Discrimination in Training In Power, A Spiritual Journey of Service Founded By Faye Fitzgerald
This post is from the collective contributions of openOcircle members, a yahoo support group for those ex-members of the Training In Power Cult.
I have just looked up some of the words that I would attribute to Training In Power and its leadership. If there is a word to inclusively describe the level of ignorance and malice directed towards marginal groups within the community, I guess I would choose discrimination as a starting point. The word “Hate” also comes to mind as it covers everything, pitting one group against another for any reason is hate.
I know of no word that describes the discrimination of those with mental health issues or those who struggle with addiction, but perhaps they could equally go with the term ableism as both diagnoses are by medical standards considered illness, disease or a disability. Addictions and Mental Health issues are both seen as disabilities under Canadian law. I am fairly certain they would be covered under US laws as well, in the US as the Persons With Disabilities Act.
Racism is generally thought of in an obvious racial hatred, but I would rather enlarge the scope of the term to include prejudice in its definition, as much of the institutionalized racism, and ingrained ignorance, all of which fits within the greater form of racism than just blatant racial superiority and hatred.
The one word that brings all these words together is stupidity which means to me a lack of awareness, education or first hand experience with any of the aforementioned issues, groups or individuals within those groups.
Ignorance is then also the act by which we condemn another in a projection of fear and stupidity that often reinforces social stereotypes.
I could add sexism here as well, which actually is a door that swings both ways and if you were male involved with this organization, I think you would certainly be able to explain your perspective better than myself on what you experienced by way of prejudice and malice.
My primary motivation for writing this is to give a clear picture to those outside of the community and those involved what may be general ignorance on the part of the leadership, but with closer and compiled examination looks more like a zeitgeist of prejudice and arrogance.
Terms found on dictionary.com
Discrimination: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favour of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
Racism: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
Ableism: discrimination against disabled people.
1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.
4. such attitudes considered collectively: The war against prejudice is never-ending.
5. damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.
Ignorance: the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.
Training In Power founded by Faye Fitzgerald discriminates against persons with disabilities and promotes racist attitudes, here are a few shared and collective responses from ex members:
1. Some people were told by Faye that the reason their children could not get clean was because their children were abusers.
2. A minister said to an alcoholic in AA that she did not need the program and that Faye had cured her own alcoholism using training methods.
3. There was much discrimination against mental health diagnosis and an expectation to get over it, and to stop displaying the symptoms which were called “willful” or “indulgent”, with additional comments that medication was a crutch.
4. There was a paranoid projection of mental health issues in the community when the training formed its mental health team and mental health support group. There was no support in the community for these groups or the harm done because of the lack of professionalism or accountability within the training regarding mental health issues and how they were subsequently handled.
5. If you can not walk apparently it is your fault, this was told to more than one person with a physical disability.
6. It was also mentioned to people in recovery or dying from serious illness that it was their fault it had not healed, given accusations of you are willful, or holding onto the illness, and are not able to be cleared by the healing group.
7. If you actually got better, not necessarily as a result of the focus of community healings, it would make you feel indebted and loyal.
8. Integrative consciousness was a special focus group in the community where discrimination based on disability or race was only somewhat tolerant of any disabled person’s participation, by paternalistically saying one person with a physical disability could participate in the background.
9. One woman was told by several people in the community that her disability was the point of them choosing not to do healings with her and avoiding her as though it were contagious.
10. A person with a disability was told rather ungraciously by a Trainer that he could no longer help her, they reminded him of his mother who he had to take care of, just because they took him up on his offer for rides to training events, he only lived a couple of blocks away.
11. Faye was hoping a person who was wheel chair bound would be her miracle and would walk again, the apparent proof of all her work, and she was also told by Faye rather grandly that she would be the healing of equality on the planet. Since her miracle did not work, Faye had to blame the experiment going wrong on the patient, as though some flaw in their spirit was the real reason they could not walk. The shaming, dropping and dismissing of this person were the end result.
12. Similar treatment was then dealt in this regard to being dismissed and rejected, by others in the community who model the leader in all ways; I have witnessed first hand when the Training wants someone out of their way or wants to deny any responsibility.
13. The deaths around classes or the mental health collapses where any degree of responsibility is blamed on the participant, attack, or those ‘evil ex trainers in malicious attack’.
14. The discriminatory and racist overtones have been discussed in regards to white middle class women stealing native teaching and passing themselves off as experts in Shamanism and Tibetan Mastery.
15. Another side of the racism in the training was if you were a person of colour you could be sure to be identified as such by Faye repeatedly in any class, and that you would hold a special place in the consciousness for people of your race to get here, wherever “here” was, I believe she meant ascension.
16. I have had alarming things said to me based on race that I was shocked to hear in a community of light.
17. One instance in telling a minister about my bracelet that started in the story of Raven Stealing the Light, the reaction from her was to repeat “STEALING THE LIGHT” so loud that the rest of the people in the room would look to us. I noted her superstitious fear based assumption on those words, (everything in the training had to be worded in positive language or it was seen as negative or attack, in this case I actually think she thought it was a statement of evil). I should have not bothered to explain the meaning behind the story. I later confronted this person about this incident; she said she could not remember.
18. I was also told I was not native by one person and that I had native royalty by another, these assumptions were based on little or no information from me to them.
19. In a class Faye asked me if I had been to a residential school, this was in front of the whole class! I guess she would incorporate me in her statistics if I was.
20. Was the training trying to angle a way in to get contracts to work with residential school survivors with its fleeting interest in Kevin Annette?
21. If you were on the “student to watch list” compiled to monitor students who for whatever reason were considered possibly unsafe (was it because they questioned?), though no real criteria is given for those on the list other than a psychic knowing, you would be monitored and policed at retreats in a way that was blatant discrimination based on prejudice.
(name withheld by request)