In the realm of wellness, the conversation often revolves around access, authenticity, and the profound impact of healing modalities. In this blog post, we delve into a crucial dialogue with Jona Genova, a performance coach and Reiki instructor, exploring how privilege can be harnessed for positive change and shedding light on the issues of cultural appropriation and white supremacy within the healing space.
Jona passionately advocates for equitable access to healing, emphasizing that everyone deserves the opportunity to fully express themselves. In Amber Carbal’s podcast, Misconceptions of Healing: Challenging the Doctor's Dilemma with Jona Genova they explore important pointers unearthing the challenges posed by societal norms, highlighting the need for a shift in perspectives within the healing landscape.
"Part of the way that you are creating access is that you're intentional about leaning in in the spaces where you feel called to do so." - Amber Cabral
As Jona shares her unique journey and approach to standing up against cultural appropriation, she invites us to ponder a world where all individuals can access the transformative power of healing. Read on to learn how you can learn how to break boundaries, foster authenticity, and promote universal access to wellness practices that can truly make a difference.
Jona Genova's journey in the healing space is a narrative woven with unique threads, deeply rooted in her personal history and commitment to authenticity. Raised in a rural community, Jona's early experiences, such as discovering arrowheads and engaging with the remnants of Native American culture, laid the groundwork for her connection to the diverse textures and vibrations of the world around her. This connection was further nurtured through her musical pursuits, particularly playing the cello, an instrument that, unbeknownst to her, tuned her to vibrations from a young age.
Her transformative journey took a significant turn during college when she encountered Tibetan Buddhism through a comparative religion class taught by a Tibetan llama. This introduction sparked her fascination with the unique perspective of Tibetan Buddhists on health, offering a stark contrast to mainstream Western views. Concurrently, she delved into classes on ethics in healthcare, realizing the biases inherent in Western healthcare systems. This realization planted the seeds for her future commitment to challenging these biases and advocating for a more inclusive understanding of well-being.
What makes Jona's approach truly distinctive is her unwavering stance against cultural appropriation within the healing space. She keenly identifies the problematic archetype prevalent in the healing community—a visual representation often associated with white supremacy culture. This includes the familiar image of a white practitioner with flowing hair, waving Palo Santo or white sage, adorned with crystals, and creating a sanitized, Instagram-worthy aesthetic. Jona recognizes this as cultural appropriation, a phenomenon that goes beyond visuals, seeping into the healing work itself and perpetuating a distorted version of authentic practices.
In her conversations, she courageously addresses the issue head-on, naming cultural appropriation and emphasizing its entanglement with white supremacy culture. She sheds light on the diluted and mutated version of healing that arises when practitioners divorce ancient practices from their deep cultural origins. Notably, she emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and addressing these issues as part of her commitment to standing up against cultural appropriation.
Jona's journey is a testament to her dedication to preserving the integrity of healing modalities, particularly Tibetan meditation practices, which boast a history dating back centuries. She draws strength from the human connections she cultivated with Tibetan teachers, highlighting the importance of acknowledging the lineage and care that have preserved these practices over generations.
However, Jona's path is not without its challenges. In her efforts to raise awareness and maintain fidelity to these traditions, she faces resistance, often being told to dilute her message or avoid references to Tibetan Buddhism. Her commitment to standing up against cultural appropriation requires her to navigate these complexities, a journey that demands both resilience and a deep sense of purpose.
Jona's approach is not just about critique; it's a call to action. She urges others to recognize and reject the appropriation that has infiltrated healing spaces, advocating for a return to authenticity and a profound understanding of the cultural roots from which these practices spring. Through her unique journey, Jona Genova stands as a steadfast guardian of the rich tapestry of healing traditions, challenging the status quo and promoting a more equitable and culturally respectful approach to well-being
Let’s explore some key insights and actionable baby steps that you can start today. These are centered around healing, rest, meditation, and the positive use of privilege, and you can start any number of these as they apply to you.
Privilege often comes with guilt, but what if we changed the way we look at it? There is a lack of awareness of privilege in general, and people tend to succumb to the guilt of having it instead of utilizing it. Privilege actually gives us an opportunity to make an impact; it’s a tool to take advantage of to bring about a positive change to the world.
There is a common belief that something we can’t see can’t be real; therefore it’s not true, and that it won’t affect us in any way. This belief is one of the main obstacles to healing—rooted in what you call a "preverbal”. Traumas are preverbals, if we don’t address it there won’t be healing. Therefore acknowledgement and awareness of its existence are crucial for your personal growth and healing journey. It spotlights the importance of an open perspective that recognizes healing as an ongoing process.
Sleep is a critical element for optimal functioning - studies have shown that less than 8 hours of sleep a day can impact our reflexes and decision making abilities. Prioritizing sufficient sleep is an essential part of nurturing our well-being. Especially for marginalized communities that are under constant stress and pressure as they are often folks that work extra hours to get by.
Practices such as Reiki and Meditation can be effective tools to mitigate the impact of stress. These modalities have existed for a very long time and have been proven to be effective for many people. Even if unconventional and can’t be understood at face value, we can seek to understand it through our subconsciousness. By incorporating it into our healing process, we can cultivate resilience and inner peace.
Women, in particular, are often expected to be modest and shy away from exercising their self confidence. There is a need to challenge societal biases by advocating self-love. By encouraging the promotion of celebrating one’s beauty, women can go against norms and pursue a culture of positivity and self-empowerment.
Jona Genova challenges healing stereotypes, promoting inclusivity through modalities like Reiki and Tibetan meditations. The conversation underscores the urgency of dismantling the prevalent image of healers as primarily white, making healing more accessible. Jona addresses systemic challenges for marginalized communities, emphasizing the importance of recognizing preverbal trauma aspects often overlooked. The discussion also highlights the need for genuine practitioners and practical advice on evaluating them, especially in Reiki certifications.
Jona's journey reflects a powerful acknowledgment of privilege, inspiring positive well-being. Healing may be a predominantly individualist journey, but there’s a community of people on various stages of their own journey in search of brothers and sisters. There could be tremendous value in sharing your ongoing journey while opening yourself to opportunities to meet people that further aid you in your healing, just as Amber does with her podcast.
Join Amber and similar conscious creators by watching or starting your own podcast with EPYC! With EPYC Network by your side, not only will your message echo louder, but your impact will span wider. Your healing journey is a story worth telling; let EPYC help you break those boundaries.