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

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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. I keep thinking I’ve said all I have to say on this subject, but unfortunately, fresh inspiration is always just 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

Do Unfinished Projects Keep Us Comfortably Stuck?

This, my 46th year on the planet, is the year of finishing what I’ve started.

During a trip to Kripalu this past winter, I was introduced to oracle card decks, which are like Tarot cards, only they’re used in a more free-form way. I fell in love with this practice and brought it home with me. “Pulling a card” has become part of my morning prayer/meditation/journaling practice. (I even got my husband on board—we often will each pull a card together in the morning.) Usually, I use it as a general message for the day, and sometimes in response to a specific question I’m asking.

Yes, it’s kinda woo-woo, even for me.

I love my card decks because they give me a little nudge toward the intuitive, creative right brain every morning. By default, I tend toward the left side, so I can always use a little less logic and a little more magic in my life.

Speaking of magic, though, I don’t believe the cards supernaturally arrange themselves to hand me the perfect message. (Although I have a friend who believes this, and some spooky shit has happened, like my husband and I both pulling the same card for days in a row, which has made me wonder for a second.)

What I do believe is that there are beautiful gifts of insight when you find meaning in whatever card(s) you happen to pull. You can also use them as journaling prompts if you want to reap the benefits of journaling but are often at a loss for what to write about or where to begin.

So what does all this have to do with finishing projects? On my 45th birthday last week, I pulled three cards from my Earth Magic deck. The question was simply, “What do I need to know now?” Here’s what I got:

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It was pretty easy to find meaning in the the Childhood (innocence) and Mountain (strength) cards. Full Moon (completion), not so much. Continue reading

How Homeschooling Changed Me As a Parent and a Person

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With excitement for the summer and some bittersweet feelings, we wrapped up our second year of homeschooling our two boys—the last (for now) for our 9-year-old son. We’ll straddle the two lifestyles in the coming year—our 6-year-old will homeschool for another year before joining his brother in brick-and-mortar school. As we prepare to reenter the world of alarm clocks and lunch boxes, I’m reflecting on how this experience has grown us as individuals and as a family, and how it has changed my worldview.

An increasing number of families are taking advantage of the myriad tangible benefits homeschooling offers. Some of these include more time together as a family, education tailored to children’s learning styles, time for kids to develop individual interests without overscheduling, freedom from the school calendar, unhurried mornings, and limitless opportunities for field trips and hands-on, experiential learning.

We started homeschooling because of the benefits for our kids. What I didn’t expect at the outset was how much it would enrich my life as well. If you’re a would-be homeschooler sitting on the fence due to fear, I hope my family’s experience can help encourage you to take the leap of faith.

Here are some of the more intangible gifts we will take away from our homeschooling experience: Continue reading

Self Care is Lifeblood, Not Luxury

 

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Self care is not a luxury. It took a while, but I finally get it. It’s a necessity, like food and water and breathing.

I’m a midwife and a homeschooling mom of two boys. It’s a life I love, and it takes a lot of juice to keep it up and running. More still to keep it flowing and vibrant.

I no longer expect to be able to pull the energy and peaceful frame of mind I need—for myself and my family—out of thin air. It has to be consciously generated. I’m learning how often, in what ways, and for how long I need to make time for self care and renewal. Continue reading

Lessons From Books (Not the kind you think…)

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As some of you know, I’m in the process of a massive decluttering project using the KonMari Method from the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. The author recommends purging by category rather than area or room. Per the suggested order, I did clothes first, and after a long break during which life happened, this week I finally moved on to books.

Before I read the chapter on books, I was dreading this category, having always found it near impossible to part with books.   I did one purge already last winter, but only got rid of a couple boxes. After reading Kondo’s chapter on books, I felt excitement rather than dread because she gave me new ways to think about it that made sense to me.   Continue reading

What I’ve Learned from Our First Year Homeschooling, Part 1: FAQs

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This post also ran on KiDOinfo: Connecting Families, Rhode Island and Beyond on April 27, 2015

“Decide what your truth is.  Then live it.”  -Kamal Ravikant

We are in the 7th inning of our first year homeschooling Boy 1 (age 8). We are taking this year-by-year, and who knows? A brick and mortar school may again be the best choice for our family at some future time. For now, though, this has been a great decision for us, and Boy 2 will be home next year for kindergarten as well.

Since we started this adventure, I get a lot of questions about the challenges of this educational choice and lifestyle. Many of the things people understandably assume must be really hard have not been big issues for us.   The most common questions I get are some version of the following:   Continue reading

Say Yes.

“Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.”—Tina Fey

I’ve always loved writing. Papers in school. Long letters, and later, emails. Journals. Proofreading, editing, and revising all things written for several family members.   Occasional masterfully crafted scathing texts to my husband (he insisted I include that!). That’s as far as I’ve taken it.

Now I’m 43, and as often happens in midlife, I am waking up to the precious, fleeting nature of this crazy, beautiful life. This means I want to live in alignment with what is most true for me. At long last, I must give integral parts of my being their due rather than continuing to pretend they aren’t real. (And if you’re a younger person reading this and it resonates at all, please begin NOW.) I’m claiming my writing, finally—accompanied by a few stomach butterflies, but without guilt, apology, or sheepishness. I’m doing it for me first. Yes. But I’m doing it for my loved ones, too.   Because nagging regret is a big time energy suck and joy-killer, not to mention a breeding ground for eventual bitterness. Removing a major source of all that means I have more love and more energy to give to others.

I don’t yet know all the reasons I have been holding back this part of me for decades. Fear of unworthiness as a writer surely is one. Being easily distracted is another. I may discover more over time about what took me so long. For now, I’m just happy the floodgates have opened!

I see this writing journey as part creative outlet and part spiritual practice—if there’s even any distinction between the two. The only question, then, was whether to make the journey privately via journaling or publicly via blogging. I have been floored at times by what people are willing to share on their blogs. I love that, because I get to read them. But I’ve said before that I’m much too private a person to ever do a personal blog myself.   And yet, here I am. So why would a private person like me start one? I don’t know, except to say that when I think of meeting this desire to write by simply journaling more regularly, it feels small and flat. When I think of doing more, and sharing some of it, that feels scary, but also lush and colorful and expansive. I want to do the thing that feels like more. That’s all I know, and I decided for now, it’s reason enough.

I’m ignoring all the blogging advice that says every blog must have a tight focus. Some possible topics include home, family and parenting stuff, midwifery and women’s health, homeschooling, life in a bicultural family, writing and the fledgling creative process, music, world travel, and/or spiritual growth.  Whew! Whatever the topic, I want to write about making the most of the opportunities life hands us to learn how to live and love better, and I hope to connect with others trying to do the same. If I waited for my brain to pin it down any more than that, I may never get started. So I’m saying YES first—then I’ll figure it out!

Welcome, and thanks for joining me!

Love,

Camille

© Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama!  2015