Reflections

Post-Colonial Ancestral Wounding, The Problem with ‘Not Seeing Race’ and Moving Forwards Collectively.

I’ve noticed that within the spiritual communities that I’m part of, there is often a lack of acknowledgement or understanding when it comes to the impact of colonisation & consequent ancestral wounding. So I’ve decided to share some of my thoughts, feelings and opinions on this based on my lived experience, learning & healing journey. Brave, I know but uncomfortable as this topic is I feel it is fundamental to mindfully explore this so that we can all move forwards.

Often within these groups, I’ve found some spiritual minded people will claim that ‘we are all one’ and that any talk of colonisation or race is purely divisive. Whilst I agree that we are all one race and that the notion of separating people by race is divisive, I also feel that it is a little too late for that following several centuries of colonisation by dominant cultures which was/is incredibly violent & cruel towards indigenous communities/cultures (in particular but not limited to poc) with long lasting damaging impact/trauma for generations.

This can’t just be forgotten or swept under the rug. If you’ve taken a peek by now you’ll see that our collective ‘shadow’ is actually overspilling with this and this is in some desperate need of healing. We are all affected by ancestral wounding by default of having been born at this time. It is everybody’s work to heal this, should you chose to.

 

 

The good news is that we can all heal this, collectively. Those with indigenous ancestry/heritage your role at this time is to heal, to be supported, to lead in this, use your voice to speak your truth, and to reclaim power. Remember your self love and self care are revolutionary acts.

Those without indigenous ancestry/heritage, your role in this is to be an ally as best you can. You have the power to listen, support and to stand by those who are healing from this with respect, understanding & love. Accept that you may not be included in some of these healing spaces and that is okay. You can chose to either uphold this system which is oppressive to so many or you can help dismantle it in this way or whichever way you choose. This will be healing for you too.

Here is a non-definitive list as a starting point for those ready to heal:-

  1. Acknowledge the atrocities & the impact of colonisation on yourself.
  2. Sit with the discomfort, it was/is horrific.
  3. Allow yourself to process grief, loss, anger. Utilise your own self-healing skills and/or reach out to practitioners who can support you in this.
  4. Gather with other likeminded folk, so you can heal together.
  5. Repeat affirmations that you find useful e.g. “I am worthy. I am loved. I belong” x3.
  6. Give yourself plenty of time & space. Rest. A lot.
  7. Be gentle with yourself.
  8. Do not judge another persons journey or healing process, just trust your own.
  9. There is no one way of doing this but the best way I feel, is led by love & compassion.
Please note: this work is best done supported by/with a practitioner you trust and within a supportive community.

 

So, this is by no means a one size fits all solution of a very complex topic, it is a healing process and this is just one way to begin. I have infused this message with Reiki and I truly hope it serves you well.

Did you find this useful? What works for you? Feel free to leave any questions, comments and share your thoughts & recommendations too!

Big Love,

Em Desouza, Creative Arts Practitioner

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Reflections

The Importance of Creativity & Self-Expression for Survival.

My first seedlings have begun to emerge and with this exciting visual, I can’t help but briefly reflect on my journey so far.

It seems that there is always room for growth and self-discovery. This past year, or even perhaps the past few years have really highlighted this to me. I know that I am not alone in this and that there are many others who have experienced this darkness, this wondering if it is ever going to be possible to emerge again. The soil that surrounds is dark and unfamiliar but there is no option but to trust that it contains all that is needed for one to thrive.

The world around has suggested, repeatedly, that it is only survival of the fittest that counts but I’d like to contest that. It seems entirely ableist, reductionist, individualist and elitist to imagine this is the case – not a world that is inclusive, caring, nurturing or supportive to those in need. I wonder whether survival links more to solidarity, to supportive social structures and ability to adapt to the prevailing external culture or else creating a new culture altogether. Just a thought.

One of my favourite poets, Audre Lorde discusses internalised oppression and suggests the need to locate & challenge this. It is the notion of having aspects of ourselves that reinforce negative, unhelpful, hateful and often toxic thoughts, feelings and opinions for ourselves as well as other.

She states,

If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed only against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough.  In order to be whole, we must recognize the despair oppression plants within each of us…  But we can put our finger down upon that loathing buried deep within each one of us and see who it encourages us to despise, and we can lessen its potency by the knowledge of our real connectedness, arcing across our differences.

– Audre Lourde, 1982.

Challenging these internalised constructs can help a lot, as far too much time can be spent in consequent fear and self-doubt. It is easy enough to feel inadequate in the world around us: there constant messages from the media suggesting that there is less and less space for people who are queer, women, of colour, physically disabled, have poor mental health, have low income etc.

For me, as a queer woman of colour, I have found it felt essential to return to my self, and to stand boldly and courageously in my truth. My artistic expression has been and is a huge part of this, as a visual artist, writer, and performer. These forms are pre-language and can be made very accessible. Again the main barriers are often our own internalised constructs/self-beliefs, which tells us that we are not good enough, but of course we are.

Within my own process, I have used the countless powerful & transformative tools that I have gained throughout my training as a Creative Arts Practitioner, as well as being informed by my engagement in practices such as Biodanza, Creative Writing, Spoken Word, Kundalini Dance & Movement Medicine. These teachers & mentors have helped me to access my own inner resources for healing and remind me of my own power & capacity to do so.

These rich experiences have catalysed my practice and I look forward to sharing the tools and techniques, that have also played an integral part of my transformative journey. This will be through a variety of workshops which will include exploring, expressing and embracing different aspects of self, with a focus on inner truth, feminine empowerment and unity.

So as I tend my seedlings and as they begin grow, I’d like to set the intention that they will have every chance of not only surviving but also thriving. I have every faith that through time, nurturing and care, that they will.

 

Em x