White Noise, Brown Trauma: A Story of Awakening ft. Ro Shore
Welcome to the Red Beard Embodiment Podcast, where host Alex Greene engages in thoughtful conversations with guests who have embarked on transformative journeys of embodiment. In this episode, Alex sits down virtually with Ro Shore, an embodied spirituality coach and founder of a nonprofit center for healing and embodied spirituality called Northwest Wisdom in Corvallis, Oregon.
This interview is an exploration of Ro’s profound story of personal growth, healing, and the upcoming release of his book, "The Wisdom of My Body: Healing Brown Trauma in a White Prison through Meditation and Spiritual Embodiment."
Ro's narrative takes us on a powerful odyssey through the depths of his own incarceration and the profound insights he gained while navigating a challenging prison environment. The conversation sheds light on Ro's experiences as a person of color, his encounters with overt racism, and the transformative impact of meditation and embodiment practices on his journey towards healing and spiritual awakening.
Setting the Scene:
Ro's story begins with his background as an adopted child from Calcutta, India, who grew up in a predominantly White community in Oregon. As a person of color in a predominantly white state, Ro navigated the complexities of identity, facing subtle distinctions and a disconnect from his own brownness. Raised in the Christian tradition, he felt an inner calling to explore spirituality beyond the confines of his upbringing, which led him to delve into Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism.
Embarking on the Path of Self-Discovery:
During his college years, Ro's religious studies ignited a yearning within him to explore a spirituality that aligned with his embodied experiences. However, his journey of self-discovery truly began when he encountered a profound failure that shattered his beliefs about success and self-worth. This pivotal moment led him to question his purpose and the deeper meaning of life, pushing him to embark on a path of introspection and transformation.
The Power of Reiki and Embodiment:
Ro's exploration of different spiritual traditions eventually brought him to Reiki, a practice that resonated deeply with him. Through Reiki, he discovered the concept of universal life force energy, which transcends religious and cultural boundaries. Embracing this energy, Ro became a conduit for its healing power, letting go of attachment to specific names or labels and focusing on the tangible experience within his body.
The Journey into Incarceration:
Ro's narrative takes a dramatic turn as he shares his experience of being incarcerated in a predominantly white prison. He recounts the challenges of being a person of color in such an environment, facing overt racism and isolation. The prison system becomes a microcosm of systemic racism, where Ro's small stature and educational background further contribute to his marginalization. The presence of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in the prison intensifies the hostile atmosphere, confronting Ro with a level of racism he had not previously encountered.
Embracing Compassion and Overcoming Adversity:
Ro reflects on his time in prison and the challenges he faced. He describes the primitive level of existence in prison, where he realized that to discover his true self and transcend the negativity surrounding him, he had to include his enemies in his journey.
Despite the threats, harm, and persecution he endured, Ro shares his profound realization that he needed to see his oppressors as individuals and even find a way to love them.
The Wisdom Within the Depths:
Within the confines of the prison walls, Ro's journey of self-discovery deepens. He discovers profound insights through meditation, Reiki, and spiritual embodiment practices. Even amidst the harsh realities of incarceration, Ro finds solace and healing by connecting with the wisdom within his body. His experiences in prison prompt him to question societal norms and redefine his understanding of spirituality and personal growth.
The Somatic Journey:
Ro’s experiences in prison brought him face to face with his own body and the somatic manifestations of his emotions. As a person of color in a predominantly white environment, he became adept at adapting and fawning, but this left him disconnected from his true self. In prison, without the ability to escape, he began to explore his physical sensations, mapping out where certain emotions manifested within his body. He discovered the energetic patterns and their connection to his spirituality and psychology. Through this process, he learned to sit with his feelings, uncovering deeper layers of grief, shame, and sadness hidden beneath anger.
Extending Compassion to Past, Present, and Future Selves:
Ro's introspection led him to a profound realization of the interconnectedness of his past, present, and future selves. He recounts how, through meditation, he connected with his younger self, offering care, compassion, and understanding. This newfound ability to extend love and healing to his younger self opened the door to a deeper understanding of his own journey. Furthermore, Ro recognized the possibility of reaching out to his future self for support and guidance, ultimately creating a powerful connection that transcended time and space. This holistic approach to self-care and self-compassion allowed him to find solace and resilience throughout his incarceration and beyond.
The Birth of "The Wisdom of My Body":
As Ro's incarceration neared its end, he felt a compelling urge to share his story. In December of 2022, he embarked on writing his book, "The Wisdom of My Body. Healing Brown Trauma in a White Prison through Meditation and Spiritual Embodiment", a memoir that explores his journey through incarceration, healing from racial trauma, and the transformative power of meditation and spiritual embodiment.
The book serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the potential for growth and healing even within the most challenging circumstances.
The Path Forward: Northwest Wisdom and Healing
Ro’s transformative journey and his commitment to helping others heal led him to establish Northwest Wisdom, a non-profit organization. Although it is currently online-based, the organization aims to create a safe space for individuals to explore spiritual healing and trauma recovery. Through spiritual coaching, counseling, yoga, and Reiki, Ro and his team provide tools and support for those navigating their own healing journeys. Their mission is centered on helping individuals find solace, compassion, and healing amidst trauma and adversity.
This episode of the Red Beard Embodiment Podcast encourages us to question our own assumptions and biases, inviting us to expand our understanding and embrace a more inclusive and compassionate approach to life.
Through Roe's experiences, we are invited to explore our own paths of growth, challenge societal norms, and embrace the wisdom that resides within our own bodies. His story serves as a powerful reminder that transformation is possible, even in the face of adversity, and that our shared humanity can be a catalyst for healing and positive change.
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