Conspiri-Speak, Translated.

A few years back, I wrote at some length about spiritual bypassing in new-age spirituality and alternative wellness communities. I had no idea back then that some folks in those communities would soon be promoting Trump as their divine savior from a truly outlandish world domination plot. It makes the garden variety bypassing I wrote about before seem almost quaint. As much as I thought I had my eyes wide open about the horrific possibilities of the Trump administration, never would I have dreamed that a subset of the “love and light” crowd would be cheering on an armed white supremacist mob insurrection against our nation’s Capitol.

If it wasn’t already, after January 6, it’s crystal clear what a danger conspiracy theories and their devotees present to public safety and our democracy. Will QAnon, the most outlandish and dangerous conspiracy theory, lose some steam now that inauguration day came and went and “The Storm” that was supposedly coming failed to materialize? Maybe, but some QAnon devotees are still holding on. Meanwhile, we have the adjacent conspiracy theory that COVID is ether a hoax, or at minimum is being used as a social control tool by opportunist evil forces. That one is likely to stay with us and prolong the pandemic at the untold cost of human life and suffering, as so many still eschew basic precautions. Some are willing to literally take their denial to their graves.

Conspiracy theorists use a lot of catchphrases that imply theirs are free-thinking ideologies. These soundbites are proving to be attractive to all sorts of folks who tend toward counter-culturalism and (often healthy) questioning of authority, e.g., alternative health enthusiasts, homeschoolers, and solo entrepreneurs, to name a few. There have been times in my life when their talking points might have been intriguing to me at first glance, appealing to my rebellious, march-to-a-different-drum nature. A closer look reveals that, outlandishness aside, contradictions and hypocrisy abound.  

For a disturbing yet fascinating deep-dive exploration into the place where conspiracy theorism, new-age spirituality, the alternative wellness industry, and far right extremism are all converging, check out the Conspirituality Podcast. Meanwhile, here’s my attempt to translate some of the common justifications and invitations to conspiracy theorism.

Talking point: “Be a critical thinker. Don’t accept the mainstream narrative.”  

Translation: “Automatically reject anything that could be described as ‘mainstream’ on that basis, regardless of logic or evidence. Knee-jerk adolescent rebellion is more fun than boring stuff like facts and discernment. And make sure to use the word ‘narrative’ as often as possible. That will prove all by itself that you’re a critical thinker!” 

Talking point: “Do your research. Think for yourself!” 

Translation: “Take these conspiracy theories which are fully formed by other people without evidence, and which you have found by ‘researching’ select discredited ‘news’ sources and message boards and swallow them whole. Latch on to these theories for dear life, and then regurgitate them verbatim to anyone who will listen. This will make you the freest of all thinkers.”

Variation: “I’ve done my research.”

Translation: “I stayed up all night going down every rabbit hole in the dark corners of the internet. I now understand more about this scientific or complex political topic than people with actual credentials who have studied it extensively as their life’s work. I’m that smart.” 

Talking point: “Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you just know. Trust your gut”

Translation: “Actually…all that stuff I said about ‘research?’ I mean, I do it, but it’s not really necessary, because I just kinda know things, you know? And when I am ‘doing my research,’ I don’t need to vet the source, because I can psychically determine whether it’s credible. Like, I can feel it. My truth is the truth. I’m that smart.” 

Talking point: “Whatever happened, it was Antifa.”

Translation: “Forget about what we said when we were bragging about doing it. Just kidding!”

Talking point: “It’s been proven. The information is everywhere.” 

Translation: “My ‘sources’ are iron-clad, automatically and without question. And, I have a built-in, convenient way to discredit any and all evidence that debunks my theory. There’s no need to ‘think critically’ about it. All I have to say is, ‘Of course they’re saying that, they’re from the ‘mainstream’ (fill in the blank). They’re all in on it, too!’ Done! So quick, easy and bulletproof!”

Talking point: “Look at all the Sheeple! They love being controlled!” 

Translation: “Unlike myself, who will faithfully follow my leader NO MATTER WHAT.”

Talking point: “Wake up! Open your eyes!” 

Translation: “Like, HOW can you be so blind and dumb? I mean, isn’t it SELF-EVIDENT that the biggest problem facing humanity right now is a Satan-worshiping, pedophilic, BLOOD DRINKING cabal of secret world dominators? I mean, how can you not see what is so bloody (so to speak) obvious, right in front of you? Instead, you insist on seeing the actual atrocities against children at the border. I mean, WTF? Get a grip.”

Talking point: “I am a free and sovereign being. I refuse to live in fear of a virus.”

Translation: “Instead, I choose to live in fear of the various boogeymen living in my conspiratorial fantasies.” 

copyright Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama!

Election 2020. GET. HIM. OUT. (a playlist)

spotify election playlist jpg

Photo of Spotify playlist. Playlist link is at the end of this post.

Nothing says life in the Trump/McConnell era like going about your daily business in a simmering, nail-spitting rage, while also functioning more or less as if it’s a “normal” day. It’s quite the split. Quite the disconnect. (How will this alone, as a chronic state, fracture our souls? )

Is it at least as bad as we thought it would be, when we were tossing and turning in the wee hours of November 9 in 2016, waking up a hundred times from a half-sleep, knowing something was horribly wrong, then remembering what it was? Is it worse than we thought it could get?  I don’t think most of us imagined COVID. Except, of course, for the epidemiology experts who predicted it almost exactly, and briefed the Trump administration on the necessary preparations, as they cut the funding and programs to do so.

We were worried about RBG, but did we imagine the way they would do it— with her, 8 days before the election? That it would be so…poetic in its staggering hypocrisy and shameless evil?

We were very worried about the hell he promised to make for immigrants seeking asylum (fleeing from horrific conditions we helped create). But did we really imagine 500+ children kept in cages, their parents lost to them, them lost to their parents? Stolen, I mean. Not lost.

Continue reading

21 Days from the Old to the New Normal, Week 2: “Really? That seems crazy” to “Yes, obviously,” within days. (Over and over.)


Part 1 of this series is here

Saturday, March 7

This day was not quite three weeks ago, and it feels like forever. We were supposed to have arrived in India to spend three weeks with our family, but woke up at home in the U.S. after canceling at the last minute. Instead, we went to my older son’s basketball playoff game (they won!). My younger one had practice that night. We were grateful the kids could focus on being in the playoffs after all, to soften the blow of not being with their family in India. At that point, no one was questioning going to small sporting events or gathering kids and families outside of schools.

Moday, March 9

Governor Raimondo declared a State of Emergency. My kids went to school—there was no formal talk of school closures yet. Articles were coming out about New York, saying closing schools there would be a last resort because of all the children who would not eat if they were not at school. This and many other stories began to reveal what this pandemic tells us about ourselves—much of which activists have been screaming into the wind to no avail.

We were starting to see the ramifications for our pregnant patients. Visitor restrictions were applied—one support person only for labor and birth. We were successful in advocating for doulas to be recognized as part of the care team and not subject to visitor restrictions. But of course not everyone can afford a doula (hopefully this will change—see below!), nor is that the preferred support situation for every woman. We had our first patient sobbing and devastated at being forced to choose between having her partner or her mother at her birth.

At that time, most of the concerns we heard were related to the visitor restrictions. In the coming weeks, more and more of our prenatal visits would be dedicated to supporting women not just through crushing disappointments, but also through fears and very real grief over the burdens this pandemic has placed on their pregnancies. Continue reading



Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

The following is a guest post by my husband, Gurpreet Singh. He wrote this poem leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, for victims of gun violence and hate crimes. 



by Gurpreet Singh


Daddy, this morning 26 of us played and now we are none.

Motek, I too will miss our Shabbat dinners.

My Sardarni, I miss our quiet Sunday morning rush to get to the Oak Creek Gurdwara.

Mama, thank you for making a space where boys like me may be a little safer to play and to make art and music. I miss you.

I am so very glad you couldn’t make it to Pulse tonight. Love you.

Darlin’, sorry we could not have dinner together after Bible study.

Rana Sodhi, my brother, I am happy you forgave and found some peace.

Get yourselves a good football coach, Marjory Stoneman, you are going to shine.

Many came and many spoke, a lot more cried and no laws changed.



© Gurpreet Singh and Wake Up, Mama! All rights reserved. 


Spiritual White People: Do we really want to help heal humanity? Or are we full of sh*t?


Photo by Stephen Sandian on Unsplash

Spiritual white people: do we really want to help heal humanity? If we do, it’s past time to take a long, hard look at the ways we use spiritual beliefs to harm rather than heal.

Spiritual bypassing continues to show up in white-dominated spiritual/personal growth communities and wreak insidious havoc. Sometimes it’s empresses who turn out to be naked, like Danielle LaPorte or Marianne Williamson. Sometimes it’s emperors, like Tony Robbins. At least weekly, a lesser known spiritual entrepreneur—who may not be a household name but still might have followers in the thousands—uses their social media platform to push platitudes that deny and minimize oppression and legitimate suffering. This encourages their followers to follow suit. Just when I think I’ve said all I have to say on this subject, fresh inspiration is always right around the corner.

I’m talking to and about white people living in relative privilege who hold spirituality (not necessarily religion) as part of our identities and value systems. When I say “spiritual white people living in relative privilege,” I’m speaking about us as a collective, not as every single individual. So let’s practice observing our knee-jerk tendency to start concocting #notall type rebuttals, and then let that go, ok? On second thought, I do mean every individual, because we’ve all been complicit in some aspects, to some degree.

The following is a short list of beliefs and behaviors people in white-dominated spirituality/personal growth circles—including way too many “thought leaders” and spiritual business gurus—are very busy selling, buying and feeding each other. Continue reading

Spiritual Bypassing and White Fragility, By the Playbook


Photo by Valentina Aleksandrovna on Unsplash

At the end of this essay are some links to pertinent articles, videos and books, mostly by women of color whose perspectives on this matter most. Also, on a time-sensitive note: on May 17, there is a free webinar for white women who want to do the internal work necessary to be part of the solution on these issues. More info and sign-up link here.


Last week, Danielle LaPorte, one of the biggest names in women’s spirituality/personal growth entrepreneurship, launched a program with some marketing images that were racially problematic at best. When she posted her promotion of the program on her business’s Facebook page, numerous women of color (WOC) and white women in her target audience, many of whom had followed her and bought her products and programs for years, were upset and concerned. They let her know this with thoughtfully written, heartfelt (and yes, in some cases, angry!) explanations of why the marketing campaign was racist, and gave a wealth of educational links and suggestions for repair.

The original insult was compounded by her response to the feedback. She removed the images from online marketing materials and acknowledged the problem with her marketing campaign, but simultaneously implied the real harm was being done by the people giving the feedback rather than by her actions. Continue reading

When Spiritual Bypassing Meets Racism Meets Gaslighting


Photo credit: StockSnap. Description: Woman with eyes closed and shadow across face.

I want to talk about something I witnessed last week in the online world.

First, a little background. A couple of years ago, I became increasingly aware of a pervasive phenomenon in the (overwhelmingly white) women’s spirituality/ personal growth circles I move in. I noticed persistent attempts to deny and disown painful realities by insistence (overt or implied) that we create our struggles with our negative thinking or energy or low vibration or fill-in-the-blank. I do believe the way we frame things in our thinking can be important to our well being and success, up to a point. I do believe we have some authentic choice around where we place our focus, and those choices can impact our well being and success, up to a point. However, I found the blanket application and oversimplification of these ideas to be profoundly negating of people’s life experience. It also borders on blaming people for certain external realities truly beyond their control.

I wrote a blog post at that time called “Anger and Spirituality Are Not Mutually Exclusive” in a stumbling attempt to speak to this thing I couldn’t name. I didn’t know then that I didn’t have to name it because it already had a name—Spiritual Bypassing—and there’s a whole book about it. I found this out when a dear friend put her copy of the book in my hands and said, “Will you please read this already? It’s what you’ve been bitching about for a year.”

Here’s the quick definition: Continue reading

The Trouble With Saying “Not All White People…”

This is an excerpt of a post that appears on Medium .Click here to see the full story there.

As a white woman, I post a lot of things on social media directed specifically at other white people and how we contribute to racism. I’m not doing the woker-than-thou thing, putting myself above it all. I’ve been actively learning about systemic racism in earnest for only about a year, and I have infinitely more to learn. When I post an article or video about something white people need to stop doing, I very well may have done that exact thing in the past. Unfortunately, that includes having said #notallwhitepeople, if not in those exact words. I’ll explain that in a minute, but first, please watch the following 2-minute video about the problem with not-all-white-people sentiments, particularly in the context of what happened in Charlottesville two weeks ago.

Flashback to January, after the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. …

To keep reading, click here to see the story on Medium. 

© Copyright Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama! 2017. 

An Ordinary Day in a Privileged Life, When the World Is Falling Apart


“When the world is running down

You make the best of what’s still around” —Sting

As we heard the news of the final massacre in Aleppo on Tuesday, I felt things that are becoming all too familiar. There was, first and foremost, horror, heartbreak, and confusion about how such atrocities can keep happening, and incomprehension about what is wrong with human beings? In addition, it felt utterly perverse that my family and I were about to spend the evening decorating our Christmas tree in our safe (for now, anyway), warm house while this human catastrophe was happening simultaneously.

I woke up the next morning full of heartache and foreboding for Aleppo, and for everything that’s weighed heavily on my heart most prominently since the summer, beginning with the latest spate of police killings of unarmed black people, and intensifying with, of course, the election.

So I began another day with the question: How do I approach my relatively cushy (for now, anyway) life on the days when it seems like evil forces are taking over the whole world?

Continue reading

Being a Parent on Day 1 of Trump’s America

Donald Trump makes a point

When it started to go bad Tuesday night, I sat on the couch with gathering dread in the pit of my stomach, like millions of Americans. I was sobbing before the deal was sealed, already terrified and angry that it could be that close. The first coherent thought that crystalized within the fog of disbelief and terror was, “Oh my God, how will we tell the kids in the morning?” Continue reading