Over the past few days I’ve had to confront some extremely uncomfortable truths about myself.
One of my favourite thought leaders, Danielle Laporte, just unveiled her Lighter course, a 12 month ‘soul support program’ focusing on a number of resonant topics like unplugging, caring for the earth and cultivating meaningful human connection.
I was immediately excited by what she was offering and reached out to friends over Facebook to find someone to take the course with. And I know many people were led to her program as a result of my recommendation. What I didn’t notice were the racist images and questionable subtext that were used on the program webpage. My lens of white entitlement didn’t even register that what I was seeing was far from ok.
I am feeling deeply ashamed. The fact that I didn’t realize this when looking at the images is a massive problem. I have spent hours over the past couple of days hearing the voices of women who were hurt, offended and rightfully angry. I see that I have a lot of work to do to dismantle my privilege and how I see the world through my lens of white prerogative. I need to learn, listen and educate myself.
As of Thursday, the Lighter program has been canceled and Danielle has also made the commitment to do her own work.
Recently many high profile white thought leaders have had their blind spots called out. What this is showing us is that even though we may feel like we are ‘good people’ and are not racist, growing up with a white privileged lens means we may not even be aware of how our actions and words are harmful, problematic, and perpetuating a system of oppression.
While my personal and professional philosophies and values have centred around inclusion, diversity, oneness, and honouring, I now realize that I have not done nearly enough to make that happen.
Valuing inclusiveness doesn’t mean that I am being inclusive. I will actively work to change this – by educating myself through courses, reading, discussion and finding ways to make what I do truly more inclusive.
I’m also in the work now of exploring and learning about the ways in which I can be more honouring of the roots of the yoga I practice and teach, and it’s taking a lot of learning, listening, and deep hard reflection.
I’ll be the first to admit this is uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.
But I also feel it in my bones that the work is vital and I need to show up fully. I always end my classes with the Sanskrit prayer – Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu ~ May all beings everywhere be happy and free. Simply wishing for this to happen won’t make it so. Dismantling inequality, oppression, patriarchy and privilege takes action. And that action will likely be messy, painful and filled with mistakes along the way.
I invite you to join me in deepening this work through action and support. Below is a recommended article along with a list of resources at the end to further our education. I highly recommend investing in yourself and this work because at this time the veils are being lifted. The moment is now take personal responsibility to end systemic racism and oppression and actually be inclusive, accepting, and celebrating of BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Colour).
I recommend starting by reading the excellent work by Layla Saad and referring to her incredible resource list at the end of her powerful blog post (be sure to read Part 1 too). Layla Saad also has a Patreon, where you can support her here: https://www.patreon.com/laylasaad
Let’s stay connected, let’s talk honestly with each other, let’s show up, be accountable and do what needs to be done.
love & pranams,
Take this course (via Abigail Rose Clarke) to specifically look at the intersection of white cisgender womanhood in unpacking racism. This is the ONLY resource on this list by a white woman and there’s a reason for that: http://www.abigailroseclarke.com/dismantle/
A Relevant Race Issues 101 type share. Can give you a way to better understand how spiritual white feminism ties into a longer history of violence. There’s a lot here. Take your time. Read all of it. http://aidamanduley.com/2014/11/28/the-ferguson-masterpost-how-to-argue-eloquently-back-yourself-up-with-facts/
Do these expressive writing prompts from Leesa Renee Hall –http://leesareneehall.com/expressivewriting-prompts-to-use-if-youve-been-accused-of-whitefragility-spiritualbypass-or-whiteprivilege/ You can also follow Leesa on Patreon and get access to more prompts: https://www.patreon.com/leesareneehall
Take the Coaching As Activism course (via Andréa Ranae) to get practical ideas on merging this into your practice. There are multiple tiers and ALL of them give you some amount of direct contact with an anti-racist educator in addition to the course: http://coachingasactivism.com/
Torrie Pattillo‘s Master-Class-Post on racism in the spiritual/feminist/healing community https://medium.com/@torriepattillo/proof-that-the-spiritual-healing-community-feminist-leadership-and-personal-growth-industry-is-ceb703ab7c04 Torrie’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/torriepattillo