Personal Mythmaking Podcast’s special pandemic series
It’s episode 75 and I’m chatting with Melissa Addison-Webster, a Queer, Disabled, White settler from Peterborough Ontario.
At the age of 22, after sustaining a spinal-cord injury in a vehicle accident, Melissa began an inward journey to find deeper peace, and this is why I’m so interested in having her on the show – I think most of us can learn a lot from Melissa’s experiences, and she’s generously sharing her insights with us for this special pandemic series.
As a Social Worker, Crip performance artist, activist and Lightworker, she has had a lifelong commitment to creating social, political and spiritual change.
In her career as a Social Worker she worked in a variety of environments, including mental health, income security, expressive arts and advocacy.
Melissa has a had a diverse history as a Crip performance artist. Her work has been presented in a wide range of spaces such as From the Floor (Peterborough) and the FFIDA Dance Festival (Toronto), collaboration with The Theatre Centre, Picasso Pro, Propeller Dance, and Michelle Silagy. As a Crip arts advocate, she has made presentations about her arts practice at the Sunday Speaker Series at the The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and H’Art School Able Artist
As an activist, her work has focused on disability-rights and income security. For over two decades she has worked diligently to demand access and financial security as fundamental human rights.
Melissa’s work as a Lightworker inspired her to establish the Pearl Centre, a holistic health centre based in Donwood Ontario.
In this episode we talked about navigating sudden change, spinal cord injuries, living with financial limits, and how Melissa started her meditation practice and found her teacher. Melissa shares her learnings around surrender and patience, and how we can be so sharply reminded that we are interconnected beings (as much of the world is learning during this global pandemic.)
We also talked about identity loss, how it can be so hard, but how a meditation practice can support identity loss and profound change, how liberating it was for her to learn more about identity politics and social justice. Melissa shared about about victim narratives, being the ‘super crip’ and ‘highly inspirational’ and how to navigate/contribute in a capitalist world with our physical labour when we’re not able to do physical labour.
We also discussed how health and income directly impacts how long you live, the terriblyness of disability income support being not enough to meet essential needs of shelter, food and transportation, and how financial access to stability os something we all deserve, and that when we don’t have that, poverty cloaks you with a nagging fear.
Finally, because Melissa is such a big thinker, she gives us a description of neoliberalism and how it’s affecting all of us.
Melissa also offers healing services online, and her contact information will be shared in the podcast shownotes and at the end of the interview. She’s trained in a variety of experiences with traditional Western training, and Eastern and earth-centered modalities.
After surviving an abusive relationship and living with mental health challenges, she started receiving Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. Amazed at the healing she found in this modality, she continued with a meditation practice and an exploration of energy medicine.
Melissa has studied earth and body-based spiritual traditions from Pangnirtung Nunavut, to the south of France, California and in South Africa. Through a variety of modalities, and an Anti-Oppressive approach, she supports clients as they explore past difficulties, witness patterns and begin personal change from a mind, body and spirit approach. Using hands-on healing and informed by Expressive-Arts, and Mindfulness she encourages clients to come with an open mind, and heart to become more fully connected to themselves.
You’re going to get so much out of this conversation – so enjoy (and make sure to share it widely!)