Who Do We Choose To Be? Another Reckoning.

Posted July 9th, 2021

I was sitting on my front lawn the other day staring at the two items in my online cart—one was a book, the other was a weapon. Clearly I had chosen to purchase these at some point in time, and I was struck by their stark contrast.

It felt like a reckoning or one of those moments of truth—like in the Matrix when Neo has to choose between red pill or the blue pill from Morpheus’s outstretched hands.

The book in my cart wasn’t just any book, like a light summer beach read (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), it was Pema Chodron’s beloved bestseller When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. 

The weapon wasn’t a fire arm or nunchucks (which I’m seeing as ironic now, because Pema Chodron is ACTUALLY a Buddhist nun…), but was a set of 3 Smith & Wesson Hawkeye throwing axes—10″ stainless steel ones, complete with bottle opener and protective nylon sheath.

So in difficult times, what do I reach for—the book written by the Buddhist nun that helps my heart to heal or the steel axes that promise both recreational and competitive fun?

I have openly and frequently admitted to being a woman of many contradictions (engaging in full moon rituals and going to monster truck rallies, for instance…), but this moment on my front lawn gave me pause, and reminded me of the core invitation of Margaret Wheatley’s book on leadership that I’m reading:
 

Who do we choose to be?

Am I heart-centered or axe-wielding in difficult times? I get to choose.

I would have rolled my eyes at this question a year ago and said I was being too dramatic (or “too” something else….) But on a drive off the beaten path up north recently, I noticed a number of large signs for Trump 2024 planted squarely on front lawns and road-side fields that demonstrated just how far some of us have moved away from our hearts. The large banner, quite simply, read: F*ck Your Feelings. 

It wasn’t just an isolated occurrence, as I saw that same banner again and again that weekend  as we celebrated our “independence” in these United States.

As a woman who has lived fifty-two years in this world, I am no stranger to being told my feelings have no value, purpose or relevance. I spent the first half of my life believing that, and the second half of my life actively undoing all that training. But something was different about this—almost like the word feelings was code for more than just our emotions.

I read feelings on that sign and felt this:

F*ck your opinions
F*ck your experience
F*ck your perspective
F*ck your difference
F*ck your desires
F*ck your rights

No wonder that phrase continues to ripple throughout my psyche since seeing it–like how your ears ring really loudly after an explosion.

F*ck your feelings? Really? Is that the invitation of our times on our roadways?

I wasn’t rolling my eyes anymore. I wasn’t dismissing my reaction as being too dramatic. If I’m being honest with you here—something I always aim to do—I was stunned. And frankly, I’m embarrassed, because to admit that is to acknowledge my naiveté and the degree to which I had once again shut my eyes beneath my rose-colored glasses and looked away from what has been right there, all along—in plain site: overt. unapologetic, and publicly sanctioned hatred and violence.

Which, of course, is to acknowledge my privilege as a white woman—and how I had been exercising it to benefit me, by looking away.

I thought about systemic racism and how so many conversations got ignited in 2020 and then stalled—or stopped. I thought about what it would have been like to have been a Black woman with two black sons driving by the sign that day, and how a younger version of them would have asked “Mom, what does f*ck mean?” I thought about the earth and climate change, and how we’ve shut our eyes and looked away from the crisis of this moment, hoping it would somehow resolve itself without disrupting or inconveniencing the humans that call it home. I thought about the words we use to shape our reality, and how they are increasingly violent and do harm.
 

I thought about what would happen if that banner had read “Feel Your Feelings” instead.

So as I sat on my front lawn that day looking at those two items in my cart, I sat with that question, “Who do I choose to be?”

I could have chosen to buy both items and laugh it off as me embracing my contradictions, after all it’s just a stupid axe-throwing game, right? But I’ve already told you I wasn’t laughing anymore about this. It felt like it was more significant than that—like a path in the woods that was forked.

I probably don’t need to tell you which item arrived on my doorstep a few days later.

The larger lesson for me (once again) that day was about keeping my eyes AND my heart open—however hard and uncomfortable. To see what is right there in the light of day, to feel my way through it, and to let that awareness and experience inform my daily choices.

To feel with my heart, rather than reach for the axe.
 

To invest my time, energy and money in heart-centered actions that help us all, rather than steel-centered games that benefit a few. 

I don’t know if you relate to this experience of cycling through forgetting to remembering and the renewal of commitment that happens as a result, but I’m thinking you might—that’s why I’m sharing it with you today.

I’d love to hear from you if you do, because one thing that helps on this courageous heart-centered path is to know you’re not alone.

We are cyclical creatures. We are beautifully imperfect and always a work in progress, never fully there. And we are full of messy contradictions.

But if I am to stay awake on this path I’ve chosen to walk, I would like to keep my eyes open—step by step, day by day—as I move forward, living and leading with heart.

A Letter To Myself in 2019: Of Course You’re A Racist

Posted December 28th, 2020

Hey there. It’s me, Lael.

I’m writing to you from December 2020 to prime the pump for where you’ll be headed in the next year. This is the letter I wish someone had given me a year ago. I think it might have helped on all those dark nights of my white soul.

So….2020. Here’s the deal: a raging pandemic will sweep across the globe (so get some masks), but believe it or not, that’s not going to be where you put your energy over the next year. I know, I know, sounds crazy, but stay with me here. .

In 2020 you’re actually going to be reckoning with something bigger and something deeper—something you might even think you’ve moved beyond because you’re a “good white person” (spoiler alert: there is no such thing.)
 

You, my friend, are a racist. Of course you are.

Did you flinch a little bit when I said that? Did you pull back—ready to refute, show me all the evidence as to why that’s not the case, or point to others instead? Of course you did. That’s what we do as white people. We spend countless hours—sometimes even lifetimes—tussling about with the “I’M NOT A RACIST!!!” debate before actually getting to the work of dismantling systemic racism in ourselves our world.

And in the process, we just keep repeating the same predictable cycle as good little soldiers of white supremacy—denying, dismissing, disassociating, discounting—kicking the can further up our road and repeating history (with more of the same) as opposed to making history (by choosing something different).

That is our white privilege at work.
That is what white supremacy is counting on.
That is exactly what we’ve been trained to do.
That is systemic racism working exactly as it was designed.
That is what will keep racism alive and well.
And that, my friend, is where we are complicit.

Whether we realize it or not, you and I are a foot soldiers doing the work of system of oppression.

So of course you’re a racist. So am I.

That’s the bad news.
 

The good news is that in 2020 you decide to do something about it.

Having lived a little and learned a LOT in 2020, I thought I’d write this letter to you with some operating instructions that might help navigate all that. Consider what follows to be some field notes, if you will, to reference as you dig in in 2019 and take a hard look at your own behaviors and beliefs as they intersect with white culture and systemic racism.

It’s going to be a stormy year—some will call it a shit show. But perhaps these 11 things listed below can be channel markers to offer you a bearing in rough seas and help to guide you forward on your journey.
 

1. Nothing changes without first acknowledging this (say it with me): “Of course I’m racist.”

Start there. Keep saying it out loud. It will be hard at first and loads of people will run to your defense and tell you all the ways you’re not. Don’t believe them. I promise you the more you say this out loud and publicly, the easier it will get and the more it will pave the way for other white people to do the same. This one sentence is the most powerful tool you have. Use it. And when you look around, feeling self-conscious and vulnerable, and see all those other white people who are content to remain oblivious to their privilege and not engage in the work of anti-racism (I wish I could, but I don’t have time…I don’t have the emotional bandwidth…It makes me uncomfortable…It’s not my fault…I’m so overwhelmed…I don’t know how…) brace yourself, because you’re going to want to get up in their grille fast. And that? That will be a distraction from you doing your own work. Focusing on them instead of working on you is going to be really tempting, because getting judgmental and self-righteous is going to feel a helluva lot easier than getting honest and reckoning with your truth. But start with you. Stick with you. Choose to embody instead of interrogate, radiate instead of confront, and inspire instead of convert.
 

2. Change begins with either getting uncomfortable or getting vulnerable.

Pick one and come back for more. 2020 is going to give you a run for your money—fear will be rampant, unemployment will be high, morale will be low, and there will be a really loud and scary election in the midst of a pandemic. Distractions, excuses, and justifications will all be readily available and competing for your attention. At times it will feel like the whole country is on fire…and sad to say, this will literally be the case out west. But keep choosing to get uncomfortable, and vulnerability will follow as you move closer to your truth. Hear me when I say this: this is a good and healthy thing. Contrary to popular belief, these things will not kill you, they will make you—and us—stronger as a result. If you’re not feeling one of these two things on a regular basis you’re not doing the work of anti-racism. It will be hard and awkward, and I promise you, you’ll feel self-conscious and wonder if you’re doing it “wrong”. These are good signs of learning and being on the move—away from the status quo and toward a better future for us all. Be like Dory, and just keep swimming.
 

3. Racial literacy—it’s a thing.

Your mind will be blown away by all that you don’t know or weren’t taught. You’ll uncover major shit that was left out of “history”—like discovering the existence of a parallel universe. Let yourself be surprised and horrified—because you will be, plenty. You’ll feel like Harry Potter going through that brick wall on platform 9 ¾ for the first time, leaving the land of the Muggles and realizing there is a whole other land you never even knew existed that had been right there all along. Except it won’t feel magical. It will feel embarrassing, shameful and disgusting. And then you’ll get mad—full of rage that it took you until the age of 51 to even hear about it. You’ll look for someone to blame—a teacher, your parents, our founding fathers. This is all part of it. By never questioning or looking beneath the surface of what you were taught, you were complicit in this false narrative. It will be up to you to get fluent in racial literacy because our white supremacy as we’ve designed it relies on you NOT being fluent. The good news is, once you realize this you’ll be like a dog on a bone about it, pulling back the curtain right and left.
 

4. Racism isn’t about Black people. It’s about WHITE people (that’s you.)

It might feel like it’s an “issue” that doesn’t concern you, but you are at the root of it. Your ancestors designed this system—the one our country has baked into it—with you in mind. It benefits you even if you don’t realize it. The only reason it feels like it’s not yours is because white people don’t want to talk about, so it falls on the very people who are oppressed by systemic racism to address it—again and again. You’re a feminist, so think of it like this: violence against women isn’t really a women’s issue, right? It just feels like it because we women have a vested interest in it stopping. It’s really about men’s violence against women, but women are the often the only ones making sure we keep talking about it—because if we don’t, who will? It’s like that. So be the white person who talks about white people’s shit—because it’s our shit that stinks.
 

5. Shut up, listen, and reflect.

Seriously. Put your words away for a while. This will be hard because you’re trained to spout your opinion at every turn in the road. But once you do this, you will be able to hear and see that perspectives and stories (words written or told) in Black voices are everywhere around you. Just take them in like a sponge. And then go back for more. And Lael? They’re right. You don’t get a vote about other people’s experiences and whether or not they are true or valid. They are. They might be different, they might be uncomfortable or hard to hear, they might test everything you believe about yourself or this country, but believe them. Notice and resist the urge to “yeah, but….” them away. Let it be hard. You won’t die of embarrassment or shame. But if it feels like you will, try getting curious about yourself. Curiosity will be your super power here, and will help you move out of shame more quickly and show you how you’ve been trained. Understand how you were baked with the beliefs and behaviors of white supremacy inside you. Mine for the ingredients. Learn your wiring. Familiarize yourself with the foundation on which you were built as well as the roots of the ground underneath it.
 

6. Unmute yourself.

You’ll feel the urge to keep quiet about what you’re learning because you won’t feel ready, good at it, or know enough. You’ll talk about it being a private conversation, and that will be code for feeling shame. You’ll be afraid of getting “caught” not doing or saying something right, and at some point you’ll decide not to saying anything at all. But do it anyway, because to stay silent is to stay here—and complicit. Talk with white people about what you’re learning—share the mind-blowing insights, demystify the “work” of anti-racism by opening the door to another white person. Let yourself inspire others. You’re going to be experiencing a lot of pandemic humor in the next year to get through it, so I’ll put it this way: be a positive contagion. Infect others with a good virus. And? Stay in your lane. You’re going to hear this phrase a lot, and at first you won’t understand it. Then you’ll resent it. This will be your whiteness showing, as you’re taught that you’re an exception and a free agent who controls her own destiny. You’re taught that the whole world is your oyster and yours for the taking. In 2020, you’ll learn just how wrong that is, and worse—the impact it’s had on others. In the coming year, Black Lives Matter will take center stage more than ever before and grab the mic in this moment—as leaders, agenda-setters, and influencers. White people won’t like this, and you will be one of them. But you’ll soon learn that white people have historically just taken things without asking—and you’ll learn how to show up in service without stealing the stage or redirecting attention back to you. This will be a game-changer.
 

7. Practice, practice, practice.

Do you remember when you first started using clip-less bike pedals and you kept falling over because you couldn’t put your foot down to stop the fall? Do you remember when you fell down skiing and people in the lift lines thought you were having a seizure because you didn’t know how to get back up? That. You’re going to feel a LOT of that in 2020 and this means you’re actively learning. Also, you’re going to be noticed falling down and making mistakes, and this, too, will have a purpose. By you doing this work publicly, you will be making it safe for others to try and fall down as well. Resistance, denial and defensiveness are going to try to get you at every turn in the road. Expect it, and do not take the bait. It’s hard at first, but like with anything, with practice it gets easier. And here’s something helpful to remember when the going gets tough: this is a marathon, not a sprint. This is not a one and done sort of fix. Keep your foot on the gas. This will keep you inspired and moving forward even when it’s hard. It will also remind you that any other choice (stopping, coasting, taking your foot off the gas) will support racism (you’ll get a major insight early on that there is no such thing as “not a racist”, only “racist” or “anti-racist”). In 2020, you’ll choose being an anti-racist. Keep choosing it daily. And know that this choice will be the rest of your life, not just a moment in time. That might sound daunting to consider now, but I promise you, it will start to become second nature. Remember when banking became remote with ATMs and then we moved to online? It’s like that—a big deal at first, then the best thing that ever happened to banking, right? Which brings me to…
 

8. Resist the urge to do it alone or privately.

The desire to crawl under a rock will be powerful. Resist it. 2020 will show the degree to which this country is divided (spoiler: KAMALA WINS!), but this will be the year many of us white folks learn the power of pooling together our resources—be it financial power as consumers, learning power as anti-racists, or influencing power by sharing our platforms. We’ll start to share our mistakes and be inspired by our fall downs and get ups. We’ll learn from our fuck ups, failures and mis-steps, rather than burying them. The bottom line is no one will know if you’re not doing this work, but if you do it as a family or with a peer group you will be building in accountability and can process what you’re learning with them. Solve for that. Pull up a chair and have a slice of humble pie. You are not the only white person who didn’t know what you didn’t know. It’s not that you’re stupid, it’s that you didn’t see the water you were swimming in. This, by the way, will be the inspiration for you to create The Beach for white women in your community to gather and do anti-racism work together—and bonus!—as a result, you’ll donate $2,400 to the Loveland Foundation’s Therapy Fund because of all the registrations!
 

9. Holds multiple truths.

Yes, it is absolutely about you and it’s also about the system in which we are all operating. Yes, you are kind and you do harm. Sure, you didn’t mean it and you still had impact. Yes, you didn’t ask for your privilege and you still have it. Maybe you’re not directly responsible for our history of white supremacy and you are contributing to it daily just by existing. Yes, you might be self-aware and you also are blind. Yes, you are smart and you are ignorant. It’s simple and it’s complex. It’s multifaceted and it’s straightforward. It’s right and it’s wrong. See what I’m getting at? Your brain is going to rebel in 2020 with all of this because it won’t be able to reconcile all that you’re asking it to hold. Seek expansion instead of reconciliation. Look for the contradictions, see the paradoxes and feel the tension points. Seek the scary edges instead of the comfortable middle. Seek the yes/and. Drop the habit of either/or. This will serve you well and increase the capacity of your brain and heart.
 

10. Reframe your mindset from despair and overwhelm to hope.

The fact that you’ll be navigating a pandemic in 2020 will make everything seem dire. There will be much fear, lack and hardship. Everything will seem chaotic and you’ll be reminded of how little we humans actually control. You won’t know how to do this at first, and that will be hard because you’ll feel like you’re drowning with no land in sight. But keep looking for ways to switch your mindset from bad to good. Get creative about keeping your eyes on the prize. And remember that you are swimming against a powerful tide of training that has a vested interest in you NOT leaving this comfortable shore of whiteness on which you were born. Many will tell you this is who we are and there’s nothing that can be done. Don’t believe them. Imagine something different is possible for us. Live—and fight— daily for the future of a country in which you could be proud to live. Reach for this lifeline from Valarie Kaur (you’ll come to love this woman and everything she writes…) when you need it most: “What if this darkness we are feeling isn’t the darkness of the tomb but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country that is waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?…What if this is our nation’s greatest transition?” Imagine something greater than your worst fears—if not for yourself, then for those who will come into the world behind you like your grandchildren. Be an ancestor that leaves the world better than you found it and doesn’t just repeat history.
 

11. Begin anywhere. Just choose something. Anything.

This might seem obvious to say, but I offer it because this will be the #1 excuse you’ll reach for to avoid engaging with this work and feeling what you’re feeling. In 2020, you’ll hear a chorus of (formerly known as) “good white people” start to wail: I don’t know what to do…” and it will conjure images of Gary Larson’s boneless chicken ranch from The Far Side cartoon—only instead of chickens, it will be white people draped limply over corral posts and in pools on the barnyard floor. You will relate, and it will be seductive. In those moments, choose action. Open a book to the middle. Start listening to a podcast in the second season. Insert yourself in a conversation without understanding the context. Support BIPOC owned businesses. Make a donation to an organization that supports the safety, financial security, and freedom for BIPOC. Learn about Black Lives Matter, ACLU legal defense fund, the Loveland foundation, or just Google Anti-Racist. Play with numbers and start counting how many books, movies, Netflix series that come into your home or workplace center black lives? Learn the names of all the innocent Black and Brown bodies have died at the hands of police brutality? How many BIPOC are in your inner circle? Count them, Lael. It’s hard data and will be very revealing. You know how to do this. Don’t wait for an invitation. Don’t wait for the perfect thing to find you. There is no perfect thing. Pick anything. It doesn’t matter what, but don’t be a boneless chicken.

And finally, I’d leave you with this—as a parting gift from the future that you are helping to shape now with your daily choices and actions:
 

There is much joy and vitality that moves in as a consequence of doing anti-racism work.

You might have read this letter and be feeling a bit overwhelmed. That would be natural. It’s a lot of information—a year’s worth of information—to absorb at once, so take a deep breath with me. After all, I’m here at the end of 2020 writing this, living proof that you made it to another year—and an EPIC one, at that! It’s not all heavy and hard and overwhelming. There are many shiny bits of joy, life-giving encounters and deep pockets of fulfillment as you do this work. Tap into this, and you will tap into something bigger than yourself. Hope and a vision for brighter future will be waiting for you as a result, I promise you that.

All my love and some hot coals of inspiration to keep you warm for your journey ahead,

Lael

Daily Verse 11.30.20—The Opposite of Dangerous

Posted November 30th, 2020

This fall I started to refer to myself as “dangerous”. I don’t know that it was conscious, but it was more of a consistent mumbling I started to do out loud to those that know me well. Ordinarily outspoken and opinionated, it was like I had entered a new realm, which included brash, aggressive and angry. It was that “angry feminist” feeling I feared—except not I didn’t care so much anymore. Of course I was angry. More and more, I found myself countering that inner sensation in me (shame?) with WHY AREN’T YOU? I thought the “dangerous” feeling was about my growing ire at racial injustice or the apathy among so many white American’s to clean up the mess our ancestors had systematically baked for us, serving up our privilege without overtly calling it white supremacy. Then I attributed it to the election that demonstrated our nation wasn’t apathetic when it came to race—it was actually quite clear, intentional, and divided. It wasn’t until after my birthday (which began this 30 day practice of writing Daily Verses) and after the election that I realized the root of it. I felt “dangerous” because of my training as a woman. I felt dangerous because I was accessing deeper levels of my power. I felt dangerous not because I was “too much”, but because I was saying ENOUGH! I felt dangerous not because I believed I would do harm, but because others saw that I could be of service to something they were actively fighting—in themselves and in our society. I felt dangerous because I was being brave, and had the courage to give voice to something that so many were actively trying to deny. I’m not dangerous; I’m a force of nature, uncorked, unchained, and unstoppable. I’m the opposite of dangerous—unless you are standing in the way of justice, equality, and freedom.

 

Want to know what these daily verses are all about? Read here to learn what inspired this practice on my birthday post, November 1st.

36 Days

Posted September 28th, 2020

I want to talk to the white women I know for a minute, so come a bit closer if that’s you.

Are you feeling it?
That sense of urgency despite the exhaustion and overwhelm that ticked up a notch this September?
That reignited flame in the core of your being when you heard the news about Ruth and then Breonna?
That sense of “winter is coming” that feels very different and no joke this year?
That intense focus starting to happen inside you despite the noise that gets louder by the day and list of things to do that grow exponentially?

I feel it, too.
Those sensations are real and it matters now more than ever that we respond to them.
It’s not just you feeling them.
There are legions of women with you who are rising up in action, their eyes trained on the horizon 36 days from now.

Nobody knows what will happen the night of the election—or what will happen between now and then.
But I do know this:

I know how I will feel if I do nothing.
I know how I will feel if I choose not to participate in THIS moment…or the next moment.
I know how I will feel if I kick the can up the road or succumb to my excuses.
I know how I will feel if I just “mail it in” and take a few performative actions that make me feel good.
I know how I will feel if I just talk the talk, but don’t *actually* walk the walk.

Years from now, when my granddaughter (or whomever is the next woman in my line) looks at me and asks:
What did you do to fight?
How did you take a stand?
How did you respond?
What actions did you take?

I want to have answers for her.
I want to say more than I read a few books, watched a few documentaries, gave a few dollars, or put a Black Lives Matter sign in my garden.
These help, but I have more in me to give. I want to be able to offer her—and our world—more of a substantial answer.

I want to tell her how I used this one life I’ve been given to help dismantle white supremacy.

I want to be an inspiration to her to never lose hope. Ever.

As I write that now, that feels….daunting. Hard. Dangerous, even.
Like I’d be getting my hopes up.
Setting myself up to fail…to be disappointed…to be wrong about my belief in our humanity and what we are capable of creating together.

And yet. What’s the alternative?
To not….do? Not care? To roll over and pretend our house isn’t on fire?

That, my friend, is why I created The Beach as a gathering place for white women.

Not simply as feel-good invitation or a chance to put our money where our mouth is (100% of the proceeds to The Beach benefit the Loveland Foundation’s Therapy Fund for Black women and girls), but as a beacon that calls to white women, again and again, in these dark times. To gather us together, to do our work—however that looks to us individually—as white women. To show up in the dark, to move closer to the fire, to light our torches to the flame, and to bring it back out in the the darkness to let other white women touch their torches to ours for inspiration, motivation, and hope for our future.

I watched this amazing excerpt from an interview Pete Buttigieg did with Glennon Doyle the other day (no idea the context, but no matter).
She refers to a “moment of sobriety” she had when her eldest daughter pointed out that Glennon and her family weren’t *actually* marching for BLM, but were talking about how they wanted to. She then goes on to say (at 3:02) that since writing her last book (Untamed) she wishes she had focused more on HER WHITENESS as a topic, rather than social justice in general…and she talks about “the deal with the devil white women made…like, we will accept our proximity to power, and all the privilege/protection that gives us, but in exchange we will never ask for any real power, and we’ll stay quiet and grateful and the cost of that will be our full humanity.”

She talks about what her Black activist friends have been trying to tell her: “Don’t come here to save us. You people need to save yourself. You have lost your humanity. White supremacy has cost YOU your souls.

Holy shit. There it is. That call to white women again. Remember that….from Nov 2016? Back when so many of us white women didn’t get the concept of intersectional feminism yet?

That, my friend, is why I was moved to create The Beach. This is me coming to get my white people.

And when I say “moved” to create, I mean MOVED. Like I didn’t have a choice kind of inspired-moved where my fingers flew over the keyboard as I learned an entirely new platform in a week. The I-have-no-earthly-idea-what-I’m-doing moved where you just GO WITH IT and figure it out on the fly. That was me this summer. And as more and more women find their way to The Beach, I just refining it as I go.

I created The Beach in June, opened it for registration in July, and to date there are 21 white women as members, and we’ve donated nearly $1,500.
Some of these women became members because they liked the idea of donating to a good cause, and that’s awesome! Our money makes a difference.
Some of these women appreciated the curation and organization of all the resources I’ve gathered up for us in one place, and that’s cool, too—I’m happy to created the space to “grab and go” as we do our work as white women.
Some of these women hold themselves accountable and deepen their learning and racial literacy by writing comments or engaging to discussions, and that gives me tremendous joy. I LOVE connecting women.
A number of these women, however, have discovered the power of the LIVE Bonfire—the monthly call where we gather real-time.
I was TOTALLY resistant to doing these monthly calls, by the way. I did it because a number of women wanted them, but I didn’t think I would like it—much to people’s surprise, groups really aren’t my thing, and I thought I’d resent it.

But if if you ask me now, the LIVE Bonfire I hold over Zoom on the last Tuesday evening of every month is where the real ass-to-the-fire magic lives.

 

Our September LIVE Bonfire is tomorrow night (Tues, Sept 29th at 7:00-8:00 EST), so if you’re reading this now, you’re not too late.) You can become a member and join here—in just a few minutes, easy-peasy.

As the Creatrix of The Beach, my intention is to hold space for white women (like me) to do our racial justice work, understand our whiteness, our privilege and the power we have to affect change.
As a member of The Beach, my intention is to show up to myself and my own work with my whole body, to get messy what I find, to get real with the truth, and to face what I have looked away from most of my life.

It’s working.

Women are saying things like this:

“The Beach calls are an amazing opportunity to reflect, learn and be inspired. Lael has created a thoughtful and intimate space. As usual.”

“Lael has put together a brilliant platform. As I explore my own complex feelings and deepen my understanding of anti-racism work, I’m comforted and grateful to have a space to connect with like-minded women. If you’re looking for a place to recognize and explore your whiteness for the first time, as I am, this is a wonderful place to do that.”

“The Beach has kept me accountable in doing necessary work to be educated about systemic racism.” It is a group that I feel comfortable sharing in, engaging in challenging conversations and taking steps forward to make a positive difference.”

If you’re a white woman reading this email, then chances are you relate to something I’m saying or doing—something in you resonates with something in me.

 

Maybe it’s our whiteness. 

Maybe you already know about The Beach—maybe you’re even a member.

Or maybe you’ve seen flashes of it and had intentions of checking it out, but life is so busy and moves so fast it just didn’t happen yet.

Or maybe you’ve never heard of it, but it’s finding you today for a reason.

Whatever the reason, I welcome you to come a bit closer.

“The problem with the 2016 presidential election is simple: White feminists did not come get their people.” – Brittney Cooper

That’s why I’m reach out to you directly today. I’m coming to get my white people.

And starting now, I’ll be popping out here on my blog with a bit more frequency with a gentle Lael nudge—maybe with a hot coal from our fire at The Beach.
Not to add to your long list or to “should” you or put any extra expectations on your pile.

But because we have 36 days.
And whenever women gather together with intention—magic happens and mountains move. This, I know.

Here’s an invitation to join us at the LIVE Bonfire tomorrow night (Tuesday, September 29th from 7:00-8:00 EST). It’s really quick to become a member, 100% of your registration fee will benefit the Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund, nothing needs to be done in advance of the call tomorrow nite, just come as you are with whatever you’ve got. Or not. But you will have activated yourself just by making the decision to join.

Here’s an invitation to share this email with the white women in your life. Keep it simple and just forward it to 5 white women in your circle. Tell them I said hi and welcome them into the fold. Assure them the women on The Beach are as discerning (and busy!) as you are, but you KNOW if you ask her directly, she’ll trust you and come. Use the buddy system and you won’t get lost in the muck and mire of the everyday.

Here’s an invitation to check out The Beach sooner than later. The first few sections are free for non-members (you’ll just have to create an account, but there is no obligation to buy) and will give you a sense of what’s waiting for you if you decide to become a member. You’ll know if it’s meant for you.

I’ll see you out there, Sister. Maybe I’ll see you as soon as tomorrow night at the LIVE Bonfire tomorrow night. Or maybe I’ll just meet you here and share what I’ve got from my pockets.
But feel me with you on this ride—right by your side.
xo

Lael