Happy Wednesday Reader!
If you live in the Seattle-area, this weekend I'll be hosting an in-person viewing of Richard Rohr and the Center for Action and Contemplation's virtual event Living Into the Hidden Story: Mystery, Meaning, and You. There's more information at the bottom of this email if you're interested in coming!
Here's 1 teaching, 2 questions, and 3 resources to explore this week:
Inner work cannot be done in a vacuum.
The posture we carry, the depths of our inner processing, the questions we raise – all of these impact the ways in which we see, understand, and engage with our communities. And so do our age, life experiences, abilities, race, formal educations, gender identities, and so on.
These elements of who we are texture both our experience of the world around us and how others experience us. And because of this, it is impossible to do either deep inner work or engage in sustainable activism without exploring how these identity markers shape us.
Below is a tool often referred to as the Wheel of Power/Privilege.
While not exhaustive, it can be a useful place to start when it comes to understanding our social power/privilege, especially within the context of the United States and Canada.
As you go around the wheel, I invite you to engage in the following practice (journaling can be especially helpful with this).
As you navigate this tool and practice, notice what you’re feeling in your body and/or emotions: calmness, antsiness, shivers, sweat, fear, defensiveness, joy, happy memories, distressing memories, shame, frustration, etc.
- For each category, take note of where your identity lands. Where do you have social power/privilege and where do you not? How does the extent of this social power/privilege change based on your context?
- Which of these identity markers do you not often have to think about in your day-to-day life? How might that differ from someone with different identity markers?
- How do these identity markers relate to your sense of belonging within communities or groups? Think about those closest to you: to the best of your current understanding, what identity markers do they have?
- What stories come up for you when you think about your identity markers? When was the first you time you noticed each identity marker in your life? When is a time when one of your identity markers afforded you power/privilege/comfort in a situation? When is a time when it did not?
- Return to your body: take note of what behaviors you’re engaging in (tapping, avoiding, leaning in actively vs. passively) and any body sensations that might be coming up for you in relation to this activity. Seek to understand why.
After you navigate this tool and practice, move your body a bit. Then, after some time, engage in reflection using the questions below.
- What came up for you as you worked through this tool? Anything surprising or new that you hadn’t thought of before?
- Who might you engage in a conversation with about what came up for you and/or about identity markers and how they impact our relationships with and within our communities?
- Another Version of the Wheel of Power/Privilege (PDF)
- Shameless Liberation Series (self-paced program)
- Understanding Intersectionality w/ Kimberlé Crenshaw (video)
⏪ If you missed last week's email:
Sending you good vibes,
This Weekend in Seattle (a few more spots available!)
I'm really excited to host a local viewing of this virtual event featuring my teachers from the Living School: Richard Rohr, Dr. Barbara Holmes, Brian McLaren, and James Finley (along with Jacqui Lewis, Randy Woodley, and the always-amazing Carmen Acevedo Butcher.)
This will be the fourth time I've offered an in-person space to engage with one of the Center for Action and Contemplation's virtual events. Each time has been a beautiful experience as folks from around the area get to move and explore a more contemplative spirituality together.
All proceeds will go to paying for virtual event access, our space, snacks, and materials. Any additional funds raised will be donated to the CAC.