Having inner peace does not mean that you live a life with no fear, hurt, or anger. Rather, inner peace reflects a growing trust in God even in the context of your fear, hurt, and anger.
Dr. Cari Jackson is the youngest child and only girl of the four children of Robert and Gladys Jackson. Raised in Baltimore, Maryland, her parents shaped in her a deep love and compassion for people across social and demographic lines, a strong sense of social responsibility and justice, and a profound connection with the sacredness in all of life. These passions are powerfully reflected in her personal and public life.
Guided by her deep belief that all people are manifestations of Divine Creator, Dr. Cari seeks to affirm and nurture the special uniqueness of each person. The ways she affirms people is transformative. Her ability to do this stems from her own personal, life-long story of transformation.
Like many people, Cari was socialized in her home, church, school, and society to think of herself as small, less valuable than others, not good enough. She learned to “stay in her place.” Her parents taught her to think big, but not too big to help her avoid getting hurt in a society that was hostile to blacks. Her early church experiences taught her to stay in her place through class- and color-based hierarchy and patriarchy. In school, she dealt with limiting presumptions from teachers about what her intellectual capabilities were as a black student. She experienced race and gender discrimination in workplace after workplace – being set up for failure, overlooked for promotions, being lied to and about, and credit for her work given to others. Throughout her life, she was given messages “nigger go home” when being in spaces where some did not want her, and “who do you think you are?” when others recognized her excelling so naturally.
Socialized as a dark-skinned, working-class black girl to stay in her place in the background, Cari spent many years trying to limit herself to live in small dreams and operate below the measure of her tremendous gifts and talents. Her self-limiting patterns were heightened by multiple experiences of sexual trauma. To avoid the pain that seem to come with simply being who she was, she often sabotaged herself when she was excelling and being noticed. For years, she didn’t feel safe when operating in her full beauty, strength and power.
But nothing about these experiences is exceptional. What is exceptional is that in the midst of these life-limiting messages and self-sabotaging behaviors, Dr. Cari’s indomitable spirit kept calling her to express her grandest self, and she said yes! What is exceptional is Dr. Cari's ability to harness pain, trauma, and heartache and transform them to strengthen her character marked by joyfulness, humility and compassion, deepen her capacity for unconditional love, and expand her work on behalf of justice for all people. This what Dr. Cari calls "the manure effect", converting the manure that comes in life into fertilizer.
When she risked being her full self, she observed two remarkable benefits: incredible joy and happiness within her soul and significant impact her skills and insights brought to the lives of others. For Cari, these benefits became well worth the risks. She has learned in her own life that it is only when she lives expressing her full self that she experiences the greatest fulfillment, happiness and freedom.
You only need to speak with Dr. Cari for a short while before realizing the genuine humility that permeates from her. She holds three graduate degrees (Law, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Philosophy), yet her gentle spirit and approachability are inviting almost from the moment you first meet her. As she says, “I didn’t give myself my intellect. I was given my intellect as an incredible resource to help heal the world.”
For Dr. Cari, the simple principles of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, expressed across spiritual traditions, and the Lord's Prayer “Give us this day our daily bread” (not "me" and "my"), guide her belief that the measure of a society’s health and strength is reflected in its treatment of the “least of these” - society’s most fragile and vulnerable. Led by her conviction that all people are one human family, she uses remarkable insights to help enhance the quality of life –- spiritually, emotionally, socially, and economically -– for all people. Dr. Cari has a deep passion and a grand vision of helping people discover and live their deepest, most authentic and powerful selves. She strongly believes that “only as we live our lives authentically can we fully experience inner peace and be shapers of peace and justice, healing and transformation in the world.”
Dr. Cari lives in Arizona with her partner Zoraida Saldaña and their dog Kuma-chan, where their shared delight is to experience deep connection with Spirit and Nature and to share in celebrations of love and life with their extended family and friends.