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Social Lens

In all my offerings, I bring a social lens developed through the work I have done around privilege, systemic oppression, and equity for over a decade. I ground my perspective in knowing that as cis, able bodied white man I have a particular location in our society that shapes how I move through the world--including how I work with others. I am committed to the life-long path of undoing and transforming toxic masculinity, white supremacy, and other forms of oppression, both in myself and my communities. I also commit to meeting you wherever you are on your journey of developing your own social consciousness, and getting to know how your various intersections of identity shape your life and your path of transformation.

Systems of oppression create and perpetuate trauma, both personal and collective. These traumas live in our bodies, and if they are not addressed, can often stay with us--and trauma caused by pervasive systemic oppression (such as patriarchy and white supremacy) happens through a consistent stream of microaggressions. Somatics and shamanic work are both adept at addressing such traumas: Somatics, through the use of practices can allow us to process and transform traumas that are being held in the body; shamanism, through ancestor work and reintegrating parts of the self that may have been fragmented; and both by offering resilience practices. Healing trauma is essential for our own well-being, as well as the well-being of our community and future generations.

For those who benefit from white and/or male privilege, somatics can be a powerful methodology for transforming how oppressive systems live through us. Somatic practices center on bringing awareness to sensations and emotions, which both patriarchy and white supremacy teach us to ignore and suppress. As such, knowing our feeling selves and developing emotional intelligence are acts of rebellion and liberation. Shamanic work is also adept in this work, as it leans into healing our lineages and re-integrating parts of ourselves that may have fragmented as we were shaped by patriarchy and white supremacy. Through somatics and/or shamanism, we move our work for social justice deeper than analysis, into the ways we move and act in our every day lives. 

A Note On Cultural Appropriation

As my shamanic lineage is that of the Tamang Bombo in Nepal, and since I also draw on other lineages that are not of European/white descent, it's important to speak to cultural appropriation and my work through these traditions as a white person.

Cultural appropriation is when something is used from another culture without permission, when that culture is not named/honored, and/or when that thing is stripped of its cultural significance (all within the context of power dynamics). I was trained directly by the individuals whose ancestral lineages have carried these traditions since time immemorial, and given permission from them to use these practices. As such, I lean into these traditions, honor the lineages, and use tools and iconography that come from them. As a white person working through a historically non-white lineage, it is my constant practice to work to counter cultural appropriation: naming and honoring my lineage of teachers, using their tools in their shamanic context, and staying true to the practices.

 

At the same time, I do not attempt to replicate Tamang or any other non-European/non-white shamanic lineages. Shamanism is powerful partly because it is unique in every cultural context, so to be most effective it must be landed in our current culture. While some isolated European/white shamanic traditions still exist, they are largely absent in western culture due to historic systematic eradication of their practitioners and demonization of the traditions (mostly at the hands of Christian institutions). This has been at the detriment of people of European descent and western culture as a whole, because we have lost lineages that carried deep knowledge of healing and transformation. And when we suffer, if we do not heal we are more likely to perpetuate that suffering onto others.

 

My work is to re-vitalize shamanic practices in our culture and tailor them to our context, while also leaning into and honoring the lineages and people who trained me, and who have carried this work for generations. Through shamanic practices, we can build a more healthy, whole world. 

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