Embodied Heart, Magic & Phrase

Gentleness (A Survivor’s Screed)

Little girl, perfumed with an air of gentleness.

Fragile delicacy.

When grown into woman, pursue that most holy—birth.

In mothering, rend your body strong.

Still, your eyes should downcast and your lips purse in smile.

Defer, defend, deny when your place is called.

Cast off this gentleness. No, further on, pulverize it.

It is falsity and lies. It is witness-silence-allowing-complicit.

Glazed eyes and closed mouth and heart stone to keep crumbs.

Shatter this porcelain veil and let the fury demon, pet of their violence, loose.

Can tenderness survive? Has it any place?

It must endure, but not in meekness, shy.

Share of it in humility with those who welcome it.

Flow gentleness from heart to heart as we meet our woundings.

Source regenerating without scarcity.

And what of the rage? What of the rawness of power dipped in virility?

See them for the scared little boys they are. Thrust their misdeeds into the light.

Resonate the assertion for justice till voice, our own and collective, gives out.

They will not go willingly, but She has more time than they.

The mold into which we are shoved at birth—be boy be girl control submit—will melt.

We defects hold our fierceness and our calmness well.

When power ceases to fuel them, the worm of their soul will search out a kind and maternal face.

Blazing hearts will chorus instead.

Go gently, then.

© 2018 All rights reserved, Suzanne Tidewater, Goddessing From the Heart

Photograph of JL Umipig.
Embodied Heart

Recommended Author: Jana Lynne Umipig

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about an artist and creative writer who leads interactive workshops related to decolonization and spirituality, facilitates healing through Inner Dance, and acts as a culture bearer for Pinay womxn.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

JL’s work integrates healing and social activism by providing creative sacred space for both inner work and communal gathering, with a special focus on Pinay womxn of the diaspora. She has created the Kapwa Tarot Deck, a 79 card series that incorporates Pilipino wisdom and sacred imagery.

Source: http://www.janalynnecreativeproductions.com/

About the Author

“Jana Lynne (JL) Umipig is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, healer and activist who seeks to elevate narratives of remembering self as a reflection of her own life’s journey toward decolonizing, re-indigenizing and humanizing self.

She has traveled to communities throughout the world sharing her cultivated knowledge of processes that activate and support self and community healing and empowerment.  Particularly, JL has commited herself to bringing the presence of her ancestors from the Philippine diaspora into every space, with cultural teachings and practices being implemented in all of her work. Her invitation to all those that exchange and engage with her is to Re-member, connecting to all the people and places ancestral, present day communal and familial and  descendant that makes us and grows us into who we are.

She is a core member of The Center for Babaylan Studies, an Inner Dance facilitator, and founder of Butikaryo mga Babae, which creates sacred space for Pinay Womxn Healers seeking to learn and remember healing practice and knowledge connected to our ancestral traditions.”

Source: Provided by author

In Her Voice

“Let Your Actions Be Prayer

Let Your Creations Be Prayer

Let Your Life Be Prayer

And May All Your Prayer Be Powerful”

Source: http://www.janalynnecreativeproductions.com/sacred-space


“I pray you are patient with all the parts of your self

as they work for your liberation

May their union be a reminder that

In order to create a radically different world

We must survive this one”

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BlbwEt0hGjr/?hl=en&taken-by=jlcreator

Learn More

Website: http://www.janalynnecreativeproductions.com/

Instagram: @jlcreator

Facebook: Jana Lynne Umipig




Photograph of Marcelle Haddix
Embodied Heart

Recommended Author: “ZenG Yoga” with Marcelle Haddix

For today’s Diverse Mind-Body Spirit Voice recommendation, I’ll be sharing about a womxn whose work, in addition to her own writing, includes teaching and scholarship as a full-time academic, leading yoga retreats, and promoting literacy which centers Black girls and womxn.

Mind-Body-Spirit Connections

Dr. Marcelle Haddix not only leads wellness initiatives in communities of color, she’s true to what she champions through her commitment to veganism, yoga and meditation. She authored a chapter in Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change titled “In a Field of the Color Purple: Inviting Yoga Spaces for Black Women’s Bodies” which includes a reflection on her experience as a Black womxn as she completes yoga teacher training and creates ZenG. Her community workshops combine both yogic practices as well as music, poetry and expressive writing to promote self-care and liberation. She also uses writing as as a way to celebrate Black voices both within a school context and in the community.

Sources: https://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Body-Embodied-Social-Change/dp/1498528023


About the Author

“For Dr. Marcelle Haddix, yoga, wellness, and healthy living are deeply personal and political. Known as The ZenG, she is a 200-hour certified registered yoga instructor who specializes in yoga for underrepresented groups and for community-based organizations. She also practices veganism and healthy, soulful living. Her goal is to bring yoga to more communities of color and to challenge the misrepresentation of people of color and yoga, healthy living, and healthy eating.

Why ZenG?  Her sistafriends nicknamed her ZenG because of her blissfully zen yet “I don’t take no mess” attitude.  She is unapologetic about living well and creating spaces for people of color to honor and care for their bodies and each other.  Her community engaged approach to yoga and wellness culminates in yoga and writing retreats for women and couples of color, yoga and mindfulness workshops in urban school contexts, and regular yoga classes and sistercircles in her community.

In addition to her work as a yoga and wellness instructor, she is a dean’s associate professor and chair of the literacy department at Syracuse University and a nationally-recognized literacy scholar committed to centering Black literacies in educational practices and spaces. She directs two literacy programs for adolescent youth: the Writing Our Lives project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban middle and high school students within and beyond school contexts, and the Dark Girls afterschool program for Black middle and high school girls aimed at celebrating Black girl literacies. For The ZenG, living well zen gangsta style is not only personal, it is deeply political.  It is a revolution.”

Source: https://zengyoga.com/about/

In Her Voice

“Self-care is not an end point or something to check off on a list. It is a constant beginning.”

Source: https://twitter.com/MarcelleHaddix/status/1001620377796308992

“Loving and caring for others does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you strong. And, it’s even better when you do so unconditionally, without judgment, and without expectation.”

Source: https://zengyoga.com/2014/03/30/no-day-but-today/

Learn More

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarcelleHaddix

Website: https://zengyoga.com



Self-portrait of Kayla Rosen.
Embodied Heart

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/



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?