angel Kyodo williams

Archive for the ‘leadership’ Category

state of union

In leadership, politics, relationship on January 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Jambo-Welcome!

resolution for revolution


Each January, whether formal or informal, uttered or silent, many of us resolve to do something different for the coming new year. We commit to starting some things and finishing others. We put plans into motion, we reassess, reevaluate and take stock of the life that we have and where we want it to be.

In two weeks, as President of the United States, Barack Obama will issue the State of the Union, as is constitutionally required “from time to time,” reporting on the condition of the country and setting forth his legislative agenda — resolutions for the nation — for 2011. Likewise, as a Movement of Peoples United in striving for a just and equitable world, we should require of ourselves a reflection upon the state of our union as we reconsider and reset our course for change in this new year.

To do this, we could overwhelm ourselves with a long list of far-reaching goals that get left to collect dust on our collective to-do lists while we wait for the perfect conditions that never seem to arrive: a perfect President, a balanced Court, a less sinister Senate, a reasonable Congress. But instead of pondering what we don’t have, I propose one single resolution that we can take on right now: A resolution for revolution. I propose that we put our efforts into forming a new state. A state of union. I propose that we become a single movement of movements. I propose that we become one.

One with what? Union with whom? Not just a new age platitude, being in union means seeing beyond the crippling illusion of separation and acting from the abiding awareness of our fundamental, indisputable interconnectedness. Separation breeds fear and perpetuates its own myth until we believe To be effective, our movements must be coherent. To be sustainable, our organizations must be aligned. To be whole, as individuals we must act from oneness.

Union within our Movements:
Let’s see where we can bridge the divides and emerge from the silos that even with our best intentions isolate the issues that we care about and create false illusions of disconnect: that somehow the oxygen created in rapidly disappearing old growth forests is not related to the oxygen disappearing in the lungs of black and brown children in inner-city jungles. Work for the environment IS work for justice but when it’s disconnected from the truth of our equal worth and inherent rights, pro-Green becomes anti-Black, Red, Brown, Indigenous and Impacted.

Union with Each Other:
As organizations trying to put asunder the corporate takeover of democracy that has recast citizens as mere consumers and cultures as mere commodities, most of our work exists in a hand-me-down paradigm designed by those same corporations. We imbibed their values when we drank the corporate Kool-aid. We’ve bought into the perpetual need to consume resources as the Holy Grail for all our woes. Now funding our fights beg us to jump through one foundation circus hoop after another and puts us squarely in competition with the very same folks we should be organizing, collaborating and conspiring with. We forget that the money we now scratch, bite and sell our integral souls for is mostly sourced from systems of oppression. Why be divided in reclaiming what was made on our collective backs? The American Economy is the Mother of all Ponzi schemes—putting Bernie Madoff to shame—and until we see the means and the ends as one, we fuel the hyper-capitalist engine of the systems that steamroll our imaginations. We are left bearing the false belief that we must depend on the path that suffocates us as the only route to freedom when really the only liberation worth attaining is that of the self: self-liberated, self-funded, self-actualized.

Union with Ourselves:
It’s no secret that if we want to get to the first two, we have to get with The One. The single individual that if we are out of relationship with, we have no hope for relationship with the rest of people, place and planet: we must find relationship with and within our selves. The good, bad, ugly and even hideous parts that we far too often cast aside. Because every day we head out to fight the good fight, we bring along the unaddressed and disconnected wounded parts of ourselves to the battle. If we don’t heal our wounds, they’ll consume our hearts, sap our strength and cripple our courage. And we all lose the war.

So how do we fulfill this resolution and make good on the necessary promise to get to know, show up for and love ourselves? To be in Union with who we are as we are? No magic pills here. It’s as simple as Practice: We set a date for meeting ourselves each and every day, 365, and we show up for it.

To usher forth a transformative movement, we resolve to work on ourselves & our organizations toward becoming the reflection of what we wish our world to become. We gift our movements, our work, our communities and our own lives with the single most significant effort we can make on behalf of all that we love and care for: we become leaders that transform hearts, minds and societies by becoming leaders—and lovers—of our very own selves.

—yours in truth, aKw

postscript: On Virtual Practice
Don’t have a favorite local practice dive? Don’t get isolated, get online. Here are three of my current favorite virtual practice opportunities, a few extras I ran across thrown in for good measure.

Daily
28 Days of Practice: Gibran Rivera of IISC and a cohort of buddies got together to support each other in committing to a daily meditation practice (centering prayer, silence, contemplation, stillness, quiet reflection…take your pick). Noting that consistency is far more important than quantity, 5 minutes per day is the bar along with taking 10 seconds to record your daily progress. Social witnessing helps keep us on track, and helps get us back on the horse when we fall off (which we will).

Yoga Today 365: Not feeling freezing your yogi toes off to trudge through cold snow for Hot Yoga? Not free, but for 25cents a day you get unlimited access to a hefty library of yoga classes on streaming video. If you’re working your way up to commitment, $3.99 gets you a “drop-in” virtual class of your choice. (Note: While an interesting resource, YT365 isn’t exactly oozing with social justice awareness. Not a brown/colored person easily found. Searching for online yoga that’s also justice-savvy? I’ll leave finding that balance to you.)

Weekly
MTX: Mind Training & Transformation: Yours truly has been chewing on this idea for five years now. Inspired by the profound Jewish tradition of Torah reading, each week MTX takes a look at one of 59 pithy non-religious “slogans,” or trainings that, with practice (and some commentary to help) are designed to transform—and unify—the mind.

Yoga Today Free Weekly Class: Mentioned above, this virtual yoga library offers a free video class each week to whet your appetite, so grab your mat, props, blanket and the front row in front of your laptop to get your body union on. (And don’t forget your eye pillow. Far from accomplishing acrobatic feats, it’s the integration at the end that gets you cool points. Don’t just do something…lie there.)

Seasonal
27 Days of Change: Winter, spring and fall, Center for Transformative Change hosts a seasonal “practice period” to help you get your alignment together. You make a formal agreement with yourself in areas such as improving relationship, taking care of the planet, giving more where and when you can. 6 intentions. 27 days. 360 degrees. (What about summer, you ask? CXC hosts an annual Inner Justice Intensive around June/July. While not for the faint of heart, if you want to “sit it down to kick it up a notch,” this may just be your mid-year game.)

BONUS:
While not virtual, if you are looking to become a resource for practice, these could be right for you: fearlessMEDITATION Instructor Training. Teaching about meditation from a social justice lens gives people permission to do the inner work that’s needed to sustain the outer work that’s called for. fMIT does just that. And if “yoga built built for justice” sounds like your fancy, the fearlessYOGA Teacher Training shares the unique legacy of being practice designed from the ground up for agents of social change. After a first year pilot, 2011 will see fYTT trainings on the east and west coasts. The time to sign up is now.

If your organization wants to become a resource, get info to get your people trained to hold practice space as a Social Justice Sitting Circle, coming to your neighborhood soon.

your in truth,aKw


copyright MMXI. angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher,
author, social visionary and Founder Emeritus of
Center for Transformative Change.
she posts, tweets & blogs on all things change.
permission granted to retweet, repost,
repaste & repeat with copyright and contact
information intact.

Faceboook: Fan angel on Facebook
Twitter: Follow angel on Twitter
Web: Find angel on the Web
Blog: angel in the blogosphere
Blog: Train with angel

stay in the game

In leadership, politics on October 19, 2010 at 7:00 am

XXX

vision, hope and faith for america


Here we are in October again, just a few short weeks from Election Day.

I wake up to the increasing darkness of October’s mornings with a start. Each month, I decide what ideas, thoughts or challenges I’ll offer for people to consider with head, heart and spirit unifying for a call to action. Clearly there is no shortage of topics and issues. The great challenge is to select one that is both timely and transcendent.

With that criteria in mind, I can see there is nothing more important to say right now than to implore each and every one of you to show up, to engage, to stay in the game of this strange democracy by rallying every bit of energy you can to vote…and to encourage every one you know to vote, too.

I call upon our self-proclaimed Progressives, still comfortable being “liberal,” who stalwartly make the clarion call for all things being equal: rights for women, gays, im/migrants and for all things being civil: End the Wars, Be the Peace, Bring the Troops Home.

I call upon us fierce Independents who demand fiscal responsibility, accountable government and a pause on the party politicking that reveals our politicians’ shortage of integrity while getting the rest of us no where at all.

I especially call upon us Revolutionaries that see through the gaping cracks in the very foundations of this system. We feel reluctant to continue to build our hopes for real change—to rest our dreams for survival, security and self-determination—upon a structure that has been flawed since inception. We see our unwanted, cast aside, cast out brothers and sisters peering through from the other side of borders, reservations, jail cells, and deeply-drawn lines of poverty. Yes, we must remain determined to reclaim all our people and reconstitute a system reluctant to release old habits of thriving upon the least-resourced of us all. But to do that, we must stay in the game.

I even call upon the conscious-minded, conservative-valued folks who know deeply that sometimes we must vote on principal for honest, open leadership even if that does not serve one’s short-term political desires.

Combined, we are all Americans: We lament the loss of life, detest destroying families, question borders, want freedom for Gaza, troops out of Afghanistan, safety for our children, help for Main Street not Wall Street, green jobs, clean energy, an honest living, a balanced budget, and social security, equity and sustainability for all.

To achieve any of this, we must rally. We must go forward, not backward.

We must stay in the game.

In the last two years, we did not get all we wanted. We got some flawed policy and, yes, maybe even a flawed president. But we got an honorable man. A decent human being. A caring father. A concerned citizen. A thoughtful listener. A critical thinker. A compassionate leader that must navigate the concerns of the most diverse electorate in the world.

In short, we got US. Not just you or me. A black or white. A Christian or Muslim. A working class or elite. We have in our President all of that and thus none of it. We got a true American in the complex fabric that is and is still becoming the America of our dreams. So the seeking of simple outcomes to our complex problems makes us naive. Turning our backs or sitting on the disgruntled sidelines makes us irresponsible.

The complexity of our desires are matched only by the boundlessness of our Vision for an America that can embrace us all. The depths of our disappointment can only be measured against the grand heights of our Hope. The revelation of flaws is a testament to our Faith.

But we have Vision and we have Hope and we have Faith.

More than anything we didn’t get in these scant two years, Vision, Hope and Faith restored. Possibility, imagination and creativity are poised to replace limitation, fear and contraction. And these, more than any policy, bill or president, will help us re-imagine an America for all Americans.

But we must stay in the game.

your in truth,aKw

P.S., In case we have lost perspective, here’s a reminder of The 244 Accomplishments of President Obama.

and if, as a frustrated change agent, you ask yourself why you bother, Ian Rhett of Civic Actions reminds you to Stay in the Game here.

If you haven’t figured out that indeed you are and must be an American Revolutionary no matter how much the system wants to count you out, start to “assert (your) solutions as the living embodiment of (your) nationality along with Adrienne Maree Brown.

special shout out to Ian Rhett, adrienne maree brown, Jodie Tonita, Gibran Rivera and the whole 2010 Web of Change crew (Canadians included!) that keep me compelled to stay in the game. –aKw

copyright MMX. angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher,
author, social visionary and founder of
Center for Transformative Change.
she posts, tweets & blogs on all things change.
permission granted to retweet, repost,
repaste & repeat with copyright and contact
information intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel in the blogosphere

vowing to save them all

In identity, leadership, spirit on January 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm

many many people

the sweetness of the impossible

Astrologer Rob Brezsny: ‘The secret of life,” said sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall, “is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is — it must be something you cannot possibly do.” What is that task for you?’

Zen Buddhists the world-over chant what is called the Four Vows. Each vow is apparently impossible: “Beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.” Here at the New Dharma Community, which I lead, says this chant, recommits to these vows after every single practice session. We see it this way: You make your vow and you set out to do it wholeheartedly. The fact that the task is already pre-determined to be impossible, and one commits to it anyway, assures that it isn’t about you—-your sense of gain, accomplishment or even your fear of failure—-AND you put your full effort in.

Here’s our version:

FOUR VOWS OF THE AWAKENING WARRIOR
Beings are numberless; I vow to awaken them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to transform them.
The Dharma is boundless; I vow to perceive it.
The Awakened Way is unattainable; I vow to embody it.

word.

copyright MMX. angel Kyodo williams.
@changeangel: all things change. [sm]

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher,
author, social visionary and founder of
Center for Transformative Change.
she posts, tweets & blogs on all things change.
permission granted to retweet, repost, repaste &
repeat with copyright info intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel in the blogosphere

the year of X

In culture, identity, leadership, spirit on January 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm

X

horoscope for america’s movement for justice

In the East Asian calendar, commonly called Chinese Astrology, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. The Tiger symbolizes strength and protection, a courageous and fiery fighter that keeps away “fires, thieves and ghosts.”

The underlying principle of all systems that seek to reflect character traits to us based on the year, month, day or hour of our birth is to give us a window into our basic orientation–our internal operating systems, if you will–so that rather than being limited or boxed in by definitions, we have the opportunity to become our full selves because we’re equipped with an insightful compass that signifies where we are. We, in turn, exercise “the precious gift of choice” that is the birthright of human beings, to determine where, exactly, we will go.

At their best, astrologers are astute scientists, read into the deeper meaning and drawing hypotheses about how the energy of stars and space influence our paths…not so much fortune-telling, but more a Life weather forecasting.

Horoscope for Justice
In 2010, a confluence of circumstances and stars align so that we are now kicking off what I’d call The Year of X. Here’s my “hour watching”–or “horoscope” for America’s movement for justice:

It seems pretty obvious that the Tiger/ess is collectively emblematic of all the activists that seek positive change in the world. No matter what sign we’re born under indvidually, we change agents exhibit the qualities of being ferocious and domineering on the outside, but noble and distinguished on the inside. But we tireless seekers of justice are forged of additional qualities that make us a special breed that show up only once in a lifetime cycle.

The usual suspects that we get to point to: King, Gandhi, Suu Kyi, Ella Baker, Black Elk, Mandela, Guevara, Ambedkar…are auspicious figures that seem to appear too far and few between. They are bound together in their diverse struggles to overcome the oppression of their time and space by a less tangible but unequivocally more powerful “X” factor that exponentially multiplied their effectiveness beyond mere tactic, tool or technique.

Their engagement of a unique arsenal of internal “weapons” or skills developed as a result of deep and abiding personal practice, expressed and applied in systematic and organizational contexts, catapulted them beyond the ordinary to the Xtraordinary. Beyond the individual to collective. Beyond personal OR political to the profound. Beyond change to trans–“X”formation.

Beyond. Transcendent. near-Shamanic. Talismanic. X.

Where we find ourselves now is a unique moment in time in which the ability to dig deep into this internal arsenal to express our full collective selves as the mighty and powerful agents of justice, freedom and love that we are is available to us en masse. We don’t have to wait for the random revolutionary savior, but can activate this X-factor ourselves. We can either accept limited concepts about who we are as movement(s) and what we can and cannot do or we can exercise our will, our choice by dropping in beneath the infighting, rhetoric and soundbites to find a truer expression of our noble spirits’ search for freedom through our own liberation. We can wait for a messiah, preacher, guru or President to part the raging sea of conservatism or we can disarm the resistance with our capacity for charismatic conversion. Who needs to win when you can win over?

Colors and Directions
The colors that symbolize this Year of X are:

red, for the fierce passion of our convictions

white, for the purity of our hearts

yellow, for our vast vision, expansive and encompassing as the golden sun, and

black, for the great depth and mystery that is the doorway to that Great Beyond, our collective transformation.

The four colors that represent all people on the planet are held in our hearts because any real fight for justice is not against but for. For the planet, for the people, for life and for love. For all.

The directions? All of the cardinal four, naturally, looking East towards the future with the wind and work of our Ancestors of past coming from the West. The South situates us in this very moment of now, while the North holds the infinite possibility of no-time. With those, we also look to the Heavens above for guidance from Spirit, Earth below for grounding and deep into the Cosmic Center the very core from which we organize.

X Qualities
Most important are the qualities this Year of X asks us to lean into, cultivate and operationalize. Here are the big ten:

First, the ABCs. The “what.” Basics we should all live by whether seeking justice in the world or just within ourselves:

  1. authentic: be who and what you are. no more, no less.
  2. balanced: left, right. work, play. give, receive.
  3. centered: organized & on purpose from the deep core of your very being.

Next, the “how” of our actions. Showing up in a good way as individuals, organizations and communities means being:

  1. aligned: thought, word and action. all one.
  2. integral: complete, whole and radically inclusive.
  3. transparent: out loud and proud, come what may.

For every purpose, a reason. The “why” or toward what end are the three Ss of Social Justice that must be sought after, procured, cultivated and protected for all:

  1. safety: food, shelter, clothing, dancing & moving freely.
  2. self-determination: our way is the way, mistakes, foibles and all.
  3. sustainability: we’ve all got to be here. for a long time. act like it.

and finally, without putting these concepts into rigorous, ongoing practice (beheld with joy, appreciation and lots of dancing) we would only have ideas. We need more than dreams and theory, we need praxis, making each quality actionable in our moment-to-moment-to-movement lives, as:

  1. Presence: be here. now.

As always, both symbolically and in reality, it must be remembered that X is also associated with the unknown…that which unfolds before us beyond even our will and choice. It is how we respond to that unfolding–especially and most poignantly when it is not according to our plan–that is the true reflection of our character and our mastery of those X qualities. It’s when the shit hits the fan that we need to stand firm in the stink with Fearlessness, Grace and Presence.

May you live this Year of X as if your life depends on it. I know mine does.

copyright MMX. angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher,
author, social visionary and founder of
Center for Transformative Change.
she posts, tweets & blogs on all things change.
permission granted to retweet, repost, repaste &
repeat with copyright info intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel in the blogosphere

being your best

In culture, identity, leadership, money, politics, relationship, spirit on December 8, 2009 at 11:28 am

Enthroned Virgin and Child. Haghia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey. photo © 2009 angel Kyodo williams

child of hope

the theory, art and practice of change

Every one of us holds some hope for a future America, indeed a future world, that is changed. Changed to what is not always as tangible as our minds would like it to be. Perhaps that’s why Martin said “I have a dream…” In the best of expressions, Jesus Christ, depicted above with the Virgin Mary as a tiled mosiac in the Haghia Sophia, represents Hope. His birth brought Hope to a world that had gone awry, thus the title of the image “Child of Hope.” As agents & allies of social change, we, too, represent Hope for a world that has gone a little astray from the path of expressing the best humanity has to offer: love, compassion, fairness, security, sustainability and self-determination for all living things. We have our work cut out for us. But with a grounded theory, a willingness to learn the art and a committment to practice, practice, practice, we can and we will be our best and through our example, through our leadership, we’ll inspire the best in everyone.

In keeping with a year-end “Best of…” theme, (while doing as little as possible as I head out in the world on the first leg of my sabbatical) I offer these snippets from not one, but all of the past year’s INcite essays. Take them individually or as one big riff on this profound movement towards Transformative Social Change. May any one of these ideas, instructions or inquiries inspire you towards being your best, today and in the year to come.

January | finally American
On the one hand, 2009 brings with it the incredible challenges of the freefall of an economic house of cards built with smoke, mirrors and lots of dishonest spit, an unjust war built on outright lies, and a devastating attack on a people that the world can no longer deny is on the short end of a harsh stick, built on a 60 year theft. On the other hand, we are embarking upon a new year, a new era, and a strange, new hopefulness that real people, tired of being polarized by fear, hate and separation can organize for hope, progress and change. And together, our collective will can make a difference.

February | being all we can be
President Obama has gone on record saying that he opposes gay marriage, but admits this may be a wrong-headed view drawn from his own religious beliefs. I’m suspicious of the idea that God whispers in anyone’s ear and says “you are chosen to have something that other’s aren’t entitled to:” be that right to love or right to land. But since I’ve only been trying to listen to God rather than talk, maybe She doesn’t whisper back to me. So, I’m not one to question Obama’s or anyone else’s personal relationship with God…why don’t we stop questioning anyone’s personal, mutually respectful, consenting relationship with anyone else?

March | can you see me now?
Being in real relationship with “the other” closes the bias gap…But to even get there, we have to look at ourselves first. We have to stop letting ourselves off the race hook and commit to actively resisting the biased waters we swim in by raising our unconscious, implicit fears to the level of conscious, explicitly articulated ones. That’s painful, exhausting, heart-breaking work, but it’s the real work that needs to be done. No less important than your next action, petition, campaign or board meeting. (Those explicit biases could use a good eyeballing here, too.) Plainly speaking, if you’re doing work for change in what’s “affectionately” referred to as AmeriKKKa without a practice of examining race, you’re pretty much adding to the problem.

April | seven deadly sins of change
The Watchmen for Change are made up of Freedom Fighters, Organizers, Agitators and Activists paired with the folks that, like it or not, foot the bills. In a perfected partnership, they are our Supporters, Advocates, Advisors and Allies. Some of us pay with the currency of creativity, vitality, energy and soulforce. Others pay with hopefulness, steadfastness, wild cheering and dollar bills, y’all…Together we are the Jedis of Justice. We are The Ones that We have Been Waiting for to illuminate the Matrix and reveal the passage out of Babylon. We are the Agents of Transformative Social Change.

May | this is our time
A Black Organizer is in the White House. (Wise Latina) Justice is getting off the bench and in the Game. It’s our time. The era of the lowly grunt that toils for justice being the under-appreciated, underpaid underdog is officially overrated. We are now the wunderkinds that can capture the imagination of our nation with our unwavering commitment to Hope, resounding call for Freedom and heart-stopping effort to reveal Truth, Justice and a truly New American Way.

June | a more perfect union
But as powerful as symbols, phrases and slogans are, they only derive their energy from the wellspring of the people they represent. People that don’t just stand in the truth, but express it through the way they live. And just as “words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights” the more perfect union we seek for this country will not arise from a speech, a bailout, or even a healthcare plan…What it will arise from is the embodiment of that more perfect union by folks that know and act on what’s right…

July | the greatest transformation
(And) when Death comes to Friend you, as it will, you can’t ignore it. Where will your vast but virtual network be then? Will they be there to sing songs, share stories and send your ashes back to ashes, and dust back to dust? Will they memorialize you? Yes, connections can be made quick, Friends, Followers and Fans, but relationships are still slow…and the best ones are grown over time.

August | the practice of inconvenience
This is, more often than not, the nature of deep practice: It isn’t convenient. It doesn’t fit your schedule. It doesn’t conform to your whim. It isn’t selectable for good days instead of bad. In short, it isn’t a hobby…it’s a practice. If not as dramatic, remaining committed to established personal and organizational practice–especially in the face of challenge–is a stance no less determined than that of Gandhi’s Salt Marchers, or those folks that continued to cross the bridge in Selma. We put our butts on the line and on the cushion to usher forth a new way of Being Change.

September | beyond the boycott
(It’s) a time for action: sometimes, no matter how many ways you try to describe a thing, you have to experience it to know what it really is. i’ve been talking about transformative change: what it is and isn’t. what it could look like and what it can make possible in the world…But it’s also time for those of us pushing for change to do so in a way that actually seeks resolution, transforming the issue into an opportunity for real change: change that matters. Thus, any action taken should be thoughtful, respectful, measured and leveraged only if it is needed…

October | doing darkness
Unlike change, which can be undone with a shift in context or the swipe of a presidential pen, there’s no going back on transformation. The depth of change that takes place is so deep, rooted and resounding, that the former way of being is no longer possible. While transformation can’t be undone…the decisive question we must ask is “Transformation towards what?” If we want positive transformative outcomes, we must intentionalize and work toward them. Deep change requires deep practice. Simply put, we have to stay with it in order to see transformation through. Through and through, we must weave the fabric of our movement culture with ways of being, knowing and doing that embody precisely how we want to see society transformed: into an equitable, sustainable and just place for all. How we are showing up right now is the state of our transformation. However, if you can imagine the exact outcome, it’s more likely to be change than transformation because our vision is necessarily limited by our current perspective and conditions.

November | meeting change
Transitions are the doorways to change. Choosing to engage transition and enter each doorway as consciously as possible, but with a willingness to not know what’s on the other end, is what makes that change intentional. Life IS change. And if you’ve been around for five good minutes, you know that Change Happens. So your only real choice is to either let life happen to you or for you to choose to live it. One way to do that is to become practiced at happily, humbly and heartily Meeting Change.

Happy holidays. Free Palestine. Love, peace and blessings to and for all.

copyright MMIX. angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher,
author, social visionary and founder of
Center for Transformative Change.
she posts, tweets & blogs on all things change.
permission granted to retweet, repost,
repaste & repeat with copyright and contact
information intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel in the blogosphere

meeting change

In leadership, relationship, spirit on November 19, 2009 at 8:40 am

going in

the art & practice of transition


As an east coast native, the traditional four seasons of the year have become deeply embedded in my psyche and soul as a map and a means for organizing my life. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, repeat. Seasons are like phases in the cycle of Life. Going from one to the next represents Transition: the in-between space of moving from one way of being in relationship to life into another.

Taken together, the turning of the four seasons into a year reflects our collective relationship to and dependence upon nature and all her rhythms, according our journey with the sun and the entire vast universe.

I have come to appreciate this internal alignment with the cyclical rhythms of the Earth, herself as a powerful counterbalance to the false constructs of busyness and get-it-doneness made by Men. Capitalism and consumerism have erected false notions of the rhythms we should adhere to. We are corralled from one hopping holiday or sale season to the next.

While many people use birthdays as their marker for a new year, I’ve always used the early Fall. Fall is both a beginning and ending for me. A time for simultaneously harvesting the learnings of the Spring and Summer before it, while fervently preparing for the rest and gestation of the Winter to come. Once upon a time, I resisted this rhythmic pattern, noticing with chagrin that come Fall, I would invariably take things apart, reorganize them and put them back together again. Sometimes in my reconfigurations, things would get thrown away. Sometimes everything would go.

The people in my life can’t always quite make sense of this internally-driven process from the outside and through the years have mistakenly viewed it as my being restless, inconsistent, breaking down or working through some kind of crisis.

The reality is I’m not any of those things and I am all of them: I’m just Meeting Change.

So while I make a reasonable effort to accord with or renegotiate external commitments and the demands of relational life, there are times when, like the seasons, I must honor this internal rhythm whether it makes sense to or works for others or not. Once you can hear it, to not honor the resonant call for meeting change, is to not honor life itself.

Change Whose Time Has Come

Sometime in August, in the midst of preparing for our biggest event of the year, a clear knowing about what our work needed in order to move to the next level came to me. Holding some sweet sadness for what I knew had to happen, I invited the community I’d been living with in some form or other for the past five years—to leave. I wasn’t kicking people out nor had I made a decision that I didn’t want to live within a community of transformative practice any longer. What I had come to realize was, that as a living experiment—a petri dish for learning how best to support people working for justice in their own deep inner life change—our time had come to an end.

So on 9/9/09, a date representing “completion,” we gathered to bring to completion our time together in that form. As requested, each person planned a transition from this phase or season of life to the next. I had only one request for their plan: that the step they take would be one that would bring them closer to their own life purpose. That they waste no time in a limbo space, but regard their lifeforce as precious enough to not waste a single moment ambling near their path, choosing instead to step out fully onto it in whatever form that might take. They were also asked to state what they would need, if anything, to support this significant endeavor.

Organizationally speaking, this transition was invited at a time when we are, like many non-profits, picking ourselves up out of the dust and debris of the past year’s economic crisis, which is obviously far from over. Many would argue the move as less than, well…sane. But I’d argue that one of the most subtle Arts of Change is recognizing when it’s time to transition, to step forward into the awkwardness of the unknown and to meet change head on. To have continued on with folks that I had a felt sense belonged somewhere else would have been to opt for convenience over integrity, thus dishonoring this work—as Khalil Gibran named: my love made visible in the world—at its core. We each know intuitively that Love sometimes calls for a valiant honor that may set our preferences and conveniences aside. In work towards real, abiding justice and change that will last, our work, and how we hold it, must be the same.

As a result of meeting change on that day and bringing forth intention from as long as 10 years ago::

On October 31, half of the residential community—also meaning half of our staff—transitioned out. Gracefully, and sometimes not so, each person stepping firmly on the path of fulfilling their purpose in life.

On November 1, we transitioned in a new ED, thereby releasing me from the confines of organizational structures while enabling all of what I’ve been able to contribute thus far to live on until it is no longer useful.

On December 1 I will officially begin my first sabbatical after having logged 25 years of work, 20 of them with an eye towards social change.

In January, a new phase in the life of what has become the Center for Transformative Change will begin with the wind of legacy at its back and the raw power of new energy carrying it forward.

In June, CXC will collaboratively launch what we believe will be one of the most powerful toolkits to help shift the culture of social justice towards one of Transformative Social Change.

To hold these transitions off because things were far from rosy and we would be heavily challenged and sorely inconvenienced is to miss the very point of the practice of meeting change. We must come to welcome the awkwardness and inconvenience of change because that is precisely where our learning edges live. So, even as we here at CXC negotiate the sticky places (and yes, there are LOTS of them,) we know this is the right thing to do…and it is the right time.

Entering the Doorways
One of the practices of our New Dharma spiritual tradition is to bring our palms together and bow upon entering and leaving doorways. The hands form what is called gassho in Japanese, a bringing together of all things into One. It is the universally familiar gesture of namaste, prayer, respect, welcome. Out of this Oneness arises the bow, a gesture that in the West might be thought of as a lowering, but practiced well, in its quiet humility is actually a raising up. For us, it marks the transition—from outside to inside; from busy day to quiet sitting; from scattered head to One Mind; from “get it done” to “let it be”—with an imperceptibly small ceremony that gives us permission to release what came before so that we might step fully into what is new.

Transitions are the doorways to change. Choosing to engage transition and enter each doorway as consciously as possible but with a willingness to not know what’s on the other end is makes that change intentional.

Life IS change. And if you’ve been around for five good minutes, you know that Change Happens. So your only real choice is to either let life happen to you or for you to choose to live it.

One way to do that is to become practiced at happily, humbly and heartily Meeting Change.

With love and deep gratitude for all the unnamed stalwart practitioners of the Inner life phase of the New Dharma Meditation Center & Community that evolved into the Outer life Phase with these folks as staff of Center for Urban Peace: chandrashekara thuy tran, Karen Muktayani Villanueva, Premadasi Luna Amada, Simhanandi Evan Stubblefield, Zochi Alonzo Young, seeing it through its transition to the Center for Transformative Change. It is only for each of you that we can now step into the Social (Change) life phase of CXC to see our work for justice and deep change through. Good journey, y’all.–aKw

copyright MMIX. angel Kyodo williams

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary
and founder of Center for Transformative Change. she posts, tweets &
blogs on all things change. permission granted to retweet, repost,
repaste & repeat with copyright and contact information intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel in the blogosphere

the courage to be human

In leadership, relationship, spirit on September 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm

akw palms

a path to transformation

New York City — September 11-12, 2001

The devastation of this day is staggering beyond measure.

We have all heard the radio, watched the television with our mouths gaping in disbelief, our hearts wrenching in despair. We have heard talk of resolve and determination. Plans for justice and retaliation. Unanswerable questions being asked and unimaginable events being lived.

The fact is that as a culture and as a people, we are not equipped emotionally, psychically and spiritually to manage the magnitude of this tragedy in our minds. We have, mercifully, lived for so long under the dark shroud of ignorance to the scope of our vulnerability.

I want to encourage you all, first and foremost, to be still. To listen to your heartbeat. To be silent. To breathe. If you listen deeply, it is the voice of sanity and compassion that you will find there. It is the voice that will remind you of your connection with all beings.

Yes, you are connected with the untold hundreds, possible thousands of unknowing people that lost their lives instantly in the World Trade Center and Pentagon crashes.

You are connected with the undoubtedly horrified passengers and crew of the airplanes turned into weapons of mass destruction.

You are connected with the brave rescue workers, firemen, police officers that willingly ran into flaming buildings as others poured out, only to have two of the world’s largest structures of steel, glass and concrete fall in on them along with the countless victims trying desperately to escape.

You are connected to the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, nephews and cousins of all those people. To their teachers, their coworkers, their friends and their lovers that must carry an unthinkable burden forth.

And you are also connected with the men or women that, with frightening calculation, walked onto the planes of four major airlines, knowing that they would pilot their own deaths and take the lives of innocent people on their journey.

We cannot close our eyes or our hearts to not one of those people. We cannot close our minds to the unbearable truth of the consequences of our actions. Of creating, perpetuating and sitting on the sidelines of a culture that passes off violence as a reasonable tool to achieve peace. Of doling out so-called justice only to those who are not in our favor. Those who do not say the right things, have the right color, were not born into the right caste, worship the right gods and live the right lives. Our unbalanced sense of justice is increasingly available on behalf of only those who can afford it or offer enough benefit in exchange. Most of us sat idly by, comfortable that our distance made us safe.

Now how many additional lives do we need to see taken to make us feel truly secure? What punishment will feel like it is enough?

It is tempting to find oneself taking aim at a nameable group and pulling the trigger of anger. Which is why now, more than any other moment in our history, we must make the most courageous effort, take the hardest step towards living in an altogether different way.

If we are lulled into seeing the people that have committed this desperate act and the people that will surely pay with their lives in any act of retaliation as separate, different, Others that are not a reflection of the darkest parts of our own selves, we will lose this crucial opportunity. We will lose the window to a realization of ourselves as more compassionate, more thoughtful, more fully connected with the events of our world, and thus more responsible. This bears repeating: if we continue to refuse to take personal responsibility for the cause and conditions: for the oppression, the inequity, the sheer unnatural imbalance of our existence, we will never witness an end to this.

So I implore you to not allow your inexpressible confusion, sorrow, helplessness and fear to numb you into turning over your agency. Do not let your desire for a new illusion of personal safety, of “freedom” to give license to further violence.

Our military may be “powerful and prepared” but are we? Are we prepared to, with fierce determination, with the strength bestowed by personal realization, insist that we will no longer let violence be perpetuated in our names, in the name of justice, and most cruelly, in the name of peace?

We must band ourselves and our hearts together to put an end to the cycle of violence that we now know we are not immune from. We must put an end to the wars being waged against our humanity and become warriors for the common cause of peace.

We are desperate to have the answers to every question, to always know what to do and how to respond. It is obvious that there is so much that we don’t, but what we do know is that the way it has been done is not working. You have permission to turn off your TVs and radios and simply feel your pain.

You have permission to not know.

It is easy to see ourselves as good and well-wishing when the fabric of our very being is not called into question. But can we be open and honest about who we really are, about the evil acts we are capable of conceiving while staring in the face of our own remarkable frailty? And can we use that to change?

We need to find peace in our own hearts first.

Many people find their ways to spiritual paths, to personal paths of transformation when the ground they always knew to be there falls out from underneath them. The ground has fallen out beneath us America. Let us all find the wisdom to see this unspeakable tragedy as a doorway to meaningful change, as a precursor to collective transformation. If we do not accept this challenge, if we are not brave and unrelenting in our demand, but instead cower behind the “quiet, unyielding” and clearly insatiable, emotion of anger, the loss of thousands of lives will not be merely unspeakable, they will be in vain.

A meditation, prayer, affirmation for our humanity:

“May all beings be granted with the strength, determination and wisdom to extinguish anger and reject violence as a way.

May we seek, find and fully realize the love and compassion that already lives within us and allow them to permeate our every action.

May we exercise the precious gift of choice and the capacity to change that makes us uniquely human and is the only true path to freedom. “

copyright MMI. angel Kyodo williams. all rights reserved.

Note: This essay first appeared September 2001 in connection with the events of September 11, 2001 and its expected and most unfortunately fulfilled aftermath. It was widely distributed online. The final prayer subsequently became the Warrior Spirit Prayer, the signature prayer of the New Dharma Community, a transformative practice community founded by williams, now based in Berkeley CA and with circles forming in cities throughout the US.

If any good at all comes of it, may that benefit be extended to ALL my relations. —aKw

angel Kyodo williams, the changeangel, is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary
and founder of Center for Transformative Change. she posts, tweets &
blogs on all things change. permission granted to retweet, repost,
repaste & repeat with contact information intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel in the blogosphere

a more perfect union

In culture, leadership, politics, relationship, spirit on June 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

using our wholebody



Days after California’s Prop 8 was propped up by its Supreme Court, former vice president Dick Cheney unapologetically (of course) and righteously affirmed the novel idea that “freedom means freedom for everyone…people ought to be able to enter into any kind of union they wish.”

Many of us pulled the lever to cast our vote for an oddly hopeful promise of “a more perfect union” of our Divided States. We watch with our breath held, our hearts in our throats, ready to put our bodies on the line as our One Government lets individual Republics of imaginary divides decide one-by-one, state-by-state, who freedom means freedom for: our embodiment of a more perfect union catastrophically undone by an unwillingness to recognize our most precious union: the one of the heart.

In an historic constitutional referendum in Bolivia, the voters expressed their more perfect union through the powerful symbolic act of embracing a second official flag: the formerly illegal flag of the indigenous people and of the social movement that brought down the previous corrupt governments.

The seven-color Wiphala flag is arranged as 7×7 colors in a square:

Historically, it is the flag of the Incan territory that spanned Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina.
Culturally, it is the flag of the Aymara-Quechua Andean and Amerindian people.
Politically, it is pan-indigenous, multi-ethnic, cross-class and trans-issue. With it’s similarity to the Gay rainbow flag and use for urban social movements, it is becoming an international symbol for diversity and solidarity, equality and equity, dignity and reciprocity…all coming together.

A celebration of the order of cosmos, symbol of life and fertility, it’s rainbow covers the spectrum of colors and represents the honoring of all that should matter to a society:

  • RED for man and the earth
  • ORANGE for society and its expression through culture and education
  • YELLOW for energy and strength through collectivity
  • WHITE for time and community transformation
  • GREEN for natural resouces and the land
  • BLUE for the heavens and natural phenomena
  • Last, most powerfully and sanely, VIOLET for harmonious governance and self-determination of the people.

Taken as a whole and liberated from the neo-colonial closet, it represents that more perfect union that we should all strive for in our quest for a fair and equitable society.

Some worry that Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous President, may be inadvertently diminishing the symbol, as savvy politicians have been wont to do, putting a cursory end to movements of the people by absorbing their symbols and slogans into government. Our own Civil Rights Movement came to an abrupt, stunted and co-opted halt on Lyndon B. Johnson’s appropriative declaration that “we shall overcome.”

But as powerful as symbols, phrases and slogans are, they only derive their energy from the wellspring of the people they represent. People that don’t just stand in the truth, but express it through the way they live. And just as “words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights” the more perfect union we seek for this country will not arise from a speech, a bailout, or even a healthcare plan.

What it will arise from is the embodiment of that more perfect union by folks that know and act on what’s right: like the whites and blacks that fraternized in backwoods jook joints, using rhythm to find harmony. From learning how to dance together, they eventually found the ability to pray, sit and stand together “always at great risk.”

It will arise from the embodiment of principles in and by the people that show up every day to “narrow the gap” between the hope for our society and “the reality of (our) time.” It will arise through the embodiment of actions that manifest the longing held in our hearts, the vision that we cannot yet see, but can feel the truth of in our very core. Thus with great faith, we reach inward, act outward, and move toward it. Our more perfect union will arise from within the people.

Some think this union will come as the result of the broad view of Analysis: political, social, grounded. Others believe we’ll be brought together by the deep current of Spirit: fundamental, ethical, rooted.

In the end, it will express itself as nothing that we currently know of, but rather as a constellation, integration and distillation of all. It will be individually-particularized, collectively-driven and universally-appealing. It will be a social movement because we are social creatures that can form the shape that expresses what we wish to become. It will be a cultural movement because together we create the conditions in which new ways can thrive. It will be self-determined and other-honoring. It will be systemic, endemic and talismanic. More than anything, it will, because it must, be transformative. Our more perfect union will be neither this nor that. Leaving nothing and none of us behind, it will be WholeBody: a Third Way that embraces and embodies being fully Human: ever-evolutionary, ever-revolutionary, ever-dynamic and always Divine.

From there, state-by-state and heart-by-heart, in our more perfect union, we can get Dick Cheney’s wish granted.

Jai Bhim! We shall overcome…Si, se puede. A Better World is Possible. Venceremos…Yes, we can. By any means necessary: Power to the People. Power by the People. Power FROM the People.


copyright MMIX. angel Kyodo williams.

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary and
founder of the Center for Transformative Change.
permission granted to retweet, repost, repaste & repeat with contact information intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel in the blogosphere

this is our time

In culture, leadership on May 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm

will the real american idols please stand up

It’s our time.

Though it may seem hard to discern through the economic debris that is still falling, that so many of us are picking through the pieces of, this is our time.

For far too long we have labored for justice and lurched towards change with far too little resources, too little cohesion, too few wins too far and few between. But labor we had to—making do with what we had, holding it together best we could, savoring the wins and weathering the losses—thus lurch we did and change we made.

A Black Organizer is in the White House. Justice is getting off the bench and in the Game.

It’s our time.

The era of the lowly grunt that toils for justice being the under-appreciated, underpaid underdog is officially overrated. We are now the wunderkinds that can capture the imagination of our nation with our unwavering comittment to Hope, resounding call for Freedom and heart-stopping effort to reveal Truth, Justice and a truly New American Way. It’s Easy as ABC: rooted by Awareness, grounded in Balance, acting from Center.

We, the willing practitioners of a transformative social change, are the only ones who can shift the current paradigm. We are the moral & inspirational frontline of America. Like no other movement before us, we span the globe, defy description and transcend all boundaries: some of us wealthy in cash, some in culture, we are cross-class and transgendered, Caucasian and Cablinasian, neo-social and hyper-spiritual, we bow at the altar of Authenticity. Our movement has been moved by door-knockers and dreamers, academics and activists, poets and pundits, writers and rappers, EDs and PhDs: we are all One. We’ve been a Tribe with a Quest to self-liberate even the antidote of what ails us, because complete freedom is the only freedom that matters.

It’s our time.

Auditions are over. We’re front and center stage. We must stand up and stand out. We need to take our rightful place as the Real American Idols: the exemplars of excellence that know there is no justice if justice isn’t for all.

We’ll create a Mad World in which Adam can take home the prize AND Steve for a Union in any State of his choosing because there’s a Whole Lotta Love and this town is big enough for all of it. Our children will want to grow up to be aligned agents of change, not morally bankrupt bankers, broken-down mortgage brokers or exposed wizards of Wall Street caught with their hands on the levers of peoples’ lives. While they all lined their pockets with peoples’ pain, We lay the path for possibility and prosperity. We… are…the…champions.

It is our time.

We’ll lift every voice to sing.

We’ll dance with whole body, mind and spirt.

We’ll shine from the inside, radiating self-awareness, self-care and self-love.

The crowds will go wild. Sitting on the edges of their seats, they’ll cheer us on, spellbound by the marriage of head and heart, fierce commitment to humanity and strength of humility that wins where it matters, even when the scoreboard says otherwise.

They’ll tweet, twitter, digg, fan and follow the triple-threat talent that steals the show every time:

Our courage to take on Responsibility for the work that needs to be done.
Our conviction to be Accountable to our co-workers, communities, and most of all, ourselves.
Our clarity of Purpose that is the container of our intention and the vision for our success.

This Radical Relationship to self, other and the Mother is ecological, evolutionary and embodied.

This is our time.

Well-coiffed and, dare I say, well-dressed, we ARE the bling, we are the Rock Stars, the Sexy Mothers and Mutha…(you get the drift), and Mike wants to be like Us.

When the viewers telly and the texts are tallied, we’ll be judged by true measures of greatness: how skillfully we exhibit grace under pressure, wield power with precision and receive feedback—even when it seems negative and harsh—with aplomb. Simon says: take what’s yours and release the rest.

And when the small wins elude us (as they will) we’ll flash our pearly whites and see the opportunity to learn from our missteps, sharpen our skill and deepen our practice. We’ll accept defeat gracefully as we prepare for the next round with abiding love in our hearts, joy in our spirits, compassion for others and equanimity in the face of it all.

Because we know that when met in this way, two steps back can propel us a giant leap forward. We know Victory is ours because justice has ALWAYS been on our side, and now, finally, we need only make it so for now, now now…

NOW is our time.


copyright MMIX. angel Kyodo williams.
permission granted to retweet, repost, repaste with contact information intact.

Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel on her blog

seven deadly sins of change

In culture, leadership, relationship, spirit on April 9, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Super Om, Courtesy of Students for A Free Tibet: http://www.studentsforafreetibet.org

a superhero’s funding and field guide to transformation

While then-candidate Obama wooed the electorate into an oddly fleeting historic moment with his steady call for us to all be Agents of Change, those of us that have been stealthily exchanging our glasses for capes with only tepid results to show for it know that we need more than ordinary change to get us out of the one-step left, two-steps right shuffle our social justice agenda has been stymied by for the past 50 years. We need the kind of change that leads to deep-rooted, broad-based, sustainable lasting change that can’t be rolled back with the swirl of a pen or crushed under a wave of conservative backlash. We need Transformative Change.

We’ve been secretly biding our time in serene anticipation of the Fall of American Consumptive Ways. With a complex mix of dismay and satisfaction, we hold appropriate, compassionate empathy for the folks that are the least buffered from even subtle turnabouts in the economic winds, much less the comparative financial tsunami of the past seven months. This is expressed with The Deeply Furrowed Brow of Concern. But understanding that our collective faces hitting the floor may be our only Wakeup Call, that concern co-mingles with The Subtle-But-Knowing Smile of Approval.

Yoda would be proud.

Even Time Magazine’s cover pronounces “The End of Excess” with a picture of a great big reset button along with the rhetorical inquiry: “Is This Crisis Good for America?” Well, of course it is. When you view your life and the world through the lens of transformation, you recognize that any upset or tragedy is really an opportunity for another level of growth and deeper understanding. You run with it rather than away from it. The caveat is that because the Grand Designer made a package deal of Free Will and the Breath of Life, it’s entirely up to us to either seize the opportunity to find a new Way to become that which we all inexorably endeavor to become: a Whole Human. If not, we’ll return to our previous incomplete state: driven by fear and panic, desperately and pathetically groping for what is familiar but no longer viable, if it ever was. When that window of opportunity passes, the Universe has to conjure up another greater tragedy for us to get the message. Time’s rallying cry calls for us to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and be entirely ready to remove our defects of character.”

The Watchmen for Change are made up of Freedom Fighters, Organizers, Agitators and Activists paired with the folks that, like it or not, foot the bills. In a perfected partnership, they are our Supporters, Advocates, Advisors and Allies. Some of us pay with the currency of creativity, vitality, energy and soulforce. Others pay with hopefulness, steadfastness, wild cheering and dollar bills, y’all.

Together we are the Jedis of Justice. We are The Ones that We have Been Waiting for to illuminate the Matrix and reveal the passage out of Babylon. We are the Agents of Transformative Social Change. X-Agents for short. (Yea, I know, but X-Men was already taken and it’s chauvinist anyway…)

So what are our collective defects of character, the Kryptonite that saps our power, woos us to the Dark Side and is an impenetrable barrier to a movement of truly Transformative Social Change that we both envision and are beckoned by?

Here are Seven Deadly Sins of Change and their respective Virtuous behavioral antidotes:

1. Release Lust: Bigger is not better. Hasn’t the economic bubble splat taught us that? The organizations that have become the biggest are not necessarily the best. The day of the 900-lb Gorilla eating up all the resources because they can should be over. It leaves the rest of the creatures of the forest to fight amongst themselves for scraps. Real innovation gets crowded out by behemoths. We all lose.

Practice Chastity: Consume only what you need to sustain real, viable work, not just what will get you funding because its the buzz. Pass on the rest and pass the plate.

2. Release Gluttony: On the other hand, there’s just too many of us. We’ve got an organization for every issue, identity and incident, each scavenging for five crumbs. As a result, we’re disorganized, disconnected and still disenfranchised. We resist the natural cycle of organizational death because we’ve tied our livelihoods up with our causes. We start organizations to avoid corporate life but end up being slaves to those institutions, too. Creativity is curtailed and resources are spread too thin. Death, no matter how painful, gives way to fresh, viable life.

Practice Temperance: Is your organization serving you or are you serving your organization? Is your work changing THE World, not just your world? If not, Merge. Fold. Find your new path. Be Reborn in the next life. We’ll all benefit from a nimbler, better-resourced movement.

3. Release Greed: Grantmakers have lost almost one-third of their assets. Never mind that foundations are only required to give 5 percent of those endowments, most of which were ill-gained to begin with. I always say “when it’s your house that’s burning down, you don’t use 5% of the water you have to save the rest for the fire that might come in the future. You use the whole damn bucket…”

Practice Charity: Charity of common sense, that is. Raise giving to a mere 15% of that monopoly money. Even with 30% losses, you’ll be giving more than double what you gave when you were flush and we’ll all be twice as far along.

4. Release Sloth: When it comes to the task of being the change we wish to see, we’re pretty damn lazy. Our movements are constipated, our coalitions siloed, our collaborations fractured, our organizations top-down, and our personal practice is toenail-deep. We’re tall on rhetoric, short on application. We want sustainability while we work ourselves to exhaustion. We insist on Universal Healthcare and Ubiquitous McDonald’s. We want green job access and plastic bag convenience. We strive for environmental justice and allow “feed-animal” damnation.

Practice Diligence: We have to PRACTICE what we’re preaching for. It’s all connected and it starts with you: Eat healthy, Pray frequently, Love deeply. And to keep it all in perspective, Dance wildly.

5. Release Wrath: The lifeforce of our work is still choked by useless “us vs. them” ego-tripping and bad attitudes. These issues need to be addressed at the roots. We’ll never make peace with others until we make peace within ourselves. Transformative Change is only possible when the people doing the change are changing themselves.

Practice Patience: Heal and Love Thyself. Start working out your issues at your Inner Gym. Watch your mind and notice how it wreaks havoc on reality. Find ways to lower the volume on the internal noise that makes you a walking time bomb of contraction and imbalance. Do Yoga. Meditation. Centering Prayer. Better yet, let them do you. Save your heart, save the world.

6. Release Envy: Funders, you matter. So stop inserting yourselves to assert your Selves. While many of you live vicariously and combat boredom by dreaming up new projects, frontliners are busting their tails out there and still they’re relegated to using up to 40% of their energy to raise money for their work. Change will only take place through real leadership, partnerships and collaboration. Every good partnership is borne of knowing your role and contribution and honoring that of your partners. Stop hating on changemakers because you envy their courage while fearing the direct experience it arises from. Funders should fund and let the people that work the frontlines work…not scurry, scrape and suck up for funds.

Practice Kindness: With yourselves, first and foremost. Tend to the wounds that excessive privilege imprisons and burdens you with. Letting your money or control of it front as self-worth leads to narcissism, self-centeredness and a profound emptiness that compels you to a never-ending search for fulfillment. Give your burden away…even some of the sacred principal. You’ll be free to be you and not your money. I repeat: Save your heart, save the world.

7. Release Pride: The failure point of Pride, when it leaves good and turns sour, is “failing to acknowledge the good work of others.” If you really want change, enable people to do the work of change for real. If this is a platform for your personal whims, but you actually fear what real change looks like–yes, you’ll have to give things up: money, land, status, control, privilege, power, privilege–stay home, watch reruns of ER and stop wasting your own and our time.

Practice Humility: Fund what works broadly and deeply. But more importantly at this moment, fund risk. Fund bold efforts that are unknown, untested, untried. Fund creative solutions to intractable problems and expect no guarantees in return. If it makes you nervous, fund it.

Together, we, the Practitioners and Funders, Agents, Activists and Allies of Change need to be the “Real American Idols”(trademark pending), the New Super Heroes and Sheroes that take up our part day-to-day to do the ordinary work of changing the world while doing the extraordinary work of changing ourselves.

I know we’re up to the task of seizing the real opportunity that is at hand–to live, love and lead from heart–one by one kick-ass X-Agent at a time.


copyright MMIX. angel Kyodo williams.

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary and
founder of the Center for Transformative Change.
permission granted to retweet, repost, repaste & repeat with contact information intact.
Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter
Find angel on the Web
angel on her blog