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Thought Work for White People

Ep #29

Thought Work for White People

Hey Renegades. I took some time since the last episode to really think about my contribution to the racial injustices happening around the world. I want to acknowledge that I am a White woman who is just waking up to what it means to have White privilege. I want to apologize for just showing up now and for any ignorance I might display in the future as I use my voice and continue to learn.

The pain we are all feeling right now is necessary. It’s not easy to discover your unconscious beliefs and see racism. But once you’re aware of these thoughts, you can start doing the work to learn and unlearn them. To inquire, seek, and reveal.

In today’s episode, I’m sharing my thoughts on becoming anti-racist and how I plan on showing up as a life coach. Your brain and your thoughts are not fixed. You can choose what you want to think and believe about race. Thought work isn’t always pretty, but it’s so worth it. Join me in doing the thought work to rewire our brains so we can become more whole.

What You Will Discover:

  • What I’ve learned about myself and racism since the last episode.
  • Why the pain you’re feeling is necessary.
  • The importance of doing this thought work around racism.
  • That our brains aren’t wired to question thoughts or beliefs.
  • How we all have a nazi within us.
  • Why labeling your feelings shifts you from primal brain to logical brain.

Resources Mentioned:

Enjoy the Show?

Hello Renegades,
I'm writing this on a Thursday morning.

I've been torn on how to approach my work in light of the current events.

One part of me believe's that I have no place discussing racism and social injustice. I want to acknowledge I'm a white woman who is just waking up and becoming aware of what it means to have white privilege and do my own work to become anti-racist. I don't have an education on it and if you heard my last episode you heard that I'm taking the time to listen and unlearn everything I know about racism.

Which brings me to the other part of me.

Since the pandemic hit, I have sat down with my family for our weekly dinner and told them that this country is going to hell and we need to leave. I'm not kidding. I've been scouting other countries- looking at their politics, how they are handling the virus etc. After George Floyd was murdered, I straight up was like, we need to leave now. This shit is wrong. These people are fucked and I don't want to be associated to a country that allows this sort of social injustice and brutality. And then I started to wake up and realized voices like mine, the voices of spiritual white women - a voice who can advocate and make a difference is needed. Now more than ever. What's happening in my backyard - to black lives and people of color to humans- is a fight I'm not going to hide from. I guess you could say this has given me a reason to stay when normally I might want to leave. I'm going to stand up for and against racism. I'm going to be part of this fight and the change that is needed that is right.

I also want to say there is a chance that I'm going to get this wrong. Maybe sound insensitive and ignorant. I also want to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry for just now seeing what's been going on. I'm sorry I didn't hear you until now.

I'm here today to make a commitment to use my voice and stand by you against racism. I take responsibility for my inaction and I'm taking responsibility for my future actions. I'm committed to unlearning everything my environment and white institutions have taught me and re learning from my black community and black leaders what it means to be an ally.

I wasn't sure how I could use my platform - what I could say or do- to contribute but after doing my own work I realized I do have something to offer.

The work I do, as a coach, is built on the foundation of thought work: Our thoughts create our feelings which fuel our actions creating the results in our life. Becoming aware of your thinking is one of the most powerful acts you will ever take. Not only does it give you authority over your life you will find out that you can start creating the life you want by creating new thoughts…

What I'm offering today and in the coming weeks are the ways I"m using thought work to coach myself and my clients - share with you how the brain works, the first steps in shattering your belief systems and processing emotions.

This work is in addition to, not instead of your anti racist work. For all of your antiracist work I want to direct you to the black and people of color community of experts, teachers and leaders to unlearn and learn from. To listen to.

Most white people I know, are waking up and acknowledging what has been happening to black and people of color for the first time in their lives. Seeing their own conditioned learned subconscious racist thinking and coming to terms with it while actively working on becoming anti racist.

We are gaining awareness to the conditioned beliefs that we have been taught by our families, white institutions and media - beliefs that we've never questioned before. And as we examine those first layers, we are uncovering deeper subconscious beliefs -many of us are seeing the racist that has been residing in our minds for the first time. I know for me, it has been emotionally sickening to experience.

But I believe this is good news. This pain we are feeling is necessary. Guilt, regret, anger, sadness, confused, embarrassed awkward, wrong, shame, they don't feel good, but this is what is expected, and required under the circumstances.

It is a human response to the human condition.
we want to process those feelings so we can get into the ones that will fuel action.

I've started listening to the audio book Me and white supremacy by Layla F Saad and she says:

LOVE is one of those words that is hard to define. But in the context of this work , It means that you do this work because you believe in something greater than your own self gain. It means you do this work because you believe that every human being deserves dignity freedom and equality. It means you do this work because you desire wholeness for yourself. For the world. It means you do this work because you want to become a good ancestor. It means you do this work because love is not a verb to you but an action. It means you do this work because you no longer want to intentionally or unintentionally harm bipoc. You will also need love for this journey because when the truth telling gets really hard you will need something more than pain and shame to keep going. Pain and shame are neither desirable nor sustainable as long term strategies for transformational change. It is my hope that it is love that brought you to this work. It is my conviction that it is love that will keep you going.

If you haven't already order this book- get on it. It's sold out on amazon and in some book stores so I downloaded the audio. It comes with pdf's as well.

In the past I've talked about shattering your belief systems and why you choosing pain is useful and necessary for change. That your brain has this wicked cool ability called neuroplasicity and you can change your patterned thinking and behaviors - shift happens.

The first step in doing this work, to shatter your belief systems requires only one thing of you right now. That you start to question your beliefs. Your thinking.

You may not have considered before what a belief is. Beliefs are just thoughts that you have adopted and or repeated long enough that your brain doesn't question them.

The dictionary says; a belief is acceptance that a statement is true.
And almost always implies certitude even there is no evidence or proof.

You want to know what's really fucking wild? A belief doesn't require any active introspection.

Do you know what that means? That means someone can tell you something, like the the sun will come up tomorrow and you won't ever question it. Every day the sun comes up.

As I write this, I think that's what has been the most difficult part of the pandemic for people and their brains. We believed our life looked a certain way and that was just how it was. You never questioned why you went to the office 50 hours a week before. You just assumed that's what had to be done to be productive and get the work done. When they stripped that away, your brain went into cognitive dissonance - it was like wait. But to work I have to go the office. What do you mean work from home. Thats not how you do it. Look at all of you now. Working from home, unable to believe that you ever had to go to the office.

The way our brain is wired, it would rather you didn't question it. Our brain wants to be efficient. It's like Netflix. You know how when you watch one movie it recommends 17 just like it? It creates an algorithm so you don't have to think. Your brain is wired with the same efficiency. If you believe something it will provide you with all the similar thoughts and evidence around you to confirm your belief. Your thinking is very familiar to you. You identify with it. It's your personality. This is because your brain has developed neuropathways and your behavior is on a repeated pattern. This is very beneficial for humans.

You don't have to think through every little thing you do. Like walking. You don't have to consider lift foot bend knee fire glute blah blah blah. In the morning when you wake up, if you're like me, you mindlessly make your coffee and toast - you could do it with your eyes shut. We conserve brain energy because of this. Your thinking is no different.

And here's why this sucks ; most of your beliefs on religion, parenting, politics friendships relationships race have been adopted by you before you were old enough to consider and weigh out your options. Your brain wasn't developed enough to analyze and make decisions. You just absorbed what you were told by your environment.

you have been hearing thoughts and beliefs your whole life from the world around you and unfortunately you have been taught and sold a narrative about black people and people of color that you may not realize. Because you've never questioned it.

This is where my brain has had the most difficult time. I recognized the racism around me and decided I didn't agree with or believe the same thing as the people around me. I chose to believe, I'm not racist. But that was the end of it for me. I never actively questioned what racism was, how to get involved or educated myself further. You can bet this past week hearing social justice workers and experts on racism tell me that if I grew up in America I have racist beliefs that I was not all in at first.
On the contrary, my brain kept saying, what? No. We decided we weren't racist. Those other people are racist and ignorant. You're not. And then I'd hear it again. America was built off colonialism and if you were raised in America and educated in America by white institutions and are white, you have racist thinking.

I was consumed with emotion and found that I couldn't respond. My brain was at a tug of war with the immediate thought, I'm not racist - that's not even possible with all these new thoughts that suggested I was.

Renegades. My brain froze. I grappled with this information and through my self coaching work, started to question, is it possible ? Could I have a racist thoughts in my brain? Have I been wrong this entire time?
It took me days to reconcile and admit how I've been racist. How I am racist.
I didn't want to. I wanted to resist seeing and admitting it.

But once I did, now that I have, I'm able to start doing the required work to unlearn all this noise.
I've mentioned to you all before the book, The Choice by Dr Edith Egar. It's her story about surviving Auschwitz and how much later in life she overcame the trauma she experienced.

It meant having to go there- to the past and see the events and things she had been supressing and hiding from. It's a powerful story that will give you an entirely different perspective on how to think about your circumstances in life AND because she's a psychologist and specialist in trauma she shares with you some of the work she did on herself and with clients. Highly recommend you adding this to your lift of reads.

In an interview Dr Egar talks about prejudice and speculates that we all have a nazi in us. Jarring to say and hear, but let me read to you what she said;
Prejudice means to pre judge and when we look at life as us and them, I think we are creating another auschwitz. We all have a nazi within us, so taking a risk is to go down, to really go down, go down, go completely down and love over what you hate. That's the hardest thing… And raise the nazi in you. Rather than running from it or fighting it. Not to think that the nazi were monsters. They were beautiful children who were taught to hate. We're not born with fear. We are born with love. Fear and love will never coexist. Fear begets more fear. Whatever you practice you become better at it. You have the choice every morning. Whether you are going to be for something or against something.

just sit with this for a minute- we all have a nazi within us- to take the risk is to go down to really go down and completely love over what you hate.

Becoming anti racist will require you Acknowledging these subconscious beliefs and behaviors. It is not going to feel good, but the discomfort you will feel pales in comparison to the discomfort bipoc face and deal with every day.

To shatter your belief systems only requires one thing from you; ask yourself questions. All you have to do is start asking why.

I want to recommend you do a brain drain. Just start dumping your thoughts out on paper. DON"T JUDGE THEM. Just unload everything you're thinking on 1-3 pages. This helps get all the surface stuff out of the way. Remember- you have 40-60k thoughts a day. To get to your subconscious, you have to start from the top. We have so many beliefs just running in the background and we want to bring them forward. We can do this by asking questions. Once you're done, take a few thoughts and
From a place of compassion ask yourself;
Why do I choose to think
Who decided this?
What if none of this is true?

Could I be wrong about that belief?
Your brain, like netflix, is going to look for all the evidence as to why you are right. Don't fall for this trick. Just keep exploring looking at your beliefs from every possible angle.

What do I want to choose to think and believe?
Why have I been choosing this belief?
Where did I learn this belief?
How does this belief serve me?

It's going to Bring up feelings - feelings that you don't want to experience. This is where I want to leave you today. In the middle with these feelings.

I want to offer to you, after admitting and seeing this side of yourself sitting here, with the feelings.

Actively acknowledge and allow the emotion to vibrate through your body.

Your brain will want to resist this part - it's been able to look the other direction and has done so probably because it didn't want to experience guilt, shame sad and so on. Your brain is designed to seek pleasure avoid discomfort and be efficient. Processing pain is the last thing it wants to do.

For now, just be the narrator of what is going on in your body. This work is really useful because when you are caught up in all your thinking, you can't identify what's really going on in your body. A single thought causes a vibration in your body- an emotion - the brain doesn't deliver one thought at a time so what's happening is your brain and body are full throttle and you can't identify what you're feeling and it feels out of control.

If you can tap the breaks, you will start to process one feeling at a time you will find out what thoughts is causing you to experience.

So from here, look at your individual beliefs - take one at a time and
Check in with your body- is there any part that is calling out to you?
What are you feeling?
Are you tempted to want to push it away- to

avoid actually feeling it.

Continue to describe it, your brain won't keep offering new thoughts but instead create space for you to feel.

What do you think this sensation is there to tell you?

If you could shine a flash light on it, what would you see?

From that space, ask yourself, what is wrong?

If you had to guess what this feeling needed from you, what would it be?

One thing that came up for me while doing this work was my fear about being wrong. I was afraid I'd say the wrong thing if I spoke up. I was afraid to admit I was wrong about what it meant to be racist.
I didn't want to feel or experience the emotions that I knew were coming. The first surface ones about saying the wrong thing as a white woman were feelings of insecure, embarrassed and uneducated.
As I got deeper I saw the next round of feelings associated to being wrong about what it meant to be racist, like guilt shame sadness and pain.

Finally I was flooded with the emotions devastation, hypocrasy and sick upon acknowledging how I've been racist. I'm still sickened and have a hard time even saying the words. Which is why I will keep saying it. I will refuse to allow myself to stay stuck in shame.

I can experience all of these emotions and still show up.

I can face being wrong in order to learn what's right.

I can love the racist into anti racist.

You can change your beliefs. You can change how you show up. You can decide how you want to feel about circumstances and actively choose the thoughts you need to believe in order to create that feeling. What am I saying? I'm saying change is possible. Your brain isn't fixed. You aren't your thoughts. That what you believe is not a fact and you can believe anything you want.

Next week we will discuss what to do with these feelings and thoughts you are experiencing about your current beliefs, but for now, we sit. We inquire. Seek. Reveal.
Sending you all love. Stay safe Renegades

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