Welcome to the Revolutionary Rompereglas podcast where we meet at the busy intersection of karma healing, sexuality, spirituality embodied decolonization and radical self compassion. I’m Isha Vela. I’m a psychologist, somatic expressive coach and energy alchemist. I’m passionate about how the healing of our intimacy wounds and dismantling of our social conditioning contributes to our collective evolution. I believe that embracing our full human experience is a holy process, and that our greatest gifts are sometimes alchemized from our deepest pain. I’m interviewing healers and leaders who are sharing their personal liberation journey and how they created a life, love and business in alignment with the purpose. My intention is that the conversations and tools shared in this podcast will inspire and support you on your own liberation journey. So get ready to drop into your emotional body, tap into your intuition and unveil your fierce and blossom expression. Hi, welcome Elsi, welcome Revolutionary Rompereglas podcast. How are you?
Thank you so much. I feel great. Thank you for inviting me.
Yes, of course. So I want to start by sharing that Elsie, as you go by Elsie Wildcat, is a somatic facilitator and ordained priestess of Isis, a shaktanishiate and a yogini in the lineage of Sri Vidya, certified holistic health practitioner and interdisciplinary healing artists with over 20 years of expertise. She envisions a world where all humans harness the power to intuit and maintain wellness and aliveness in all areas of their lives. Elsi is passionate about conversations that create change, as a space holder for the primal emotions that often have no place in our contemporary world: grief, rage, despair, and anger. As a bridge builder to the New Earth, she is making waves in the cultural somatic realm and is injecting the social justice sphere with much needed humaneness and nuance – and we’ll get into that. Part of her mission is to form a human brigade of cross cultural workers who will be using ritual magic and their various gifts to subvert systems. Esi seeks to highlight the extraordinary in the ordinary and how the power of presence in our lives can transform not only how we relate to ourselves, but the world around us. This is beautiful, beautiful. Thank you Elsi for being here.
Thank you so much.
So that was a long intro that really sort of like, rounded out a lot of what you do. So I want you to go ahead and share a little bit of your path in developing the human brigade and what is the human brigade? And what brought you to it?
Okay, great question. I entered the realm of somatics about six years ago. I met, or rather I heard, of a woman named Anne Bratney while I was looking at astrology books, and metaphysical bookstore, and I saw a little tag that said something about vibrancy and having yourself and I thought, Oh, I’m gonna check this out. So I went to a couple open nights they had and then I ended up taking a workshop with an called lower self higher self and mask, which is where I first got to really experience the beauty of somatic work to where it actually scared me. We were in lower self, and I could feel my – I could just feel something was coming through. And it was gruesome. And it felt to me a little demonic. And I remember I got so scared, we were banging on a mattress, our hands and feet. And I remember I stopped and Anne was like, don’t stop like, something’s gonna crack. And I, you know, I hadn’t really heard of the work. I didn’t know what was happening. So I had that moment. And then I, you know, Anne invited me to radical lightness Institute, and I didn’t talk to any of them for three years. Because I was like, what just happened? I couldn’t, it scared me, honestly, because I felt – I’m someone who can be very rigid and in control, I felt so out of control. And I’ve been studying energy work for a while. So even in the frames of my energy work I was like, I don’t know what’s happening. Like, I don’t know what just happened. So three years passed, and the school was still stuck in my head. So I ended up enrolling, to become a somatic facilitator. And, you know, people always like I did this thing and my life changed, but really, my life did change.
That’s how it goes. Yeah.
Yeah, definitely. I’m Caribbean. And so I come from a pretty collectivist background. My parents always just instilled in us to think about more than ourselves. In collectivist culture there can almost be a tendency to put others before you.
And so that was a lot of my healing journey was that I had to kind of individuate. I was too enmeshed with my family and enmeshed – honestly, the collectivism extended to friends. So there’s this way I’m like, overly loyal and enmeshed with people. And I just felt like, I need my own. It was not easy. You know, at first, some of the work contradicted things I knew as a collectivist – or not contradict, it just was a different way of looking at things. And I tell this story sometimes when I talk about the human brigade – I, you know, I’m a Caribbean American person. And so the first year at the school, I fled the room every module because I couldn’t quote unquote, take all the white people. And so my first year of school was just me being triggered and running out the room for the whole year. What changed was that a beautiful mentor came into the school, a Caribbean woman, she’s not Caribbean American, she actually be considered, I think, more Caribbean European. She goes by the name of Nikki Angel, and she is from a little island called Curaçao, but she grew up and spent a lot of her time in Holland, and the Netherlands. So she kind of like gave me an energetic kind of shake, and was like, you know, if this is how you want to live your life, continue. And if you want more, it’s time for you to take your power back. I would have thought that she would have demanded in a way that like the white people give me power. I don’t know, none of it happened the way I thought it would have happened. It did not happen at all. One real point moment was I was in total, like, activated. I’m letting these white people know just what I think about them. My mentor came in between us and she asked me what I wanted here. She’s like, what are you wanting here? Yeah. And that just slowed me so down. I don’t even think I had an intention. I think it was just like, oh, this is allowed. They’re white men. I’m allowed to just vomit on them. Oh, look how fun they squirm and tremble at all my black rage, so there was a lot of kind of a narcissistic glee in being righteous, and I think that’s what people are discovering that righteousness is kind of a disguised narcissism. And I was, I was in it, and you’re, you know, you’re allowed to have all your emotions in the school. But when she said, now, what’s your intention behind all of this? I paused. And I remember the first thing that just came out, I couldn’t even think about it. I said, oh, I want connection here. Which was also not something I thought I would have said, I thought I would have said like, I want to educate them or I’m trying to make them understand and it was like, actually, I’m the one wanting connection. I’m the one wanting something here and to take ownership of my feelings and energy even in something as messy and chaotic as like looking at systems or inequalities, it was just a game changer for me. It really was.
Yeah, I love your perspective on just about like relationships, the whole dialogue around blackness and whiteness. You have like a little bit of a different edge there that I appreciate just as like, it just feels like a breath of like something a little bit like out of the standard that we’re in now.
Right I mean, that is, that is kind of what prompted the Hearing Brigade was when George Floyd happened, and there were all the uprisings, I had so many people come to me that I probably wouldn’t even have to work right now had I taken all that energy. And something in me knew like this, isn’t it. Like this, isn’t it. Like I could totally be an opportunist right now and take all this money and I could feel like I actually wouldn’t be doing anyone a service doing this right now. Like I said, I’m Caribbean. So my mom, you know, she grew up in Jim Crow as a Black woman. But you know, my mom is like, probably light – as light as you or lighter. She has Scottish in her. She has, you know, she’s a total Island mutt. You know, people from the islands have a lot of stuff in them. I feel like she has some type of First Nations blood in her. She discovered actually her people came from Peru. So my whole life growing up when my mom would pick me up from school, almost without fail if my mom picked me up, people in LA here would be like, why is that Mexican lady picking you up? Because here she looks more what people would categorize as a Mexican. And so it was actually from very young, I started realizing like, Oh, we categorize things, not because they’re true. It’s just a way to help us feel safer… In the world, you know. I think another thing that greatly influenced me was I started playing piano when I was three, they thought I was going to be something of a prodigy. So I actually spent a lot of my formal years around a lot of Asian people and remember being kind of like in these highly, highly exclusive elite, music programs, where all the Asian children have perfect pitch, and all these things that I had to work at very, very, very hard to where I was like, Oh, I guess just all Asian people are born with perfect pitch. And it wasn’t, I actually became friends with someone that they were like, no, we’re working constantly. To give this effortless look of this, you know, perfect pitch, you know. And so, I think, just as a youngster, and being curious, just, I mean, even with religion, I just, there were just little ways my mind was like something this isn’t all of the story, you know, even with religion, being Christian. And I remember being a young girl asking about Buddhists, and Hindus, what happens to them? And people kind of being like, Oh, well, they go to hell, or we don’t know. It’s like, I kind of realized very young like, Oh, these people don’t know anything. They’re I’m making it up as they go along, which actually made me – it used to make me sad. But as I get older, I’m like, wow, how much freedom there is in that, that actually, all the rules, you know, I can be such a good girl, all the rules that I thought were, there’s no, there’s actually no rules I mean, it’s –
All made up.
And so when I thought about that, I was thinking about just what shaped me and shaped my world. And after Trump got elected, I must say, being a black body started feeling small to me, but only when I talked to my friends, because they were so focused on a certain type of the experience. And this could get me in trouble but I know even when I’m manipulating my mother, like, sometimes it’s easier to focus on certain experiences, because you’re, you’re juicing something out of it. You know what I mean? And so I remember pretty quickly after Trump got elected, that I pretty much decided I was never going to say his name. So if you look on my Facebook, and all four years, I’ve never mentioned him. I just, I really wanted to feel, what I think my parents wanted to give me, but um, the way they tried to give it to me, meaning the way they tried to keep my black mind free, a lot of the messaging in that wasn’t, it would not have supported me being living vibrantly. A lot of you know, as a collectivist, we grew up pretty middle class. So I’ve never been in hunger. I can’t say that I know poverty. And I could tell that even in my experience, there’s people who meet me as a black woman, and they, they think that’s the black experience. You must be hungry and poor. And then if you’re like, Well, I’m not hungry and poor. It’s kind of curious the reactions you get. Sometimes I even shamed myself, I feel like, for not being so hungry and poor, as like, I thought I needed to be to have what was called the Black experience. And then I just think the more I thought about it, the more I just decided, like, I’m gonna speak up and talk more about what I’m seeing. Because if I go by what if I’m seeing off of internet, off Facebook, IG and the media as the Black experience, and I don’t, I don’t think I get to feel very good. And so, I had a lot of loss in kind of doing this little pivot, but um, overall, I would say I feel better.
What was the loss?
Oh, boy, I had people tell me that, um, basically, I wasn’t sticking to the groupthink. As much as we all see that we don’t like groupthink, as much as we all say, we want to think for ourselves. There’s a lot of ways that we bargain our power, and our realness to fit in. So, you know, I lived in Brooklyn 13 years, one of my friends from Brooklyn just stopped talking to me, I heard this a lot that I’m being contrarian that I can’t bring up these issues, if I’m not at the same time gonna offer solutions. And I could feel it in a way I had kind of let the cat out the back because, you know, I grew up in the 80s. So in the 80s, and 90s. You always heard like, there’s certain things you don’t say in mixed company. There’s this whole idea of mixed company and when I did my school project for school I did it on reclaiming my joy for a project for Black women and one of the participants was a young millennial African American woman and she said, she was like I don’t think millennials care about all this race stuff like this. I think it’s different for us because the times are changing and I remember actually a lot of my project turning into me listening to her and getting more of like, her outlook, and her frame, and what’s happening for her, because it was like I was 42 so she’s about 32, she’s about 10 years younger than me and I almost was like shocked to hear how much had changed in 10 years according to her and that stuff had changed but there was stuff that I had learned that was still in me and that’s where the somatic work came in where it was like before the stuff that was in me, I would have just thought oh, this is truth or this is a fact, and then that was like oh, no, actually, these are stories and different things that are just living in me. So actually it was very interesting to have her in the group, now this was before George Floyd too, though. I think what I love about life is we wish it was static, like we all want to arrive somewhere, we all want to plant our feet there and be like we’ve arrived, and even with that it was like oh I’d be so curious to check in with her after this, after the uprisings and George Floyd, you know? And then even thinking about how you know, the millennials are who gave us the term social justice. Like, when I was in college, I went to Berkeley so you could be an activist, but most people weren’t really trying to be activists. When I talked to a lot of my millennial friends, like activism is actually part of their framework that was not part of my framework as someone in my 40s. There were the activists over there, yeah, and then I could come in and out, oh I’m gonna go to a march today. But pretty much the activists have their own thing so part of what I realized too was for millennials activism is kind of already built into their framework in a certain way, it wasn’t built for us. And so um and I think that’s beautiful, and then what I started watching was – the societal was just where everyone can dump their shit. So even in my own learning I had to realize when I was using the system as a way to hide, you know, like say if I’m in a group and all of a sudden I’m like, oh there’s all this systemic stuff happening in here, is it really happening in here? Or is this an easy thing that I now can use to be like actually I don’t want to show up so I’m gonna just say it’s the system and I don’t even have to show up and I can sit back here and be all judgy about the system. Like there was a point in my work with radical aliveness that I was like oh this is tricky, because this is allowed. It’s allowed for me to want to vomit like that’s allowed now. Like it’s allowed for certain groups of people to vomit all over other groups of people, the people being vomited on, they cannot defend themselves or say anything. It’s kind of like, well this is what you’re owed these are reparations or like, whatever we justify to vomit on another person. And I just saw it, four years, time and time again, that room, it took nothing for that room to split into people of color and whites every time. It took no amount of thought, like I don’t even think, like I said I even watched myself, like it was a lot of times people think like oh, I’m woke. I don’t know how much consciousness because I saw it it didn’t require a lot of consciousness to divide a room. You know? Actually that’s what we were all taught was that it was so automatic. What? I feel a threat and you look different? Division. And so I kind of became known as the chick in the school who was like, I would literally be like this in the middle.
Wow, just kind of moving back and forth
Mhmmm, and touching both sides, saying I see you I touch you I hear you because you know, usually what happened is the people of color side would start screaming at the white people, they don’t even care about them, they don’t want to hear their stories, nothing, and I would have to say like I care and I actually do want to hear your story. And I would have to turn to the other side and say and I hear that you’re vexed and you’re pissed and you think their stories matter more than yours, I’m telling you they don’t. And it was like this constant, you know, and I actually took great joy from it because in a way it was like this is more real than all that screaming and missing each other. For me. For some people, you know, I remember when I first got woke at 19 in Berkeley, I was furious, yeah when you first get woke you’re furious and then after a year or so, it doesn’t sustain. So usually when people are like oh these social justice people, they’re so angry, to me I would always know like okay these are people young and new to the frames and so yeah, they need the time to like get shit out of their system because it doesn’t stay here, right?
Like level sub zero. You know? And so part of what I was interested in, well what is our real work, you know, I’m kind of a rainbow person, I you know, my mom’s a rainbow bridge of many things. I’ve been in African divinations, I remember the woman giving me my African divination once, she was like good grief, you are a rainbow. So it’s like I don’t say that lightly like it’s in my DNA, I feel like actually part of my calling here, I always felt from young like oh you’re gonna help offer some solutions to this race thing. Because it plagued me from young, I saw it from young, just how it didn’t make sense. It was like this doesn’t make sense, you know, even hearing my own mom say how like, my own mom didn’t want my mom’s parents to be together because my dad was too dark and that we wouldn’t have good hair. Like that’s all I heard growing up was how unfortunate that like, the dad’s so African because we have this amazing Indian hair, don’t I see that all the cousins have amazing Indian hair, poor Elsi, you have nappy hair. You know? That’s not from white people. And yeah people are like well that’s internalized na na na, and uh you know what I get it and I think for me I’m really about responsibility right now and so averting, it’s like, we can blame whatever till we’re blue in the face. You can, you can blame forever, believe me I love blame.
It’s so satisfying.
It is! The energy lasts forever, but then…
So what for you is responsibility?
This is the thing that always gets me in trouble. Honestly, responsibility is the duty of using all your senses. So when I was first studying energy work one of my first teachers was a woman from India and she told me everyone’s psychic, because the psychicness comes from your senses. And she was like being psychic is just actually using your senses, so to me being responsible is actually part of maturing. There’s a way that when we evade responsibility we don’t have to do anything because the thing that we’re giving the responsibility to, it is up to that thing. So it’s almost like, well I just gave you all my responsibility, so if you decide that you’re not gonna do anything with it or you’re gonna dismiss it or you might even be wise and know like this actually isn’t mine so I’m gonna go put this somewhere else, where you’re ready to take it. So I think responsibility more than anything is the willingness to want to be present with what is. A lot of us want to be present with fantasy and responsibility is being present with what’s actually happening.
Dynamically, right, what’s happening on multiple levels, right, what’s happening mentally, what’s happening emotionally, what’s happening energetically, nervous system wise.
Yeah. All of it. And then the part that makes responsibility hard is you know, I begin my day, I do a sadanan and I do, I’m in a resiliency training so I have to write in detail to them about the tools I’m using. And part of the detail I have to write is I have to write to them each level of where I am. I have to say how I am mentally, emotionally, physically and like oracly, say what tool I used and then note to them afterwards the shift so see how they’re trying to garner responsibility in me. Because, so, say my thing was not responsibility. I could sign up for all these amazing classes, never do them, I’m not going to come, I’m not going to do the work and then at the end when it’s time to embody and it’s time for the test, then it’s like well, why didn’t you like save me from myself you know? And responsibility is for people who are finally ready to decide, I don’t, I’m not waiting for anyone to save me – not includes the system – I’m not waiting for anyone to, whether it’s – prince charming is not coming, joe biden’s not gonna change what’s going on, you know what I mean? It’s, it really is for like people who are ready to engage with life. A lot of us are tourists through life, you know, you hear about the average person, they’re a tourist in their own life till they’re on their deathbed and then it’s like oh my god, I want presence. Yeah, presence in what’s actually happening and dealing with it.
And it sounds so trite, but like being in reality and also being like sovereign in reality.
But you know what? You would think it sounds trite. It’s not that trite. We’re saying, right? You know, like everyone else. I love the symbolic figure. Yay, Kamala, yay, Obama. But you know what, on the average day to day, did that really change my life, really? Or was it the day to day what I’m doing here, changing my life? And so, yeah, I think, um, yeah, responsibility is… It’s interesting, because if you read experts, like, I don’t even know what kind of experts these are. They’re usually old white guys who write really big books. But there’s been a couple really big books about how basically, culturally we are stunted in adolescence. So it would make sense that we’re not reaching the levels of responsibility we could, because a lot of us are still playing kind of lower level games and getting rewards from them.
Honestly, like, there are rewards to be gained from like not showing up for your life and not feeling well.
The harder thing is feeling well. That’s harder, you know, for me finally feeling like, Oh, it’s, I don’t need to be struggling financially to prove I love my people. That’s ridiculous. You know what I mean?
Yeah. And speaking of like, feeling well, I know that you’ve had a lot of training in the receptive arts. So talk a little bit about that, and sort of what that level of transformation and then let’s bring it into human brigade.
Wow, my my my. I think that life wants to show us what it wants from us. And so there’s a way I live that it’s not necessarily conscious, but that I’m kind of doing certain things right in a weird way, even though I might not feel like it. So pre COVID, I could not keep up the pace with life. Actually, I had a hard time, I was always comparing myself to people who seemed to hustle. I remember feeling like, I definitely don’t want to hustle, because hustlers always hustle. And I’m kind of a lady of leisure, you know. So I remember pre COVID, thinking I wasn’t going to offer any spiritual or healing work because it seemed like too much of an industry to me, and I couldn’t grapple with it honestly. So COVID kind of like introduced everybody to where my baseline is. So COVID is my baseline. I’m always COVIDing. But I think it’s because when I was younger, I was a pretty grueling, dedicated performer. That had to be on all the time. So it’s not like I just naturally – I think it’s a reaction from my childhood a little bit. So I remember my first spiritual teacher, when I moved to LA was a Jamaican man named Judah. And actually, he’s the one who told me he said, Oh, you’ve come to our home from Brooklyn. And he’s like, you are going on this journey of the divine feminine. And I remember I – Isha, I was like, I mean, he could have shat in my mouth. Like, I was just like, I was like, What? Like this, this sounds horrible. Doesn’t sound like anything I want to do. Like I remember even thinking like, What in the world is a divine feminine? Like, I had all kinds of reactions, and we never talked about it since, he actually told me he’s like, you’re gonna go on this journey. You’re gonna help other ladies go on this journey. And I remember I was like, I don’t even like the feminine. Like, what are you -?
Get the fuck away from me.
Yeah, no, seriously, I was kind of like, What are you talking about? I’m a tomboy. I’m queer. I don’t do the feminine, okay. And but I realized as time passed, the feminine, she’s chaos. She’s disillusion and I realized after a while, like oh my gosh, the feminine is the force that strips away anything that’s not real. And that’s why she’s been so vilified. Because if you want to keep people in illusion of force, stripping things away that aren’t real well, that’s no good. So let’s let’s vilify everything below here. You know, yeah, I was raised collectivist. But I still live in a Western culture. So like most of Western culture, I lived here, from my neck and above. And without going into too many details. There was, plant medicine involves, you know, a long journey, like you said, but I think really what I want to share is, I firmly believe what guided me, everyone has that. Everyone can read, you know, I wake up most mornings and I’m like, I’ll stand in my driveway. And I’m like, how’s it feeling out here today? And I’ll just look and feel and see how it feels to me. You know, how do I feel about today? Like I have friends who are, right now it’s Mercury Retrograde. And this is the power of our minds. I have friends were like, Oh my god, it’s Mercury Retrograde. Oh my god. And I’m like, Oh, I didn’t even – like I wouldn’t know that really. Because when I go outside and feel how it feels for me, I don’t feel Oh my god, it’s Mercury Retrograde. You know, and it wasn’t till a couple friends were oh my god it’s Mercury Retrograde, then I had some Mercury Retrograde moments. But before that, I wasn’t even that aware it was Mercury Retrograde. It was just like, wow, another beautiful day. So I think we haven’t been taught how powerful we are. I think we haven’t been taught how magical we are. I had a friend and she was like, Oh, your life’s so charmed, and there are probably ways it is, but the ways my life is charmed, are ways I think everyone’s life can be trumped if they would like. What makes this path not easy is that everything’s on me. So even lately, you know, I have a lover friend. And I noticed when I am not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I love harping on him. He can’t do anything – I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, he can’t do anything right, because I got my eye on you. And I’m watching you. He better be doing what I think he should be doing. Because if you ain’t doing what I think you should be doing, we gonna have a problem, you know, and then I could just feel myself curl and get all tight. And then one day, you know, that spirit, we’ll call it feminine. She was like, this is when you’re not being so feminine. I kept thinking, oh my god, I’m gonna have to break up with him. I don’t know. I don’t know. You know, so funny. It’s been like just two months of me practicing, like, really just owning all my energy and really owning like, I’m annoyed. I want to blame you. Is it really you? Like, if I own all this energy? Can you really annoy me? And then when I sit in that, he actually can’t. Now there may be times where I have to say, hey, this is a wall of mine, or this is a boundary of mine, not okay. But in general, that thing I was doing between us where it was like, I just couldn’t be comfortable. And I need a hint, to like be a thing, to where even he’s like, what’s going on lately? Like, I’m learning how to mind my own business, you know, what I mean?
Yes, I want to laugh so hard because it’s so true. Because we get all in our stories about the other person and they’re not doing it…
Oh honey. I’m a Gemini with a Virgo rising. So for me to get into story, it’s like either a shame spiral down to the land of quicksand. We know each other very well, me and the quicksand lands, I could probably like map them for people, like beware the big, the big hole down there, you know, but like, when you decide to mature, and I won’t lie, I’m still in a maturation process that it hurts, it hurts not to be able to say like, here, take care of this for me, you know, take care of it.
Every inner child, to just like outsource this stuff.
Right. And to bring this to human brigade. I learned how there’s a lot of stuff we want to outsource to figureheads that is actually going to require us all coming online together. So um, you know, COVID’s here, we’re in a new type of paradigm that still remains to be seen. You know, one of my favorite things before COVID was Korean spas, that’s probably never coming back. And so it still remains to be seen, a lot of our quote unquote, normal life that is or isn’t coming back. The clearest example I could give is when Trump got elected, there is this cat at our school, I won’t give his name, he’s from Chicago. He’s kind of very alpha, not kind of, he’s very alpha. And he’d like to let us all know how alpha he was. But he basically used to run around the room screaming how good it felt to be white again. I’m an observer. I used to be a very quiet child. Remember, I watch him run around. And then I would like look to be like, what’s happening after he does this? And people, I mean, yeah, it was just fallout city and then the words of my mentor rang in my head, Nikki Angel, when she was like, you know, we kind of have these ways that we abdicate power to people who really have no power over our lives. They really don’t. So I’m watching everyone lose their energy. And I was like, I’m gonna ask this guy. What’s he doing? I was like, I’m gonna ask him, what’s he doing? Because he’s doing something. It was clear. Something’s being done. And we were actually close. We’re close because I was one of the only women in the program who could handle his rage and he had a lot of it. So I remember he, he did the thing and he sat next to me laughing and he turns to me, he’s like, it just feels good to be white again. So A) I could have been like, what? Oh my god, no, you didn’t and I want you to know that you racist and my neck, I’m rolling it so much it’s rolling off my head. And then I was like, okay, that’s, that’s a strategy. But you know, I’m in this program paying good money. So I said, what would the program do – Oh, get curious. Which I genuinely was, because I was kind of laughing, I’m kind of a villain. So I get the villain energy of like, yeah, we’re gonna make you collapse right now. That’s gonna be great. So, you know, I was, I was kind of with him on his villain energy like, yeah, this is kind of funny that they’re so easily foiled by you. So I said, I was like, What does that mean, exactly. with all sincerity, there is no charge. Like I remember the moment, I remember where we were, I remember what time of day it was because we both had this twinkle in our eyes, because we were both alive. It wasn’t a live conversation. It wasn’t a dead conversation with all the right terms. So to me, Joe social justice, I’m not interested in longer conversation. They feel dead. They feel like people are just quacking stuff they learn from other teachers. And there’s no actual relating to the people in front of you. You know, even me. Yeah, I yeah, I’m pretty Brown Girl. But when I go into my ancestry, there’s a lot there. I remember the first time I even discovered that my mom’s people came from Peru, someone told me that I was just saying that to like, be special. You know? Like, oh, you just want to be special. It’s like no, actually, no, I want to know about myself. And this is a piece, which totally makes sense why people think my mom’s Mexican. Because the first ancestor she could trace in like 18-something is from Peru. That adds to my complexity, that gives me more, you know how much information that gave me about myself, Isha? I realized, oh, that’s why I solve sleep, solve things with dreaming. That’s something Peruvian people do. That’s something my mom and I do. Like I even told her once I said, Oh, whenever you have a huge problem, I noticed I sleep a lot. And she’s like, yeah, that’s how we solve our problems. We don’t solve them in real time. That is from that culture. You know what I mean? So it helped add more dimension to me. If I wanted to be like, No, I’m just black. And like, it’s just, I could feel in me, like, I keep telling people and some people don’t like it, that my spiritual journey was kind of like being black to being human. Because there’s a way that if I cling to that blackness, there’s no place for you, Isha, there’s no place to, you know, we share space together. All those women aren’t black, there’d be no space for them. Like if I really clung to it.
And that’s what I see. It’s like people cling to it, and then they weaponize it against each other. That’s why I realize most of my friends are mixed race, because they’ve probably had it been weaponized against them the whole time, you know. And so back to the Chicagoan who loved being white. What I said was like, alive energy, and like, really being curious, as a person, like, What do you mean? He had to admit, he’s like, I don’t even know what I mean. He’s like, I don’t know what I mean. He’s like, I’m just saying it, because it’s like, look what happens when I say it, like, look how much fun it is to like, just say it. I think there’s a lot of forces in the world that work that way, like I said, where we think like, almost with the mind of a child, like oh the TV said, nah nah nah, and it’s like, no, it’s our attention. It’s our energy that we give it. Like, there are very few facts on Earth. One of the only real facts on earth is gravity. And then, you even talk to some people, even that they’re like nah nah nah, like facts. They’re actually very few facts in this realm.
Yeah. Laws. Right. There’s very specific laws.
Yeah. But facts?
I mean, think about, you know, I’m 43 now, so I’ve gotten to see like, a bit of an arc to life. Like I said, what I learned in the 80s and 90s, is totally different than what you know, that’s why people are like, the children are the future. Thank God. They don’t have the frames I had.
Yeah, we’ve got a lot. Yeah.
Yeah. Because it was incomplete. It was incomplete. You know? And so for me, human brigade is just my, it’s like a chance for me to say, Hey, I’m inviting 10 humans in here. I actually had a call with a woman the other day, because I was like, systemic is not just about race. It can be about parents, parents are a system. Institutions are systems. Like the systemic is not just like these big themes, you know, like she was sharing that she had a lot of stuff with men. And I was like, yeah, that’s a totally systemic issue, for some people that is systemic. So it’s a chance for us to all come in, fill the richness of our lives in a way. And I realized being in school that there were certain things I couldn’t learn without the other bodies there. So without those white men there, there were certain things I would not have learned about my own blackness, had they not been there. And so, that’s the beauty of it, too, is that we’re in this time when like, groups are interesting, like, even the idea of a group, I’m someone who grew up not trusting groups, they made me actually highly uncomfortable. You know, and so I had a lot of healing, just even going to school and like being in so many damn groups, because I was like, I’m never in this many groups, oh, my God, I can’t take it, I want to, you know. And there were times where I had to have my process and be like, I’m grouped out and have to sit in a corner, and like, learn how to take care of myself. So it’s just, I keep telling people, we will see what’s alive in each of us while we’re there. I keep saying it’s not an anti-racist training, this is not a diversity training, this is really a chance for us all to learn to see in new ways together. So I’m not an expert, I don’t come in the space as like, I’m the expert of the human brigade, it’s like, my shit’s gonna come up too. I keep telling people, I have two supervisors for myself the whole process, because I already know my shit’s gonna come up. I always knew from young that I would be part of the changing conversation. And to me, this is part of how the conversation can change. And it’s just a little contribution. I was thinking today about the somatic and just wellness industry and what an industry it is becoming, because it’s getting more popular. And there, I think there used to be a part of me that wished I was more a part of the industry, but I’m seeing people who are part of the industry having kind of an interesting time. And I’m like, kind of happy for my own little corner and my little work, like that I didn’t turn my work into like a worthiness issue for myself. Because even with this group, when it was like showing me that it wanted to be done, part of me was like, I don’t want to do it. It’s winter. I want to just lay around. And the group was like, no, it’s time. So a lot of this isn’t even me. It’s honestly like, I remember when the idea for the human brigade came, people, everyone came to me for George Floyd, people were telling me I need to make a statement, because my father was murdered by the police when I was 22. So people have always kind of seen me this an expert on that. And it’s funny that that just came up. Didn’t get along with my dad. So we hadn’t been, we were estranged six years when it happened. And so just even the level of complexity and like, yeah, my father was murdered by the police. And there was a man I actually didn’t like, who didn’t treat me well. And that has its own complexity. And so, I mean, obviously, it’s why I’ve been driven to like, do all the things I’ve done. And at the same layer, he didn’t treat me well. And I was a daddy’s girl, like, you know, like my shit’s all, all the ravels. Um, like I said, I’m in middle age now, almost, about, yeah, middle age, I guess they would call me now. And now that I’m starting to see an arc to my life, it’s kind of like, oh, wow, I am so complex, that, how dare I look at any person, I don’t care who they are, and erase that for them. Because I’ve felt how it felt when people erase it for me. I don’t like it. And so I don’t do it to others. It doesn’t matter if I’m justified by a cultural trope that I can do it to others. I don’t do it to others because there’s a lot happening even now happening to create these moments that we can either be a part of or like I said be a tourist and kind of like, you know. And I was a tourist in my life for a long time, I suffer with a heavy marijuana addiction that I’m slowly dismantling. I’ve been smoking marijuana longer than I haven’t been at this point. And that’s a great dissociative numbing, soothing, numbing agent that I used for years to soothe, that now the level I’m moving into, it’s like oh, this cannot go with me. And I have not developed other ways to soothe myself just yet. So part of that human brigade too is just to normalize what a process life is.
Yeah, normalize life honestly.
Love it, love it. Yes and transparent leadership.
Yeah and just you know, when I had that day when the white guys were in front of me and I realized that I wanted connection and even thinking about it is about to make me cry. You could – the whole timber of the room changed from me realizing that, which A) showed me I have way more power than I was giving myself credit for, right, if I would want it to be like black woman have no power, we bottom of of the thing… In someone’s world that’s true, I guess. I don’t need to make that true in my world. And, I mean, it was so palpable how much just my softening made it so they could actually hear me, which was funny. It’s almost counterintuitive, like after I soften, then they were more willing. Mm hmm.
So human brigade is eight weeks, two months. And for those of you listening, it begins on the 14th. So, too late to sign up for this one. But Elsi will be taking, you know, people on the waitlist for the next time it runs.
Yes, I keep it very small. I don’t allow more than 10 people. For this first one, I have about five or six. And it’s fun. They’re all nervous and writing me every week. Because I can tell they’re nervous. They’re like, Oh, shit, like, you know, I think I make them even more nervous when they’re like, what’s the agenda and I’m like agenda?
It’s like, whatever energy’s in the room, high risk, high sensation.
That’s what I told them. And that – we’ll probably spend most of the time just normalizing discomfort, all that’s gonna happen in the eight weeks, nothing. But I do tell people like, you’re going to come in this group, and it might be boring. Because A) since most of us live from the neck up, it’s going to be kind of a slow unwind into the subtle bodies. And then you’re going to get there and realize how highly uncomfortable it is. So it’s not gonna be like, oh, now that I’ve met my subtle energetic bodies, everything’s better. You’re gonna like feel all the sludge, all the numbing, you just got to be okay with like, not feeling so okay. At first.
Elsi. Thank you so much for for being here on this podcast and for sharing your wisdom and your, just this expansive view that is available, right? These these truths that are beyond sort of what we see every day, what’s been normalized as the discourse. Really appreciate that.
Thank you so much. I loved it. Thank you.
All right. Bye, everyone.
Bye everyone. Thank you.
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