The Undaunted Heart Podcast: gives a platform to wellness rebels and sacred revolutionaries on the margins to share their medicine and magic directly with you, wherever you are in the world, or on your life’s journey (previously named Trailblazer Interviews).
Asali is a Black queer femme community healer and earthworker creating at Asali Earthwork.
Her healing work is rooted in using self-care as a means to disrupt systems of oppression and prioritize care for her community.
I have been deeply lucky to have had several amazing tarot readings from her and have been following her work and reading her insightful, brilliant blog and accessible, practical and magical card spreads for some time.
So I am so excited to be speaking and sharing with her here today.
In this podcast, we talk about:
Drawing on sacred arts when we are in a life crisis.
Representation in tarot and how it impacts our healing.
Healing through radical self and community care. So much of ‘healing’ and ’empowerment’ in the dominant wellness culture (a predominately white, cishet, abelist, capitalist culture) is incredibly individualistic and this isn’t the only – or the best – option.
Caring as radical: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare. ” — AUDRE LORDE
Integrating the sacred and the political in action.
Transcript: I am currently seeking support on Patreon to enable me to offer The Undaunted Heart Podcast as an inclusive offering. At my second goal, I can commit to a 2019 season of The Undaunted Heart Podcast as a bi-monthly release.
My goal is to produce free transcripts so the podcast is accessible to d/Deaf and hearing impaired folx and those who can’t access audio for impairment or environmental reasons. The Undaunted Heart Podcast is one of my favourite parts of my business and I can’t wait to make more and make them accessible for all.
Other than those compelling reasons, I loved Clueless because of the makeovers.
I so wanted makeovers as a teenager.
I wanted someone to work their magic and I would emerge all perfect at the other side.
I was pretty sure this would involve hair straighteners and John Frieda Fizz Ease Hair Serum*, some kind of high-fashion wardrobe upheaval combined with a magic transmission that would give me confidence, verve and body positivity, long before I’d heard of the phrase as body positivity.
I was looking for transformation. One fell swoop, pull back the curtain, turn around and gaze disbelievingly into the full length bevelled mirror. Oh my goodness, instant miracle.
How many of us are still looking for instant miracles?
What does it say to ourselves that we seek to overhaul everything? It’s always big isn’t it? Big promises, big price tags. In that way we can justify the purchase – my life is SO bad so I need this huge nuclear solution and then my life will be amazing.
Creative Adjustments for Coping
I know the pain that fuels this change-seeking. Teenage me knew it, adult me knows it. I too have been there, wanting to buy my way out of pain and suffering. If it worked, what wouldn’t we pay? The problem is how infrequently it works, how high the price and how painful it feels when the high hopes fall.
But maybe there is something in being where we are and moving forward slowly. Transformations can be challenging, upgrading can be hard. Have you ever tried to upgrade your computer? Or operating system? That is not an easy process, my friend. And think how much harder with humanity than with technology.
Have you come across those stories of people who win the lottery and go into crisis? Changing yourself – in many ways losing yourself, or self you knew – overnight is a huge shift. Interestingly, our minds register all change as stressful, not only painful change. On the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, a change generally seen as pleasant and ‘positive’ such as a wedding or a job promotion, registers as stressful as a change like the death of a parent or a divorce.
Why? Because change can be stressful and large changes can be correspondingly more stressful.
Instead of focussing on life-shifting makeovers, perhaps there is another way?
What if we start with small tools? Small tools, used consistently, with compassion, I believe create more lasting change than sudden transformations.**
It’s incremental shifts that we grow and change with rather than a pendulum shift from which swing back into old habits.
I absolutely recognise large shifts can occur organically; the interaction that somehow stayed with you and comforted you in the future, the therapy session where years of work just fell into place, the treatment that worked and you went into remission. But I feel too often we spend all our time seeking these high points, the big fireworks display of healing, and we are depleted and deprived of daily, small, accessible shifts that are in our power to make.
What are small tools?
Small tools are accessible
Small tools are affordable
Small tools are in the hands of the many
Small tools are from people like you rather than distant experts
Small tools are engineered in your locality
Small tools are adapted for your environment and needs
Small tools are inclusive
What tools they are can be different for each person, for me, it’s accessible, approachable, simple self-care tools. Such as: using my journal, using what I have before I purchase something, drinking enough water, stretching, using a meditation I know, checking in with myself around screen time.
None of these tools are set up as miracle makers. They aren’t flashy. There are no artfully shot photographs or marketing budgets for any of them. They won’t look that cool on Instagram.**
But, over time, they help me make change. Small tools, simple tools. Tools that I have access to now. That most of us have access to today.
Because we are as we are right now for reasons, we may judge ourselves for those, we may like or not like them they may or may not be our responsibility. But I want to have compassion for the self that survived to get here.
Maybe you’ve had to make some ‘creative adjustments’ along the way. Some choices you regret, or decisions you never thought you’d have to face, with no good option, so you just picked the one the caused the least damaged and tried to keep moving forward.
I know, and I am glad you are still here. I hope you can find some small tools and some self-compassion for your use of them today.
What are your small tools? Let me know in the comments.
P.S Want more Small Tools, Big Change ™? Come and join me on Patreon where we are co-creating toolkits of accessible resources. Power in YOUR hands.
** If Instagram empowers you, more power to you. I’m not hating Instagram and certainly not the people who use it, but naming the often invisible but growing pressure to meet a certain visual standard in our lives.
In difficult days, self-care can feel like a luxury that we cannot afford, delicious journals or artful altars can feel ever-so-far away. But it doesn’t have to be this way. And painful times are when we most need compassion.
I believe self-care is a way of including ourselves in our compassion (credit: Karuna training)
My favourite self-care activities are non-aspirational, they are in the moment, accessible for those of us on the front lines, those fighting to help or suffering at the sharp points of this world.
A challenge for many of us is making self-care accessible. I don’t know about you, but I have spent far, far too long scrolling through the #altar tag on Instagram. And while there are some beautiful creations there, I am literally never going to make an ombre mandala of roses and then meditate in front of it.
And my journal looks far from the gorgeous pages I see displayed online. And I’m ok with that, because my journal is sacred and it’s mine. A space in this world I can tend to without expectations. A space I can tend to myself, without expectations.
For those of us who need assistance, have carers or are living in shared spaces, setting up a physical altar space can be difficult to improbable. Small children, rambunctious animals (I’m looking at you, Doris), or overly interested/critical family members can make it impractical to set up a physical space for our dreams and devotions.
I’ve had altars on window sills, bookcases (no candles – fire safety!), on dashboards while driving over the darkening mountains. I’ve built altars on a hotel dressing table, over a bathroom sink (hot-pink lipstick prayers on the mirror and feminist postcards NSFW), on my hospital table and…in my journal.
Yes, our journal can be our altar – let me show you how…
Sacred Stories Series: seasonal psycho-spiritual checkpoints to share our history & remind us to pause.
This is the story of small beginnings, this is the story of what happens invisibly, under the earth, before we ever see the results.
What is happening beneath your awareness, deep under your conscious thoughts healing may be occurring. This is the time of year we are most likely to feel well springs of energy bubbling up.
You may suddenly find yourself, one warming Tuesday afternoon, with a paintbrush in your hand and an image on the page before you. When you’d been planning to make a pot of soup and tackle your inbox. But something was emerging and it found it’s way through.
Can you, in this time of lengthening light, pay attention to your dreams?
This is embarrassing, but it seems I have been cutting my toenails wrongly my whole life. It’s tricky because I have reduced sensation and limited fine motor skills but I can’t always get to a professional to help me. So, I found this guide – revelation!
“We all experience ‘soul’ moments in life when we see a magnificent sunrise, hear the call of the loon, see the wrinkles in our mother’s hands or smell the sweetness of a baby. During these moments, our body, as well as our brain, resonates as we experience the glory of being a human being.”
~ Marion Woodman
A reminder that we don’t always have to be trying to upgrade. Enough is golden:
In the early years (starting with the year I chose fearless), my word helped pull me forward as I got closer and closer to the authentic and meaningful life I longed for. I made some big life-altering decisions in those years, partly because my annual word helped clarify my intentions and chart my path. This past year, though, there’s been a shift, and my life has felt deliciously close to what I was dreaming of all of those years when I was choosing words. I don’t feel as much like I need an annual word to draw me forward anymore. The only thing I can think of for 2019 is “more of the same”.
And I know it’s always the ‘getting there’ that is shown as the hard part, but in my experience arriving can be unexpectedly challenging. Arriving at joy or arriving into remission, it all takes time and support to switch out of survival mode into a nuanced space where we can embrace some good.
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