#2-011: Birthing a New Activism with Laura Hartley

podcast May 16, 2024

I had a deep and vulnerable conversation with Laura Hartley, Climate activist and Life Coach, about Acceptance as a Pathway to Transformation and Collective Liberation.


Acceptance is not giving up. Giving up implies a sense of resignation and defeat, often leading to inaction or a lack of engagement with the challenges at hand. 


In contrast, acceptance is about understanding and acknowledging the reality of a situation while maintaining agency and openness to new possibilities.


We also discuss the long term effects of galvinizing people based on fear and anger ultimately leads to despair and a lack of imagination and joy.

🌟 Here are 3 key takeaways from our conversation:

1️⃣ Remember your story that is not yet complete. The story of the world and our lives is ongoing, offering us the potential to affect change.

2️⃣Enoughness before action: Don’t act from exhaustion.  Get to a place of spaciousness and rest and then choose your action.

3️⃣Unlearning and understanding: Every individual in the pursuit of collective liberation has a unique responsibility to engage in unlearning toxic systems, honoring personal boundaries, and choosing the areas where they can make a meaningful impact without burning out.

For more on Laura Hartley go to her website: www.laurahartley.com


Aminata Desert Rose [00:00:03]:
Hello, everyone. It is Aminata here, and our special guest today is Laura Hartley. Welcome, Laura.

Laura Hartley [00:00:12]:
Oh my gosh. Thank you. I am so honored to be here and very excited.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:00:17]:
I am honored to have you here. And, Laura, one of the things that make me wanna have you on the show well, first of all, let me just say, why why don't I give you a moment to say, who you are? I know that you talk a lot about anti capitalism and, sourcing ourselves from outside of supremacy structures. But how would you describe yourselves to our listeners?

Laura Hartley [00:00:41]:
Oh, gosh. I love this question. I'm a life and leadership coach and I help change makers and climate leaders to navigate transitions of our lives. Lives. Personal transitions, professional, societal, you know, really looking at what is the inner work of how to change. Because let's be real, you know, so much in our world is, you know, is beautiful and precious and it's hurting and there is so much that needs to change. And a lot of the time, certainly in relation to climate and environmental courses, though, certainly in other spheres as well, we have answers. We have solutions.

Laura Hartley [00:01:17]:
We know what we could do, but we don't do it. We fail to act in it. And so my work is really about helping change makers to build the inner wisdom and the inner skills that we need to be able to bring forth a new paradigm, to be able to bring forth a more just and a more regenerative world.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:01:38]:
Yeah. The inner changes, the inner resources we need to generate that change on the outside. And you didn't mention your birthplace. Tell tell us about that.

Laura Hartley [00:01:55]:
Yes. I'm from Sydney, Australia. Currently living in Toronto, soon moving to London in the UK. So in a little bit of a transition point across the world, but it's a beautiful place. I miss home a lot.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:02:08]:
Mhmm. You know, when we started this show, Laura, normally, I ask people what's good. And I and so before I go any further, you tell me what is good to you today?

Laura Hartley [00:02:29]:
What's good is my body. You know, I I've spent the last few weeks really just starting to tap in again to what is happening here. You know, it's been a really big few months in my life, and I kind of tapped out of my body a little bit with that. And, you know, so sitting here today and we had this beautiful meditation just before, I think what's what's good is my body. Right? Just, it feels grounded.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:02:55]:

Laura Hartley [00:02:56]:
And I like that.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:02:57]:
Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that. And you mentioned the meditation. That's what I wanted to ask you about too. So we were listening before we went on air. We were listening to an excerpt from Stacey Pickering's meditations on Spotify. And Stacy was a guest on this show, a couple of months ago.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:03:19]:
Stacy Pickering. So I highly recommend her sound. And I wanted to talk with you about regeneration, doing that resourcing of the of the self and also taking the long view taking the long view to the work of of paradigm shifting. One of the things that attracted me to you, Laura, was an email that you sent out where you talked about resisting, complying. And you said there's a third way and you said the third way was acceptance. So I would really love to hear more of your perspective about acceptance. And for those of you who don't know Laura and and can't see her, she's a relatively young looking woman. So I really love the wisdom in that in that email because acceptance seems to be something that we come upon after we've beaten our head against the wall for a long time.

Laura Hartley [00:04:34]:
I mean, I've been beating my head against the wall for a long time, so I will agree with that. You know, I wrote that email, or that lesson really came out of, you know, an experience that I had in therapy years ago when I was really unpacking family dynamics. And, you know, I spent a long time in my family, you know, want wanting things to change, wanting things to be different. And I really I was only seeing things in in this mode of 2 ways of being. Right? Tolerate what was intolerable. Right? I I didn't feel like I could put up with what was actually happening. I couldn't just accept that or resist it and fight it, and struggle against it. And I spent a long time and a lot of years doing that.

Laura Hartley [00:05:24]:
And, you know, over the period of suddenly I quite a long time, I think, my therapist at the time gradually kind of introduced me to this third way. Oh, what actually happens when you stop arguing with reality? What happens when you stop insisting that things should be different than the way that they are? And, you know, this was really this place of acceptance. And what she was modeling or suggesting to me at that time wasn't tolerating what was intolerable. It wasn't putting up with it. It wasn't saying, I hate this, but it's fine. I can put a mask on. I can just show up. You know? It was, no.

Laura Hartley [00:06:02]:
How do you stop arguing with this is the way things are? And then from that place, start to choose who and how you wanna be. And from that place, also producing this real energy shift that allowed my relationships to really evolve and to step out of that paradigm of the push and the pull. And so this time in my life and this work with acceptance, you know, kind of has translated then into my social justice work, into my climate justice work, into my advocacy, and into the work that I do now. You know, I think so often we we look at the world and we say, well, it shouldn't be the way that it is. And this is true. It shouldn't be. Right? It's not just. It's not beautiful.

Laura Hartley [00:06:41]:
It's not serving people. But we either sometimes fall into this mode of resistance fighting, you know, which is necessary on some level, or we fall into complacency. This is just the way things are. This is the way things always have been. You know, you can't do anything about it. And I'm interested again in this third way of how do we how do we, yes, offer resistance, but also how do we birth something new within ourselves? How How do we step out of the paradigm of the world as it is and start to move towards the world as it could be? You know, what does that look like? What is that space? What is those conditions? What's that change that needs to happen? Because I think sometimes when we're stuck in this very binary, very rigid model, There's no room for evolution. There's no room for growth. There's no room for for a new way of being to actually evolve from that.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:07:34]:
Yeah. And I think what's critical in what you said is a new way of being, not necessarily a new way of doing. You know, I think our doing comes out of our perception. Right? Our perception of the world, our how we be, how we're in our bodies at any time. And you said you felt good in your body today. And I just wonder, I just wonder about acceptance. What does acceptance look like that makes it different from complacent? Like, does does it have you doing different things, or is it in your experience of the world that's different?

Laura Hartley [00:08:25]:
I think it's both. You know? I I think acceptance both has a different perception.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:08:30]:

Laura Hartley [00:08:31]:
And it also brings forth different actions. Mhmm. I think complacency sometimes is it's almost like a passive resistance. Right? You don't necessarily like what is happening. There's still a barrier there that's something is kind of butting up against this. It's kind of friction. But it's just, well, this is just what it is. It's very passive.

Laura Hartley [00:08:50]:
There's no energy there.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:08:52]:

Laura Hartley [00:08:53]:
It's generative.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:08:54]:

Laura Hartley [00:08:54]:
You know, I think acceptance is very different. Acceptance looks at something and says, yes. This is what is. Mhmm. Okay. Mhmm. So what am I going to do now? What am I going to bring forth? What is happening inside me when I look at this and say this is what is? It there's a lot more spaciousness. There's a lot more groundedness, and I think there's more freedom.

Laura Hartley [00:09:16]:
Okay? Because I think from that place, we can choose something new, whereas, you know, complacency, you can't.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:09:22]:
Give me an example, if you don't mind. You mentioned it was it came out of your family context, so you could give an example from a family situation or from another kind of experience in your life?

Laura Hartley [00:09:34]:
Oh, gosh. It's such a good question. I I wanna be careful of the examples that I use here.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:09:42]:
Mhmm. Mhmm.

Laura Hartley [00:09:43]:
But so I'll speak to my own personal situation and, you know, where this was born from. In my family. There was a lot of tension and conflict that had been very long standing and that was born out of certain, codependent relationships that was born out of, feeling of not belonging that, you know, I didn't quite fit in, you know, and I, I wanted that to change. You know, I, I wanted to feel like I belonged. I wanted to feel like I wanted the fights to end and I wanted to be able to feel like I could be my whole self and who I am freely without feeling the need to conform, feeling the need to fit in, feeling the need to, to be something other than what I was. Mhmm. But I couldn't feel that. You know? I I so I I didn't feel it naturally.

Laura Hartley [00:10:32]:
Mhmm. And so I resisted it, and I fought it. And there was a lot of arguments. You know, there's a lot of, this is the way I am. You have to accept me no matter what. Okay. This is it. You know, this is me right here.

Laura Hartley [00:10:43]:
Or it was, okay. I'm not gonna argue, but I'm not gonna say what I really think. And I'm not gonna I'm not gonna show up as myself. I'm gonna

Aminata Desert Rose [00:10:49]:
be okay.

Laura Hartley [00:10:50]:
Withholding. Yeah. Withholding. Keeping my voice Repressing. Repressing. Right? You know, it's okay. I'll I'll be quiet. I'll fit in.

Laura Hartley [00:10:59]:
I'll do what I'm supposed to do. And so many of us do this in the world. Okay? Like, this the Absolutely. To succeed in the world as it is a lot of the time, you know, you have to kind of conform to somebody else's expectations of you. And so those were my 2 options. The kind of very violent resistance of, like, no. Like, here. Over here.

Laura Hartley [00:11:19]:
Or, like, okay. Fine. I'll do what you want. And it was an accepting that their codependency that existed in my family, that accepting that the dynamics as they were, that their opinions of me were what they were. I couldn't change that. That wasn't my job. I can't change somebody else. I couldn't change my family.

Laura Hartley [00:11:41]:
I can't change their actions. I can't change their behaviors. I can only accept them. I can only, this is the reality of the situation. And then I say, oh, okay. What if I had to just stop fighting? But I didn't fall into the passive, this is okay, I'll do what you want, and I just let go? What if you just let go of the resistance? What happens in that space? You know, for me, I noticed my shoulders come down. You know, I noticed my jaw relaxes a little bit. You know, when I just stop resisting, okay.

Laura Hartley [00:12:16]:
Doesn't mean I agree with what's happening. Doesn't mean I condone it. Certainly, in terms of social justice in the world, it doesn't mean that I'm saying this is okay, but it's happening. Okay. What do I wanna do about this? How do I wanna be right now? Can I notice what's happening in me? Can I notice where the resistance is causing a very angsty, volatile energy? Inside of you. Inside of me. Mhmm. As opposed to actually grounded spaciousness.

Laura Hartley [00:12:52]:

Aminata Desert Rose [00:12:52]:
So I

Laura Hartley [00:12:52]:
don't know if that example helps. Mhmm. But trying to give a little bit more context to to what actually happens inside of us from that space.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:13:00]:
Mhmm. Mhmm. Makes me think about a long time ago, I was in a landmark education course, and, there was a black Brit on the screen. And he said, you know, the question is, who am I in the face of racism? And that was a novel idea for me because I was so trained into how do we make systems change, speaking truth to power, you know, that kind of thing. And he was like, no, but who am I in the face of it and keeping track of who am I being in my body, in my energy system, in the face of this thing. And as you said, there's a lot of power there. There's more. There's choice.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:13:56]:
There's choice. And there's also what is that called? Patterns. Unconscious choice. When you when you just you're just activated and you're just the pattern has been set. Once again, the thing is being brought up to you.

Laura Hartley [00:14:16]:
Do you think yeah. Go ahead. I think, you know, this is something that's so prevalent in the world. Right? The I I love what you're saying about power and agency and choice that comes from that place of acceptance, and that comes from that place of deep grounding. Because a lot of the time, we think change is something that happens outside of us. We think that it happens over with the activists or with the economists or with the politicians that it happens in some policy document or it happens in some external place. And that is one aspect of change. Like that is definitely an important aspect, but there is also this other piece that happens inside of us.

Laura Hartley [00:14:56]:
And I think that we sometimes neglect or forget that piece. And if we if we haven't come to that place of recognizing the way systems live in us

Aminata Desert Rose [00:15:05]:

Laura Hartley [00:15:06]:
You know, the way capitalism lives in us, the way white supremacy lives in us, the way patriarchy lives in us, then we're likely to just reproduce it again in a different form. Because we haven't had that freedom. We haven't had that agency, that possibility that can come out of actually doing the inner work.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:15:25]:
You know, I wonder about this, the relationship between the inner and the outer work. I've heard, if, you know, obviously, there are some folks who feel like, well, the coaching industry, I heard someone say the coaching industry is a joke. It really is not about, collective justice or collective liberation. And you introduced yourself as a life and, you know, a transition coach or and and so I wonder how you how you, encourage your people, the people who are with you or who you work with to engage systems? Or or is it a valid path to disengage from systems? You know what I'm trying to say? I'm wondering how because it's it's so easy in a theoretical sense to have this conversation, but when when it comes to what do I do today, how do I what are the wounds that are here today, and what's my responsibility to people who are, you know, suffering from bombing right now? I have core wounds. You know? How do you balance these things? Or maybe balance is the wrong word. How do you work with both realities?

Laura Hartley [00:16:54]:
Oh. So, look, a lot of the people that I work with, I work with change makers. So people are already doing the world work.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:17:01]:
Mhmm. You know,

Laura Hartley [00:17:02]:
what we're looking to do now is the inner work and the self work. And are they younger

Aminata Desert Rose [00:17:06]:
or are they all ages?

Laura Hartley [00:17:08]:
All ages. Okay. I'd often actually say older, but all ages.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:17:12]:

Laura Hartley [00:17:13]:
So I think as well, you know, and just to answer that about the coaching industry, I think that there's a lot of truth there. You know, I grew up surrounded by personal development. My mother had been a coach. She'd run a life coach training school. You know, I've been around coaching for a very long time. And that personal development world was in one sense wonderful because it it shaped my sense of agency and my sense of inner knowing from a very young age that I don't think I would have had without that, and that's made me who I am. But I fully agree. A lot of the personal development work focuses on just what happens inside of you and neglects the world that we live in.

Laura Hartley [00:17:56]:
You know, how can we talk about manifestation when we don't talk about the climate crisis? How can we talk about enlightenment and not talk about the liberation of all people and of all beings in the world to be free and safe to express who they are? You know, these are very real kind of dichotomies that are held within that industry that I think need to be challenged. So for me, the way I view self work is that it is always to draw us into the world. It is never to separate us from it and say what's happening out there doesn't matter, just focus on yourself, you know, just feel good you and then like everything else will follow. No. It's the very real work of saying, hey, we live in this world and it's shaped by these systems that do not serve us. You know, if we wanna change these systems, how are we acknowledging the way these systems live in our mindsets? They live in our beliefs. They live in our values. Do they make us happy? Do they make our world happy? And if we're looking to change a system on the outside, how are we living that system in here? Because I think self and world is always this mirror.

Laura Hartley [00:19:04]:
You know, very like, a lot of the ways we treat the earth. Right? We can talk about extractivism. The way we take minerals and resources from the Earth with next to no regard for their renewal, no care for the surrounding environment or surrounding peoples, and usually with very toxic power dynamics from, like, the global north and the global south. We do the same things to ourselves a lot of the time. You know, we treat our inner resources, our creativity, our energy, you know, our attention as resources that should always be there on demand without any consideration for, you know, out there renewal or the surrounding environment, which is our body and our nervous system. So, like, for me, it's like, well, how do we start to do this work here right now with us? Because if we can't also live the change in our bodies, seeding it into our existence, then I think it's very difficult to manifest the change solely outside of us.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:20:02]:
Yeah. Yeah. And I wanna, ask you about something else related to this whole issue because this is the these are the things that I struggle with in case you haven't noticed. I think a lot of us are like, like, to me, this is part of decolonizing. Right? That internal decolonizing work. One of the things that I have that came up in my last interview with Rosemary Reyes, we're talking about the responsibility to cultivate joy. And that sounds so heavy, the responsibility. Because, I guess, because I'm a Virgo.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:20:53]:
There are any, very service oriented people out there who happen to bear that side. And so we're always, like, you know, very serious, very earnest, and we want to help. You know? That's, like, the real motive in this side. And,

Laura Hartley [00:21:09]:
but I

Aminata Desert Rose [00:21:10]:
was talking to Rosemary Ray as an artist. And one of the things she said was, we have a responsibility to cultivate joy and to release struggle. She's like, if you if you live in struggle, if struggle is your mentality, then that's just what you keep producing in your life. You know? And so she's like, come on now, people. Joy, beauty, and and I I'm on board with that. And, but I also if I just scroll Instagram, you know, a little bit, you know, there's just all these calls to action. All these very disturbing images, situations of injustice, people crying out, wanting you to demonstrate your justice. How how do you how would you put those things together?

Laura Hartley [00:22:18]:
Oh, gosh. You know, we have so many words in in activism for, like, you know, the fight, the struggle, the suffering. And, you know, they make sense because, you know, a lot of this is really valid in the context of making change, and, you know, making change isn't easy either. It it is a long term game. But I I love that idea of the responsibility of joy. And I think this is important because I think the change that we wanna see doesn't exist outside of us. Right? We seed the world that we want into existence through our bodies, through our lives, through our thoughts, through our words, through our actions. And so when we can only stay in one paradigm of everything is terrible and unjust, and I need to fight it, and I need to be outraged and miserable, and all of which are very valid experiences that we need to honor and hold and work through.

Laura Hartley [00:23:17]:
Okay. I'm not saying they shouldn't exist because they do and they should. But when that's the only place that we can act from, we have such a such a limited capacity to reimagine the world? Yes. Yes. We don't have any space for imagination. We don't have space for creativity. We don't have space for beauty. We don't have space for joy.

Laura Hartley [00:23:39]:
And how do we expect, you know, this experience to be created for other people when we can't live it into the

Aminata Desert Rose [00:23:46]:
world ourselves? And when every email I get from progressive groups is the house is on fire, you know, so and so is, trying to, you know, kill somebody and, you know, there's genocide here, and people are starving. I I don't open. I've stopped opening those emails. And it's not because I don't care, but it's because I think that constant conversation overwhelms possibility. Well, let me put it this way. I think it overwhelms my nervous system. It's almost like I have to deliberately cultivate what I am seeding in me. You said that we see the world, but what I see it in over here is so determined by what I what I see and what I hear.

Laura Hartley [00:24:46]:
I also think you do fear as a very you know, and this is fear. Right? A lot of it when we encounter that, there is anger, there's fear, you know, there's very much a survival response that is activated inside of our bodies.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:24:58]:
Yes. And it

Laura Hartley [00:24:59]:
is a really good short term motivator. Exactly. And this is when you see movements that take off for a short for about a year. Right?

Aminata Desert Rose [00:25:08]:
They burn.

Laura Hartley [00:25:09]:
They're powerful and they burn out. And and I've seen it, you know, and you've seen it. And it's not a sustainable place from which to work. Mhmm. And so there is a place for talking about the very real reality of what is happening and a space for, for for diving into action that we feel called to do. But there has to be a deeper foundation to the work. If this is long term work that we need, and it is in almost every sphere of justice that we're looking, you have to have a foundation that is regenerative.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:25:42]:
And I

Laura Hartley [00:25:42]:
think that is a foundation built on on vision. That is a foundation built on love. That is a foundation that is built on allowing ourselves to feel good while we show up for the work. And not saying that we have to feel bad Yes. In order to to somehow make the world better.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:26:00]:
You know, speaking of that, I had I I still have this yoga teacher. This is Yogi Rev. Shout out for those of you I don't know. I forgot what his name is on Instagram. But, anyway, he's this black Baptist yogi teacher who I met on a beach teaching free classes to 100 of black people. And you know his constant conversation, no matter who's in front of him doing yoga, you're beautiful. You're looking good. You're awesome.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:26:28]:
I see you. I mean, it's this constant flood of affirmation. Right.

Laura Hartley [00:26:35]:
I love that.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:26:36]:
Isn't it? And I said to myself, is when I was in the height of doing my racial justice trainings. I was like, what if my work with people was this constant flood of affirmation as opposed to, the cons it's like waking people up to where they were blind. You know? And I just thought to myself, this needs to become a field of delight. Oh. Somehow, we need to make this delightful work, right, rather than, the source of so much pain and anguish, shame, guilt, anger. So I started just, like, saying, this this is what sorta I won't put it all on him to take that sorta has take me in this journey, in this direction I'm going on. But I I wonder what would we do? Do we have the capacity to be moved by delight? Or to move people, do we have to move them by fear and anger and rage and guilt? Has anybody experimented?


Aminata Desert Rose [00:00:03]:
So we're back at the Mother Tree Network with our special guest, Laura Hartley. And, Laura, I just asked you a big old question about hopeism, toxic positivity. How do we make doing social justice work delightful? Tell me what you're thinking.

Laura Hartley [00:00:19]:
Oh, I mean, I love this question. It is such a big question. You know, I don't think it has to be bypass y. Like, I I wanna say that. I I do think love can be an incredible foundation for activism, but I think we have a very poor understanding a lot of the time of what love is and of what hope is and of what, you know, positivity in its best sense actually can be. You know, when I talk about hope, I often define hope as the willingness to live in a story that is not yet complete, and that is true. That is what we're all living in. The story of the world is not over.

Laura Hartley [00:00:55]:
The story of our lives is not over. We have the potential all of the time even when the opportunities or the options seem a little bit limited. That story is not yet done. So how can we start to recognize that and what possibility does that open up within us? You know, when we're looking at love, I think is the foundation for change making. I think we need to start it to have a much deeper understanding of what accountability looks like and what accountability could look like without the paradigm of punishment or the paradigm of domination. You know, these are things that I think are very possible we're just not skilled in. And so I think the work of of our lives and the work of of justice in these times is starting in our own lives, our own bodies to to experiment with these ideas. But I don't think I don't believe that our feeling bad can really take us someplace good just for the sake of it.

Laura Hartley [00:01:53]:
I think we have such a beautiful short time on this earth. You know, there's all of a Berkman book. The title 4000 Weeks is the length of an average life. That is so short when you think about that. Wow. 4000 weeks. That's all we get. Wow.

Laura Hartley [00:02:07]:
4000 weeks. And some

Aminata Desert Rose [00:02:09]:
of us don't get that clearly. Right?

Laura Hartley [00:02:12]:
And so, like, we have to be thinking, well, how do I wanna spend this beautiful precious finite time that I have? And if through my I can see it a little bit more joy, a little bit more beauty, a little bit more love, then I think that's a beautiful thing.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:02:36]:
Wow. That 4000 weeks just caught me the whole

Laura Hartley [00:02:40]:
Right. Because it's so short

Aminata Desert Rose [00:02:41]:
Short it is from that. In reality. You know, I was listening to this, person who had a near death experience and what he and and and, basically, based on this interview, I'm like, oh my god. Debt is not bad. Debt is not bad. And, also, I kinda feel and I'm just gonna be this is what I know right now. This is not the truth, everybody. Okay? So with that caveat being said, okay, I'm like I'm thinking, like, how interesting.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:03:11]:
If death is not bad, if it's not the worst thing that could ever happen to you or to someone else, what does that change? That's a big thing. We usually think death is the worst thing that could happen to someone that we love or to someone who we don't know, but we don't want them to die because we're like, that's the worst thing.

Laura Hartley [00:03:33]:
That is a liberatory question right there, and I just I really wanna say that because, like, with that question, I immediately felt like this little bit of opening, this little bit of expansion because you're right, like, oh, okay. That's an interesting perspective.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:03:46]:
What what if it's not the worst thing? What if in fact when we die, we get to, you know, have these experiences where we see where we went wrong or we have some regrets, but, you know, we get to be welcomed by the ancestors. We get absorbed back into the oneness. You know? I feel like part of colonization has been the idea that you get one life and you blow it and you go to hell and you do good or you do good as according to whoever the authorities are that define good, you get to go to heaven, and you just stop evolving.

Laura Hartley [00:04:19]:
That is just endless.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:04:21]:
Right. And isn't that like that's also part of this binary framework. That's deep colonization. When you think that, you know, there's life or there's death, and after death, there's, you know, hell or heaven. That's deep colonization. Mhmm. And this whole idea of of multiple lifetimes, of, you know, contracts, of multiple dimensions being lived simultaneously.

Laura Hartley [00:04:55]:
This I wonder how

Aminata Desert Rose [00:04:59]:
that would affect how we look at social justice, our time frame for it, who we see as victims, who we see as oppressors, how we see ourselves inside the stories that we're telling.

Laura Hartley [00:05:15]:
Oh, I think, you know, it reminds me of something that I used to talk about when I first started kind of teaching around burnout for change makers. You know, when I started this work, you know, I I was working with a lot of people in the climate space. There was huge amounts of burnout and exhaustion. The same kind of thing we spoke about. Join a movement, get really engaged, and then within a year or so, burnout exhaustion. And with that also came a sense of hopelessness, doomism, you know, what are we supposed to do? The powers are so big. And one of the things that I felt at the time that needed to be changed was that our work needed to be placed into a larger context, you know, into a larger tapestry of change that it wasn't just our job to do all of the work. You know, it wasn't the weight of the world on our shoulders, but it was our job to do some of the work.

Laura Hartley [00:06:08]:
It was our job to show up for the things that we felt called to show up for in the ways that we had capacity and energy, and love to show up for. And so understanding, I think, that there will be and when I say not just a larger tapestry, I mean a larger tapestry of lifetimes. Right? There are ancestors for our movements who came long before us. You know, there are people who are yet to be born, who are gonna be continuing this work because all of this work is a living embodiment. You know, it's not a one and done fixed rigid place that we reach. And this as a mindset is something that I think we so need to kind of unpack. You know, I think a lot of the time we're taught in life that if you follow the right steps, do the right thing, eventually you're gonna reach this place and this place, you know, it might be retirement, whatever it's called. It might be, you know, the top job, but you're gonna be happy there.

Laura Hartley [00:07:05]:
And it's the place, Right? Same thing with heaven. Yes. You do the right things you're supposed to do in life. You gotta reach the place. The place doesn't exist. Right? The place is only ever right here right now. So how we kind of recognizing of that and taking that, what I think is a lot of pressure as well off of our shoulders and, like, well, no. How do I fit inside a tapestry? What's mine to weave? What's mine to seed? Mhmm.

Laura Hartley [00:07:31]:
Right? That that's where our energy lies. That's that's where we have do the work. Mhmm. Not in all of the places that the world is screaming at us that you need to do this, and you need to do this, and you need to do this. It's only ever right here. It's only ever in communion with our own hearts.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:07:47]:
So, Laura, so you are in a white female body. Right? Okay. So one of the things that, that really, in the, you know, 2020, 2021, there was a lot of and even now I've seen it, you know, a lot of how would I call it? I'm I'm just gonna call it what I see it. I condemnation. Like, okay. White women need to do this, or, you know, white women are like this. So and you just said something about, checking with your heart, your body, your system, where you called. And then the you have people say, well, you need to be over here, you know, and and when you over here, you do this.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:08:36]:
So tell me how you how you dealt with that or how you still deal with it if it's what you're still dealing with.

Laura Hartley [00:08:43]:
Oh, gosh. You know, it is actually something I'm still dealing with, you know, even in the world as it is, you know, in the last few months, I've had, you know, emails and comments saying, you know, you use this word of here and, like, you know, shouldn't use this or somebody over here saying, well, you're not talking about this and you should be talking about it. It is still very real. Mhmm. I think each of us, if we are committed to collective liberation, has a responsibility to our own unlearning. Okay. I think that is true. I think our unlearning will look different for everyone, and I do think it is unlearning because we've all been born into this world.

Laura Hartley [00:09:20]:
We have all been taught these various systems. And depending on our identity, we all have different perceptions and different internalizations of them.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:09:27]:

Laura Hartley [00:09:28]:
But this is the world that we're in.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:09:30]:

Laura Hartley [00:09:30]:
That is a responsibility that I think is also sacred in nature, and that I think is part of our own spiritual unfolding. But I think the more that we are able to connect with what is true for us, to connect with our bodies, to connect with our heart, to kinda drop into this moment, It is again that cognizance that while I am responsible for my own unlearning, I cannot be responsible for every action that I could possibly take in this world without burning out. Right? I I have to also honor myself in this. I have to honor my own boundaries, honor my own capacity, honor the again, the places that I feel called to work because so much in this world does need to change. Okay. We need, you know, we need racial justice, we need climate justice, but we need people also working with our food systems, working with our education, working, you know, in accounting, you know, and the legal spheres, like, so many places. We can't do all of it. We can only do what we can do right now.

Laura Hartley [00:10:36]:
And that's probably not gonna be perfect or good enough for absolutely everyone. We should listen to those calls and we should really consider in ourselves what truth they might hold, what wisdom they might hold. But then it's that cognizance there. I can do my work, but I can't do all of the work. Mhmm.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:10:55]:
Mhmm. Mhmm. I say, so one of the things I want to, end this conversation well, let me just say not end it because that sounds like we'll never talk again. But one of the things I'd love to hear you speak to, because you've talked about regenerating, quite a bit in this conversation. And in the Mother Tree network, one of the things that we're really committed to is regenerating with the earth and working with certain principles that you can see the earth working with and producing and circulating as a model or guide as a way to, you know, check-in to see if we wanna do that kind of thing. So tell me, is there a a principle or a facet of regeneration that you like to do?

Laura Hartley [00:11:52]:
Oh, I'd love this. I don't know if this will answer the question exactly,

Aminata Desert Rose [00:11:57]:

Laura Hartley [00:11:57]:
I think there's 2 areas that kind of come to mind. You know, for for 1, I think, again, when I look at this idea of, well, if self and world are a mirror, which is something that I talk about a lot that Mhmm.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:12:07]:
A lot

Laura Hartley [00:12:08]:
of the ways in which we treat ourselves, a lot of the ways in which we act in our personal lives or in our inner work is mirrored in the toxic systems of the world That I wonder if there's another mirror or not a mirror, but guidance that we could find in the natural world instead. So it's that pivot point that is somewhere we can always redirect. And while there's not a specific practice or a specific principle that I necessarily would return to. Although I think the idea of fractals and the idea of, you know, these kind of mimicking patterns that ripple out is so powerful. I think for me, my practice is just returning to the water. You know, I, I am a water baby. I, anywhere that I am near the ocean, anywhere that I am near a lake, anywhere that I'm near a body of water, I have a spaciousness that can arise. You know, that it, I no longer feel the need to have to do everything.

Laura Hartley [00:13:03]:
I think that's what it is. I think that's what it teaches me. And I can just be here. This is enough. Where we are is enough. And that from the enoughness, you will find what it is to do. It's not from the place of depletion, and scarcity, and urgency, and hustle culture, and, you know, the the trying desperately to fill the well of doing that will ever get there. You know, it has the enoughness has to come first, and I think that's what nature teaches me.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:13:35]:
That is profound. That is so timely right now in my own life work that, you know, I had a call the other day with my coach for my business. And and she said, sometimes the only thing you know is that you're tired. You can't tell people when you will offer the next thing. You know, all because from tired, you really can't create. I mean, you could force something, but you cannot generate what is in the flow. So what you said about coming from depletion, you have to get to enoughness. And then, okay, where is where where am I called? Where is the flow? Where is the energy now?

Laura Hartley [00:14:25]:
Yeah. You know, and what are the conditions that we need to thrive as well? You know, when we look at, you know, any if we were growing something in our garden and it wasn't growing, we would never look at it and be like, something wrong with you? Just try harder. Oh, my god. Like, the kale's doing fine. Why aren't you? Just push through, you know. Get it together. No. No.

Laura Hartley [00:14:44]:
You would look instead to, like, the soil, and the sunlight, and the rain, and the nutrients, and all of these different dimensions that help something to naturally thrive when it the right conditions. And this is the same, but everything we're trying to do in this world, what are the conditions that we need for this to arise? K. Because it won't be born out of anything else.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:15:04]:
So, Laura, if people wanna get in touch with you, if they wanna, I don't know, follow these ideas a little bit more closely, how do you recommend they get in touch with you?

Laura Hartley [00:15:16]:
My website is laurahartley.com. I have a newsletter that goes out every week or ish, weekly ish. You can sign up to on there. My Instagram is atlora.h.hartley, and I'm also on LinkedIn if that's your space.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:15:28]:
Beautiful. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Laura Hartley [00:15:32]:
Oh, thank you for having me. I've loved this conversation. So thank you.

Aminata Desert Rose [00:15:36]:
Alright, y'all. We'll see you on the next time.



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