I see so many of my well-meaning and activist friends posting on Facebook, participating in protests, starting book clubs, and so many companies sending out their diversity pledges. All of it has left me with a deeper inner discomfort. With full respect to all my friends reading this that have made these actions, NONE of them have felt authentic or appropriate for me personally. To do any of these actions, to me, felt like I was trying on someone else’s clothes. Doing something because other people were doing it, jumping on the bandwagon because it seemed like the right thing to do. Every well-meaning brave hearted person I know wants to DO something. I get it. It is certainly HIGH TIME we dismantle racism. But what is there to DO? I myself have chosen to sit and BE. To observe, to allow a deep inner reflection, and to BE with all of this. There is a lot of inner turmoil and discomfort and confusion.
My strong brave friend from Vancouver, BC – Tien Neo Eamas posted a real raw rant on Facebook.
"I am of colour, an immigrant, a transman. I've been a woman, I've been gay, I've been a lesbian, I'm bi gendered and have had experienced decades of abuse from family, community, societal systems, institutional racism and trans ignorance.... I now teach my wisdom from my unique life journey.
I know tons of folks who have lived in these places, who wake up to face another day of hatred, fear, ignorance and stupidity from the main stream, from pervasively hetero normative culture from racist systems and from plain old annoying ignorance. If another white spiritualist tells me to namaste I just may puke on them. YES that is the pervasive way that ignorant racism works!
Now for my dear white friends... I have much to teach you too!!! With loving kindness, and tapping DEEP..oh so deep... into my wise patience hahahah... I will (attempt to) NOT spew my anger at you for your ignorance an patronising ways.
I want to bring my infamous playful wise ass #wizardry to this conversation.
Cos there is core foundational work that YOU NEED TO DO!
Keep watching my posts, open your eyes and ears and see what is actually going on. Before you thoughtlessly LOVE and LIGHT people... get super aware of what YOUR SKIN COLOUR represents on this planet at this point in time.
JUST BE WITH THIS ALL RIGHT NOW.
No need to react, no need to justify, no need to figure it out... just be with this discomfort for a bit - don't go mindlessly and reactionarily spewing your 'anti racism' stand, then pat yourself on your back..... JUST BE IN THE NEW uncomfortable, awkward, awareness for a bit.
Yes we are all souls, yes we all matter, yes we are human, yes cut us and we all bleed. AND racism and oppression happens. How can YOU be in the face of this. What now can YOU do to bring the EVOLUTION forward.
And I chose to get vulnerable and write him a response, this is part of it:
“Thanks. It has felt all wrong to me. The response “avenues”. So I have been silent. Watching. Seeing. Observing. Yes, sitting with it.
That feeling of posturing and being inauthentic. That’s how it feels when I get a “You should be doing this to be an ally” external nudge. Thank you for being you. And authentically sharing and inviting open dialog. We (meaning well meaning white folks) need help and guidance. The supposition that I should “know what to do” to make it better feels like part of the problem or projection.
Like....as much as it sucks to admit...I’m dumb in this issue as I was raised white. I chose to defer to my friends who are experts for guidance.”
From that comment exchange, I am honored to say he has asked me to assist him to hold space for the larger conversation, and we are holding a Zoom meeting on Wednesday June 10, 6 pm PDT/9 pm EDT. Please join us!!
We had an amazing planning and prep chat on Saturday night. The conversation began to help me clarify and crystalize my own inner turmoil around all this. I got a preview of the material he wants to share with us. It is RICH and DEEP and INNER work. It will bring you into very uncomfortable places, and then help you shine the light of awareness into the deep dark crannies of your own racist tendencies.
It is especially tuned for the Spiritual Community. Where there is a predominance of bypassing and cultural appropriation happening. (yoga teachers, yoga students, lightworkers, this means you, US).
This is a place to come be authentic. To speak the deepest darkest human brain thoughts and reactions you have. For speaking them brings them into light. Come and ask your stupid white person questions. Share your inherited biases. It is also a place to listen and BE.
I am going to be a mouthpiece and space holder for DUMB WHITE SPIRITUAL PEOPLE everywhere. I am going to LISTEN and observe my own reaction.
Tien ran me through his alchemical work around dismantling racism from within, and I can tell you it is brilliant. I really want you to hear his wisdom. It is tangible, approachable and applicable to all of us. ESPECIALLY if you believe you are not part of the problem. ESPECIALLY if you believe you do not have any internal racist dialog going on (spoiler alert – YOU DO!!).
I will give you an example of one that I shared with Tien in our chat Saturday evening.
I notice a tendency of overcompensation with myself. I gave this generic example of being in a grocery store isle with an inconsiderate man plowing through. If it was a white man, I would be thinking FU bastard thoughts about him, and give him a scowl and mental “shade”. If said gentleman was a black fellow, I might go out of my way to be nice. To make eye contact, to make him feel seen and “ok”. But you know what, that is racism too. As in, well-meaning white guilt overcompensation. And who is that helping?? My own idea of myself….maybe….
But it is certainly not helping my community members of color. Because, my well-meaning trying to hard is a burden to my friends of color too.
So….what is to DO??
First and foremost…we BE. We sit in the seat of self-awareness, no matter how comfortable that may BE.
Our friends of color have been navigating massively uncomfortable positions for far to long. It is our turn.
Tien shared that he has been trying to have this authentic dialog for YEARS with white people. To no avail. To deaf ears. I assured him there are some of us that are READY.
Can you prove me right and join us in the conversation?
I am willing to sit on the hot seat publicly and do my best to BE UNCOMFORTABLE and BE TEACHABLE and BE REAL. Will you join me?
With respect for all,
Wednesday June 10 at 6 pm PDT, 9 pm EDT