#024: Biz Cush - "What do you need from Me?" and other Powerful Questions for Coaches, Mothers, and Leaders

podcast Mar 31, 2023

Biz and I started by talking about motherhood and resisting the urge to protect our adult children from hard stuff in life.

Biz said she now asks “What do you need from me?” as a way to give and to respect her sons’ autonomy.  Asking that question puts the power in their hands.

Little did I know that I'd use this exact question one day later when a young friend was in crisis.

And, then again when my college friend had a sudden family death.

It's a beautiful way to support someone without overdoing it!

Then I asked Biz abut Internal Family Systems, a form of inquiry that she uses in her therapy and coaching practices.

Internal Family Systems is a way to acknowledge the many different parts inhabiting ourselves–and listening and validating those parts rather than dismissing or exiling them.

Biz took time in the moment to acknowledge and comfort the part of her that felt insecure about answering questions about IFS.  It slowed down our conversation and helped me to connect with the part of myself that feels pushed and would like to slow down too.

Biz also shared her racial justice journey, including times when her fear stopped her and how she keeps listening and learning.

We also talked about why she re-branded her podcast from Woman Worriers to Awaken your Wise Woman.

Finally Biz pulled a card from the Divine Abundance oracle deck by Tosha Silver--with the intention of supporting our listeners.  She chose the Inner Child Card.  This card is all about being gentle and compassionate with one’s self.

 Approximate Time Stamps for our Conversation

[00:02:59] "Parenting Adulthood: Balancing Protectiveness and Independence"

[00:07:59] "Embracing Uncertainty: Navigating Inner Conflicts Compassionately"

[00:13:13] "Compassionate Mindfulness in Relationships and Therapy"

[00:15:08] "Breaking Free from Medical Model in Psychotherapy"

[00:23:32] Navigating Burnout: Pandemic's Impact on Workload.

[00:26:57] "Personal Evolution Through Social Justice Advocacy Shift"

[00:30:59] "Making Self-Care a Priority: Overcoming Guilt for Women"

[00:32:44] "Helping Women Overcome Trauma and Anxiety"

[00:36:44] "Confronting My Fear of Advocating for Racial Justice: A Personal Journey"

[00:45:34] "Creating Space: Supporting Black and POC Therapists"

Biz's Bio
Elizabeth Cush, LCPC, is a women's life coach, a licensed clinical professional counselor, and business owner in Annapolis, MD. She's also the host of the Awaken Your Wise Woman podcast.  Biz has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years and is a certified clinical trauma professional. She incorporates the body, mindfulness, and meditation into her work.

As a life coach, she helps sensitive midlife women, who feel stressed and overwhelmed find balance, flow, and ease to fully enjoy the beautiful life they've created.

You can find out more about her at ElizabethCush.com or checkout her podcast Awaken your Wise Woman which is truly a treat!



Aminata Sol [00:00:00]:

Welcome, everybody. I'm Amina Soul, plant Walker Firewoman, and you are on the Mother Tree Network podcast, where Earth wisdom meets racial justice and women's leadership. Today. Our guest is Biz Kush. She is the host of the Awaken Your Wise Woman podcast, which is a terrific resource that I love, partly because of her questions, but also because of her guests. So I recommend you check that out. But Biz is also a therapist and a life coach and someone I know with some specialties in internal family system, someone who goes on retreats, who's here on the East Coast with me, and also part of the racial justice from the Heart community. So welcome, Biz.

Biz Cush [00:00:51]:

Thank you. I'm so happy to be here, and thanks for having me. Absolutely.

Aminata Sol [00:00:56]:

So we always start with the question, what's good?

Biz Cush [00:01:02]:

What's good? Because so much of I have three children, three boys, grown men. I shouldn't call them boys. They're men. And as parents, or for me, as a parent, so much of when I feel at ease is when they are happy and life is good. But life is good for me right now, and life is good for them, and that makes it doubly good because I feel like I don't have to worry or have their well being in my brain. Yeah.

Aminata Sol [00:01:43]:

Well, you just hit on a tender spot with me because I'm on the road away from home for a month, and I've been getting texts from my son. I'm at home, and he rarely talks to me. All of a sudden, he's like, how do I get glasses? Anyway, I'm not going to go on into his issues.

Biz Cush [00:02:04]:

Yes, but being away from home yes.

Aminata Sol [00:02:10]:

And being mothering adult people. Yeah. So let me ask you this question, because one of the things that I'm still working on is how to see my children, who are both adults now in their early 20s, as full beings who I am letting go of. It's my job to protect them. And I'm just playing with that, with the idea that it is not my.

Biz Cush [00:02:46]:

Job to protect them.

Aminata Sol [00:02:50]:

So I don't know. What are you playing with as a mother right now? Of adult people?

Biz Cush [00:02:59]:

I would say it's very similar. One of my kids just went through a pretty difficult breakup in a relationship that had been a long term, very they were very involved, had lived together for years. So wanting to protect his feelings and his well being, his emotional well being. But also on the other side of that, my youngest just lost his bus on the wallet. I mean, his wallet on the bus in Philly and going through all the credit card stuff. Did you make sure you canceled these things? And we're getting all these fraudulent charges on this other card that we co own and protecting him from life. Right. Like when bad things happen. And yeah, I'm grateful that they are all able to navigate adulthood, but also are very willing to ask for help when they need it. Yeah. Wow. And I used to be a giver of help even if they didn't ask. And I have learned in adulthood that now it's like, what do you need from me? Although sometimes I give them my advice and help even when they don't want it, but I'm trying to let them be the ones that come and ask.

Aminata Sol [00:04:22]:

I love that. I actually love that question. What is it that you need from me?

Biz Cush [00:04:27]:

Yeah. Wow.

Aminata Sol [00:04:30]:

That just is so precise. And it puts the power in their hands.

Biz Cush [00:04:38]:

Yes, exactly. Yeah. So empowering them to reach out if they need it or say, no, I'm good. I'm going to handle it myself, whatever it is.

Aminata Sol [00:04:53]:

Right. To me, this takes us to internal family systems. You know why? Because I was seeing a counselor or therapist who I remember when I showed up for this workshop, and I was a little upset at the situation of the workshop, but there were some things I didn't expect at it. And she said to me immediately when I said something that implied my discontent with how she had set things up, she said, what do you need? And I remember kind of being a little floored by the questions. It's like, well, what do I need? I need to say this out loud. I need to know that the people in this workshop are going to respect my boundaries. It put me back to I'm not a victim. I'm in charge of articulating. What do I need to the best of my ability.

Biz Cush [00:05:46]:


Aminata Sol [00:05:49]:

And I think when we do that, there's something powerful about not making ourselves bigger than other people when they're stressed or in distress.

Biz Cush [00:06:02]:

Yeah. Not giving us the power over their distress somehow. Yeah. Well, I think when you ask the question, what do you need? It allows, as you did, like, turn inward and say, oh, what going to internal family? What do my parts need? Maybe a part of me needs to know that I'll be heard. Maybe a part of me really wants to ask for help but knows that I need to do this on my own. Like really checking in with all of your parts to see what will help you feel most in yourself, most grounded, most at ease.

Aminata Sol [00:06:43]:

Yeah. And I guess that was the big thing about internal family systems. Ifs to me was recognizing many parts.

Biz Cush [00:06:58]:

And giving each of them voice with compassion, hearing them with compassion and care and love and understanding can just help you feel more settled all around. But anyway, yes.

Aminata Sol [00:07:13]:

Okay. Now, as someone who is a bit of a go at it hard personality type, sometimes I can be driven. I was going to say I wouldn't say ruthless because that implies immoral, but we'll overcome at any cost. That kind of energy is inside of me. The part that's like, to recognize those other parts with compassion or as if they have legitimacy. Tell me.

Biz Cush [00:07:54]:

How is that better for.

Aminata Sol [00:07:55]:

You in the long run?

Biz Cush [00:07:59]:

Such a good question. I was noticing as you were about to ask me a question and not knowing what the question was going to be, I felt a part of me that was really nervous, like, am I going to know the answer to this? Am I presenting myself as this internal family systems knowledgeable person when maybe I don't have all the answers? So I was just like, okay, that part is there. And being able to meet it there versus like, shut up, be quiet. I want to push that part to the side. No matter what the part is, no matter what they're telling you or what you're hearing inside, being kind and compassionate saying like, I hear you and I can take a deep breath, I can create some space around that and hopefully feel more centered in myself so that it's me that's answering and not that part. Or maybe that part needs to answer too. If it's like, you need to get your shit done today or sorry for cursing, maybe you do need to listen to that, but with compassion versus shaming avoiding numbing. So it's like being with all the uncomfortable things that we feel and think and hold with kindness and recognition that they're doing their best, these parts, with what skills they have. And maybe they don't have all the skills that they need to learn and to be more settled. But I can work with them and come to that place too. That makes sense.

Aminata Sol [00:09:47]:


Biz Cush [00:09:50]:

And the idea is that with internal family systems, with Ifs, is that you are centering in yourself your self energy. So that is the part of you that's meeting these other parts that are going to show up because we all have them, right? Whether it's your inner critic or it's your do part, your manager parts, or those parts that we exiled that were wounded and hurt and that we just not sure that we can handle their feelings, like being able to meet them with that more grounded self energy.

Aminata Sol [00:10:30]:

I really appreciate how you in the moment answered the question by being with yourself rather than going to your head and being the expert.

Biz Cush [00:10:47]:

Yeah. Working on it.

Aminata Sol [00:10:50]:

Yeah. And I just want to notice out loud that for me, what that brought up was it slowed me down. When you slowed down, I slowed down. And when you were transparent and compassionate, I felt more connected to you.

Biz Cush [00:11:13]:

And that right there is the nugget of what they say. For ifs it's like, if we can meet each other or if I can meet you with self energy, then your self energy is going to shine because it feels that presence. Sorry I interrupted you, but that got yes.

Aminata Sol [00:11:37]:

I just acknowledge that we are just starting the Spring Equinox virtual retreat today, and you had emailed me beforehand. He said, Are you sure you want to do this call? Because aren't you going to be on retreat? And I replied back, yes, you did.

Biz Cush [00:11:57]:

I was like, okay, good.

Aminata Sol [00:12:00]:

But I didn't check in with all the parts of me first to say, okay, is everybody like, hello, take a deep breath.

Biz Cush [00:12:08]:


Aminata Sol [00:12:08]:

Take a deep breath. Because we know Miss Do Do.

Biz Cush [00:12:13]:

Wants to get it all done. Yes.

Aminata Sol [00:12:19]:

I think a part of me that wants for less really felt present or somehow like there's space for her to be present in this conversation because you took the breath, you paused.

Biz Cush [00:12:37]:

Oh, that's beautiful. Yeah.

Aminata Sol [00:12:41]:

And I guess I would just put that out there. To everyone who's listening to the Mother Tree Network podcast, you are probably by self definition, a doer, a giver, a supporter, a nurturer. So slowing that down to notice the many parts of yourself. So thank you for that gift.

Biz Cush [00:13:13]:

Yeah, well, and and it helps you meet yourself, but also others in a more in a less judgmental stance. Right. So if you're in relationship with someone who is really activated and coming at you with all their parts, it doesn't always work. But taking a deep breath, giving yourself space, recognizing, okay, well, maybe they're not grounded, and can I see their parts with compassion? To the best of my ability. So I'm not saying, like, you're, I don't know, selfish, overachieving pusher or whatever, right? Like, you're like, oh, their parts are really showing up today in this way, but can I meet them with compassion? And I think about it on the grander scheme of psychotherapy and diagnosis and stuff, it's like you aren't your bipolar disorder or you aren't your anxiety. You have parts that have been either so fractured or so silenced that they show up in these different the parts show up in different ways. So really non pathologizing, which I think if you're looking at psychotherapy from a social justice perspective, like, that's beautiful to me.

Aminata Sol [00:14:44]:

I want to pick up that thread of you are not that feeling. You hold that, but that's not who you are.

Biz Cush [00:14:57]:


Aminata Sol [00:14:59]:

Yeah. And I think it's interesting that you link that up with social justice. Tell me say more about that.

Biz Cush [00:15:08]:

Well, what I'm coming to understand is that psychotherapy was really built around this medical model right. Of you're sick. We need to cure you through these means of whether it's medication or hospitalization or even psychotherapy. Right. But the diagnoses really can be so stigmatizing and labeling. And there's another word I'm looking for, but pigeonholing. Right. That it's very hard to help a client sort of step away from that if they come to you and say, like, yeah, I am bipolar, or I am. What's even harder, I think, is, yeah, it's schizophrenic or some of the more difficult personality disorders that we deem as more difficult. Right. But if you're looking at them from a parts perspective. We take away the sort of that traditional medical model of let's cure you. It's like, let's heal you, let's heal your parts, let's help your parts all.

Aminata Sol [00:16:25]:


Biz Cush [00:16:28]:

Heard, listened to, more regulated, validated, healed as well. Yeah.

Aminata Sol [00:16:40]:

Wow. Yeah. The medical model, we were talking a bit about that with Dr. Sina Smith, who is an MD who became a healer, who went the path of traditional Chinese medicine a couple of weeks ago. And I know for myself, I've been very interested in that when I had a medical situation that allopathic Western, allopathic medicine didn't have a solution for, which pushed me to look for other ways, other healing rather than a cure. So it's so interesting, and I want to say out loud here that that thing about you said pigeonholing. I was talking with someone else in the Mother Tree community who uses Byron Katie's methodologies for herself and with other groups. And one of the things that I've appreciated about when I've worked with her and in my conversations with her is she thinks one of the most important things you can do is not fix on an idea or fix concretize, pour in concrete a judgment, you know what I mean, as absolutely true. But to notice where there's possibility that it's not absolutely true, you know what I mean, or you don't absolutely know for sure what the other person was thinking or et cetera. And I noticed just that little bit of flexibility withholding something allows for things to move, allows for people to shift and for your experience of people in your life to shift.

Biz Cush [00:18:57]:

Yeah, well, I think about just the word judgment, right? Like we're putting this idea upon you and judging you as sort of responsible for all of it, right. Or something like that. Yes, we judge ourselves, but when we're judging, we're like putting that feeling onto that person, right. Our ideas, our thoughts, our feelings about them versus this is how I'm thinking about it in this moment. But maybe that could change if something else were to happen, if we were to see be in some other relationship or whatever.

Aminata Sol [00:19:44]:

And two things. So one of our Jasmine Bellamy, who was a guest earlier this year, black woman who's head of I think she's like a high level executive in Reebok, and she does some work with regard to corporate culture antiracism inside of their organization. One of the things she says habitually is, as far as I know, that's one of, like her prefacing phrases. And I asked her about that why? And she shared because she has to approach stuff of humility. Like there's more that she does not know even as much as she does know, given her age, her life experience, her education.

Biz Cush [00:20:34]:


Aminata Sol [00:20:35]:

So as far as I know and the reason why I like that is because until a couple of years ago, I didn't know that trees were talking to me or that I could be in relationship with crows. I saw crows and I saw butterflies. I like them, I like trees. But I didn't have a perception that there was wisdom that they might have for me and for us. Yeah, as far as I knew, that wasn't true. But now I know a little more and I perceive a little more of true, of what's true. And so, of course, there must be more that I'm not perceiving then if I was able to find out more.

Biz Cush [00:21:31]:

Yeah, well, and I think so much of just what you described, if you're in some ways so busy doing and you're not really open to what else there is, it can be very single minded. Right. I'm doing this work to get to this place, to educate these people or whatever to put my work out into the world. But then to just be in the world is a different experience, which I feel like you and I have kind of talked about that when you were on my podcast. As you're opening to what else is possible, all of a sudden, lots of other things become possible.

Aminata Sol [00:22:19]:

Biz, I want to concretize it and I just love the direction we're going into. So I've got a bit torn. But let's just take what you said because I know a lot of women of purpose, that is, women who are here to help evolve the planet, who are here to become their full limitless selves as part of their service to evolve the planet.

Biz Cush [00:22:43]:


Aminata Sol [00:22:44]:

We know we have to expand into all of who we are so we can co create with Earth Mama, our divine, et cetera when we have this, like as you said, this thing that you want to do in the world, this message you want to get out there and it could be your business, it's your podcast. Who knows what it is doing? And we're all intentioned with that, with being and receiving. I guess I would love to hear, is there a story in your life where you feel like maybe you were able to do both or how you are walking that path right now?

Biz Cush [00:23:32]:

Yeah, I think that prior to probably leading up to the pandemic, I've always tried to be and do right. I mean, not always, I shouldn't say always, but as I recognized the importance of mindfulness and meditation in my life, like trying to be more present in everything that I do. But then pandemic hit and interestingly, I went into this serious doing mode. Like, I joined all these zoom groups, I joined a Mastermind. I found lots of virtual ways to connect with people because and I was doing my online therapy business and shifted how the podcast was. I went from the Woman Warriors podcast to the Awaken Your Wise woman. So I rebranded that, I worked on my website, I decided to build a coaching business like I was doing. And part of that was because I was isolated, and I was at home with my husband and my dog and not seeing a lot of people, but at the end of it, I was just like, what did I do to myself? I was burned out. I had no energy to market this new business that I had created that I loved so much, but I was just like, I don't even want to look at it. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want anything to do with it. And I realized that I had committed myself to so many groups and people, and of course, my therapy business was booming because it was the pandemic, and everybody needed help, and I was saying yes to everybody, and I was just like there was a part of me screaming, like, Stop. Please just create some space. Like, we have no room to breathe, and gave myself permission to sort of back off. Marketing the coaching business really came back to the meditation and mindfulness practices, but also really working. I'm still working on it, but centering, like, taking care of myself while working, because if I'm taking care of myself, then I can be more open to what else might be out there right. Or what other opportunities, but also just what else might be in here that I need to be attending to. Yeah. And I think that I'm still a work in progress as far as how much how much to work and how much to have space. Yeah.

Aminata Sol [00:26:47]:

Wow. I could tell you you just said my story. Well, I think oh, my God. How many of us had that narrative? How many of us?

Biz Cush [00:26:57]:

Yeah. Well, and I think when I told you I've been getting your emails from probably for years, since I well, even before I did the social justice from the heart, the parts of it that I did participate in. And when you shared that this shift happened, I was like, oh, my gosh, I just need to talk to her about this, because I feel it. I feel it, too, in a different way. But we each have our own ways of this evolving. It showing itself. And so, yes, I think you can do, and you can be open. I think it's possible, but you got to give yourself the space to create the opening. Right. The listening, the awareness of what else is there.

Aminata Sol [00:27:59]:

Yeah. One of the things I I started, someone said to me, and I didn't really believe her, so I admit it. I did not believe her. This is someone who's, like, a year younger than me, but who I feel is further along in the path than me. And she said to me, you should be collecting receipts all day. In that language, what that means is, like, girl, you don't know what you're out there given you are underestimating what you're doing. Energetically, she was encouraging me to appreciate what looks like resting or what looks like not engaging, energetically might in fact be engaging, you know what I mean? But on a subtle level. Yeah. And the other thing that you said, Biz, that hit me was and I say these things out loud because I want more of us to know that we're not the only ones thinking it, and maybe it's true and little letter true, not absolute truth.

Biz Cush [00:29:27]:


Aminata Sol [00:29:27]:

And the little truth, little letter T true is that I got a very strong message that one of the values of my business for racial justice, for the Heart, the Mother treat network, which are very service, I got the message that one of my values is to take care of me first. And I remember that came up in the context of a group call that was for free in our community. And I felt embarrassed people were sharing messages they got, and I felt embarrassed that mine was take care of me first. But there is something about tending to that part of us that is slow, maybe eternal or young or somehow just really checking in with, what do I need right now as the first step in me being of service to other people or of this goal?

Biz Cush [00:30:51]:


Aminata Sol [00:30:52]:

So I just want if anybody's concerned about being selfish or self centered, and.

Biz Cush [00:30:59]:

I think for women, that's the hardest piece of that, like making yourself care or taking care of you because self care kind of gets tangled up and what everybody throws at you, it should be self care. But taking care of your needs as making that a priority. I think people, women in particular go to, yeah, but that's selfish. What will other people think of me? And yet we're very willing to take care of other people's needs ahead of our own. That's more important, what they need and not what I need. Why is that? If we're all taking care of our own needs, we're giving other people permission to take care of theirs. Somebody just said that to me the other day in one of my podcast conversations. Right. You're shining a light on the importance of you showing up as your best self right. From yourself, I think, right. If you're taking care of your needs. And that only benefits everybody else in your life.

Aminata Sol [00:32:15]:

Yes. So, Biz, I want to ask you. You said you rebranded from woman warriors to the Awakened Women's wisdom. Say the name of your podcast there.

Biz Cush [00:32:36]:

Awaken, your wise woman. Yes.

Aminata Sol [00:32:38]:

Awaken, your wise woman. It's almost like the antidote to the Woman Warrior.

Biz Cush [00:32:44]:

Yeah, well, when I started the podcast so now, like, five years ago, my focus in my therapy practice and for myself was, um, helping women recognize that often we are anxious. Like, we hold a lot of anxiety. And there were a lot of real reasons cultural, political, societal messages, plus how we're raised. And so many women are traumatized. There's a lot of reasons we're anxious and I wanted to normalize that. We worry as women for a lot of good reasons and there's ways to, one, help you heal, help you calm your nervous system, how to better love yourself, basically. And so that was the focus of the podcast at the beginning and then as I said over the pandemic, I was really feeling called to. I was shifting in sort of my healing journey to um I really wanted the message out there that yes, we may have experienced some hard, maybe horrific things in our past that brought us here. And here are these amazing women. Not necessarily amazing because they're famous or anything, but just amazing everyday women who have been through some really hard things and here they are on the other side. Like this is the journey that led them to love themselves, basically to find peace within themselves. And that just felt like a really important I don't know, I just feel really called to share that. That if you're feeling broken, you don't have to feel that way forever, I guess, because I just know the impact of trauma on us in adulthood if we were not given the tools to manage it or heal it at the time. And I just wanted because so much of I think what brings us into adulthood in a dysregulated way is because all this trauma kind of got packed up and packaged and put to the side and like we're going to move on. We're just going to keep doing and it sometimes unfolds in not very pretty ways, I would say sometimes it can be really hard. But I just feel like healing is possible at any age and that really felt important to share.

Aminata Sol [00:35:53]:

Awaken your wise woman. I just like it. It's your wise woman. It's pointing to what's inside of people already.

Biz Cush [00:36:03]:

Yeah, well, and that's the key, right? It is inside you. Like all of it. The potential is all there.

Aminata Sol [00:36:13]:

So let's talk about racial justice. Talk about you said that you started doing racial justice from the Heart, one of our programs and then you ended up not completing. And tell me for us why, how was that part of your self care? Or how is that part of your journey? How do you look at that now?

Biz Cush [00:36:44]:

I wish I remembered when it was, but probably around about five years ago, maybe longer, it became apparent to me that just all the injustice that was happening racially in the world, but particularly in our country, in the United States, that I wanted to be better educated, I wanted to feel more confident to talk about it. I think too at that time there were people in my life, friends that would say very racist things that I felt called to answer or speak to in some deeper way and really struggled with that. So I recognized my own the parts of me that were really afraid to do that I guess, I mean, I wouldn't have described it then. I would have said I recognized my failings and really understanding so, you know, being able to talk about it. So your program appealed to me because it's so mindfully based. It's really centering yourself to be able to show up to these difficult conversations. I don't know if you want me to talk about why I stopped, but we can talk about that too. I felt as if I joined it. I'm a sole practitioner and I joined it because I just wanted to be better equipped to talk to clients about racial justice if I needed to, to be centered myself. I live in Annapolis. There's a huge housing project nearby. I felt like I was avoiding a lot of things, talking about things, feeling things that I needed to, that I wanted to address. So most of the people in my smaller group were coming from like they'd been sponsored by corporations to bring this back to the organization to help. Maybe they were part of the diversity team or whatever. So I had a harder time sort of even though the mission was the same, it was a little bit different. This, for me, it was very personal, which it felt like to me at the time. Like, I'm not sure they can relate to me where I am. I don't know if that was really true or if that was just me judging myself. Right. And then I think I was working one on one with Erica. Is that her name? I had a couple of sessions with her and I just realized too, I was really, really afraid to step further into it at that time. I was just like the more concrete steps I could have taken, sort of immersing myself more in the local African American or Latino communities. I was like, I don't think I can do that. It just felt so scary to me. And I think I was really afraid to admit that. I know I was, I was terrified to say that out loud. So I sort of quietly just sort of disappeared and didn't make any more, couldn't attend a couple of the calls, the group calls. And then I think I probably had more sessions available to me to work one on one and I just didn't. And I think there were lots of parts of me that were ashamed of that too, really, that kept me sort of stuck in that place. Fast forward a couple of years and I continued to read. I continued to learn to try to educate myself. I reached out to an African American woman, a black woman who was doing a lot of social justice work for therapists, and I wanted her to be on the podcast. And she's like, I'm not going to come on there to explain to the white folks on your podcast what you need to learn on your own. And I was like, oh, you're. Probably I hear you. That's fair. I need to do my own work before I have this conversation. So I found another group, which was her name. The leader of the group is Shauna Murray Brown. She's based in Baltimore, and she has and I'm probably getting the name of the program wrong, but it basically is like, decolonizing your therapy practice. So it's like, well, how can I learn the ways that traditional psychotherapy has kept minorities, black people, Latino stuck in these places, really, of mental unwellness? Like, we're perpetuating this as a culture, as a society. And then the lack of access for good therapy is also just piling it on, and just the medical model doesn't help either. So more learning, more talking. I'm still not as. No. There are parts of me that are still afraid. There are parts of me that still I feel like I go a little bit farther, and then I hit a place where I'm like, okay, that's enough for now. And then I learn a little bit more, and I can go a little bit farther, and I can say, today I feel much more comfortable with the idea of, like, of course I'm privileged. Of course I have biases, and I can recognize those parts when they show up. Right. I can recognize. Like, I'm trying to think of an example recently where maybe I'm judging somebody for how they are, like, just walking down the street. Or I'm trying to think if I can think of an example, not off the top of my head, but trying to be, again, more open to what is showing up in those moments. Like, what is showing up? What are all the different parts? Are there parts that are still afraid? Yes. Are there parts that can engage more? Yes. Can I advocate for the therapy practices, therapy perspective in the world to be different? Yes, I can do that. Yeah.

Aminata Sol [00:43:59]:

Wow. Thank you for sharing that journey. The fact that you were interested or willing to come on the podcast. Well, you had me on your podcast first, and I wanted you on, and I told you I wanted to talk about why you didn't continue in terms of the formal training inside of racial justice from the heart. So I think it takes courage as a white woman to talk about why I stopped and what that is. And when I say courage, I think it takes a willingness, like an ability to hold yourself holy and knowing that people are going to have various reactions and judgments about that because of all the things that everyone is holding. I just want to say that out loud. And what I also like about your journey, I just want to reinforce is that you stopped doing the things with us because you hit that terror point, and so you stopped, and then you were like, oh, but here's another way in psychotherapy, which is where I'm doing my work in the world. Let me ask this person. And you got a no there. And then you kept going, and then you said, oh, here is a place where I'm being invited to come in and learn decolonizing psychotherapy. There's a little sign that says you're welcome here, Biz.

Biz Cush [00:45:34]:

Well, and that's so true. You're welcome here, Biz. And you're welcome also, which I appreciate. Like, you're welcome in limited ways, too, because if this is about upholding and supporting the black and people of color therapists and their experience is so different from mine, I have to appreciate that they need their space to unpack and heal and address. And so then here's the space for the white therapists, and you guys can be here in this space, and then we have this group space that can come together and talk respectfully and kindly and with awareness. Yeah. And just realizing how much work. I think that what really opened my eyes there in this particular learning environment is that the impact of colonization, the impact of imperialism and capitalism and just historical events that have just created this perfect storm of almost like this perfect mechanism, even though now it's cracking of keeping people of color in their place and women, too. And that just makes me more and more angry the more I understand it. But that's good, right? To me, that was really important to really fully understand just the layers and the history and how deeply racism goes. Yes.

Aminata Sol [00:47:28]:

You said decolonizing. I like that term. I also like have you heard the term indigenizing or reindigenizing?

Biz Cush [00:47:41]:

I think I've heard you say that maybe or I've heard that, yeah.

Aminata Sol [00:47:45]:

One of the reasons why I'm interested in that kind of language is because Maladoma Some, who is an elder who died, dr. Maladoma Some, one of the things his books is called, and it's right here on my bedside is called The Healing Wisdom of Africa. And he talks about so there are different models for wellness and for illness and for mental illness imbalance. Right. And so you talked about psychotherapy earlier, the medical model, the Western European American allopathic model right. Grafted onto this question of a mental psychological balance, wholeness. And so he has a whole nother take on it. He talks about how indigenous people talk about it and what leads to it, what leads to wholeness and balance. So I recommend that book to everybody, the Healing Wisdom of Africa, whether you're in the field of psychotherapy or not. But if you care about healing and wholeness, not inside of a medical model.

Biz Cush [00:48:51]:

Sort of bringing back the wisdom of elders of other cultures, the indigenous people.

Aminata Sol [00:49:03]:

Exactly. Of indigenous people of Africa, indigenous peoples of what is now considered North America, but also which got me thinking about indigenous peoples in Europe prior to state sponsored Christianity and capitalism, because those forces actually were turned on brutal. Ways onto people of European heritage first before they then came out and went out to the rest of the world to see, how can we get the rest of these people to just take what we want from them in their lands and their bodies? It was practiced at home.

Biz Cush [00:49:48]:

Yeah, well, I mean, you think about Ireland, right?

Aminata Sol [00:49:51]:

Ireland. But even in look at England itself. Look at how.

Biz Cush [00:50:02]:

Pagan cultures and totally wiped out yes.

Aminata Sol [00:50:06]:

Languages wiped out, women's power wiped out, fear of matriarchy and the feminine was already being worked on, or not even worked on, was being stamped out and repressed. So decolonizing, it's like we all have some decolonizing to do and we need spaces to do it. Yes. Sometimes we need BIPOC or black spaces to do it and we need European, European American spaces to do it. And sometimes we can do that work together. And I think it's just important and it's real that sometimes we're in and then we pull back. Because truthfully, when you're in your stretch space and you are beyond your stretch space and now you've gotten into the space where you're overwhelmed or panicked, you're not growing. So you could endure and suffer in that space, but it's not like you are necessarily growing. You know what I mean? I feel a certain kind of I want to hear people tell real stories of showing up, stepping back, showing up, stepping back, stepping over, because that is really how life works. It is not 1 march forward no. On any issue.

Biz Cush [00:51:33]:

Yeah. And there's a part of me that wants to say I am still not all in. Even with this group, I tend to sort of peek in. I step in when I can and I step back out. But I'm always listening. I guess that's the other side of it. I'm not maybe necessarily I don't want to portray myself as like, oh, I'm this, I don't know, the expert here, because I am not I am learning, but I am always open and listening and yeah. Trying to be a good human. Yeah, a balanced human.

Aminata Sol [00:52:23]:

And I also think that one of the things I like about your podcast is how do I say this? You're always listening. And who are you choosing to listen to and share amplify with the rest of the world. And I've noticed how many women of color, women of African descent you amplify. And I think that's a fruit of an internal process that you are in the midst of or you know what I mean?

Biz Cush [00:53:11]:

Yeah, I feel that myself. Like, I don't know what I want to say about that, but thank you for saying that. Yeah.

Aminata Sol [00:53:23]:

So I do recommend the awakened your wise Woman podcast. You want to hear from a variety of women. And if you really are interested in hearing from women of African descent, our wisdom born from our experience, it's a good place to go with that. I think I should wrap up. We've been here a while.

Biz Cush [00:53:49]:

But tell.

Aminata Sol [00:53:50]:

People how they can find out more about you. Biz.

Biz Cush [00:53:53]:

All right, so you can find me through lots of roots. I'm on instagram at. Awaken, your wise woman. My website is Elizabethcoaching.com. Or you can go to my therapy website, which is progressioncounseling.com, and I am licensed in Maryland and Delaware and hopefully Florida soon, but can see women from across the country around the world through coaching.

Aminata Sol [00:54:23]:

Awesome. Thank you very much.

Biz Cush [00:54:26]:

Yes, thank you. I know we talked about pulling Oracle card at one time.

Aminata Sol [00:54:35]:

Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Biz Cush [00:54:38]:

Okay, so this deck I'll show you, it's called Divine Abundance.

Aminata Sol [00:54:44]:

Divine Abundance, everyone. It's beautiful. Speaking of brown women, I love it.

Biz Cush [00:54:49]:

I know. And tosha Silver? I don't know. I'm new to her knowledge and wisdom. All right, so anybody listening, whether on the podcast or here, live, like, just send an intention out into the space, and we will see what arises. And a bunch of cards just fell, which I should probably look at those, but I'm not going to. All right, here we go. All right? The card I pulled is inner child. There's a beautiful little image there.

Aminata Sol [00:55:35]:

You got to put your mouth next to the mic, Liz.

Biz Cush [00:55:37]:

Oh, sorry. All right, hold it there. Inner Child. And it says, allow me to give compassion and love to that little one. Let me attend to its deepest needs and feelings. So that feels pretty relevant to all the things we talked about today.

Aminata Sol [00:55:53]:


Biz Cush [00:55:55]:


Aminata Sol [00:55:56]:


Biz Cush [00:55:59]:

I love how that works. Oh, my gosh.

Aminata Sol [00:56:01]:

And will you say the name of the deck again?

Biz Cush [00:56:04]:

Yes. It is called Divine Abundance by Tosha Silver, and you can get it on Amazon or her website.

Aminata Sol [00:56:13]:


Biz Cush [00:56:14]:

Yeah. And the art on each card is by FINA Gonzalez.

Aminata Sol [00:56:20]:

And one of the things that.

Biz Cush [00:56:23]:


Aminata Sol [00:56:24]:

Just want to say out loud here is biz and I were talking about the difference between therapy and coaching and things that you could do in coaching that you can't do in therapy. And one of them was using Oracle decks.

Biz Cush [00:56:36]:

Yes. And some of my therapy clients are open to that, too, but I don't ever want to bring it in if they're not. That's up to you.

Aminata Sol [00:56:44]:


Biz Cush [00:56:45]:


Aminata Sol [00:56:46]:

All right, well, let's leave it right there, Biz.

Biz Cush [00:56:49]:

Yes. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. This is great.

Aminata Sol [00:56:52]:

Keep awakening your wise woman, everybody.

Biz Cush [00:56:55]:

Thank you. Thank you.

Aminata Sol [00:56:56]:

All right, bye.



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