Each and every one of us has ancestors who were displaced from their tribal origins and became, to their colonizers, one of a “herd of two-leggeds”; people who were demoted to the lowest rung on the ladder of importance (and expendability) in “civilized society.” Who, after they were starved of family, ritual, purpose and self-worth (not to mention of the nutrients, energy and consciousness of their land), were, if not physically enslaved, finally willing to hand over the better part of their lives to an employer whose privilege was improved and solidified with the blood, sweat and tears of their labor.
Today, in the western world, these hierarchically driven employers, companies and institutions (all within the construct of a colonial society) offer, in exchange for labor: basic needs met + varying degrees of hierarchical status (which come with varying feelings of inclusion, being valued and safety) + varying degrees of material luxuries (offered as incentive to improve an individual’s free time as well as their hierarchical status and therefore an increased sense of value and inclusion in the community and therefore incentive to reach even higher up the ladder, distancing themselves further from the possibility of falling off the lowest rung of the proverbial “ladder” and into the land of the unknown and the abyss of the forgotten).
As Isabel Wilkerson highlights in her book “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents” one of the primary reasons for the higher rates of racist violence, behavior and points of view in “lower class” white America is because the individuals in this class realize they inhabit a very low rung on the ladder. They don’t want to be the most expendable. They need to know that there is someone lower than them because they sense (and they are correct!) that they are not far from the “abyss of the forgotten”. To this point, some people, based on their race, gender, I.Q., the health of their nervous system, their level of ancestral trauma (or the depth of betrayal and abandonment passed down to them), are stuck in a swamp of external or physical world oppression much deeper than others. They have glass ceilings all around. This is due to a myriad of reasons depending on their situation. Fundamentally, however, if an individual feels oppression, they are likely feeling the fear that is fueling those on rungs of the ladder above them, and the hell-bent agendas to keep someone (or a group of someones) lower!
Our society is a far cry from a “tribal culture” or “village of people”; it is a system of corporate and institutional interests that sway, not to the winds of creation, but to how important an individual is to either the gross domestic product of the nation, or to the hierarchical interests of the individual who governs them.
We're all in this together.
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The above post created some short-lived drama for me recently but also opened me up to receive some important insights. The initial, and more overt, insights had to do with the fear I carry around being shamed and disliked. Conversely, they also had to do with compassion and patience - even though I feel aligned with the post and feel clear that it was created from an honest, creative and well-intentioned place, if it's going to be triggering for quite a few people, then perhaps it should be reframed as it's not really my calling to be a provocateur. I didn't feel compelled to remove it, yet I also don't feel compelled to repeat it any time soon. Following these initial insights, a deeper message around purpose and direction came up for me. It wasn't a new message but it came through more clearly and deeper than ever before. I'll share this insight after I establish some context around why I felt compelled to create this post to begin with.
The truth is, I find it humorous in a way that there are no longer white men on CBC. From one extreme to another the cultural pendulum has swung very swiftly and heavily. For some reason no one is discussing this, other than covertly and anonymously behind their keyboard, on online communities supposedly made up of Neo-Nazis. This I find less humorous. I don't like to feel silenced when my intention is to simply name something that is factual. It's in my nature. It's simply a part of who I am. If I feel fear around speaking authentically about something that I feel is worth discussing and exploring I know there is a shadow somewhere that needs a little light. Perhaps it is mine, perhaps not. Perhaps it is always a "both and." Regardless of who's shadow is lurking, in my experience there are no exceptions to this rule and so taking a step toward this fear is always a step worth taking. Indeed, after posting the above, among several thoughtful and curious replies, there were also reactive and shaming replies calling the author (me) out as having a white-supremacist agenda. The shame game is real. I know it well and I understand the shaming individual or groups own agenda around power and also the deeper causal origin of fear, lack of worth and not feeling safe. I know this from experience on both sides. I am all the things here.
On the one hand it feels compassionate for the administrators at CBC to take advantage of the ideological shifts and open the door to many women and people of colour, for whom the door has not been open so wide in the past. On the other hand it feels a little cruel (yes, both kind and cruel at the same time). I wonder what happened to the white dudes who were once there? Are they now working behind the scenes? Demoted as a result of their gender and skin colour? Frankly, how can there be such an overt shift in the process of hiring if that process ever was, is or will be authentic, open, heart-centered and coherent or "fair"? Were the administrators at CBC completely blind to their prejudices toward women and the BIPOC community three years ago? Or are they now blind to the pressures of the current wave of feminist ideology, particularly in terms of associating all white men with current ideological definitions of patriarchy and white-male privilege? It seems aligned that many of the white men on CBC news were older and recently retired on their own accord like Peter Mansbridge. But were others bumped down the chain of command by the "powers that be" (bureaucrats with influence)? If so, were the underlying intentions of these bureaucratic administrators to assimilate with external expectations and posture themselves as aligned with the current popular political and cultural ideology in order to maintain their own social status and job security? Additionally, were they also, if female, a minority or ideologically driven (as a "trauma outlet"), happy to have the power and influence to finally settle a score? If so, is this vendetta justified? More importantly, does it matter?
For me it's important to understand, deconstruct and encourage discourse (as opposed to provoke - which the above post may have gone too far in doing - though I'm still fond of it) around authenticity and sovereignty. The important question to me is: what do we tether to as a proxy to our parents after leaving the nest and becoming supposed 'adults'? people clearly tether to their partners and also institutions - which are all manifestations of colonial society - even the CBC. All seem to take on a form of 'idol worship' (to a degree) that connects to our fear of being left behind or ostracized from the hierarchical colonial dance (the foundation of contemporary culture). The antidote being (imo) revisiting pre-colonial or tribal traditions, to find connection to Creation through nature, ceremony and aligned community as opposed to orientating around group - think congregations (religious or otherwise), organizations and ideologies.
And so, again, does it matter? Or, more to the point, why does it not matter?
Who do we want reporting our news? Who cares? It should only matter to the organization whom those hired are representing with their image, voice and politic. And so the final analysis is: to an impersonal "centralized" institution like the CBC, since they do not personally know the individuals they are supposedly acting in service of, their actions are in fact entirely self-serving (in terms of the actual actions and choices made by individuals within the bureaucracy) and political. How can they possibly not be if they don't know the people they are in service of? Today it's out with the Don Cherries of the world and in with someone feminine or BIPOC. Tomorrow it will be something else entirely. This doesn't mean that the overarching ideology is not rooted in a beautiful, deeply meaningful and profound ethic and source. The current commonly referenced feminist ideology has the same beautiful root as any religion. It references a core need that is far reaching and, for which, there is a deep calling for. But once people get involved and group-think and unconscious tethering begins all bets are off.
Perhaps you have noticed that I am pessimistic about the healing capacity of individuals when they are still tethered to an ideology or institution in any way shape or form. It is my feeling that until individuals are led through passage rites of maturation by elders or mentors, and surrounded and seen by a community of individuals who care for them (who actually know them), the tethers to impersonal "fake idols" will continue and so will the circus of posturing and disingenuous representation in the media and otherwise.
Point being, the representation of women and BIPOC people on CBC might be rooted in compassion and an understanding that the world needs these voices now more than ever. But also.. be wary of getting attached to this phenomenon and the group-think behind it. Where there is shame there is shadow.
There are obviously many good people with good intentions within the thousands upon thousands of institutions in the developed world. And yet, despite their good will, it doesn’t mean that a person is not susceptible to tethering their deepest vulnerability to the institution they work for (among other institutions and ideologies) as though the institution is a proxy for the seemingly infallible parent they’ve always longed for, or, more to the point, a proxy for “Source.” At its core, it is no different than an individual’s tethering to a religious institution. Even the CBC logo looks like a mandala. That being said, I wouldn’t advocate throwing the principles, values and teachings of any well established institution out with the bathwater. We just place them in the bathwater and if they begin to affect our perception of ourselves or others in a form of “better than” or “worse than,” as opposed to offering their principles or sermons indifferently, and allowing us to filter each and every teaching through our heart (and how the principles and teachings align for us as individuals), we gently set them alongside our rubber ducky and remind ourselves who is running the show.
If you're a man or woman and generally feeling unseen in the new overarching paradigm, firstly, be very mindful of the anger and resentment that might surface. Secondly, the truth is that you're better off than if you were feeling acknowledged and seen under the guise of "fitting in" to a cultural norm. Assuming you don't commit suicide. If you don't, then the call is clear: to join or form a community that supports you and sees you. Men need to come together in circle and ceremony to form authentic relationships and a guided purpose, ideally supported by elders, mentors and Spirit. Women also need this to orientate in a healthy way. The female gender and those with a feminine essence (regardless of gender) may be more open to support, community and connection as a generality, but without anchored, honest feedback of an elder or mentor they may end up spinning their wheels and feeling alone nonetheless. This is the way through these supposed "confusing times" and this was the insight I received and referenced above. Aho.
Welcome to the first blog post for the collective project "A Sovereign Land." Today there are three of us: myself, Ross Tayler and Kristina Jessen. Tomorrow who knows?
The intention with this blog and with the upcoming book "A Sovereign Land: A Rite of Passage" is to explore our humanness as it has been cultured in a colonialist paradigm in relation to our potential as sovereign, heart-centered beings. What is the difference? And how vast is the divide between these two very different manifestations of 'self'? To my mind, it is not a question of whether or not we are influenced by external expectations and driven by a feeling of "lack" in relation to the hierarchical colonial construct. The question is: to what degree and, what now?
As my colleague Ross Tayler and I continue to develop a road map to help guide both ourselves as well others inclined to take the journey toward sovereignty (excerpts of which I will share in this blog), I also look forward to deconstructing the "old colonial paradigm," exposing the collective "dream state" of our "post-tribal" world for what it is. I will also shed light on the relevance as well as the artifice of emerging contemporary ideologies, that to my mind have good intentions but are still shrouded in the same trauma that has plagued our civilization since time immemorial. Most importantly, my intention is to humbly share an alternative paradigm that I have learned from elders, mentors, ceremony and the land (all very much outside of contemporary culture and its encumbered institutions). This and more, all while attempting, with one baby step at a time, to "walk the walk." It will be a blast!
Here is an except from the upcoming book and a taste of what will be shared in this blog:
"Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the "first man" who aspired to create personal wealth by using a "power over" or "colonialist" system of control would have played a magnificent and entrancing tune that today permeates the air like an invisible mist the world over. He seduced all of those with a childlike mindset to follow him (and they did!), each learning to accumulate wealth, an illusive sense of security and dominance, the envy of others, and the freedom to do whatever they desired, all on the backs of slaves and anyone "caste" as hierarchically inferior. The elders of tribal villages across the globe must have watched this exodus with great sadness and concern but with the knowing that "They will be back." They would not have known how many years later, and on what terms, but today, thousands are being called "back home" to mentors, elders, ancestors and to the consciousness of the land, for help and guidance. By the Grace of Creation, this supportive, humble and connected way still waits for them. That said, it is clearly not a return to the "old way" that is our collective destiny, but to a "new way" that is yet unknown."