Just before I headed to France back in March, I made a decision. I may have told you about it before – I can’t remember. Anyway, I decided that I was done learning from other white life and business coaches who weren’t aware of and actively wrestling with the realities of structural racism. In life-coachy and business-coachy world it’s pretty white-dominant (as is also the case in the mindfulness and self-compassion spaces, in yoga spaces, etc.) And while I am grateful for the teachers I’ve learned from, the whole thriving and equity combo is born out of my wrestling with the both/and of needing to be able to offer myself compassion and to learn how to enjoy life more AND wanting to be part of liberation, healing and justice on a much broader scale.
And life coaches who weren’t noticing who they left out. Who weren’t asking the question raised in a meme that was going around which essentially asks something along the lines of “Did you manifest that or was it your white privilege?” Coaches who weren’t actively seeking to figure out how to integrate some of the really good stuff that’s in positive thinking, thought work, body work etc. — all the stuff I love about coaching/self-growth/spiritual practices/mind-body practices — with the for real suffering and actual evil that racist structures and stories and images continue to perpetuate (of course, there are other oppressive structures too, but for me it was especially racial awareness that I wanted to see at the center for any teacher I was learning from.) If a coach wasn’t aware and preferably several steps ahead of me on that journey, I decided I needed to look elsewhere.
I also, for years now, have avoided being in spaces, whether religious or activist, that are all about sacrificing yourself, your health, your desires etc. for ______ (fill in the blank.) So I didn’t want to work with aware people who were all about sacrifice and suffering, ignoring feelings, desires and my body.
The great news is that more and more there are these people who are working in the space of integrating self-awareness, self-care and more joy in life alongside taking real action for justice, liberation and equity. I’m finding most of them are younger than me – a lot of 20-30-year-olds. I’m curious about why that is. But in any case, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you this week so you can start surrounding yourself with perspectives that are both challenging and encouraging.
This list is far from exhaustive—and I’d love for you to add your ideas—but if you’re longing, as I was to surround yourself with encouraging and challenging voices that will feed your spirit, and challenge and empower you as you seek joy, beauty and justice I imagine one or more of these will call out to you just a little bit. Enjoy!
RomComs that are fun but not 100% white (oh my gosh these are hard to find.) I love a good RomCom – and good Sitcoms— as a balance to my generally serious approach to life but talk about lack of diversity! Oh my. So, I’ve been thrilled to find a few new options…
New Netflix series “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and the movie Late Night (Thank you Mindy Kaling for both!) Of course, also Crazy Rich Asians and Blackish. Jane the Virgin is also worth checking out.
Some folx to follow on Instagram:
Katherine North – Katherine and I were good friends decades ago when we were both very different people with very different lives. As a wife of a trans man, she talks more about LGBTQ issues, than about race, but she’s working with all of it and she’s one of my very favorite life coaches of all time. I continue to learn lots from her – and she’s committed to beauty and bliss in the midst of the hard stuff.
Andrae Ranae – one of the women who held space for me (and others) in France at Your Leadership Recipe. I’ve mentioned her before, and I’ll do it again. She’s also got a new podcast going Called to Serve.
Rachel Cargle – Rachel is an activist, a feminist, a writer and an undergraduate(!) student at Columbia. Her Unpacking White Feminism lecture took her all over the nation last year.
Britt Hawthore (especially for educators) – She’s an anti-bias trainer who came highly recommended to me.
Makenna Held – the leadership coach I’m working with right now, an email from her is the reason I ended up in France with only 2 weeks’ notice.
A couple favorite Podcasts – I’m always finding more of these (and hope to create my own someday.) If you’ve been around you’ve probably seen me mention one or more of these before, but they bear repeating – cuz maybe you haven’t actually tried them out yet?
On Being a NPR podcast lead by Krista Tippett who explores the concept of what it means to be, live, and interact in this world.
Healing Justice a ‘community of practice in collective healing and social change.’
Called to Serve I mentioned above this is Andrae Ranae’s new podcast.
SuperSoul Conversations Oprah’s picks of amazing guest interviews.
Year of Yes is great combo of funny, memoir, easy-reading, self-help combined with not shying away from issues like racism and sexism and what it’s like to be an incredibly successful Black woman in TV-land who has struggled with anxiety and a general inclination to avoid actually engaging in life.
Braiding Sweetgrass I listened to this book on audible – read by the author. It is beautifully written and gave me such an appreciation of the earth and of an Indigenous (Potawatomi) view of the world. Now that I’m writing this, I may have to listen to it again!
The Invention of Wings Historical fiction, written beautifully by a white Southern woman. It’s all that fiction should be and it brings to life the intersections of race, class and gender in the lives of its characters – to open doors and close them. Oprah liked it too!
Kinky Gazpacho Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain author Lori Tharps was raised in a predominantly White suburbs of Wisconsin often times being the only person of color, she writes about finding herself though her travels in Spain.
Especially for parents: A Mighty Girls website/list and Miriam Pescowitz’s new book Code Like a Girl
Embracerace.org. their mission is to support ‘caregivers to raise children who are brave, informed and thoughtful about race.’
Okay, so kinda random choices – I could add so many more and music and art, but I need to sleep and go to work and mostly like you do too.
Do you have more ideas to add to these lists? I’d love to hear them hit reply if you got this in your inbox or email me at ___ or comment below (if you’re catching this on Facebook or Insta.)
P.S. Oh my gosh if you’re in or near L.A. DO NOT MISS the Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 exhibit at The Broad – phenomenal.
Bonus! Need a business coach here are two who are incredibly successful and have built racially diverse teams and client bases. I’m dying to work with both, but for now I just follow them Rachel Rodgers and Pam Slim.