Hello everyone and happy new year from the Amplify RJ team! In this episode, David does some solo reflection on the year and shares the realms of growth that will accompany him into the new year.
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Happy New Year friends. This is the first episode of this restorative Justice Life for 2023. So I still feel like I can say Happy New Year even though I'm recording on January 11. I'm David, for those of you who don't know, and today's episode is gonna be a little bit different. We are constantly changing things up in this time, but as we so often do, I'm going to start today's episode with, who Are You Question.
If you're watching on YouTube, you might realize that there's not another guest. And if you haven't intuited already, I'm the only one gonna be talking on this episode, so I will be answering the Who are You questions myself, both using it as a check-in because it's been a while since I've reintroduced myself here on these airwaves, but also for a first time introduction to those of you who are new to the podcast this, who Are You?
Exercise where someone answers the question, who are you multiple times. We're gonna do seven here. It's always something I appreciate doing. The responses to the question are always different given the day, the time, the experiences that someone's going through. So here we go, , who am I? I always share the first one.
I'm David Ryan Barcega Castro-Harris, and that name has always been important for me, but in this last year, appreciation for all the people who have given me that name and who represent the name has gone through the roof. As a, as a parent, for the first time, so much family support and so many.
Reflections on, you know, the journeys that my family my wife's family have been through to get us here. So that is who I am. That is my name. Who am I, I'm also a, yeah, a new father. And that has been a wonderful, exhausting, exhilarating, challenging journey. You know, they're, they're definitely high highs.
They're definitely sleep deprived lows. You know, things like, I got my first data. The other day. And you know, just those moments of, can't you just go back to sleep? have been present in addition to trying to balance all the other roles that I play in life. But, you know, stepping into this role of Father has been a wonderful challenge.
Who else am I speaking of? All those other roles, I'm the person who runs this platform, amplify rj and this podcast and this platform is dedicated to. People who are living restorative justice values, philosophy and practices. Not just when we're facilitating processes or intentionally trying to build community, but on the day-to-day.
And so I'm somebody who practices or, or tries to practice living through those values. Values of interconnection, building, strengthening, repairing relationships when necessary. So both in my personal relationships with my family, with friends, and with the work that I do professionally, I'm someone who strives to live these values.
Who else am I? I'm someone who's curious. And is constantly learning. And I think those two things are different and related. I think every day we experience things that we can learn from and I definitely try to take L'S lessons from the L'S losses or the things that I fail at. There have been they've been numerous this last year I've been trying a lot of new and different things and come up short, but always learning, but, and that's just part of the work, that's part of the journey.
It's not always easy to like jump to the lesson and like take the learning and apply. But I am someone who's, who's constantly learning, but also someone who's really curious and will proactively seek out new knowledge and new information, both about this work and so many other things that interest me, like how little of the ocean floor that we've mapped, I'm just like endlessly fascinated by like, what's going on at the bottom of the sea?
Think that's four. So five, who am I? I'm someone who is. Struggling to reconcile that as much as I'm trying to teach restorative justice practices and values to. You, the listener, and those in your community and the masses. Your journey through this work will not replicate mine, and I should stop trying to replicate it.
It's impossible for a number of reasons, but I think I'm growing into someone who strongly believes in their worldview and their experience, but is learning to be more open to open, inviting and accepting of the views and experiences of others and adapting these principles and values to that is the challenge of this.
Let's make these last two a little bit more fun. Who else am I? I am somebody who listens to podcast almost constantly. I'm one of those sickos who listens sometimes at 2.5 or three times speed. You can do it, you can train yourselves, you can get through that content. Whether or not I retain a lot of the information that remains to me seeing so many of the podcasts that I listen to are about the day-to-day goings on of the National Basketball Association, the NBA
it's not like super important information. It's, it's entertainment. But I'm someone who's endlessly fascinated by this medium and getting these conversations. And, you know, that's why I do this. That's why this project exists, because, you know, I've benefited for so many conversations, not just about basketball, but about so many other topics.
And so I'm hopeful that this specific platform can be a additive piece to your life. And finally, who am I on this Wednesday, January 11 at eight something am. I'm someone who's happily caffeinated by Mount Hagan Coffee. It's instant coffee. I the the best instant coffee that I've ever had, and hopefully one day they'll be a sponsor of this podcast.
Of course, there's so much more to who I am. And over the course of the a hundred plus podcast episodes in the feed, and you know, all those to come in other ways that you can engage in amplifier days of work you can get to know more a little you can get to know a little bit more about me. But right now in the bulk of this podcast, I wanna share three of the biggest lessons that I learned about restorative justice in 2022 and the intentions that I'm carrying into 2023.
So let's roll number. Perfectionism is the enemy. A lot of the work of Amplify RJ is built around restorative justice as an opposition to white supremacy culture. You can go back and listen to my conversations with Tema Oaken. I think there are two in this podcast feed, or of course you can go and seek out Our intro to RJ courses is to get a more in depth breakdown.
But one of the characteristics of white supremacy that she talks about is perfectionism. As someone who is the son of two high achieving people, one of them being a teacher, also being a second generation American. The ideas of high achievement and getting things right have always been important to me.
In many aspects of my life, I've been able to shift from perfection to excellence and doing your best, but when it comes. Work about restorative justice that I've seen get misinterpreted and corrupted and malpractice. So many times. I get really cautious about how I'm messaging things and how people will receive things, and I need to reconcile with the reality that no matter how I articulate things, even with the best intentions, there's always gonna be room for that misinterpretation or the misuse and that mis practice and in order.
Actually put something out there and not be paralyzed in the over analysis of like, oh, but it's gonna fall short this way, or this person, this specific audience isn't gonna click with this specific framing. It's just gonna prevent me from doing the work. And it has so many times over the last year, I get somewhere between 30 and 70% of the way through creating a thing and then get tripped up by the what about, what about, what about these other perspectives that people.
Might have. And then never put the thing out, never make the offering. Even as somebody who has the mindset, the skills, the ability to have the conversations, to clarify, I still don't want to cause a conflict harm that comes from misinterpretation in the first place. There's also a piece of it that I think isn't necessarily perfectionism, but is comparing myself to.
The work of others that prevents me from doing this work or, or putting out work where I don't think that what I have is good enough or will be as effective or will contribute more to, and that's just something that both as someone who is in some ways a professional content creator and somebody who just in day-to-day life is using their voice, I need to get over.
It might be strange for you as someone who may or may not have listened to hundreds of hours of me talking or consuming content that I've written at this point. But I'm actually a person of relatively few words and I try to choose them carefully. And I'm not saying all of that is due to perfectionism.
Part of is also me not thinking that what I have to say will be accepted, seen as valuable, or even thinking that I might be laughed at or dismissed. And that's scary. But in order to do this work, to further amplify restorative justice and in my personal life, you know, advocate, share for myself and be vulnerable myself, get the things that I want.
I just need to put it out there and live with the results. Even as I'm saying this, I'm thinking about all the ways that this might be misinterpreted as no standard of excellence. Don't be precise with your language. Or whatever you produce is fine and everybody should appreciate it for what it is. And that's 100% not what I'm saying.
But I do think I'm somebody who so wants to get things right, but I think in my efforts to want to get things right has prevented me from doing some good. Right. So maybe another way that people have framed this is like, don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Right. And I think that's what I'm saying. I think this lesson can be taken.
Applied to so many aspects of your life, but when I think it, but when it comes to restorative justice, you, the listener, in your personal relationships or in work context or wherever you think about utilizing this work, these frameworks, this way of being, you might feel that you don't have exactly the right words to say to invite people into this work.
Part of it might be that you need to do a little bit more education for yourself to be more confident in initiating. Restorative processes or having tough conversations or starting community building moments, asking for circles, et cetera. But there's a limit to how much knowledge will, there's a limit to how much learning by watching a video course.
Or actually, or sitting in circle as a participant or participating in trainings as a learner will take you, right? You actually just need to go out and do it. Practice. And it will not be perfect. There will probably be some sort of harm misunderstanding, and the goal of this work is not for everything to be sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns all the time, right?
It's to build, strengthen, and repair relationships. It's not a journey without its stumbles and pitfalls, but if you never start, you'll never get to where you want to go. So whether it's with restorative justice or something else in your life, my question to you is, how is perfectionism getting in the way of you achieving your goals?
So that was lesson one, big lesson number two is that time and budget equal your priorities. I imagine when you hear this, some of you are thinking about how I might be talking about the way that organizations who say they want to do restorative justice work, Often fall short because they don't prioritize this learning and this practice budget or time-wise, and I'm gonna get to that.
But I also wanna be reflective of myself both as a person, as and a business owner. Everybody has 24 hours in a day. Hopefully somewhere between seven to nine of those hours are dedicated to sleep. I know that's not the reality for many people, but with the 16 ish other hours that we have on the. What are we doing with them?
Over this last year, I've had to radically shift how I spend my time again, becoming a father, being the parent to a now nine month old has definitely disrupted the way that I sleep, but also navigate so much of how I navigate the world where I used to be able to wake up and have mornings to myself, get centered do things that are in the vein of self-care, my mornings.
In some way, shape or form, at the mercy of a very, very self-centered being who requires cuddles, feeding diaper changes, et cetera. , I'm someone who had to go from getting amplify RJ work in whenever I felt like it during the day, to someone who has to do this work within a certain amount of time. In some ways, that's great because it's helping me get more systematized, but that's not historically how I have done this work.
So much of which is creative. And so with that systemization comes time allocation. It's easy for me to get caught up in doing the things that are fun, creative, and easy and harder to do some of the more structural organizational aspects of running a business. That easy to get done if I'm trying to reach the goals that I'm trying to reach, making time for sleep, making time for family while balancing, doing this work is always going to be a challenge.
But even within the hours that I allocate for myself to do this work, allocating both time and financial resources mostly people that I am working in collaboration with most effectively is super important. And that's something that I'm still trying to manage to, to optimize how we quote, amplify unquote rj.
But there's also a piece of this time and budget equal your priorities lesson that comes from the work that I've done with folks in schools and organizations, or rather reflective of work that hasn't gotten done with those schools and organizations. Right. We, we are working at Amplify rj We are working with a handful of schools and organizations to help train up their staff to be able to
engage in restorative practices that manifest in us facilitating conversations that also looks like us strategically planning with leaders. It also looks like us doing staff development and training, but none of these organizations exist with the sole purpose of being bastions of restorative justice practice, right?
And so how they allocate time and resources to this often inhibits the speed or the effectiveness at which this work is implemented and embedded into their culture. I'm so grateful for school leaders or organizational leaders who will invest the money, of course, but more so the time to both participate as leaders and give time for their staff to participate in the learning and in the practice.
Because it's one thing to say that you value these things, but having ideals does not equal execution of those values and those practices, it's so easy to default to the things that are easy for us, that are habits for us. And in order to get different results from what you've habitually done, you need to build different habits.
That often means allocating time for activities that you haven't historically done. That doesn't mean adding time to the day. That means taking time away from other activities that were being done to add this time in for learning and practice, there's no one right way to do this work. Everyone's on their own journey with this work.
We don't all start in the same place. We're not all actually trying to get to the same place, but there is not one right way to do this, and there's no one timeframe to get this done living this restorative justice. Life is lifelong work and while there is a sense of urgency to make the changes immediately, we also have to do it in a way that's sustainable.
So as you're thinking about your goals and things you wanna accomplish this year, restorative justice related or not, wanna invite you to think about the time and resources you're going to actually allocate to make sure that you have space to achieve those things. Third and final thing for now that I learned from 2022 about doing this work, about being a person living this restorative justice life is to celebrate the wins.
I don't know what perception you have of David, the person, but if you're someone who has spent any amount of time with me in my personal life, you'll know that I'm not a very big celebrator, holidays, birthdays, or really even accomplishments. I know it comes in some way, shape or form from my mom and of course there are other factors that contribute to this, but when it comes to accomplishing things, I'm very much of the mindset like, well, I did this work, I get these results.
Of course that's what's happened. Let's move on and do the next thing. , I'm often more than willing to spend time being critical of the things that could have gone better or the things that went wrong and correcting them for the next time. But I am very slow to take a moment to stop and appreciate the work that's been done and celebrate.
And I don't think that's inherently wrong, but I do know that at some point it's exhausting and it's a road to burnout. Appreciating yourself and appreciating people around you for the things that you've done together is really important. It's a relationship building moment. And if those things don't get acknowledged or ignored people or yourself, people will feel unappreciated or you, yourself might not continue to find value in the things that you do.
So I'm gonna take this moment to celebrate with you. Some of the things that I've done with Amplify RJ over this last year, and I'm gonna challenge myself not to caveat any of them. Here we go. One is that Amplify, RJ still exists as a business, and I'm already breaking the caveat thing again, but running a business is hard.
Building systems and structures to sustain your life without employment is difficult. We're definitely not where I want to be. There's still so much more work that we have to do, but I have to celebrate the fact that through my efforts and the collaboration of others, AmplifyRJ exists and has been, has been the primary source of income for Team Castro Harris.
So low bar arguably, but it's still something that I need to continue to acknowledge myself for and to celebrate. Two, let's celebrate this podcast. This restorative justice life still exists, I believe this is episode 1 0 7. So many podcasts, flame out after just their first episode. Lots of other podcasts don't make it a year.
We've passed to. Hundreds of you download every episode. I don't know how many of that equates to you, listening all the way through. And I imagine if you're gotten the spar in the podcast, you're one of those people. And so I thank you. Please leave a rating or review on Spotify, iTunes, subscribe to us on YouTube and share with a friend, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
But we had almost 50,000 people download this podcast in 2022. And while I don't know the impact that it's had and will have, knowing that listeners from all six continents have engaged in this, Something really cool and exciting. So special shout out to all the people who have been guests, but more big ups to the people behind the scenes to make this happen.
Elise, for so much of this year, and Paolo now celebration number three, again, it's hard to quantify the impact of this. Dang, I'm really doing terribly with those caveats, but I'm gonna keep going. I love that we've had over a thousand people go through our intro to RJ learnings. You know, link in the show notes if you haven't gotten to that yet and share with a friend.
But I'm more excited that we've had over a hundred people participate in our deeper learning, whether it was the training camp or the intensives that we put on this year, there have been so many great conversations and learning moments facilitated by DeMointe and myself over the last year, and it's hard to recall all of them.
Sometimes I wish we were just like recording everything and like airing them and we don't for confidentiality. There have just been so many aha moments and you know, in the midst of like all the logistics and the creativity and all the behind the things thing, all the behind the scenes things that it take to actually get people into a space where we're facilitating and learning together.
It's hard to just celebrate those moments, but I was reminded even last week when I was back in person at a school facilitating around restorative communication and this process. I'm really good at facilitating this learning in so many ways. That's the core of what Amplify RJ is me taking all the things that I've learned from Cheryl, Pam, aura, Anna, Miguel Thomas, and Miriam, and so many other people along the way, and synthesizing it into ways that are accessible and digestible for folks so we can build a more just and equitable world.
We. Build and strengthen relationships. We can repair relationships when that happens. It's not that most people, I would say across the world, haven't thought about how to address conflict and harm in a restorative way. It's that AmplifyRJ, when we create these spaces, we are providing information that is either new to you or reminding you of things that you've already known or you have ancestrally known.
And then providing a space for reflection and practice that will allow you to go out and be those ways in the world. That's where the changes are made. That's really one of the superpower. I have that people who work and partner with me have when we're facilitating, and that is, we're celebrating. So pass on the back to me, big ups to DeMointe, who's done a ton of that work for us this year.
And. Of course, big ups to everyone who has either invited us into their workplaces or who have opted in on an individual level into participating in this learning to help us build this more just equitable world for us now and for future generations. And that brings me to the last thing that I want to celebrate, and that is you, the listener, this community, everyone who follows us on social media, whether that's TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, of course, where this all started, or this podcast.
Not gonna lie. It's nice to see the numbers, the likes, the re-shares, the comments and all that. But what's more important to me is that the learning is happening. That y'all are out there doing the work. Y'all are out there being this way, moment to moment in your day-to-day interactions with people who you are in community with, whether it's people at work, people within the context of your family relationships, friends or in activist communities that you participate in.
I've heard so many reflections from folks about how this has been helpful for you to have tough conversations, helpful for the way that you even start relationships, the way that you structure your classes, the way that you structure team meetings, the way that you have conversations with your partners and children.
In this new year, we're gonna have so many more opportunities for you to connect with each other and to engage in deeper learning and amplify this work by inviting more folks into this. And so I want to wrap up this podcast, this video, for those of you who are watching on YouTube. With a sincere thank you, thank you, thank you.
And an invitation as always to of course, like share, review, subscribe, follow all those things. But more importantly, amplify, have these conversations with people in your life. You know, we have resources for you to invite people into community and workshops. Of course, LinkedIn, the show notes, but I'm only one person.
There are over 8 billion people now on this earth who need to know how to value our interconnection, build, strengthen, and repair relationships. And we do this work one person at a time. So thank you so much. So take a moment to celebrate yourselves and let's continue this work. Have a great 2023 and we'll be back with another episode of someone living this Restorative Justice Life next week.
Till then, take care