Gender, Sexual Orientation and Feminised Leadership
Soul Leader welcomes and celebrates lesbian, queer, bisexual and pansexual women and any other sexual identities and choices in our training programs and Certification. We fully embrace and celebrate LGBTQI+ sexuality and welcome all sexual orientations and queer-identified women to the program.
We are an inclusive training academy and believe that all orientations are healthy and natural expressions of human sexuality.
We endeavour to not use heteronormative language, and welcome your feedback if you witness opportunities we can change our language.
Our work is gender and sexuality neutral. Every human being has a soul and is on their own personal journey to invoke and embody the work of their soul regardless of the gender or sexuality they identify with.
Our work is best suited to anyone who identifies as a woman or gender-diverse human. We recognise the gender spectrum is an understanding that gender is not binary, but rather a spectrum of biological, mental and emotional traits that exist along a continuum. We are informed by the numerous scientific fields, including biology, endocrinology, physiology, genetics, neuroscience and reproductive science that have confirmed both sex and gender as a spectrum.
It is important for Soul Leader to communicate that our work is primarily through the lens of woman, inclusive of all who identify as women. Our particular passion is exploring feminised economies, which frame a new world where women or feminised leaders are valued and centered for the unique gifts they bring in synergistic and embodied ways that naturally connect people, place and planet.
We champion feminised leaders to balance the scales in leadership and create opportunities for women to make impact in the embodied, connected, creative and empathetic way women naturally do.
But we recognise the greatest challenges of our time are inter-connected. We can't solve climate change, biodiversity loss, racism or inequitable wealth distribution without doing the deep work of dismantling the systems that created it: colonisation, capitalism and the patriarchy.
In the work of liberation, all humans must become free. We back the wisdom of inter-sectional feminism. White, cis-gendered women internalise oppression if they do not stand for the equity and rights of women of colour and transgender women.
Everyone gains when we work for all marginalised humans within the structures of oppression. We believe in nuance, where we can work for the rights of women, whilst standing for the rights of people of colour and transgender women.
We endeavour to express our work in an inclusive way. For example, previously we have used the word ‘womb of creation’ to describe the melting pot of creative potential that exists within the Creation Centre. We have endeavoured, across all of our content to replace ‘womb of creation’ with ‘cauldron of creation’ to represent that every human being - or those who identify with being human – has a cauldron of creation deep in their pelvis. For those who identify as women, they may also feel into the energy of the womb, for those who don’t – stir the pot/cauldron/cave/pelvis. If you feel safe to do so, we welcome you to adapt this language to how you will work with your clients in the future. The creation centre is not dependant on having a uterus and it exists for every human being.
If you do join the Certification, we will welcome your feedback on how to be even more inclusive - with the understanding that when you are working with practices in the program, there will sometimes be heteronormative and cisgendered language. As you learn the practices, we welcome you to adapt them to fully support your clients.
Addressing privilege in our business and programs
The founder of the Soul Leader, Melissa Sandon, is a women of mixed heritage with white privilege. Her journey of healing and soul awakening has been upon the bedrock of this privilege. Her capacity to grow her business has been within the context of the system and oppression of white supremacy and she acknowledges the privilege in which she has developed her spirituality and grown her business.
At Soul Leader we are actively committed to dismantling this privilege. We continue to grow our understanding of the intersections of race, wealth, disability, gender and sexuality.
We are actively investing in the training and expertise of BIWOC to inform us of our blindspots and inherent discriminations. We are taking this investment and continue to do our anti-racism work.
We are committed to understanding the journey of empowered leadership, within the structural oppressions that exist in this world. We are passionate about tender and messy journey of claiming the value of who we are and the power of our innate gifts whilst acknowledging this journey of empowerment intersects with lived experiences in the world, including trauma, racism, wealth distribution, poverty and patriarchal economies.
We seek to hold nuance in how we guide our clients and also how we teach leaders to mentor others.
We choose to see the whole, multi-dimensional human being BEYOND the rules and roles society has asked us to play and always centre the vibrant and stunning power and richness that exists within everyone's creative spirit. But transformation never solely occurs in a vacuum. Focussing on mental health and empowerment solely on individual acts and personal beliefs minimises the impact of structural oppressions such as inaccessible or unaffordable medical services and trauma therapy, cost-of-living inequities, wage growth, eco-anxiety due to ecological collapse and wealth disparities.
We understand that many people of colour, disabled and marginalized individuals have significant hurdles, challenges and systemic oppressions to face when choosing and then creating their souls desires.
Through our programs, we acknowledge and witness the feelings and experiences of our students, and work to create a space where it is safe to feel, tend to and embody those feelings and experiences without making them wrong or encouraging an individual to bypass them.
We seek to be trauma informed and believe the best way to do this is to know our limitations in guiding people with severe and complex trauma. We believe that degree-qualified trauma professionals are best equipped to work in complex mental health and trauma scenarios. We seek to stay in our work of energetic science, embodied alchemy and soul arts as one part of a multi-faceted support system for our clients.
We, as Energy & Soul Mastery practitioners, seek to hold nuance and complexity. We will actively acknowledge the need for truth-telling as a vital role in healing, and also the freedom of individuals to choose who they desire to be in this world and to recognise their right to shape a new world with their voice and gifts.
We are open to receiving feedback on any harm we cause and to be called in to make amends for it.
We understand that soulful leadership is also about social and environmental justice. Embodiment is not just about being in our body, it is about understanding and taking a stand for what is happening on the body of the earth, the body of our communities, the body of our governments, the body of our economies.
We commit to working with experts in the fields of race, gender, social justice, aboriginal rights, migrant and refugee activism, environmental sustainability and activism.
Soul Leader commits to unpacking and dismantling our own white supremacy and being a part of the collective movement of social and environmental change. We are committed to truth-telling, treaty and voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
We will seek to be honest about our inherent prejudices, spiritual superiorities, conditionings, discriminations and open to receiving feedback on how we can do better.
For students who are challenged with trauma or systemic oppression as a marginalised individual, we will collaborate with them to come up with appropriate mental health, emotional or financial support programs to enhance their access and success within our programs.
We are committed to ensuring our work is accessible in all ways to women of colour and marginalised communities. We also acknowledge that we do not have the expertise to teach on experiences of racism or oppression and we are committed to being anti-racist and continuing to grow our cultural competency.
If you are a woman of could or racial/discrimination expert and feel called to collaborate with us in the areas of intersectional healing and transformation, please do reach out to us. We are always looking for opportunities for us to go deeper with our understanding.
If you identify with being from a marginalized community and would like to participate in our work but experience significant barriers to do so (financial, emotional, technological), then please get in contact with us and we will collaborate with you on how to make this possible.
We will provide opportunities to individuals of Black, Indigenous Women of Colour and marginalized communities to access our work when there are significant financial barriers.
We will work with experts to ensure any scholarship program is ethical, in integrity, not harmful or problematic and empowering.
Our programs will endeavour to meet the needs of persons with a disability or impairment. We will continue to expand our disability capacity in all of our technical and online endeavours – including providing image text on social posts and making sure our websites are disability accessible.
Our training venues will have disability access.
We will provide solutions for those who cannot use massage tables due to issues of weight, stability or disability.
We will work to collaborate with students who experience disability. We will be pro-active and responsive in collaborating with vision or hearing impaired students. We will ensure our programs can be done in conjunction with an Auslan interpreter.
We will protect the dignity of our disabled community members.
You may see the use of the word ‘She’ as a pronoun when relating ideas of soul or personal journeys of awakening. This formed as part of Melissa’s journey of reclamation of the woman she is from the clutches of the Patriarchy. It is also Melissa’s personal relationship with her soul essence, a flavour that she uses to express her connection. The soul does not have a gender or sex. It does not need a pronoun, even though you are welcome to give it one. You are welcome to use the concepts of femininity or masculinity or not at all.
Our work will evolve our understanding of the nature of soul, beyond gender. We will endeavour to use the pronouns they/theirs/them to represent our work.
Melissa will also use woman from time to time because her body of work has been derived from her own experience of identifying as a woman but we will actively identify this as a personal choice
To date, we have only offered our work to those who identify as a woman, regardless of their gender or sex. This is because we have felt ill-equipped to teach to the many diverse personal experiences of healing and leadership.
We endeavour to continue to grow our capacity to learn, explore and qualify ourselves in the science of energy & soul mastery through different lenses.
If you have any suggestions for us with this, please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
On body shapes
Within the realm of our own becoming, we will explore the relationship we have with our own body. We do not and never will discriminate against any body type. We will never promote diets or a fetishised body type as ideal. We will endeavour to compassionately explore the concepts of releasing emotional burden, healing trauma, reclaiming pleasure and erotic power of the body, energising our field and channelling light with NO reference to the physical shape or size of an individual. These concepts will work purely with the focus of personal liberation and loving acceptance and the wonderful and very human body we all live in.
On spiritual bypassing
We acknowledge the direct harm and erasure of spiritual bypassing within the wellness and spiritual industry.
We acknowledge the violence of terms like ‘love and light’ and ‘we’re all one’ in response to education about discrimination.
We commit to never teaching a one-dimensional light based spirituality.
Our spiritual education will be deeply rooted in earth-based truths, including social and environmental justice.
On cultural appropriation
We understand the harm of cultural appropriation of the spiritual industry and communication to the spiritual cultures of communities across the world.
We acknowledge the use of spiritual practices of indigenous cultures is an erasure of the systemic oppression those cultures still experience and the profiteering on cultures without permission or a deep relationship with that culture.
At the Soul Medicine Academy, we will not teach the spirituality of cultures that are not our own. We will actively educate our students of the problematic nature of cultural appropriation.
We will not:
Appropriate indigenous practices
Wear indian or tribal headdresses
Use within our curriculum the knowledge of a culture that is not our own – for examples ‘tantra’ or ‘yoga’ or ‘chinese medicine’
Teach goddess education of different cultures and philosophy
Use stock photography branded with someone else’s culture eg headdresses, goddesses
When we purchase gifts for our students we will only purchase or make products that are sustainable, independent (as in not derived from other cultures) and preferably local.
We will not purchase or gift:
White-washed spiritual texts or products (new age journals etc)
Crystals (for the impact of mining earth resources)
Cultural texts on yoga, chakras, Chinese medicine
Diversity in our programs
We will actively work towards ensuring our programs are well represented with a strategy towards this is of building trust as a non-harmful organisation of allyship.
Acknowledgement of Country
The Soul Medicine Academy headquarters are based in Brisbane, Australia (traditional name: Meanjin). This is the place we work, play, live, heal and activate our soul work. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the traditional owners on this land. We recognise that the land was never ceded and we pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging as the holders of the memories, the traditions, the culture and the spiritual wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the nation.
We acknowledge before European colonisation, the land, the river and its tributaries were the source and support of life in all its dimensions and we cannot do our soul work on this land without this recognition.
In the spirit of reconciliation, respect and partnership, we will invest in learning, and being guided by, the wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.