I’m Glad We’re Here

Disclaimer: This is an op-ed piece; therefore, it is based mostly on my experience of the world and being part of the Spiritual community for nearly six years and counting. I say that to say, read with an open mind, and an open heart. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t. Everything isn’t for everyone and that is okay. Furthermore, I am not an expert on anything other than my life. I can only give you what I have given myself. This is my truth, at this moment. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, as I am ever evolving, learning, and growing.

In light of what is happening with the #notfreeandnative movement, and the calling out of negligence, silencing, and spiritual bypass being perpetuated by the Free + Native team, I want to add to the voices of those that have been affected, and also offer a way to deal with and heal from what is proving to be a very disappointing and infuriating incident.

I want to start by saying I’m glad we’re here. “We” being the collective.

I’m glad we’re here because this is an issue that I have been grappling with for over a year now and I feel safe enough to talk about it because other people see it too. Sometimes it’s hard for me to verbalize what I see because I grew up the child of a narcissistic parent, and having been gaslighted my entire childhood, I struggle with trusting my knowing at times.

I’m grateful for this time because it has boosted my confidence infinitely. To now see everything, I’ve been feeling for so long being felt by others is all the proof I need to know that I can trust myself. So, before I really get into this, I would like to thank every woman that has spoken up. I would like to thank every woman that felt uncomfortable and had the courage to mention it. Your strength has given me strength. Your courage has given me courage. It gave me the permission I didn’t want to need (because you know doing The Work for six years shouldn’t have needed it right?) Now that I have it, I’m free. It has allowed me to step fully into who I am. I am deeply and profoundly grateful.

I’m not calling out Lacy exclusively, because she is only one of MANY perpetuating toxic behaviors in the name of “vibrating higher”. If we call her out, we have to call them ALL out. I instead want to call out the signs that you are being subjected to or are perpetuating Spiritual Gaslighting.

This issue is layered and deep, but it must be brought to light so that we can collectively deal with it and heal from it. This is the shadow side of spirituality. This is the duality that comes with being incarnated on Earth. If we ignore the shadow it perseveres. If we bring the shadow to the light, we can then identify it, transmute it, and merge with it. Sorry not sorry but there is no place for spiritual bypass in 2018 and beyond. The universe is showing us that now. Look how the “mighty” are falling.

We MUST approach The Work differently, more authentically, and with more humanity. To simply “vibrate higher” or “choose to see no ceiling” or “transcend labels” is to ignore one glaring matter of fact: EARTH IS FOR HUMANS AND HUMANS ARE HERE WORKING THROUGH KARMA. YOU CANNOT WORK THROUGH WHAT YOU IGNORE.

Save the “transcend all” rhetoric for someone who isn’t a Black Woman in america and isn’t systemically disadvantaged no matter how many tonics I drink, bodywork sessions I attend, energy healing modalities I’m attuned to, or programs I spend my last dime on in the name of “investing in my expansion.”

When I say this issue is layered I mean it. It is DEEP. Spirituality at present is cloaked in capitalism. Capitalism by practice DOES NOT SERVE THE WHOLE. With that in mind, I’d like you to ask yourself how anyone practicing and teaching spirituality under the cape of capitalism is truly for the greater good of all, and ushering in a new paradigm? It is literally impossible to create something new using old systems. However, I digress because that is a totally different post for a later time. Spirituality has been made to favor those who can provide the most aesthetically pleasing idea of The Work. & quite frankly it is being fed to us as a “white thing.”

I’m not here to step on any toes, but if spirituality belongs to any one group… it’s definitely not white people, humanity started in Africa. However, like just about everything else innate to Black people or created by us, it’s been stolen, dressed up, remixed and resold to us at top dollar. Making it appear as if it is not for us. Again, I digress because that is yet another topic for another post. I just wanted to highlight some of what we’re dealing with here. I do not for any second want anyone on this journey to be disillusioned by the fact that this work is not a one and done and calling out “spiritual white women” alone is not going to fix this. However, it is a starting point and again, I’m glad we’re here.

As a budding therapist and self-healing, healer, it has been my mission to find a way to merge “woo” and “practical” I believe this is an ideal time to do so. While, gaslighting itself is not a “woo woo” subject, the way in which many of us have been gaslighted, has been under the guise of “woo” making yet another layer to the healing process. I am a firm believer in the humanness of our experience on Earth. Yes, we are more than this body, and this plane, and this reality… BUT we are still here in this body, on this plane, in this reality. So, we MUST integrate the two, we cannot ditch one and fall more into the other, this is what creates dissension and discord not only within the whole but within ourselves. Integration of shadow and light is my mission. It hasn’t always been, but it definitely always will be. We cannot know light without dark and we cannot know dark without light, so again, to ignore either is to ignore balance. & in my experience life is really about balance.

Gaslighting by definition is: “A form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.” -Wikipedia (its true don’t @ me)

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t think the popular spiritual “leaders” are gaslighting us intentionally, I think it’s more a symptom of unconscious narcissism, pervasive ego, and refusal to truly examine their shadow. Add the boost of social media popularity and a loyal following of seekers that are trying to get free, and often come from a religious background, so are tempted to seek a “savior” … and you get a situation like we’re seeing now.

However, regardless of the intention, the impact is undeniable. I’ve compiled a list of traits of leaders that use the gaslighting technique. It is my wish that this list will help those that are being gaslighted feel seen and know that you are not always “low vibe” or “projecting” you are, however, being emotionally manipulated.

It is also my wish that if you have been called to the path of the “healer” that you are aware of the toxic habits you may have formed.

Spiritual Gaslighters:

1. Are the Guru — even when they tell you they aren’t, everything they do contradicts that. They position themselves to know “The Truth” or to have “Mastered” something so that they can teach it or sell it to you. I am now VERY leery of any spiritual “leader” that does not remind you of their humanness and does not speak to the fact that while we do have collective experiences and can learn plenty from one another, each path to healing is individual and may require something that they cannot offer. I’m also a trauma-informed practitioner so it is my belief that YOU are the expert on YOUR life. No one else.

2. Transcend Humanness- I’ve touched on this already, but when I tell you I am SO TIRED of everyone love and lighting themselves out of human shit I could scream. BY NO MEANS am I saying to succumb to the pressures and illusions of the matrix, but I am saying that you incarnated in this body for a reason. You are here to experience the highs and the lows. You are here to go through a process of remembering that you are God. You are here to interact with and be reflections of one another to evolve. It is my opinion that if you were here to be Spirit alone, you wouldn’t have come here in a body, you’d have stayed in Spirit form.

These are the leaders that spend “24/7” in sound baths, getting bodywork, paying tens of thousands to “heal their adrenals” using tonics, potions, “ancient healing modalities”, etc. in the name of “clearing” and “expanding”. They position themselves as almost “too sensitive” to not be in “self-care” all day.

Don’t get me wrong, these things work, they honestly do, but you don’t NEED them. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person, and I’m able to get the support I need in very affordable ways, like free reiki on YouTube, or self-hypnosis videos on YouTube, free or discounted Kindle books on my Kindle app, watching tarot readers read for the collective, using my own decks (both that were gifted to me) to read for myself, talking to my guides and asking for specific signs to know that they are listening, guided meditations on YouTube, time in nature, etc. Even when it comes to food, I’m not always able to get the organic produce or the best quality brand of whatever, but what I can get I do, and when I can’t I don’t beat myself up about it. I’ve been able to cultivate a very budget friendly self-care regimen that keeps my energy clear enough for me to not only navigate through life as a Highly Sensitive Person but also allows me to expand and level up at a rate that I am very satisfied with.

I say all of this to say that everything you need truly is within. The tools help, I won’t say they don’t. I love Reiki, acupuncture, superfoods, crystals, incense, tinctures, all of it, I really do, but there have been plenty of times I couldn’t afford any of the above and I have been able to steadily progress and expand by remembering my life is a ritual. I am God. Guides help too, but ultimately if they are not reminding you of your own innate knowledge and divinity, they are doing you a disservice.

3. Spiritual Bypass- When leading others through healing work, it can be very tempting to preach “love and light” and denounce the really dirty work, but the dirty work is where you get the real lessons. A Spiritual Gaslighter will tell you that to experience “low vibe” energies means that you aren’t grateful enough, or that you aren’t doing The Work thoroughly enough. In some cases that may be true, but in reality, we incarnated here to feel the gamut of emotions. We are here in this unique 3D reality to be able to feel and learn through our feelings. When you focus on love and light only, you isolate an incredibly large group of people that are unable to “think” their way out of a certain situation due to real life barriers. We must be cognizant of those factors when doing this work. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, there are people that are in situations out of their control, due to the way systems in this country are set up. To suggest that it is “low vibe” to see ceilings and adhere to labels is ignorant. Not only is it ignorant, it is toxic. It positions spirituality and The Work as unattainable by those that cannot control their situation. It takes away their autonomy and doesn’t allow space for them to understand that The Work is an inner process. It becomes lost on them that you can start The Work where you are for free. It doesn’t create inclusive spaces that reflect the collective. If all of your spiritual spaces are lily white and draped in linen minimalism, you need to question the curator of that space. As mentioned earlier, if the intention is to create a new paradigm, how is that being done when there are whole groups of people being ignored? What about that is different than the “whites only” spaces from Jim Crow? Just because it’s not expressly stated doesn’t mean people can’t read between the lines. Also, God bless the BIPOC (specifically Black) folks that are in these spaces, being the only Black person in a white space is uncomfortable as fuck. You don’t know if you’re there because you’re wanted or because it looks good. Hint: Sis, if it’s only you…. you’re likely being tokenized.

Also, by choosing “love and light” only you are doing yourself a disservice because you aren’t going as deep as you possibly could, because going deep often feels like anything but “love and light”. My favorite thing to tell people is that you can’t “love and light” yourself OUT of doing The Work, but you can love and light yourself THROUGH The Work.

4. Fear Monger- A lot of spiritual leaders use language that ignites fear within their “followers” (I don’t have a better word at this moment) This is the tarot reader that always has a message of doom, or the energy worker that is always telling you that you’re “blocked” or even the self-care guru that tells you, you can’t level up without a certain body treatment, or special diet. Usually, all accompanied by a selling of their own product or promotion of a high dollar treatment that people are now saving or going into debt to receive.

In using fear tactics, these leaders prey on the newly awakened and empaths (often one in the same in the beginning.) They know that most on this path are seeking inner freedom that will hopefully translate into outer freedom. People often find this path when their back is against the wall and they are seeking to change what is within their control. This is a scary time, entering into the unknown brings up so much fear and when all of your fears are highlighted or confirmed by the person or people you have turned to, to guide you through the process of healing, you tend not to hesitate to spend money you may not have on whatever your “guru” is selling.

5. Carefully Choose Words — Those at the forefront of this community know how to speak. They use their words to cast spells on you. Meaning, they say what they know will affect your mental and emotional state. They know how to take age-old modalities and remix them and make them seem brand new and innovative. They can tell you why A, B, and C never truly works, but that they’ve come up with A+ that works 100% of the time… ya know.. if you do it right. They know what to say to draw you in, they are salespeople. Never forget that. I am by no means saying there is anything wrong with selling a course, product, etc. that is designed to help those on this path better navigate, but I am saying be aware of that. Especially when you really don’t have the funds to do whatever they’re saying you NEED to do to expand.

That is my short list, I could go on, I could even name names, but that isn’t important to me. What is important to me is that the consumer of this knowledge and the followers of these leaders know what is going on. Awareness is a major key to navigating through life. Be aware of who you are, and who others portray themselves as. Be so aware of you, that no one can tell you shit about yourself that you don’t already know. Trusting yourself is a practice. A daily practice. You’re worth it though.

If you find that you have been gaslighted by your favorite and you’re having a difficult time coping. Fear not, I am opening space to help guide you through the process of healing should you need it by providing Emotional Wellness Coaching sessions on a sliding scale. I am not selling you a “best way” I am simply holding space for you to provide you with guidance through this time, as I have been navigating this space for the last year and some change. I can be reached at livunconventional@gmail.com use Emotional Wellness Coaching in the subject. I look forward to connecting with those that feel called to work with me.