Self-portrait of Kayla Rosen.
Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writer Project

Recommended Author: Zines by Kayla Rosen

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about a non-binary author whose work covers a variety of diversity topics, including disability and queerness.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

Kayla creates zines and poetry that deconstruct our understanding of sexuality, gender and ableism using both language and visual art to convey meaning. They’ve produced zines specific to their experience as a nonbinary artist who is transitioning medically; this work includes a focus on the connection between their body’s appearance and their relationships. They also write about themes related to mental health, trauma and healing.

Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/

About the Author

“I’m Kayla (they/them), a 20-something disabled white agender bi artist from Seattle. I make zines, perform poetry, and lead workshops about disability, queerness, allyship within and beyond the LGBTQIA+ community, and art.”

Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/2016/10/22/about/

In Their Voice

“Being a meaningful ally to LGBTQ+ community members takes commitment, effort, and ongoing education.” Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/2016/10/22/workshops/

“In my experience, affirmations are most powerful when they also acknowledge how unpleasant reality can be. I want affirmations that can meet me in the pit of hopelessness and despair to lift me up a little, not ones that ask me to wish or believe my way out.” Source: https://kaylarosenzines.com/2016/10/22/my-zines/

Learn More

Esty: http://kaylarosenzines.etsy.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kaylarosenzines

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/kaylarosenzines/posts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kaylarosenzines

Tumblr: https://kaylarosenzines.tumblr.com/#_=_

Website: https://kaylarosenzines.com/

 

 

Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writer Project, Sacred Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Disillusionment

For a time, I naively though I’d settled the question of finding my spiritual home in Goddess Spirituality. However, as I’ve really started setting the place up, opening locked doors and peering behind cabinets, I’ve stumbled upon a messy and foul-smelling cellar which I will start to examine for today’s #SacredSpiritualGrowth Saturday. The incense and sage of newness and excitement is now permeated with the stench of unprocessed bias in my house. And the longer I sit in disappointment, the more I see the tunnels of racism, classism and other worms of decay in myself.

I view what I’m undergoing as a developmental progression. I had a “honeymoon” period of learning new concepts and meeting new people, during which everything seemed polished and crisp. Over time, as with any human endeavor, the cracks and dampness started to show. In my particular case, the largest fissure, running straight through the center, is the belief that people should not be allowed to self-identify as womxn and should be excluded if they do not fit certain characteristics. There are also issues such as a lack of appreciation for intersectionality, and, in some corners, a heavy emphasis on either following the Goddesses of Northern Europe or on mixing and matching elements of various cultures without deep attention to their contextual meaning. In the wider Mind-Body-Spirit world, a large portion of the classes, courses and resources, aimed mostly at womxn, are allocated only to those with hundreds or thousands of dollars of disposable income. All is not “love and light” indeed.

My personal reflections on my experience thus far include:

Consider Renovation Rather Than Relocation

As I described above, finding the cellar crammed with ugliness caused me to want to escape. I care too much and feel too connected to Goddess to do that, though. I know this is my spiritual home. I’ve determined it’s time to contribute, on an individual and collective level, to sorting the mess and remaking the areas that aren’t life-giving.

If you’ve read my blog for any time, you’ve known me to be very concrete in my way of being. So, I am simultaneously digging more into minimalism and slow living in order to make my physical existence a reflection of my inner world (or is it the other way around)? Goddess Spirituality can be made more inclusive, affirming and those of us who practice it can go a lot further in our stance of solidarity; the same is true of the greater feminist and mind-body-spirit worlds. I am but one of many who are doing the work.

Go Deeper

I have been aware for some time of my specific spiritual calling, which is to help myself and others fully embrace all aspects of ourselves in a way that moves beyond shaming and blaming. One of the most helpful framings of bigotry in all its faces that I’ve encountered is to see it as Shadow. I absolutely experience this in myself; I’ve given surface recognition to my areas of bias but encounter a wall of shame when I try to go further. There is an internal voice inviting me toward this impasse, to sit with it and, together, from what is hidden and what I know, to dismantle it brick by brick. I’ve written previously of my inability to see my own hidden potential and mystery; I think it is likely across the way from these unexplored badlands. The light-bulb moment of recognition that my calling aligns directly with my disillusionment roots me in my purpose.

Take It In

As a trauma survivor, my bias is toward perceiving the world as a threat and to believing the only solution to be a dead sprint. In this shadow work in which I’m now engaging, though, I am learning very quickly that healing and change must be from my innermost cells first. I need to read and listen, to seek mentors and teachers, and to ponder and reflect much more than I cajole and demand change from others. Every time I believe I’ve slowed my walk sufficiently, I look around me and see how much ground I’ve covered without integration. Breathing in stillness and awareness is the concept on which I’m meditating.

Expect No Point of Arrival

I can never assume that I’ve dug in sufficiently to my areas of privilege or checked off enough boxes on my “standing in solidarity” card. Rather, as society’s norms change, I will do well to keep advancing along with them. I’ve been especially irate in witnessing, in an online forum, woman after woman proclaiming that her advanced age meant everyone else had to shut up and listen to her bigoted viewpoint in relation to transwomen. I can absolutely discount my elders far too easily and often and I can refuse to acquiesce to anyone, no matter their age, who refuses to see and respond to the harm they are causing. My anger belies my fear of calcifying into rigidity and inflexibility as I grow older.

In the service of self-examination and adjustment, I do think it is perfectly appropriate to pause and disengage from time to time for reflection. I may need to reassess the connection between my spirituality and my inclusivity. I may find that my own areas of struggle leave me drained to the point where I need to recharge before further engagement. My shadow-selves might need to process their shame and transform it into rededicated action.

If I am honest with myself, I will likely find that my motives need refinement. I need to assess whether my actions are performative, giving lip service to the “right things” for attention or recognition. In recognizing my own biases, I must be wary of then using this awareness to feed my demons of self-loathing and self-hatred. I may find that I long times to have my feeble attempts “count” and to then retreat into silent complicity. When I really dig into it, it is the personal stories of the effects of discrimination that inspire and compel me to go deeper; if my desire as a trauma survivor is to have my experience witnessed, in having been invited to see the inner world of another, I will not turn away. This motivation will hopefully, in time, become more fully grounded in an unshakeable and uncompromising dedication to have all people equally valued as human and worthy.

Anticipate Discomfort

I think it is wise to ask myself the question, “What do I want to get out of my spiritual practice?” If I’m honest, a lot of what I want is for it to help me feel less anxious and depressed. There is nothing wrong with this, but, for me, part of the process of spiritual maturation has been to remember, as I mentioned above, that on which my calling centers. In order for wholeness to be realized, I will go through some unpleasantness. It is necessary to reach the ends of myself and my typical responses, which, in the case of much of the oppression in the world, has been to be a silent but concerned bystander.

I’m trekking a few feet now into the tall grass, without a path, where there might be ticks and snakes and other trolls of threat. I’m tired of toeing the line and expecting someone else to clear the path for me. It takes courage to question my spiritual mentors and holy books; it takes even more courage to stay at it and stay with it after I realize there isn’t a meadow of wildflowers just past the brush. Although I may find myself on rough and uneven footing, I can know that I will emerge matured in my faith. More importantly, in joining with others in rooting out the invasive weeds of bigotry and hatred, the growth of our shared humanity can flourish. Mature spirituality does not shy away from injustice and suffering, instead, it welcomes the inner work and outer action needed to ensure the dignity of every person.

In what ways have you encountered spiritual disillusionment? What strategies and suggestions do you have for responding to it? Of what form are the individual and collective shadows you are meeting made?

Photograph of Leesa Renee Hall
Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writer Project

Recommended Author: Leesa Renee Hall’s “Expressive Writing Prompts”

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about a published author whose work promotes inclusivity and addresses racism.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

Leesa’s interactive and engaging Patreon community incorporates both writing prompts as well as podcasts to help participants deepen their inner work. She addresses topics such as unpacking white fragility and navigating spiritual bypassing, vital discussions for those of us in the mind-body-spirit world who desire to take a stand against racism.

Source: http://leesareneehall.com/

About the Author

“Leesa Renee Hall is an author and facilitator who helps spiritual leaders use the art of self-inquiry to question their unconscious biases so they create truly inclusive communities, companies, and corporations.”

Source: https://leesareneehall.com/meet-leesa/

In Her Voice

“Some are loving and lighting right into a spiritual bonfire.”

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkaYGl2gpxA/?taken-by=leesareneehall

“Many are poor in identity because they are rich in other people’s opinions of them.”

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYqRRWSlKgJ/?taken-by=leesareneehall

Learn More

Blog: https://leesareneehall.com/blog/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leesareneehall/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/leesareneehall/posts

Website: https://leesareneehall.com/

 

Fluid art painting of green, yellow, purple, pink, blue and white colors in abstract form.
Inspiration Fanatic

Healing Art to Express Your Intuition

For today’s #InspirationFanatic Friday, I will be sharing a few styles of creative work and art designs that I believe can lend themselves well to allowing inner voices, perhaps those to which you don’t often listen, to come forth and make their mark on the world. I will pay particular attention to the appeal of these methods for trauma survivors as well as those who may have difficulties with fine-motor skills.

Intuitive Painting

Creative Revolution: Personal Transformation through Brave Intuitive Painting has been instrumental in assisting me in learning how to paint using my gut and heart more than my head. I used it to make self-affirmation cards to increase my practice of compassion. As I worked on creating the cards, I was awed at the internal connection I felt in painting layer after layer, without a strong need to know beforehand the form the final product would take. The desire many trauma survivors have for control is rooted in seeking safety, but little experiences of loosening boundaries within safe contexts in which we can release a need for control can be very healing. It allows us to let the painting take form and “speak” to us about what to do next, instead of working from a preconceive plan.

Going with the Flow

Fluid art is a medium of art in which I have recently begun to dabble. I made inkblots as a demonstration of psychoanalytic technique in psychology years ago using Bombay Inks and love how easy it was to work with ink. Alcohol inks produce a watercolor-like effect. I find something very feminine in the form this takes.

Fluid art can also involve diluting acrylic paints with pouring medium; this is the technique I used for the photograph that accompanies this blog post. A few tips about this style of painting from a beginner:

  • If your canvas is small enough, consider using puppy pee pads to soak up the excess paint that falls off the canvas. Weird but effective!
  • If you would like to use the minimum amount of supplies (the pouring medium is very expensive), you can move the canvas around to spread the paint after pouring it on it. Please comment if you have a cheaper substitute to pouring medium!
  • Recycle condiment bottles to allow you to drip and make shapes with the paint.
  • The canvas must be elevated from the cloth or pad underneath of it or it will end up glued to it (don’t ask me how I know this!). I turned bowls upside down and rested the canvas on them, leaving the edges free. Once you pour the paint and get things how you like them, you cannot move the canvas at all or it will “jar” the paint because it has been thinned.

Fluid art, at least with the pouring acrylic paint method, is friendly to people with limited fine-motor skills. No paintbrushes are needed and, if the area is set up thoughtfully ahead of time, a canvas can be completed very quickly. It is a playful way of engaging with color and shape that can appeal to people across a wide range of ages and skill-sets.

Circular Patterns

Labyrinths, mandalas and circles all have strong resonance in Goddess Spirituality. These can be drawn, painted, or created out of all sorts of mediums. Mixing patterns with carefully placed objects speaks to me of the holding Goddess provides for us and the many, many circles and spheres in and through which Nature envelopes us. I added a bit of a spiral and circle pattern to the included artwork to draw it together.

Each style of artwork which I’ve described is accessible to beginners (I know because I’m one!) and can produce visually interested creations that reflect inner truths. What would our lives look like if we took a tough moment during our day, and made a pattern to represent it? Or painted a layer for each feeling we carried but didn’t share throughout the week? To move beyond coping and stress relief, what would it look like if you sat in front of a blank canvas and asked the loneliness and the hurt and the fearful within you to dare to show of themselves by color and splash? I hope you’ll share the results if you open to this potential moment of magic!