embodying radical self-expression


i am fierce, flawed,
fragile, fear-facing
and, above all, free.

a decolonized mind,
tearing down false refuges + unhooking from the iron yoke of twisted mores that decree how to love, learn, worship, succeed.

a liberated soul,
living into the sacred —
on spirit’s clock, wisdom’s rhythm + body’s intuition.

a rebel heart,
pumping joy through blue veins,
blood rich with resistance.

i am a miracle of my ancestors.

my breath is their legacy,
a continuation of their resilience,
a commitment to brave on
in any + every way
i magic.

embodying resilience

i am lungs springing back oxgenated, fueled and aflamed to burn off toxins and tensions.

the softening fist, fingers extending in a mudra of receptivity.

emerging grace, wobbly-kneed and raw-skinned soles finding its footing, rebounding from stumbles, rising from falls.

the heart willing (sometimes wavering), nevertheless ready to face the tenderness of being alive.

embodying resistance

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i am an open heart —
strong, free, full and clear as the bell itself.

i am soft-flexed knees,
gravity centered and recaliberated,
surfboard-steady and supple
to ride the waves of challenge and change.

turning away from that which seeks
to diminish, defeat or undo me —
i protect my borders,
restore breaches,
preserve the sanctity of
wisdom well earned
and compassion long cultivated.

turning toward that which fuels and fortifies me,
i am a commitment to liberation —
transmuting hurts,
cutting through artifice,
toppling the false idols of oppression,
and living (w)holy unperturbed
in the unalterable truth of my divinity.

 

more contemplations:

embodying refuge
refuge, resistance, resilience + radical self-expression

 

 

 

refuge, resistance, resilience + radical self-expression

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“The Sangha is an island of peace. The Sangha is a community of resistance against violence, hate and despair.” 

— Thich Nhat Hanh

These words of my root teacher Thây live at the core of our sangha’s suchness. They have shaped our evolution into a community of spiritual friends who find sanctuary in journeying together through challenge and change; being stretched and sharpened by wisdom teachings, shared insights and loving (re)assurances; shedding skin, healing, transforming, blooming wholy into our radiant bodhisattva-ness!

We are called together to revive, reclaim and fortify ourselves with liberating contemplative spiritual practices. We take refuge in the full embrace of sangha to “remember to remember” that we have all we need — breath, willingness, enough time, connection to wise companions with gifts, skills and rich life experiences — to (re)connect with our true selves and nourish our wholeness.

“Retreating” from the madness of the world around us is not a viable option for everyone. For me, access to organized retreats set in bucolic off-the-grid environs invites us to interrogate spiritual elitism and the socioeconomic realities and other disparities and inequities among practitioners in all spiritual traditions. It points us back to the question of how we practice and cultivate justice, liberation and healing as people of faith and wonder.

So we take refuge in “the wisdom of no escape” each time we come back to ourselves wherever we are in a given moment, when conditions are not optimal, when our lives aren’t set up for leaving.

Each time we spring back from our worst moments, we strengthen our resilience, self-trust and capacity to resist being swept away by the toxicity of systemic degradation, violence and oppression that spreads like contagion.

It is my deepest hope and prayer that we know the freedom of trusting ourselves, of embodying the spirit of refuge that feeds our radical being-ness.

Who are we when we cultivate and embody refuge?

Who are we when we cultivate and embody resistance?

Who are we when we cultivate and embody resilience?

Who are we when we cultivate, embody and celebrate radical self-expression?