Conversations on Race and Privilege

07/19/2016By KimberleyFeral Wisdom

race and priviligeI’ve set aside my Mondays and Tuesdays to have intentional, respectful conversations around race, white privilege and related topics.

I am open to talking with anyone regardless of race, class, gender identification, sexual orientation and any other ways of being human. This is free and with no sales pitching.

This is a good fit for you if ….

You’re struggling with the idea of white privilege, feeling confused, afraid and/or feel your defenses rearing up, but you’re also open to beginning to understand and explore what your defenses and fear are about – I will listen without judgement AND I will be a compassionate catalyst for you to dig deeper into your assumptions and see a way to take care of yourself while also opening up to the responsibility we face as white people.

You’re struggling because you find that you’re encountering push-back, from the subtle to the aggressive, for standing up for racial justice – I will listen and together we can come up with ways to navigate what can feel like a booby-trapped terrain. I realize that experiencing this as a white person and experiencing this as a person of color are two different things.

If you are a person of color and would like to talk about your experience with me I will listen, learn and perhaps together we can find our way.

Please Note: This is not an invitation to argue and I won’t participate in an argument. I will end calls that become argumentative or disrespectful. I clearly stand on the side of racial justice and for the need for white folks to understand their privilege and responsibility.

Go here to schedule your call: calendly.com/berleymc
Calls can be anywhere from 30 min – 90 min. depending on our needs. I’d like to Skype with video , but am also open to only audio or a phone call. Details are included in the confirmation email.

Looking forward to talking with you!

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Intersectional View of Our Edges and Comfort Zone

07/18/2016By KimberleyConnection, Cultural, Feral Wisdom, Political, Social

comfort zone

 
Drawing from Intersectional Feminism, in my work I take a larger view of what it means to be up against our edges or outside of our comfort zone.
 
1. If you are part of a marginalized group the larger culture pushes you to your edges and out of your comfort zone. The more obvious the difference, the less choice involved. For example, a person of color doesn’t have a choice about their appearance – wherever they go their skin comes with. And if a POC has another marginalized identity (e.g. transgender) the risk of simply going about their business increases. In either case, an inner sense of safety is hard to access and actual physical spaces of safety may be few. The work is finding a way to simultaneously navigate the culture, have a voice on behalf of yourself and others like you, stay true to yourself, and find the best ways to take care of yourself.
 
2. Many of us straddle a position of privilege and marginalization. For example, I am white – that comes with a whole set of unearned privilege that I have whether I want it or not. I am also a woman, pan-sexual, gender queer, and outspoken on the issues of marginalized people. Depending on the day, because of my gender fluidity there are days I look mostly acceptable to the mainstream and other days that I don’t – I have more privilege on the days I don’t seem to challenge the status quo and I’m more marginalized and feel less safe on the days that I appear more challenging to the general culture. Because I’m outspoken, I often get push-back from others ranging from the subtle to the more aggressive, but that requires I open my mouth and I have the choice of not doing so if a situation feels threatening enough. The work for us sounds the same as for more marginalized groups – but the flavor and choices available are very different.
 
3. All of us, whether marginalized or not, can find ourselves pushed to our edges by many factors ranging anywhere from personal trauma to professional concerns. We also want to learn to navigate our inner terrains, our outer environment, take care of ourselves. Often, the work centers around wanting to lean into our edges and step our of our comfort zone on purpose so that we can expand what’s possible for our personal lives.
 

I think it’s important for all of us to consider that what it means to be at our edge or out of our comfort zone can have different meanings depending on who we are, where we are, our personal and cultural experiences, and how we appear to the mainstream culture. It depends on our gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation and more.

Let’s truly see one another, educate ourselves about how our differences change our experience in the world, and find respectful ways of supporting one another – especially those most marginalized by our culture.

 
 

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Love is Radical

07/11/2016By KimberleyArt Journaling, August Break 2013, Community, Cultural, Feral Wisdom, Photography, Political, Social Justice

 

Radical Love
Whether spiritual or secular, we all need quiet moments to reflect, find at least the beginning of personal healing, and to find moments of peace, but to hide behind ideals like love in the name of spiritual or secular “goodness” is to strip those kinds of ideals down to pale and sickly sweet sentiments – that isn’t kind or good, it isn’t lofty. It’s just a way to hide from uncomfortable realities, raw feelings. It’s fear, it’s a way not to have to risk anything in the name of what is just.

 

If you have white privilege (or class privilege, or gender privilege, heterosexual privilege . . . ) you can hide from the harsh realities in the lives of people who aren’t like you. I am hearing white privilege blaring out it’s awful noise. One of those sounds comes in the form of things like “lets remember to hold back our anger and just stand in love and light.” Love is much grander than that.

Kelly Diels wrote about the anger and fierceness in Martin Luther King and Gandhi. They held love and fierceness at the same time. They understood that anger can fuel just action.

I believe anger can be the catalyst to wake up. I believe anger can be necessary and purposeful. I believe anger and love are not mutually exclusive. Our personal spiritual or secular practices serve to embolden us, to support us as we see the injustice in our lives and in the lives of others and take action.

 

We can all choose to take part in bringing justice to this world. Whoever you are, wherever you are, and, except in the most extreme circumstance, whatever your life looks like you have options personally and publicly. I’m chronically ill and not likely be among those in the streets, but I can participate in the social action committee of our local Unitarian Universalist Church. I can join with others in visiting local Police Precincts and question them about their training of officers and ask what they are doing about the racism in their ranks. When I can’t get out of bed, I can still use my voice as a writer and an artist.

Love doesn’t tell the oppressed how they should grieve, it doesn’t correct their peaceful activism for being “too angry” or “over the top.” Love doesn’t demand that you bury your own anger. Love gets that what is over the top is the injustice, the oppression, the killing, the violence.

Love wants us to know it is a fierce and radical force. A force that won’t be relegated to sentimentality and pious self-righteousness. Love demands more than any other force I’ve ever felt moving through me.

 

In one of the comments on Kelly’s post I saw this Cornell West quote:

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

Tell me, what action can you take for justice, in the name of love?

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Sign-up & Get Your Free PDF: Manifesto for the Feral Woman

05/22/2016By KimberleyFeral Wisdom

free pdf

When you sign-up for the Bits of Feral Wisdom letter you’ll get the free PDF: Manifesto for the Feral Woman

– it’s yours to use and share as you like, just give a nod my way.

I’ll write to you about how to care for ourselves as women in a world that doesn’t always value us and our ways of being, about uncovering and cultivating our truest selves, and coming out from behind the masks that keep us small and tame.

We need to tend to our bodies, our minds, our emotions and our spirit beyond the “naps and good chocolate” brand of self-care that is often sold to us.

Nothing wrong with naps or good chocolate, but that doesn’t get to the heart of what we need to do for ourselves.

I’m excited about the blog renovations and a relaunch for Feral Compass Life-Coaching. It’s a little empty, and at times lots messy, but when I’m done it’ll shine with magic!

I’ll keep you updated on more free PDF s, give-aways and launch party details.