This is the Be The Change section of my blog, where I talk about creating a world that nurtures everyone's dreams, and explore the intersections of colonialism, the patriarchy and white supremacy in the New Age movement/Live Your Best Life Industry.
Last summer, I found out the owner of the online business company I was using (they supplied my website, membership site, email services and shopping cart) is a far-right anti-feminist “racism isn’t real stop believing in it” kind of person, and was sharing their views in public, while presenting themselves as a thought leader for spiritual entrepreneurs.
I brought it up in the Facebook group for their customers. Now – this was software marketed at spiritual entrepreneurs. So these people are all about love and light and living your purpose.
I had just been on a really inspiring call about anti-racism in the online small business community and was all full of “OH YES WE CAN CHANGE THIS” energy (which you can watch on this page) and so I totally forgot how spiritual white people get when you bring up racism…
When the racist, ignorant comments I received in response to my post were not deleted or responded to in any way (other than one staff member putting HEARTS on them!) that really told me everything I needed to know about the company culture. I started working on a plan to move my business.
The fact that so many people in the New Age community are lost in their white fragility is NOT just about racism.
It’s also about the New Age’s inability to look at itself with any kind of clarity.
Byron Katie’s The Work was helpful to me at one point, and I know it’s helped millions of people.
AND it’s just one tool amount MANY approaches in the New Age that have that kind of “I am 100% responsible for my life and there is nothing that happens outside of me” bullshit.
“I’m just going to change the way I think about this problem and them *POUF* PROBLEM! SOLVED!”
This is where context matters.
OMG yes we need to take responsibility for ourselves.
But, because the tools of the New Age are colonized practices, taken without any understanding of the context from which they came from, we lost the whole community aspect.
Change your thinking, change your life is a helpful approach when you are 100% the thing that is in your way.
The problem is:
- it doesn’t work for people who face systemic oppression because it does nothing to change things
- it keeps you focused on changing yourself, instead of changing the things outside of you that hold everyone’s dreams hostage
- when you look more deeply, this approach is often about making your actual feelings wrong which is extremely problematic for everyone, but again, is going to work best for the people who have the most privilege and have experienced the least trauma.
Everything I wrote about in “We want a better world for everyone. How do we start?” shows how we’re leaving most of the people in the world out when we take these kinds of approaches. Change your thinking change your life just leaves a lot of people all alone with their trauma and oppression.
When you’re so focused on your own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs being the cause of what’s happening in your life – how does that impact how you see a homeless person?
Do you think they should change their thoughts to change their life?
Do you think about the larger systemic issues that cause homelessness or do you think the individual just needs to change their thinking to change their life?
Because the focus on the individual as the cause/source of problems means we’re not focused on community or understanding the systems we live within.
In “The New Age has a lot of shadow work to do. Let’s do it together” I wrote about how the tools we are using are colonized and removed from their context.
That context IS community care. In the New Age we use those tools for individual gain.
When I was very new to that “Change your thinking change your life” church, a friend I had just met there was moving. She was on the board of directors, super active as a volunteer, and had tons of friends in the church. I assumed there would be a ton of people helped her move and this would be a cinch.
I was the only one who showed up.
That’s when I first started to wonder about the lack of community care in the New Age community.
But what I wanted to write about is the New Age’s inability to look at itself with any kind of clarity.
Which IS connected to that lack of community and focus on the individual and perspective that says “whenever I have a problem that means there is something IN ME that needs to change. I am the source of everything.”
And again – to be honest that attitude helped me change all sorts of things, in me, that did need to change.
But at this point in my life, after ten years of making my living in this industry and after five years of making an honest effort to learn how to be anti-racist and to get educated about the realities of current day colonization – my perspective has REALLY changed.
We need a new way of approaching our personal/spiritual growth/healing work – with an anti-racist lens, which is by definition anti-colonial and anti-capitalist lens.
Because the whole “look within for the change you seek” thing IS helpful in SOME ways – but what we lack is the CLARITY to apply it with DISCRETION.
We’ve been acting like we have the best hammer in the universe and absolutely everything we see becomes a nail.
We need to be able to see ourselves and our lives from a wider perspective, to see ourselves WITHIN the world we live in.
This is the stuff we miss using colonized tools from around the world – these tools all come from a community-minded context. Meanwhile we’re using them in a colonized culture with a colonizer mindset.
And getting that CLARITY and WIDER PERSPECTIVE won’t just help us be better citizens and won’t just help us create a better world, it will help our own healing process as well.
Because the places where you’ve been stuck and stayed stuck are probably places where your own personal stuff INTERSECTS with systemic injustice.
So the tools that just heal and change YOU aren’t going to change the problem.
Changing your thoughts is PART OF the solution but not the whole thing.
We need to dismantle systemic oppression.
Personal development and spiritual growth were never meant to happen isolated from community care and political involvement in the world you live in.
PS: The BREAKTHROUGH Alchemy Coaching Circle is next Saturday! I hope to see you there.
My dream sent me this amazing vision.
It was me, sitting in the coffee shop I used to go to, in my favourite spot – at the bar along the window, in the corner. My journaling stuff was all spread out. I had a delicious cup of coffee in my hands and noise canceling headphones in my ears. Outside the window the sun was rising the the sky was soft pinks and blues and lavenders.
I was SO FREAKING HAPPY to be back there. To feel the magic of my familiar old pattern. It felt like a healing.
But then my dream arrived, in the form of sparkling golden stars. It landed in my heart and I grew 4 stories tall.
The coffee shop did not grow and I didn’t fit inside it anymore.
There is no going back.
My dream asked “Why on earth would you want to go BACK??!? The way foreword is FORWARD.”
And suddenly I saw it. I’ve been waiting to GO BACK to my old beloved routines. I’ve been waiting to GO BACK to my old life.
I wanted to go back to my old ME.
But there is no going back.
That’s what all those FEELINGS were about in the spring and summer… it’s grief. The world changed and there is no going back and we don’t know what what’s next. Also it’s hard for those kinds of thoughts to not trigger fears about how the world will change again with climate change, which won’t be as gentle with us as Covid has been.
But my dream put a much more positive spin on it.
This time is an incubator.
I am growing in ways I don’t see yet.
And I get to choose who I’ll be next.
I can’t go back to who I was, because you can’t un-grow.
But I can choose who I’ll be next and I can choose HOW I’ll grow.
I mean of course I’ll go back to my beloved coffee shop morning routines, but I’ll be a new me.
It’s breakthrough time.
There are so many ways we can fuel our growth at this time.
And we do this NOT by forcing a positive spin on what’s happening or hiding in conspiracy theories.
We do it by facing what’s actually happening. And tending to our reactions to what’s happening, and bringing love and gentleness to all of the places in us that get triggered and re-traumatized.
Because facing the hard stuff is a part of being with the truth.
And the truth is: You are more powerful that your obstacles. That your creative genius always knows a way.
And this is how you create your breakthrough.
Come do this with me at the BREAKTHROUGH Alchemy Coaching Circle on the February Full Moon. This will help you see your way into a new story of what is actually possible for you RIGHT NOW.
February 27, at 11:00 am (Central, North America).
What’s included: The live circle, plus access to the replay, complete with a private comments section for anything you want to discuss after.
Special bonus to help you move into that new story and make yourself at home: After the Breakthrough Alchemy Circle, you also get access to my Dream Book program for one month! This includes the miraculous Dream Book journaling system, daily online masterminds, weekly printable journaling kits, a monthly new moon coaching call and access to my entire library of e-courses. It’s like having a Creative Dream Coach on call 24-7.
Can’t make it live? The recording will be available within hours of the end of the event – so you can do your circle whenever you like. And there IS a private comments section for the replay – so you can still add your ideas or questions or get extra support in there – you don’t have to attend live to be a part of the group.
I have been writing about creating a world where everyone is supported and nurtured – physically and emotionally – where we don’t have so much healing to do in order to be brave and go after our dreams with wild abandon.
In a sense, this is why I created the Creative Dream Incubator.
I struggled with my creative dreams all through my 20s. Once I gained some traction with my creative dreams, of course I wanted to share what I had learned with others.
I created the Creative Dream Incubator so that LOTS OF dreams could be born.
However, due to everything I wrote about in The New Age Has A Lot Of Shadow Work To Do, I wasn’t recognizing that I was mostly just helping other similarly-privileged people make their dreams real.
In a very vague sense, all dreams come true can serve as a light to inspire others.
But I wasn’t looking at where I, and my work, were plugged into systems of oppression.
And when I thought about doing more to actually help change the world so we’re all free to pursue our dreams – it felt too big. So I told myself that my pursuing my dreams, and supporting my clients and followers was enough.
I told myself that I was helping to shift consciousness in a direction where real change would be possible… one day.
We need to stop thinking that changing the world is “too big” of a problem and just get to work.
It’s only “too big” of a problem if you think that you need to already have all the answers and do everything on your own.
I mean OF COURSE I don’t have all the answers and OF COURSE you don’t have all the answers. It’s not on either of us to do it on our own.
Everyone has a role to play because everyone is a part of the world.
While getting ready for Dreams + Art + Activism conversation I did with Mindy Tsonas Choi, Mindy spoke of how much power artists have to influence culture.
We can do this. NOW.
The same way we work with any dream – by following our inspiration.
BUT we need to make sure our efforts include everyone.
When we talk about society and privilege, most people tend to be in their own perspective, and facing towards those with MORE power, wealth and privilege.
So we see all of the power, wealth and privilege we DON’T have, in comparison to everyone who has more.
We need to face the other way, at all of the people with LESS power, wealth and privilege than we do.
More and more privileged people have been doing this the last few years and that’s great. But you can’t just name your privileges and leave it there. You need to look for ways to USE your privilege to help help dismantle privilege and level the playing field.
It’s not true that a rising tide raises all boats.
This reminds me of about 12 years ago, at a Canadian New Thought Conference.
I was in a meeting with ministers and practitioners and I asked “What about people who have nothing? How are we helping them?“
The head of the organization looked at me with this amazingly smug expression and said “A rising tide raises all boats” and then changed the subject.
That’s the blind white privilege that is so pervasive in the New Age community.
Going on about your business and pursuing your own dreams while ignoring systemic injustice is one of the things that allows systemic injustice to flourish in our culture. We need to take responsibility for this.
Figuring out how to address the issues that the people with the least privilege, wealth, and power are facing DOES help ALL PEOPLE.
This is how we create a culture that nourishes and supports everyone.
This is a culture that will actively nourish EVERYONE’S dreams.
I think the answer is to stay open.
Keep listening to people, especially people with different life experiences than yours.
For me – my thinking around this shifted as I began to read and follow more Black and Indigenous people (political leaders, artists, healers, writers) than white people. And more chronically ill and disabled people, more trans people.
We need to build a new culture, from the ground up, that takes into account EVERYONE’S needs.
I definitely don’t know everything about how to do this. But I have become a LOT more willing to listen, and consider a lot of different perspectives now, not just my own. And that helps me learn.
I believe we can practice our way into having a more intersectional lens through which we look at the world. And that this will help serve everyone and their dreams immensely.
And we need to get out of our comfort zones with it.
In the 2019 federal election in Canada, I volunteered for Leah Gazan‘s campaign in my riding, Winnipeg Center.
I hate politics.
Everyone who knows me was surprised that I was doing this. My father was a politician when I was a kid, and I did volunteer on his campaigns (or can it be called volunteer when this is what your family is doing and you aren’t given another option?) but I have not participated in any political activities since his last campaign, when I was 14.
My sister though it was particularly hilarious that I made my step-sons volunteer every week as well. It’s surprising how quickly we become our parents.
The thing is, because of everything I’d been doing to see the world from a more intersectional perspective, I knew how important it is that we put the people with the least privilege into positions of power.
I mean – our political institutions should be filled with Indigenous women, not white men like they are now.
Leah is also an exceptional person and I knew she would make a big difference if she won, so I wanted to help. I’m lucky that my step-kids’ mom’s family is very close with Leah and I got to spend a lot of time with her. Leah taught me so much and made me feel HOPEFUL for our future.
The big thing I learned from Leah is that even here in our riding, which has the 3rd highest poverty rates of any riding in Canada, with poverty, violent crime and meth addiction spiralling out of control, the answers to all of the problems we face already exist, right here in the community.
The answers already exist.
We just need to support/fund them better.
We need to take care of each other.
We need to follow our inspiration about how to DO SOMETHING about the things that matter most to us. Little tiny baby steps DO create movement towards larger possibilities.
Remember that your creativity is powerful. We can do this. It’s already happening.
Where do YOU feel inspired to take action?
Journal about your ideas and map out some baby steps you can start taking.
I just finished reading Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. She speaks to the regeneration of Indigenous culture which must fuel decolonization efforts.
Which is kind of obvious, but she writes about it in such a way that it makes decolonization feel inevitable. And it explains why projects like Adam Sings In The Timber’s Indigenizing Colonized Spaces feels so powerful and meaningful.
Every act of resurgence of culture has an impact.
Most of books I have read about decolonization are written from a political/legal perspective.
And, as she says in this book, that’s an important perspective to understand.
BUT – it’s fighting colonization using the tools of the colonizer. Our political and legal systems are colonial, they have so many colonialist perspectives embedded in them, it is really hard to use them to create the kind of radical change we need to see.
So this book helped me to see a whole new WORLD of possibilities for HOW decolonizing can happen and what it could look like.
This book impacted me in a big way.
She shared a Nishnaabeg prophecy that had told people that the colonizers were coming over 500 years before they arrived.
Over 500 years, each generation moved further west, and spread out so that by the time the colonizers arrived, the Nishnaabeg were not as easily found.
They knew they couldn’t stop the genocide that was coming.
They also knew that their own culture would be the thing that would save them.
So that’s why they moved west and spread out, so that pockets of culture would survive – even when Canada made their language and spiritual practices and ceremonies illegal, even when Canada stole their children and tried to force them to assimilate to white culture.
Pockets of culture remained. And the prophecy told them that the occupation would eventually become less violent and there would be some space for a resurgence.
Now, each small act of resurgence helps to generate the conditions for Indigenous culture to be restored.
The final part of the prophecy is that Indigenous culture will help save settler culture – that only once the settlers saw that their ways were poisoning the water, air and land and threatening to destroy the whole planet, would they be open to change.
I’m not sure settler culture deserves to be saved.
But what really stood out to me is the long term thinking and planning.
The kind of leadership and community it takes for everyone to work together like that for 500 years so that they could save generations so far off in the future (!)
That’s what CULTURE is.
We don’t have that now. We’re not even able to band together to save our own grandchildren from climate change. Or save each other from Covid!
Settler culture is garbage culture.
So I am thinking about the pandemic, through this lens.
What if taking care of each other was our ONLY priority?
We don’t have the political will it would take to make different decisions about how we use our resources.
I would like to live in world where it wouldn’t even be a difficult decision, where OF COURSE we just focus on taking care of each other.
I don’t want to romanticize Indigenous wisdom.
That’s one of the ways that the New Age has colonized Indigenous wisdom.
The world is complex.
But this book helped me see how a better world is possible, by focusing on culture, it’s got me thinking in a different way and I wanted to recommend it.
Also, if you are white – read more books by Indigenous authors! It really helps you to see from a different perspective.
We are all connected. We need each other. Our dreams are all connected. Our dreams need each other. Living in a world full of systemic oppression impacts all of us, and all of our dreams.
I am in the process of writing a LOT of posts about this right now and I decided to start by sharing this one on critical thinking. It’s not that I believe that critical thinking is EVERYTHING, I mostly use my intuition to make decisions in my life.
But a lack of critical thinking is destructive.
It’s one of the reasons why huge swaths of the New Age community have embraced fascism via conspiracy theories.
I just googled “critical thinking” and landed on the wikipedia definition:
Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome native egocentrism and sociocentrism.
Ever since the capital riot, I’ve been waiting for the big names in the Live Your Best Life Industry who had been promoting Q-Anon conspiracy theories to post apologies.
Which got me wondering WHY there is such an incredible disregard for critical thinking skills in the new age community. Which is why I googled critical thinking.
And, in that definition what stood out to me was the last word: sociocentrism.
The New Age is the colonization of Indigenous Wisdom.
It’s privileged people feeling entitled to take whatever they want, from whomever they want to take it from, without any regard for the culture in which those things came from… and often feeling Better Than for having done so, like we are more evolved for being so open minded.
It’s taking all of those things and creating a smorgasbord of spiritual and personal beliefs with – again – NO regard for the culture from which they came. Absolutely no context for practices which actually have thousands of years of context attached to them.
And then it’s capitalizing on all of this to create a billion dollar industry.
And, for many of us, it’s doing all of this as colonizers, occupying Indigenous land with no regard to the treaties. Or living in countries that are actively colonizing other countries.
I say this as a white settler in Canada who has been into pretty much EVERY New Age Thing at some point. And who has been making her living in this industry for the last 10 years.
The New Age couldn’t exist as it is with proper critical thinking.
Because, again, sociocentrism. We are colonized people who are colonizing others.
It’s the air we breathe.
And if we truly saw what we were doing, if we removed our own colonizing culture as a frame of reference, we would tear this whole thing down.
I know most of the lightworkers and healers and coaches do not mean harm.
We appreciate Indigenous wisdom.
We honour Indigenous culture.
But, sociocentrism. We do not look at the situation from outside of the lens of being settlers on occupied lands.
So we don’t see that we are standing on the necks of Indigenous people, while appreciating the culture. We don’t consider how long these practices were actually illegal for the people they belong to. We don’t think about how Indigenous people came to live on reservations, we don’t know anything about Indian Agents or the Indian Act. We don’t think about generation after generation of children being torn from their families and taken to abusive residential schools.
This is “bad vibes” and we “don’t want to get political” so we don’t go there. We don’t think about how white/settler silence is what keeps this whole genocidal machine in place.
I write this in Canada, which is really more accurately described as an illegal occupation than a country, due to the fact that we’ve never honoured the treaties and every one of our federal governments have pursued genocidal policies against Indigenous people.
If my words sound brutal, it’s because colonization is brutal.
Colonization IS genocide.
And colonization is the culture in which the New Age was born.
The New Age couldn’t have started in an un-colonized culture. This idea that we can borrow from a smorgasbord of spiritual beliefs and practices and remove them from the cultures from which they come could only come out a culture that is disconnected from it’s own ancestral wisdom.
We saw the healing and magic of other people’s ancestral spiritual practices – and we craved it so we took it. We didn’t understand that we were missing the important part: the culture.
We didn’t understand the actual colonized ground we were standing on while we were taking.
And we didn’t understand that impact trumps intention. We genuinely believed that our good intentions were enough.
We’re all about love and light while continuing to profit (either through personal growth or financial gain) from ongoing colonization.
This is the shadow work that we are being called to shine a light on.
One reason why real, grounded, effective shadow work has been so hard to find in the New Age community is because of how the tools, practices and beliefs were taken without regard for the culture they come from.
Our buffets of beliefs are missing big, important pieces that are creating huge community-wide blind spots.
But we can fix this.
We can make space for critical thinking, anti-racism and decolonization in our practices and communities.
We can learn, grow, and shift the culture.
We can right the wrongs and create a new culture.
I think critical thinking is a good place to start, especially the part about making a commitment to overcome native egocentrism and sociocentrism.
So here’s what I suggest: decolonize your bookshelf.
For the last 5 years I’ve been making an effort to read more BIPOC authors than white authors.
The New Age publishing industry is VERY white. And if you haven’t noticed, Hay House has been in a lot of trouble lately for their clumsy approach to trying to look more diverse without doing any real anti-racism work.
So, if you’re like me, you have read A LOT of books written by white people – further entrenching your white settler colonial worldview.
It’s time to widen your perspective.
I’m talking about BOTH non-fiction and fiction. While a lot of the non-fiction I’ve read has helped me learn what decolonization and anti-racism really are, it’s the fiction that really helps shift my worldview.
I hesitate to post some book suggestions because I feel like any list I make is wildly incomplete. I am not an expert. And yet – thinking you have to be an expert before saying anything when everyone’s voice is needed is not helpful.
So here are some books that have really stayed with me and helped me to expand my worldview:
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Nitinikiau Innusi: I Keep the Land Alive by Tshaukuesh Elizabeth Penashue
Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence by Leanne Simpson (I just finished this one and want to write more about it)
The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy by Arthur Manuel
Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call by Arthur Manuel
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Plus, of course, google anti-racism if you haven’t been learning about it yet. There are TONS of good books out there, though I would suggest, when it comes to anti-racism, sticking to books written by Black and Indigenous people.
Last month I celebrated 10 years in business with the Creative Dream Incubator by offering a bunch of free classes and coaching – all the replays are available on this page – I recommend checking out the class on working with impossible dreams.
And as I thought about all the people I have worked with over the years, and how much each of them has struggled….how we all feel so much self doubt and fear and we held back in so many different internal and external ways….
And then I thought about how a lot of our inner stuff we have about our dreams, we have because we live in a word that is so hostile towards dreams….
And suddenly it was so clear.
No one is BORN timid with their dreams. We LEARN it, living in this culture.
And at the same time – after 10 years of creating courses and developing systems for doing this work – I’ve created the ultimate system (Dream Book) for helping people navigate the path from where they are to where they want to be.
Dream Book is creative and flexible and works for all kinds of dreams, for navigating both the inner and outer work. I use it every day to help me with my dreams and I love tending to the group in the Dream Book program…
But, for me, CREATING new programs take a lot more energy than FACILITATING programs does. Which means all of that creative energy I’ve been using to create new programs for the last 10 years can be used somewhere else now. And so…
I want the Creative Dream Incubator to be exploring: how do we change the culture so that we don’t have as many obstacles to work through?
I mean this in two ways:
How do we help to level the playing field NOW, in terms of racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, classism, and all of the ways our political, social and financial structures oppress and fail us all, in varying degrees?
How do we create freedom, joy, and a good life for future generations?
There is so much I want to talk about
And I have a lot of thoughts about the intersection of white supremacy, capitalism and the life coaching/spiritual + personal growth industries and where the Live Your Best Life Industry actively contributes to systemic oppression.
It’s time for the new age to grow up and be a force for good for ALL people and life on this planet.
All of the activism work I’ve been doing and learning about over the last 5 years I’ve done largely in my personal life. I didn’t know how the Creative Dream Incubator could be a part of that. But this keeps coming up when I am talking with my friends in the industry and now I see a way to begin – by putting these conversations out here in public.
And I know from working with dreams that you don’t have to know HOW. You just have to show up. So this is my commitment to start showing up.
I have been doing a lot of writing, and getting posts ready to share on my blog and social media accounts. I will start posting them this week.
So many people are waking up to so many things.
And as awkward and painful as it is to look at this stuff, we were never going to create a better world, a sustainable world with human rights and a good life for everyone, by avoiding the uncomfortable things.
It’s one thing to agree with this in theory, and it’s a totally different thing to really look at your self, your life, and your work, and notice where YOU need to change, on a personal level, and then look at where you can contribute to positive change in the world around you.
But that’s been what is happening! All over the place! This is so exciting!
Marketing coaches are saying “A lot of what I’ve taught actually is pretty sleazy, I just try to put a nice veneer on it and say I’m doing better. I wonder what it would look like to actually DO better.”
Holistic healers are saying “Some of the teachings I use may be culturally appropriated, I don’t have a clear connection to the source of the teachings. This is so scary to look at, but I am going to figure out how to be more in integrity with my values in how I put this out there.”
And spiritual teachers noticing where they teach spiritual by-pass and doing the work to try to clean up their communities.
Everywhere I look there are examples of shifting priorities and sharing vulnerable realizations and speaking up and figuring out how to show up.
So much good is happening.
Of course, there are also a lot of people going in the other direction. Q-Anon has taken over a huge part of the New Age movement. Where I live, a conservative Christian city hosted an anti-lockdown rally recently – while their hospital is stretched beyond its limits with COVID cases. Plenty of internet marketing gurus are still toting the “making 7 figures during the pandemic is the best way to live your best life” nonsense.
Because it IS so awkward/difficult/vulnerable/painful to really look at ourselves and examine our own shadows, it gets tempting to just look in the other direction. In fact, if you don’t have the right supports and tools to do the real and difficult work of transformation – going in the other direction feels like your only option.
Without making excuses for anyone – it’s human nature to have walls up around looking at that kind of thing.
So how can WE help support the change we want to see in the world?
I think we need to keep asking ourselves this, as a way to make space for the answers to come.
Image description: Me, laying on the floor, painting with watercolours. Watercolour painting is one of my favourite ways to calm the fuck down and dial in a little deeper to my inner self. I’m doing a lot of it these days.
My province went into lockdown today. It sucks, but I do get to ride this out in a very comfortable, warm, safe home, full of food and loads of ways to entertain myself.
What about the people who don’t have this?
What does it mean for me to stay in and focus on my own creative projects, to live in my beautiful privileged bubble while people in my city suffer?
How am I using my privilege to make my own life better?
How am I using my privilege to make any kind of positive difference in the world?
People are always quick to tell me how important my work is. How it DOES make a positive difference to so many. But how is it helping the homeless in my city when all of the safe COVID isolation rooms are already booked while our numbers keep spiking?
And yes I do give money away to groups who help the homeless, I’ve done that for many years and so far that has not solved the problem. I don’t think we should be so quick to feel good about ourselves for our financial donations while the problems persist.
How is my work helping Indigenous children in my city in CFS who just had more of their funding taken from them by our government? Most of these kids already end up in jail or on the street and their futures just got even harder. This is colonization in action in my city.
We’re all connected. Pretending we’re not is destroying us.
Once you are aware of your privilege you do have a choice to make:
- just feel guilty about it and do nothing to change it
- lean into it so it can keep making your own life better
- use it to dismantle systemic privilege and create a new culture where we take care of each other.
I know that feels like a big thing. It feels daunting and hopeless like… what can I possibly do?
I wrote the above, and then I sat down with my Dream Book and this was my mantra: I am a portal of possibility.
I had glued it into my journal earlier his week, but I couldn’t journal with it because it felt too far away. I WANTED to be a portal of possibility, but I couldn’t feel it and didn’t want to journal and about how far away this felt.
And that’s when I saw it. The answer to the question: what can I possibly do?
Sit with it.
Process your feelings. Get out of emotional reactivity and into constructive creative thinking.
Make space for the answers.
Because this IS a big thing. It will take all of us.
It’s too small for any one of us, but ALL of us getting out there and doing the things we can see to do – can burn this fucking thing down.
When you sit with the questions and make space for the answers… ideas will come.
I just had a great one I’m going to explore this weekend.
I started the day an absolute MESS of feelings.
On top of the chaotic US election process, my city is now Canada’s Covid hotspot. Our hospitals are at capacity, and our health care and social services have been absolutely GUTTED for the last several years by our conservative government for the last several years, leaving us completely vulnerable. Their response? They are asking for VOLUNTEERS for Covid testing and health care services.
They’re not willing to spend any money to keep us safe. Meanwhile they have given millions upon millions to their friends for consultations while they were gutting everything.
I am incandescent with rage that we allow people with no compassion, vision or integrity to govern us. I am also so completely distracted by all the news I want to check my phone every five minutes to see what’s new.
So this is the vibe I brought into my daily practice today.
Anger and fear and heartbreak and worry and determination and confusion and helplessness and hope and a wish that I could work on my creative projects but the kind of focus needed for that feels so far away.
So many conflicting feelings, with such intensity, I felt like all I could do today is bounce around in my emotional reactivity.
Five minutes into my practice, all that changed.
(This is why we ALL need a daily practice – to have this container ready and working for the days when we REALLY need it)
I received a clear + helpful message: USE your feelings as FUEL to create a new future.
This message felt revolutionary and super familiar at the same time.
I got out my iPad and wrote it down in block letters and then of course i saw it: This is what I have been teaching for the last 10 years.
It’s landing differently right now because of what’s happening in the world.
But the work hasn’t changed.
More feelings = more fuel
A better world is possible. It will take creativity, vision, wisdom, hard work and collaboration to get there.
The first step: be with your feelings.
Move beyond emotional reactivity and sink into your deeper inner truth.
Then you can HARNESS the power of all of this energy, and use it to create something good.
You don’t have to do it alone.
I can help – The Hard Parts Are Where The Magic Happens Healing Circle and Inner Work Workshop is a free 80 minute video class I offer where I lead you through this process.
I recorded this class a few years go. I think we need this work now more than ever.
Sign up below for instant access:
I ordered the noise-canceling headphones of my dreams and they were supposed to arrive yesterday.
There was all of this fortuitous synchronistic stuff happening around the purchase of the headphones, and the whole thing felt like an opportunity to step into my next-level future dream self.
The headphones represented spaciousness and ease and having my self care needs exquisitely met.
The headphones did not arrive.
When I checked the tracking, I saw that they had arrived in my city, and then were returned to sender. Also: no more of these particular headphones (this particular choice being ridiculously well-researched) were listed for sale on the website of the Canadian company I’d bought them from. (Yes, I can check other stores, but NO I will not shop at Amazon)
I was so frustrated and disappointed.
And while I cried a part of me was like “WTF? Are you really this upset? We’ll find the headphones eventually”
But it wasn’t about the headphones. It was about feeling like I was stepping into that next level of having my self care needs be exquisitely met and then having it taken from me.
Feeling like I don’t deserve it.
And then feeling into all of the losses of this year.
And then remembering that my friend is gone and feeling terrified that people can just die.
An then I was like “Oh sweetie, I’m sorry, I get it, cry all you want”
So I did.
And when I was done crying I did some soothing yin yoga, kissed my husband goodnight, noticed how exquisitely my self care needs are already being met, and drifted off to sleep. I woke up feeling happy and inspired.
I see so many people asking for help dealing with their feelings, because 2020 has been so hard and we all have so many feelings.
But what most of them are really asking for is help DISTRACTING THEMSELVES or TURNING OFF their feelings.
We need to FEEL our feelings, now more than ever.
Un-felt feelings don’t magically disappear. They calcify in your inner landscape.
I’ve been helping people with this since 2008 because that calcification forms the basis of the INNER BLOCKS make it harder to pursue your dreams.
This calcification of un-felt feelings makes it harder for you to know your true self.
It makes it harder for you to act in integrity with who you really are – it keeps you in a life that is too small for who you really are.
It’s what is making parents say “but our children have lost so much already” and demand that Halloween go on without any changes, ignoring the facts about super spreader events.
It makes us entitled and greedy and short sighted and without empathy for those who are more vulnerable than we are. This is why our species are killing the only home we have. This is why white supremacy and colonization and capitalism and greed.
And this morning on social media what I kept seeing is people wishing for 2020 to end.
As though that is some kind of solution.
The end of 2020 is not a magical portal that’s going to bring us into a better place.
That’s not the way through.
People keep asking about the online healing circle I did where I lead you through the working through a difficult feeling to get to the other side of it and feel free. You can get instant access to it when you sign up for the Your Next Steps free course.