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revolution in review | a year of change

transform., first as a monthly e-journal, and now as a full-blown blog, evolved from a simple newsletter that reported on just our little universe into the premier periodical for reflecting upon and lifting up the emerging field and movement that has become known as Transformative Social Change.

We are proud of not only our ability to draw forth the threads of connection that indicate our progressive movements are forming a fabric of something greater than the sum of its part, but also our moments of prescience, in which we named–or even called for–what was to come. Aptly, that occurred most often within this feature column, INcite. When you pronounce the name with the stress on those capital letters, you’ll see what we’d always intended to provide.

Like most pivotal elements of movement-building, the value of mirroring this “movement of movements” back to itself will be understood better, later. For our part, we hope transform. continues to be a resource and an inspiration for our grand work to continue in a way that is increasingly recognizing of both our shared intentions and our varied expressions. The Occupy movement, with all its challenges and yet-unknowns, has the tender beginnings of becoming a transformative social movement. It’s up to us to take what we know and make it so.

If you haven’t checked out the blog yet, you really should. The new content added every day is there to inspire and challenge you to see the thread of connectedness amidst the diverse expressions of deep change. In the meantime, these ten essays from the last year, including some timely reprints, tell the tale of the movement that was (and is) to come.

January | state of union: resolution for revolution
The year began with a call for a single New Year’s resolutions: that we commit to revolution. In order to do that, we called for forming a “state of union.” Union within our movement, union with each other, union with ourselves. The idea being to gear ourselves up towards “seeing beyond the crippling illusion of separation and acting from the abiding awareness of our fundamental, indisputable interconnectedness.”

February | red, white and black: standing with the people
Egypt provided our first massive glimpse into the possibilities that open when we no longer accept the weighty hand of domination and seek to return the lever of power where it rightfully belongs: to the People. We recognized early on that even though it seemed far away and under drastically different conditions, Egypt’s plight was really not so different than our own. “As movements of people calling forth transformative social change, we are further empowered when we recognize our relationship, deep connection and interdependence with the movements towards justice in the world.”

March | when the people rise: why self determination will always overcome fear
An explosion of uprisings by Arab peoples against their heavy-handed governments captured our imagination. We watched a single act of defiance become amplified across nations as people cast away false stability to regain that fundamental underpinning of justice that dominant forces most seek to control: the right to determine ones own way. “If nature abhors a vacuum, then indeed, it resists none more persistently than a vacuum of natural selfhood. When the breaking point of lack of fulfillment meets with the illuminating function of self-awareness, human beings, like nature, seek to restore balance.”

April/May | real and not real: on border and divisions
While countries scrambled to be on the right side of the revolutions, a reprint from May 2010 invites us to re-examine how we divide ourselves. With the only true race being the Human one, and all of us need to belong, this incessant separation sits at the root of our inability to co-exist, instead fostering fear. When that fear prevails, “i have found the thinking, choices, behavior and resulting consequences of our people…incomprehensible at a heart level.”

June | doing darkness: change vs. transformation
In another reprint, we revisited how to distinguish mere change from true transformation, with six tell-tale signs. The case was made for naming a movement, along with the recognition of what calls us to transform: “…it is birthright that calls. In this Way, we have to allow ourselves to hear and respond to the evolutionary and revolutionary call that pulls us inexorably forward into becoming our newly formed selves–personally, politically, organizationally, institutionally, across all society–making room for a vision yet to be seen.”

July | a more perfect union: using our wholebody
Back to thinking about union, the historic passage of the right for gays and lesbians to marry in the the good ol’ Empire State of New York reminded us to consider what an embodied movement would look like: “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.”

August | apes will rise | rebellion for the heart
Speaking of prescient, Hollywood’s prequel of a now-classic tale mirrored the uprisings taking place in the UK. As in Planet of the Apes, our primadonna-ish, puritanical culture was less able to see beyond the destruction to recognize the very frustration that we, ourselves, share. Revolution won’t always be pretty. Those rising up were indeed the voice of the people, because “the People are the shape-shifting stewards of our humanity who rise up cyclically to counter the forces that would have us tread backwards in our evolution by vying to protect the status quo.” Even when the form they take offends.

September | the transformation code: how to make a movement
Just before the Occupy movement parked itself in Zucotti Park, we began to recognize that an uprising does not a movement make. This essay points to HOW it is that movements comes into being. The assertion is that “Movements Aren’t Stumbled Upon. They’re Generated. Here’s How.” Taking the study of excellence in individuals to a movement level, three keys to more effective movements are shared.

October | where’s your wall street?: riding the raging bull to freedom
At this early stage, no one knew how far the Occupy Wall Street actions could go. It hadn’t yet clicked for most of us that the beginnings of a movement unlike anything we could have dreamed into existence was taking root. But, we could smell it. Because “by defying definition, flattening leadership and both utilizing and transcending organization as we’ve known it, shifting from spider to starfish, OWS creates within it’s morphing boundaries the one thing so many of our uber-defined efforts at movement-building have inadvertently managed to quash: opportunity.”

November | three lessons from occupy: practicing our values in times of change
Finally, having called for a movement, been in solidarity with others, explored how to make one and encouraged making an emerging movement our own, we learn in real time from the one we find ourselves in the midst of. “…we can afford to strengthen our practice in being present. So that we are able to withstand the sometimes very uncomfortable process of hearing all the voices that need to be heard.”

As one essay muses, “Who knows? Perhaps one day, we will look back on September 17th, 2011 as the beginning of the New American Revolution in which we finally captured not just votes but the imagination of the entire US as a People. But for now, it’s sufficient to seize the opportunity of this moment…”

We, the editors, contributors, tech-geeks and mid-wives of transform. hope you will seize the opportunity to journey back through this fascinating year of change, and get ready to throw your hat in to ring of revolution for 2012. A transformative movement of the People, for all People, is the movement we’ve been waiting for.
—yours in truth, aKw


dedicated to every individual in every part of the world that risked their comfort and safety to call into being a just and sustainable world for all.

 

 

   

angel Kyodo williams, the “change angel,” is Founder Emeritus of Center for Transformative Change. She now serves as a Senior Fellow and Director of Vision. A social visionary and leading voice for transformative social change, she is the author of the critically-acclaimed Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.

 Blog: new Dharma: live, love & lead from the heart

 Facebook: Like angel here

 Twitter: Follow angel for tweets of wisdom on Change

 Web: http://angelkyodowilliams.com

 

angel Kyodo’s (im)posterous http://angelkyodo.posterous.com/revolution-in-review-a-year-of-change by way of email

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Occupy: A Message of Inclusion, Compassion, Nonviolence: 11/12 – call to practitioners, meditators, clergy, yogis, people of faith, keepers of spirit

together, we can have an impact this Saturday, November 12th.

we had this idea that if we can get people that are invested in transformation to show up at Occupy, everyone would see that having more folks of color feels right, that the energy gets grounded by increased heart connection and as a result, such a presence would help to broaden, deepen and sustain this movement.

remember when we were kids and stepped in each other’s hands to get a boost over the fence?

i love this idea, but i’m not much of an organizer, so need your help. we could use a boost getting the word out for this Saturday, Nov. 12th.

most especially communities of practice, faith and folks of color. (that’s pretty much everyone.) if you lead such commnunties, your endorsement will go far. please read the Open Letter to Occupy below.

it’s as easy as cut & paste. will you help?

thank you in advance.
warmly and with blessings,
Rev. angel Kyodo williams
and SIT4Change organizers

(p.s., please forgive any cross-posting. )

here’s some starter text. edit at will:

=========================================================
Dear Constituents, Networks and Colleagues,

We know that many of you may be wondering how to connect to what has become known as the Occupy/Decolonize/99% Movements. We recognize this as an important moment in our history and the  beginning of a potentially dramatic shift, so have also raised this question for ourselves.

This Saturday, November 12th, communities of spirit, faith and transformation are being called upon to demonstrate the transformative power of practice at Occupy sites wherever they may be.

(optional) One of our partners, Transformative Change, designed SIT4Change to explicitly lift up the importance of spiritual, heart-centered presence within movements. It is just one way to connect that could be of interest.

Watch the powerful 2-minute video here: http://www.sit4change.org
Read the Open Letter to Occupy: http://bit.ly/occupyltr
Endorse SIT4Change: http://www.sit4change.org/endorse
RSVP and invite others: http://on.fb.me/s4c-nov12

We hope you’ll join us.

=========================================================
and as appropriate,  you can include the full text of the open letter, and most especially get it out to your networks of media, blogs and other opinion makers. we need these priniciples to stay within focus and not get drowned out:
=========================================================

Open Letter to Occupy
http://bit.ly/occupyltr

From: Organizers of SITChange
Week of November 6, 2011

We, the organizers of SIT4Change, stand in solidarity with and deep support of the Occupy/Decolonize/We Are The 99% Movement sweeping the country and the world. We support the essence of the call for change that Occupy sites the world over are expressing.

We are aware that while any diversified movement will face unresolved challenges, we believe the following that are facing Occupy can be readily addressed:

Inclusion: A perceived lack of people of color involved in the US national Occupy Movement. Occupy is being construed as a space of mainly white people. While we know that is not true in all instances, the perception dissipates the movement’s strongest message: that the masses belong to this movement. This is a movement of The People.

Compassion: Some have begun to use the language of the 99% to be against the 1%. While the 99% language is powerfully illustrative, an “us vs. them” frame makes the conversation about people vs. people when it is clearly the underlying system that is at fault for enabling and condoning massive economic imbalance. We don’t need another angry movement, we need inspiration.

Nonviolence: Local police have been overtly willing to use unnecessary force against Occupy sites with only the most egregious acts being challenged. While many in Occupy have made efforts to disavow random acts of violence and destruction, especially in light of confusing incidents at Oakland’s General Strike, within the general public there are still questions as to whether Occupy is a potentially violent movement.

To counterbalance these flawed, but prevailing perceptions:
· Occupy must clearly convey its unwavering committment to diversity and inclusion.
· Occupy must show its efforts are focused towards destabilizing unjust behaviors and systems, rather than people.
· Occupy must declare itself aligned with nonviolence as it challenges and refuses cooperation with those systems.

The mass social movements led by Gandhi and King sustained themselves through the challenges of nonviolent direct action with personal practice to help them remain centered. Arab Spring Muslims continued to pray five times per day in accordance with their tradition even in the midst of rising up against dictatorial rule. We see Occupy as potential carriers of these admirable people-driven movements.

Occupy has succeeded in capturing the attention of the nation and world; now it’s time to capture minds and hearts.

We believe this can happen by making the connection people have to the movement even more sustained and profoundly personal. While everyone may not be out of a job, or have lost their homes, nothing is more personal than most people’s connection to spirit, to faith, and to transformation within their own lives:
· Many people of color and poorer peoples organize around their faith.
· Indigenous, earth-based and practitioners of Eastern traditions organize through ceremony and/or connection to spirit.
· Many yoga practitioners, non-theist Buddhists and atheists organize in relationship to self-transformation.

What these groups have in common is a connection to practice: of prayer, of meditation, of centering, to embody their values. Values that translate beyond personal interest into collective concern. Thus, we propose explicitly reaching out to communities of faith, spirit and transformation to broaden and deepen support for Occupy. This will succeed in creating space for the many families, church groups, synagogues, mosques and temples that are committed to justice, while showing that the Occupy movement extends its invitation to those that are most often not invited.

SIT4Change hopes to generate this profound connection through a call to action this coming Saturday, November 12th. It is an invitation for a critical mass of spirit- and faith-based communities to show up at Occupy sites everywhere.  It is an opportunity for people to demonstrate the transformative power of practice and to make a connection of the heart to this movement for change. For us to truly OccupyTogether.

We will make this call through our networks of spiritual leaders, organizations, partners and institutions that are committed to economic justice and deep change. But nothing is more welcoming than an invitation, therefore:

We propose that you, the Occupy organizers at each local site, endorse SIT4Change and take up this call to action to invite people to your site in solidarity on November 12th, 2011.

We ask that you utilize the valuable networks this movement has created and reach out to the spirit, faith and transformative leaders in your community and support their presence.

We encourage you to call upon your local practitioners, meditators, clergy, yogis, people of faith and keepers of spirit. Invite them to share 108 minutes of their own expression of the sacred, of prayer, of ceremony, and of compassion as individuals, as families, and as communities.

We believe this can do nothing but enhance the Occupy movement, furthering its potency and image as a movement of The People, for The People and by The People. All 99% of the People.

We hope you will join us.

In peace & with great blessings on this collective journey,
The organizers, partners and supporters of SIT4Change

 Additional information, including a short, powerful video, History, About Us, FAQ and Event Instructions can be found at http://sit4change.org, and we welcome questions, comments, clarification and feedback here: http://sit4change.org/contact

 

[You are receiving this email because we have had an email exchange of some kind. This list is solely from my email address book. However, if you do not want to receive any email from me, just reply with REMOVE in subject line. Thank you.]


Rev. angel Kyodo williams | Founder Emeritus and Senior Vision Fellow
Center for Transformative Change (CXC)
2584 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA 94704 | p: 510.549.3733
http://transformativechange.org
“…changing the WAY change is done.”

CXC is the first national center entirely dedicated to bridging
the inner and outer lives of social change agents, activists and allies
to support a more effective, more sustainable social justice movement.

angel Kyodo’s (im)posterous http://angelkyodo.posterous.com/occupy-a-message-of-inclusion-compassion-nonv by way of email

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where’s your wall street?

riding the raging bull to freedom

At first it was just a whisper that spoke more to what wasn’t happening than to what was: mainstream media was shutting out coverage of the thousand or so people that had begun to gather starting September 17th at the unfortunately named Zuccoti park. Even when 2,000 mostly black folks ended their march at the reclaimed and renamed Liberty Plaza to protest the great state of Georgia’s sanctioned execution of Troy Davis, the media eye remained mostly blind. But the whispers turned to grumbles and those closed same eyes were pried open when police arrested eighty people and maced a woman.

From there, Facebook posts and Twitter tweets multiplied and #OccupyWallStreet staked its flag firmly in the public sand.

I’m no reporter so it’s fortunate that in an era when hashtags (#) are the in-fashion symbol and symbolism, you can Google an education and Wiki the timeline. What you most need to know though, in case you didn’t, is that no matter where you are, #OccupyWallStreet is the movement made for you.

The only question is whether you’ll choose make it yours…

With decisions made by the General Assembly, “a horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based system with roots in anarchist thought,” OWS seeks to stand for “the other 99 percent” of Americans that are on the stinky end of the economic shitstick that’s been beating the crap out of us all, while the 1% at the top of the food chain get fat eating off the plates we made for minimum wage.

No matter that it once looked like mostly disgruntled and disheveled white kids camping out because they could. Forget the fact that the initial call for this possible American Spring came out of Canada. Ignore the pundits that dis it for not having demands. By defying definition, flattening leadership and both utilizing and transcending organization as we’ve known it, shifting from spider to starfish, OWS creates within it’s morphing boundaries the one thing so many of our uber-defined efforts at movement-building have inadvertently managed to quash: opportunity. You only need to bring your voice, show up and choose to be who you are. By doing so, you cause this emerging movement to be yours. That choice, my friend, is freedom. Liberty Plaza, indeed.

Not enough women, you say? Call CodePink and now there are more. Want gays and blacks? Elders and immigrants? Grab your AfroCuban-born lesbian granny and go. Where are the gender queers? If you show up, they are there.

Having grown up in downtown Manhattan, I’m no stranger to the bizarre Wall Street world of high stakes gambling where the losers don’t even get to play the game. I’ve even ridden the back of the 7100 pound raging bronze bull that has come to epitomize the same financial aggression that has driven the economy into the ground. With each passing day, I am more certain that when I get back to my hometown next week, the protesters will still be there for me to join them. If it gets exceptionally cold or exceptionally rough, I’ll have the luxury of walking just a few blocks to return home.

But you need not have lived on the doorstep of the corrupt capital of Capitalism to smell something rotten in Denmark, not to mention DC, San Francisco, Chi-town and Everytown, USA. If not you yourself, you know someone who knows someone who lives on Main Street and was bummed out while Wall Street was bailed out:

  • someone who hasn’t been able to find a job for two years
  • someone pushed out of their home because they couldn’t pay a falsely inflated mortgage
  • someone who watches institutions of education fall while institutions of incarceration rise
  • someone whose grandparents or parents helped build this country but their family fears being torn apart and kicked out.
  • someone whose people picked cotton, built railroads or had their lands taken away, yet to this day have insufficient clothes, transportation or security of their own.

and all the while, politicians play footsies with all our futures.

Whatever you used to believe, what’s coming into plain sight—if you’re not the 1%, that is—is that this system has failed us all. And we each deserve to Thrive. On October 6th, DC’s K street gets occupied and a feverishly-growing number of inspired cities are determined to Occupy Together. So wherever you are, there’s a Wall Street near you and there’s never been a better moment to take it over and make this a movement for you.

Who knows? Perhaps one day, we will look back on September 17th as the beginning of the New American Revolution in which we finally captured not just votes but the imagination of the entire “US” as a People. But for now, it’s sufficient to seize the opportunity of this moment, by finding the raging bull of determination and riding it out to #OccupyYOURWallStreet today.

your in truth,aKw


dedicated to the 99%. —aKw.

copyright MMXI. 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.

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

angel Kyodo’s (im)posterous http://angelkyodo.posterous.com/wheres-your-wall-street by way of email

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blackINistanbul | welcome (back)

P316

angel Kyodo’s (im)posterous http://angelkyodo.posterous.com/blackinistanbul-welcome-back by way of email

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blackINistanbul | welcome (back)

P316

angel Kyodo’s (im)posterous http://angelkyodo.posterous.com/blackinistanbul-welcome-back by way of email

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when the people rise

jan-buddha.jpg

why self-determination will always overcome fear
INcite with angel Kyodo williams 


Tunisia. Egypt. Yemen. Bahrain. Libya.

The last few months have borne witness to a powder keg of successive uprisings by Arab Peoples throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The desperate act of a Tunisian vendor—setting himself on fire in protest of his cart—and means of livelihood—being taken away—was a stand for self-determination that has been amplified by Arab People reclaiming their dignity one county at a time.

If nature abhors a vacuum, then indeed, it resists none more persistently than a vacuum of natural selfhood. When the breaking point of lack of fulfillment meets with the illuminating function of self-awareness, human beings, like nature, seek to restore balance.

When this happens collectively, We Are All Khaled Said…

…and the People rise.

This (r)evolutionary imperative to see manifest condition in which one can thrive is more ancient, more deeply rooted, and thus more powerful, than the inclination to oppress others for one’s own warped sense of self-gain.

In a global, media-drenched world, awareness of self is expedited by the sheer number of other self-expressions to compare one’s own expression (or lack thereof) to. Thus the cycle of being lulled to sleep by paternalistic promises–only to be rudely awakened by a nightmarish loss of freedom–is quickened. We come to terms more rapidly with the reality that as soothing as it may first appear when we are young and naive, we do not want to have everything taken care of by the Great Hero Father. Hence our empires rise and fall more swiftly than ever. Dictators, monarchs, aristocracies and elite parties beware: you are remnants of the past even before you take your corrupted seats these days. When your fabricated means of distraction falls away, the People will rise.

Beyond survival and security, self-determination is the underpinning of justice. When corrupt leaders falter on the first two, the last is the restorative penance that must be paid. Beyond simple survival, being able to determine our own path is the hallmark of self-expression, self-fulfillment, and most importantly, self-love.

In insisting upon the removal of decades-long dictators, the People reclaim their fundamental, inalienable right and responsibility to determine their own path. A right they have come to recognize has been obscured and hampered by individual men projecting an image of themselves as the sole reflection of an entire People:

  • what they will and will not have access to
  • how they are to be governed
  • what they can and cannot become

It would appear to the untrained eye that these Arab Peoples were ruled by different men, but to the eye of the astute, each dictator was a differently dated carbon copy of the other, and all of them mere proxies for fear.

But the People eventually stay the Iron Fist, lift the veil and see the cowering figure clinging to power is neither God nor Hero, just a small, desperate man. Emboldened by their commitment, empowered by their collectivity, liberated from the shackles of fear, the People rise to find liberation from the shackles of oppression.

Questions abound as to how the all-knowing US didn’t see such a wave of revolutions forthcoming: America’s deep-seated racism and perceived religious-cultural superiority conspire to make the quiet swelling of a sea of brown and black People calling for their freedom with fearlessness, grace and unwavering determination a political improbability. To see them do it in succession, leaving the realm of mere anomaly? Impossible.

Having paid so much to keep them divided, we simply lack the imagination to conceive of Arab Peoples bonding together in solidarity to restore the dignity and rightful place of their own. How else could we justify funding the suppression of their beautiful brown selves for so long? How else could we be so confused as to whether we should continue to underwrite Mass Muslim Control rather than proclaim the side of the People the only righteous side to be on?

Even as we witnessed it with our own eyes, we clung to our reductionist, divisive values: it was the youth, it was the educated, it was the middle class, it was the non-religious. No matter that many of the largest protests formed after Friday prayers. Even more un-humanizing, it was Facebook or Twitter. Make no mistake: no matter the vehicle or tool, it was the People.

The brown, red, black and yellow People of this country can learn volumes from the hopefulness and vision expressed by our Arab brothers and sisters. If invested in transformation of society beyond the policy win, past the campaign, despite the funders, our own organizers can benefit from the study of revolutionary change—rooted in the mass power of collective love for the People that unifies, coupled with the individual compulsion for self-determination—that will always eventually transcend fear.

When that happens, we the People, too, shall finally rise.

—yours in truth, aKw


dedicated to the power of the People. may they rise again and again.


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.

find angel
angel network – Mandala
Fan angel on Facebook
Follow angel on Twitter

author | artist | activist | creator | teacher | writer | speaker

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red, white and black

red white black

Hail from Above. Nile River, Luxor, Eqypt.

standing with the people


As the world watches—despite the Egyptian government’s best efforts to darken the light of revolution—the People of Egypt increasingly come forward to express their will for change and they will not be deterred. Just over a year ago, I had the great fortune to be in Egypt. Making my way through Cairo, up the Sinai and deep into Luxor, I left holding vivid impressions of who these crowds are made up of, who they gather for and who they risk on behalf of: the People. As movements of people calling forth transformative social change, we are further empowered when we recognize our relationship, deep connection and interdependence with the movements towards justice in the world. I hope these snapshots of with whom it is we stand in solidarity empowers each of you:

I stand with Egypt.
I too, stood in defiance of President Hosni Mubarak’s police in downtown Cairo’s Midan Tahrir, or Liberation Square. Coming from all over the world, we gathered there to link Freedom for the people of Gaza with the Liberation of the people of Egypt. Even then, Mubarak sought to keep the attention we were bringing to the plight of the People from coming to light. We were just a few hundred, but it was clear he knew even then that if the People saw us, they would stir. Now, a million—and counting—stand too.

I stand with the low-ranking and even lower-paid soldiers that are shuffled around and posted as human barricades to contain the peoples’ movements but can’t contain their support for the hopeful defiance of ordinary men and women, young and old, that may finally usher in real change.

As long as Egypt is willing to be home of the well-behaved Arabs, America has been willing to deeply fund a dictator to keep up a pretense of peace while Egyptians paid the price of their dignity. Like the Red people of America, their self-determination is systematically denied while US-made and paid for weapons are used to dissuade them from their conviction.

I stand with the other Hosny, the travel guide who rents horses and poses us in pictures with camels while solving the mystery of the Great Pyramids of Giza with an easy plausibility that confirms westerners are the only ones still questioning what the people have always known.

While we watch the legions pouring into the streets from the comfort of our living rooms or the palms of our hands, the People risk the stability that was for three decades secured at the cost of liberty. They trade complacency and comfort for an unknown future, but are determined to define that path on their own terms.

I stand with the soft-eyed captain of the Jolie, the fifth generation of his family to guide feluccas up and down the lush banks of Luxor’s Nile. He has the help of a young boy that has lost his father but would receive neither service nor support in an Egypt that leaves the poorest to fend for themselves.

Egypt’s revolution is of and by not just some of the people, but the many. There is no fringe to dismiss. Lines of class have blurred into oblivion. The haves are coming forward for the have-nots. Like the White people of our own nation that have stood in solidarity with folks red, black, brown and yellow, refusing to be divided from their values to protect their places, this revolution sees the interdependence of all. They stand in protection of their collective heritage, denying would-be thieves the opportunity to steal their treasures and steal their triumph.

I stand with the head of security at the mighty Valley of Kings. Charged to protect the final resting place of dynasties that rose and fell for thousands of years before an America was considered, he cannot comfortably care for his family. His harmless scams occasionally lighten the pockets of gullible tourists, but when it becomes clear that we are neither easy prey nor think ourselves better than he, his feigned sternness gives way to easy laughter and easier talk of his love for his land, history and people. He insists on treating us to a tour of the grandest tomb of all.

For far too long, the rest of the world has passively looked aside while the People have lived with their requests unanswered, their demands ignored and their dreams deferred, as a leader that promised democracy delivers corruption and stomps out dissent instead.

I stand with Mohammed, the Bedouin with the striking resemblance to the boy-King Tut, now selling papyrus in Talaat Harb Square. His beautiful heavy eyes a window to his heavy heart because his place in society is limited by his birth. Like our Black people, Bedouins are economically deprived and their government metes out uneven punishment against them, institutionalizing a caste system rooted in prejudice. With good luck and by good hearts, this practice will not survive.

Waving their flags of red, white and black with defiance and dignity, destiny is on the side of revolution and the government must finally yield to the eternal law of change. What I see in Egypt is all the people of the world that seek out justice when it is too long denied, insist upon equality when it too long unbalanced, and take back freedom when it is too long withheld. It is time to take our place on the right side of Egypt: the side of the people.

I stand with Egypt because Egypt is me.

your in truth,aKw

dedicated to Ahl Masr, the people of Egypt, home of the soul of Ptah. May your freedom come swiftly that we might learn, insh’allah, that your freedom is our very own. ‐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

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state of union

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.
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stay in the game

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
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Find angel on the Web
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living on the right

"Allah, the personal name of God."

"Allah, the personal name of God." Inscribed in Islamic calligraphy on one of eight medallions. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey.

bearing witness to the bend towards justice

Istanbul, Turkey.

Five times per day, throughout this enigmatic city, the calls to prayer, or Ezan, ring out, initiating an exodus from homes, offices and even busy tourists shops and restaurants.

“Allahu Akbar” - God is most great.

It is Ramadan, the month of fasting and the mood alternates between the quiet introspection compelled by taking neither food nor water from sun-up to sun-down during some of the longest days of the year, and the burst of celebration (and relief) of breaking bread for iftar, the breaking of the fast . When the muezzin calls, Istanbullus answer by making their way to any one of nearly 3000 active mosques. Even with its secular government, established in 1923 by the real Young Turks, the Republic of Turkey boasts a 98% muslim population and more mosques per capita than anyplace in the world: 85,000 or 1 for every 350 citizens.

“Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa llah” I bear witness that there is but one God.
“Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah”
- I bear witness Mohammed is a messenger of God.
“Hayya ‘ala-salat”
- Make haste towards prayer.

From this vantage point, it is hard to comprehend the furor generated around the placement of just one mosque, that of the proposed Cordoba Mosque and Community Center in New York City’s lower Manhattan.

For the record, it is not on the World Trade Center site, it is near. Two blocks away. And for those of us that didn’t know, the fact of long-standing mosques, 4 and 12 blocks away, was illumined by the New York Times. Each stood peacefully in the shadow of the Twin Towers for decades. Both mosques overflow with ever-increasing numbers of believers during this holiest of months. One is conservative by Islamic standards, maintaining separate prayers spaces for men and women, the other, considered to be the most progressive in the nation, is led by a woman. It is the prayer leader of the latter, most progressive of mosques that was inspired to build the community center as a symbolic bridge of healing through mutual exchange. A better candidate couldn’t be found even abiding by our quasi-racist criteria.

Notwithstanding its overwhelming predominance of Muslims, Turkey lays claim to a history of religious tolerance that cannot be ignored. In 1492, as Columbus delivered claim over native lands to Spain, 200,000 Sephardic Jews were delivered into freedom from the Inquisition by Ottoman’s Sultan. Some 15,000 French Jews were saved during the Holocaust. Turkey still seats the Christian Orthodox Patriarch and on September 12, a referendum for a new constitution seeks to extend human rights and religious freedom while limiting the historically long arm of law in exchange for transparency and balance.

As the capital of empires for 8000 years, this city has much to teach the economic capital of America’s Empire. The main point being this: all empires fall. In their wake, what they leave behind is a legacy. It can be a legacy that glorifies the past to be regaled in rubble and ruins, or it can be a legacy that sets the course for the future. An admirable post-empiric future is one that learns from the mistakes of arrogance past and matures into a principled elder state exhibiting universally moral characters of equanimity, restraint, temperance and unequivocally just.

“Hayya ‘alal-Falah - Make haste towards success.

Critics argue that the name Cordoba represents the triumph of Islam over Christianity as that of the grand mosque of the same name built in Spain on the site of a former Christian Church. What they fail to mention is the church site was purchased, not seized, and that it was Christians who turned the 500-year old mosque into a cathedral. It is more likely the beauty the “defied any description” that inspired the name.

Perhaps they should have chosen a different name. Perhaps they should have chosen a different location. Perhaps they should have cowered into a corner waiting for elections and the ensuing political straw-grabbing to pass. Maybe then they could have quietly found themselves a place in the pitiful America expounded by the Tea Party. Or perhaps they should just join Barack Obama in that small corner of Islamophobia that has been painted–and that he ran full speed into–and retract the mosque altogether.

But that would be a shame.

A shame upon them, the politicians that would trounce on the moral foundation America seeks to claim as its underpinning, not only for political gain, but to fuel their unyielding rage that a black man with a muslim name presides in their White House.

A shame upon every single one of the 68% of Americans purported to be against the mosque who love their own freedom but would withhold it from others under the guise of everything from security to sensitivity. Sensitivity to social, racial, cultural and religious minorities has never been our strong suit. As a nation built on stolen lands by people stolen from their lands, developing true moral character is our only hope for redemption.

But most of all it is a shame on us, the rest of the Americans who have not yet stood alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his eloquent–and unshakable–defense of the right of the mosque to be built. Shame on all us for not responding with the vitriol reserved for when one’s very life and liberty depends upon it, because it does. Shame on any one of us that allows themselves to believe this is not their issue, that there are more important things, or worse, that have chosen to ignore the matter altogether.

If you take the time to divine the conscience of the moral universe, as Unitarian Theodore Parker did 160 years ago, you can bear witness to its trajectory. Time has proven there is right and wrong side of history. On wrong side were Axis and Central powers, the Nazis, the Confederates, the slaveholders, Jim Crow. Always on the wrong side are fascists, oppressionists, segregationists, fundamentalists, persecutionists, misogynists, racists and intolerants of every stripe. Time and time again, that moral arc named by Parker and memorialized by Dr. King, course corrects the petty side excursions we are witnessing today and bends, ever so powerfully, towards justice.

“Al-salatu khayru min an-nawm” - Prayer is better than sleep.

It is time for the left to learn to live firmly on the right.

How long will that take?

As King often reminded us, “Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Let us bear witness to that.

As salaam alaikum. Ramadan Kareem.

your in truth,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