Today, I introduce Harriet Tubman Wright who highlights her moments of struggle and transformation. Growing up she experienced setbacks such as losing a school election and not winning speech contests. These early losses resulted in Harriett holding herself back from stepping into leadership roles.
However, she chose not to dwell on these disappointments and instead embraced her creativity, finding avenues for self-expression in fashion, music, and dance. She encourages others to recognize their innate talents and cultivate them to make a positive difference in the world.
The conversation delves into the importance of deep listening and connecting with one’s inner voice. Harriet suggests that through meditation, dreams, nature, and even songs, individuals can tap into their inner knowing and receive guidance. She emphasizes the role of mentors or guides in supporting others on their journey of self-discovery and transformation.
The interview concludes with Harriet offering a gift to listeners, a guide called “Five Essential Tools to Lead the Revolution toward Love, Light, and Liberation,” which provides insights and practices for personal and spiritual growth.
Overall, the interview with Harriet Tubman Wright explores the power of embracing one’s voice, following one’s passion, and engaging in conscious change to create a better world for oneself and others.
Harriet Tubman Wright, MS, MA is an accomplished Speaker/Storyteller, Published Author/Poet, Person-Centered Expressive Arts Facilitator, Metaphysician, Initiated Priestess, and Elder. With a strong passion for empowering mature spiritual women, she has dedicated her life to helping them overcome stress and frustration in work environments that have undervalued and underpaid them. Through her guidance, Harriet supports these women in following their soul’s calling, stepping into their purpose and passion, and experiencing empowerment, transformation, and prosperity.
With her extensive background in various fields, including expressive arts, metaphysics, and leadership development, Harriet offers a unique and comprehensive approach to her work. She firmly believes in the power of (R)evolutionary Leadership skills, which she helps women cultivate to create positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world. Her mission is to heal people and the planet through the collective empowerment of mature women. She helps them navigate the challenges of the modern work environment and find true fulfillment by living in alignment with their soul’s calling.
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Transcript of Interview
Transcript of Interview
Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast
Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing
Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com
Episode #108 Harriet Tubman Wright
“A Journey of Revolution and Evolution”
(0:02) Doreen: Hi, I am Dr. Doreen Downing and I’m a psychologist and I host this podcast, Find Your Voice, Change Your Life, and you could hear already in the tone of my voice how excited I am today to interview and to present to you Harriet Tubman Wright. And there are lots of reasons that I know you’re going to enjoy this episode.
(1:02) Harriet: Hello. I’m happy to be here. I’m glad that we are connecting.
(1:07) Doreen: Yes, and this is actually the first time we’ve had a face-to-face conversation, and that’s what I do on podcast usually is invite people to be more conversational. It’s not so much of a selling that she’s doing because Being who Harriet is a sell.
And I’d like to start with the bio you sent me so people do know what you do. So it starts out Harriet Tubman Wright is an accomplished speaker, storyteller, published author, poet, person centered, expressive arts facilitator, metaphysician, initiated priestess and elder. Wow. I have to take a big breath because I am infused with the honor of being with you. She guides mature spiritual women to fulfill their passion so they can live healthy, purposeful, prosperous lives, doing what they most love to serve others. She also guides them to develop revolutionary leadership skills to help heal people and the planet, period.
And here we go. We’re gonna launch our time together, Harriet, but I just, people don’t have what I just read. And there’s a word that you did that is evolutionary and then you put the R in front of it, right? So there’s revolutionary and evolutionary at the same time. Let’s start with that.
(2:54) Harriet: I studied with Barbara Marx Hubbard several years ago, and she talked about evolutionary change that we’re, as the planet we’re evolving. And because I am Harriet Tubman Wright, revolution, which is about turning, it is about change. Oh, yes. So I put the R in parentheses, because some people might feel, oh, revolutionary.
Oh, but be uncomfortable with that. Whether we say evolutionary or revolutionary, the point is that deep transformation is occurring, some of which we can facilitate, some of which we have no control over. However, if we choose to be part of making positive change, conscious change, transformation that uplifts, that heals, empowers and uplifts others, and we do it together.
That sounds revolutionary to me.
(4:13) Doreen: It sure does. I’m so glad I asked you that right away. I didn’t ever think about the revolving part of it in terms of change and then of course evolutionary. I understand. But thank you. And then of course, your name and the connection to one of our historical revolutionary figures.
Is there a story there too?
(4:41) Harriet: What I will say of course, is whenever I would introduce myself, I would say Harriet, like Tubman. Otherwise people might say, Hi Helen. Hi Hazel. Hi Henrietta. But they remembered if I said Tubman and I worked for the city of Oakland for several years, and when I got ready to retire and I retired, I took the business name of Harriet Tubman Wright because in my mind I had left the plantation.
To do my thing. In a different context, the Wright resort.
(5:21) Doreen: Oh my goodness. I, it’s just every time I ask you a question, something new pops up. I’m so fascinated. That’s a wonderful story and it does make sense in terms of a lot of the people that I do invite here have been in corporate worlds or companies and haven’t really felt like that was a place where they can truly be themselves and have a voice.
And so I liked the way that you said that you left the plantation and came out on your own. And I usually go later to what you do, but tell me what the Harriet Tubman Wright Resort is about before we go into your voice.
(6:12) Harriet: I was fortunate to live in both West and East Africa during the eighties, and I was in Malindi along the coast where I could see the Indian Ocean, and I just said, I want to have a place called the Wright Resort.
Where women can take care and be taken care of. You know that any woman, whether she’s typically working in the home and outside of the home. So self-care is really important. So this was my vision, this grand place where women could take care and be taken care of. And of course, it did not evolve into a physical place.
But I decided someone, I actually went to Southern California and there is a healing place there, and the director said we didn’t start with what you see now. We didn’t even have the money to buy this land, but the seller believed in what it was we were doing at the Optimum Health Institute.
So we started volunteers and over time people contributed, people helped. And so it evolved to what it is now. And so she said, start with what you have. And so I started doing my programs in other people’s homes, and then I started doing them in public places. So they were face-to-face programs.
And it feels so long ago because so much of what we do now is virtual. But so the Wright resort started with a foundation of self-care. And then when I really realized how many women in particular were frustrated in their work environment, I started focusing on what I call soul’s calling.
Who were you born to be? What is it you’re born to do? And working with women around what is your true purpose? What is your magic? What is the thing that lights you up and lights others up when you’re engaged? If you go to a store and there’s a saleswoman who just, she’s on, she’s there to serve you.
She does, whether she sells anything or not, her spirit and energy is magnetizing. And so that’s how I wanted to work with women to get to that place where they are energized, motivated, and serving others from that level of energy. And as we have moved as a country, as a world, now I talk about social change, and that’s where that revolutionary piece comes, because I believe that is for mature women, older women and younger women.
I call it the divine feminine and the sacred masculine. Because there is a role. For them as well, because I think that, and I talk about healing people in the planet because I actually believe Mother Earth and Mother Nature will be here. The question is to what extent humanity will be here and in what ways that we can be here in peace.
(9:49) Doreen: So much of what you’re saying is, inspirational and comes from deep wisdom and I just love the idea of this, the presence and the radiance from within, and that is lining up with who you’re here to be and you already are, is just coming closer to realizing it and then having the freedom and the places like probably the Wright institute or the Wright resort.
Working with people like you to help bring out the essence of who we are. I’m going to go back now to where I usually start with people, which is my goodness, you had to have a struggle. You weren’t the brilliant, beautiful woman you are now when you came out, and so you have some kind of history.
You did tell me a little bit about it in the work that you sent me, let’s just go back. Go back to what you mentioned being in Africa. I’m not sure if you were born there or if you went to visit there or… just tell us more about your early history.
(11:05) Harriet: I was actually born in Kansas City, Missouri, and I’m the first born in my family. I have sisters who are seven years younger, and then a brother. So I had not a lot of self-care, but responsibility for taking care of them. Yes. And I was very smart. I was an A student always on the honor roll. And when I grew up in Oakland, in East Oakland and went through public schools, one of the teachers said, “I think you should run for school president.” And I said, “Okay, I’ll do that.” I made these big posters, don’t go wrong, vote: Harriet for president. Yes. And I was running against a boy because we were in the eighth grade, named Patrick Kennedy and so I made a very serious speech about all the things that I, my cabinet and I were going to do to improve the school.
He had some of the classmates, he was already Kennedy, so he had Jacqueline. Love it. And the children. And he had a table on and he was already acting like the president. And so people laughed. I didn’t laugh, but our classmates did. And so when it was time to vote, I lost by three votes and I was devastated.
And so I made this pledge. “I will never try again. I will never try again.” And so thereafter, and the blessing of it, because I’m a creative person, I became first violin in the ninth grade. And I always sewed my own clothes. So I was sewing my own clothes. I was fashion modeling. I was in the modern dance honor society. And I say these things, there was space now for all of my creativity to be expressed. Oh, great point. Only in hindsight, because at that time I said I’ll only play it safe instead of by the time I got to high school, oh, I’ll run for round table representative, or I’ll run for secretary.
I wasn’t going to run for president ever again. But as I say, in hindsight, it made room for me to flourish in my creativity, and that’s one of the things that I like to work with others around, because people will say, oh, I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. Oh, I don’t know how to paint. You do. You can finger paint.
(14:22) Doreen: Yes. I don’t know how to write. You do know how to do words together. String a sentence together.
(14:30) Harriet: We do, we have innate talents and we have cultivated talents. If in the best of all worlds we are sharing our talent, our skills, our gifts in service to others.
(14:46) Doreen: The way you just did the transformation I think is really important for listeners because I think so many people get stuck in the experience of having been let down or somehow made some kind of decision that I’ll never do that again, that hurts. That’s painful. I’m staying away from that. And what you showed us was how to take something and look at what else was created or what else was possible because you didn’t take that one path. But I also want to point to that moment, which was when you described it, people couldn’t see it, but when I watched you do it, it was like a shrinking.
When you did that, you pulled yourself in. I’ll never do that again. And that’s the voice, that’s taking the voice and making it really small. And you, and that’s what you and I are do. So good at listening to that small voice inside of people that got suppressed for some reason, and your reason happened to be something pretty public where you went way out there to be seen and heard, and then was pretty much rejected and there you go.
(16:10) Harriet: Yeah. It was quite the learning opportunity. And again I can say that in hindsight there are many ways that we can be hurt. There’s a Toastmasters group at my church and I was very active in Toastmasters and always go doing these speeches, and I would always be the first runner up, never the winner.
I would get off the stage and people would say, “You had the best speech. You should be the winner.” And, at a certain point I said, this is the way it is in this country, and I am not going to get my feelings heard about it. I’m just going to be serving, I’m going to do the right thing and keep focusing on supporting people in their own creativity or their own gifts and skills.
Because that’s what it’s about.
(17:26) Doreen: Yes, I did Toastmaster too and I won those contests. However, Harriet, I did not feel like I truly found my voice in those settings. Because it was much more about performance and techniques. And instead I did more of the work that you’re talking about, the inner work to find yourself, your strength, your creativity. What is possible for you, more than what’s possible.
So I’m going to take a brief break and come back because I have so many more questions about who you are and how you help people. Thank you.
(18:10) Doreen: Hi. We are back now with Harriet Tubman Wright and already being blown away by her ability to live in a transformational way. So that she can take anything. I can imagine we haven’t gone too far yet, but can take anything that’s been negative in her life and transform it into an opportunity. And we hear that’s the message: It’s not just making lemonade out of lemons, but it’s truly possible.
So welcome. We’re back with you Harriet, and I’d like to ask some more questions about. The difficulty, I’d like to, because that’s what people are listening to first is they want to relate to how difficult it’s been for others who are now successful. Because that’s what any other stories you have about facing difficult moments around finding your voice, being able to express yourself, your truth.
(19:18) Harriet: As I said, I grew up in Oakland. All of the women on my father’s side, there is a particular lesson, go to college so you can get a good education, so you can get a good job. And you don’t have to depend on a man. That was the programming. Every woman on my father’s side is single.
I do have a son who was born in Kenya and parenthood is another opportunity to transform and to grow and I realized I had taken responsibility for my sisters and brother, early on, but now I had a different level of responsibility and that notion of, “You better get a job,” was really important.
And so I did have various jobs and then, because that was my responsibility and I think when you talk about making lemonade out of lemons I feel, I work with those many people who feel defeated or discouraged and they can say, oh, that was racism, or, oh, that was sexism, or, oh, that was, and get caught up in that.
And be very unhappy in their funk, I will say. And yet there is a higher power and there is a deeper, you know what I call that soul? Knowing that despite these conditions or circumstances, I can still evolve. I can still serve, I can still be happy being who I was born to be, doing what I was born to do.
And that’s where the coaching or the mentoring or the guiding comes. And it can come from a spirit, from your spiritual community, it can come from an educational setting. I think the point is to know that there is a way, and often people need support and guidance to go that way, to find the way.
There’s more than one path. Here are your options, but the most important thing to me is that you have come into this world gifted. Let’s discover your gifts. Let us build on your gifts and skills to share, to make a difference in the lives of others, and that makes a difference in your own life.
(22:39) Doreen: Beautiful. And this sharing that you’re talking about usually has to do with, if we bring it back to what we’re talking about today, voice that in order to voice it, you have to be it.
(22:57) Harriet: That’s very true. And there are those who are willing to speak and those who are willing to listen and you can agree or disagree.
(23:17) Doreen: That listening is what I think you’re talking about is that helping people to listen to their destiny, their soul, their purpose. That takes a deeper kind of listening. And inner kind of listening.
(24:26) Harriet: It is the, how is it said that’s still the inner voice. And sometimes it will show up through a dream. Sometimes it can show up in meditation, but we do have an inner knowing and we can call it soul or heart. Sometimes you can be, I can be walking along a nature path. And there is a tree that speaks to me or a rock that speaks to me and there is the answer.
Or sometimes when you know people are scribbling or there are answers, there are lessons, there are opportunities. And it said that’s that still inner voice. I think that’s a term from Michael Beckwith, that still inner voice soul, heart, spirit, whatever you want to call it. The point is there is that inner knowing, and again, sometimes we have to be supported by others to get to that place.
(24:55) Doreen: I love what you’re saying around that, still inner knowing, because that’s not like a voice we hear on the radio or even from those who are around us in groups. Basically what you also are talking about is the deeper voice within, and that is what you’re calling is a knowing. To me, we’re going pretty deep here today around the listening and the knowing and the speaking, because if it’s silent, what, who’s speaking?
How do we hear? What, do you know what I mean? That’s really wonderful to be wandering around in this inner realm of deep knowing and listening. And there’s got to be some sense, I guess you might say, of a voice.
(25:58) Harriet: And as I said, sometimes it can come in a dream. And people are encouraged. Write it down. And it can come in meditation, it can come through a song. You might be at a concert listening to a song, and all of a sudden the lyrics of that song wake you up. Yes.
(26:20) Doreen: Yes. And what you just said too, now we’re almost out of time, but I love what happened right there.
And people who aren’t watching you, I have to explain that. You just said waking up and you brought your hands up and opened up yourself, right? With this bright smile waking up. That’s what you do. You help wake up people. So in terms of how people can find you, say some more about that and I think you might have something you can offer us today.
(27:00) Harriet: Thank you. I do have something I’d like to share as a gift, and it’s called ‘Five Essential Tools to Lead the (R)evolution toward Love, Light and Liberation: A spiritual guide for change makers. And it really is a journey. It’s a journey we get to take and a journey with the tools of self-care, tools of soul care, who were we born to be?
The gift of sacred ritual and brushing our teeth is a ritual, but prayer might be considered a sacred ritual. Or altars, I used to be very involved with creating altars. And so sacred ritual and also this. Person-centered, expressive arts, and it’s a philosophy that we have the tools for healing.
If we could draw a painting, we could sing a song, we could do a movement, and all of those things mean something. And a person-centered understands that we have the answers within and are going to facilitate. Getting to those answers. And then the last part of it is guidance, but it is a journey that you can take, you take within your business, within your organization, within your community.
It applies to all of those areas. And it’s actually fun. I think that it’s fun, but it is going deeper. You’re reading, you know this, and you’re taking this journey. It’s a journey in consciousness that hopefully leads to some revelation, some understanding, some inspiration, and.
A willingness to say, “Hey, I wanna take the next steps. I wanna take the next steps”. And I wanna take it with a mentor, a coach, a guide. I like the term, I call myself: “Your guide to be fulfilled and free”. But you know, when you go on a trip, you usually have a guide. Usually not all the time, but for some, it’s okay, spirit is my guide, or this person who has this uniform on has is my guide.
But oftentimes that’s the support. That one needs to take the next steps and get to the destination or beyond the destination or a different destination.
(30:12) Doreen: Actualization is what you’re talking about, or self-realization. Lots of words there. And I just heard something you said, revelation, and I just thought the way you’ve done evolution in the art, it felt there’s elevate and revelation might have something to do with elevate.
So lots of ways to play with words. Thank you, Harriet. You’ve offered us lots of wisdom today and I feel blessed by your presence. Ah, thank you so much.
(30:52) Harriet: Thank you. It has been my pleasure and I really appreciate the opportunity to get to know you better and to get to know those who choose to be a part of transformation.
Here and now.
(31:14) Doreen: Yes. The evolution that we are all part of and the continuing of the revolution of life. Thank you.
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Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.