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.
Our dreams need each other. Capitalist and colonialist structures have created a world where some people are held up while others are pushed down. But our dreams need each other. We all NEED everyone’s dreams in order to succeed.
We ALL need a level playing field.
Remember: Your dream is how your soul calls you towards your True Self. It’s bigger than you and it comes from the place where we’re all connected. Our dreams were meant to grow together.
The other day as I was working on new plans for my marketing systems I kept getting SUPER STUCK.
There were layers and layers of stuck, so I got un-stuck and then stuck again and then un-stuck and stuck again. This is just how it is some days, when you allow the Inner Work to inspire and direct the Outer Work.
This was the BIG STICKY STUCK that I found at the bottom of all of those layers:
A blue baby monster that cried “You’re being TERRIBLE AND GREEDY!!!!!!”
That familiar old story that I’m not allowed to want more, I should be grateful for what I have.
(And I am – grateful that is – but that doesn’t mean I don’t also see MORE in my future)
Which is followed by a sense of SHAME for even wanting more.
As I make space for the shame I do start to feel just deeply wildly grateful. It IS amazing that I get to do the work that is more interesting, inspiring and fulfilling to me, AND that I have 100% freedom over HOW I do that work. AND I have an amazing family. I am loved. I am safe. I am healthy. I have my dream home and a kick ass bike. I have everything I need to feel my best.
Honestly, I feel like a 1%-er.
I do totally believe that I am probably HAPPIER than a lot of the 1%-ers. But obviously I am nowhere near a 1%er. Though I am very good with money, and live well without spending tons.
But I FEEL LIKE one. I feel how much more I have than others.
I feel how my path has been EASIER.
Now – it’s not as easy as people tend to THINK.
Some people hear about the work I do and assume I am bankrolled by a parent or spouse, which I have not been – I got married after I had been 100% self employed for 6 years. I built my business on my own. I worked REALLY hard and overcame a LOT of obstacles.
I am an extremely privileged person.
I had a lot of savings because I had a good job, which was fairly easy for me to get. I have a university education which my parents paid for and forced me to have (I did try to drop out at one point and they wouldn’t hear it). I had enough food my whole childhood so my brain could develop properly. I live in a country with free health care.
I owned a home with a low mortgage payment because I used an inheritance I received from my beloved aunt who passed away. Which never felt like a privilege because I would have preferred to have my aunt of course. But now that I understand how many people who pass away and instead of leaving a little money leave a debt for their families to pay for end of life expenses, I see the privilege.
My parents grew up with absolutely nothing and managed to put themselves through university and create a beautiful, stable life for their children.
This left me with the idea that anyone who works hard at it can do the same.
My parents faced a LOT of adversity. And, especially my mother, sacrificed a LOT. But as white people, they ALSO had a lot of privilege.
Now I understand the truth: LOTS of people face adversity and work hard. But some people, no matter how hard they work, continue to have new obstacles placed in front of them, while others can use that hard work to propel themselves into a different economic class.
This is capitalism and colonialism and white supremacy. This is the world we live in and this is the world we DREAM in.
This FACT – that I have privilege which has made it easier to make my dreams real, is making it really hard for me to think about DREAMING BIGGER right now. Which is where that shame comes from.
So I am holding both truths. I DO feel inspired to keep moving forward with my dreams and I DO feel really conflicted about it.
And I DO believe that our dreams connect us with our PURPOSE and POTENTIAL and that we need all the purpose and potential we can get to change this world.
I believe that collectively our dreams will lead us to a better world for all.
AND some days I wonder how me, a privileged person, helping other privileged people make their dreams real really helps the world.
I mean every time I say this out loud to someone, that person quickly responds to remind me of all the things I do that help others.
And I do know my work is valuable, I am not questioning that. I am questioning it’s place in the context of the whole – and I think it’s an important question to sit with and not rush to answer.
I am actually making space for a new and more inclusive approach.
And yes I know the easy answer to this question: some people serve by holding the higher vision of what we are moving towards (which is me, the visionary) and some people serve by helping those who are in the most acute need (my husband, the social worker).
And both are needed and valid forms of help.
But there IS a bit of a stench of spiritual bypass in that it feels like an excuse to stay away from the harder questions.
My husband is an Indigenous social worker. Living with him has opened my eyes to how systemic racism functions in Canada and it breaks my heart. It’s like I always knew it was there but now I live with it.
In my city – where I leave my MacBook Pro and iPad Pro sitting out in coffee shops when I go to the bathroom because I feel that safe here – Indigenous women and girls are NOT SAFE. They are trafficked, kidnapped and murdered at rates that would have the whole city on alert, if it was happening to white women.
I remember when I was growing up, everyone was against Apartheid in South Africa. We couldn’t believe that was happening in our world.
But it was happening in our city too. And it still is happening. It’s just a little more subtle so it’s easier for white people to look away – which allows it to continue.
I cannot pursue my own dreams while ignoring this framework of racism and white supremacy that I grow my dreams in.
I am one person living in a broken system, I can’t change that system.
But white privileged people IGNORING the system actually nurtures the system. So I know that I need to NOT just carry on with my work and ignore what’s happening in the world around me.
I don’t know what else to do right now.
I’m not supposed to have the answers.
All I can have right now is a commitment to keep exploring this. And a willingness to sit with the questions without rushing to answers.
And I will do so publicly because I would like to encourage YOU to explore with me.
Over the last 2 years, I have been working hard on re-thinking my work and creating a whole new framework for how I help creative people make their dreams real.
This kind of re-imagining takes a LOT of energy. So, for the last 2 years, I have had to pull back on other parts of my business. Most notably: marketing.
Whatever your dream is, there are some parts of it that you LOVE to work on and some parts that you don’t love. And, whatever your dream is, your dream NEEDS YOU to take care of it, all parts of it, even the parts you don’t like.
AND you can always bring the magic + love you feel for your dreams and use that energy to fuel the more annoying tasks that just need to get done.
So that’s what I am trying to do now as I’m taking some time to focus on marketing.
Marketing itself isn’t the problem.
Marketing is how you shine your light. It’s how you share the message behind your work with the people who want to hear it.
Marketing is actually pretty fun and interesting. I mean you have total freedom to do it however you want. You can make artwork or videos or a podcast… you can create challenges or throw a party.
There is no limit to HOW you can put the word out there and get people excited about your work.
The problem is all of my internal reactions to marketing.
A few months ago I got a long, angry, ranty email from someone who signed up for my free class and then didn’t even take the class, unsubscribed from my emails, and then a week later decided to respond to one of the emails I had sent before she unsubscribed.
She was upset her friend who had just become a life coach who seemed to care only about the money as she was trying to get a business started. She said she understood that she doesn’t know anything about me or my work but now her whole view of the industry was changed.
She said she couldn’t believe in her own dreams anymore.
This week I want to focus on developing and refining my marketing systems.
I have all sorts of ideas I am really excited about.
But then I think about the sleazy side of online marketing and I think about all the people who are just FED UP with being “sold to” and I worry about not getting too close to the gross stuff and “what if someone thinks I’m sleazy?”
And I get all tangled up and working on marking starts to SEEM very sticky and complicated.
Another problem I have is how marketing in the personal growth/life transformation has become so homogeneous.
How we have somehow developed “Standard Ways Everyone Is Supposed To Do Things”.
I mean, if I see one more “boss babe” who looks like every other “boss base” with that exact same shade of pink branding that they all have trying to sell me my best life I WILL scream!
BUT then there is this other part of my brain that picks up on this, believe that “this is The Way To Do Business Online” and expects ME to fit in and is quickly judging all of my ideas as being “too different”.
And even though I know with 100% certainty that some of those boss babes are actually lying about their success and using “fake it till you make it” as a business strategy, this part of my brain believes that this is the way to run a successful business!
(This is actually deliberate – a lot of “persuasive marketing techniques” are downright manipulation)
The truth is, we have all the space in the world to do things our own way. Infinite creative possibilities.
So this is my mission right now:
Throw all this junk I am thinking/feeling about online marketing into one of those gold panning things and sift out the sleaze until I am left with little nuggets of goodness, the essence of marketing as the way that I shine the light and invite people into the world of the Creative Dream Incubator (which is a pretty amazing world to be a part of!).
And then use those nuggets IN MY UNIQUE WAY.
I don’t have to melt them down to make the same ring everything else is making and then sell it in the same way everyone else is selling it.
I can make something else entirely.
We ALL have that freedom.
Wish me luck!
It’s a gorgeous Friday in my little corner of the world.
I’m working from bed, with the window open and a vase of fresh cut lilacs on the night stand. I LOVE this time of year when I can keep the window open all day, before it gets too hot for that.
My cat Bear is curled up beside me sleeping. Once in a while he wakes and stretch and I hear a little yawn. Then he goes back to sleep.
I’m drawing. All day. My heart is so happy!
I’ve got my period last night. Last year I decided to start honouring this time, to slow down and listen better to what my body needs. Make it a sacred retreat.
Today that means: leaving the rest of this week’s to-to list for next week, super long meditation this morning, now lying in bed sniffing lilacs, drawing on my iPad while watching Jane the Virgin on netflix. With pizza and salad and honey lattes.
This is artwork I’m currently working on, for the little booklet that will go with my new deck of Journal Cards for Dreamers that I’ve been working on and hoping to share soon:
As horrified and terrified as I am by what’s happening in the world, I am believing, more than ever, in the magic and power of our dreams.
Between climate change and the rise of white nationalism, my heart is really hurting. And the scarier it all gets, the more we need to let our dreams to guide us. Our dreams are always leads us to what’s TRUE and what’s NEEDED. Our dreams are who we are here to be.
I’m getting ready to make some changes in the Creative Dream Incubator, because these scary times we’re living in DO call for deeper dream support.
I’m creating a new class on developing a DEEP practice for working with your dreams, of making SPACE for your dream.
It will only be available in the Creative Dream Circle, but I will be opening up monthly memberships in the Circle to make it easier for anyone who wants DEEP support to get it.
And I’ll be sharing the new Journaling Cards for Dreamers soon-ish.
Plus I’ve got some other projects underway that I am not quite ready to start talking about just yet.
The world is calling for our dreams, now more than ever. I want to do what I can do help you answer the call.