Guided Meditation

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Sixty of us have been harnessing our collective energy to keep a daily meditation practice this month of March. I know I have benefitted from feeling into this connection as I meditate, and I as I remember that we are together when I go about my day.

Let’s sit together. 

I’m inviting you to a guided meditation this Sunday, May 25 at 9:30AM East. We’ll come together for thirty minutes on a zoom video conference call, so that we can see each others faces. We will be grateful for our 25 days of practice and we will harness our collective energy to feel right into the experience of what is actually present.

We will be using zoom to connect:

 

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/8999713380

Or iPhone one-tap : US: +16465588656,,8999713380# or +16699006833,,8999713380#

Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 6833 Meeting ID: 899 971 3380 International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=Snchwn2ZoX8-L100HioripUF9636FTQ2

The Audacity to Imagine

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

― Pablo Neruda

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Meet Kendra Rosalie-Hicks, Co-Director of Radical Philanthropy at Resist, and part of the Evolutionary Leadership Workshop cohort of 2017. I asked her to share where she is with her project, and she blew my mind.

Her aim is to nurture the radical imagination and to cultivate audacity to re-imagine the world. Kendra is looking at the apocalyptic conditions that lie just below the surface of what is the most affluent society that has ever walked the earth. She holds awareness of the lives and the bodies upon which it has been built. And she believes that it is from here, from the throes of despair, that a new world can be built.

Kendra draws her inspiration from the work of the Combahee River Collective, the Black feminist queer organization from our own city of Boston that articulated ideas that today shape our thinking on intersectionality.

Kendra posits that the women of the collective dared to articulate the bold clarity of their thought, their vision for liberation, precisely because they did not know how long they would live. She speaks of the twelve young Black girls who were murdered within the span three months in Roxbury in 1979, and of the impact that this reality had on the women of the collective.

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Kendra is working with Luana Morales, a Boston based medicine woman and part of the Evolutionary Leadership Workshop cohort of 2016, to visit each of the sites of the twelve murders, to build altars and practice rituals honoring each of their deaths. This work of the heart will also become an installation of socially engaged art.

There is so much power here.

The name of the collective commemorates an action at the Combahee River planned and led by Harriet Tubman on June 2, 1863. The action freed more than 750 slaves and is the only military campaign in American history planned and led by a woman. Kendra reminds us that those who have been born into slavery may not always be able to imagine their freedom. It takes women like Harriet Tubman, who had attained the liberation of her mind and soul, to show others the way to freedom.

Our work is a forward facing remembering. Freedom can be born from here, imagination can burst from here, the future can be crafted here, we can move forward from here. But only if we are able to remember. There is a thread that has been held, and loved, and fought for, by each generation. It is our turn to pull on that thread.

The women of the collective looked back to Harriet Tubman, Kendra Rosalie-Hicks looks back to the Combahee River Collective, she builds altars for the dead, she is among those who will not forget. She is among those who will imagine and among those who will create.

We are living at the end of days, in the most privileged, affluent society that has ever walked this earth. We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams, we are the answer to their prayers and we are also ancestors in training. It behooves to remember so that our descendants can live.


Here is a look into the magic of the Evolutionary Leadership Workshop:

Cultural Appropriation

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When my son Darshan was in nursery school I remember walking him there on one of those gorgeous days of Boston’s long-awaited spring. The hood was bumping and the hot cars blaring. I said “Darshan, can you hear that?” “Is that Puerto Rican music?” he asked. It was Hip Hop, so I said “no, but we were there from the beginning.” Today I wonder if I should have said yes, and if it was a mistake to limit Puerto Rican music to salsa and other Caribbean beats. (Don’t forget where reggaeton is from either).

This post isn’t really about cultural appropriation, which is real. And my friend Malia Lazu does a much better job of looking at colorism here - The Bruno Mars real controversy? Race is make believe. I’m still regretting all the grief I gave her about whether she was Black or Puerto Rican in the immature understanding of identity politics of my early twenties. 

The post really is about movement fundamentalism, which I recently explained as:

A way of holding the cause for justice very much like a religious fundamentalist would. It is a growing trend in the spaces that I’m in. It comes with self-righteousness and policing of each other and each other’s language. It leaves little room for curiosity or dissent. It silences people and makes folks really afraid to say or do the wrong thing. It is highly judgmental, overly certain and intensely declarative. It is also how we signal “belonging” in these spaces, who is in and who is out, it comes with very specific signaling and a sort of competition for purity of thought.

You see, I grew up in an intentional religious community that exhibited fundamentalist tendencies. When I see the way social discourse is expressed and practiced today, I definitely know that it looks the same, smells the same, tastes the same and feels the same. This ridiculously offensive Bruno Mars controversy would not even be an issue without this turn towards fundamentalism. 

There is a deep seated, perhaps primal, human angst that longs for something that is pure and good. This drive for purity inevitably leads to exclude, and then exclude again, and then one more time, until there is just a few who hold the truth. We forget that in any conflict the tendency is to become the mirror image of your opponent. May the heavens protect us when these few come into power, because it always means blood.

When I’m facilitating I will invite participants to clench their fist tightly (try it now, as tight as you can). I will invite them to feel their body, their mind and their spirit when this fist is clenched. I will then invite them to keep their fist closed, but to loosen the grip (go ahead, let go, just a bit). How does that feel?

That thing that we are holding on to will not fall from the looser grip of our hands. But by holding it more loosely, we become more flexible, more adaptive, more aware of what surrounds, more capable of meeting whatever comes. It might become necessary to clench our fist again. But it’s not wise to live that way. It is too narrow, too contracted, it will waste our energy and diminish our life force.

Most of the things that movement fundamentalists are holding are actually true. These are truths that should be held, propagated and defended. But to hold them tightly is to keep them small, and it makes us small, and the next thing we know, we are coming at a young Puerto Rican man for making the music that our ancestors have long made our own.
 

The Souls of Men

The Souls of Men

If I’ve been taught to derive value, status and belonging from how much sex I can get and  how much dominance I can wield, then it will make sense to let my soul’s longing recede.

But if I’m taught to listen to my soul, if I can learn to take my masculine drive and place it at the service of something that is truly good, something much bigger than just me or you, then freedom becomes possible. It is from here that a conscious masculinity can be born, that the work of atonement can flow, that we will cease to be a danger and remember what is good.  

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It’s my birthday! I’m already tearing up with all the love coming my way via text and social media. What a miracle it has been to be born into this Flow of Grace. I believe in seven year cycles, and I stepped into my 42nd year with great intention (and intensity!). It has been quite a year. A year of deep, inner, personal transformation. 

Why The Evolutionary Leadership Workshop?

Why The Evolutionary Leadership Workshop?

The impulse to develop the Evolutionary Leadership Workshop was the desire for creative freedom. I work for institutional clients, the client is the convener and I’m invited in to design and facilitate the experience. It is beautiful work and I am privileged to do it. But it is work that demands compromise. The client has their own goals, their sense of what is possible and their own set of constraints.

I set out to create a space that was free of such compromise. I decided to try being the convener. And I developed a workshop where I could apply the very best of what I have learned in service of what I see as our highest purpose.

Intention. Connection. Experimentation. These are the tenets of the Evolutionary Leadership Workshop.

A New Economy

A New Economy

We live in a suicide economy. We are caught in a system of extraction that is decimating the planet and has the species on the fast track to an evolutionary crash.

We have a crisis of the imagination. In the words of Fredric Jameson, “it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of [globalized, unbridled] capitalism.”

But ours is not a dark story. Ours is the story of evolution. And everywhere around the world people are daring to imagine something new. Everywhere we find people who hold the wisdom we were taught had been lost. Everywhere there are folks who are practicing, inventing, remembering, experimenting with better ways of being human together. And isn’t that what an economy is for?

Preemtive Mercy

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  • Movements are not made by individuals.

  • Movements are definitely not made by men.

  • Our preference for simple stories seduces us into the myth of the charismatic leader.

  • If we don’t pay attention we will miss out on what is emerging RIGHT NOW as a new movement emerges from decentralized groups of people coming together to live our way into a new day.

All of this is true.

AND we can still celebrate the grace of the prophetic voices. The resonant voice of women of color like Adrienne Maree Brown is for me an example of that.

Redeeming Masculinity

Redeeming Masculinity

When I launched the Better Men Project I chose to focus on cisgender (term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth) heterosexual men in committed relationships. The intention was not to exclude other men, but to humbly begin the process based on the experience that I know. You have to start somewhere. And it is good to start with yourself.
My dear friend Felix Endara was generous enough to sign up for an interview anyway. Felix is a trans man. I had no idea until the moment of our interview. I have been working with Felix for years. It turned out to be the most powerful interview that I’ve had during this process.
Who better to speak to the redeeming aspects of masculinity than people who have had both experiences, the experience of being assigned female at birth and the experience of transitioning to life as a man. I write with Felix’s permission and with his eyes on these words.