Spiritual Direction and Anti-Racism Mentorship
"Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination." - Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
"If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don't see." - James Baldwin
I offer anti-racism mentoring for people who have white skin privilege.
Layla Saad, who wrote the book Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor and who hosts the ‘Good Ancestor Podcast’ describes the work of anti-racism as ‘spiritual work’. It requires in depth self-reflection and commitment to both recognizing and changing patterns of behaviour that are rooted in white supremacy and colonialism. Doing ‘the work’ means a commitment to 'Listen, Learn and Repair'.
As a trained spiritual director, my role is to accompany you on the anti-racism journey and to provide accountability. I listen to your experiences of learning about racism and encourage areas for further growth in order to continuously uncover your socialization as a white person. I provide the space for you to lean into discomfort.
We can also explore spiritual practices that deepen humility and compassion so that you are better able to listen to the voices and experiences of those who are oppressed by the system of racism. I invite you to bring real life scenarios from your relationships, place of work or engagement within community, in order to unpack the experience within an anti-racism framework.
The goal is oriented toward taking action and working in solidarity with racialized people to interrupt, disrupt, and dismantle dominant white culture.
The typical structure of mentorship is to meet for 1 hour once a month using Zoom. There may be times when more frequent sessions are needed.
Please contact me for information regarding my fees:
message me on Instagram @robin.mcgauley.metalsmithing
or Facebook @robinmcgauleymetalsmithing
Email me: robinmcgauley(at)hotmail.com - replace the (at) with @.
As a white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied woman, working on anti-racism and decolonization is both difficult and rewarding. It requires constant self-reflection/awareness, the ability to listen deeply and patiently, and adopt a posture of humility and openness to learning. I do not do this perfectly. I have made a lot of mistakes along the way. We as white people need to risk making mistakes and the do the work of learning from them in order to change our actions.
Selam Debs is my Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression Coach. Selam is passionate about advocating for rights of people of colour, the upliftment of Black voices and the importance of educating our communities on racial inequality, diversity, inclusivity and social justice. She is the owner of Juici Yoga is Waterloo, Ontario. Visit her website: www.selamdebs.com
About My Experiences:
I trained as a spiritual director from 2012-2014 in the Ontario Jubilee program.
For nine years I was the Program Director at an education and retreat centre called Five Oaks in Paris, Ontario. I had the idea of starting a program that would bring together indigenous and non-indigenous youth to build friendships across cultural divides. I worked to find indigenous partners in order to implement the program together. The program, which is called Wampum, has been running since 2013. The real work of this program, for me, happens in the relationships between the indigenous and non-indigenous leaders. I had to examine the ways that I was operating based on my socialization within white supremacy culture in order for the program to be truly a reflection of right relations that could be modelled for the youth participants. Wampum is not just about putting on a program for a week in the Summer. It has shaped my way of being in the world.
I have also had the following experiences:
- I attended the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa 2015 where the Calls to Action were presented.
- I am a member of the Indigenous Justice Advisory Committee of The United Church of Canada. The mandate of this group is to advise the church on how to live out its commitment to reconciliation.
- I was a participant at a working event focused on the Doctrine of Discovery where we attempted to create resources for The United Church of Canada to understand this foundational aspect of colonialism.
- I attended the White Privilege Conference in Toronto, May 2018.
- In 2013 I was a participant at a consultation in Chicago focused on white privilege and intercultural ministry.
- I learned alongside indigenous students in learning circles at the Francis Sandy Centre in Ontario and the Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre in Manitoba.
- I designed and delivered numerous workshops about the history of residential schools and the legacy of colonialism. Some of these workshop outlines have been published in Mandate magazine.
- In 2015 I participated in the 'Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry' program offered by the Canadian Council of Church's Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning.
- I worked at the General Council office of The United Church of Canada (2016-2019) and was responsible for creating policies and procedures. I worked alongside indigenous and racialized colleagues and stakeholders in order to discern how policies would operate within the indigenous context and how they needed to be examined for preference toward the dominant culture.
- I took an Diversity, Inclusivity and Anti-Racism course with Selam Debs in January-February, 2020.
Who I am:
In this work of anti-racism, it is also important to focus on who I am rather than what I have done. People can do the kinds of things I have listed above and still, in their behaviour, not demonstrate that they are about the work of anti-racism.
I am deeply committed to being a good listener. I value this about myself. It is one of my core values. I spend a great deal of time on self-reflection so that I listen for what is going on within me. I want others to know that when they speak to me, I am fully present.
Being a good listener also means listening to and upholding the dignity of the land. Listening to the land is at the heart of indigenous justice. It is a profound teacher.
Humility is another core value and I cultivate it within myself relentlessly. I have made many mistakes doing this work. It is the only way to learn. I risk making mistakes by being humble, noticing when I am feeling defensive and processing that and then attempt to repair. I am in no way perfect at this.
I look forward to journeying with you.
A word about my fees: As a white person, I am committed to doing this work in a way that does not perpetuate white privilege. I cannot benefit from the oppression of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour). The money will go toward paying for the technology that enables us to meet, accountability sessions with my anti-racism coach, and donations to organizations that do anti-racism and indigenous justice work.