Women are supposedly paid 75 cents on the dollar for men's work. Yet, this refers to white men and women. Evidence shows that people of color, women especially, are paid far less. Similarly, individuals with disabilities and GLBTQIA+, depending on the situation quite possibly suffer the same.
And all the while, money is concentrating into few hands. The wealth being siphoned from the poorest to the wealthiest. These elites do this intentionally through the media, corporations, institutions, and governments, the long arms and talking pieces, controlling the situation from behind the scenes.
While we do our best to speak up and break through the glass ceilings and systems of oppression, it's a real thing.
The majority of even 'middle class' families can barely keep a month's expenses aside for a rainy day. One bad month away from poverty. More and more individuals live below the poverty line, services cut, real buying power decreasing, and wages stagnating.
While world-wide, charitable donations are up. Fewer people live in deep poverty. Many billionaires and millionaires give very generously through philanthropic causes. Yet, they too have not managed to upend the systematic oppression, partially because they ultimately benefit from it.
Individuals growing up in poverty and living in an unequal society (I.e. living with racism, sexism, ageism etc.) creates a shell shock to the brain and epigenome. We know that epigenetics impacts quality of life and is stored as ancestral wounds. We've lived in 500+ years of colonialism and globalization. For generations, this oppressive system have lived on in our DNA, our stories, our histories. Yet all of this is largely unacknowledged or paid lip service to in sensitivity or diversity training.
There is no leaving. No escape hatches. No back door. Nowhere to go, even if you wanted to do so.
I'm not saying that we must accept this situation. I'm not saying to hate the privileged and wealthy. I'm not saying that all hope is lost.
What I am saying it that we do live in an unequal society. It's not just your imagination.
What I am saying is that privileged folks have had generations to preserve and accumulate wealth.
What I am saying is that the current economic, social, and political climate gives an advantage to some, not all.
What I am saying is that even if you make less, your bills and needs are not less. In fact, the marginalized have layers of programming and ancestral wounds to heal in addition to their current circumstances.
I'm getting tired of individuals within the personal growth industry, especially whites, who ignore these factors of inequality in their pricing, sales and marketing practices.
I'm tired of inflated prices and the shaming in not being able to afford the investment without putting individuals and families at risk from debt.
I'm tired of people profiting from fear based messages and yielding very little transformation. And many feel shame about speaking out against such messaging or services.
I'm tired of the deaf ear towards these injustices.
This is to say nothing of the actual program materials and approach that often perpetuates oppression and further marginalizes the marginalized.
When we ignore the truth and deny reality, we cause harm. When the very nature of our so-called empowerment does not actually liberate, but further subjugate, we are doing damage. Here is a reminder: IMPACT>INTENT.
Just stop and listen.
And if you are marginalized, know that in my space you are safe.
I do not pretend that I know all. I have consciously worked unceasingly to unpack my own wounds, from colonialism through my inquiry into patriarchy within my own life and the impact of the British empire within India, related to Bharata Natyam. I have spent the past 20 years teaching, writing, editing, consulting about remembering and recovering identity, illuminating purpose, and defining life on your terms. I personally unschooling my daughter. I am a business owner. I have lived the struggles of being a brown body in a white washed world. And I have a unique blend of science-based tools to illuminate truth and gentility of compassion and deep listening that leads to radical transformation.
My promise to you: walk with you through the dark days, recover who you are, and rewrite the programs to take back your full potential and step fully into your power. If you're ready, I'm here.
Here's a video lecture that I created about overcoming systemic oppression in regards to living your life by design and fulfilling your calling. Check it out and I will open my calendar for a heart to heart discussion with me -- no strings attached to connect about this and the impact on your life and journey. If you are looking for support, we can discuss that as well.
Video Lecture link.
Oh, no, you're not crazy.
It's almost impossible, if you have spent any time in traditional schooling, watching any form of media, or lived in our society to come out without unconscious biases and indoctrinated to uphold or rail against the system. In fact, it is practically impossible. Here are a few chosen ones for your purview.
Silence breeds shame and begets more silence.
It is essential that you find reassurance that you are not crazy, your response is a natural reaction to an unfair situation. I’m here to reassure you, that you are not crazy. You are in fact as well adjusted as you can possibly be under the circumstances.
It's like walking through a one-way door, you'll never be the same. You won't ever heal to the place before your indoctrination and programming. That is impossible -- to unsee the seen. However, you'll be able to heal the pain, as well as stand in your power, stand in your truth, stand in the world in a new way.
Photo Credit: Frank Mckenna
Men can mansplain, be aggressive, interrupt, belittle, talk over, insult, be crass, or ask a pointed question yet he is considered direct, assertive, decisive, even an effective communicator.
Women may speak up and are considered pushy, aggressive, unladylike, rude, or even bi!@hy.
This type of double standard, of which there are countless examples, permanently keeps some people in the less than position. Make no mistake, it is a purpose-built system to give greater advantage to some but not all. This is the heart of the systematic oppression that has given us sexism, racism, ageism, discrimination, homophobia, xenophobia, elitism and so on. Stereotypes, discriminatory laws and policies, ethnocentrism, self-justifications, social norms and rationale reinforce these systems.
It eclipses our inner power and inner truth.
Now, I have said we are slaves within this system, it's often subtle so we don't recognize it. I have also said we are unconscious victims of it. That does not mean we have no power or we are stuck. Yes, I use polarized language because as a researcher, an educator, an editor, a rhetor, a partner, a parent, and a scientist I have seen, explored and even unwittingly indoctrinated others. I use these words because it gets people to wake up, because it is a part of the truth. But in truth we are also heros and heroines, warriors and lovers, and creators and storytellers.
But my message has never been about fear or disempowerment, in fact, I have stood for empowerment, inspiration, courage, and liberation my entire life. It means that to actually create real lasting change, once we become aware of the programming, we can choose our next steps. We choose if we want to keep repeating the same patterns or leave them behind in order to create something new and fulfill our calling. But that part is completely up to you.
Systemic oppression resides within our histories, our attitudes, our beliefs, our actions, our perceptions, our language, our environment and most damaging of all it is stored within our DNA and epigenome. As long as one member of the human race is oppressed, we all are oppressed. Even when we were all free of oppression, it would still have an impact, a challenge to rise above. We can rise above what is. We can take directorship of our life.
The eclipse need not be permanent.
Because I am a warrior who will not settle for the status quo. But now with eyes wide open I empower individuals to rise above their programming, control their epigenetics, and fulfill their highest potential.
You’ve most likely heard, that you are your genes. By and large, our programming includes the disempowerment that each of us is victims to our genes. However, the opposite is true. In reality, the epigenome, the above the DNA, gives us complete control of how the DNA is read, interpreted and executed within our body. Epi-, meaning above, refers to the mechanisms of running the programming and blueprints within our cells.
In reality, you are the director of your life. You choose the script, the actors, the scenes. It’s up to you. You create your reality and have the power to rise above your programming and your DNA.
Imagine a world where all of humanity rose up simultaneously, to claim their birth right: full liberation and empowerment. What would be possible?
That’s why I’m optimistic. Hopefully now, you are too.
Why are we unsatisfied?
Let’s look at a few factors. First, the amount of stress from living day to day is increasing, from job pressures, money worries and the ever-present dissatisfaction, especially in the free nations of the world. Oliver James, author of Affluenza, calls out a key component of the source of this dissatisfaction: ‘advanced capitalism makes money out of misery and dissatisfaction, as if were encouraging us to fill up the psychic void with material goods.’
He goes a step further by blatantly stating, "I contend that most emotional distress is best understood as a rational response to sick societies."
Let that sink in.
Emotional distress in response to a sick society.
He calls this phenomenon ‘Affluenza’ a type of selfish capitalism that is nobly in English-speaking countries whose citizens that are heavily invested in their levels of success—ie fame, wealth, comparison, and the ‘rat race.' We’ve lost touch with our own feelings and the doubts, fears and insecurities we feel have been co-opted by corporate interests and in maintaining hierarchies that keep us stuck.
How has this happened?
Namely, a society has more than it needs yet advertisers convince them they need more. And with each subsequent generation the anxiety and depression increases.
If we look at this problem with the lens of epigenetics, it is not a personal defect within our DNA, but an opportunity to empower our liberation. Epigenetics is a new science where the paradigm of living above your genes. Each subsequent generation receives DNA with certain set of tendencies and potentialities within it. One such negative might be the tendency for depression. Yet it won’t come to pass unless that specific sequence of genetic material is triggered, often by stress. While we don’t have control on the actual sequence, our daily life choices, actions, beliefs, thoughts and feeling have an impact on how those are expressed.
As a result of poorer quality food, more stressful lives, less connected within relationships, and of course less meaning in work-a-day lives, is impacting our epigenome and genome, both as individuals and our society at large.
Are you programmed for dissatisfaction?
Perhaps you are genetically prone dissatisfaction, however we have a capacity for being programmed. Our brains, especially in the formative years of birth to the age of 7, we are learning how to live in the world and pick up programming from our environment and role models. Even after the age of 7, we can easily be programmed when advertising and media plays on our fears and insecurities.
For instance, as Oliver James mentions, we are saturated media as it is, “barely concealed advertisements for classes of product.” Even, and especially, education, as "little better than a systematic method for spreading the virus.”
In his book, Richard Brodie shows how the Virus of the Mind are passed on and ‘infect’ us, especially regarding finding meaning. We have memes in society that program us. Memetics, the studies viruses of the mind and how we transmit ideas between individuals, pervades how we think. This type of programming has become insidious and virtually undetectable.
Memes about meaning
In his recent essay, ‘On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs,’ David Graeber, makes a few points that are crucial to this discussion. First, that we live in a society where many of us realize that our work is fruitless and meaningless. More and more of the world’s population is making this realization and it leads to the emotional distress that Oliver James mentioned. Some cope well, changing to more meaningful careers and lives, or finding meaning in their work. Yet, most unfortunately do not adapt instead turning to nihilistic tendencies, searching for a panacea, or accepting the status quo. It’s the lives of quiet desperation that Henry David Thoreau was referring to in Walden.
The meme here is what TV shows and education teach, that we live in lives that are not our own and live through the bullshit. We live for our weekends, our vacations, and those few precious moments: graduation, an award ceremony, the raise, the wedding, birthdays and anniversaries. We’re not meant to find meaning every day. Instead we get sucked into the drama or fear of the latest news or media offerings. Until our own death, we simply exist and suffer.
The second crucial point that Gaeber makes is that while those that pursue more meaningful work, i.e. auto workers or teachers, ‘should’ make less money and be inconvenienced because their work actually matters to the world at large. In his words, ‘yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way…to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work.’
The prevailing meme: we’re told that doing purposeful work that serves a cause greater than ourselves, that it is perfectly acceptable to be paid less or treated poorly, because that’s the price you pay for doing good work. I personally find this appalling. These are only 2 of the memes that are in play.
Why do many of work in jobs or careers that do not challenge this status quo? I believe it is because we depend on the money and the powers that be keep the economic, educational, and financial systems to keep us in this dependency. The system keeps playing on our fears and dissatisfaction and instead of solving the root cause, it’s easy to seek for a panacea or a pill that can suppress these feelings.
What causes lack of meaning?
While a depression is a coping mechanism by the mind and body after a stressful situation. Behind lack of meaning and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness is complex. It can have many causes, including biochemical or hormonal imbalances.
Step 1: Trigger. Something we perceived as something negative happens, often we don’t remember the source looking back. It’s often very subtle.
Step 2 Response. We have a response or reaction to the negative event or situation.
Step 3: Habit. We continually rehearse this response, it becomes a bad habit. We become addicted to the bad habit and ‘see’ the trigger everywhere and repeat the response, even though the response may be ineffectual.
We see life, an advertisement, hear about someone’s life and we are triggered all over again. This is how a short term negative becomes the new cage for living one's life.
What you need to do instead?
The truth is we need to go inward.
The real courage, is understanding how pervasive the system does manipulate our actions and that we, are truly empowered individuals to take control of our own lives.
The best way for us to move forward is to take our empowerment into our own hands. Liberation is the best solution. Once you become liberated, turn around and help those ready to leap forward as well. True liberation then, is not from the oppression of a job, but the oppressive memes that live within our own heads.
Over to you
Notice how these memes and feelings of dissatisfaction show up in your life. If you’re stuck in a situation that brings you unhappiness, notice what specifically is upsetting you. Once you begin to see patterns consider the following:
1. Is there more clarity you need? If so, what?
2. How can you feel more empowered?
3. What memes effect you more than others? How can you talk back to these memes/fears?
4. How much autonomy, purpose and mastery do you feel in your life and career? Are there things you can do to increase these feelings?
5. Do you know what your priorities are? Use the Wheel of Wellness I have created as a free gift to help you to figure that out.
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