Are you in the Business of Love? 9 powerful questions to guide us on our way home

These turning times don’t just ask of us to re-consider what we do, but how we do it. Being a purpose-driven, heart-led business owner isn’t just about doing supposedly good things in the world. No, it’s about being an agent for love in every move we make. Inside and out.

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Emily Johnsson
Emily Johnsson
Nurturing changemakers for a whole world.

The moment we say yes to leading a business from the heart, anything & everything that stands between ourselves & love will come to the surface & invite us to see it, hear it, feel it & alchemise it.

This was the mantra I gave to my clients when the Wish Tree Academy opened its doors 8 years ago.

And that “everything & anything” that stands between ourselves and love, are all the ways we forgot that we are already whole. All the ways we forgot that we are love.

Since those early days in the Academy, changemakers and wellbeing facilitators have gathered in Wish Tree to create impactful contributions through their organisations & businesses, with the overall vision of a world operating with greater wholeness.

“Are you ready to be in the Business of Love?” is something I often ask my clients.

“Yes! Of course!” is the answer I receive enthusiastically.

There is frequently a realisation of having spoken too soon.

When we create and run a project or business that is led from the heart, everything we share and offer & how is mirrored in our own remembrance of wholeness.

We have nowhere to hide.

We will come face-to-face with our willingness to embody love, or not.

We cannot give what we don’t have ourselves, so claiming to work from the heart but ignoring how we are showing up ourselves does not make for integrity. Or being the change.

Instead of love, what drives our behaviour is scarcity, or what we might describe as ‘giving to get’: I appreciation, status, validation. Doing good to ‘be good’. Be ‘enough’.

I call these wounded changemaker behaviours.

Here’s a list of potent questions that will guide you to reflect on your relationship to love in your changemakership.

Buckle up, take deep breaths and say yes to the courage of being brutally honest with yourself.

9 questions for changemakers SAYING YES TO BEING in the Business of Love:

  1. Do you have the courage to share your true colours, rather than what makes you look good?
  2. Are you dedicated to consciously dismantling systems of oppression and your own unconscious contributions to them? Or is your action performative, driven by the need to ‘look and be good?’
  3. Do you feel enough, regardless of the scope of, or traditional signs of ‘success’ in your work, project or business? Or do you have a tendency to compare yourself with others, compete or feel jealous?
  4. Do you look after your whole being well and set healthy boundaries? Or do you engage in patterns of over-giving, over-working, busyness, and always being ‘on?
  5. Are you able to receive joy, pleasure, rest, relaxation and choose things that light you up? Or are you addicted to striving and proving yourself?
  6. Is there a part of you that needs to be perfect, in control, and are pushing for outcomes?
  7. Are you one person in all areas of your life, or do you contort yourself in pleasing and adapting in order to be liked, fit in or catch a glimpse of ‘belonging’?
  8. What are the subtle and not so subtle ways of grasping, extracting, copying and pasting in order to strengthen your image and get ahead?
  9. Do you choose short-cuts or the longer road that deep healing asks of us?

The list of behaviours and patterns goes on.

‘Being in the Business of Love’ takes courage, commitment and dedication. It’s not for the faint of heart.

It’s knowing that our first responsibility is to freeing ourselves: devoting ourselves to the practise of intentional home-coming to love, in service of the vision for thriving for all.

Saying yes to being in the Business of Love is an intentional process of unlearning, remembrance and liberation by coming home to wholeness one step at a time.

In the knowing that love begins with each of us.

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Emily Johnsson | November 25, 2023
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About Emily & White Supremacy

Emily is a space holder and self-leadership coach to changemakers. She has over 20 years experience in the field of human development, learning and growth, and leads the coaching and consultancy company Wish Tree since 2011. Her work centres around wholeness – whole humans, whole communities, whole organisations, whole ecosystems. A whole world. Her changemakership is therefore dedicated to clearing distortions and fragmentations that relate to our perceptions of separation.

Emily has been exposed to and ‘sat with’ systemic issues around race, racism, privilege and injustice her whole life. She was born in Camden, London, in the late 1970s to a Swedish immigrant single mum and spent her first formative years in a highly culturally and ethnically diverse setting. As a baby, Emily and her mum lived in a bedsit in a shared house with a Black British family. Her first memory of Father Christmas was of him as a Bangladeshi man. Emily’s mum worked with refugee families and in Children’s Homes in inner city London, and since she had no access to child care opportunities, Emily joined her at work. For a while, Emily had an older Black British foster sister called Debbie. She was very often the only white child in the community of children of which she was a part.

Emily moved to Sweden with her mum as a child and as a teenager became involved with, and led, antiracism youth work in her local town through her school and council-initiated networks in the 1990s.

Her mum, who was active in the peace-and- environmental movement and who had been involved as an ally in the civil rights movement in the US on her travels there, introduced her to Black feminist and activist writers such as Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Audre Lord, and actively taught her about white privilege, white supremacy and the truth of colonialism. She was also taught about the importance of learning from Indigenous wisdom keepers in order to heal and evolve as humanity, and to (in those days) stop climate change.

In contrast, on her father’s side, Emily is of British Colonial descent. Emily’s grandmother was born in Zimbabwe to Scottish sheep-farmers. Her grandfather came from a poor English background but won a scholarship to Cambridge University to study law. As many young British men of his time who sought “adventure, a good job and travel”, Emily’s grandfather joined the colonial service in the final days of the British Empire, and served in several African countries as a high-ranking colonial officer. He spoke Zulu and Emily’s father spoke Swazi and Swahili before being sent to Britain as a child to attend boarding school, thousands of miles away from his parents.

Although Emily did not grow up with her father or his family, she eventually came to know them and have a relationship with them, which involved taking responsibility for understanding and healing her own familial and ancestral relationship to colonialism and white supremacy.

In this process, she came to see, feel and understand first hand and close up, the deeper psychological workings of the system of white supremacy, the colonial mind and its intimate links with narcissism, perfectionism, patriarchy and extractive economies and behaviours.

Between 2003-2015, Emily worked as a learning researcher and Access, Diversity and Inclusion enabler in the Arts & Cultural Sector, deeply rooted in the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Human Rights Convention. She worked across the U.K and Scandinavia contributing to a number of large scale change projects, self-evaluation initiatives, conferences and trainings such as “Access for All”, “Inspiring Learning for All”, “Belonging – the Voices of London’s Refugees”, “The West Indian Front Room”, “Kultur och Fritid för Alla”, “Vidgat Deltagande”, “In this curriculum I don’t exist”, “In between two worlds – London teenagers’ ideas about Black History, Belonging and being British” to name a few. She worked with a wide range of marginalised communities as well as with leaders and directors holding white privilege, facilitating necessary and brave conversations challenging the status quo.

Emily has worked across many cultures and languages around the world from Sri Lanka to South Africa, Costa Rica and India to Romania and Denmark, continuously reflecting on and challenging white saviour tendencies. In this process has come to observe how white supremacy and racism works differently in different countries depending on context and history.

In 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Emily became a loud voice in the Wellness industry by calling in leaders bypassing white supremacy through ‘love and light’ rhetoric, exceptionalism, colourblindness and virtue signalling. She closed down several online coaching circles because white participants were unwilling to dive deeper into their own internalised white supremacy, and rendered the spaces not only additionally unsafe, but traumatising for BIPOC clients. Her platform and large facebook community for coaches and wellbeing facilitators centred BIWOC-led anti-racism conversations as a response.

Emily is a skilled and fiercely loving coach and space-holder with many years experience of creating safe spaces for accountability, healing, integration and growth to take place.

She is dedicated to her own ongoing learning, healing and unlearning of covert white supremacy. Examples of this are continuous learning from a wide range of anti-racism educators, authors and activists from around the world.

This bio has not been written with the intention of centring Emily in the context of Me & White Supremacy, but to transparently share about her background, values, skills and experience in order for you to make a conscious decision to choose her as a space-holder, or not.

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