A post for white people on racism, white privilege and unconscious bias
When someone calls us out on our unconscious bias around issues of race, and we get defensive, what we are really saying is “white feelings matter more than the lives of people with colour”.
This is the paradigm of millennia – that people of colour should protect white people’s feelings over their own lives or their voices being heard.
That as white people, what takes priority are the feelings arising in us when we have seen that we are racist after all, when we have believed all our lives that we’re not.
The result is that when a person of colour points out our racism in any given moment (however unintentional we believe it was) we insist that they must say it in the ‘right’ way, deliver their message without anger or blame etc (i.e. gently, carefully and sensitively) so we are protected from having our shame and guilt triggered.
Simply put, this has to stop. Instead we need to see that our feelings of guilt and shame ARE the gateway to change, and a huge catalyst to action. These feelings are the ‘spiritual’ teacher (speaking to the white spiritual community, of which I am also a signed up member) and the fuel to take action over and over and over again until racism is gone from our world.
If we cannot be in relationship with these feelings in us then we’re not gonna be able to be a part of change because we will want to deny, defend, counter attack or justify.
In the past few years the issue of people of colour being in my ‘white spiritual/self development’ workshops has come more and more to the fore front. It has felt hugely challenging at times and a massive steep humbling learning curve for me (and I thought I knew the issues already).
I welcome it, even though it’s hard at times to know how to be with it because I feel so uneducated. I have about 1/4 POC as participants on my workshops and courses and that’s not balanced. I can see now that, however welcoming I thought I was being, there are a million subtle ways that the message I sent out is not welcoming, mostly by simply not understanding the depth of the issue.
The pain, guilt and shame I feel about this is hard to be with but that’s the point, it is MY work to be with them. I have to face the fact that I have been a part of the problem when I thought I was so righteously doing the opposite..
The issue of racism and our uncomfortable feelings in relation to it is also the same in all our intimate relating, and never more so than with our primary partners. And if it’s ‘too much’ of a stretch for us to hold these feelings in relation to the issue of racism then let’s deepen our practising of it in our primary relationships.
How much of the time can we own and hold and bring our open hearted vulnerability and own our own guilt and shame to our partner without collapsing or defending? How often do we want to take the victim position and not look at our own position from a grounded, centred, empowered mature place (without the usual huge dollop of self hatred/blame thrown in).
The issue of racism is not a diversion from the global issues of environmental destruction, pandemic, political corruption or financial poverty. It is a deep expression OF it. It’s not a side issue. If I and my work stand for protecting nature and all life as equal and I exclude people of colour I am a total hypocrite. Anywhere that there is imbalance nature will call it out and do what she can do bring balance back. We are being asked right now as expressions of nature to do exactly that.
It is time for us to listen and keep listening; and if feelings of guilt and shame arise in us then let’s seek support to find ways to face what is inside of us. Much of this is in our ancestral line. I have phrases in my psyche that I heard my Father say when I was a child that are truly shocking, and when I spoke out I got slapped down for speaking up – so I learned not to.
Lets listen, and then listen more and listen more …stand beside people of colour, stand for them and stand with them.
In context to the work I offer, I want to clarify that if you come and work with me I will not be hijacking how you need support with this issue or insisting that you engage with this or my views. But I do hold it in my awareness all the time – it feels interconnected with the work we offer here and it feels important to weave it in. It is not an side issue for me, it is yet another example of our broken world
This is a link to a Facebook group that is going to begin on 15th June to help dismantle the system from the inside out. https://www.facebook.com/groups/528048657834066/
Let’s begin by affirming that every day is Earth Day. We are nature, our lives are intimately held within the web of life on our beautiful planet.
At this time, we are called so clearly into the remembering of ourselves in an honourable and respectful relationship to this web of life.
Because of the lockdown, everything has come to a stop. Nature is flourishing in places where there’s usually too much noise, light, pollution. And there’s a quality that’s specifically available right now that isn’t necessarily always available to us unless we happen to be out in the wild. There’s a stillness, a quietness, a quality of energy that’s in the field. There’s a difference in how the elements around us are expressing themselves.
It’s as if the volume has been turned up on nature and turned down on the business of humanity.
This place of receptivity stillness is a gift of the lockdown. At this potent time, there is an invitation to turn inward, to be more reflective. This is true, even if your home situation feels intense and chaotic, with children and partners at home during the day.
Begin a practice today, this Earth Day. Take time, even 5 minutes, to go outside, into your garden if you have one and if not, then sit by a window and just look out. If you are lucky enough to have access to a garden or wild outdoor space, go barefoot.
Allowing stillness to be your gateway, simply gaze at nature – at a flower, at an insect, at a pot plant. Our sense of vision is usually switched ON, and our eyes are active, engaging our brain in understanding, judging and labelling what we see. Flip your sense of vision, now, into receptive mode, so that you are receiving the vibrational quality of what you are looking at. Feel it in your body, so it becomes a felt sense, kinaesthetic.
Ask yourself this simple question “What is this life, that I am looking at now?”. Let the answer arise, unjudged, as a feeling in your body, as you remember yourself again, into deep relationship with a flower, an insect, a pot plant, a blade of grass. Let that relationship nourish you and the world around you.
Good communication is essential for the garden of any relationship to truly bloom. And it is where SO many couples get stuck.
When we’re stuck here, everything our partner says seems to trigger us. We feel misunderstood, blamed, unheard, made wrong and so on. We try over and over again to express ourselves and they just don’t seem to hear us.
Or we can’t really get what it is our partner is trying to express to us. And we end up going around and around in circles, having the same ‘argument’ again and again, it’s almost like you could write each others scripts of what you will each say as you have been there so many times!
This place is deeply painful because our partner is the one person, more than any other, that we want to be understood by and cared for. The breakdown in communication then acts like bindweed in the garden and seems to then wrap itself around every good plant growing there. It spirals around everything.
Styles of miscommunication
There is a myriad of habitual dynamics and styles of how the communication in a relationship can break down.
Maybe one of you tends to shut down and simply stops talking
Maybe you tend to shout at each other, or one of you does and the other collapses into sobs of helplessness.
Maybe you get into who is right, who is wrong getting bogged down with facts and counter facts. Blaming each other.
Whatever your styles the one thing that we can all agree on is that it’s really painful – we either numb out to cope or feel like we are drowning in the feelings.
The sacred wound
From what part of us do we hear what our partner says?
Do we hear it from the place in us that feels secure in ourselves, the place that trusts others and can relax and trust intimacy?
Or do we hear it through the distorted lens? Perhaps from the place of a young place in us that has been wounded and hurt?
If we are hearing our partner from a wounded place, we will ‘translate’ what the other is saying in a way that proves our own beliefs about ourselves, for example that there is something fundamentally wrong with us, or that we are not important, or lovable.
We are being invited into the Great Turning
What is this ‘must keep busy’?
What is this ‘what can I find to distract myself’?
What is this ‘waiting to go back to normal’?
What is this loneliness?
Humanity is at a Threshold and we are being invited into a personal and collective Rite of passage. An Initiation into what it means to be human and to come back into right relationship with all life as sacred.
Journey deep within
What if we could see the lockdown as the perfect opportunity to go on an inner Vision Quest to look within at our relationship to fear?
For hundreds of years humanities way of dealing with fear has been to control or kill anything that threatens human life. To distract ourselves with consumerism and do all we can to avoid our inner life. This method of avoiding fear has cost the Earth too much. It is time for us to become mature human beings, it is time to remember the absolute majesty and awe of natural life. Of what really matters, to remember ourselves as an embodiment of the sacred, of nature rather than have it serve us as a slave.
What is being offered is an Awakening. The old normal is gone, we need to stop dreaming and hoping we can go back. A new Earth is trying to be born, and this can only happen if we allow our old ways to die, to let go and allow the death to happen. No death is painless, there will be huge suffering and much loss on a deep and personal level.
Where did we ever get the idea it would be an easy passage?
What is calling us is courage. Courage to take a journey in and down, to go deep within to the very core of our soul, our true home, and face what we fear to feel. To meet the unbearable place in us that sits in a darkened room. We must go there and sit and sit and sit until we find the thread that leads us back into light, into the rebirth of a new world, the one we ache for in our hearts. Living in balance with all life.
Into a life that is led by connection, simplicity, equality, beauty, love and respect for all life as sacred.
Where money is not the currency for survival.
Where a gift economy of exchange of skills and goods is our wealth.
A life of being embedded and belonging into some kind of a community, a wider family, where the children are cherished and protected and raised within a circle of adults who can guide them into their magnificence.
Where one person having enough does not mean that another is poor.
This Initiation and change being called for from the great Mother is a sobering one. The great leveller is here.
Our collective awakening
If we do not change our ways we will become extinct. Fine, you may say, she will continue to flourish without us, we are but a blip in time. But that does not sit well with me. It’s not OK that we take so much of the diversity of life with us. Nor is this spiritual bypassing a justification for what we have done. It does not respect the web of life as having equal right to exist. We need to become humble again and this can only happen when each of us is willing to go inside and ask the difficult questions to our heart’s wisdom and our souls knowing.
Regardless of each of our personal views (conspiracy theories, or manmade or deliberate, or political etc) what is important is what it is that unites us now so that we can step through this portal into the new world together. At the deepest level whatever the cause – the call is the same for us. To wake up, question everything, everything and seek the truth.
We can do this people……the world that awaits us is more beautiful than we can ever dream. It is what we long for and ache for in those quiet still moments alone, in those moments with a lover, in those moments sitting with the sunset or sunrise. In those moments when our hearts crack – open and we are filled with love and the world in those moments is the one we visit in our dreams…it’s up to us, no one is going to do it for us
A new Earth
As a modern western species denial seems to be the strongest self medication going on right now – I’m totally down with the visioning of the new earth and not going back to ‘normal’ ….and…. in order to make good soil for new life to grow the compost needs to be well rotten down. But we seem to be wanting to jump straight from the old to the new without honouring the process of composting fully in order that rebirth can truly be connected and aligned in us and the earth.
Whether we like it or not we are in a death and rebirth cycle but lets not do what we always do which is to try to jump to the next new thing too fast, sticking small plasters on massive gaping wounds.
The death is hard for sure, it holds HUGE suffering on a monumental scale for each of us. Grief is the path we need to take right now so it can mature us into good compost. Unless we allow ourselves time to really notice and feel the losses in our everyday life we cannot truly know what we want going forwards. We need to let the grief ripen in us till late summer /autumn and not try to pick and eat the fruit before it’s ready. The fruit will let us know when it is ready.
We have been taught that grief is a pointless waste of time. However we only grieve for what we love so it is the key to truly living from the heart. It’s the alchemist of the soul that purifies our hearts into gold so we can really know what is precious and what is not. So for us to truly move to a new earth we need to honour the sacred process of grief and trust it’s alchemy to bring us to Love .
I belief we need to come together in our grief. Alone it tends to feel overwhelming and takes us to depression, despair and powerlessness. Thats perhaps in part why we don’t want to go there.
If we could come to gather body to body in this grief it’s optimum as love becomes the energy field in the space we inhabit. If we cannot be physically together, lets align our hearts and consciousness together and reclaim our indigenous capacity to communicate in other ways through the etheric field and grief collectively.
Underneath the layers I believe we are all grieving the same losses even though on the surface the details differ in each of our lives. Lets focus on what unites us rather than what separates us, this is where our power is.
I am visioning a new world where personal wealth is based on mutual support, where what we give and receive is a mark of our wealth and not how much money we each have. Where our ‘jobs’ are embedded in a community life of giving and receiving of what we need day to day. Where the young and the old are at the centre of this life. Where we live along side animals and the natural world in a balanced and honouring way.
You are warmly invited to join this adventure of inner transformation to outer manifestation through love, awareness, nature and spirit. Read on to discover how you can embark on this journey.
Walk with me
There are various things on offer here to support you, some free, some paid. I invite you to take a look through the sessions and events pages. I walk alongside you and will meet the edges with you, to take those steps that you need to take.
Most of us were never taught the sacred art of relationship and intimacy.
Instead we are thrown into a fast-flowing current of romantic relationships at puberty, a time when our identities are still fluid, and we’re exploring not only who we are, but the nature of the world around us.
Our dominant Western culture doesn’t value the teachings to show us how deeply we belong to ourselves, to the natural world around us. So by the time we reach puberty many of us ache with un-belonging, with a sense of lostness. And then we are offered so much to fill that gaping hole.
We are bombarded with messages about how ‘love’ should look, how we should look and behave to attract a mate. We are urged to buy products to ensure we fit in, or stand out in just the right way.
Our world reflects back values that are not at all rooted in the sacred. If we get any messages at all from those who should be our elders, those messages may be tinged with judgment or fear or prejudice carried down through generations.
So it’s no wonder, as we grow into adulthood and find partners, that even the most loving relationship begins to falter under pressure. Often couples don’t know where to turn, and sometimes there’s a resistance even to seek help, as if that were somehow to admit failure, a fall from grace.
What a relief it is when we can step out of believing that we have to do it all ourselves – that we have to have the perfect relationship, be the perfect partner, have the perfect children – and all without calling in anyone to share and help and support us!
Sobonfu Some, the African author, teacher and activist who sadly died in 2017, had these powerful words to share with us, to support us to reset our relationships in a sacred context, held within a greater family and community.
“Intimacy in general terms is a song of spirit inviting two people to come and share their spirit together. It is a song that no one can resist. We hear it while awake or sleeping, in community or alone. We cannot ignore it… Two people come together because spirit wants them together.
What is important now is to look at the relationship as spirit-driven, instead of driven by the individual… Once a relationship is taken out of its spiritual context, it faces many dangers. A deep disconnection is created, not only on the spiritual plane, but also at the personal level…Sobonfu Some
So relationship becomes a crucible for the workings of Spirit through us. We are taken, with this understanding, out of our narrow individualistic perspectives, into a vaster field of possibilities.
We can let go. We can begin to learn to trust one another, in a new way that allows our hearts to be revealed to each other.
We were never meant to do this alone. In other cultures that have retained their ancestral practices and traditions, a couple is offered the support of the village, through ritual, practical support, ceremony and the listening ears of many elders.
It’s time to recreate our villages, here in our culture. To remember our relationships as sacred and to honour each other as mirrors of the divine.
In our work with couples, we are guided by the 11 Gateways to Intimacy. These act as a framework within which we can find a map to navigate the problems which so often come up in intimate relationship.
Whether in a weekend like Intimate Love, or a yearlong training like Garden of Love, this map proves valuable time and again to couples who come at all stages of their relationship.
Creating time specifically for tending the relationship. Not watching tv together or doing practical stasks but time to simply BE together without everyday life distractions. Couples often say “but life is too busy for being” – It is like tending to our garden – without watering, the flowers will die and without regular weeding, they take over.
Relating from our centre and caretaking our own inner young places of hurt . This is the foundation stone for optimum relating. When we connect with our partner from a place of loving kindness towards ourselves so much more love is possible together. For many reasons we might struggle in loving ourselves or get affected by our partners actions or words and lose touch with ourselves.
A lot of couples get stuck here, one seemingly speaking Italian and the other Japanese and getting lost in translation. The ability to truly hear each other and speak with an honest open heart that is in the service of love is soul food. Both for moving through conflict as well as for being able to express needs and for meeting our partners needs from love and choice rather than shoulds or ‘deals’.
Expressing gratitude with each other on a regular basis, especially if there has been a drought. Expressing the little things day to day that we appreciate about our partner or ourselves is food for the heart. Remembering the good stuff and why we are in relationship rather than focusing on the ‘problems’ helps keep our hearts open even with the hurts.
Emotional maturity and intelligence
Conscious mature emotional expression is healthy and natural and keeps the energy open and flowing in our bodies, hearts and minds. Pent up emotions are like damming up a river. Toxic emotions destroys intimacy. Learning to express our emotions beyond blaming our partner or ourselves keeps the relationship alive and brings a vulnerable open intimacy.
Taking the risk to express to our partner our ‘undefended self’ creates trust and a deeper field of love. Choosing to show the parts of ourselves that we believe will be judged or rejected is profoundly healing both on a personal level as well as serving to deepen the heart connection together.
Non sexual loving touch
Physical affection and tender loving touch that does not have a sexual agenda creates safety and trust and can sometimes speak louder than words.
Expressing Love through the body and our sexual flow of energy. Going beyond sex as obligation, or using it as a stress management tool, or avoidance of deeper intimacy. Sacred sexuality is a true meeting of Love and Freedom and when this is experienced between you it can transform the whole relationship.
Remembering our playfulness and innocence is vital. To delight in the wonder and miracle of life through the eyes and heart of the magical child inside of us bring a softness and creative connection to the relationship.
The relationship is something Sacred, a sense that you are held by something more than each of you at the level of your humanity and that reminds you of your essential state of Grace. This is specially helpful to in times of difficulty and hurt.
Culturally we have been taught to keep quiet about our relationship struggles and pretend to the world that all is OK. We end up feeling shame and a sense of failure if things are not perfect. We tend to try to sort the problems out alone or ignore them and hope they go away. Rarely do either of these methods work. Having support either with someone professional or good honest friends you trust is a wise and mature act of care for the relationship. This also transforms the personal as well as collective shame that we carry about feelings of failure. It helps to transform not only our own relationship but in the collective field as we discover we are not the only one’s experience these struggles. So take a leap and see if any of the options below could meet your need for support.Qu
The creation myths of our own lands, the ones that still are told in Scotland of the Cailleach for example, are signposts to our indigenous knowing, where women were the holders of such power that they literally created mountains, lakes and whirlpools. They were not meekly waiting in the sidelines for a hero to rescue them, instead they embodied the raw might of love, rage and passion.
Kings derived their entitlement to rule from the goddess of the land, in annual rites his oath to uphold and protect the land would be heard and the goddess petitioned for her gifts to support him in his role. There was a balance, and a harmony in that relationship that has been disrupted by patriarchy for centuries. In the wake of that disruption we have all, men and women, been uprooted.
We find ourselves in a wasteland, haunted by a sense of being lost, having lost something precious. These myths are signposts in that wasteland, a trail that can lead our souls back home. The trail can lead us back into more balanced intimate relationships, as it can lead us collectively back into harmony with nature and mend the terrible disconnection from which comes so much destruction and poisoning of our land, air and water.
We not only have a heritage in these lands of deep beauty and wisdom, we have a role to play in these times. For women to draw inspiration and strength from our own indigenous tales is to support our stepping out into the world with all of ourselves, hiding nothing, and in full radiance, with the roar of our rage and the howl of our passion on the winds.
Art by Joshua Mays
As the news features Extinction Rebellion, Climate Strike and more, I see a rising tide of longing to actively resist the damage wrought by our society.
Yet sometimes just ‘surviving’ feels like all we can do.
The truth is that we live in a culture that values productivity over quality of life, that teaches disconnection over relationship, speed over true presence to the moment and ‘doing’ over ‘being’.
It’s hard to find the time for ourselves, for what our hearts call us to do.
Women in particular often struggle, as we are taught from an early age to put others’ needs above our own, sometimes even that to speak out about our own needs is unacceptable, somehow. Instead we are praised even as we burn out, as ‘superwomen’, taking charge of a starry career, managing work and family and friendships, juggling and ‘multi-tasking’.
We live in times that call for a deep change in the way we live our lives. Many women have stepped out onto the frontline of direct action and resistance to the damage our culture inflicts on the natural world. And many women are simply trying to put food on the table for their families, struggling with the everyday.
Personal and collective
There is a connection between women’s personal and collective stories. Because when we start to take care of ourselves, we reclaim the spaces that have been colonised by patriarchal culture. We open up and out into a wider field and reclaim the connection with each other that is our birthright. Self-care is a radical, revolutionary habit – and through it we as women find each other again, in our sacred commitment to our own hearts.
As we stop, take a look at the burnout, the isolation, the brutalisation of our own hearts, we can take a breath and commit to something different. Even to taking 5 minutes every day where we simply breathe ourselves back into our own bodies, is a huge step along the path to wellbeing.
As we change our inner landscape, we know that the outer world around us begins to change.
We reclaim our power and our agency, through this simple commitment to self-care. It places relationship to ourselves at the centre of our life, and from that place we can take inspired and sustainable action to create a more beautiful world.
I’m offering a free call for women ‘Bringing Ourselves Home’, on the importance of self-care and the central place of a circle of supportive sisters, because after 2 decades of women’s work, I’ve seen the difference that this makes not only to the women with which i work, but to their families, their communities and their loved ones.
Register your free place here – join us on 5th June at 2pm (there will be a recording if you can’t join us live)
Art by Arna Baartz
Have you ever sat with a dear friend and cried tears that were long held back? Tears that were perhaps sparked by a particular loss, or frustration, but that flow beyond that trigger, tears that wash our hearts through of all the multitude disappointments, misunderstandings, exhaustions, sorrows of daily living?
Our hearts were made for connection this way. When we are lucky enough to count in our circle friends and beloveds who can see and hold us this way, without judgment or the need to ‘fix’, we are blessed. They are those friends who can simply lean into the discomfort and intensity of those feelings with us, holding a hand perhaps or simply offering tissues and tea and a space on their sofa for us to unravel. Their presence in our lives is healing.
A radical choice
In a culture where we are so often taught from an early age to wind up the drawbridge, bolt the gates, present a face that’s unassailable, serene and defended, it is nothing less than an act of revolution to choose to open our hearts in this way. We have an epidemic of loneliness, of mental health challenges – we all know people who are struggling, alone, locked up inside the paradigm of ‘I’m OK’, and we all know that place for ourselves, at least from time to time.
To ‘soldier on’, to ‘buck up’ is a pathological response to pain that shuts it up, buries it deep inside our hearts. Like Pandora’s Box though, those buried pieces of anguish are likely to resurface and wreak havoc from time to time.
That’s why I offer the work of the village, of the circle here at Earthheart. In itself it is powerful medicine. Coming together in community is a new habit for so many of us and perhaps an uncomfortable one at first, as we grow used again to the old ways of offering our hearts up with all their burdens, and all their beauties. Yet the more we do it, the more readily our hearts respond and relieve themselves of the roars of rage, the sobs of grief, the wails of disappointment that we’ve been holding back in an effort to fit in, to not cause a fuss, or simply so that we can keep our heads above water in the whitewater flow of our busy lives.
It is a fundamental human need, this urge to connect and open. The myriad small ways in which our hearts are hurt by the ways in which our society forces us to live, require a simple remedy. Gathering around a fire, around an altar, in a space held with prayer, respect and grace where we agree to listen with all of ourselves and without judgement, is the remedy our ancestors knew and it remains the way of many tribal cultures to this day. It is preventative medicine – a regular opening of the pressure valve in order to prevent a catastrophic build-up. It is a way for humans to open out a little more each time so we can better accommodate the everyday stretch of our lives.
A commitment to our own freedom
Can you find a way to commit to this choice, to find a trusted friend in whose company you can begin to open? To make of that witnessing and sharing a regular practice so that your heart grows used to the exercise and finds its flow once more? Make of it a sacred space and time, as simply as you like, perhaps sharing a meal or tea beforehand, or as elaborately as you wish, creating sacred space and an altar by which to gather.
Let’s remember ourselves as the powerful beings we truly are, when we are no longer constrained by our fear but stretched wide and full and free by love.
I’m always so grateful when people I’ve worked with take time to write to me, or post on their social media about how their lives have shifted since their work with me. The following beautiful words are from Tallie Maughan:
“I have been reflecting recently about how powerful the work of Jewels Wingfield has been to me. It’s easy to forget when you get used to a new normal that once upon a time things were different. I’ve travelled a long way since I was Jewels’ student, but by god/dess did she help me get started. As my teacher she gave me the keys to my sexuality and in doing so I believe she helped midwife everything that has been birthed through me since.
It feels vulnerable to say it so publicly, but I feel that it needs to be said more in our culture: sexuality and authentic
power go hand in hand. Sexual liberation is deeply connected to more freely intuitive modes of being, and that’s where all my own best ‘ideas’ have come from (and I believe that’s why sexuality and personal power have been repressed together in an era that still needs #metoo.)
I am very pleased to see that Jewels is continuing to cut new ground. In the last few years her journey has led her
further into an articulation of an indigenous ancient future, close with the trees, in the heart of the forest. At some point she disappeared through them and sort of dropped out of sight.
Well, she has reemerged from a kind of woodland chrysalis, and her own ‘conscious menopause’ with a new vision, again making tracks through the ancient forest for us all to follow. Now she is offering guidance on menopause and menopausal sexuality as part of our spiritual life.”
Menopause! Sexual Power!
“I almost want to do The Calling now just because, you know, it’s like getting to play games with the older cool kids in school. But I’m not there yet. If you actually are going through menopause and can legitimately participate, and especially if you don’t feel great about it yet, I have a sense this is a course well worth joining.”