What does it mean to be Core Aligned?

Knowing what truly matters to us - what we stand for and take a stand for - is an essential part of the nourished rootsystem of a resilient and purposeful changemakership fuelled by integrity. It also enables us to let go of what others think and share our true colours in every part of our life.

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Emily Johnsson
Emily Johnsson
Nurturing changemakers for a whole world.

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves as changemakers is to become intentionally core aligned. It is so important that it forms an essential pillar of the Wish Tree self-leadership model.

When we are core aligned we feel rooted like a tree and means that we remain grounded when the going gets tough.

We know what we are all about and crucially, we act on it. Being core aligened means we share our true colours.

No longer hiding parts of ourselves is not always comfortable – in fact it can be deeply uncomfortable – but it always feels true, and less exhausting in the long-run.

It means we don’t betray ourselves or what we know is right by others or the planet.

It means we can operate with integrity, walk our talk and live with fewer regrets.

And it means that even though we may change direction in our lives, what we essentially stand for remains the same.

Being core aligned requires us to look within.

And this may sometimes feel unfamiliar in a world that wants us to look outside of ourselves for answers and ‘solutions’ to the confusions that it gave rise to in the first place.

That means that the first step is to create time and space in our lives to focus.

So is saying yes to being in community with others who also want to live, serve and lead with greater core alignment.

To be core aligned is to operate from the core of our being. This is where everything that matters to us and what we believe in lives.

We can describe what matters to us and what we believe in by defining our values. In order to be core aligned we take action to embody them.

This enables us to live more authentically.

Living our values in action is not comfortable.

It will require us to stand up for what we believe in. Set boundaries. We intentionally will stop doing some things, start doing other things or do more of what we already do.

Being core aligned empowers us to choose courage over comfort, and walk our talk.

It enables us to show up with integrity, not betray ourselves or what we know is right by others and the planet.

Do you know what your core values are? Where can you feel them in your body?

What does living your values in action look and feel like? Where do you choose comfort over courage?

If you want to feel more connected to, aligned with and embodied in your core, then let’s connect in a call.

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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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