Issue #79

Page 46

The Crazy Wisdom Community Journal • January through April 2022 • Page 44

Out of My

Comfort zonE The Crazy Wisdom Community Journal asked a number of leaders in southeastern Michigan’s conscious living community to reflect upon times in their lives that they’ve left their comfot zones to venture out in new ways. In the distant past or much more recently, we asked, what did you do, what inspired you, did it change you, inside or outside, big or little? Did you attend a new class, take an adventurous trip, go skydiving, stretch beyond a long entrenched boundary, start a new relationsip or end an old one, take a leap, retire, join the Peace Corps, go on a night trek in the wilderness, or just do something way out of the ordinary?

Photo by Robert Chester

Leslie Blackburn (they, them) is a queer, white, omnisexual, polyamorous, ecosexual, kinky, genderqueer supporter for all beings to be authentically who they are. Their work blends Sacred Sexuality, Ancestral Healing, Grief & Emotional release, and AntiRacism work to support collective liberation, self-awareness, vitality, empowerment, and joy. Leslie stewards the land at One Space: a private sanctuary, home, Temple and community space on 3.7 wooded acres in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For the past ten years, Leslie has been pouring their story and life’s work into their first book: Sacred Sexuality: Listening to Our Bodies, which is currently being edited in preparation for publication. Support this work and receive sneak peeks of the book by becoming a patron on her website LeslieBlackburn.com.

Meeting Our Discomfort to Support Collective Liberation By Leslie Blackburn The sun was warm and bright the day I met Dragonfly. It happened fourteen years ago at a corporate picnic, back when I was an engineering manager with 15 years in the automotive industry. A dragonfly landed on me. It looked at me, cocking its head, flew away and back again, as if trying to get my attention. By the third time, it did. Something shifted that day. I’d been questioning, and this was my answer. It wasn’t long before I abandoned my corporate career and followed a path that led me to the Peruvian jungles, the pyramids in Egypt, new teachers and practices, and most importantly, to the temple of my own body. In so doing, I found my new work in the world as a sacred sexual healer. The biggest part of this journey was inward. As I got in touch with my body and listened, I was able to unwind trauma from my past. In connecting deeply with myself, I found I was better able to connect deeply with others and share this path. Of course, along the way I bumped up against deep societal conditioning around gender and sexuality. All of this was an ongoing process of “stepping out of my comfort zone.” Unknown to me, the biggest was yet to come: waking up to my whiteness and racism at age 48. Used to be, I associated the word “racism” with things like beatings, shootings, slavery, lynchings, and the KKK. I thought that since I wasn’t part of these things, I wasn’t racist. I thought I was one of the “good white people.” Then, through the sweet gift of a relationship and with help from some amazing beings who held me in a place of care with a willingness to help me see, I had an uncomfortable awakening: I realized that racism is in my body because of the culture I was born into and because of my ancestry. I started to see how racism shows up in my actions even when I don’t realize it.

It wasn’t long before I abandoned my corporate career and followed a path that led me to the Peruvian jungles, the pyramids in Egypt, new teachers and practices, and most importantly, to the temple of my own body. As it happened, at the time I had also been exploring my genealogy. My people come from England, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and perhaps others. In most cases they came to the USA eight to ten or more generations ago and

settled in rural, agricultural northern Ohio. Huge parts of my lineage were part of colonization of this continent. This goes beyond mere historical fact. Whether or not I liked my family history, even if my family members weren’t a part of active violence, they were there during those eras and absorbed the violence, perhaps perpetuating more, perhaps numbing out and ignoring it as a way to cope. As a body-focused practitioner, I realized that the fallout of all the massacres and violence involved in conquering and colonization is present in me now, and in so many of us alive right now in North America. And I saw that by ignoring of all this, I was actually creating more harm. I also woke up to realize that my ignoring and my silence were a facet of my privilege, that because I walk in the world in a white body, I could ignore and shove aside uncomfortable things from a place of relative safety that people in black, brown, yellow, red, and olive-skinned bodies often never experience as they navigate this world. When I started to realize all of this, after my defensiveness around this started to crumble, I felt a huge, huge wave of guilt and shame. I didn’t want to face it or see it. I didn’t want to believe that racism is in me. Certainly, that can’t be true!