Decolonization & Manifestation with Emily Anne Brant
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This week on The Em Makes Money Show, Emily Ann Brant and I discuss the intersection of decolonization and manifestation.
Emily is an indigenous author, speaker, and mentor who is working at the intersection of personal development and decolonization. She's on a mission to decolonize the personal development industry and works with women of the global majority, so BIPOC women, as an empowerment coach.
Emily is also a consultant for ally coaches who want to decolonize their businesses. And at the heart of it all, she's fostering communities where everyone feels seen, safe, and truly supported so that we can all rise together.
For many of us, this conversation will require a level of openness and curiosity that we may not always access, which may feel a little harder to access on this topic, but it is so worthwhile.
The first step to healing is just being open to hearing someone else's perspective and getting curious and learning about other people's perspectives.
So in this episode, we'll be talking about the way that the coaching industry has been colonized and the way that white women need to show up to be able to hold space for the global majority.
This is an area where I am a student of the game rather than an expert, and it felt really good to create a stage and hand over a microphone to Emily, an expert willing to share this message for all of us to hear.
So with that, here are a few key takeaways from this discussion:
1.) White coaches NEED to commit to looking at our privilege and biases.
Emily and I talk about how important it is for white women, white leaders, and white coaches to do a better job of noticing our privilege and biases.
She explains that noticing and using your words to acknowledge where you hold privilege is one of the biggest things when it comes to decolonization and creating safe spaces.
She shared that if she were to look to work with a mentor and it was a white woman or white person, one of the things she would look for is if they are acknowledging their privilege, seeing their privilege, or if they are just showing up and speaking through a very white and very privileged lens.
Because just showing up and speaking through a white lens and a very privileged lens will not be very productive or possibly not even safe for her or other BIPOC women.
Now I've heard privilege defined as not necessarily a place where you're ahead as much as it's a place that hasn't set you behind.
I like that definition because I think sometimes, it's hard for people to say "I'm privileged" because they feel like their life was still hard. But what this definition allows for is that we can have a hard life, and we can STILL HAVE PRIVILEGE. It just means that we weren't also set back because of other things.
And to model and practice saying and acknowledging these things myself, it feels appropriate to acknowledge some of my privileges.
So for me, growing up with white skin in the United States, in a family where my parents weren't divorced, were college educated, neither suffered from any severe mental illness, and there wasn't intentional trauma or abuse happening in my household. We were a middle-class family, financially resourced enough to never worry about there being food on the table or there being a roof over my head. And although money was the root of all disagreements in our household, there was so much privilege baked in.
I have security with places that we can go and people who can truly help us should we need it and I am able-bodied and privileged that my brain works in a more conventional way that worked with conventional education.
Truthfully the privilege I hold extends far beyond these areas, and my purpose in sharing this is not to create an exhaustive list, but just to acknowledge that my lived experience holds privilege.
2.) Emily breaks down the three-part framework of mindset, words, and actions that is necessary when we're doing decolonization work to create safe and welcoming spaces for everyone.
In this framework, mindset is all about educating yourself.
As Emily explained, it's about learning about the oppression and the pain that indigenous people, or black people, for example, have gone through. Putting in the effort to learn about the land that you're on, about different people's oppressive influences and cultural influences so that they don't have to spend time explaining to you.
Understanding that it is up to us to do our own education and unlearn what we were taught. To relearn the truth and not expect our clients to be the ones teaching us.
It is our job to look at how coaching and entrepreneurship have become colonized and examine what comes from a patriarchal & capitalistic influence. It's up to us to get back to the roots of why we do what we do: healing, community, and connection.
In this framework, it doesn't matter if you're learning and unlearning if you're not speaking up.
Emily shared that you need to say words that matter to make people feel safe and included. If you've not experienced oppression, speaking up is not an act of bravery; it's accountability.
And this accountability begins with acknowledging where you hold privilege and then also acknowledging what you will never understand.
It's not so much about having the right thing to say, and your job isn't to fix it. In fact, trying to fix it can cause actual harm. You just need to hold space.
The third part of this framework explores if you are also taking actions inside and outside of your containers to show consistently day after day that you are on the journey of learning and unlearning.
Action means that you are continuing to take those necessary steps and are committed to rebalancing the scales to make things right.
This looks like:
- Hiring people of the global majority, working with them, and learning from them.
- Committing a certain portion of your income to hire or a certain percentage of the people you hire are BIPOC global majority
- Giving back to organizations and things that support the BIPOC global majority
- Continuing to learn and share about your learning
And the reality is we all need to be doing the full trifecta - mindset, words, and actions. One without the others simply isn't enough.
3.) Racism and ancestral trauma often need to be acknowledged and felt in order for the global majority to apply law of attraction or manifestation principles.
This was an area I had been curious about and wanted to understand better, so much so that I had almost brought up Abraham Hicks when I went to her live workshop, as there is certainly criticism around spiritual bypassing and these areas.
And as Emily explained, there's validity to the law of attraction and to work like Abraham Hicks' work.
There's a time and place for positive thinking, and there is a time and a place when negative emotions come up and we aren't meant to just ignore them and pretend they're not there.
When you suppress those feelings with positive thoughts and words, it becomes toxic positivity and bypassing because things come up for a reason, and when we ignore them, they manifest in our bodies, and they just get deeper and deeper rooted.
So like any shadow work, we need to not bypass it.
And this is especially true for those of the BIPOC global majority who have experienced oppression or intergenerational pain and racism.
Emily shared her own story and how she was taking all of the courses and reading books mostly written by white men and women on things like Law of Attraction, Money, and Positive Thoughts. But it just wasn't clicking.
It wasn't until she began acknowledging and healing her own experiences with intergenerational pain, racism, and oppression that they began to shift.
4.) We need to take a closer look at the healing tools that we use from other cultures and find ways to ensure that we're appreciating them and acknowledging where they came from versus appropriating them.
As Emily laid it out for us if you are wondering, questioning, or worrying if it is okay to use a tool from another culture… it's probably not okay. When you are already to the point where we are wondering where the line is, you've already reached the point where you should pause.
She explained that cultural appropriation is when you take the parts of a culture that is not yours. Usually, this is done by a more dominant group, aka white folks, and you use them for your own personal gain, benefit, or profit.
She used the Chakra system as a fantastic example.
If you are using it for your own gain and profit by creating a course or a product you will profit from, you need to pause and think about the following things.
- Where did you learn this from?
- Are you giving back to the communities where the culture is from and who the teachings are from? Are you holding this with the reverence and respect that it deserves?
- Are you acknowledging regularly?
We all have things that really resonate, have helped us heal, and have been beneficial, so we want to share. But if this is what you want to do, you need to appreciate vs. appropriate.
As Emily laid it out, "If you're going to share, if you're going to borrow other people's culture, you need to know, you need to do your work and know where it comes from, who you learned it from. Acknowledge that publicly every time you share it. And bring in other experts when you can, who are actually from that culture because those are ways to kind of appreciate versus appropriate."
She went on to say: "These cultures that get taken from all the time, like indigenous people, for example, we have been painfully disconnected from the culture. We were told, no, those things are wrong. Those things are demonic. Those things are evil. Those things are bad."
"We were stripped away from having access to them. And now the ancestors of the ones who stole them and took them away are now packaging them up and selling them and profiting off of them. So that's really messed up. Right. And it's really hurtful."
So as we use healing tools, practices, and more from other cultures, it's up to us to see the pain and oppression and support decolonization by appreciating vs. appropriating.
5.) When we enjoy the journey of our growth and success and it feels inevitable, then it doesn't have to happen fast, especially if fast would feel like forcing or stressing.
Emily shared that she had some experiences with a mentor that left her feeling completely separated from her intuition and a backsliding business.
As she put it, "Basically, I had to get to a complete rock bottom, like a complete dark night of the soul is what it literally, honestly felt like."
But once she started doing the ancestral work, the shadow work, and the deeper healing and combined it with a shift in strategy and messaging, she created almost a brand new business and is truly doing what feels like her soul's work.
With a full-time job that has given her a sense of stability as she has shifted her business… she has created this detached sense of" knowing" that success is inevitable and it'll come when it comes.
She calls it turtle medicine. And I LOVE turtle medicine.
She explained it as embodying this slow down to speed up. "When it happens, it's inevitable."
This interview with Emily really was amazing, and I have no doubt that she gave you something to think about and consider.
If you haven't already, give the full episode a listen above.
Connect with Emily Anne Brant:
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Work with Em:
Website: Emily Wilcox Coaching
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