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MGU 159 | Untethering From Whiteness

 

In this world ruled by the powerful few, white supremacy is probably the hardest ideology to shake off since its roots are deeply embedded in socialism, capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy. It acts as if a shackle that forbids us to fly, and untethering from whiteness is definitely a great leap in achieving our full creative potential. However, this can be truly challenging because of society’s firm grasp on such a concept. Discussing this topic with Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen is singer, songwriter, artist and intuitive medium Kate Faust. Together, they unravel the secrets of embracing the multi-dimensional side of ourselves by looking back on the most challenging part of Kate’s life. They also discuss why taking a break cannot have a single design applicable to everyone, the familiar things they cling to the most, and why people who dabble in the arts can still be considered essential workers.

Listen to the podcast here:

Kate Faust On Untethering From Whiteness And Honing Creativity

It’s an interesting idea. This concept of readiness, as we’re starting, I feel a bit flummoxed on where to begin, and I feel flummoxed and I’m not using that to use the word flummoxed, although it’s a great word. I feel like with our guest, she is a human being, a spirit that is multidimensional and multifaceted. We hear the term renaissance woman or multidimensional artists. We hear different phrases and terminologies that get thrown around colloquially. One phrase that I have been using to try and encapsulate being like Kate Faust, or other wonderful friends and colleagues that have many different passions and talents in foci is omniscopic creative chameleon. There’s a certain chameleonic aspect to our guest where she is profoundly talented, wise and skilled in many different arts and practices.  

Without knowing exactly where to touch on, the first thing that I think of Kate, when of think of you is how many different things that I’ve experienced through you that have touched me from your music, art, channeling, spiritual work, some of the amazing workshops that you’re doing around equality and untethering whiteness. There’s so much we’re going to dig into. I feel it’s going to be a paleontology session with you digging up many treasures. The first touchstone that I want to jump into is there seems to be a narrative and a rhetoric in our society that in order to be successful, you’ve got to pick one thing, you’ve got to master it, run with it and do that.  

We seem to elevate and celebrate people in our society from sports figures to artists. There’s this master songwriter, athlete or painter. It’s such a myopic way of categorizing people. You seem to defy categorization. It’s hard to describe you and that’s a good thing. Have you fought through this in your life? Have you embraced it or both in the sense of, “I’m not going to pick one thing, I’m going to embrace all of my damn self and you all can’t categorize me?” I know that’s an amorphous way to kick this off, but let’s go into it and see where it goes.  

Thank you. First of all, I’m allowing myself to receive all the beautiful things that you said to me and blessed me with those kind words. It’s important for us to receive blessings, to be allowed to say yes. My favorite thing that you said was that you got to experience many different things through the gifts that I have to share. That’s the best thing anyone could ever say to me, so thank you. Second of all, I have battled with that. I didn’t grow up seeing an example of someone being openly multidimensional. My parents both have worked in their same job. My dad’s been with his company for 30 years. My mom’s been at her job for 25 years. I grew up in Amish Country in the middle of Pennsylvania.

I come from lineages of ancestors who were mostly farmers, or they were mostly factory workers before they had to leave their native lands. What I realized is that all people are multidimensional naturally. My father is a mechanic and he works at this company that he’s been at for 30 years, but he was also a drummer. That’s how he met my mom. His band was playing at her college. My mom is still a great reader. She was a manager at this clinic, but she is also an incredible mother and grandmother. She was always inspiring me to read about fairytales. We always had Celtic knots and Irish imagery painted all over our home. Both of them love to collect trinkets. Everybody is multidimensional.

The systems that we live in are invested in divide and conquer. Divide and conquer is not just Untethering from Whiteness. It starts in that way, but we have to divide and conquer ourselves. We have to make ourselves small. We have to compartmentalize these aspects of ourselves. We’re not allowed to show up in our abundance. Abundance is what everyone says they’re after, but they are at the same time denying their own abundance. I remember you responded because I posted this quote, “Fear of being too much is a fear of our abundance.” I always was an intense person. I was always incredibly creative, huge imagination. I also had a lot of discipline to master different crafts. I wanted to sit at the keyboard and learn it.

I wanted to learn music theory. I wanted to be able to look at a symphonic orchestral sheet music and understand what’s going on. I want to talk to dead people. Even Untethering from Whiteness, I did it as an offering because I have an abundance of compassion, growth and curiosity in this area. I’m good at holding space for people through difficult, esoteric things. I have a talent for seeing connections in things that people don’t always see. I have a talent for being able to go into uncomfortable places with a lot of levity and laughter because I take my work seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. I can hold space for people to experience this and experience something in themselves that’s already there.

That’s what art does. It gives us the space to be expansive. It gives us the space to be, as I believe all people are, we’re naturally multidimensional beings. The earth is multidimensional. Mother Earth isn’t only trees. She’s flowers, grain, mushrooms, dirt and rain. Our natural human inheritance upon the earth is to be multidimensional, to be abundant, to rest, to labor, to share, to die, to be reborn. I’m invested in what are the things that are taking you out of that? At least in the work with Sound Spirit and Untethering, even in my music, I’m in this process of birthing myself in this way and I’ve been doing it for a while, “Do you want to come along? Maybe this offering is serving you, please come and join us, or don’t.” That’s a long answer to your question. Did I struggle with it? Yes, but that struggle was also a struggle of that I’ve always had, which was coming into this world and being like, “This doesn’t feel right. That doesn’t feel right. That doesn’t seem right.” Finding out that other people also feel that way. Everyone else has given themselves permission to be who they truly are. It has helped me to do the same. I would like to offer that same gift to other people by being.

MGU 159 | Untethering From Whiteness

Untethering From Whiteness: People mistake the ability to replicate for the ability to create.

 

There are a lot of responses that I get sometimes in having conversations with people, not necessarily even friends or colleagues. Stranger is such a weird word because I feel I’m the kind of person who warms up to people quickly. Before we started, Whitney and Kate and myself were talking about introversion and extroversion. I’ve always been classically put in the extrovert category because even as a child, I would run up to someone and be like, “What’s your name? What are you up to? What are you creating?” I still have that Golden Retriever type of energy as an adult. Talking about this aspect of being multidimensional or multitalented or having many passions in life, the thing that I’ve heard over the years from people is like, “I could never sing. I want to sing. I’ve always wanted to draw, but I could never do that. “I’m not an artistic person,” or even deeper, “I’m not a creative person.”

It’s interesting that there are these aspects of compartmentalization. We could blow this conversation out much broader in terms of how we separate and define and compartmentalize a lot of things. In terms of the creativity, people not necessarily acknowledging or honoring how creative they are. It’s like if I don’t draw, sing, paint, write, whatever the thing is, then I’m “not creative.” It’s important we maybe have a conversation about expanding what the definition of creativity is, because it seems to be a much broader aspect of life in the sense of whether that’s Whitney and I starting a business or Kate, you’re doing your coaching or whatever it might be. I see people being down on themselves in many ways of, “I’m not creative. I’m not an artist. I want to do it.” There seems to be a massive disacknowledgment of what creativity is and helping people to acknowledge how creative they’re already being in their lives.  

Thank you for saying that because I feel, especially growing up like, “You’re creative.” It’s a fundamental lie that people don’t think that they’re creative. It’s not a lie that is innate to themselves. It’s a lie that if you think about the systems that we live in, their goal is to control. I’ve talked about this before but creative energy is sexual energy. Part of the way that capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy, all these things come together is through suppressing our sexual energy. Sexual energy, I don’t even mean having sex. Just being connected to your body. We’ve been inundated with a religion and if you’re of European ancestry, your ancestors were colonized 1,000 years ago from this religion. More people around the world have been colonized by it since then, which is disembodied. It views the body as the principle marker of sin. The body is where creativity happens, and everybody has a body. In my belief and my understanding of the way that the soul and the spirit moves from lifetime to lifetime, our soul is co-creating and choosing our body and choosing these creative experiences to have with the collective, with spirit. There’s nothing about anything on this Earth, as anything that’s organic and of the Earth that is not creative. A lot of people, their sense of creativity is also flattened because they’ve been made to be a consumer or a laborer rather than a human being.

Sometimes people mistake the ability to replicate as the ability to create. Replication is not the same thing as creation. Replication doesn’t have that same organic, authentic feeling because it lacks sexual creative energy. It lacks the energy of the body and the soul, which travels through many dimensions. That’s why art is important and creative art, because we still manage to have a bullshit meter. We still manage to know when we hear, see or feel the real thing to some degree. That gives me hope. Creativity is everything. It’s how you craft an email. It’s how you make your bed. It’s the color you choose for your pet. It’s the way you style your hair. It’s the way you craft a meal for yourself. It’s the way you create your relationships with other people. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, the way you create your position, your place, your role and your relationships at your workplace. There are many ways that we’re creating. If we were allowed to be more creative, we would be kinder people because if you realize you’re creating something, then you feel responsible for it. You have to steward it. There’s a thing about creativity. It requires you to be responsible, to be authentic and to step up. If you just want to take what’s given to you, then you can blame everyone else for everything. You can scapegoat marginalized people.

If we’re in our full creative power, then we’re also in a full sense of individual and community responsibility for how things turn out, for what the outcomes are. Creativity, people think that in a capitalist, mechanized mindset, they’re always thinking about efficiency. They’re always thinking about productivity and you have spoken about the hustle thing. Tesla and Edison didn’t get their ideas from mechanizing their consciousness. They had to sit, do nothing and fail a bunch of times. That’s fertile ground. If the society only wants to replicate its means of creating capital for certain people, then it’s not invested in your creativity. It’s only invested in certain kinds of creativity, more masculine, “efficient” like, “Let’s hack this creativity.”

I’m not interested in becoming more efficient or productive. I’m not interested in being a machine. I am a real-life human woman. That’s what I want to be on this earth. That’s it. That’s enough for me and that’s brilliant. That has so much abundance. I also have the masculine energy to be able to create a container that allows me to deliver it, harness that chaos and creativity, deliver it to people, and build relationships and containers to facilitate the work. Creativity is not just, “Did I paint a picture? Did I paint in the lines?” It’s, “Am I being my full self? Am I willing to know what my power is? Do I have the cojones to take responsibility for that?” If you’re going to show the fuck up in life, then you’re going to have to take responsibility for it and not everybody’s willing to do that. That’s the piece.

It’s brilliant. It echoes something Whitney and I have been talking about a lot, especially this concept of slowing down, being more present and not being robotic. Whitney, I’m curious in this period that you’ve been traveling, slowing down and spending time with family, if this has reconnected you to a sense of more peace and humanity, and not being focused on hustling and overworking. It’s part and parcel of this creativity conversation. Have you noticed a correlation with that of slowing down, taking more time. Is that making you feel more creative at all?  

It’s interesting because what I’m recognizing a lot in this past year, and it’s not necessarily about the events that have happened in 2020 or maybe it is. It’s hard to say. A lot of us have been shifting our perceptions on life because of what’s happening externally. It’s been an intense year for us globally. It’s been an intense year for us in the United States with the election. That brings a lot of things to the surface. When you add in something like travel, it can affect us in a deeper level as well. For me, taking two months to travel across the country is certainly eye-opening but in some ways, not as much as I expected, I suppose. When I was preparing for this trip, I thought this trip is going to shift me in all these huge ways. It might have. Sometimes it takes a while for it all to sink in. I’ve also noticed how things don’t necessarily happen as quickly or as overtly as we think that they’re going to, especially when we go into something that with an expectation like if I go on this trip, then I’m going to get this outcome.  

Art gives us space to be expansive. Click To Tweet

Many of us have found that that’s not usually true. A lot of the times the big outcomes that happen in our lives happen when we’re not expecting them, and they surprise us, and they might overwhelm us because we don’t feel prepared for them. That is often where the big shift is because we’re forced to deal with something. I found being somebody who loves to prepare, how I feel comfortable preparing. I feel safer emotionally when I can plan everything out. Throughout my trip, there have been a few big things that have happened on and off the road. I wasn’t expecting them, but they also didn’t surprise me. They were all possibilities in my mind, and I had to deal with them in the moment. Even though they were possibilities, they still felt stressful to me. I still had to mentally work my way through them.

In terms of my creativity, a lot of the times I’ve thought a break would help a lot. It would be healing. One thing I’ve been reflecting on a lot is either a break isn’t the answer as much as we think it is. I think we’ve been conditioned as a society to feel like, “You just need a break. Once you take this break, you’re going to feel better.” A lot of us jump right back into life after a break. We’re back to our old ways. A break doesn’t necessarily fix us, heal us or change us in as dramatic of a way as we think it’s going to. The other big thing I’ve thought a lot about is that maybe we need a lot more time.  

Perhaps a break would help, but it has to be a certain amount of time. We are not set up to give ourselves as much time as we need. As I’ve reflected on what I’ve done especially during these trips, I don’t even know if that was enough time. For most people, they think being away from home for two months is so much time and it is, but I could have gone for longer. I wonder, how would I have shifted if it had been any longer than that? Would there ever be a point where it would feel enough or does it never feel enough to transform? Maybe the transformation is happening there but in a lot more subtle way. It’s fascinating. Also, as I alluded to, it takes some time after that break, after that time away for you to start to see the ripple effects. I’m curious how I’m going to feel the next few weeks now that I’ve returned from the trip and see how it’s impacted me in ways I haven’t even noticed yet.  

You can’t rush things, this is something that if we look at nature and we look at the symbolism of the chrysalis of the caterpillar, dissolving its body and reforming into a butterfly, or we look at a snake molting its skin. I saw this Ram Dass quote that was being passed around, “It takes the time that it takes. You can’t rip the skin off of the snake. The snake has to molt in the time it takes to molt.” This is so relevant, not only with what you’re going through Whitney or with a lot of the transformational work, Kate, that you’re doing. I feel I am also in a death and rebirth period. I had a friend named Jera who messaged me, and Kate, I didn’t tell you about this, but I was in a motorcycle accident. I haven’t talked about it on social media, but I shattered my clavicle. My friend Jera, who was also doing some incredible healing work, she said, “You’re going through a rebirth.” I said, “What do you mean?”

On a level, I knew what she meant but she’s like, “When babies are born, that’s the most common injury in the birth process. Babies will fracture their clavicle.” I had never heard that in my life ever. I’ve been down this rabbit hole of the symbolism. To me, because of the way that I interpret symbology and metaphor, it resonates deeper in my body for some reason. Even as a child looking at Greek mythology, Egyptian mythology, symbology, when she said that, I was like, “Of all the things to break, I broke my clavicle.” She’s like, “You’re about to come out of the birth canal.” It even gives me chills talking about it.

Which side is it on?

I’m afraid to open this portal, Kate.

I’m curious.

MGU 159 | Untethering From Whiteness

Untethering From Whiteness: A break doesn’t necessarily fix, heal, or cause a change in a dramatic way it is usually expected. Sometimes, it takes a certain amount of time.

 

The right side means that was your feminine. It was my right clavicle.

It’s your masculine side, that divine masculine for sure. I woke up with a small stye on my right eye because I’m also going through a rebirth. Also, I want to say I’m glad you’re safe. Thank you for sharing that. How we share things on social media is strange. I’m sorry that you’re injured and in pain, but I’m glad that you’re taking support from your community, and you’re seeing that the body is the first place of creativity. It’s also the place that’s always communicating what our soul is trying to explain to us.

This is all interrelated and I want to put this out for all three of us to discuss. It’s this intersection of suffering, patience, surrender and allowing. It feels that this time for me in mending from this injury, waiting for surgery, and being in physical pain every single day, not only engenders to me a deeper sense of compassion for other people, other beings that are literally in physical or emotional pain every single day. Whether that’s through disease, injury, oppression or systemic racism. There are a million different reasons someone could be in pain every single day or the point where it’s in the background all of the time. Even in this microcosm of living through the pain, it’s helped me meditate more on the idea of suffering. If I don’t assign a meaning, find a meaning or cultivate a deeper meaning to this period, then it feels suffering without meaning. It feels hopeless. I’m sitting in the middle of what is the nature of suffering. Why do we as humans experience suffering? What are the spiritual growth ramifications of experiencing suffering? I’m sitting in all this.

I feel I can’t take that up. One thing I love about you, Jason, is that you’re always willing to go into that place of nuance, which is where I live also. I live in that gray space, that deep time, deep space. What I understand about suffering from my own suffering, part of my rebirth was coming to a place of for me, I suffered from PTSD and severe anxiety for most of my twenties. Trigger warning, I was sexually assaulted when I was twenty years old while I was on tour with my band at the time. The pain in the body, if you’ve ever experienced PTSD or severe panic attacks, you know the pain in your body.

I always had the pain I would feel in my body that you’d say it was somatic. I always felt like somebody had cut my ribs open. That’s how I felt for about seven years after it happened. When I started to be able to be physical with men again, I would feel that feeling. In a song I described it, “Break my chest and crush my ribs.” That sounds like a heavy metal lyric but it wasn’t. It was real heavy metal in the sense that I was like, “This is how it feels all the time.” When it’s not a severe physical pain in the body, I describe it sometimes as the hum of the refrigerator in the background. You start to learn how to function with it there. It’s always mucking everything. There’s some buzz going on, so you’re not clearly receiving everything.

I had an experience in September where I had forgiven this person and I haven’t experienced any of my PTSD symptoms since 2016 fully when I had my spiritual awakening in 2017. It’s when things started to change for me. I forgave this person and I wrote this in a piece. It’s called Trauma, Triggers and Time Travel. It’s about timeline jumping and the nature of trauma, that it takes us back to our moment of trauma so that our body, not our minds, because I was always like, “Why can’t I be over this?” In my mind I was like, “I should be fine.” My body was like, “No, definitely not fine.” I had a moment, a healing with myself where I forgave him. I worked through it in my body and came to a place of peace. I’ll share what I learned about suffering from that. I don’t claim to be an expert on suffering, but I’m an expert on my suffering because it was a great teacher for me. A lot of us believe that suffering is how we learn. I want to state that on a multidimensional level, yes, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re willing to take responsibility for your spiritual growth, you can start to get more subtle in how you work with your lessons. This is one of those reasons where people are like, “How could God be real if people are doing this?”

It also comes to the notion of deserving. Did I deserve to be sexually assaulted? No. When this person reached out to me, it was crazy, I was meditating. While I was in meditation, I was talking to my higher self and my higher self said, “Kate, you need to love in ways that are greater than you’ve ever known possible.” I saw some other visions during that meditation. I got on my computer, I was checking my email, and I got a text from a number I didn’t recognize. I knew that it was him. He has not reached out to me for ten years. I knew what was happening. I was like, “He needs my forgiveness.” I forgave him but I never told him. I didn’t want to reach out to him, but he’s suffering. I have a chance to relieve his suffering. Does he deserve it? No, I guess not. Does he not deserve it? I don’t know.

I’m throwing away the notion of deserving. Did Donald Trump deserve to be president? No. To me, the notion of deserving is bound up in capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy. Who deserves what? If you hustle enough, then you deserve. We know that’s not true because there are plenty of people who hustle and don’t get what they deserve. There are plenty of people who take and take and get more than they “deserve.” I didn’t deserve to be harmed by this person, but I also believe this person doesn’t deserve to suffer for the rest of their life, feeling deeper and worse than self-hatred about what they did to me when I have moved on from it. I don’t think about it often. I find myself talking about it more in this way because I feel people need to see that it’s possible. Not as it means to be like, “If you don’t forgive the person who traumatized you, then you’re not spiritual.”

If we were allowed to be more creative, we would be kinder people. Click To Tweet

No. I’m just telling you this is how it was for me. It’s not something people like to talk about. I called him up and he was shocked that I spoke to him and I said, “I forgive you.” I even did a soul contract revocation. The spiritual space shamans that are reading will know what I’m talking about. I said his full name. I said, “I release you from any karmic contracts in this and every lifetime. I release you. I bless you. Please don’t keep thinking about me. I hope that you can learn to love yourself again someday so you never hurt anyone the way you hurt me.” He started weeping and I got curious. I was like, “How has this been for you all these years?” It was devastating for me. It took away my twenties. I have years of my life that I don’t even remember. I’ve met people in LA that met me in Philly and I don’t remember who they are. I don’t remember because I wasn’t in my body. It’s not that I was on drugs. I was traumatized. I was outside of my body.

I don’t remember a lot of things that happened in those years after. I felt for a long time like a victim and like, “I didn’t deserve to have this taken away from me and I don’t deserve to be suffering.” Those are all valid things to feel. I’m not trying to invalidate people’s feelings about their suffering. Even the meaning-making Jason, I have clients come to me for readings and they’re like, “What’s the spiritual meaning behind this crazy, horrible, atrocious thing that happened to me?” I’m like, “Why do you need that? Do you even need your suffering to be productive? Can’t you just let yourself suffer?” An animal breaks their leg and it heals or it doesn’t, and they limp. You’re allowed to suffer and you’re allowed to loaf around and you’re suffering. Whitney, you spoke to this too, and it takes time. You don’t need to make sense of it in the first five minutes of like you fell on the ground. You’re like, “Shit. My clavicle is breaking. Am I rebirthing? The spirits are coming. I’m enlightened.”

Even with the pandemic, you’ve seen it. We can’t even stay in our fucking houses for two weeks without shit falling apart. We have not built a world or a society that can sustain being human on the earth. It’s great that you found spiritual meaning, but I also feel that you don’t have to. When my clients come to me with these incredibly horrible things, I’m like instead of searching for a meaning right now, let’s sink into your body and feel your grief about this. Sometimes the meaning-making is a resistance to what is. The invitation too has been, can we be with what is? Can we be with the fact that the earth is in this state it’s in, and that we’ve been put on time out, and that 230,000 people are dying unnecessarily? You have to fucking wear a mask. You do. You’re probably not going to die but somebody else might. I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but you live on a planet with other people and they need things from you. Do not villainize people for needing things because you need things too. You need that unemployment, don’t you? You need something. The uprisings after the execution of George Floyd and everything like that, especially for white folks, whiteness is built around not being with what is.

Creating an imaginary universe that you get to live in unconsciously and everyone else has to be subject to somehow. Can you be with what is? Can you stop reposting memes without doing any emotional labor? Please don’t change your profile picture, just fucking do the work. Please don’t read a book for a week and then tell me you get it. Please let this access you. Stop filling your brain with terminologies that your spirit, your heart, your soul and your body can’t recognize. Let yourself be accessed by life, by the needs, the humanity, the precariousness, the deservingness, the undeservingness, the meaninglessness of everything. That’s where we become. That’s where creativity lives. It doesn’t work when we want to. It takes time and taking a break like you were saying, Whitney, doesn’t always do as good if you go back to “normal.” It’s how we can shift and become more human. Taking a break too is something we also feel we have to earn that. It has to have meaning like, “I’m going to take this trip and it’s going to change my life.” Maybe it’s not or maybe it’s not going to this week. Maybe you won’t understand what you experienced until six months from now.

That might be part of the capitalistic mentality. A lot of us are sold these instant solutions like if you do this, you’re instantly going to feel better. If you go on this trip, then you’re going to feel better. Granted, I took this trip on my own and it was at my own pace. There is no financial agenda for me or anyone else by me taking this trip. When you’re speaking, I’m thinking about how many people go on retreats and things like that. Retreats are marketed about this transformation as if you go for a couple of days or a week, and you’re a different person. We want to believe that. That sounds appealing. If you have enough experience, in a way, I was doing my own retreat. It wasn’t set up to be a retreat but it had moments that are similar to what you might experience if you went on a structured retreat.

I feel I got as many, if not more benefits from doing that in my own structure in my own time. We’ve talked about this in many episodes that a lot of people want to sell you this idea that you can transform quickly if you do the X, Y, Z, whether that’s going somewhere or doing something, following a formula. It doesn’t work that way. We can’t control our outcomes as much as we would like to think. We have to examine and question anytime someone says, “You’re going to get a result if you do this.” We should start questioning, “Is that actually true or are you saying that for your own benefit?”

I’m a musician and an artist first, but I am working in this spirituality wellness and education space as well. I’m aware of that. What I’ll also say to that, Whitney, is that sometimes they do work. That’s the problem is that you will manifest some bullshit. You will manifest your matrix dream of the boyfriend that looks good on paper that you don’t love. You will manifest that extra money and to realize you don’t fucking feel any different. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t work or it works the way it’s meant to, which tells you, “No, this is not for you.” You get the bullshit that you think you want, and you stay in the cycle.

I launched Sound Spirit, which is the School for Creative Alchemy. That’s what it’s letting me know that it’s called. It’s a community for spiritual people to learn, educate and empower themselves. I also do Untethering from Whiteness. I’m grateful because, especially with Untethering from Whiteness, I’ve always held these beliefs that I have about the systems that we live in politically. I felt as an artist and a spiritual person, “Do I get to talk about that?” I was nervous about being visible in what I’m saying because if you’re going to be visible, then you’re responsible for that. This is the thing that’s happening now. A lot of people are having spiritual awakenings or some kind of awakening just from the events of past years.

MGU 159 | Untethering From Whiteness

Untethering From Whiteness: If you’re willing to take responsibility for your spiritual growth, you can start to get more subtle in working with your lessons.

 

There are a lot of ways where with spirituality, it’s getting saturated in certain areas of the internet. It ceases to be creative and it starts to replicate the same little marketing ploy. Suddenly, we’re talking about manifesting abundance without examining where our framework for any of these things come from. If you’re manifesting a partner and you haven’t deconstructed patriarchy, white supremacy and capitalism, then you might get that partner, but you’re going to get some bullshit too. You can manifest some money, but if you haven’t deconstructed the systems that are built around it and why it even exists and what it means, then to me, it’s fundamentally incomplete. It became aware to me how Sound Spirit is grounded.

It’s in a foundation of liberation and maybe even spirituality that’s based in collective liberation, the liberation of the earth. That’s a big word. I’m not acting that’s a destination we’re going to arrive at. I’m saying that’s the journey that I know I’m always on. I believe that people in my community and the people who will come to my community are on in some way, shape or form. The fast track spirituality feels good especially now that we can’t hang out as much. We’ve got to be on our screens. We get to have our little luxury retreats, so we get to repost this meme about self-worth and money, don’t pay attention to what you don’t like, metaphysics and stuff.

It’s important if that’s starting to happen, that there are people in the community who do call themselves spiritual, who are understanding that our bodies are politicized, and they’re not separate from the world we live in. If our spirit chose our body, then it chose some of the lessons, weapons and the hardships as a way to learn. I believe, especially from talking to people who’ve crossed over, how people choose to learn? I’m not talking about learning on a personality level. I’m talking about learning and expanding on the level of a soul that travels through many lifetimes. I personally believe in many lifetimes because I’ve experienced several lifetimes of mine. I have talked to people who have crossed over and learned about their different illnesses. What starts to happen when you go deeper into this work is you let go of the notion of deservingness. You let go of like, “That person doesn’t deserve to suffer.” That’s true and yet they are suffering. There’s something going on that you and I are not privy to. I don’t wish that on anyone. I don’t wish my own suffering on myself, but I’ll also say I don’t regret anything that’s happened to me. I don’t regret any of my experiences. I am fully, deeply, totally body, mind, soul in love with this person that’s speaking to you. I am in love with this soul and this weird, expansive multidimensional artist weirdo that I am.

Every little bit of her, all of the things she’s been through, I love them to the bones of me. I have stopped judging how she has suffered or how she might suffer. I’ve stopped trying to make some ultimate meaning. I know that I can say that my experiences make it so that what I find is a lot of times, when I talk about these things, people resonate with it because they know that I know. Not that I know them, but I know me, and I know me because I got fully crushed. I’ve said this before, I found someone in that journey of rebirthing that I love and respect. To your point, Jason, I had an energy clearing a few weeks after that happened. I told this practitioner and I was like, “I forgave this person and I did a whole contract revocation.”

She kept saying, “You’re in the black zone.” I was like, “What’s that?” She was asking me questions and I told her what happened. She was like, “That makes sense why you’re in the black zone.” I was like, “What’s the black zone?” She was like, “The black zone is usually where people go right before they cross over or right after when they’re trying to be forgiven or forgive people so they don’t carry heavy karma between lifetimes.” I was like, “I unlocked another level because I did something that a lot of people don’t do until they get to their deathbed, I forgave the unforgivable.” I’m not saying that as a feat or it should be anyone’s goal.

The irony of that too is that it was easy. It was like talking to an old friend and he’s been suffering too. I stopped seeing it as victim and abuser, oppressor, oppressed. I started to see it as two souls who chose to learn a terrible lesson together. I wish we hadn’t but we did. I don’t regret that anymore. I hope that he doesn’t regret that anymore. I hope that he is humbled by it and he learns, and he continues to be shifted by this experience now for himself of experiencing forgiveness from me and from himself. I can wax poetic about suffering, but I don’t worship it. I’m like any human being. I’m not like, “Let’s go.” I am that friend that’s like, “This is great.” I feel I’m always saying that to my clients who get readings with me. I’m like, “You’re at a beautiful point in your life right now.” I know it doesn’t seem like it but a year from now, shit is going to be popping.

It’s good that you say that and it’s because the three of us are in similar yet different spaces in terms of rebirth and redefining ourselves. Whitney, you as well, you’ve been in this process of reimagining your brand, your direction and your creative vision. I’d love for you to jump in too because in this process of letting go, you’re talking about forgiveness, Kate, you’re talking about rebirth. There are many intersecting topics we’re getting into. Sometimes we want to cling to or have one hand behind us holding onto the familiar it’s “safe.” The illusion of safety versus fully leaning into the thing that’s coming toward us. I’m curious, Whit, if you’re in a space like that of maybe you feel you’re clinging onto something old and familiar and not fully jumping into what the new thing is.  

I don’t feel a sense of clinging. I feel more of a sense of curiosity and more a neutral feeling about things like, “I’m going to do more surrendering and noticing.” I’m sure that there are elements of me that cling without me even fully realizing it. It’s hard to admit that sometimes, but I don’t consciously know of any at this moment. It’s been interesting coming back from the trip. I’m sitting with it and taking my time. What’s more interesting is when I noticed myself feeling I should be doing more and it’s not okay to relax. I’ve found that energetically, I’m still recovering from that trip and absorbing everything from it.  

If you haven't deconstructed the systems built around yourself, then you are fundamentally incomplete. Click To Tweet

Sitting in a lot of silence and spending a lot of time by myself and sleeping a lot. I was excited because I use this app that keeps track of my approximate sleep debt. For the first time, since I downloaded this app a few months ago, I’m at zero sleep debt because I’ve been getting so much sleep since returning from this trip. It’s satisfying to see that because sleep debt is a huge issue. Giving myself that permission to ease myself back into not just whatever life feels in Los Angeles versus wherever else I’ve been in the country. Being easing myself into the work again, because I can work from anywhere. I was working throughout my trip, but on my way back, I was working a lot less because I was driving so much.  

I felt this tension, pressure and constant questioning like, “Am I doing enough work? Am I behind in anything?” That mounts and grows each day. That to me might be some of the clinging that you’re describing, Jason, is clinging to this old productivity and efficiency mindset that I’m trying to whittle away because I haven’t found that serves me. When I jump into my to-do list and my email inbox, and I look at my calendar, I noticed that there isn’t much urgency there. In fact, I reached out to somebody who had requested something from me over the weekend. I reached out and I said, “Just so you know, I’m still reintegrating and had been a little slower than expected.” His response was, “I don’t worry about it as long as you get it to me at the end of the week, that’s fine. Even next week will be fine.” I was relieved to receive that message.

It showed me that a lot of the times, this pressure is self-imposed or in our heads. We benefit from communicating clearly with people throughout the process and not making assumptions because sometimes those assumptions work against us. We’re sitting around with all this anxiety and these feelings of being behind when they’re not there. That to me is refreshing. Every once in a while, the reality is that we are behind and that we missed a deadline or something. Most of us have been through that, come out on the other side, and realize it’s not that bad. We have to wake up to the fact that our society is built around productivity and efficiency, and we’re encouraged to be workaholics. There’s a lot of pressure and there are a lot of deadlines in our society, but we don’t have to abide by that all the time. It’s often rare that we need to fulfill a deadline. There aren’t that many timelines that are strict that if we miss them, it’s a huge consequence.  

This is an offshoot of something that I’ve been feeling too, which could be characterized as an internal pressure to be more creative. Not just creative but package and release the creativity in a specific way. Here’s what I mean by that. Throughout the entire pandemic period, I’ve received a diverse amount of the same messaging, which is like, “If you’re at home and you can’t go out and we’re all on lockdown and you have this period, you ‘ought to make the most of it’ by being productive, being creative, releasing new things.” One of the thought forms that I’ve been battling or this limiting belief is like, “Look at all your friends who are releasing albums, writing books and doing all this shit. What the fuck have you done?” It’s been this monstrous thing that I’ve battled. Even the new stuff you’ve been releasing, Kate, full disclosure I’m like, “This is so good.” She’s releasing new music. All my other friends who are musicians and artists are releasing stuff. I’m like, “What the fuck am I doing?” It’s been this bizarre pressure of like, “You’re just laying there doing nothing, you bastard.”

To be fair, the song I released is a song I recorded in 2015.

It doesn’t make it any less amazing. It’s a great song.

It’s not a song that I was like, “It’s quarantine and I’m going to make this amazing hit.” It was like, “I’ve been sitting on a lot of my work because I have much of it and I get depressed thinking that nobody cares about small, independent artists. What’s the fucking point? How do you even get someone’s attention?” All those things. Everyone feels that way. It was a personal song. It was a sad song. It was initiatory. For me, feeling like I have to be this person that people look, because I realized there are at least three people on the internet that listen to what I say, and take it seriously, and care about what I say. That made me feel responsible. Sometimes with my music too, I don’t want to show my broken parts. I realized I’ve got to do that because that’s also a service to me and to others. That whole thing were like, remember when everybody was making sourdough bread for a month?

It was like, “No, we’re too depressed to keep making sourdough bread. Now we made too much sourdough bread. Now we’ve got to start our in-home workout routine to work out all this bullshit.” I have to see it as an onslaught of marketing and algorithms. I start to see it for what it is and be like, “This is happening but it’s not 100% real life.” The thought I used to beat myself up is Toni Morrison was a single mother with a full-time job who would wake up at 4:00 every morning and work on her novel. I’m like, “Shit.” She didn’t start publishing her novel until she was in her late 30s, early 40s. She didn’t win the Nobel Prize until she was in her 40s. Our Millennial generation or the X generation, all of us were sold this twentieth-century dying empire version of reality. We’re coping with that and our bodies are tired, and we’ve done all the “right things” and it doesn’t matter. The weird thing for me too is I manifest a lot more money, opportunities, creativity when I’m resting.

MGU 159 | Untethering From Whiteness

Untethering From Whiteness: Stop posting memes or changing your profile picture without actually doing the labor.

 

That flies in the face of the general narrative.

When I realized that, I was like, “What’s going on?” I worked to the bone to barely survive for years and was always barely surviving. I started to realize if I relaxed then much more came my way, in the way I wanted it to, and in higher quantities. I was like, “What’s going on here?” I’m not saying it’s that way for everyone. I realized that and that got me curious about everything. Untethering from Whiteness, we’re doing ancestor work. I’ve been doing a lot of research about medieval era Europe, after the Roman Empire, after feudalism falls. In those couple of 100 years is where the mercantile class and the capitalist class start to form. It starts to solidify with the church and with the royalty. That’s where capitalism comes in, colonialism, and the genocide of native people in the Americas, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, all these things. It’s starting to try to understand who are my personal ancestors. What was going on that led to their worldview? How was whiteness created?

Whiteness can’t exist without capitalism. Whiteness is the protector of the capitalist bourgeois class. It’s place where the body goes to die. It’s the place where all other bodies become otherized. Even the witch burnings, which is a huge part of the history of Europe leading up to when many peoples of European ancestry, their ancestors came to the United States around that era, and after was when colonialism started. Magic had to be stamped out because it allowed people to believe that they could get things without being forced to work.

Women and men just like how there was a divide and conquer strategy, whiteness wasn’t created until Bacon’s Rebellion when white European indentured servants and African enslaved people, as well as native people rose up against their elite European overlords and had an uprising. That’s when they created whiteness. Before that, in the Homeland of Europe, men and women had to be stratified against each other, and women needed to be burned and be disciplined. Women’s bodies are the site of creativity. We literally create life. Are you going to create citizens who are communal, creative, offering things or are you going to create the next wave of workers that we need to charge our machines? Looking at the identity of whiteness has changed my view about abundance. It’s changed my view about suffering. It’s changed my view about productivity.

Untethering from Whiteness too, a lot of white folks claim that they’re spiritual and want to be spiritual leaders, but they’re enforcing and recreating white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism in their spiritual practice. Everybody can be guilty of that. I certainly have been, I’m sure. It’s hard to look at these broad things and not see that they’ve been co-opted by these larger agendas for power. To have those conversations about those things as if they are separate, as if our lives are not inherently political, as if our lives are not like we always say, “Can we not talk about politics? Can we not talk about love?” That would be like, “Can we not notice that there’s a sky above us? Can we not mention the grass?” You can try a painting of a scenery without grass, but its what’s holding up all this stuff. If you want it to be different, you have to acknowledge it. You have to see where it lives in your body.

That’s the piece that has transformed my relationship to a lot of all this stuff that we’re speaking about of rest, rebirth, meaning making, suffering is how can my body, how can my relationship with my ancestors, how can my willingness to take responsibility for the space I take up and what it means, give me that true authenticity? That’s what I’ve been uncovering. The greatest gift of Untethering from Whiteness is a service to other people for sure, but it’s helped me feel much more grounded, at ease, authentic and clear. I feel a sense of relief in my whole body because I don’t have to hold up this charade anymore. I can be with what is and let it access me. I’m okay to make mistakes. I’m fundamentally a human. I’m not trying to be some super supremacist, crazy, perfect, disembodied human. I would like to be all this human.

What is your vision, I suppose? Either of you can jump in on this because it’s a great segue into talking about white supremacy, capitalism, and these macro global systems. I don’t want to talk about the US. We’re talking about global systems now that are dehumanizing people. On the other side of this, I have two questions. One, there are some people who call for immediate dismantling of the machine as quickly as possible, for lack of a better terminology, “Let’s detonate the thing and let it crumble and then rebuild something better,” versus, slow, incremental reform that leads to change over long periods of time.

Number one, benefits or lack thereof to either approach or, is there some gray area in the middle? The second thing too is, what do we replace capitalism with, as it’s tied to white supremacy, oppression, dehumanization? Is it something like a universal basic income? Is it something like we bring in more “socialized programs” like nationalized medicine? We’re getting into specifics, but I am curious of what the next evolution beyond these dehumanizing systems are. Starting with capitalism, what do you see as a more balanced, equitable humanizing system beyond that?  

The human body is politicized and inseparable in this world. Click To Tweet

Some of the things that you named are great, but they’re also dependent on a lot of the socialist policies, which are great and they would serve and help a lot of people in the immediate, are also based on constant production. They’re based on taxing a wealthy class of people. They’re based on that these systems exist, but we distribute the wealth more equally, which in the interim is great. I’m not a politician or am I a community planner or whatever. Most of us can’t imagine any system of living beyond capital. Even some of these alternative programs are based on the presumption of a huge amassment of capital distributed differently.

The reason that we can’t imagine it is because we’re so tethered to it, whatever it is. You know you’re locked into something when you cannot imagine something else, or the only thing you can imagine is in opposition to. Essentially when you’re creating reactionary things in opposition to something like fascism or communism, those are both a reaction to capitalism. There are extreme reactions in either direction to capitalism’s failures. What you’re doing when you’re creating a system out of not wanting is you’re creating out of a negative. In a way you’re replicating. You’re taking the tenants of something and reversing them. I’m not trying to say that that’s what either of those systems do. I’m trying to use oversimplifications.

We have indigenous people. We have examples of cooperative, even democracy. We could even take up democracy. What if you had democracy in your workplace? We only leave democracy for our elections and even then, it’s through proxies. There are many ways that we could start in our local communities of communal living, of feeling connected to place, of having conversations. Most of us don’t even know the people who live near us. We don’t know the land that we’re on. We don’t know who the natives are that lived here. We don’t know our actual history. We don’t know the names of our ancestors. We don’t know the names of the places that they come from. We don’t know the stories of our lineages. We don’t have a rooted place to begin to imagine something different. We’re not in that womb space yet. We’re still outside of the body. We can’t rebirth if we can’t be situated in the body. People are still invested in this system and deeply controlled by it that they cannot begin.

They don’t even have the creative energy to imagine something else. If they do, then they’re subversive, they’re problematic, they’re this or that, or it’s immediately, “That could never work. That could never this.” People are afraid of their own imagination and of their own creative power. If they’re not willing to uproot these systems within their bodies and their spiritual practice, they are going to continue to replicate more shinier versions of them, with more terms. They can say, “Diversity, BIPOC.” It’s like, “Good for you, you know some words. It’s still the same thing.” I’m not saying that trying is bad, but people are locked in. What you’re talking about, what you’re suggesting is great, but it belies all this other work that most people are too exhausted and overworked to even think about.

It feels as if a lot of the systems on the planet are unnecessarily complicated, but have been set up to keep certain people from benefiting from those systems, the financial system, stock market, futures, all of those things, a lot of the healthcare system. One thing that I’m meditating on right now is the length of time I’m waiting for my surgery because of the politics and the hoops and the ways that the healthcare system I’m with is set up. I think about people who are in a completely different economic bracket than me or a different race than me, or whatever is happening with them where they’re waiting months for a surgery, or can’t even afford it because they don’t even have coverage. They can’t afford healthcare coverage.

It seems to me that there are a lot of societal systems that are in place that are complex and weighed down with injustice baked in, that only a few people can benefit and take advantage of the system offers because of the ways they’ve been set up. It’s like, “Holy shit. These things have been created to benefit and have access to a small group of people. It seems to me that as we change the languaging or we reimagine the systems that have come before, we’re using different terminology or having some mutated version of it, we’re not actually getting to the root of some of the exclusionary frameworks of these systems.” I feel sometimes a sense of hopelessness. There are times where I’m like, “Are we as human society fucked?” Sometimes it feels like we’re fucked collectively. I don’t like to sit in that space, but I do. Sometimes I’m like, “This shit is fucked.”

Let’s say it, this shit is fucked, but people aren’t fucked. There are good, beautiful, amazing people who are shoved into inhumane, bureaucratic, ineffective systems who are too exhausted to fight back, who have been quelled, who have had their creative sexual energy stomped out for generations, who are tethered to identities that aren’t true to them. Are we fucked? I guess. I don’t feel the need to make those proclamations. I can make those observations but for me, this is part of my spiritual practice and it’s part of my outlook. It’s like that is true but it’s not the only true thing. I find myself saying that to myself, to my community, to my friends and to my clients a lot.

That is absolutely true. We are fucked. There’s a crazy bureaucracy that’s incredibly inefficient, that’s trying but it’s failing, and it’s co-opted by all these other things. What’s true is that you and I are having this conversation. What’s true is you will get the care that you need. What’s true is we have more access to care than we’ve ever had. We have more capital than we’ve ever had. What’s also true is that people are marching, people are paying attention, and people are caring in ways that they haven’t before. People are planting seeds for trees, for flowers that may never ever bloom in their lifetime. It’s bigger than we’re fucked. It’s both. We’re fucked and also there’s hope, but there’s hopelessness. They’re both valid. I guess that’s not a satisfactory answer. I laugh because there’s an absurdity to the whole thing.

MGU 159 | Untethering From Whiteness

Untethering From Whiteness: We are essential to creating and lighting that little path in the womb space of rebirth.

 

You’ve got to laugh a little bit or you can have an angry cry. I’m not here to tell anyone how to feel. For me, I’m not the person that is necessarily going to erect the newer, more community-based systems, but I am the person that’s going to nurture and be the ancestor of the people who do. I am going to be the person that’s going to untether now and say, “This ends with me in my bloodline. Anyone that comes from me or is nurtured by me is going to be gifted, whatever labor I’ve done. I hope that it changes them for the better.” I don’t have an answer. It’s absurd, it’s ridiculous, it’s not cool. The government is holding people’s dismal stimmy checks, and they’re withholding unemployment from people.

When Jeff Bezos has $100 billion and Mark Zuckerberg is loving us being on our big fucking phones, all these rich white dudes who feel so entitled to their wealth. That’s one of the premises of neo-liberalism that we’re living under is that for wealthy people, it’s oppressive for them to have to consider that the people who give them their wealth are either consumers and their workers need things from them like rights and healthcare. They feel oppressed. That’s like the Koch brothers and the neo liberal, which both the Democrats and the Republicans are neoliberal. I didn’t know we would talk about politics, but it is relevant. We did have an election. You have to understand that there are people in this world who feel oppressed, that other people in this world exist who have less than them and need something.

That’s their idea of oppression. That’s the whole 2 plus 2 equals 5 type of shit. You can only do that when you’re disembodied and disconnected. You can only have that level of entitlement when you don’t understand what it means to be human. There are many things that lead up to that. I feel a lot of hope because what you and I are speaking about, people have been speaking about for a long time and there are beautiful bodies of work about this. It’s not what you hear about in the memes. You’re not going to hear about it on the news, but communities are getting together all the time and talking about these things and creating change. What people are lacking though is the energy, the psychic, sexual, creative energy to do it. In a world that wants to disembody and take you out of your spiritual empowerment sovereignty, to me that has to come from a spiritual practice. It might not be the case for everyone else. I know that that’s where true liberation has lived for me.

It’s a tough place to be. I’m curious, because I don’t know if you and I ever talked about this, Whitney, as we get close to wrapping this episode, are there times that you feel hopeless? I don’t know if I’ve ever asked you this. If you do, how do you get past those feelings or wrestle with those feelings?  

I feel blessed not to experience hopelessness often. It feels hard to even relate to those emotions, I suppose. At this moment, it feels like my best coping mechanism is to breathe through it and let it pass, and focus on something positive or let myself feel that emotion. It’s not rushing through any pain or fear that I’m experiencing, and crying if that feels necessary or sleeping, rest usually helps me a lot. It feels easier as I practice that and have that go to and giving myself that permission to slow down, tune in and wait it out because I’ve been through it before. It doesn’t overtake me, usually.

It’s interesting because I feel similar to physical pain, I forget what emotional pain is like. It’s like that amnesia, which also might be a coping mechanism. We remember moments of feeling physical or emotional pain, but it’s hard to remember exactly what it was like because they’ve already passed and we’re in this present moment now. Pain is interesting like that. I’m fortunate where I don’t feel hopeless. That’s what matters. Setting myself up with more mindfulness, awareness, self-care and knowing that I can turn to that. Ultimately, acceptance is a big key. The more that I recognize that it’s okay and that other people feel that way, and we’re in many ways in this together, the stronger I feel in those weak moments.

As we shuttled toward closer to the finish line, I want to talk about the subject of essential work. There’s been this cultural narrative of we’re going to put healthcare workers, delivery drivers, Amazon warehouse workers and a litany of certain people in this category of “essential.” At the same time, as people are at their homes watching Netflix, listening to records, watching online concerts or archival footage, there’s been such an incredible lack of support for independent music venues or artists, or having safety nets for artists. The more I talk to people about what’s keeping them sane other than their spiritual practice is their music, their favorite artists, seeing reality through the lens of an artist’s interpretation of what’s going on, yet society doesn’t consider what we all do as “essential.”

It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel what we’re offering the world is essential, but it’s interesting to think about as we navigate our way through this pandemic and this cultural metamorphosis we’re all going through, is how to navigate the world as artists coming out of this. It’s something that I sit with. I’m not quite sure where my art is going or where my voice is going. I feel like I am in this rebirth period, but my fear sometimes gleans into, “What if we don’t have any music venues left? We’re going to have to meet in the middle of the woods somewhere and get some boulders and tree stumps and do it like our ancestors did it.” I don’t know that I have a question here at the end of the show as like, where does the fortitude come from as artists, healers and creators to weather the storms that we’re all in, economically, spiritually, living in a society that doesn’t consider us essential, that isn’t supporting us? It’s an open-ended question.

Whiteness can't really exist without capitalism. Click To Tweet

It makes me think too, I posted a quote and you responded to it, which is “Creative work is essential work.” You commented on it. A lot of people reposted it, which made me feel happy. I’m not trying to say that what musicians and artists do is the same as what folks who are working in hospitals now or grocery stores, what they’re doing. If you have any heart or brain, you can understand that. When we’re talking about essential work, we’re talking about essential to maintaining things as they are, maintaining an order.

Creative people, artists, and every person who gives themselves permission to be creative, we are essential to creating the new. We are essential to lighting that little path in the dark, a womb space of rebirth. We are the ones who walk you through the rebirth of your life. We hold that creative power that has enough fortitude and faithfulness to stay with the journey, to see through to something different instead of just recreating. My life and my work is essential. There are plenty of people who won’t give themselves permission to be that much in themselves. It’s like, “You’re not essential.” Fine, just because you haven’t given yourself permission to be this much doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t or that I’m not essential in that. I have also felt victimy about being an artist.

People always want what we have to offer, but they do not want to value it at all. It’s annoying. Even as a spiritual teacher, people are always trying to insinuate that it’s wrong, that I get paid to do what I do. First of all, I have to get paid to do what I do because I live in a capitalist society. I’m doing work. I have to get paid for it. That wasn’t my idea. That’s how it works for and because I believe I’m essential, I deserve to survive and thrive, so thank you very much for that. When we get into these conversations, it’s a beautiful opportunity to see where people have limited themselves, where people have decided what’s essential and what’s allowed to survive within them. What they’ve had to kill off as what they believe is essential or not. For some people that’s excessive practicality and conforming. For me, that was never an option.

My whole family is much like, “What are you doing? How does that even exist? Why are you doing what you’re doing?” I already know the essential work conversation didn’t hurt my feelings because I already have been told my whole life that what I do is not essential. It’s not that important and when am I going to put my toys away and get a real job and do all this stuff. I know all that already. I realized like, “That’s cool. You guys are going to reveal to me your limiting beliefs.” Rather than feel victimized by that, I’m going to feel compassionate for you. I’m going to let it roll off of me because it doesn’t change my world that much. In the time of pandemic, then it has real consequences.

All our venues are going to go away and we’re going to continue to make that bald white guy from Spotify rich, and his staff of people who have never created anything who can do algorithms and make playlists. We’re going to keep making them rich while we make barely any money off of millions of streams. Cool. Creativity is where evolution happens. If you try to flatten it and you try to commercialize it, only the most flattened, lowest common denominator, non-nuanced art can be valued. Only the art that reinforces certain narratives and I’m not shitting on popular music. I love it. I sing that WAP song constantly. I love it and I’m all about it.

I love Cardi B. Whatever people say about her or how problematic she is, I don’t care. She’s great and she brings me joy. I do like that she talks politics and she was all down for Bernie. For me, when you were saying essential work, it’s essential to what? I’m not saying I don’t understand intellectually that folks who work in hospitals during a time of pandemic are essential to getting us through a pandemic, but let’s be clear that that’s what we’re saying. Essential work to essentially get us through our pandemic and bring us back to an essential normal so the machine keeps going the way it went. That’s what essential work is essential to. That’s valuable, but I don’t allow that to dictate whether I’m essential. That’s laughable to me, but I do have those moments too. The beauty of this time is like, “You’re not that important.” There’s relief in that but sometimes I’m like, “What’s the point? Nobody came to this workshop or only a few people do this.”

Even with Untethering from Whiteness, that broke my heart because all these white people were posting about anti-racism and reading books, and barely anybody’s showing up to this workshop because they don’t want to do embodied labor. They want to learn intellectual concepts and they want to know what the right words are to say, so they can essentially go back to normal for themselves. I could get mad about that or I feel my work is it’s essential. I know it helps people through. You graciously told me that it’s allowed you to have some beautiful experiences. I also believe that my work is going to serve people beyond this moment in time. If I’m lucky, serve people that I’ll never meet that I might even be dead.

I feel like I’m building a legacy as an ancestor. I feel that’s what I’m here for. I’m not as shaken up by what’s essential. I can understand what’s essential without having it dictate my value. I would also say that our lives are precarious and people don’t get that. I’m always dumbfounded. There’s a strange thing of like, “You enjoy your work? You should suffer and you should be poor for enjoying your work and feeling passionate about your work.”

MGU 159 | Untethering From Whiteness

Untethering From Whiteness: Instead of using this time in the pandemic to be productive, use it to be indulgent.

 

What they’re saying is, “If I don’t get to have that level of self-realization and satisfaction, if I have to be shackled to the system, you should too.” You’re revealing to me your limitations, and instead of allowing myself to take your word as the word and feel victimized by your limitations, I’m going to hold space for you and see you. You’re hurting and you bought into this shit and I understand why because to walk the path I’m walking is difficult and it’s not for everybody, for sure. There are a lot of rich parents-kids in LA that are doing art and they’re doing fine. Some other people who were thinking that they could get by in that way realized like, “This is not for the faint of heart.”

I keep getting better each year. I keep becoming more and more essential. My life gets more and more juicy. My journey becomes more yummy, fun, abundant, weird and strange. I believe that I’m essential to creating the future, that my future ancestors can hopefully survive. I’m essential to helping us walk through this huge next decade. I don’t think I’m essential as in me alone. I’m part of a group, community and a movement that’s going to be essential to building and rising to the occasion of what is going to transpire. I don’t believe the pandemic is the first instance of what’s going to happen through this decade.

Looking at the long game as you talk about, this work is resonating far beyond your lifetime.

If you’re going to be a creative person, they’re going to tell you to make shit for the interim and you can do that, but it will kill your soul. You need to be able to sustain your journey. That’s how I talk about my art. That’s how I talk about Untethering and even Sound Spirit. This is a marathon. We’re not sprinting it with the shit. That’s why you need self-care not because it’s like, “I want to have this spa retreat.” It’s because you need rest so you can find out what you think and how you feel, and you can be in your own being this long enough to see that the system and the identity is not the same as who you truly are and your higher self.

You have to start to distinguish which voice is yours. You can’t do that if you’re in a constant barrage of other people’s bullshit. You have to take time that’s quiet, frivolous and meaningless to find out. You have to sit in your pain sometimes. This is a part of being alive on this planet. I am sustained by when I let go of. I was like, “I’m 31. I can’t possibly be a sexy ingenue pop star.” That’s dead. I gave up my rock star dreams. My rock star dreams are rock star dreams that are music and all this other work. It’s expansive and it’s much more Kate, it’s much more me. I had to be like, “Do I resonate with what I’m supposed to do with these set of talents that I’m only allowed to use these? Does that resonate with me?”

Most of us don’t know how to answer that question because we don’t even know who me is. If you’re a person who’s struggling with, are you essential? What is the future of your work? Instead of using this time to be “productive,” I would use this time to be indulgent. Go for a walk, take a nap, read a book, attend a workshop that makes you uncomfortable. Get juicy, get moist, marinate in yourself and see how much of your own authenticity you can even stand. It will be painful and joyful. At the end of it, you’ll have something worth sharing and something that’s worth leading you. Your compass will not be spinning anymore.

You’ll see a direction even if you don’t know what it is. I hope that is nourishing for anyone who’s reading who’s like, “What is going on? What are they even talking about?” I will say to them, to you and Whitney, you are doing this, you’ve got this, you’re doing a great job. You are exactly where you belong. You have always belonged. You are essential in this beautiful, horrible, painful, glorious moment of your life. Don’t ever forget that. When you do, find those things that help you remember or those things that let you laugh at the absurdity of it all. It doesn’t make you any less spiritual. I don’t trust any spiritual people that are extra super serious 10,000% of the time. I’m like, “Did you do your shadow work? Are you taking yourself? Are you believing your own bullshit now? Are you drinking your own Kool-Aid?” If you do enough of your shadow work and you do enough of this uncovering, you’re like, “Wow.”

It’s the tip of the iceberg. Kate, I’ve had the pleasure of doing a workshop with you and being a huge fan of everything you’re doing. I know there’s much more. If the reader wants to go 10,000 levels deeper with Kate, if she has resonated with you, you’ve got to check out her amazing website. It’s KateFaust.com, her amazing podcast, The Sound Spirit and all the workshop that she does.

That’s on TheSoundSpirit.com

You mentioned Untethering from Whiteness. You can also work with her one-on-one. Kate, you’re an incredible offering to this world. As we’re wrapping up here, I want to thank you for giving us a taste and appetizer here of your offerings and your perspectives. You are such a deep, loving, generous soul. You’re a gift to my life. We want to thank you for being here and giving our readers a whole lot to chomp on.

Thank you. I am receiving your kind words. When I do the work I do, as I imagine you do, because you’re also a deeply generous creative soul. I’m never thinking that people take it that seriously or they get it, but they do and it’s heartening. That’s what helps me to move forward on those days where I’m like, “Does this even matter?” Hearing you say that, I’m allowing myself to take that in and be like, “Yes, Kate, keep going.” I hope, Jason, on your journey of healing that you also know that you’re deeply essential in this world and you have an ancestor that’s walking right beside you. We had that experience with her. Both of you, Whitney and Jason, I’ve benefited from these uncomfortable conversations you’ve had. Thank you both for the work that you do.

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About Kate Faust

Kate Faust is a singer, songwriter, and intuitive medium weaving songs into spells and vulnerability into power. Known for her ferocious live performances, confessional style vocals, and earnest online presence, Kate is on a beautiful journey with each and every soul that comes in contact with her work. Kate currently resides in Los Angeles, far from the rural Pennsylvania town in which she was born. She is the creator of Sound Spirit – a School for Unlearning and Reclaiming.

 

 

 

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