It is easy to feel overwhelmed by life generally, and right now, with so much tension and upheaval, overwhelm is almost inevitable for many of us. I am getting more comfortable with discomfort, and humbling myself and forgiving myself every day for ways in which I see I have been ignorant, have pushed certain uncomfortable or threatening (to my ego) situations and realities away, for times I have insulated myself with spiritual bypassing.
I humble myself and I forgive myself as I welcome all the ways that I am being stripped of my identities, insulation, and superficial comfort. There is a certain thrill to that, to metaphorically standing naked in the wind and the burning sun.
I welcome the ways in which the collective and personal Shadow are showing up to be witnessed and potentially, to be healed.
(Do you feel how, in order to move forward and show up with integrity, you must forgive yourself? How you must be both fierce and gentle??!)
This is deep work. This is soul work.
+ + +
I wanted to put together a short list for you of some resources that feel meaningful and supportive right now, so I asked my (super brainy, reads all the really smart books) assistant Alla to help me. Some of these recommendations are from her, some are from me. Here you go:
Roots Deeper than Whiteness is an online workshop series I recently registered for which starts Sept. 10. It is a workshop series for white people who want to deal with the guilt, shame, and fragility they feel when dismantling their privilege and transform those feelings into productive allyship to people of color (instead of, you know, just telling themselves, “I’m a good white person” and pushing this hard stuff away.) I am excited about it because this is inner work I’ve been engaged in for a long time, but kinda quietly, and I want to explore it more fully and in a more outward way. And because we are in intense times which I feel are asking us to collectively step up in many different ways.
Healing from Marginalization through Love and Justice by Everyday Feminism
As individuals, we bear the traumatic weight of being personally targeted by systemic oppression and the impact of our internalized oppression and our unconscious privilege. This often means the trauma from our personal life and professional work build on each other, leading to burnout, depression, fatigue, and at times, even suicide.
To address this pervasive issue of burnout and unsustainability in our social movements, the course supports people in healing from their experiences with systemic oppression and building their capacity to respond to everyday situations of injustice from a sense of peace and relatedness. Instead of reinforcing our traumas, our activism becomes a vehicle for our own healing and reconnection to those who unconsciously perpetuate systemic oppression.
Healing From Toxic Whiteness by Everyday Feminism is an online class series influenced by Buddhist mindfulness practices that teaches: The underlying reasons for the emotional resistance many white people have to addressing white supremacy and get the tools to begin releasing it; Why it is of the utmost importance that white people acknowledge the racism in themselves before they will be able to fight the forces of racism around them; A framework to understand how white supremacy has actually harmed white people while also materially and socially benefiting them; A powerful tool for getting in touch with the pain of having internalized racism so that you don't unnecessarily prolong feeling that pain or put the burden of that pain on others, particularly on people of color.
The Daughters of Copper Woman by Anne Cameron. Okay, so hardly anyone knows this book. I stumbled across it at a used book store years ago and by now have read it three or four times, and it remains one of the most meaningful books for me personally. Each time I read it, it hits me differently. The last time I read it, I saw that it is a guidebook of sorts, and a candle in the dark, for the person who feels culturally orphaned. What it is literally, is a collection of stories from the Nootka people of Western Canada - a mix of mythology, history, and personal stories which are presented all as fiction. I turn to this book for a weird kind of comfort - not the comfort of easy answers, but for a sense of beauty in the struggle, and depth and universality of experience.
Living in the Tension by Shelly Tochluk:
For many, spiritual and racial justice principles go hand in hand. Yet, although seemingly compatible, tensions often arise when people try to live out their associated values and strategies. Further, there are those who sit solidly on one side of either spirituality or advocacy and fail to see the connection between the two. Spiritually-oriented people often say, “People focused on politics and social justice activism are angry, wounded, unhealthy individuals who sabotage their own efforts by using antagonistic and divisive language, including terms like oppression, privilege, and supremacy.”
On the other hand, racial justice advocates often say, “People focused on their spirituality as part of their personal growth are trying to escape into transcendence or a false "kumbaya" experience and deny their ongoing role in continuing personal and institutional racism, privilege, and the reinforcement of an unjust status quo that operates through interlocking systems of oppression.”
Why do these tensions matter?
There is a vast potential of untapped transformative power waiting to be released if activists and spiritual people of various racial backgrounds build and strengthen bridges between their differing principles and expectations.
How can this book help?
Each chapter tackles one tension-filled theme and asks: What happens if one side of the tension is ignored? How can a both/and approach allow spirituality and racial justice efforts to support one another?
Decolonizing Yoga, in their own words: “Was created to provide news, resources and support following the efforts to protest the 2013 Yoga Journal Conference held at the Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco. Hotel Workers, community organizations and unions had been participating in an ongoing boycott against Hyatt to protest working conditions. [...] After the Yoga Journal Conference the Decolonizing Yoga Facebook Page and website has highlighted the voices of queer people, people of color, disability activists and more in relationship to yoga, spirituality and social justice.”
It’s true, I really don’t love all the articles on their website, but if you are seeking a different and more critical perspective on yoga, spirituality, and other things in that realm, which are often not looked at critically, this is a good place to look and learn more. My assistant Alla adores this website!
White Awake: Waking ourselves for the benefit of all is a website tailored for spiritual people socialized and identified as racially “white” who wish to merge their spiritual awakening with critical thinking, feeling, and action towards the real and actualized liberation of all beings through intersectional justice work.
Spark! For Humanity is the passion project of Rachel Rosen, a client/friend of mine. Her blog is a goldmine of timely resources and compassionate and insightful writing on how to have conversations across difference and be a changemaker and support for racial justice. I love reading what she shares and I always learn a lot. You can sign up for her newsletter too, which I highly recommend. She also hosts leadership courses, created a card game to facilitate deep conversations across difference, holds community events, and has a Facebook page and group virtual community space!
Note: Many (not all) of these social justice-focused resources are for white people who want to show up in a more real way for racial and social justice. This is because I'm white - Duh - and so is my assistant Alla, who helped me put this together. In terms of resources specifically for POC, there is a lot out there and I am not in a position to make strong recommendations or be the best resource in this way
...Because looking at and getting support with our own stuff helps us SHOW UP fully and authentically in every other area of our life.
If you want holistic support with your health, especially around healing your gut and your relationship with food and your body, I have two main ways you can dive into doing that work with me right now.
For folks local to SE Nebraska, I am now available to see in-person clients at Lincoln Yoga Center on most Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a really lovely and community-oriented yoga studio and I am honored to be a part of what they are creating here. To kick this off, I am offering a generous Wild Wellness Package, which includes:
- 1 80-min Healthy Life Deep Dive Session +
- 2 50-min Integration Sessions (at your own pace) with email support in between.
We can work with nutrition, custom herbal medicine, and the deeper lifestyle and emotional work which can support your wellness now.
Until November 30, this package is available for a special rate of $320 ($100 off regular price).
I have online scheduling, but please email me to confirm your spot. (just respond to this email; firstname.lastname@example.org) I’m also happy to answer any questions over email or the phone.
For folks near, far, and everywhere in between, I am available either in-person or over the phone for customized healing packages as well as my Heal Your Belly, Love Your Body Program. This is a 4-month 1:1 coaching + mentorship program for folks who want to do the deeper work of creating a satisfying and happy relationship with food and their bodies as well as address any physical imbalance/challenges with their gut. These two challenges are so so interrelated. I rarely meet someone who struggles with one but not the other. These have been some of my big health challenges too, and I kid you not, I’ve spent the last 19 years working with, unpacking, and healing this stuff for myself. It feels so good to help shorten the learning curve for others and to provide support in ways that are so needed and appreciated.
You can find all the details of this program on my website. Do consider sharing this with a friend or loved one who you think would be interested.
Love and Strength,