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This Little Light of Mine - LGBTQ, Christianity, religious trauma, mental health
55 minutes | 18 days ago
Hello and welcome to Episode 25 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s interview episode, ‘Not defining’. On today’s episode I’m joined with orientation advocate Mark Smith and his wife Victoria. Mark runs a support site for anyone struggling with their orientation. He has an expanded heart and focus on humans who may be questioning, undefined, changing, Bi+, or fluid. Before we jump into our conversation with Mark and Vic let’s pause, for a few minutes to reflect on the topic of orientation. How exactly do you define a person’s orientation? How do you define your own orientation? Is orientation static? Does it change over time? Is it fluid? Is your specific orientation defined and spelled out in the Bible? Does your orientation automatically indicate who you’re having sex with? What about the term bisexuality? What comes up for you around this term? What thoughts, stories or preconceived notions do you have around someone who might identify as bisexual? With some of your own perceptions top of mind, you're now ready for today's interview with Mark and Vic called ‘Not defining’.
37 minutes | a month ago
I sat in a chair facing my parents who sat on opposite ends of a sofa on the other side of the room. With one glance at my mom’s already watering eyes I knew that I was about to be devastated. My father started out with the words, ‘We have reasons to believe that you may be struggling with same-sex attraction’. This is the start of my toxic outing. Show links: NOTE: Trigger warning for homophobia, religious &. spiritual abuse, and misappropriation of God Ravi Zacharias (RZIM International) - 'Christian' view of homosexuality RZIM Confirms Ravi Zacharias' Sexual Misconduct
59 minutes | a month ago
On today’s episode I’m joined with author Marc-Henri Sendoz Paradella. Marc-Henri’s new book Toxic Jesus – A Journey from Holy Shit to Spiritual Healing is creating international acclaim in progressive Christian, deconstruction and religious trauma circles. Marc-Henri has a fascinating story of deep faith, questioning, deconstruction and reconstruction. Don’t forget, if you want the chance to win your very own copy of Toxic Jesus all you need to do is subscribe, rate and leave a review of This Little Light Of Mine on Apple Podcasts. Next story episode I will choosing one of the reviewers and will send them their own copy of Marc-Henri’s newest book so they can devour it themselves. For those of you not yet familiar with Marc-Henri, he grew up in Europe and was the son of a charismatic Pentecostal minister. As a young boy, Marc-Henri was spiritually and psychologically abused, as he forced to undergo multiple public faith healings to cure him of a leg impairment. Despite the insistence of his church and his family that Marc-Henri had been healed by God, Marc-Henri and his medical doctors continually confirmed that no healing and no change had taken place.[/caption] Feeling lost, confused, and angry Marc-Henri internalized these messages at a very young age. He believed there was something wrong with him and that he was broken and unwanted by God but put on a brave face and kept pushing forward. He studied Protestant theology at the University of Geneva and fulfilled what he thought was his life mission when he became a pastor of an evangelical church for over 15 years. But Marc-Henri’s internalized messages of shame and unworthiness never went away. By not addressing his toxic shame, the parts of him and his beliefs that he tried to exile had only grown stronger. His deep questioning of his faith led him to resign when he realized that he could no longer run away from who he was truly designed to be. Toxic Jesus shares how Marc-Henri faced his shadows, began long-term therapeutic and integrative work and began his process of deconstruction and reconstruction. In that process he discovered the need to grow into a deeper and renewed spirituality, one that would fully take into account what was happening to him, without sugar-coating or falling into the magical thinking he was taught as a child. He found a spirituality that would truly help him to face reality. And as he calls it, a “no bullshit” spirituality that will always be a work in progress.
23 minutes | 2 months ago
It’s 2021… we made it! Hello, and welcome Episode 22 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s story episode, ‘Validate me’. It feels good to be here and to share more of an upbeat and lighter story episode with you today. And that’s what this episode is all about, validation and feeling good. In today’s story episode I’m shedding many of the awkward, scared, small and unwanted masks of my school years. This period of my life is my coming out and reinvention. And man, did it ever feel good! As I reflect back on this period of time it’s incredible to see how fast I jumped at all of these opportunities. I look back with awe and wonder at the cockiness, confidence and zest for life that I had. To be honest, sometimes I wish I could steal some of that and bring that into present day. I was on an ego upswing and after spending most of my life locked away in a closet of shame and self-hatred my new life of freedom was everything that I dreamed of… or so I thought. Back at this time in my life I wasn’t even conscious of the new double life that I had created. I didn’t see the all too familiar trap that I was sprinting towards. I didn’t see how my circumstances had changed but that I hadn’t changed. External validation was the intoxicating drug that I used as a life support for my flat lining self-esteem. And damn, that drug works great! But what I didn’t realize was how addictive it was. Once I got a taste of positive external validation I couldn’t stop. I always needed more. So, what about you? Have you ever got hooked on external validation? Are you crushed when you don’t get the number of likes you NEED on Instagram? Or what about feedback? Are you able to accept honest feedback or do you need to surround yourself in an echo chamber of people that look like you, act like you and think like you? Welcome to the journey towards healthy self-esteem! If you haven’t joined our community on Instagram or Facebook, I’d invite you to visit @MyLightShinesBright and make sure to check out our Trauma Tuesday posts from December, January and February where we’ll be focusing on self-esteem. I’m looking forward to being with you in two-weeks’ time with author Marc-Henri Sandoz Paradella to talk about his new book Toxic Jesus and his journey from Holy Shit to Spiritual Healing. I’m really excited to share Marc-Henri’s work and I want to give away a free copy of ‘Toxic Jesus’ to a listener of This Little Light Of Mine. For your chance to win all you need to do is subscribe, rate and leave a review of This Little Light Of Mine on Apple Podcasts. Next story episode I will choose one of the reviews and send you your very own copy of Toxic Jesus and the journey from Holy Shit to Spiritual Healing. Until then, be safe and know that you are loved. James
13 minutes | 2 months ago
Wow... what a rollercoaster of year. As much as we love to pretend that we're in control of our lives, 2020 is definitely a year that proves that 'anything can happen'. It isn't hard to look back on 2020 and say THANK GOODNESS THAT'S OVER. But have you taken the opportunity to look at what you've learned about yourself in the past 12 months? How have you grown as a human in the last year? And maybe even go as far as to think about what's made you proud of YOU in 2020. Like most of us, 2020 has been full of ups and downs for me. After a lifetime of hiding so many parts of my life, never did I think I would ever share so openly about religious trauma & spiritual abuse, mental health, addiction, suicide and so many of the developmental challenges that I've faced because I was born gay and grew up in the evangelical church. Thank you for listening. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for sharing some of your time to know me. Isn't that what we're all searching for? To be heard. To be seen. To be known. To be loved. As we close out the year I'd love for you to consider supporting Beloved Arise as they build a space that fights for queer youth of faith. Beloved Arise is in the home stretch of their 'Build the Future' campaign and I'm here to publicly pledge my support and to ask you to consider the same. How will your support be used? to build a weekly rhythm of inclusive youth group activities that can be access from around the worldmental wellness programming, community service projects, spiritual programming and social gatherings... just like a church youth group... but one that affirms everyonecreation of a BelovedArise app to create a SAFE space for youth to connect, have small groups and to access resourcesa new trauma informed mental wellness program designed to help LGBTQ+ youth overcome hopelessness, embrace their wholeness and flourish as young adults. I know that 2020 has been a tough year for so many but I know and trust that support for Beloved Arise will not only help young adults flourish. It will save lives. So what about you? What's your 2020 wrap up look like? I'd love to hear some of the things that you've learned about yourself. I'm looking forward to sharing my next story episode called 'Sweet Validation' with all of you on Thursday January 7th, 2021 Thank you again for all of your support, encouragement, love and community this year. 2020 has been a wild ride but as they say... the best is yet to come. I hope you all have a safe and healthy New Year You are loved. James.
18 minutes | 2 months ago
Supposed to love Christmas
Well... it's Christmas Eve and we can finally see the finish line for 2020. What a strange year... did any of our futurists or experts predict this one? As we head into this break I wanted to put together a quick episode to share Holiday survival tips for LGBTQ2S+ Christians or for anyone who might have all the happy joyous feelings that we're 'supposed to' have at this time of year. I'll be home for Christmas this year and I want to acknowledge how hard that's going to be for me. To be honest, the break between Christmas and New Years is usually one of the loneliest and lowest times of the year for me. I know that I'm not alone, and that for many Queer people of faith, the holiday season can be really hard and really dark. That cheery exterior that we are expected to portray in pictures, at parties and on social media.... that's not the reality for many of us. Christmas can be a reminder and a celebration of everything that the church said that we are NOT allowed to be and can activate many Religious Trauma Syndrome triggers. To help survive this holiday season I want to propose 7 Holiday survival tips for LGBTQ2S+ Christians. James IG: @MyLightShinesBright
35 minutes | 3 months ago
Goodbye, all done
Trauma is blocked emotional energy that is trapped inside of your body. You need to process it and you need to feel it. What I have learned is that when I repress and deny my feelings and my Knowing, I’m blocking my connection with God and I’m hurting myself… and I’m hurting others. At more than one point in my life I thought it would be easier to leave this world than to feel my feelings, follow my God given Knowing, speak out against those I considered to be in ‘control’ and to share my truth. I was drifting towards suicide because I cared more about what others thought about me than I did about myself. I believed the lies that I was being taught about my being, instead of trusting my Knowing. Trigger Warning - I want to share that this is another ‘explicit’ episode as this part of my story contains content that may trigger some survivors. In today’s episode I will be talking about suicidal ideation and attempted suicide. This is a topic that nobody wants to talk about, but we desperately need to talk about. I’m dedicating this episode to all those struggling with mental health challenges and to the incredible services that The Trevor Project provides in the US and that Kids Help Phone provides in Canada to help support young LGBTQ lives. As always, I encourage all listeners to be gentle with themselves, listen to your own bodies and to proceed with loving intent, knowing that it’s okay to stop and/or take breaks. For some, you may need to skip this episode and that’s okay. If you are a survivor of religious trauma, sexual abuse or assault or are a person facing mental health issues related to today’s conversation I strongly encourage you to be extremely gentle with yourself and to reach out to a mental health professional that specializes in trauma. There is no shame in asking for the help that you deserve. You are loved James. IG: @MyLightShinesBright www.ThisLittleLightOfMine.CA
58 minutes | 3 months ago
Hello and welcome to Episode 18 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s episode, ‘Scapegoat’. Over the past few weeks on IG and Facebook @MyLightShinesBright our trauma topic of conversation has been around the concept of ‘The Scapegoat’. This is a relatively new term for me, and it seems like it’s a term that resonates with many that are on similar journeys of trauma recovery, addiction recovery, those deconstructing their religious beliefs, people experiencing homelessness and many in the BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities. A scapegoat is a truth teller in a family, company or community. They are the ones that will verbalize or act out “the problem” that others are attempting to cover up or deny. Scapegoats are also called many other names… negative, shit disturber, trouble-maker, problem child, killer of dreams and get labelled with words like hostile, angry, crazy or defiant. What I’m learning is that insecure leaders or people with insecure positions of power need to marginalize or try to sideline the scapegoat. The truth-telling of the scapegoat brings issues to the surface, questions the status quo and calls for actual transparency and radical change in our world. On today’s episode I’m in conversation with another radical truth-teller and scapegoat, Junia "June" Joplin. Junia “June” Joplin began serving in church ministry over twenty years ago, at nineteen years old. She has served congregations in the U.S. and Canada, most recently serving as a pastor in suburban Toronto. She holds degrees from Appalachian State University and the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. A long-time advocate for greater LGBTQ+ acceptance in faith communities, June made international headlines last summer when she came out as a trans woman and was subsequently fired by her congregation. June has been acclaimed as a stirring preacher and graceful leader. Her sermons and other content can be found on her website, pastorjune.com. June is feisty, funny and incredibly vulnerable as she shares part of her story and message of hope and love for fellow truth-tellers. I hope you grow as much from this conversation as I did. James www.ThisLittleLightOfMine.CA
32 minutes | 4 months ago
In the shadows
Hello and welcome to Episode 17 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s episode, ‘In the shadows’. Before we get started with today’s episode, I want to be very transparent that this is my first ‘explicit’ episode as this part of my story contains content that may trigger some survivors. In today’s episode I will be talking about sexual assault, rape, trauma and dissociation. I encourage all listeners to be gentle with themselves and to proceed with loving intent as they listen, knowing that it’s okay to stop and/or take breaks. If you are a survivor of religious trauma, sexual abuse or assault or are a person facing mental health issues related to today’s conversation I strongly encourage you to be extremely gentle with yourself and to reach out to a mental health professional that specializes in trauma. I am terrified about sharing these next few story episodes with you. Ever since starting TLLOM I’ve been pushing these episodes to the back of my mind by telling myself… they are months away… just focus on the episode in front of you. And now we’re here. I’m not sharing these stories to be salacious, to call anyone out, or to shame anyone, in fact, that’s why I’ve never shared much of today’s content with anyone. I’m sharing this part of my story because I want to reduce shame. Shame reduction starts when you welcome light into the shadow parts of your life. I’m also sharing because I want allies and those who continue to inflict spiritual abuse on our LGBTQ2S+ children to understand what happens when you teach a child that they’re not allowed to love. Authentic sharing is the antidote to toxic shame. Fear, disconnection and hiding in the shadows is what fuels the cancer of shame. I know this fear all too well. In fact, I’ve only been showing you the parts of me that I think are socially acceptable. This is how I’ve operated for most of my life, I’ve been hiding behind a mask… but there are other parts of me too… it’s only been through decades of extensive therapy and intensive trauma therapy over the past year that I’m starting to see some of my protective parts. Parts of me… not the whole me. Growing up in a fundamentalist background I was never taught about ‘parts’… I was simply taught that I was either good or evil, a saint or a sinner, of God or of Satan. It was this type of harmful thinking that taught me that I was completely broken, a forgotten sinner and an abomination in the eyes of God. It was this type of toxic theology that drove me out in search of nourishment... but the nourishment I found nearly starved me to death. It's time for more of me to step out of the shadows. James www.ThisLittleLightOfMine.CA @MyLightShinesBright
55 minutes | 4 months ago
Join Chad Rollo and I as we talk about deconstructing our faith and the importance of being in community with 'fellow travellers' as we journey this wild & windy (and often painful) road towards integrating our faith and sexuality after years of living behind a wall of shame & fear. Growing up so deeply entrenched in an evangelical church-based community and family I know how painful and important questions around faith and sexuality can be. I desperately wanted to wake up one day and to magically have the absolute affirmation and unconditional love, of my church and from my family, without having any conflict and without having to make any changes to the beliefs that I was raised to believe were absolute truth for absolutely everyone... with no exceptions or shades of grey. At many times my sexuality and faith seemed to be oceans apart, and honestly, there were times when I said, ‘screw this! I’ve been hurt too many times. I’ve fallen for the ‘all are welcome’ ploys for the last time. The continuous gaslighting of being told that people were coming from ‘a place of love’ when really, they were projecting their own fears and hate towards how God created me, and towards my I AMness.’ This abuse, and it is abuse, was too much. I want to affirm and honour those that need to walk away. I understand that for some you need to love and honour your Knowing and Truth. I get that the abuse, the trauma and the appropriation of God’s name to hate instead of love is not healthy and continues to inflict pain. Trust yourself, be kind and gentle with yourself, do whatever you need to create a space of psychological, mental, emotional and spiritual safety. This needs to come first. Know that I see you. And what I am now learning, at my current space of healing, is that this pain, it was a call inward. I needed to go inside to hear and Know God. It was a call to deconstruct some of the lies, fears, false certainties and mistranslations that I was taught by man. I needed to deconstruct so that I could remember God’s truth for my life. What I now know, I didn’t need to turn my back on my faith. I needed to tune into my faith and turn up the dial in my connection with God. That is what deconstruction is about. Deconstruction isn’t a process of destruction… it’s a process of attunement, remembering and transformational spiritual growth. Chad’s faith looks different than it did years ago, but he wouldn’t change a thing. The pain of losing his family still exists and is very real, but Chad knows that God has blessed him with Bill and his family, and a community that loves him for exactly who he is. Chad probably would not have found this place of peace and acceptance if he didn’t love and trust himself enough AND if he didn’t love and trust God enough to be led through a phase of deconstruction. And just like Chad shared with me, If he had to go through it all again, he would! And as painful as my process of recovery and deconstruction can be, so would I. There is so much hope, strength and love waiting to be remembered. I am so glad you're here and that you're asking such powerful questions. We need you, we need to hear your story. You are wanted, you are worthy. You are loved. James www.ThisLittleLightOfMine.CA IG: @MyLightShinesBright
30 minutes | 4 months ago
In today's episode I share what it was like for me growing up in the 90’s evangelical church culture and share about one of my worst nightmares coming to life. And from the many stories, comments and messages that you have been sharing online through FB & IG it is very clear that this period in time wasn’t an easy, joy-filled or shame free period for so many… not matter where we may have lived on the spectrum of gender or orientation. The 90’s evangelical purity culture was an organized strategy started by US conversative groups to convince young people that the Bible requires a severe abstinence code. In response to the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 80’s, comprehensive sex education was being introduced to more and more schools across America. This angered many conservative and evangelical lobbying groups like Moral Majority who kicked into high gear… and out popped a full blown (and partially federally funded) purity panic. Were you pure or were you shamed? What were you taught about your sexuality while you were growing up? James @MyLightShinesBright
57 minutes | 5 months ago
The shift - with Colby Martin
Hello and welcome to Episode 14 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s episode, ‘The shift’. In today’s episode I’m joined by best-selling author, podcaster, and PROGRESSIVE pastor Colby Martin. Colby is passionate about carving out a space within Christianity that includes: a whole-heartedly affirming posture toward LGBTQ individuals, a broader acceptance of other spiritual practices and religious perspectives, an agreeableness toward science, and a commitment to always growing, transforming, and trusting that the best days are yet to come. Colby is one of leading voices of the Progressive Christian movement, he made me cry with his vision for the church in his first book UnClobber – Rethinking our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality and introduce me to the incredible voices of Brian McLaren and Glennon Doyle. Colby will be talking about his newly released book The Shift: Surviving and Thriving after Moving from Conservative to Progressive Christianity For those moving from a conservative to progressive sense of Christianity, Colby talks of our need to welcome doubt, welcome questioning, welcome vulnerability. This journey is not about pretending that any human has all the answers or that any of the answers can fit neatly into one of two boxes. I also really appreciate Colby, his story and his approach because he acknowledges (and has experienced) some of the pain, loss, anger and loneliness that the journey forward has… these feelings and all of our feelings are valid and are part of our healing process so that we can grow forward into the full expression of who we were created to be. As much as we might want to (and as much as I have tried), we can’t skip over this part. What came up for you as you listened to this conversation with Colby? What questions did it stir inside of you? What anger might have come up? What new hope or insight might have been born? I’d love to hear from you. A huge thank again to Colby Martin for joining us today and for helping set a new course of bringing more love into our world with his new book ‘The Shift’. Thank you so much for joining us today and I look forward to connecting with you in two-weeks’ time for our next story episode called ‘PUREity shame’ where I share what it was like growing up in the 90’s evangelical church culture and share about one of my worst nightmares coming to life. Thank you again for being with us today and before I go I want to remind you. Your story is important. You were designed with a powerful voice. We need to hear what you have to say. Your feelings and your experiences are valid. You have the right to feel safe and be safe. You matter, you are needed, you are wanted, and you are loved. James
43 minutes | 5 months ago
In today’s episode ‘Gospel gaslighting’ I share where some of my emotional arrested development started. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes, including low self-esteem. In short, gaslighting is another’s attempt to question your ‘Knowing’ or to question your ‘Truth’. The antidote to gaslighting is vulnerability and intimacy. It’s taking off the armor. It’s going off script and having a heart-to-heart conversation. It’s radical transparency, it’s mucky, it’s messy and it’s emotional… because… guess what… we are emotional beings! Instead of teaching ourselves how to reign in our emotions, suppress our feelings, labeling our feelings as good vs. bad we have the opportunity to honour ourselves and each other by bringing our full and wonderfully messy selves into each and every situation. And just to be clear, I’m not saying “bring ALL of your emotions ALL of the time into EVERY situation”, we need to balance this with emotional intelligence and gauge how can I appropriately show my emotions and be human right now. Being told that my inner knowing, my being, my sexuality, my orientation, whatever you want to call it was wrong or it was a choice or something I could get rid of; I always knew that it wasn’t. But I was taught to doubt myself, and so many people are taught to doubt who they are, who God created them to be. Our emotions, our feelings, our conscience, our intuition these are our gifts from God. They are what make us unique and they are what we need to fully bring forward, each and every one of us, if we are going to heal forward together. Next episode I will be joined by best-selling author, podcaster, and PROGRESSIVE pastor Colby Martin. Colby is passionate about carving out a space within Christianity that includes: a whole-heartedly affirming posture toward LGBTQ individuals, a broader acceptance of other spiritual practices and religious perspectives, an agreeableness toward science, and a commitment to always growing, transforming, and trusting that the best days are yet to come. Join us next episode as I sit down with Colby Martin! Colby is one of leading voices of the Progressive Christian movement, he made me cry with his vision for the church in his first book UnClobber – Rethinking our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality” and introduce me to the incredible voices of Brian McLaren and Glennon Doyle. Colby will be talking about his newly released book ‘The Shift: Surviving and Thriving after Moving from Conversative to Progressive Christianity’ I want to give away a free copy of his book ‘The Shift’ to a listener of This Little Light Of Mine. For your chance to win all you need to do is subscribe, rate and leave a review of This Little Light Of Mine on Apple Podcasts or on IGTV. Next episode I will choose one of the reviews and send you your very own copy of ‘The Shift’. I have one more surprise. I want to introduce you to Nancy Shadlock, CEO and founder of Centered life coaching and host of The Coming Out Chronicles. Nancy’s work as a ‘coming out coach’ caught my attention along with her upcoming retreat, appropriately call ‘The Shift’ and don't forget to contact Nancy for her superpowers session (I know I'll be reaching out!) Thank you again for being with us today and before I go I want to remind you. Your story is important. Your thoughts are important. Your intuition is important. Your knowing is important. Your questions are important. Your doubting is important. And what if, what if you’re not wrong? You are designed with a powerful voice that we need to hear. You are loved. James
55 minutes | 6 months ago
I was wrong - with Rev Michael Coren
Hello and welcome to Episode 12 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s episode, ‘I was wrong’. In today’s episode I’m joined with best-selling author, columnist, Anglican cleric and former nightly television and radio host, Michael Coren. Michael and I will be talking about his book Epiphany and “what went wrong” on his journey from being the posterboy of Catholic conservatism towards his profound spiritual and personal change of heart towards the queer community. Michael is a Christian author and broadcaster who hosted the night show ‘The Arena’ for four years on Sun News, the Canadian version Fox News in the United States (let that sink in for a minute). Michael was well known for opposing same - sex marriage and was, in Canada, arguably the institution’s most high - profile opponent, came to be not only a passionate defender of marriage equality but also a champion of gay rights and an outspoken campaigner for full acceptance of gay people into the Christian church . I would highly encourage you to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelCoren to experience Michael’s social commentary, intellect and homour. A huge thank again to Michael Coren for joining us today and for helping set a new course forward with three simple words “I was wrong”. What about you? As you listen to Michael’s words today, as you look around our world, our political landscape or the relationships in your life; could you be wrong about any of your beliefs? Or are you 100% certain? I’m starting to wonder if it’s that ‘certainty’ that might actually be the sin we should all really be afraid of. Thank you so much for joining us today and I look forward to connecting with you in two-weeks’ time for our next story episode called ‘Gospel Gaslighting’ where I dive into lessons of hyper-vigilant love I was taught while growing up in an evangelical church. Thank you again for being with us today and before I go I want to remind you. Your story is important. You were designed with a powerful voice, no matter who you are. We need to hear what you have to say. You matter, you are needed, you are wanted, and you are loved. James
28 minutes | 6 months ago
God hates figs?
Were you ever taught that who you were was wrong, evil, sinful or less than? In today's episode, God hates figs? I’m taking another stroll down memory lane to share some of the messages that I learned around homosexuality as a young boy growing up in a fundamentalist church background. Maybe you’re not part of queer community, but perhaps you were taught some of these same toxic messages because of the colour of your skin, your gender, the shape of your body or different abilities you may have? If so, you know the pain of what it's like to keep these hurt filled messages inside. I’ve spent a lifetime playing nice and hiding this ugliness inside of me. I'm learning that trauma can cause us to betray ourselves, deny our own knowing, and give up on our emotional needs. We do this in an attempt to keep the peace or to keep a relationship the way it is, even if it's no longer serving us. Parts of me still want to protect my family, my church, my youth group leaders and my schoolteachers from sharing this truth. As I continue on my healing path I’m growing and honouring other parts that know that I no longer need to hold this toxicity inside. We heal when we come together and share our stories. What about you from? Are you honouring yourself? Are you making sure that you prioritize your emotional and mental wellbeing? As we continue forward in this global pandemic it's important that we take the time to go within and spend time to acknowledge and feel all of our feelings. Maybe you've been feeling angry and disconnected with yourself and don't understand why? If that could be you, I'd encourage you to take a look at the relationships in your life and ask "am I free to show up and bring all of myself to this relationship?" Living in alignment with yourself is one of the pathways to wellbeing and a great way to be in love... with yourself. James
51 minutes | 7 months ago
Beyond Shame - with Matthias Roberts
Looking to create a healthy sex life on your own terms? Matthias Roberts, host of Queerology, therapist and author joins us to share some of his personal experiences with shame AND insights from his new book ‘Beyond Shame'. I really appreciate when a therapist, author and expert on ‘shame’ is able to walk the talk when it comes to vulnerability. The definition of vulnerability that Mattias’ shared that talks about our capacity to be wounded… that shot an arrow that pierced my soul and gives me a really clear goal to work towards when I think of my own healing path. I’ve been a big fan of Brene Brown for years and have used her definitions around vulnerability in my own life, with teams at work, in coaching and consulting engagements. She talks about vulnerability as: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. As I take a step back and look at vulnerability as my capacity of being wounded, I can see how “cleansed”, “socially acceptable” and “corporatized” these definitions are. The capacity to be wounded is next level. It’s raw, messy and puts everything on the line. It is also the exact antithesis to how I taught myself to live my life. My entire life objective was DON’T LET THEM SEE HOW HURT YOU ARE. So what about you? Do you live your life from a place of vulnerability? Are you opening yourself to the potential of being wounded with your friends, family or partner? What about work? Do you approach your job from a place of vulnerability, or do you go into every situation with your battle shields up? We live in a society that worships certainty and control so that we don’t ever get wounded. Don’t ask a question that you don’t know the answer to. Have a contingency plan for your contingency plan.Don’t ever let them see you cry What if we flipped that switch? What would our world look like? What would your job look like? What would your relationships look like? Who would you be if you lived beyond shame? Thank you so much for joining us today and I look forward to connecting with you in two-weeks’ time for our next story episode called ‘God hates figs’… and no it’s not an episode about fruits… well actually it is an episode about what I was taught that God thought about fruits… but sidenote… did you know that a fig is actually a flower and not a fruit? Thank you again for being with us today and before I go, I want to remind you. Your story is important. You were designed with a powerful voice. We need to hear what you have to say. You matter, you are needed, you are wanted, and you are loved.
21 minutes | 7 months ago
Seeds of Shame
Hello and welcome to Episode 9 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s episode, Seeds of Shame. Before I get started I want to give a big shout out to a few community members who are blowing me away with their sharing, encouragement and insights as we discover, heal and grow forward in love together. Poulami from Lit.Wings in IndiaMark aka NotDefining in the UKSway from Polite but Savage podcast coming out of DubaiHarvey from New ZealandMichael from New York In today’s episode I’m taking you WAY back to some of my earliest memories from a pre-school Jimmy (yup… I was Jimmy back then). As I do my own inner child work and travel back to ages 3/4/5/6 I can clearly see the imprint of early trauma and can almost pinpoint where toxic shame entered my life as a young boy. What I’ve learned in recovery is that trauma comes from the inhibition of emotion AND the earlier in life that you start to block or supress your emotions the deeper the damage can be. As you’ll hear in today’s episode, when it came to learning about shame, my visceral brain was so quick to learn and remember. In an instant I locked in shame and created an imprint that dominated my future. Once this type of shame-based imprint has been set, ongoing painful experiences that reinforce the original imprint, continue to lay down new pathways in your brain and you become more and more sensitive to painful stimuli as you progress through life… as I look back at my life experience I can see how true this is. In the most basic terms, here’s what I’m talking about; once shame sets in it grows and grows until you GO BACK and address things from where they began…. This is the premise of inner child work. This is also why, when it comes to trauma, it is important that we take the time to go back to the source of pain and to lovingly ask powerful questions like “what happened to me?” and you process your trauma. We need to stop running from our trauma, we need to stop having our experiences silenced and we need to stop numbing our painful feelings. We need to process our trauma, feel our feelings and move through them. I hope you enjoy today's episode; Seeds of Shame. James IG: @MyLightShinesBright
62 minutes | 8 months ago
The gift of pain - with Cathy Webber
In Western cultures we have been trained to label addictions as BAD. They are something that are undesirable, they hurt, they destroy and they kill. Our first trained instinct when the topic of addiction comes up is ‘HOW DO WE STOP IT’, ‘how do we get ride of it’, ‘how do we help the person just say no drugs/alcohol/sex/food or whatever’. But what if we took another approach? What if we looked at our addictions as gifts? What if instead of immediately jumping into controlling our stopping an addiction we paused and got curious. What if we asked questions like… What is this addiction adding to my life? What pain is this addiction covering up? What larger more overwhelming societal ills does this addiction provide some momentary reprieve. We live in a world where it’s easy to say ‘JUST SAY NO’ or to prattle off any of other hundreds of celebrity endorsed ANTI-whatever campaigns… but I know we need to do more…. We need to do the really hard work… because WE CAN DO HARD THINGS (right Glennon Doyle… and another shout out for Untamed) In order for us to really heal we need to take a look at the roots. We need to understand ‘what happened to us?’, ‘what is it that we are trying to avoid’, ‘what is really going on underneath all of our pain?’ Is it perceived unworthiness because of our sexual orientation, toxic shame taken on because of our gender expression or is it because you have been told that you are somehow less than because of your gender, your race, your body type or differing physical or mental abilities? These are just some of the root causes of trauma that invite addictions into our lives in an attempt to numb some of the pain that we THINK that we just can’t possibly face on our own. Today’s guest, Cathy Webber is no stranger to pain. Cathy and I met last year and have shared a number of connection points on our recovery journey together. In today’s interview Cathy will share some of her journey and about how she has been able to start seeing the gift in some of her pain. Our conversation today contains topics relating to trauma and addiction and contains personal sharing that includes stories of personal self-harm, drug use and suicidal ideation. If this content triggers you or if you are currently having a mental health crisis I urge you to go to your nearest hospital or call 911. Before we begin today’s interview I want to remind all of our listeners of the importance of advocating for yourself, asking for help and reaching out to create your own network of professional mental health support. Do you know anyone who would benefit from today’s message? Are there any people in your network who may be struggling with self-worth, addiction or mental health? We would love for you to share This Little Light Of Mine with your network so that you might share a message of strength, encouragement and mental wellness with someone who may be in need right now. Thank you to each and every one of you who have subscribed to This Little Light Of Mine, provided comments and ratings. Your feedback and encouragement really means a lot to me personally AND it helps get our message of unconditional love, hope and healing for ALL out to as many people as possible. Thank you for joining us today, for sharing part of your valuable time with me and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my personal story with you in two weeks-time where I go way back and kick it old school and share one of my first memories of being taught to be ashamed of who I am. Until then… always remember, no matter where you are on your journey, you were created on purpose, you matter, you are wanted, you are needed and you are loved. James
24 minutes | 8 months ago
In today’s episode of This Little Light Of Mine I share the part of my story where this project first began. In today’s episode I take you into my disclosure session with my parents during my stay at a long-term complex trauma and rehabilitation centre in the US. This is where I really started living. I’m thankful that we didn’t really have a Pride Weekend in Toronto this year. I’m thankful for chaos, anguish and trauma that we are all living through right now. I’m thankful because I hope this signals the start of our collective awakening. As our world is seemingly falling apart, I know deep within that it has too. We need to break open so that something new can be born. I have to admit that my heart is racing and my breathing is quite shallow after sharing this episode with you. All of my protector parts inside are telling me to reign it in, play it safe and to hit delete. But the deeper I get into recovery, the more I heal, the more I know that I have been giving everything that I need to move forward and use my voice with love. I’m also learning that using my authentic voice doesn’t always feel spectacular. In fact, sometimes it’s downright scary. In my personal life I’m being presented with a number of opportunities to speak up, share my truth and break some of the social codes of silence that I passively learned to accept over the years. I can see how my privilege gets in the way and how I use that as an excuse not to do what I know is right for me. Using my authentic voice can be hard, it’s can be scary and to be honest, sometimes it’s easier just to look the other way and hope someone else will speak up. AND that’s not the person I was created to be. This path forward may not always be easy but this is the work I believe we all need to do so that something even better can be born. We are better and WE are strong together when we come together. I want to extend a massive thank you to Amanda, Coach Carey and all of the powerful women in my life who continue to teach me, stretch me and longingly help me see my privilege. Amanda, Coach Carey, Erin, Angelique, Muqu, Meghan, Suz, Lynn, Leah & Ashley… I am better for knowing you. I also want to thank each of you for joining us today and a huge thank you to all of you who have subscribed to This Little Light Of Mine, shared your ratings and reviews and provided feedback. Thank you for helping me share a message of unconditional love for ALL people. We will be back in two weeks with a brand new episode with my personal friend Cathy W where she will share her incredible story recovery and talks with us about the ‘Gift of Pain’. So what about you? As you reflect back on today’s episode, what comes up for you? Do your insides match your outside? Is there a part inside of you that is yearning to come to the surface? Know that there is greatness in you… let that light shine. The world needs you. You are loved. James. @MyLightShinesBright
22 minutes | 9 months ago
afFIRMation Thursday - Pride Edition with Byron Fulkerth
Hello and welcome to a special Pride Month BONUS episode of This Little Light of Mine. In season one we’re talking about a lot of tough topics from trauma to addiction, systemic racism and gender inequality to coming out to conversion therapy. I wanted to take a hot minute to take a deep breath, throw some glitter in the air and talk about a new take on the elusive pride body… to do that I’ve partnered with personal trainer and personal friend Byron Fulkerth. Byron will be joining me for five weeks as we celebrate our pride edition of afFIRMation Thursdays. Each Thursday we will be sharing some of Byron’s personal intentions, visualizations and affirmations to help pump up your soul so that you can build the ultimate pride body from the inside OUT. A very special thanks to Byron Fulkerth for sharing your passion and expertise with us today and all month long. Check us at on IG and FB at @MyLightShinesBright in each week to see more of Byron and learn how to bring more Pride, Vitality, Strength, Energy and Transformation into your life and into your world. No matter who you are, where you’re from, No matter the colour of your skin, your sexual orientation, your gender expression No matter your weight, your body type or how you look… No matter what. You are wanted. You are needed. You are an important part of our world. You have a voice that we need to hear. You are worthy love…. And you are loved. Happy Pride. James.
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