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ReEntry is #NotABear

Dear Everyone:

This week’s edition of Cereal with Hand Poured Milk comes to you from the desk of Kelly Hurst.

Kelly is a Lodestar JEDI (Justice-Equity-Diversity-Inclusion) Master Facilitator. She brings a lifetime rich with learning and wisdom, leads with both heart and humor, and is ever-willing to lean into her own narrative. All this makes her a much-sought speaker and expert facilitator.

I once called Kelly in a panic just before a big speaking gig.

Default to Your Humanity,” she counselled as she raced off to catch a grandkid. I scrawled her advice onto a hot-pink post-it and stuck it to my desktop, a daily reminder that relationship always trumps transaction, and to reach deeper when I don’t know what else to do.

Funny, fierce, and wicked smart, Kelly is both my friend and a valued Lodestar team member who has her own take on this Month of Re More soon, Dr. K


"Kelly. Not everything is a Face-Eating Bear."

This is one of my favorite Dr. K-isms (she says a lot more, but this is the one that grounds me). I need this more often than I'd like to admit because my personality zings from Zero to 100 in moments of crisis or trauma. Kemia is a touchstone friend, and when I reach out in panic she always remembers to first ask, "Kell...take a deep breath...are your feet on the ground? Is the earth under you? Is there a bear?"

Usually, it is NotABear. Also, my feet are on the ground, earth is still here, gravity still works…

So far.


I know that trauma primes our brains to “react as if.”

That I always react as if it's a bear comes from a lifetime of priming, both personally and professionally. For example: I started my career in public education as a middle school teacher (bears!). I sought a master’s degree with the goal of becoming a principal (Bears!). I became an administrator. (BEARS!!)

After more than two decades in public education, I left in 2016 to expand and lean into the work I’d been doing in social justice around antiracism. My professional journey in antiracism began with the Dominican Sisters – a fact which, admittedly, surprised me at the time. However, they were so refreshingly open and forthright about their efforts I never had to ask what compelled them to the work of antiracism in our community – I just stepped in and rolled up my sleeves.

My work in Equity, Diversity & Inclusion – which is different and interwoven with my antiracism work – has led me to wear multiple hats. I’m the Executive Director of Being Black at School, the nonprofit I founded, an irreverent tweeter @Mochamomma, a Senior JEDI facilitator at Lodestar, an anti-racism trainer and facilitator at Crossroads, and an Instructor at Southern Illinois School of Medicine in the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.

Oh. And I just started a doctoral program at Vanderbilt.


Breathe. Plant your feet. Feel the Earth. Gravity still exists…


At Lodestar, we've been "Rumbling With" how we – individually, institutionally, organizationally, societally – step away from #Tridemic trauma and deliberately and mindfully into ReEntry.

For me, much of the last 16 months included feeling frozen in fear, punctuated by low points of depression and anxiety. Pre-pandemic, my normal week included cross-country air travel, facilitating workshops of 45-60 people gathered in a room, and exploring new cities, restaurants, and museums.

I now work from a home office and order our groceries. My face-to-face interactions were reduced to my children and grandchildren. For more than a year, I’ve rarely interacted with others in person.

What does my re-entry look like, then? I imagine there will be a period of adjustment to being around more than 8 people at a time, hearing the lovely cacophony of voices in a full park where vendors are selling fresh lemonade and ice cream cones, or packing myself with others into a theatre for a long-awaited summer blockbuster movie.

The word itself conjures up a visual of the re-entry of space missions into earth’s atmosphere. ReEntry causes things to heat up to dangerous temperatures, and there’s a cooling off that must happen before landing. I think we need to steady ourselves for the burn of that re-entry and remind each other, gently, "this is temporary, it might sting, but we're going to come in hot".


Preparation is part of successful ReEntry. So is patience with the process, curiosity about each other and how we’re making sense of our world, and imagination for building something better.

Whatever your personal, professional, or organizational ReEntry goals, Lodestar is here to help you get aspirational, even as we remind you to connect with the ground under your feet. We hope you’ll connect with us today and learn more.

ReEntry is #NotABear, it is an opportunity. Kelly Hurst, M.Ed


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