While many of us in Qoya have been willing to look at our shadow individually, there are soulful instructions I hear in Virginia's forecast about our willingness to do this even more, especially on issues that we struggle with collectively. As she writes:
"Show up even more. Stop enabling the old, the addictive, the abusive. Reshape what is within your reach."
I invite you to explore where you can show up even more in service to the collective to stop enabling the old, the addictive, and abusive uses of power. How can each of us help reshape what is within our reach? I believe one way to start is by taking all the ways you have valued your own life experience and begin to consciously value the different life experiences of others. Listen to their words. Honor their experiences. Stay present and receptive to learn. Move beyond your implicit bias. Move into the potential to truly align with wisdom teachings by honoring the interconnection of all beings and building integrity within your thought, word, prayer, and action.
For any of you reading this who have already been doing the work to dismantle oppressive systems, thank you for your courage, passion, resilience and strength. For those who are new to this work, here are the last three books I've recently read or listened to on Audible and were deeply moved by, all of which are powerful opportunities to learn from the authors' lived experiences.
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olu
In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today's racial landscape--from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement--offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'm Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.
Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens and Jasmine Syedullah, PhD
Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at large and Buddhist communities in particular, this urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening. The authors traveled around the country to spark an open conversation that brings together the Black prophetic tradition and the wisdom of the Dharma. Bridging the world of spirit and activism, they urge a compassionate response to the systemic, state-sanctioned violence and oppression that has persisted against black people since the slave era. With national attention focused on the recent killings of unarmed black citizens and the response of the Black-centered liberation groups such as Black Lives Matter, Radical Dharma demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and inextricably linked.
New moons and eclipses are powerful times for contemplation. Honor your need for truth. Honor other's needs to express theirs. In the Qoya teacher training, I encourage teachers not to assume that how they feel about something is how everyone feels about something. The most important sentence in every class comes after the theme has been shared and the teacher says, "Now I invite you to dance your relationship to __________(the theme of class)."
My prayer with Qoya is always the same whether someone is doing a video, reading the book, during a class, or retreat: that we are co-creating spaces where you can feel how you actually feel and that everyone experiences the opportunity to embody their truth that emerges from the value of their lived experience.
Holding the Vision,