Before I dive into Take 1, I wanted to let you know that our Spring Healing Circle is this Saturday, 3/20 at 10am PST/1pm EST. The theme is: boundaries related to the nervous system! This is basically a follow up to the Mapping Your Nervous System workshop. Want to come? We’d love to have you! Click below and join the community to get the details.
Thanks for all your feedback for what I should write about in this post! “Healing and capitalism” was the winner, and I feel like I can address this intersection from many many angles. So this is Take 1! That means I’ll have more takes as more frameworks, lenses, and thoughts present themselves to me.
What does it mean to return to yourself?
Through intergenerational trauma, lived experiences, individual trauma, and systemic injustices, massive conditioning has been placed upon our minds and bodies. A. LOT. And capitalism is certainly a part of this. It is extractive and exploitative, and it requires “the haves” and “the have nots” in order to thrive. When people say the system is “broken”, I’m one of those people who say its operating exactly how it's designed, to create and maintain divisions and supremacy, specifically white cishet patriarchal supremacy.
And this ultimately causes trauma, anxiety, uncertainty, and not enoughness. For some it leaves you in precarious financial situations. It places others in privileged positions. And it also puts some of you in positions where your parents have to give you a talk about what to do when the police pull you over.
Capitalism isn’t a natural phenomenon. The only relationship it has to the land is to take from it. All of this conditioning, depending on your identities and experiences is part of what makes you who you are, but it isn’t wholly who you are. It’s the muck on top of you, the parts that, when shed, is a way to return to yourself.
This seems like a monumental task, to peel back the layers of exploitation, generational wounds, bullying, settler colonialism, racism, industrialization, and a unequal access in all of its forms.
So how the f*ck can we return to ourselves with all this in the way? Don’t we have to smash the system first?
This is the ultimate question. I do think we need to smash the system, but I also think we can become more and more aware to help give us resolve to not allow that muck to be layered on again. It is possible—little by little, my love.
You can start healing within yourself, locally, and in community. This process will be messy. Think about a strained relationship you have and then extend it exponentially, like a lot. There are so many strained relationships within this world which is also within extractive systems: it will be messy.
In order to return, you have to examine yourself with as much compassion and acceptance as possible. Remember to meet yourself where you are at first and foremost. It’s okay to be confused, it’s more important to start. And here are ways you can do it:
Return to your body.
This can be through meditation, somatics, yoga, reiki, attuning to your nervous system, EFT tapping, and probably more! You don’t have to do all of these (in fact, I recommend you start small), but start tuning into what your body is telling you. There is no tool that is perfect, but these tools allow you to start digging. Your body has so much wisdom that you probably ignore. I’m not saying that critically. I’m saying that capitalism has not only disconnected us from the land but from our bodies. We push ourselves to burnout, we stay up late when we need to rest, we stay seated instead of moving, we don’t drink water when we are thirsty, we starve ourselves because of body image.
Meet your ancestors.
Learn about your lineage. Talk to family members. If you do not have access to this, read about it from a decolonized perspective. Imagine the ways that trauma may have shown up and been passed down. If your ancestors were colonizers, find out where they colonized. Who did they historically exploit? What was their career, trade, or profession? If your ancestors were colonized, learn those stories. In my case, my ancestors were upper caste Hindus—so they were both colonized by the British and oppressive to lower caste Hindus, Dalits, and Muslims. I sit in the middle of these identities, oppressed and oppressor. This information will help you notice how this manifests within you and your community. It is not information to judge you, it is information to support you.
Learn about colonization, decolonization, and Indigenous relationship to land in general. Some of my favorite podcasts for this are For the Wild, All My Relations, and The Indigenous Futures Podcast (feel free to comment or reply to me with more!) And read about it: The Wretched of the Earth, Braiding Sweetgrass, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples.
Befriend your feelings and the things you don’t like about yourself.
If you took my workshop about feeling your feelings, you’ll know what I’m talking about here. We have to dive into these shadow parts of ourselves. We have to be with our feelings. If we push feelings down, we can never move through them. Notice, I do not say move “past” them. Because moving past them feels like they were a problem—your feelings, as crappy as they might feel, are not problems, they are signals that support you. They are physical sensations that give you a message. I do not say move “forward” because I do not wish to assign a false, linear trajectory for your healing and your life. When you move through, that means you touched your feelings, it means you cradled them, and you offered gratitude.
When you create boundaries, you can decide what energy has permission to enter your field. As I showed in this venn diagram, you can only give what is at the intersection of what others want from you and what you want for yourself. You have limits, and that is okay. Honor these limits. Honor your capacity.
When the energy that doesn’t serve you is no longer around, it is so friggin’ liberating! Initially, this will be hard. You might experience the desire to ease up on your boundaries because you were used to a specific relationship dynamic (even if it was harmful). Or the person(s) you made the boundaries with might get upset with you. Just remember that either of these situations means that the boundary is effective. You are not meant to feel the same way afterward! Eventually, you’ll notice a sense of peace, and you’ll start to see who you really are without all that energy in your sphere! This doesn’t mean that your boundaries cannot change, but sometimes you need to make these so that you can return to who you really are.
I know this is easier said than done—and don’t forget, you can always join The Healing Hype community (wink wink). And there are so many other beautiful online communities out there as well. Think about different types of communities you’re a part of, and do this Pod Mapping exercise to examine your relationships through a new lens.
There are also great IRL communities, especially local ones! In Los Angeles, I discovered Trauma-Informed LA—I’m not in constant contact with them, but I tune into their podcast and have chatted with a few people in the organization. This is a budding community for me.
COVID has made community difficult and isolating. But if you can find ways to embrace local community, it can help you relate to the land. At the same time, sometimes we don’t always mesh with our local community, and I understand this. Where we live is sometimes out of survival, not preference. Perhaps there is somewhere you prefer to be, try to make connections there. Again, this is a process, so be soft with yourself throughout it.
And remember that your community can also be with your ancestors, with nature, with animals, with other parts of the Earth.
Return to yourself, rediscover reciprocity
Returning to yourself means you are connecting with your body and to the Earth around you. This is inherently defying what capitalism wants. It wants you to think that you and your body are not enough and that its relationship to the Earth is one-way.
This is false, relationships are reciprocal.
If we relate to our bodies, the land, and each other with reciprocity, we start to redefine and reframe the world around us. As Ella Noah Bancroft talks about in For the Wild in the episode “The Intelligence of Our Intimacy”, “our [current] belief system is embedded in an economic structure rather than an environmental one.” As we know, this takes away rather than returns. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps toward it in order to embody its importance.
I’ve recently become obsessed with the trees in my neighborhood, and, slowly, I’m learning their names, where they came from, and how their journey may have been. I live in California, so there are so many trees from so many places. In the act of researching a tree, I connect to the land around me. In the act of reaching out to a relative, I connect to my lineage. By deciding to not be around my mom for more than 48 hours, I honor my energy and honor myself. It is always a return.
Reciprocity in human relationships can be challenging and so messy. But that isn’t a call to stay away from it. That’s a call to look at the roots of the mess, if you have capacity. We can’t go back, but we can be aware and move in small ways to possibly repair—even if it’s allowing grace, maintaining boundaries, or forgiving ourselves.
In the end…
Whether you are a rich white man or poor, Black, disabled, trans, and queer, everyone experiences trauma in capitalism. (Read My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem to learn more about this.) The world certainly high-fives the former, but through its divisiveness and supremacy, capitalism places expectations on everyone to conform to white cisgender heteronormative patriarchy. This isn’t good for anyone.
But that doesn’t mean you cannot heal. We all will have very different healing journeys. There are so many ways to return to ourselves, and these routes will contain obstacles. However, the more you notice your true self and how it relates to others, the more resolve you will have to keep returning.
Thanks for reading! Let me know how much this post will help you heal in capitalism by clicking an emoji below.
I’d love to hear from you! What has helped you heal in capitalism? Hit reply or leave a comment.