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  • Ricka Robb Kohnstamm

What does it mean to be complicit? 

After the spark set off the initial explosion in Minneapolis this past week, stress hormones kicked in and the community accomplished more than most of us thought possible - sweeping up shattered glass, taking plywood back off of windows, and raising money to help uninsured businesses reopen.

And while, as in my own life, it is easier to work with the tangible, the really heavy lift for healing work is the intangible...

It is way easier for me to shop for diapers to drop off at the food shelf than it is for me to own my complicity in systemic racism.

I can check the diapers off of my to-do list (tangible), but owning complicity (intangible) is a much heavier lift. Yet owning my complicity, with integrity, is what really opens the flood gates for healing.

Owning complicity means I have to take a hard look at my role, do my personal work, own my place and then make changes.

And that makes me think of other places in my life where it is easy to be complicit and where healing is dependent, partially, on my willingness to step in and do vulnerable reflection:

• I am complicit when not using my authentic voice In the workplace, every.single.time.

• I am complicit when not standing up to ruthless leadership (because it is exhausting), whether in a community or in national politics...

• I am complicit when I make not ruffling family feathers (momentarily) more important than hearing a child's wavering voice...

• I am complicit when I don't speak the truth about my needs within my small family.

• I am complicit when I hear the competing voices within my own head and choose to heed the more convenient one.

It is not convenient to own my complicity. It brings up all sorts of itchy, uncomfortable feelings.


I know that owning complicity is a healing tool and slow medicine.

It is hard work. It is not convenient. And it is necessary.

With increased awareness of complicity comes an opportunity for me to re-align my behavior and walk my talk. My eyes are opening and it feels "right" and healthy. I am starting my learning through reading White Fragility by Robin Deangelo.

When I choose to lean towards increasing my self awareness about complicity, it helps determine my actions. And actions, aligned with values, supports optimal health.


Hello, I'm Ricka.

Ricka Kohnstamm Executive & Physician Coach Profile Photo

I'm a Nationally Board Certified (NBC-HWC) Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coach. I specialize in working with physician leaders, corporate leaders, non-profit executives and their families to navigate complex work and personal issues so they can strengthen their relationships, heal, and feel hopeful about the future again. 



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