Transness as nature incarnate

This is the transcript of the second episode of REBIRTH, a limited podcast series produced by advaya, in partnership with Stella McCartney Beauty.

Listen to the curated audio version of this podcast, which weaves the main conversations and reflection prompts together on Spotify here, or Apple Podcasts here, or Acast here.

"My soul would sing of metamorphoses. But since, o gods, you were the source of these bodies becoming other bodies, breathe your breath into my book of changes: may the song I sing be seamless as its way weaves from the world's beginning to our day." - Ovid, “The Metamorphoses”

Welcome to the second episode of REBIRTH, a limited podcast series produced by advaya, a platform for transformative education. I am your host, Tammy Gan, and this four-part series is produced in partnership with Stella McCartney Beauty, a conscious alternative to luxury skincare.

This episode features Willow Defebaugh: the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Atmos. As Willow says, "trans people are just embodiments of the many transformations that we all go through in life." In this conversation, we embrace the necessity of bodily and ecosystem alchemy, the naturalness of transformation. How is evolution at the centre of growth, transformation at the centre of regeneration? How do we come into the truth of our bodies, in alignment with nature, and in doing so restore the biodiversity around us?

Tammy (advaya): Willow, I would love to open by reading this quote from you, which has really stuck with me since I read it. "People fear transness because it embodies what they've always feared, that unstoppable force: change. Transness is alchemy, evolution—evidence that nothing is fixed or forever. Not only is transness natural, it's nature incarnate." And I also wanted to pick up on this quote that you also wrote: "I often say that trans people are merely embodiments of the many transformations we all go through in life. Transphobia, then, has little to do with us and everything to do with humanity's age-old fear of change." And so with these two quotes in mind, I wanted you to walk us through what you were thinking when you were writing these, and also how these themes are resonating with you today, recognising that, of course, as you were saying about change, the person that you were at the time who wrote these two quotes might not be exactly the same as the person you are now—or they might be, but either way, I wanted you to kind of contextualise those quotes for us and talk about how they're kind of sitting with you at the moment.

Willow Defebaugh: You know, I almost wish that those words didn't still hold as true today as they did when I wrote them, a few years ago now. But I think for me, when I look at, for lack of a better phrase, the sort of culture wars that are happening in our world, and the clashes over ideology, and the very real oppression that's coming from legislatures, at least in the United States, I always want to look at what's underneath them, because I think people rarely act from surface-level motivations and desires and fears.

And I do think that fear is kind of the word that comes up so much for me, and I think that people, more than anything, are afraid of how the world is changing. And I almost feel, not to put things into a binary, because I don't love to do that, but I do feel like more and more, our world is kind of separating into people who understand that there is a need for the world to change and that the world is changing and that change is really an unstoppable force—it's really the only force that there is. And then there's people who are just trying to hold on to the way that things have always been and hold on to the power structures that have always been, honestly because it is comfortable for them and they don't really want to reckon with how those structures impact and harm other people.

And in this sort of great drama that's done unfolding around our changing world and the ways in which our world needs to change—our human society needs to change, especially in relationship to our planet, and how we're living with it: what could be a better scapegoat or a better target for those fears, than trans people? Because we embody change, we embody transformation. And I think that that is particularly terrifying to people—the idea that things can change, and that life can evolve. And for me, it's been a great source of comfort, because I know that that change and that evolutionary force, that sure, trans people are tapped into, but I think all human beings are tapped into, is the surest thing that there is. Life keeps going, and life keeps changing. And, I think early on in my journey, it was really hard not to be weighed down by some of the hateful ideology that's out there, and it's not that it doesn't affect me, still today. But I do try to zoom out my perspective, and remember that change really can't be stopped. And everywhere we look in nature, we see that. We see evolution, we see transformation. And so if that is the source of this conflict, of this fear, well, it's also the salve, right? It's the balm that reminds us that we just have to keep holding on and growing the world that we know is transforming, that we are transforming into, with any hope.

Tammy (advaya): Thank you for that. I think when I was thinking about this question, putting it together, I was definitely thinking about how what you say draws a lot of inspiration, of course, from nature itself. And, I guess one of the quotes that really stuck with me since I read it also, from, I'm not sure if you know, Andreas Weber's work. He wrote the book, Matter and Desire, and he has this quote, about: "The world of biology [being] like a wild playing field with anarchic elements, where the rules of creative togetherness are constantly being renegotiated." And so it kind of, I guess, talks about how that change, and that all these elements coming together in nature, changing things, is not necessarily something that is always beautiful, always romanticisable. It is like anarchic, which also has that sense of like, danger and fear in there. And I think that [it's] so essential to hold those two parts together and to be nuanced enough to... and I think those people who are afraid only see, like those parts that are scary, and they don't recognise that you have to step back and to realise that yes, it's scary, but yes, it's also beautiful, and that if we hold both of those things together, we can necessarily arrive at a different place? A better place, hopefully, but something that's negotiated together.

Willow Defebaugh: Yeah, I love... I love what you said around the word—anarchy, because I think that that's so true. And I've written a number of pieces about metamorphosis, and it's always a messy process, you know? Of course, the butterfly and the caterpillar and the chrysalis has to completely liquefy and become goo. But at the same time, I've also found myself really drawn to the process of incomplete metamorphosis, which is what the majority of insects go through, including one of my favourite species, which is dragonflies. An incomplete metamorphosis is, rather than one extremely dramatic event or occurrence like the caterpillar and the butterfly, it's a series of moltings, throughout their lives. And each time they become a little bit more themselves. And in the case of dragonflies, they begin their lives as nymphs living under the water and each time they molt they go through about twenty different incomplete metamorphoses, and each time they do, they shed something, and they become a little bit closer to this form, and then when that twentieth metamorphosis arrives, their wings emerge and they fly above the surface of the water.

And I think I find myself really drawn to that process because it's so much more real to I think how change happens. It's scary because we're in this process of transformation, we don't know what it's going to look like on the other side, we see traces and we see glimmers beneath the waves of what might emerge, but we don't totally know, and that's the terrifying thing. And, going back to that quote that you shared, at the beginning, the fear of change is really the fear of the unknown. And I say that that's humanity's age-old fear, because I think that that's what we've always been afraid of, is that which we don't know, and that which we don't understand. And change is so intimately tied into that, because we're terrified of what we might become. And to me, there's so much more excitement there, in thinking about that evolution, and, to answer the last part of your question, too, the only thing of what I wrote that maybe I have a different reflection on now is, I think in there I said trans people are... not only are we natural, we're nature incarnate. Of course, the sort of caveat to that is...

All people are nature incarnate, right? And that's the foundation of most of my work at Atmos, and really, everything else, is just getting people to understand that everyone is nature incarnate. And I think what's so harmful about the witch hunt around trans people right now is just something that has often happened toward queer people throughout history is the weaponisation of nature and biology and everything else, to try to separate us from nature. And so, to me, that's what's so important in... or what I really strive for in my work, is just to try to heal that division and that separation.

Tammy (advaya): So something you reminded us of in "The Chrysalis", which is one of your essays, is that the first lesson from metamorphosis is that it takes time, and to your more recent piece, "Coming Of Age", which is really great, you talk about why you love growing older, specifically, "the discernment we develop to determine what is for us and what is not", and "The increasing clarity on what really matters to us in this life." So I think there's something here about how transformation is not necessarily about change towards something different or new, but towards something greater personal truth—truth being kind of a lowercase t—and I think that that's the case with nature too. So, I'm wondering what comes up for you here, I think just to share also that what I'm thinking about now is that change isn't inherently a good or bad process. But there is one thing—two things I guess, about it, is that it's clarifying, and it's a lot of work. And by the end of it, you have something that's kind of greater than the sum of its parts. So just throwing all of that out there, and seeing what comes up for you that you'd like to share.

Willow Defebaugh: So much comes up. I think, the most challenging thing about the beginning of my transition, I would say, was moving through this grief about time, and feeling like I had lost so much time. And I think there's something about coming into yourself in a more authentic way, that there was all this joy with it, and then there's also the sorrow of realising how much time you spent, not in that place. And, I often use the analogy that it felt like I was carrying around a big backpacking backpack my whole life, and I didn't know that you could put it down, and then I put it down, and suddenly it was this weight lifted, and there was the joy, and then there was also the, you know, if only I could have put that down sooner. But now I have such a different perspective, and I had to honour those feelings and kind of move through that experience, but now I have the perspective that all of it was just part of my evolution, and at every point in my life, I was the most authentic version of myself, that was available to me, or that was available to my understanding or my consciousness.

And I see it all as part of this massive ceremony of change, and I think that that's why when, people will ask, Oh, when did you start transitioning, and things like that, it's sort of like... my whole life has been a transition in a way, and I think all of our lives are—we're just constantly turning from one thing to the next. And I think so much of the suffering that we experience is our resistance to that, and that resistance to our change and our authentic blooming, or however you want to think of it... And so I've gone from thinking about time as something that I'm wrestling with, or raging against, or have grief toward, and now I see it as this beautiful ally. Because I think the moments now... when I think about the beginning of my physical transition, it was so much like that metamorphosis because I was changing. And I didn't know how I was changing, or what I would turn into, or what I would look like and just, on very basic levels. And that is so terrifying. And now I look back, and I just think about how much of it just came down to a lot of allowing time to just pass and allowing time to work its magic, because that is how change happens—it unfolds over time.

And now I see time as this great ally, because any difficulty that arises, I just remind myself that with time, it will change. And this too shall pass. And all of that. So, yeah, I think that's for me, where my mind was at when I was writing the second essay that you referenced about age, because I think the older you get, the more of an awareness you have around time, and also, just the more yourself, you become, hopefully, and that is a gift I would not trade for anything in the world. And it's strange that we do live in this culture that's so obsessed with youth and all of that, because in a way that is also fighting against change, and time.

Tammy (advaya): I love hearing answers to these questions because I throw them out there, and they're such big questions, with so many different things to catch onto and everyone's answers [are] always super multifaceted. And so the fact that you brought us to the topic of time, I think is, endlessly fascinating, I think because it's such a personal yet huge, earthly concept... And I'm wondering how you have thought about time with respect to the longer stretches, the deeper time that Earth is turning on... So I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on that, since you kind of landed us in this topic?

Willow Defebaugh: Well, honestly, I mean, deep time is not something I'm super, super well-versed in, I can say that I do spend a lot of time thinking about cycles, when it relates to this planet and the earth. And again, the kind of zooming out of my perspective is something that I find to be really invaluable, especially, in moments like... political moments like these and this kind of witch hunt against trans people that I was referencing... I just, I like to zoom out my perspective, and think about how old the Earth is and how much of a blink it is that we're here. And it leaves me with awe, to wonder why anyone would spend their time trying to oppress other people within that blink. And also, it reminds me to live while I'm here, and to stay focused on that. And I think that's the ultimate way that you... I guess I want to say rise above oppression, or hatred or anything else, is to just to live and to be alive. And, the Earth will keep going, and so that's so deeply tied into the rest of my work, around climate and culture, with Atmos—the Earth will go on in myriad forms, it will continue to change, and it will continue to evolve, this story of the climate crisis is really a story of our species answering the question, do we want to be a part of that, or not? And so it's sort of... I love what you said that change isn't necessarily good or bad. And it's not simple, ever, but it just keeps going. And it's really how we want to exist and dance alongside of it, I suppose.

Tammy (advaya): I want to kind of leave that space for people to respond to that in their own ways, as well, and to kind of jump around a little bit, to the question on alchemy and evolution, which are such amazingly textured words for me, I think. And something about the word alchemy, and you've written about this as well, I know, it's so magical and grounding at the same time. And not a lot of words do that, I think. And building again, on everything that we've been talking about, I have two questions for you. So one is, what are you alchemising this season, and secondly, with your work with Atmos, if you've come across any great nature stories around evolution, I would love for you to share a favourite with us, so we can be inspired by nature's alchemy and evolution.

Willow Defebaugh: Great questions. Really so rich. The first I think, I would say, that's really been on my mind as spring has been unfolding here, and it is unfolding, I'm seeing flowers start to bud on my window, and the weather has turned warmer. I love mythology and I really had the story of Persephone, just in my mind for the last few weeks. And for anyone who's unfamiliar, in Greek mythology, Persephone was said to be the deity of the seasons, and a daughter of Demeter. So a nature deity, and depending on the telling, she either fell in love with, or was kidnapped by Hades, and cursed to live six months of the year in the underground, and that's why we have fall and winter—it's when Persephone disappears. And I've been thinking about the story because I love the duality that she holds, this complicated female figure in mythology, that she is both this floral, springy maiden, this nature goddess, and also, she is this queen of shadows, and ruler of the underworld.

And something I've been alchemising is this need or desire, I feel, within our society, to flatten myself, to feel like I have to be one or the other, in so many different realms. But I've been watching the seasons unfold and really appreciating and acknowledging that I have times throughout the year where I'm perhaps underground, or where, I'm conversing with my shadows and in that space, and then there's the time of coming above, and being springy and reveling with the flowers unfolding outside my window. And to me, they're all parts of who I am. And so I'm alchemising this idea that I need to be flat, because I think in again, in our culture, I think everyone needs to be some brandable, marketed personality or thing. And that's just not who we are. We're so manifold and complex. And yeah, that's really been on my mind as the seasons have been turning.

Somewhat similarly, my favourite story about evolution—oh my god, there's just so many. The one that's coming to mind, I think just because we've been talking about insects, and the spirit that is with us in your room, I love the story of how moths and butterflies diverged throughout time, because originally, their ancestors were all moths, they were all nocturnal, and they were pollinating flowers at night. And butterflies actually branched off evolutionarily, because they sought a different time and space, in which they realised there would be less competition for resources, if they came to fly about during the day and feed during the day. And so this subset branched off, in order to exist in the light. And there's two different things I love about that: I love that they all started as these dark creatures flying about in the night. And then two, I love the fact that we think about moths as these things that flitter about at night, but they're drawn to these light sources, and butterflies, almost, are these moths that were so drawn to the light, that they evolved over millennia and eons, to actually live in the light. And to me, that divergence is just so beautiful. I mean, when I look at like—speaking of timescales and perspective—when I zoom out, and I think about all of those changes that happened over centuries and eons, it's just... it really leaves me with such wonder.

Tammy (advaya): Yeah, I think about that, too. And [this is] super exciting because one of the guests on this podcast series is Dr. Patricia Kaishian, who is an Armenian mycologist, whom I spoke to before, and she was just talking also about how she is endlessly also fascinated by evolution, and the idea that all of these seemingly minute changes happened over such insanely long timescales, that our brains like, cannot fathom. There's just like a limit to how far we can understand, how deep does time... how deep this scale goes, and that all of these kinds of small things on our bodies, around us, are all reflections of that really long process of change, and of evolution.

Willow Defebaugh: I was gonna say, another just, very quick story that I love, that maybe [is] a mirror to that, because that's sort of a long term timescale change. Then there's the stories of change and transformation within creatures' individual lifespans, and there's so many, for example, the reptiles whose sexes are actually determined by the temperature around them, and there's species of fish, like clownfish that are all born male, but then some end up turning female, when it's the needs of their community. And, I think about this, obviously, in relationship to sex and gender, so often, but to me, this is really where the exciting intersection of my work lies, because I think that... what I spend a lot of time pondering is, why is it that when humans choose to change and evolve ourselves, it's unnatural, but when things in the natural world change and evolve themselves, it is natural? And the core of that question, or the answer is really just because we have separated ourselves from nature, and when you really understand us as being part of nature, our whole species, everything that we do, including how we change and evolve... nothing we do or are, or transform into, can ever really be unnatural. And yeah, everywhere we look in nature, we see both evolution in a long scale, and also transformation in short scales, and that always brings me such peace.

Tammy (advaya): Yeah, I think that's for me is also where queer ecology is such a space and field and I guess, discourse, lifestyle, whatever you want to call it... It's such a exciting place to be in, and think in, because that opens up these kinds of reflections that you were talking about, and I kind of also wish people were as well-versed in queer ecology as like standard biology. Also, I mean, that's a bigger conversation about how our education—modern education is shaped, that certain narratives are prioritised over others, and how when we learn about science, and what's natural, what's nature, is so shaped by that system, right? And what's kind of "biology"? What, like what we were saying earlier, is determined by a specific set of people?

But I think this is a good place to go to the question about your essay, "Trials and Transformations", you write: "Maybe we are witnessing the birth of a new species, one that is evolving out of self-destructive extractivism and rigid individualism toward a way of being that embodies holistic collectivism and ecological harmony. If we are, it won't be easy. Transformation never is. But I can tell you this much: It's worth it." I really love that because I think it's such a measured and disciplined and truthful hope. And I chose those three words very carefully. I think a lot of us at the moment are feeling quite deflated and or ambivalent about what's happening now. And I think it's also just from COVID, that kind of disillusionment with the fact that... I guess we assumed that there was a big shift that would happen, and in some ways, big shifts did happen, but I think people thought there would be much more of a transformation than there is, and with the latest IPCC report that came out as well, and yet nothing being done. There's a sense of, I think, deep disappointment. I'm wondering, well, what thoughts you have are coming up for you right now, and also kind of what words you would offer, in the spirit of these words that you've shared?

Willow Defebaugh: Well, I think this is the question. I mean, it's the question that's on my mind, that's on all of our minds, yeah, and I'll be extremely honest, that it is one that I struggle with, too, I think that there is such a real sense of feeling existentially quite tired. And what I will share around that, is that that is a huge part of transformation. And I say that because again, in my own physical metamorphosis, I think about the things that it has taught me, and one of them is that it actually leaves you very exhausted—like, I think back on the first year, when I was undergoing hormone replacement therapy, and hormones instruct your whole body to change, and when that's happening, it requires a massive amount of energy. And that's why teenagers requires so much sleep, because a process like puberty actually takes so much: you're growing and you're changing, and that life force that's required for you to transform and change? It's pretty huge.

And so I remember, especially in that first year, I had to be so patient with myself, and allow myself to rest and allow myself to fall apart and allow myself to sleep so deeply. And, again, for better or for worse, however our world is transforming, and I think about that, kind of fractal conception, and zooming out, and when I do, I'm reminded that it requires a massive amount of energy, and there are going to be times where we all feel hugely exhausted. And I think it's just important to honour that, as being part of the process. And, in terms of the last few years, I do think that there was a pretty massive shift in consciousness. The question is, what we're doing about it, and how we're integrating it. And I do think that the COVID-19 pandemic is just such a perfect example of it, because something I often come back to, is... it came in as this calamitous roar, that just disrupted life as we know it. And for all of the drama with which it came in, it has been slowly receding, so quietly, and there's just this... People don't know how to talk about it, or process it or integrate it. And there's just this feeling of, I just want to move on.

And we know that that's not how anything works, and we're all attempting to integrate this massive thing that we've all gone through. And I think that's a really important distinction to understand, that it's not that the transformation or the change hasn't happened, it's just that we're really struggling with how to integrate it because we don't have a framework for it. And allowing ourselves the space to process that, and to process that transformation and that change, I think is hugely important. And also to bring our conversation full circle, it is the inevitability of evolution. There's really no going back to sleep. People can try really hard to undo the transformation and change and, again, to relate it to my own personal journey, just because that's the way I understand it, it's like once I understood who I really was, there was no more pretending and you know, there was, trust me, there was a period of time where I tried really hard to close my eyes and pretend I didn't see, or didn't know. And at a certain point, the exhaustion of that fighting, of that struggle, just took over. And there inevitably is a moment of surrender. And I think the question for our species will be, when is that moment of surrender? Because I think that's what really precipitates true transformation.

Tammy (advaya): Yeah, I want to, I think, hold on to two words. One is trials, which is in the title of your essay, and also surrender. And want to leave that there for people to kind of think about a little bit more, go deeper than what the words may suggest. And what you were sharing, I think, relates really closely to this poem that I came across—again... I think it's one of those poems that makes its rounds a lot. It's called "Risk", I think you will know it when I read it, and I want to read it. It's a very short one. It goes, "And then the day came, / when the risk / to remain tight / in a bud / was more painful / than the risk / it took / to blossom." By Anais Nin. And yeah, I think that is exactly the point: is that to remain tight in the bud is currently more painful than the risk it takes to blossom. And of course, blossom is a word that implies, I guess, to most people, the word will imply a comfortable, beautiful, opening. But as we know, that kind of blossoming process, the beauty of it comes together with that pain of transformation, the existential confusion, the tiredness, the sleep, and yeah, I'm thinking about how collectively we all kind of need to surrender to blossoming. Surrender to blossoming, and surrender to not remaining tight in that bud, and I'm now also imagining all of the people who are resisting and resistant to change as people who are tight in a bud, and you just kind of like try and poke them being like, that kind of sucks being there, you know, maybe you don't want to be there? Maybe it hurts... maybe it hurts to blossom, but also maybe it hurts less to eventually blossom, you know?

Willow Defebaugh: Yeah, it's sort of that question of: is the suffering actually the transformation, or is it just our resistance of it? Because in some ways, the blossoming can be easy if we would just let ourselves do it. But if I can actually read something too, one of my favourite passages is by Ovid, from "Metamorphoses". And he says, "My soul would sing of metamorphoses. But since, o gods, you were the source of these bodies becoming other bodies, breathe your breath into my book of changes: may the song I sing be seamless as its way weaves from the world's beginning to our day." And I think about this passage a lot, because I love the idea of metamorphosis, being the song that has always been sung throughout creation, since the beginning of time, and sort of a question of whether we want to weave our own individual songs with that larger song, and be part of the change, be part of evolution, towards a more holistic way of being with this world and most importantly, being with each other. And to me, that's really what all that work comes down to.

Tammy (advaya): Yeah, thank you for reading that. I want to bring us to close and tie into the theme of rebirth. I would love for you to share something that's interesting, an interesting nature story on the theme of rebirth, whether it's a personal anecdote that you'd like to share, or a story that you've come across.

Willow Defebaugh: It's surprising me that this is the answer that's coming to me. But during the height of lockdown, there's this plant that's been in my home and in my care, and it had been at that point, for five years, I've had this plant, and nothing remarkable about it, nothing... I've never... I had never seen it transform or change or anything, it was always just itself, I don't even have the species name. But the strangest thing happened, that first winter of the pandemic. One morning I woke up, and the plant had stocked overnight this flowering vine, and it was blooming with the most fragrant flowers I have ever smelled. And I was so moved because this thing had been in the background of my life for five years, and I had never seen anything like this from it. And our world, we were surrounded by so much death and decay and, so much of the unknown, and I was feeling so separated from nature because I was stuck in my apartment for so long, and here was nature in my home, reminding me that rebirth can happen in the most unlikely places, in the most unlikely contexts, amidst so much suffering. And that it doesn't really have a rhyme or a reason. There's no... sometimes there is a cyclicality to it, and sometimes it's just this rare flowering thing five years later. And shortly after, it withered, and it died. And it was just that spectacularly brief and beautiful bloom. And to me, that meant everything. [And] to me, it's also a reminder that, we think of nature as like this thing that's outside. But nature is everywhere. It's in our homes, in our hearts. The lessons are everywhere that we choose to look for them.

Haile Thomas: In episode 2, we explored transness as nature incarnate.

In this discussion, we’re offered a spirited illustration of how our surrender to transness is, essentially, surrender to our naturalness. Surrender as in release, return, and recollection of a Self that exists far beyond the binary.

The craft of life is alchemy - and giving ourselves the grace to return to this sort of spiritual workshop, this metaphorical cocoon, again and again, acts as an invitation into the intimacy of liminal space. It asks us to trust the unseen, the life force moving through our lives and this world—Creating to destroy, destroying to create, endlessly and inevitably.

There is beauty in this process in the sense that it is the basis of our very interconnection. All life forms are governed by this craft of alchemy and the abyss of unknowns. And as our human culture, values, and conflicts grow in complexity, contradiction, and consequence, we find ourselves immersed in increasingly murky waters.

Yet, in this darkness, perhaps we are being urged to seek new ways of seeing.

This begs the question, is our true safety and success not found in momentary certainty, but in our ability to hold ourselves tenderly, in the midst of these sweeping tides? Is it our challenge and responsibility to carve out a loving and trusting space within and radiate the deep peace found there?

The questions we ask ourselves today, how we challenge our fears of evolution, and the nuance we discover and embody over time, may seed the origin of a fragrance of true liberation. One that could waft in the hearts of generations to come, inspiring new ways of living and relating to, or rather, recognizing ourselves as a part of, the natural world.

Here are some prompts for further inquiry, using the modalities that speak to you:

  • How do I perceive/express myself in ways that feel rigid or outdated? How can I lean into Self fluidity?
  • Where is there urgency in my life that actually requires patience? How can I give myself grace as I navigate the events changing and unfolding in my life?
  • What figures in nature are inspiring symbols of transness for me? What wisdom can I draw from their ways of being and becoming?
  • The climate change we’re currently facing feels like one big reflection prompt, what are we willing to heal within that may heal the whole?

Change often feels like self-sacrifice. But when experienced with grace, honesty, and patience, those sacrificial waters initiate us into a beautiful ritual of self-rebirthing, shared with every part of nature.

By lending ourselves to change, we are welcomed into a sacred process. And through that rite of passage, a wellspring of support becomes available to us as we witness our natural world change with unquestioning surrender

In the macro and micro, transness is our birthright and, perhaps, the very origin of how we’ve come into being.

Find further readings, resources, and video footage of this episode with subtitles on the YouTube playlist here.


Tammy Gan

Tammy (she/her) leads on content and storytelling at advaya.

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Willow Defebaugh

Willow Defebaugh is the Cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Atmos.

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Haile Thomas

Haile Thomas is a 22 yr old international speaker, wellness & compassion activist, content creator, writer, and co-founder of wellness teahouse Matcha Thomas.

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