I hit (another!) pandemic wall on the weekend and I did the things that help best when I am in Full On Overwhelm. I finished my day with a hot lavender bath, I did yoga and meditated, and I went to bed early.
Normally, this helps me wake up the next day ready to take on the world. Yesterday, I woke up still crabby. And as my day went on I stayed crabby – even though I was doing all the things that usually help.
My husband (who is STILL working from home) noticed, of course, and towards the end of the day came upstairs to tell me a silly story in the hopes of cheering me up. That’s when I started crying.
“Sweetie, what’s wrong? I’m trying to cheer you up.”
I realised later, that it was because I was touched by him trying to cheer me up, that I finally felt some of what I was actually feeling. That all that crabbiness and overwhelm was really more about having-so-many-feelings-I-can’t-feel-anything and being all bottled up, emotionally.
And expecting my usual self care routines to take care all of this right now is unrealistic. I need more.
That’s the breakthrough. To look for ways to double my self care.
The best breakthroughs seem boring and obvious once you’ve had them. But nevertheless, they change everything.
So I doubled up on my self care practices and gave myself more space to be where I am and I woke up this morning feeling more clear and grounded and I am remembering – we just had 3 weeks of brutal winter weather, and everything is still closed.
Normally, I can go for walks in brutal winter weather. In -40s, I can bundle up and go for a 30 minute walk – I’ll just be cold by the end of it. So I walk to a coffee shop/bakery with a wood fire oven. It’s toasty warm in there, and in the coffee shop section they’ve got huge sunny windows and dozens of plants. The warmth, the sun, the plants, the coffee, the treats, the whole place smelling like whatever’s baking – it’s a pretty epic spot to do some journaling and writing. Plus I warm up enough to walk 30 minutes back home, no matter what the weather.
Bundling up to walk 15 minutes from home, then turn around and walk back, just doesn’t have the same feel to it, you know? So I haven’t been bothering to do it, and now I’m feeling the effects of not getting out at all.
Last weekend we went to my friend’s farm.
Normally, my friend and I would have lunch or coffee together at least every other week, since she works in the city.
My husband is a traditional Cree medicine person. He received messages from some spirits who needed to be fed, so he needed space to have a sacred fire. So I spoke to my friend at the farm and she offered her space – provided we didn’t go inside her home.
We were only there for about 2 hours, but it was AMAZING to see my friend again and just sit around and hang out (it was a warmer day and we had the fire going).
It was after that, that it hit me how much I’ve lost. And how very much I miss my people.
This turned up the volume on the I-Have-Too-Many-Feelings-I’m-All-Bottled-Up thing that was happening. It pushed it all over the edge.
And now I feel ACCEPTING of my feelings. Like they’re not all bottled up and I am not on the verge of exploding. I can just slow down and be more patient with myself.
It’s a subtle shift in focus.
A shift from: “just keep going, you are one of the lucky ones, you have everything you need to get through this ok” which was only creating a backlog of un-felt feelings in me, which was making everything harder than it already was.
To: “Sweetie this is HARD, make space for all of these feelings” which helps me be more deeply present with ALL parts of me which plugs me back into my superpowers which is the thing that will actually help me move through this best.
And let’s me clear: I knew this. I KNEW BETTER than to do what I was doing.
The breakthrough didn’t teach me something I didn’t already know.
It put me back in touch with that inner knowing in a way that it really LANDED.
And then I was able to make that change.
And now everything feels different for me. I have all these new options for how to move forward.
The BREAKTHROUGH Alchemy Coaching Circle is this Saturday – on Feb 27.
A Breakthrough is a sudden shift in perspective, a radical new way of seeing yourself, or your situation.
A Breakthrough gives you new options that you didn’t know you had, before the breakthrough.
A Breakthrough brings you back to your own truth.
I am not promising everyone who attends will have an instant breakthrough. I am hoping for that though!
What I AM promising is that attending the Circle, and then showing up for the next 30 days to keep working with it, will give you these things:A radical new way of seeing yourself, or your situation
A deeper connection to your own truth
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.
The only people who never get stuck are the people who are not going after their dreams.
You get stuck. I get stuck. We all get stuck.
It’s fine to be stuck.
You’re wrong about WHY you’re stuck.
You’re not quite seeing a part of your path clearly or you’re caught up in something from the past or you just don’t know what you don’t know.
But once you see it more clearly – you’ll also know how to get un-stuck. Those two things tend to happen together and they create the foundation for your breakthrough.
It really is that simple.
We just make it seem complicated with all of the layers of stories we make up about why we’re stuck and we can’t get un-stuck, and also with a stubborn refusal to look at the thing we most need to look at.
I am not saying that you are the SOURCE of your stuck.
I’m working on a longer blog to share about that later this week – how a lot of New Age/Life Coaching approaches to getting un-stuck assume that you are 100% the cause of your problem and that leaves you powerless to get un-stuck when the cause of the stuck is any kind of systemic oppression.
And so the places where you have a hard time getting un-stuck are likely the places where your own stucks are intersecting with some forms of oppression that you face living in a patriarchal capitalist white supremacist colonialist culture.
Which does NOT mean that you are powerless to do anything about those stucks. It just means you need to take a different approach. But, again, I’ll share more about that later this week.
Think about the place where you’re stuck right now.
Really take a good long look at it.
And then imagine being un-stuck. Take a good long look at what being un-stuck will be like and feel like for you.
Then look back:
What’s between where you are now and where you’ll be then?
That’s your breakthrough.
I know, it’s probably all fuzzy and unclear.
It’s right in the middle of your blind spot so it’s very hard to see on your own, which is why it’s so easy to be stuck.
Come to the BREAKTHROUGH Alchemy Coaching Circle for the February full moon!
In the circle we’ll go deeper into this and you’ll have a chance to see your situation in a whole new light.
You’ll leave the BREAKTHROUGH Alchemy Coaching Circle with:
- Clarity. The kind of clarity where you KNOW FOR SURE what to do next. Either you’ll just get un-stUck right away or you’ll know HOW to work with your stuck, if it will take more time to clear it.
- And you’ll get whole month of support for DOING THAT THING in my online creative mastermind so you have space to create LASTING CHANGE for yourself.
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.
Yesterday was our monthly New Moon Alchemy Coaching Circle in Dream Book. While I was getting ready for it, I looked at my notes from January’s call and was stunned to see the goals I had set then.
This last month I’ve done lots of things, but none of them were the things that I said I’d do, at last month’s new moon circle.
I shared this at the start of our call, and said that I planned to put this month’s goals into my daytimer as a way to hold them better.
Is that a failure as a coach or is it freedom to just follow my creative flow or is it something else?
I think of failing your monthly goals as a really good thing, as one of the ways that you learn what your dreams REALLY need and grow into the person who can do those things.
But I didn’t fail at my goals. I dropped them, that’s different.
Not to make excuses or anything, but I think it’s the pandemic.
Should we use the pandemic as an excuse, or reasonable reason, to not bother with our goals?
I think some goals should absolutely be shelved right now. Like I wish giant corporations would put their profit goals aside and just focus on helping their employees and customers get through the pandemic safely.
Let me explain the difference between GOALS and DREAMS here.
Every month in the New Moon Alchemy Circle we set GOALS to that help us move towards our DREAMS over the following month.
DREAMS are nourishing and help us be our true selves. Dreams heal and grow us. We should NEVER not bother with our dreams because working with your dream is generative.
Especially now, we need the medicine of our dreams. And there are an infinite number of ways to work/play/grow with a dream – it’s NOT all about the “setting and meeting goals” part. The inner aspects of Dream Work are especially valuable right now.
Dream Work is the high quality self care that we all need right now.
And the point of the new moon goal setting is to step OUT of our usual ways of being in our lives, step IN to an alchemy circle where anything is possible, and then check in with our dreams and our selves, and make a plan for where to focus next.
It’s NOT all about the “making it happen” part. Some months are more about healing and restorative self care and incubating ideas.
But my story more complicated than this.
Because when I looked in my daytimer to add my goals this morning – well holy shit my goals WERE there all along, written in both the monthly goals section and in each week’s to do list.
It just didn’t FEEL anything like how I remember it FEELING during the new moon circle where I set the goal.
These moments of surprising ourselves are often a sign that we are growing, our perspective has shifted we don’t recognize our own goals.
This is good. SO good.
It’s just super confusing to navigate.
So here’s what I am doing: I had a whole page about this in my Dream Book so I went back to update it, and took all of the ideas I had there and made a list. This month the goal is to spend time with each idea.
SPEND TIME can mean: journaling about it, meditating on it, taking action on it – just go with what I’m feeling in the moment, not trying to force myself into taking action.
It’s very easy to FORCE a dream.
We can use willpower and hard work and an attitude of “I won’t allow any negative thinking or self-sabotaging beliefs to get in my way” and just steamroll our way into a dream.
That’s a great way to create the OUTER form of the dream.
You may not be happy with how it FEELS to be there though. It might be hard to hold onto it, it might be stressful to take care of it, it might not fit into the rest of your life and create other conflicts.
There are so many ways that dreams can go bad when we force them because we didn’t take the time to HEAL and GROW into it.
On the other hand, it’s also very easy to suffocate a dream from not taking enough action.
You can’t just meditate and journal your way into a dream. This work should become the FUEL for the outer work.
Finding the right balance IS complicated.
It’s NORMAL to get lost sometimes.
I think it’s even necessary to get lost, to go too far to one side, because that can teach you things that you can use when you come back into a more balanced approach.
So I’m forgiving myself for not working with my goals the way I wish I had over the last month.
And committing to try again this month.
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.
Grab your journal and watch the Dreams In Hard Times mini-class now:
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This class is a part of the FESTIVAL OF DREAMS – a whole month long deep dive into journaling and meditation.
Join me Monday mornings and we'll map out our weeks together in this LIVE FREE journaling + meditation class, working with creativity, intuition and magic.
It happens Mondays at 10am (Central, North American time) on Instagram. Follow me, and be on Instagram at the time and and you'll get a notification when I go live. Or participate in your own time using the replay on my video page