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How to change the world?

I encountered Otto Scharmer’s work in my first semester of graduate school. Nervous— budding with unrealized potential and a fear of my own power— I stepped into Zachary Green’s class having registered only an hour before.

“You’re starting with Zachary?!” members of the cohort before me exclaimed. “And you didn’t do the reading?” Their tones were anything but comforting. Neither was his commanding presence; though, at the same time, it was.

It was in that class and with that man that I discovered the beauty of dialogue. That mindfulness became not just a new-age fad nor trend in academia, but a lived practice. That I came to glimpse my power, and with it the potential of groups of people coming together to co-create a better world. Continue reading “How to change the world?”

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Stepping in or stepping on?

Tucked behind a lone tree and rusty gate, it took us a week to figure out that the billboard advertising Fitness Basics Gym was directly in front of the gym itself. The first time we noticed the sign, and with it the list of classes, we took a picture and said we’d call.

We still hadn’t the day I looked a bit closer and noticed one more sign inside the gate. “Is it right there?” I inquired. As I did, the picture became clearer: there were stairs leading down just below the second advertisement— and was that music I heard coming from below? Curiously, I wandered in and met Meenakshi, the owner of the gym.

Sure enough, just as the billboard promised, there was a full schedule of classes: Power Yoga, Zumba, Bollywood Dance (!), Extreme Core. Behind the mirrored area were a handful of machines and, further back, some weights.

I joined that night. Continue reading “Stepping in or stepping on?”

Cutting off pretty

I did not think it would matter that much. Or at least not feel any different to wake up everyday. Yet, while these mornings don’t include the necessary maintenance of eighteen-inch locks, they host the pains of not wanting to look in a mirror. Of dreading human interaction with the knowledge of what others see. Of walking around wishing for different— no, better. Of feeling a stranger in my body, foreign to the daily weight of ‘ugly’.

In not thinking it would matter that much, I thought myself imperviable to the socialized standards of beauty that surround.

I can deconstruct those standards all day long. Cognitively, I understand the fallacies in what I described above. Better and ugly jump out and demand to be reclaimed, denounced. The activist in me longs to cry out. To dream up new visions of beauty (inner Light shining through). To run up this mountain of gender norms with the speed of righteous fury, boots stomping with such power that it crumbles to dust. From which we come, I’d add.
Continue reading “Cutting off pretty”

Wake up calls

Photo credit: Anya Zakhour  Jaipur, India November 2013 Title: India Struggles
Jaipur, India November 2013
Title: India Struggles
Credit: Anya Zakhour

Writing to you from India! Where tuk tuk drivers are sages and sages hail from Canada to teach you Everything You Need To Know. Where sages then tell dirty jokes and play dirty tricks to get your number or get you to their home.

I’m spitting out the bones and still chewing the meat as my friends, the Christians, say. Continue reading “Wake up calls”

Highest heights

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We awoke in Quilotoa, a quaint mountain town at the base of what was once a towering volcano, now a breathtaking crater-lake. This stunning sight inspired the Quilotoa Loop— a trek in the sierras of southern Ecuador that takes you winding through Kichwa villages and around the crater we found ourselves prepared to hike. Continue reading “Highest heights”

Looking to love

I’m declaring it a year of love.

There are so many things that this already means to me, and I am sure it will continue to develop as I do.

Above all, I want to love the journey. In reflecting on last year, I drew a map of significant moments, lessons, places, people, questions, and learning. It was a zigzagging chart with great highs and deep lows. In 2014, I discovered much about who I am and realized many things that I need. Continue reading “Looking to love”

Looking back

Commitment was my word for 2014.

In general, it was a word that served as an umbrella for multiple themes and intentions: family, health, spirituality, and movement to name the foremost categories.

What specifically I was committing myself to within each area morphed as my year did— as I did. I enjoyed having a word for my year, and having fluid guiding questions to move with me…What do I need to commit to in this season? What does commitment look like for me? Continue reading “Looking back”

Confessions of a well-intentioned white oppressor

Several things happened in the past four months making my hand quiver as I struggled to open my computer and let my words flow.

Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer and the jury did not indict him, choosing instead to follow the media’s lead in a character assassination. Eric Garner was choked to death by a police officer. Despite the whole thing being filmed and chokehold’s being an illegal police protocol, the city neglected to even put the officer on trial.

#HandsUp, #ICantBreathe, #BlackLivesMatter developed as people expressed their outcry at what Cornel West aptly named a Jim Crow justice system. Protests and movements were born and revived demanding a better system for people of color in this country and around the world.

Tears, anguish, shouts, and pleas echoed off the fortress of the white supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy, threatening its walls to crumble from the quake of bold voices speaking love back into our wayward world.

You know these things, though.

The other, smaller, things that happened I’ve yet to fill you in on… Continue reading “Confessions of a well-intentioned white oppressor”

Wish I had my overalls

Lazily, I opened my eyes the morning of the Big Day. Sun pouring in from the window above my bed, I felt a wave of energy surrounding the impending events.

How do you dress for a pig slaughter?

That was the question I pondered as I slowly— still in the fog of my dream-state— brought my feet to touch the cool tiles of my bedroom floor.

Walking through the comfortable house the Program Leaders stay in while studying with the Upland Holistic Development Project, I wonder what questions are behind the immediate one of attire. Continue reading “Wish I had my overalls”