Transformational Leadership

The Inner Work

Healing of Racialized Trauma

We introduced The Inner Work course in late 2021 in response to a repeated message from our Indigenous, Black and People of Color (IBPOC) communities: working in the environmental movement is often isolating, unwelcoming and inhospitable, leading to high levels of anxiety, burn-out, depression and other manifestations of racialized trauma. Racial trauma is the result of intergenerational and ongoing exposure to stressors including racism, racist bias and environments where people feel unsafe or unwelcome because of their race and ethnicity. We believe that we must first address racialized trauma to transform the environmental field on a deep, systemic level toward a multicultural movement working in coalition. We developed The Inner Work to provide a safe place for IBPOC leaders to come together and heal in community.

This is an 8-day course, meeting 2 hours each session. We offer additional coaching between sessions. The curriculum covers an array of topics including racial trauma, anger and grief; healing; self-care and body-centered tools; ceremony and ritual; and storytelling. The Inner Work wraps up with a closing ceremony where the relationships with one another, the broader community and our collective resilience are celebrated. After the eight sessions conclude, the group is invited to meet quarterly to support on-going community healing.

Participants Will:

  • Examine parallels and connections between inner and community healing work and our collective efforts to effect positive social and cultural change for a sustainable future and a healed planet
  • Gain an understanding of racialized trauma and begin to explore how it has impacted personal health, wellbeing and the ability to reach one’s full potential in the environmental movement
  • Gain practices and strategies that focus on the role of the mind, body and spirit in the healing processes to reduce stress, boost mental clarity and improve overall wellbeing
  • Individually and collectively, move toward increased empathy, compassion and a sense of interconnection toward oneself, one’s communities and the larger community
  • Co-create a safer, supportive space and develop a network that will help cohort members thrive and remain engaged in the environmental, conservation and climate justice movements

We designed the Inner Work to promote healing through changes at a cellular level. These changes require practice, both during and in between sessions. We help participants explore how our bodies hold trauma and develop the skills to release trauma through breathwork, grounding, and orienting to the present; music; movement; journaling; and ceremony. A major component of the Inner Work is community and relationship-building, and we weave opportunities to build cohesion and connection throughout the course. We invite participants to show up exactly as they are, to be present, to engage as they are able, and to take measured risks that will stretch their comfort zones to a safe degree. We acknowledge that learning can’t happen when we have stretched too far, and our nervous systems become dysregulated.
CDE is committed to supporting Indigenous, Black and People of Color communities and is offering the Inner Work course at no cost to those who are selected to participate.


The body-centered tools gave me something I can actually do when the anxiety hits, and the conversations and people I was exposed to have shaped the way I think about trauma, anger and grief. This experience allowed me to be vulnerable with people in a way I have never been. It’s making me take a deep look inward and really evaluate how I relate to and understand others.

[I am grateful for] having this space with people who share similar experiences. This is not me and not my defect. That this is a shared experience feels incredibly healing.

All Programs

Building the Foundation

An entry-point for individuals just starting out or wishing to strengthen the foundation of their equity work

Exploring Power, Privilege and Tools for Change

An intermediate course for individuals ready to take their equity work to the next level of action

Environment 2042 Leadership Program

A multi-month immersive leadership development program for individuals well-along in their equity work

The Inner Work

Courses designed for community connection and healing

Decoding Whiteness

A course for people in the environmental movement to identify, name and dismantle patterns of white supremacy in their lives and work

Leadership Coaching & Consulting

CDE offers leadership coaching and consulting services to individual clients who have taken part in foundational work with us.

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