14: What's Possible When You Stop Denying Your Power with Miik Wells

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In this episode, Andréa talks with Miik Wells, who's work focuses on Inner Equity, about his journey, his work, his struggles and growth around owning his power and how inner equity works into the bigger picture of liberatory leadership and beyond.

Mentioned resources:

Transcript:

Miik:                 

This is Miik Wells, AKA Double I, if you're nasty.

Andréa:                 

And I'm Andréa Ranae. AKA Dr. Dre. And this is A Call to Serve.

Andréa:                 

You're listening to A Call to Serve. This is a podcast calling entrepreneurs, coaches, educators, healers, creatives, and other people with a vision for change in their communities to show up with integrity, use their power and practice radical service so that they can make their unique impact in the world in the most sustainable ways. My name is Andréa Ranae. I'm a facilitator, teacher and coach focusing my work on holding space for liberatory leadership. And I am so excited that you're here. Let's get into this episode.

Andréa:                 

Okay, friends. If it hasn't already been made apparent to you, you're in for a treat. I can't wait to share this interview and human with you. I think one of the reasons that I love having this podcast is I get to share so many of my favorite human beings with you. People that it feels like an injustice that I am only one of a few people that really gets to appreciate and enjoy who they are, their gifts, their wisdom and knowledge. And I'm doing what I can to make it so that that's not the case anymore, you know? So, today we're talking with Miik Wells, Miik with two "i"s if you nasty, like you said. I met Miik I think the beginning of last year at an event where he was the emcee and I was offering a few workshops and he took one of them and we connected there. And then we had a couple moments where we were laughing at white people dancing and had one of those moments - if you're a person of color, you may know this moment - where something white is going on and you just lock eyes with another person of color in the space. You may not know them, maybe you do. But you just lock eyes and you're like, OK. Those y'all that are white, maybe you know what I'm talking about, but maybe you're like, "What are you talking about?" Well, don't worry about it. So my life hasn't been the same since. And, I'm just so inspired and touched by the work that Miik is stewarding into the world. He's really channeling this beautiful body of work on inner equity. He's also a facilitator. He calls himself a cheshire catalyst and - I don't know if I'm saying that word right, cheshire - and also a cultivator of social ecosystems, which I totally agree with and co-sign. In this episode we talk about the struggle and process that Miik has gone through and continues to go through as he navigates both his privilege and his marginalization in the spaces that he is within, in his work, in his communities. And I think that's such an important conversation that we have. So definitely perk your ears up for that one. And then we also talk about his word for the year, which is "undeniable". And we talk about inner equity. We talk about what inner equity is, how it came to be, and I just think that getting in Miik's orbit will open up worlds for you. Miik is also the first cis man that I've had on the podcast, and I think that I feel really good about that, because I think Miik is one of the only men, one of very few, that I know that are - sorry, cis men - that are constantly grappling with the power, the privilege, and everything that comes with it, of being cis man in this world and navigates it in such beautiful ways and navigates it in ways where he's not apologizing for himself, but he's taking charge of it. And, I think that - of course Miik isn't perfect, no one is - but the way that Miik models cis manhood is a beautiful thing to get to witness. So I'm gonna let you go ahead and get into this episode. I hope you enjoy it. And I'll meet you on the other side.

Andréa:                 

So what are you cultivating right now?

Miik:                 

What am I cultivating? Ooh, okay. I'm cultivating a lot. I was introduced to this whole word for the year, a word / intention that you're holding for a year, through my lady. And this year as I was going through, I was having some challenges around a couple of things, not being seen, not being valued, missed out on a couple of opportunities late last year and wasn't even paying attention to myself. I was more thinking about it for everyone else. But of course, as things work, if it's outside, you got to work it on the inside too. But my word ended up being "undeniable". And what I was thinking was that my value and my worth would be undeniable to others, that my presence would be undeniable, that the words and the messages that I'm trying to get across are undeniable. But what I've been finding is that that's already there. What I've been finding is that's already there. It was me that was denying a lot of myself. And so I was denying my own value in my own words. I wasn't realizing what I was carrying and what I wanted to share, what I needed. I was always begging for somebody to give me what I needed without even recognizing that there might be other avenues for me to get what I need, especially even myself, giving myself what I need. And so undeniable has been something that I've been cultivating a whole hell of a lot up to and including being in a cohort with you and others giving me all sorts of reflection that I so want to deny, but can't. All the acknowledgement and all of the ways that y'all see me that I know to be true deep down, and I even stay to be true, but that in between I've denied for one reason or another. But that part, the real cultivation piece has been inside me. Cultivating me in all my dimensions and not denying any part of it so that I can be more whole.

Andréa:                 

So you started out the year - or when you came up with this word for the year - was it like, "Y'all are going to see me, y'all are gonna recognize what this is!" And then you're like, "Oh wait, I'm not seeing me. I'm not recognizing."

Miik:                 

Yeah. And other people seeing parts and pieces and ways of me that I wasn't even seeing. So it's like making myself undeniable to others and then having that reflected back to me like, "Oh, I didn't even see that. Okay, thank you." Yeah.

Andréa:                 

And so, it's not...so there's this process of going in and recognizing and acknowledging the undeniable you. And that is made more possible by having you reflected back through other people. Like what we talked about in the facilitation training and all of that. There's this kind of back and forth of like, "Oh, you see this in me?"

Miik:                 

Right. And that inquiry of, is that real, being open or at least, or even being in the process of being more open to that being true instead of denying it, even if inside of me I'm saying, yes, it's true. And then still this other part is like, eh, I've had enough people say that it's not so that's not, but really being open to that answer and not denying the answer.

Andréa:                 

Yeah. I love that. Especially with the context that I have. In the facilitation training, we're all looking at Miik, like what you have, every single person on this planet needs at least a little taste of this. It's not okay that only Seattle or Washington is getting it, really. It's not, it's tragic. So Miik's looking at us like, whew.

Miik:                 

Yup, I'm already trying to deny it. And I've done so much work around it, too!

Andréa:                 

Yeah. And it's real. And I totally so resonate. Because we had a retreat in June where a lot of these conversations were happening and we were just reflecting each other back. Me and Miik and the like, 10 other people that were there. Just reflecting each other back our greatness and our visions back to one another. And, I also got pieces of that coming towards me where people were like, "This is not what you should be doing. You need to be in a different setting. It's not fair that only we get this." And I'm having the same feels as Miik, where I'm like: SHIT.

Miik:                 

Exactly! It's everything that I want, and I'm running the opposite direction right now!

Andréa:                 

I love that. And also we were talking about, before we started recording, how a little bit after we first met, you were really grappling a lot with your place in any space. Especially in spaces where you have the privilege. And maybe you're the minority in the space, but culturally you have privilege as a cis man and you're also black. And you're also just, you. And, figuring out like how to share your, you-ness with people in a specific space without taking space from others or getting in the way of other people showing up and all of that. And I'm just seeing your process as you've been digging into that. And it's something that I see so many people struggling with. How do I be aware of my privilege, aware of my positioning in society without denying myself or without inflicting rules and restrictions on myself about how I need to show up. How do I hold both? How do I show up authentically and still be aware of how I am impacting the space around me? Where are you at with that?

Miik:                 

Yeah, I can still see a little bit, it's fuzzy, but I can still see the call that I was on when I brought that up. And I think it was about even introductions where I just kept trying to make myself last because I was the only male person in that space. And you just really were like: "What does it look like if you just work? Just be?" And I was like, alright, I will go ahead and try that out. The way that I was thinking of it at the time is how a lot of us think about it, where the quote/unquote space that we take up is a solid space. Like I have a sphere and nobody else is allowed to be in that sphere. And so if I'm taking up - I'm a huge being, just a huge person. I'm quote/unquote only six-three, but I'm big for an average space and my personality is huge and my brain is huge. And how I like to interact is huge. And so when I thought about that in terms of taking up space, that's a big sphere that in a room, not a lot of people will be able to take up. And then it's about competition. But during this journey, especially through the facilitation training and I'm trying things out, what I've been finding is that the space isn't a solid space. I think of it more like a root system, or more like nature where yes, there is space that is taken up, but it's also, it leaves space for other beings and other ways to happen in and around it and to connect with it. Like my root system might be huge. The way that I branch out into a space might be huge, but there's so much more other space that can be occupied. Where I find myself now is there's a difference in where I place my trust. There's a saying that's just popping up into my mind, where it's, they said a bird doesn't trust the branch, it trusts its wings. And that's why it can land on different branches and things like that, because it's not about whether the branch is going to break or not, it's whether I can fly. And so it's that same thing where I'm thinking about, I'm trying, I trust my capacity to be agile with consequence, with the consequences of my actions and with what comes at me rather than trying to manipulate myself into not doing something that consequence would come. I'm really good at observation. I'm pretty sensitive. So if I say something, do something, I can pay attention to the way that the energy shifts, the way that faces move or body language changes and being able to trust, Oh, okay, I'm affecting it space in this way and that's probably not what I want, so let me shift that. Or let me address it or maybe name it or something like that, where I have more trust in myself and my ability to be agile with social situations and ever-changing landscapes more than gaining a whole lot of tools to maneuver around certain things. I have that. I definitely have that being a person of color in this country. But shifting that into not denying what it is that's coming forward from me and then dealing with the consequence and having a lot of trust in that.

Andréa:                 

Yeah. So before, you were literally on that call - this workshop that I did last summer, which was like my first time really being in a space with you like this where I really got to engage with you. I think - I'm not event going to get into it - but I didn't get to like really connect with Miik. But seeing how you were like, I'm gonna wait until everybody goes, I'm going to go last because that's respectful - or I don't know what the reasoning exactly is - but this is how I'm going to grapple with my privilege in this space. I'm going to go last. I'm going to make sure that my word on this is the smallest. You didn't see my face, but I was deciding whether or not that was accurate, and I was like, I'm just gonna go with it. But it was, it was the smallest. It never was actually the smallest, but trying to make it the smallest. So going from trying to kind of manipulate and contort who you are, what you have, your bigness, into smallness, and as a way to grapple with the privilege and the dynamic and the power and everything, to: I'm going to show up as me, and I trust my capacity to be able to deal with the consequences of what comes from me showing up as me.

Miik:                 

Doing a compare and contrast, there is so much that, as you would say, that was left on the table with trying to be small, with trying to be last, with taking my privileges and my positionality and moving it to the back of the line. Because outside, I won't say outside, I'll just say I carried a lot of privileges. I mean, I'm a man. I grew up more middle-ish/upper middle-ish class. I'm tall, I have a big voice, have all these privileges that I'm holding. And then I just had this very visible marginalization and I see how other folks with privileges are unaware of them. And so I've been hyper aware and hyper-sensitive of those things and trying to say, okay, well let me not take up space from somebody else who might not have that space. But then flipping that around, even been being able to notice that maybe somebody isn't having space and maybe calling them, asking if they want to take up some time and space, maybe interrupting somebody else who's taking up too much. But using my own privileges, powers and awarenesses in a way that is in integrity with who I am and how I like to share and collaborate and connect with folks, especially in collective learning spaces. I mean those are the most beautiful spaces for us all to be cultivating a really healthy ecosystem for us all to learn and grow in. And so I guess that's another one of those things that I'm cultivating is, I'm starting to move and trying to figure out what titles to carry and things like that. And um, I've been using "cultivator" a lot more, "facilitator" is one of those, but cultivator is one, and I talk about cultivating social ecosystems and it's really restoring our social ecosystems in a way that we're sharing, connecting, collaborating. And that's the thing that I've been finding the most when I was doing the whole thing about going to the back of the line, it was like being in the back of the line and looking over and hoping that everybody else would take that cue and try to work out that way. But I've been finding the more space that I take up, the more we all intentionally cultivate the space together.

Andréa:                 

Yeah. Because you're showing up. And I love it all. And one thing that you said, I just want to underline and make sure it's heard, this thing about when we are aware of some of our privileges, for a lot of us, our first move is to deny it and not in like a, "Oh no, I don't have it," but in a, "No, I'm not going to use it. I'm going to deny the use of this part of me to try to make others comfortable or to try to take care of the people that don't have this privilege, or to make sure that I don't do any harm." And that does more harm, to yourself, and creates potential for more harm out in the world because you're not paying attention to the ways in which it's influencing regardless. It's influencing whether you deny it or not, but you miss out on so many opportunities to influence with your integrity, with your values, with your vision, using these privileges that you have. You miss those opportunities when you deny it.

Miik:                 

Yeah...Nope! And so much because I'm, because then it takes the onus off of one way of communicating as the only way to get your message across or influence space. And I'm thinking, Oh, it's more just about if I just turn down the time frame on my verbal expression, then that leaves time for more verbal expression, but then I'm denying my emotional expression or my relational expression. And then having that communicate to others where it's like, okay, I'm fully embracing this space and I'm fully in it. And so somebody else across the room can feel like, "Oh wow, somebody else is showing up fully in their emotionality. Okay, now I feel like I have permission to do that too." And so that communication is getting, is getting put forward. So yeah, it's taking a concentrated and small space and thought and expanding it to so many other dimensions of us that can show up.

Andréa:                 

I love that. It's like, where we decide to suppress ourselves in order to try to like create liberation and...

Miik:                 

Yeah, doesn't work.

Andréa:                 

It doesn't work. And I get it and I've done it and Miik's done it. And we will continue to do it in different ways and continue to learn different ways. But, suppressing the power that we have and the privilege that we have will not cultivate liberation. It just won't.

Miik:                 

No, cause suppression doesn't. Suppression and separation and denying dismissing...I mean, just all the things that just take us away from ourselves and separate us from ourselves and each other. It's so interesting, like you said, I get it. To be liberated, to be free means to be connected to others. It just seems, and I mean in our individualistic framework of this culture, that does seem like, "Oh, if I'm shackled to somebody else, that means I'm more free?" That doesn't makes sense. But it's not about shackles. It's not what it's about.

Andréa:                 

Well that's a perfect segue into talking about inner equity. Talking about the things that we deny our body and our emotional self and our relational self and all of that. And I don't even know where to start, but can you just explain and share a little bit about what inner equity is as a practice and also just like as the work that you're sharing in the world?

Miik:                 

So equity is something that popped up for me maybe late last year, as I was thinking about...people were asking me about facilitation - I do facilitation and I wasn't really able to encapsulate what it is that I do and what it is that I bring. So I started paying more attention to how I facilitate spaces and how I like to be in spaces and it's more experiential and interactive. And I was wondering what that was about. Somebody asked me to do a facilitator training, how to be a facilitator. And so I started really peeling apart. Something that I do naturally, I don't really pay much attention to as much as I just trust it. Now I'm examining it. What is it all about? And what I was starting to land on was that this culture, in order to kind of manipulate us and control us and move us around, compartmentalizes us. It breaks us up into different pieces and then puts us in compartments so that the parts of ourselves don't talk to each other to realize what things are going on. And the major dimensions that are out there that are popular are our mental self, our physical self, our emotional self, and then, what has been labeled spiritual self. I've done a whole lot of spiritual examination and work and everything. And for me, it was all about relationships. When I think about how people speak of spiritual, it's what's bigger than you, what can't be explained, it's universal, it's all these things. And what I think about is in relationship, I feel bigger than I am. When there's two of us, there's actually a third entity that's created that's bigger than us. And when there's more people, then there's more. And so really for me, it's a relational self. There's a part of us that is social and a part of us that connects to other living beings and just thinks of ourselves in relationship to other things around us, even objects around us. And so those four pieces all have their own entity, their own identity, their own space, their own flavor, their own color, their own sound, their own language. And the practice of interacting with it for me really came through with the end of the oppressed and being able to act out certain things that maybe not verbally would come across. And so I really started thinking about what were the languages and how to connect with those other parts of myself and really pay attention to, and listen to, and really hear without overlaying my understanding on top of those parts of us. And so thinking about this culture, we have our mental self as the center point, as the point that gets to be privileged and it makes all the decisions and all the consequences and burdens get put on the other parts of ourselves. And then we have our physical self that carries a lot of the burden, taking our mental self from here to there. We have our emotional self that gets kind of dismissed as messy and uncontrollable and things like that. And then we have our relational stuff that really gets dismissed and disappears, really. Not really fully understanding how important it is, the connections that we make to ourselves and to all the beings that are around us so that we know how much we're giving, how much we're taking and things like that. And so the practice for me is paying attention to if I'm making a choice, if I'm in a space, if I'm talking to someone, or whatever's going on with me, checking in with the different parts of myself to see what I'm feeling, what I'm hearing, what I'm experiencing. Does my physical self want to be in the space? What does my emotional self feel about this space? Does my relational self even want to be this close to this person? And paying attention to all those voices being brought to the same table at the same time. And not just having my mind say, "Well, I've made the determination so this is what we're doing." It's really gathering all the voices inside of me to make a really fully informed choice of consent rather than compliance. There's a consent versus compliance thing that we talk about in another regard...

Andréa:                 

What I'm imagining is the movie, "Inside Out."

Miik:                 

YES! So many people have referred to "Inside Out"!

Andréa:                 

I think it's a beautiful movie, but for inner equity work, it's not all emotion. So, in "Inside Out", it's these different emotions trying to run the show and figure out how to work together for this one human being. With inner equity work, it's looking at - what are the four?

Miik:                 

Physical, emotional, mental and relational.

Andréa:                 

So it's like these four pieces of you, I imagine sitting around in a circle, like, this is what I want, what do you want? And just like digging in on, what's the best decision here for...

Miik:                 

And trying to make sure that the mind knows how privileged it is and that it can use this power for good. But yeah. It really is. It is that, and there's so much that I'm learning about and exploring. It goes so much deeper. Even with "Inside Out" going into the emotional part, there's these different emotions that we have and there's some emotions that are good. There's good ones, quote/unquote, and some of them that are the quote/unquote "bad" ones. And so much suppression that goes on there. There's one thing that comes to mind, is when we go to emotional exploring, asking folks about their happiness and how much of their happiness are they allowed to let out. And being so saddened by a lot of people finding themselves repressing how happy they can be, suppressing their joy. And it's like, "Wow, I'm not allowed to laugh this loud or I'm not allowed to be this happy." I remember about a couple of months ago when I was starting to tell people I feel good. And it started feeling weird to me. I didn't want it to say it. I didn't want to tell people that I was feeling good. Like, what's that about? But anyway, each one of the dimensions have their own imbalances. And so inner equity, as a practice for me is - like you said - those four pieces at the same table and really, it's the work. It really is. When people refer to, you know, you need to do your work or are you even doing the work? It's not just about the reading, because that's a lot of the mental feeding and nourishing the mind and everything like that. But what about the other parts where the work is really doing a lot of the equity stuff inside as well as outside? Because if you're not, if you're not balanced and connected and fully bringing all the parts of yourself to the table, how can I expect you to bring other people to the table to use their voice if you can't even do that inside of yourself? No, I'm not going to say that. I have to change that. I'm sorry, I need to change the "yourselves" to "myself". This was where I was starting and I'm not even really pointing the finger at anybody as much as myself. I can't do equity work outside of myself if I'm not doing it inside. And so that's where it really lands for me.

Andréa:                 

And it's not, even now, as you share it with others and do workshops around it and everything, it's still not the, "How can you do this without doing this?" It's like, here's what I'm doing, here's what I've got, here's the invitation to look at some of these questions to fortify and make your work more sustainable and make it more in integrity with all the pieces of you. And if you want it, cool. And if you don't, okay.

Miik:                 

Yeah, and that journey's even been wild too, because for me, I'm getting a better sense of how those parts of me, the different voices and different languages that those parts of me use. And I had been originally teaching it in that way, but now I'm finding myself even peeling back on that and leaving more room for other peoples' different parts. Language is to come forward. My body will speak to me this way, but your body might speak to you in a different way and rather than telling you, "This is how it talks to you," saying, "This is how mine talks to me, or this is one way that it can talk." What is your way and finding that so you can hear that voice.

Andréa:                 

Yeah. Well, and that's one thing that I so love about the process. In the question asking your emotional self or even just like asking the happy part of you, "In what ways do I not allow you to exist? What ways do I not allow you to show up and express yourself?" And having that conversation with this piece of you, it's wild. Like what can come up just in talking to your body? Or talking to the relational self and, and asking the question and then seeing the answer. And I didn't have that answer before. I asked the question and I hadn't even really thought about it. But, I think it's such a beautiful practice. So, what does equity mean to you?

Miik:                 

Equity for me is about connection, sharing resources and needs. It's about every part of ourselves, about every person. Equity is really about needs being addressed, needs being taken care of, resources being distributed in the way that those needs can be taken care of, and healthy thriving to happen. Thank you for stumping me with that question, because it's something that I feel, but I haven't really even put a concrete definition on top of because it's just one of those things where it feels like...

Andréa:                 

What's really fun for me is that I think the need to strictly define something in a very clear sentence is very white. It is in the sense of like trying to control something, especially when we're talking about equity. And I have the same thought process around liberatory leadership. I have this framework, but even in the framework, it's not a defined thing. It's, here's all the possibility within it. And there's more. This isn't totally comprehensive of all the different things that liberatory leadership could be - which I have a question for you, but we'll come to that later - but I think with equity, and again, it's important to have a shared definition so we can know what we're talking about, right? But what I hear and I also would have a very similar answer to that question about how do you define equity? It's about the resources and it's about the needs. And it's about how the needs are being met with the resources available. And it's like tending to all the different needs that we have as humans, and the care and the connection that's required to tend to all of that. And there's more specifics about like what that looks like.

Miik:                 

Right. Yeah. Thank you for reminding me of that. I can get stuck in that whole, what's the clear and concise definition that I can carry into every single time that I get asked that question? Which, I'll probably never get asked that question ever again. But yeah, that's the way that it feels for me. Resources need that distribution and the sustainable health where there's a balance. And what comes to me a lot is, there's this ropes and challenge course element that I used to love. It's a circle platform that's on a bowling ball and the center part is on the bowling ball. And what you have to do as a group is get yourself so that the whole platform is off the ground and balanced on top of the bowling ball. And that's what I feel like equity is. It's like, okay, we've got this center point, we've got this platform and we all have to be distributed with our weight and our different ways and location toward the center to get it to balance. And that's what it feels like.

Andréa:                 

And so, having everybody on that platform, and everybody's different weights, different heights, their weight is distributed differently. And we're all on this huge platform called earth and we've got to figure out how to keep it going, how to create sustainable ways of moving on that platform. And, yeah, I agree with seeing that in the, in the equity.

Miik:                 

Sorry, I had something pop up. All right, I'm back.

Andréa:                 

Okay. So you're sharing, inner equity with people right now in mostly the form of workshops and mostly in person. What are you - in terms of what are you cultivating - what are you cultivating around this specific work around inequity?

Miik:                 

So for me, inner equity is this entity that's out there that I'm learning so much more about in different ways that I can introduce it into the spaces that I'm in or into any other work that I'm doing. Right now, especially coming out of the four skills portion of the facilitation training and really looking at how I can best lean into the undeniable parts of me and it and how we intersect and bring it out. I've been thinking about doing videos, doing online trainings and facilitation and introductions of inner equity. And I've also been kind of bringing it more into decision making. And I've actually started coaching. I did not realize that I was going to be doing that, but I was starting to do some coaching with a couple of folx and bringing it more into their thought processes around it. Like, this is something I experienced, or I want to do this in a whole different way. And I'm like, okay, so how are you feeling about it? Or, what happens in your body when you think about that? Who is it that you're really being drawn to or wanting to peel away from? And how can we make that happen? And so bringing all these different elements in without even calling it inner equity. Overall, it's bringing in these elements that might help inform a decision more and using somebody as an antenna for that. So I'm processing through how I'm going to roll out some videos and some invitations for webinars to come in and just say, "Hey! Here's what I've got for you and I'm going to do a lot more from there." So, it's all very amorphous right now. I think I'm doing some avoiding, but I'm also keeping an eye on my capacity because I'm learning a whole lot. We were talking earlier before we came on and I was talking about a whole bunch of stuff that I'm learning and changing and moving in a whole bunch of different dimensions inside of me, not just the four, but probably 400. And it's really challenging to have all those things moving. And so the word that you brought forward, was "in flux", or the phrase was, "I'm in flux". There's a lot of flex going on, a lot of changing, a lot of growing. And so I'm not sure exactly how this is all gonna roll out, but I know that it's going to. Like, it HAS to.

Andréa:                 

The entire time Miik has been talking about this, I've just been like, "MHM! YESSSS!"

Miik:                 

And every time that I bring it up, too, at least the folks in our liberatory facilitation cohort, and even another couple of people are like, "So, when are you doing the big thing? When are you doing the huge thing? And every time I go try to hide behind a tree, my little ass pokin' out...

Andréa:                 

We think you're dabbling. And you're in your process. And I'm patient. But...

Miik:                 

I'm patient, but! [hysterical laughing].

Andréa:                 

Well it's so exciting to me. And I think it looked like you already knew, but what was reflected back to you when you shared a small piece of this with us at the retreat that we had for the facilitator training, that this has been a practice for you and you're sharing this with people and seeing how they react to it and how they integrate it and everything. And there's huge piece missing that this is a practice. And what are you, Miik, what are you doing to further, and really be a steward for, this beautiful work? How are you making it possible for people to actually cultivate this as a practice for themselves? And, I'm excited. I'm so excited to see what that turns into and where you take it. And I think it's a super crucial thing and why I wanted to share that. I think for anyone that has this really special, or robust, or relevant to the world...you have this idea or this concept or this practice and you want to share it with others, there's this process I've also gone through, and am continuing to go through, of: I'm just gonna put it out there. I'm just gonna like tip toe and lay it down. Let's just see how people react and then...

Miik:                 

I'm gonna go in really early, I'm gonna put this on the table and then I'm gonna leave. Then I'm going to look through the window and see what happens.

Andréa:                 

Exactly. And there is this process of, okay, this foundational element feels really clear. What now? Where do we take this? And being in service to the idea, to the practice itself, it's a disservice for people to not have that support to make it into a practice for themselves. It's so powerful and so simple and yeah, I'm just very excited about it.

Miik:                 

Thank you. I'm glad you are. And I'm happy that so many people are too... And I'm scared [laughs].

Andréa:                 

I am too about my own stuff. And good. I'm going to bring that back to one of the questions I'm going to ask as we wrap up. So I have three more questions for you. How do you define or understand or hold what liberatory leadership is?

Miik:                 

Ooo. For me, Liberatory leadership as a title, as kind of words on a door that I can be entering, what comes to mind is, whether I know it or not, there's people that are looking at me and following me and what am I doing with that? So I'm leading. And so the flavor of that leadership, what is it? Liberatory it's how am I freeing whole people or parts of people from the condition cages that they're in? So that's what comes to me with the title. Having been in this liberatory and facilitator training, what I've been finding liberatory leadership to be is...for me it's a flipping of what we think of freedom to be, what freedom has been co-opted to mean. And really thinking of how connection and rootedness and our own and other people's humanity and the possibilities that get opened up for from that. And so the liberatory actually seems to be the center piece and then the leadership is, is the flavor. It's, how am I inviting people into my and their own humanity?

Andréa:                 

And bringing those two together, it's sounds like there's a rooting in, and connecting to, your own humanity and the humanity of others. And looking at, okay, I have this power, I have these privileges, I have this position. And people are listening to me or are following just what I'm up to and what I'm creating and inspired by me. I want to lead in the sense that I want to create something different in the world. I want to contribute, I want to change the world...my little corner of it. So rooting in my humanity, rooting in their humanity and then looking at, what now? Where do I go from here? How do I continue and hold onto this rootedness, as I move forward?

Miik:                 

Yeah. How do my words change, my actions change, my choices change? What entities are born, what institutions and what systems are created from me and others who are rooted in humanity connected together and creating?

Andréa:                 

Beautiful. Okay. And then: what's supporting you right now? Especially as you're cultivating and you're in flux and you're scared and you're stepping into stuff that you really want to do, but it's terrifying and navigating life's everything. And also being a father and just all the things? What is supporting you?

Miik:                 

Joy is supporting me. Curiosity and learning and supporting me. That word, "undeniable", is something that I didn't know would be supporting me, but I have 45 years of a momentum towards separation and compartmentalization and avoiding and denying myself and parts of me. And so that word has been supporting me where something is undeniable and it's like, I can still choose to not engage it. But usually if I'm not denying it, I'm leaning into it. I'm plugging into when I'm making the choice and then I'm taking that invitation to do something with it. So those are some things that are supporting me. People, I mean the facilitator training cohort. Huge support with you and everyone else. The folx in Coaching As Activism. I've been finding that the calls have been a part of my selfcare, really connecting with folks and it's mostly the BIPOC calls and the BIPOC spaces. Oh my GOD, those are supporting me too because it's a reminder of, yes, we're all in this struggle and we're all so thirsty and hungry and aching for connection and being all of who we are or more of who we are than we're used to. And open and collective space. My family,. Over, not this past weekend, but the weekend before, I was with my mom and my brothers and my sisters and that was beautiful. So my family is really supporting me. And then just everybody that's heard and accepted my invitation to inner equity has also supported me because it's been such a beautiful response to themselves and to me. Thank you for bringing that to me. And I didn't even know that I was mad at myself. Those connections that I'm making in that way on the systemic end and on the personal end are supporting. Oh yeah! I am also supporting me. There's parts of me, they're supporting me. I'm supporting me, too.

Andréa:                 

How can people connect with you? Connect with, interact with the inner equity work, how can we make that happen?

Miik:                 

All right. So, right now I'm in the process of having a website created. I have a landing page. It's MiikWells.com, and it's M-I-I-K for those that don't know me. You will, I'm undeniable. Oh yeah. Tagline. All right. I have a dormant, but soon to be reactivated Instagram page @MiikWells. And, for those that want to see a little bit more behind the curtain - I mean, my curtain's usually raised a lot - but I get a little bit more wild on Facebook. That page is "Miik Drop". So those three places. But the website, miikwells.com, I'll be doing a lot more updating about where else to find me and what things are going to be coming forward.

Andréa:                 

Get on that list.

Miik:                 

Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to be doing me a country and then worldwide tour here in the next couple of years. So get on, get on it. We doin' stadiums, baby!

Andréa:                 

I'm so happy. Oh my goodness. Okay. Thank you so much Miik, for sharing yourself and your work on this episode.

Miik:                 

Thank you for having me. This is fantastic. I love you, ARJ.

Andréa:                 

Had to sneak that in! Miik calls me ARJ and I'm, I'm here for it. It's growing on me.

Miik:                 

I've haven't made you a hashtag yet, but it'll happen.

Andréa:  

All right. So all of the links and resources mentioned within this episode that Miik mentioned when we talked about how you can connect with him, are in the description so you can find it there. And then I just have, I have a couple of questions for you. What parts of yourself are you currently denying and what can you do to take a tiny step toward reclaiming that piece of you? Sit with it, think about it. I would love to hear your answers. Miik actually sent me a text the other day where he was telling me that he was writing an email and in the email he wrote the inner equity practice and he caught himself and he changed it to my inner equity practice and just owning that this is his work that he is putting out into the world. And it can be something as simple as that as just changing it from "the" to "my". Just taking that little step of ownership over something that you've created, and not over, but with something that you've created. So it can be as simple as that.

I also forgot to mention that I am lucky to have Miik alongside others as one of the facilitators in my program: Liberatory Leadership. And if you're wanting some support around really claiming and owning the power that you have, the gifts that you have to bring into the world, I really encourage you to check out Liberatory Leadership. The link is also in the description. I would love to see if that's a fit for you, and be able to connect with you in that space. And if you are loving this episode or the podcasts in general, consider sharing it with your communities and sharing it on social media or leaving a review or all of the above. It makes such a big difference. I want this to get out to as many people as possible. And then also lastly, connect with me! DM me on Instagram. Send me an email, let me know how this episode or this podcast is sitting with you. Let me know what you're getting from it, what you're being challenged by, what you're cultivating. I am not just creating this podcast just to get more information out there. I'm wanting to put this information out there so that I can connect with more people around this work. So meet me halfway. I'm in your ears. Come be in my ears. Alright. I'll see you in the next episode or - not see you - but you know what I mean?

 

Andréa Ranae