angel Kyodo williams

Posts Tagged ‘movement’

state of union

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


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.

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.
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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.

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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.

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