CULTURAL LEGACY BURDENS:
Third-Culture Integrations &
Individual /Collective Intersectionality.
(This is writing in processs - Soon this will be split into two articles.
One for BiPoC folk, centralising their experinces and healing, and one for Non BiPoC folk, centralising their experience and healing. I felt two divided with writing for both audiences and healing journeys in one article and believe each needs their own praxis for Coming Home into Integrative Space and into A Body of Ease. )
Earth Medicine is dealing with the wisdom practices of Bodies of Culture*.
[”Bodies of Culture”, is a term of Resmaa Menakem, Somatic Abolitionist, in place of the term, “BiPoC”. Somatic Abolitionism is a living embodied Anti-Racism practice and culture building that requires endurance, agility, resource cultivation, stamina, discernment, self and communal discipline cultivation, embodied racial literacy and humility.
“Cultural Legacy Burden” is a term from Natalie Y. Gutiérrez in the book, “The Pain We Carry; healing from Complex PTSD for people of colour.”]
Through this praxis of understanding what Earth Medicine is, we automatically acknowledge what Otherised bodies (under colonial patriarchy) are carrying in the present day.
We aim to attune to, recognise and lift these experiences, up.
We aim to bring these experiences out of the hidden, unarticulated spaces - hidden in our bodies coping-mechanisms, over-extention, denial-neglect and survival.
We aim to articulate these experiences so that we can raise the collective consciousness level and re-distribute power.
We allow and are allowed the time and space for articulation.
Cultural Legacy Trauma’s [term: Natalie Y. Gutiérrez ] are complex trauma’s which find themselves originating from a coping, mismatch or “blending-in” of our cultural identity in connection with soul, and the soul and identity of society. If there is a discrepancy of our bodies and cultural identity to the centralised idea of culture; [ie: ‘whiteness’ and ‘patriotism’ or even ‘religion’ or ‘nationalism’] of the land we are in - it is likely that we are making adjustments in our bodies and minds, in order to belong.
These adjustments might seem minor, but most of them slice our energy field quite severely, and hide parts of our identities in fear guilt and shame. (Which is very low-resonant space, so, not expansive). Whole parts of our identities might remain outcasted, and hidden even from ourselves.
But if our cultural identies can get lost to homogenisation - blending in/not blending in....
Where do the lost Cultural Identities go?
(This is a little bit like asking “Where did my Inner Child go?” When we are making Inner Child Healing. We can ask this important question about all the ‘split-off’ parts of our soul energy! Where are they hiding?)
Through practices of Soul Retrieval, in the teachings of Core Shamanism, which are a pathway to access Ancient Indigenous Wisdom, we learn exactly where - trhough a hollistic shamanic cosmology - to look towards beginning to locate these split off parts. Each of us can develop our own inner cosmology in order to be able to make this deep inner work step by step.
Cultural Identities; are energy, they are Spirits - made up of
Infinite amounts of Ancestral Stories.
When we don’t have access to them, they will be twisted upside-down/inside out and locked in “Shadow” - they are unconscious to us, but it does not mean they do not still have an effect on our lives and how we inhabit the world.
You know what, though?
Perhaps they are more safe there in the Vault of Shadows, protected by other Guardian Spirits, than ‘out here’, in the world, or ‘out here’ in our bodies?
Perhaps we have nothing to hold them in?
(Within what would they like to be held?)
Most of the time all we have are unconsious, harsh and unfeeling coping mechanisms, which push them away.
These are feeble attempts in protecting their real essence.
Their real essence is HUGE : Emotional and Powerful, and your connection to ONE, The Earth as a being and The Cosmos.
Lost Cultural Identities - in moments of not being safe - they go somewhere were they are ‘safe’ for that moment. They go into “limbo” with one or many of our Power Animals & Spirit Guides, Soul Powers as a protector - and that becomes it’s own mini-system which starts to self-protect itself. It is a strong force - it has to be!
Over time this system will need to protect them selves against our ego. Our ego likes to ‘cope’ at rational life, and these systems no longer seem rational to the ego which likes ‘easy, fast and direct’. These parts are Wet and Chaotic and Dark, mossy. The ego likes dry.
These Spirits will try to protect themselves against our ego, because the ego does not have the tools to create a safe vessel for them. Over time (when they need to come back home to us) they will start sending painful messages to us. That pain is the homecoming.
This process is relevant for every being - but for Bodies of Culture, BiPoC Third Culture Beings or anyone intersectionalised (Gender Transitioning, or Gender Fuild, for example) in this era it needs to be respected and given space to, by beings who identify as ‘White’ as we are actively re-balancing power structures that have been biased and thus have caused an extreme amount of energy to be trapped in shadow.
Basically the energy that rightfully belongs to Bodies Of Culture, has been exploited and is serving white-centralised-bodies and a white-centralised-consciousness.
This process of understanding Spirits and Soul Powers of Identity, as a multiple, is a part of the process of Decentralisation; which at the depth, is working on undoing the racism we are all swimming in, within The Psychic Architecture of Collective Psyche.
There is no Decentralisation without Shadow work into Privelidge and Entitlements, and these go really, really deep.
Unconscious entitlements have a habit of perpetuating master-slave dynamics, on and on and on, within the fabric our our shared reality.
Entitlements are a huge issue with a Non-Decentralised Culture who is unaware about it’s Collective Shadow.
The crux of it is a missing level of recognition and an inability to actually take on the whole truth about where lost Cultural Identities go, and ‘whose responsibility’ it is to hold space for that healing of Soul-to-Identity within the collective, and within each-body.
A lot of this comes down to -
How do we reckon with our guilt about our privelidge? Do we even know that we have guilt, or do we push it away : pre-thought form?
*Pre - Thought - form* means it is a “whisper of an inkling” entering your psyche or body but it does not become a clear thought.
How do we reckon with showing up for the kind of Power we have? What’s our relationship to Power as a concept?
“ENTITLEMENT” AS A THIRD-CULTURE IDENTITY
Blending in or seeming “from” a place has many deep connections to “entitlements” of a place, because: How can someone who is not allowed to “belong” somewhere without explaining themselves, be “simply entitled” to have a share of the land-bounty? If a person is constantly getting questioned, or doubted, as to their right to be somewhere - there is a lack of entitlement present.
Entitlement can look like : letting things go, acceptance, “it is as it is”. But more than acceptance, Entitlement is operating in the unconscious!
Entitlement is about not having to deal with doubt. [for the folks who have been dealing with being doubted, there is a plus side to doubt => trust & growth. Being doubted can be a pre-cursor to inner strength.]
Entitlements expose how much we are unaware of:
- What we own & celebrate,
- That we are allowed, without question, to own & celebrate it,
- And we can expect it will be given to us, and then celebrated that it is given!
Entitlement is a blocker to Authentic Gratitude. Which actually means the person who is entitled, actually is missing out on a capacity of feeling.
Entitlements are about Ownership. Ownership is an interesting word in the late stage capitalism, and I would love to evolve even out of having to ‘own’ something. (Maybe in future we can call it ‘in service of’ - or Stewardship?)
But in the world of late stage capitalism - Entitlement is truly about what people “own”.
There often is no other reason to some owning more, (ie: having more time, more access to resources, more gratification, more ease in their lives, more self-celebration) than having being born into lines of ownership - and that being 100% about race, and migration patterns. So lets call it ownership here.
WHAT AM I ALLOWED TO OWN, IN MY OWN STORY?
In terms of Cultural Legacy and Belonging; What are we allowed to “own” from our Ancestral Heritage, in this lifetime?
All of it.
You’re allowed to own all of it.
Youre allowed to “own” all the experiences of all the different bodies and consciousness’ who came before you. But how we do that needs to be able to flow in context to our environment.
I really preference this way - OWNING ALL. No matter where you come from and who you are and what your ancestral path has been.
But... BEWARE! Owning and embodying something means also having to feel it’s reality.
Owning something means we need to feel through all the reasons why it was disowned, and how.
It will bring up the difficult parts of experience!
That’s the work.
That is feeling, and that is value.
This is where it gets really hard and calls for a lot of empathy, and our conditioning to unravel. We no longer view dirty difficult emotions as signs of being broken, non-divine, or faulty. We view all dirty emotions as Spirits calling for compassion. This is a compassion generating process and a heart opening process.
Bringing in these disowned story lines and discarded ancestral pathways means we water the ego. It might be extremely painful for a dry-ego to be dunked in water.
This is where the ego needs to learn to bow. Patience, reverence, respect. Surrender.
“Owning Something” now means to be “In Service To It.”
“Owning Somthing” means to care for it and to become a Steward of it is blossoming.
THE GOLDEN SHADOWS OF NOT HAVING BEEN ALLOWED TO BE ENTITLED.
How do we counter-balance entitlement?
(It is not with more entitlement just on the other side...)
It’s with personal tenderness and giving endlessly to One-Self.
If you are Black, Indigenous, a Body of Culture or a Gender Non-Conforming or Third-Culture Being - I will always suggest Golden Shadow Perspectives for you.
This is because Intersectionalised folks have internalised and hidden away the lacks of the external world - as a survival. It’s not uncommon that folks would have assumed a ‘caretaking service’ within the responsibility they feel for the Non-Decentralised Collective Shadow.
This means we are not allowing ourselves to take a load off and set free our best qualities, Personal Powers and Richness of Being.
It is not just about celebrating each other’s differences and cultures, it is also about having representation in the elders, teachers, leaders, and guides of a society.
When we are young we need to be able to see ourselves - to manifest ourselves. Without having any people who look like us, or authentically carry our culture in our society, we have a missing gap in our manifestation capacity.
Not being represented in Society is 100%, as having experienced neglect, it is extremely damaging for the psychic space. Neglect is really insideous because it’s about pinpointing an absence.
Neglect being present easily causes identity-trauma and soul-level traumas which feel like the total loss of oneself. We become separated from our essential soul energy, we cannot echo-locate ourselves.
HOW TO REVERSE NEGLECT AND NOT BEING ABLE TO LOCATE OURSELVES:
1. GATHER YOUR SAFE SPACE ROLE MODELS !
Who is your role-model representation at the moment, of a future you? Do you have people who you actively call “elder”, who perhaps mirror your soul as expressed cultural identity, and therefore might navigate the world in a similar way?
2. ANCHOR YOURSELF
In a praxis to connect with your ancestors, build the power. Build the power through regularity and an altar. Find a power place in nature, where you can do especially to ritualise this relationship.
I am really sorry, first of all to anyone who is working through Cultural Legacy Trauma’s - I congratulate you on the work you are doing and I understand how hard and grid-shaking it can be. You are not alone!
WHO GETS SLICED AND DICED UNDER COLONIAL PATRIARCHY & WHITE SUPREMACY?
We all do.
[ Even cosmic events, plants and animals! ]
[ ”Hell” is a concept / reality-bubble that exists inside our mind - Separation, shame ( xenophobia ), and it is 100% possible to spend one’s whole life living there, avoiding depth and just bouncing aroound in the judgemental-monkey-mind. ]
Everyone under the power-over system in Colonial Patriarchy is dissected and fragmented.
No one is made to feel like they really “belong” because in a environment that is power-over, no one is really safe.
Folks are only safe on top, for as long as it takes to get knocked off top-dog position. This is a typical dynamic in Patriarchial Women / White-Feminism and in ‘Patriachial Co-dependants’ - who are often mid-level.
Those in the middle of a Power-Heirachy, is a complacent part of keeping others down, in order to survive. (grabbing at fleeting power?)
This is about relational cords of domination and control -> it’s the “lack matrix” once more.
The more we understand how and where our power is taken away from us in these systems, and from who, and why, the more we can take ownership over our position, take charge of our own inner resouces to clean-power and create better boundaries to protect and care for what we love.
There is a whole process of having to hold, witness and move through the emotional charges that will rush in when we figure out how deeply our power was separated from us. For this process it is important to be able to express and move this raw emotional power - which will likely show up as rage and greif - and move it into agency.
After a while the Who and Why become less important - and all that needs to matter to the Intersectionalised Soul is: Freedom!
How can we be as Free as possible?
We cannot change the world instantly and it is not all on one persons shoulders.
We have to accept where it is at.
But we can always choose how we respond and therefore respect our own Power (& teach others how to respect us).
NAVIGATING POWER-HEIRACHIES FROM WITHIN THE SPLIT - AND WHAT WE PERPETUATE, ONWARDS
JOHN GAVIN WHITE
The work of John Gavin White, poet, philosopher and educator, [click here and here to discover their work] expresses this beautifully and powerfully in this video, which describes The Black Male Experience through an Intersectional Feminist Lense - in being a Father, and the complex double binds that exist between ‘his body and the system’, and ‘his body and his daughters’ bodies’.
One of the most beautiful parts of this video is where he states his daughters will inherit the knowns of his experience [traumas], but also the unknown traumas that are embodied yet not known by the rational mind, and the unknowns that are not yet known by the mind, nor embodied.
Which somatic states are we carrying around right now, shadows of the double-binds in the lives and stories of those who came before us? How much of them are known?
How much of them are hiding in somatics? How much of them are hiding in the unconscious?
IF I AM NOT OF A MINORITY GROUP, A BODY OF CULTURE, OR A THIRD CULTURE, WHAT CAN I DO?
If we are not of a Minority group - there is a likely chance that we have access to privileges that others might not have and we have become so used to these privelidges because that is all we know. That’s natural. But if we are reading this, perhaps it is a chance to decentralise from our own ‘knowns’ and needs enough to take on someone else’s unknowns and unfullfilled needs!
Constantly centralising one type of needs/timelines/perspectives over the needs/perspectives of others and not being aware or in-recognition of our gaze and our shadow - (all the things we don’t know/embody, and all the things we don’t yet know that we don’t know/embody) - means there is an emotional load getting blasted though the bodies of others who are more susceptible. Anyone who is more inter-sectionalised
by the central ‘I’ is more suseptible somatically.
The point is - the central ‘I’ is limited and only catering for one type of living. It is not a diverse ‘I’ due to the era’s of unconscious preferential treatment that has been present in our systems.
Not having a common “I” who actally aligns with the Intersectionalised experience means that all Intersectionalised folk are living in fragmentation - they have their own ‘I’ and the collective ‘I’. And the collective ‘I’ is one that polices and dehumanises them from within their own psyche.
The assumptions that a central ‘I’ caters to might be:
The right to stay in the country we live in, a stable income, somewhere stable to live? Education, opportunities, and support which others might not have? Perhaps we have just come to expect more in our life - more attention? More doors to open? More days off? More people cleaning up after us? (Ouf!)
Perhaps it’s an unconsious awareness that you do not need to rest as much as others?
- Many Bodies of Culture I know are dealing with chronic states of exhaustion, they need at least one full day a week, lying down and replenishing their batteries. This is one day every week they cannot socialise or work/earn money and they often also need to care for themselves outside of what the medical system allows or has the capacity to understand. -
Perhaps its a boomingly loud, free flowing authoritative voice that we have had come easy to us in our life, that people just seem to listen to? Perhaps we like to use that booming voice to enter into competitive intellectual games with others? Have you ever experienced not having a voice? Not being allowed to speak, or speaking and being dismissed?
Being assumed to be dumb or dirty just because you spoke or showed up?
Have you ever been not allowed to take up space in public spaces, have you ever been shamed for how you look, act, dress? Have you ever walked down the street and been starred at, slurred at, touched inappropriately
Add to that a general conditioning that it was ‘your fault’ for being treated that way.
Was there something from your family culture that you were ashamed of and hid from friends? What if you couldnt hide it or change it?
What if it was embedded into your body, and fused with identity?
What about if the experiences you had, if they were not about being shamed - perhaps - it was that other poeple were jealous towards you but it was about your skin or cultural identity? (Jealousy is what happens in exoticism.)
Can we imagine having these experiences all day, everyday? Where minute experiences of aggression and imbalance become the norm.
In mixed culture families under Colonial Patriarchy and a the roots of a White Supremist Culture - these can even exist unconsciously from within the family unit.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YIN.
What does it mean to put ourselves in the position of “a day in the life” of someone who experiences more splitting from the system, than we do?
How can we live a few days as if we identified as the “Other“ one? How can we integrate our Multi-Cultural Idenities? How can we decentralise?
A great way to start, is by Self-Instigating : reading and watching as much as we can about the experience of this group of people in society.
Or search out a resource group, where there is a clear and agreed-upon exchange.
(We do not just ask or expect a friend from a minority to educate us. That is lazy and perpetuating invisible care labour and slavery dynamics. We need to do the work. For ourselves! )
These actions about about extending some energetic tendrils of attention to empathise with and learn about the brown, black or native/first nation, female, queer, or trans experience.
If you are a mixed culture heritage person, self-forgiveness work is important - the colonialy-conditioned side of you, can make gaze shadow work until they can become an absolute champion of the other side of you: the hidden cultural body.
Decolonialising our Selves, no matter who we are, means integrating the Dark & Queer Goddess Energy.
Integrating YIN. Allowing YIN. Flourishing YIN.
Which means letting go of some of the “heights of Yang”. [expectations, beliefs].
It will seem like new limits are being imposed. It will seem unfair!!!!!! It will knock us sideways with grief!
It will seem like our life just got shitter and harder!
But - they are not really ‘new’ limits though. We were just unaware of how much they were hurting others and holding others back.
It is extremely disconnected, (perhaps also, unaware, self-involved and self-serving) to keep aspiring to the same old expectations and storylines that were implanted in our childhood brains, based on the entitlements we grew up with, without constantly adjusting to The Earth’s new messages, each year, each moment.
The Earth is begging us to come down and go in. Something has to give. We cannot just continually perpetuate the same ideals and expectations onto situations and eachother without adjusting our idealised goals, (as white people, colonial-consciousness or patriachial people), to re-centralise the emotional body of the YIN.
How to do that? I would start by asking yourself;
Do I actually honour the silent space within me and with all things, the one who holds, and goes silent, the one inside myself who is whispering quietly?
If I was to honour that space what would I have to let go of in terms of my expectations onto myself, situations, opportunities and others?
Am I addicted to perfection, idealisation, and hyper-individualised acheivements? Why?
What blocks do I have, against letting Mother Earth (as a black, trans, non-binary or female entity) in, as my highest power?
If She/They walked up to me would I connect on an intimate level? Or would I be judging Her, idolising Her, or exotisising Her?
What about if Her skin was my skin and Her body, my body? What about if I was Mother Earth? Could I experience this? Could I try to merge with Dark Goddess Energy and what would this mean? If I were SHE?
Do I have an aversion to the fact that She is a She?
That “She” is not White?
(By the way; Neither is The Universe -> “Grandmother Cosmos & Grandmother Spider.” They are both Bodies of Culture!)
What does it mean for you to be living on a Black female Bulb of Earth?
Inside a “Womb”?
Do you have an aversion to accessing your feelings, your vulnerabilities, your brokenness, your multiple aspects of feminine sides: receptivity, nurturance, processes of darkness, caretaking?
Who or what is protecting you from that part of you?
Does it feel dorky, awkward, anxious? Angry? Fed up, Frusterated?
Does it feel dissapointed, in the expectations and entitlements that we need to let go of?
What about the need to put someone else down, in order to feel good?
Does this come up for you, ever?
In which situations?
Are you able to radically love that part of yourself?
*every psyche that has a scapegoat, “needs one”.
[ where is that ‘wrongness’ showing up? It’s not really ‘out there in the world’ it’s in our shadows, and in our bodies. ]
COLLECTIVE UNWANTED EMOTIONS ARE CARRIED INTERSECTIONALY
When we avoid this work, all those feelings (fear, guilt, shame, disgust, the urgency of anxiety) are shifted onto the energy field of the young, the empathically-open, minority groups, and the socially oppressed.
This is why we really need to be thanking people and giving more of a break, or gifts to the folks who are more intersectionalised than us...
Ie; Thank the homeless for carrying the load of our ‘collective dysfunction, and down-and-out selves’. Most people would not be able to function with that resting on their idenities. The homeless and outsiders to society are very strong, in empathic capacities of their psychic space.
When someone on the street asks you next for money - consider that it is a job that they are holding - in taking ownership over that part of our collective shadow. Paying someone for taking the role on, seems a fine idea to me.
SPIRITUAL ONENESS :
THE WATER-WAY -> A DEEP, GUT OPENING OF ROOT & SACRAL CHAKRAS.
But what about when I work in the realm of ONE? What about when I am meditating and / or travelling in dream-realms or astral planes? What about in Soul realms or in the
immaterial aspects of ‘I’ where my identity is ‘not relevant’?
My question here is : When is my identity ever separate from my experiences? Doesn’t it filter all of our experiences? Even our experiences of ONEness?
At the level of a Zen Master or great Spiritual Teacher there is a release from identity completely, a non attachment. There is a place for this practice of course, but within context.
One human can never know to truly reach objective truth. Objectivity would blow the material of our psyche apart. We are always fitering experinces through limits: ego, perspective, and identity are layers of that.
Essential aspects of ourselves can be non-attached.
To get into a non-attachment that does not bypass anyone’s experiences - we feel through the Body of YIN : The Dark Goddess. Empathy is totally expanded on this path - that is the dismemberment. We do not jump into “oneness” through not wanting to own heavy feelings, or through jumping from whiteness straight to oneness. We are “obliterated open”, blessed open. This is a very gutteral opening into oneness.
In non-attachment spaces, soul spaces - there needs to be flowing dialogue and awareness about the intersectional nature of everyones multi-perspectives.
Without open conversation and awareness, topics easily slip into taboo.
When topics are not held within open forum and shadow/gaze of the people in leadership, is not being discussed, the minorities get shafted with the power-imbalances. Most of it way too hard to even explain.
Even in spaces that are meant to be sacred spaces. I personally would never bypass recognition of identity and treat this area of a person with open heartedness, nuance and respect. [notice when defensiveness comes up.]
Anyway, in this article - We are not discussing the Essence of Self. We are discussing Identity.
After trauma-integration and in certain instances of meditation - Zen, or sacred spaces - perhaps we can go past the realm of identity and connect soul to soul. We can travel to certain realms where all are One. But my feeling is, we can only truly do this after first healing the traumatic elements on the identity level - with recognition and equity.
No matter how spirituality awake or accomplished we are: The world sees race, sexuality and gender. And if there is no discussion about the counter ballance, it seems to bypass the missing equity and healing that needs to happen in healing Cultural Legacy Trauma. We need Witnessing.
In spiritual groups - "Not Seeing Race” - is an inflation of spiritual ego.
This also seems to suggest that the person who does “see” race is the one who has a problem. That is a total brainwash, which denies us our own experiences.
Sexism, homophobia and transphobia, and racism, exist. They exist in our daily lives and underpin a lot of how our society operates with power dynamics.
When we are discussing living in The World - identity recognition is important. It is from the place of identity healing that we can get back a lot of our soul-power. This is back again to the topic of “ownership”: when we get back our Soul Power we are in service to our Authenticity.
Cultural Legacy Trauma is not the pure responsibility of an individual, but rather the responsibility of the whole community to work on. This is because the causes of Cultural Legacy Trauma are involving everyone. The Stolen Generation - first nation kids who were taken away from their families due to medical-white-supremecy did not happen that long ago, at all. There is huge displacement of families and cultures due to white supremacy and this trauma is alive.
Noone living on planet earth is outside being responsible for this dynamic - and if we are not actively doing the integration and liberation work, we are actually part of the problem, by default.
“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
- Lilla Watson
This is not about pointing the finger of blame, it is about transcending the need of binary all together. We can turn towards Matriachial Circle Cultures with inclusive flat heirachies and the premise of sharing [Ubuntu] to learn how this might be put into action.
If someone from a minority, bringing up these topics is triggering the folk who usually benefit from these topics staying unspoken - better education, space for mediation and integration are needed, away from having the struggle for comprehension (denial, defensiveness) put back on the person from the minority (as guilt, shame, blame, for being ‘difficult’).
Sometimes it is necessary to have integration spaces that are specialised spaces where a certain identity can work their an integration at their own pace.
Lumping everyone in together only serves to perpetuate the same infastructures of invisible care-labour, emotional overloading and somatically blasting through minorities with collective triggers.
Check this amazing, amazing podcast:
Resmaa Menakem: Somatic Abolitionism.
What is Somatic Abolitionism? Listen to the themes of racialized trauma and the power of community to eliminate racism for generations to come from Resmaa Menakem.
Resmaa is an author, artist, and psychotherapist specializing in the effects of trauma on the human body, as well as relationships within Black families and Black society.
He’s the author of the beautiful and inspiring book, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies.