WHAT IS DECOLONISING?
To talk about decolonisation, we have to first look at what we know about colonialism.
If you grew up in the West, you probably learned a little (if not enough) about colonisation in school, yes?
COLONISATION is defined as 'the action of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area', as well as 'the action of appropriating a place or domain for one's own use'.
I could dedicate one or a hundred posts to the trauma, environmental and social destruction, disease, war and poverty created by physical colonisation in history. Think the invasion of native lands, the taking of slaves, the disrupting of families, the rape of women and children, the decimation of crops, the introduction of alcohol and illness to vulnerable populations, the genocides, the restriction of education, freedom and healthcare access everywhere from Australia and Canada to Hawaii and India. If you don't feel that you know a lot on this topic - research. Do the work.
What I want to talk about here, given the medium of my work, is SPIRITUAL COLONISATION. In other words, how our 'spirit' (aka our soul, our will to live) is similarly invaded, disrupted, brainwashed, neglected and made small in much the same way. And how to stop it from happening.
WHAT IS OUR SPIRIT?
A person's spirit is that internal power/consciousness which connects us to all things - it's made up of our energy, our intuition, our instinct, our ancestors, our memories, our motivations, our hopes, our desires, our life force. Our spirit is what connects us to trees, the ocean, our children, our lovers, our artworks, our life purpose and the legacy that we leave behind.
So spiritual colonisation is the process by which - individually and collectively - our spirit is colonised and controlled by something powerful, cruel and destructive outside of ourselves.
This sounds serious, right? Don't panic, I'm not talking about lizard overlords or malevolent alien invasion.
THESE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT COLONISE OUR SPIRIT:
Advertising. Capitalism. Racism. Trauma. Sexism. Bigotry. Xenophobia. Physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse. Neglect. Toxic parenting. Cultural violence. Ancestral trauma. Poverty. Lack of education. Religious or spiritual trauma. Alcohol, food and drugs. Poor health. Inequality. Overwhelming physical environment (big cities, long commutes, living in a food desert, pollution, crime, noise). We may experience one, more or many, and we may often be conned into enacting some of those beliefs or behaviours on others without realising.
COLONISATION of your spirit is when another, more dominant body (this could be a person, a company, a system, a government) profits from your internal suffering. By stripping you of your self-esteem, dignity or strength, then selling you 'a solution' (a war, a nose job, violence, depression).
How to tell if your spirit has been colonised in some way? Ask yourself 'who is profiting or gaining power from this right now?' next time you feel compelled to do something. So many marketing ploys, fashion trends, social media movements and even beauty ideals or spiritual practices stem from deeply sexist, racist or hate-filled or dangerous practices. Which is why, no matter how much kale you eat, how much yoga you do, how colourful your vision board, how positive your thoughts, how beautifully you augment your body: Something feels OFF in your spirit.
The 'average' person I work with as a client is often apologetic when they feel sad, or anxious, or simply disconnected or unsure of their path or worth. Being apologetic shows that they have normalised the ways in which their free, beautiful, intuitive soul has been colonised, limited and mislead into being small. They've normalised that this constant feeling of 'not good enough-ness' is just something to deal with. For real, loves - this is NOT NORMAL. Lets not make it so!
Let's break it down with an example. Your spirit is the part of you that knows that you deserve a respectful, joyous relationship with another person. Of course, right? Sometimes you hear some music or do a meditation and you feel all that knowingness and love for a little while. <3
YET: If your spirit has been colonised by advertising: insisting that you be thin, exotic and compliant in order to 'deserve' a relationship; and by poverty: that restricts your ability to move beyond your home town to meet more compatible souls, and by trauma: that leaves you constantly battling the resulting health issues (such as anxiety, undiagnosed mental illness or hormonal imbalance)--- And you're going to work every day, competing, consuming social media telling you over and over how compassion, vunerability and desire for connection are a 'weakness' for those too lazy and unambitious to climb the career ladder or focus on accumulating a fresh pair of shoes, new lips or a Range Rover.
TELL ME how your spirit would EVER be clear and powerful enough to attract or even recognise a joyous and loving relationship. Tell me how you'd even have the energy to be able to take such a relationship on board, learn through it, grow with it. If you're normalising that level of spiritual depression every day and constantly fending off overstimulating marketing messages telling you all the things you SHOULD be doing, how do you even remember how to be present in a relationship with another human being experiencing the same thing?
Near to impossible, yes?
When your spirit is colonised, it's almost like you aren't in control (although you're constantly trying) of your life. You spend more, whether it's on Botox or self-help books or psychics or food. You fear fatness, failure, humiliation, weakness, ageing. You search for the single cause 'that you're not understanding' as to why you don't seem to fit in your skin, your relationships, your job, even your own choices. You might joke about losing your memory and perhaps too often, you find yourself experiencing something significant - a sunset, a beach, your dinner, your date night - through your phone. Sounds familiar, no?
So when I talk about DECOLONISING YOUR SPIRIT, I'm talking about unravelling ALL of the toxic, mixed messaging colonising your spirit currently and examining where it REALLY comes from. So that you can let it go.
Let me be clear with this - 'Decolonising your Spirit' isn't about punishing you for thinking negatively, it's not enabling victimhood, it's not prescribing you to a strict diet or spiritual regime. ALL of those things, that masquerade as 'motivation' 'positivity' and 'spiritual ascension' are often almost medieval in their attempts to colonise your spirit. There is NO punishment or shame on offer here (that's so 1583 and I don't know about you guys but that wasn't a great year for me).
DECOLONISING YOUR SPIRIT is the process of withdrawing yourself from former colonisers (see above for examples), reclaiming your spiritual freedom, your physical independence and your emotional self-determination. It's not 'overcoming obstacles', it's dismantling obstacles that should never have been there - those that should have no claim over your soul, your body, your connection to others. It's bringing your spirit back to its' true sovereign state - loving and loved, abundant, strong, clear. Instead of trying to crash through limitations, it's pulling them into the light and examining why they exist. It's returning accountability and responsibility to the systems that require it. (As we go on through this series, you'll see what I mean.)
WHAT DECOLONISING YOUR SPIRIT FEELS LIKE:
Coming home. Relief. Unconditional love. Courage. Laughter. Being present. Being both accountable and willing to hold others to account. Clarity. Sometimes, released anger or grief followed by self-compassion and understanding.