I’ve felt called to make a commitment to promoting mind-body-spirit womxn (self-identified women) and non-binary nonfiction writers, speakers and authors from diverse backgrounds and to going deeper into my own shadows of privilege. I’ve been dismayed at the lack of representation and inclusiveness available to people who are womxn and non-binary in some Pagan and Goddess Spirituality forums and wish to stand in solidarity with those who are being marginalized. Instead of attempting to tell stories that aren’t mine to tell, I desire to provide a space where I can introduce or expand readers’ exposure to these voices. I also hope to challenge each of us, no matter our personal characteristics, to consider how to grow both our writing and our practice of inclusiveness.
I am a cis-gender, middle-class, able-bodied, childless, single, white, middle-aged, queer, Goddess Spirituality Priestess, Ph.D.-educated American woman with multiple mental health diagnoses who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. My perspective, therefore, is mostly one of privilege. I will speak from the places of marginalization that I occupy, and intend to step back to make space for others in my areas of unearned advantage.
I do not define affirmation as meaning that your writing applies equally well to every single person on earth, indeed, the specific portions of my project described below have differing intended participants. Rather, I have it mean that your target audience is self-identified in terms of gender and sexual orientation, and that you attend to people in relation to other demographic variables as much as possible–for instance, addressing the needs of differently-abled people and taking race and class into account with your work’s focus. There is no place of arrival where we will have perfected this mission; instead, I am interested in promoting healthy and safe communities in which we can challenge ourselves to increase our skills at doing so.
Standing in solidarity applies to anyone in relation to their areas of privilege. I believe in intersectionality and think that we do well to consider the multiple layers of who someone is. In my ideal world, we would meet each other as human first. We don’t live in an ideal world, so I believe we must recognize and care about how someone’s identities affect their experience. If we are standing in solidarity, we listen, we educate ourselves and we utilize our respective privileged identities to advance the cause of others.
Within the Mind-Body-Spirit world of writing, many of us wish to be uplifting and positive in our message to others. This should not preclude, however, addressing the lived realities of those who suffer because of a lack of affirmation and solidarity. If you wish to promote “light” while ignoring the issues, this probably isn’t the forum for you. At the same time, if you wish to attack, demean, shame and harass others into your version of affirmation and solidarity, this also isn’t the forum for you. I will lay out specific guidelines for interaction within each of the project’s components.
The Affirming Mind-Body-Spirit Writers project includes two aspects:
- Diverse Mind-Body-Spirit Voices–a blog that includes periodic book, article, blog and podcast recommendations as well as guest posts which were created by people who identify as womxn or non-binary from diverse backgrounds; and
- Standing in Solidarity–a compilation of strategies and resources to improve one’s stance of solidarity as a writer in mind-body-spirit.
Diverse Mind-Body-Spirit Featured Voices
- Author whose work includes teaching and scholarship as a full-time academic, leading yoga retreats, and promoting literacy which centers Black girls and womxn.
- Creates zines which cover a variety of diversity topics, including disability and queerness.
- Promotes inclusivity through the use of writing prompts and podcasts which address racism.
- A Psychic Medium and Tarot reader whose work celebrates spirituality and creativity.
All rights reserved © 2018 Suzanne Tidewater, Goddessing From the Heart