, with love, how can I just let you be? 

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

That brings up for me some of what we’ve already touched on a few times around you carrying the load, right? And that this is just yet another piece of oppressive systems, right, that have created this like inability to rest and belief that you can’t rest and all of that. And systems of oppression, changing those systems are the oppressors, not the oppressed, right? It needs to be those who have more privilege and unearned advantages that are saying, I’m going to help with that rest, right? And it once again falls on, as so much of this work seems to, on the people who should not be falling on. So I’m wondering for the white women, not just white women, but anyone who has any of these identities that include some amount of privilege, whether it’s mostly unearned privilege and other advantages, what should we be thinking of when it comes to collective rest? Because we’re speaking to feminist business owners, right? Who very often have, first of all, customers, whether they’re a solopreneur or they’re a bigger company, we all have customers we’re serving. We have partners that we work with. And then many of us also have teams of people that are reporting to us or that we are paying them. We’re the ones that are responsible for potentially eight hours, or more if you’re maybe not doing a great job of rest with your staff, of their day. So for those who have that privilege, what should they be thinking about collective rest? Because I think so often these discussions are about, hey, business owner, here’s how you should care for yourself. Here’s what your self care routine looks like. Check off that box. But what we’re not, I don’t think, that discussion that I don’t think it’s is out there enough. I don’t hear it is, hey, business owner, you have a responsibility here to do better, to create collective rest, to be thinking about this beyond yourself and your bubble bath. Because you are now responsible for people. Again, whether you’re a solopreneur, but there are people in your world and that you have some positionality over. So what does that bring up for you? What should those folks be thinking about?

 

Jordan:

You’re right. So many of the conversations are like self-focused. And I feel like I like to start with the self-focus because usually bleeding hearts just really struggle, one, with a sense of self, and two, with a sense of like self-advocacy, self-care. However, the reason I like to start with the self is I want that practice that you build with yourself to carry over to how you interact with other people, not just clients, but people you are bringing into your vision, bringing into your team, right? And so often we’re not really practicing that with team members. So if you’re listening to this and thinking about, okay, how can I build in collective rest for my team, for other people? In the same ways that I want you to be thinking about, where do I need to advocate for myself? What is not being said? How am I not communicating? Where are you creating space for people to tell you what they need? Where are you creating space to ask? Where are you creating space in your business to give space to people who maybe come from marginalized identities and have no practice of doing this. For instance, in a meeting, this is a very simple example, in a meeting where maybe you’re like boom, boom, boom, all right, good night, or let’s get started on the day or whatever. Do you give space to making sure maybe more marginalized identities get the opportunity to speak? Are you asking a follow-up or probing questions? Like, oh, I heard you say something. I haven’t heard you say anything yet. And I would really, I value your opinion. Are you giving space for people to use their voice? Are you giving space for people to advocate for them and give them, sometimes we need those like almost permission slips to say oh I do need that. Where are you allowing space for people to communicate their needs? I think that one of the biggest things is, and not just putting the pressure on them to do it, because oftentimes we don’t know how. So practice it for yourself, give them that example, and then also create opportunities within everything, not just your meetings, not just your processes, but within everything. If you are interacting with somebody, how are you creating space for them to advocate. Like you create the template or the blueprint, if you will, by doing it yourself, communicating, hey, this boundary or this need, and then give them the space to be like, hey, you don’t have to have the answer right now, but I would love to hear and I would really value your insight on what it is that you need. Do you need more time? Let people tell you what they need. Let people feel safe enough, create enough safety and belonging where they feel like they can say those things. Let’s not just pink wash all the things that we know to be just harmful to us. And repackage that and say it’s our business. Right? I feel like a lot of us, we leave positions where the corporate or nonprofit, where we were treated like garbage. And we said, I’m not going to be this boss. I know that was me. I was like, Oh God, I’m not going to be this man. I’m going to be better. But then if we’re not careful, because that’s what we know, it’s very easy for us to repeat that. It’s so easy to know and recreate it. And so there’s the internal work and the internal practice. But then after that, if you are not resting, if you’re not building in space to pause, if you’re not building in space to review, you’re not going to be really conscious of the ways that you need to create space to allow people to tell you what they need and for them to feel safe or comfortable enough to do that.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

So it’s a company culture issue. It’s not a checkbox. It’s not we offer this paid holiday. So suddenly people have time to rest. This is a,it is  baked into your culture, which means if it isn’t already and you already have an existing culture, it will take time to change it. This is an investment of time and energy that has to go into this. It is not as simple as and I think this is what happened in 2020. Companies realized that their cultures were, they had baked-in racism and sexism and all these other issues inside of their company cultures, and they were companies that were years and decades and hundreds of years old, and they thought they could just bring in a DEI expert, check off that box, and then they would suddenly have a new culture. That doesn’t happen. That’s not how it works. As we have seen in the history of our country, we don’t just get to overnight say, oh, we want it to be different and it is, right? So this is an investment that starts, I agree, with yourself. That’s beautiful. And then also then that piece of the collective is don’t stop with yourself. How do you radiate this outward? How do you make it a collective experience and know that that’s going to be So I love that you mentioned all of that. And one place I saw this in practice, and I’m so upset that I can’t think of the woman’s name because I would love to give her credit. But I was attending some online summit conference thing where Resma Menakem was speaking. And Resma showed up with a splitting headache, but he showed up to give because there were hundreds. This was a, I mean, this was the thing where there’s probably maybe even thousands of people on this call. And he showed up to give because people were expecting to see him and he knew he was the headliner, he knew he was the big name. In 5 minutes or so it was clear that he was just not feeling well. He was having a hard time, but he was trying to push through as we all do, right? That horrible pushing through. And the host stopped and said, let’s stop this. You need to go rest. Use the rest of this time to go rest. I don’t know that I would have had that in me yet, and I would love to. And boy was it inspiring, talk about the collective and learning and because I was like, wow, that woman who’s hosting this knows that this was her draw. This is the reason people are there, that could really make people mad. And instead she role modeled what we all needed to see, which was this man has been giving and giving and giving and he gives. And a lot of us in the audience were white people there to try to learn from him. And instead of extracting more labor out of him for nothing, she said, no, we’re not going to do that here. We’re gonna let this man go rest because he needs it. And it turned into the rest of the time, we all talked about rest. It was a beautiful, life-giving experience thrilled to have had that experience which was a unique different experience we didn’t get to hear Resma, but we had an amazing experience. And that’s what it looks like to me is sometimes it’s not easy. Sometimes it might cost you something. Sometimes there’s gonna be right there’s gonna be a downside to it, you know negativity you have to deal with, but if you’re really committed that’s what looks like an action and so I think thinking about like are you ready to do that because it isn’t always easy it’s not just go go take a bath go take a nap.

 

Jordan:

It’s gonna be uncomfortable. Like think about puberty. That was hell, right? Growing pains, that was hell. But on the other side of it, you get to this place in your life where you’re able to have agency and make decisions for yourself and experience that freedom in adulthood, right? We are going to a place we’ve never been before. And that’s just the truth of it. We are going to a place that we have never experienced before. We’re building something that we know is better, but to get there we have to be willing like fail. The first bridge you make isn’t going to be the best bridge you make. It might not be the one that gets everybody over, right? The first time you try something it’s not going to be the best time you do it. You’re going to get better, but it is a practice. And so as much as it can feel uncomfortable when we challenge those subconscious beliefs and behaviors that we’ve adopted, it is necessary to get to the place where we wanna get. And I mean that not just in terms of rest, individually and collectively, but practicing feminism, practicing equity, practicing empathy. It is a challenge. It’s not, okay, we got there. It’s gonna take its time, and it’s why I believe rest is so important because if we don’t rest we just burn out and we stop and the bridge doesn’t get built and we don’t get to that place where we said we want to get to. But if we can give ourselves the space to just be human, say what we need, allow people to say what they need, even if it feels inconvenient, we’ll get there. So I love that example. And I definitely think it’s just something that I hope that we can all practice more and more as we move forward.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah, that fear of failing, you know, I love the idea of failing forward, right? We’re failing, but we’re moving towards something. And I think that is to me the biggest difference between those who are really in the fight, going to help make that difference. You know, it’s the people who are willing to fail. They’re willing to really screw it up, get it wrong. And then when they do let go of the defenses. As somebody who holds a lot of privileged identities, it is very hard. I have firsthand experience of how hard that is, how challenging it is to be able to put down the defenses, receive, internalize, process, change. That isn’t easy. It’s much easier to say, oh, forget it, this got too real, too hard, I’m done. Because I have the privilege to be able to, right, I can opt out, I don’t have to be a part of this. And that is not easy work. And I think on the individual level, rest is important in that process. I mean, I think obviously all the reasons that rest is so important for anyone with marginalized identities, but also I think for those of us that are in the fight that have identities of privilege, to recognize that we also are going to have to have rest because we are going to fail. We are going to have those moments that are going to be super challenging and very hard. And that can be draining when you have, you know, go through that of having to let down your defenses and hear and receive things that are very painful about your own actions. You need rest too, to be able to get back into that fight, to care for yourself, to go and lick your wounds and tend to yourself, not expecting others to do that for you, and then be able to get back in the fight. So I think it’s so important to think about that. Like it’s important in all parts of the liberation process. We could talk forever, but I have to wrap up. So I wanna finish with the last two questions that I’m asking everyone. And the first is, what educator, book, podcast, other resource either was super transformative for you or are you just currently listening to, interacting with and learning from? 

 

Jordan:

Honestly, I’m gonna say, because it’s one of the most recent books that I read this year, and it colored so much for me, “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, anything Toni Morrison, honestly. But the way that she was able to tell the truth with such precision was so helpful. And I think a lot of times in the business space, we love a nonfiction book. We love something that can be helpful and prescriptive. But for me, getting back into fiction is so helpful because it illuminates what has happened and also what’s possible. And you need both. So bell hooks, Audre Lorde, obviously, but marry that with some Toni Morrison, marry that with some Octavia Butler. I like seeing the fiction side because it does show like what’s possible what we what what we are really capable of doing.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I love that because you’re right, my immediate reaction is give me some nonfiction. I don’t read a lot of fiction anymore. I used to though, I used to. And it is so inspiring. And talking about going back to what you first talked about with using your voice, those are people who are telling stories or using their voice in ways that are far more challenging, I think, because they’re having to tell a story and still find that voice in it. So thank you for that. And then what’s an organization for all of these, I’m wanting to just make a little donation to say thank you for your time and also to shed light Some people doing great work out there. So who can I donate to for your time today? And what organization do you want to tell the world?

 

Jordan:

Oh, this is so hard. I have a friend that’s named  Wani Torres Torres who said, when they go low, go local. I love my city so much. And there’s an organization here, formerly called Martinez Street Women’s Center that’s now Empower House SA, that does so much amazing work for young girls, women, femmes, that I mean, on a health standpoint, lodging, safety, like they do so freaking much for this city and I love them so much, and they’re just a force to be reckoned with. So I would say Empower House SA. I just send them all the love that they do an amazing job of advocating for young brown and black futures and I just love them.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Thank you. I will include information on how to learn more about Empower House in the show notes. And if you listened to this episode and learned something, felt inspired, are excited to make some changes, incorporate rest, say thank you, pay it forward by giving something. Anything at all helps to Empower House. And thank you, Jordan. I will also include information in the show notes for people to learn how to find out more about you, your coaching, if they’re ready to really start to do that digging in and making the change internally, starting with themselves. and then being able to radiate it outward and incorporate rest, they can learn more about you and how you do your work in the show notes. So thank you for your time. Thank you.

 

Jordan:

Thank you for your time. This was an absolute blast. And I just hope everyone listening will get some rest.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Go sleep or whatever rest looks like for you. All right, thank you.

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