At Wellspring 2018, one of the most talked-about panels we presented was entitled “Wellness Beyond Whiteness”. Co-curated with (and moderated by) CTZNWell founder, Kerri Kelly, we assembled Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Anasa Troutman, Michelle Johnson and Seane Corn. You can hear the original conversation right here, as part of the CTZN podcast.
More recently, in May of 2020, Kerri and Anasa joined forces with Nicole Cardoza to produce The Wellness of We, an online practice to advance collective wellbeing. The timing coincided with the nation’s reaction to the murder of George Floyd (and the many others), provoking the need for us to look at ourselves as individuals, and as a nation, to confront our racial tendencies and systems.
The 2020 reprise of the Wellness Beyond Whiteness conversation took place on Fri May 29, and we broadcasted the conversation on our Facebook page. You can tune in to this incredibly important conversation below.
As a response to this national moment of reckoning, we at Wanderlust would like to commence by listening, and then heeding the wisdom of our leaders to get organized and commit to eradicating a system of white supremacy.
We would like to highlight the incredible work of the Black leaders in our wellness community by sharing some of their wisdom, insights, and resources here.
Resources from Koya Webb:
• Experience the Breaththrough Breathwork she shared on Wanderlust TV at the peak of the George Floyd protests
• Read the Anti-Racism Resources she shared (authored by Sarah Sophie Flicker & Alyssa Klein)
• Sign the Black Lives Matter petition to Defund the Police here
• Register to vote with Yogins United
• Free download of her e-book, “Let Your Fears Make You Fierce”
• Join her on Wanderlust TV for transformative breathwork classes
“I’ve immersed myself in the works of @rachel.cargle and @skillinaction over the last years so that I can better understand the oppressive systems we’ve been born into and how to dismantle them and I encourage you to do the same.✨
As a 500hr EYT and founder of @getlovedup yoga school I know it’s imperative that I educate the teachers of our future so we can endure this journey until the changes we desire are made. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and it’s gonna take a uncomfortable amount of commitment and dedication to persevere. If you’re ready to “Do The Work” with me click the link in my bio and join me in listening to “Me + White Supremacy” by @laylafsaad we are sharing what we learn via my book club that meets Weds nights at 4pm PST you don’t have to do this work alone. The GLU community is a diverse community and we are all educating ourselves so we can spread love consciousness. Join us! If you’re already a part of the fam invite a friend or family member. We’re in this TOGETHER. Thank you. I LOVE YOU.”
Resources from Reggie Hubbard:
• Read his Op-Ed article in The Hill: “I am Black Progressive Political Activist: Here’s My message for Congress“,
• Tune in to his Dharma talk + Asana George Floyd Tribute Practice
“In order for us to meet the moment before us, we need to be both fearless and graceful. Those tethered to notions of our white supremacist past will use the tools that helped build it to maintain it – fear, lies, intimidation and negligence. So in order to dismantle it and let our dreams breath we must approach it from an opposing orientation. Fear and love cannot live in the same space, nor can violence and grace. We must summon individual and collective courage to stand tall in the midst of intimidation, fear, sadness and doubt to boldly walk forward anyway.
To all of those who are using this moment to dig deeper and question themselves, their communities, their behaviors and habits, I wish you courage and blessings as you continue this important work.
To all those rooted in ignorance and unwillingness to see that the winds of change are upon us, I wish you grace and compassion because we are not scared nor intimidated anymore by your hatred and lies.”
Resources from Nicole Cardoza:
• Subscribe to the daily “Anti-Racism Daily Action“,
• Support the Reclamation Ventures Wellness Relief Fund
• Donate to the National Bail Fund Network
• Sign up for The Wellness of We to gain access to 8 days of online practice and conversation
• Support Nicole’s work on Patreon here
• Donate to Yoga Foster here
“I feel it’s important to re-introduce myself because before I became your new person to follow on IG, or that non-profit leader, or a yoga teacher, your friend, your ex-girlfriend, I was a black woman. I am a black woman. And a black woman is also who I am becoming.
What I do is simple: I create more space in the wellness industry for those that have been left out. At @yogafoster, we offer free and low-cost yoga and mindfulness content for schools. At @reclamationventures, we invest in underestimated leaders making wellness more accessible in their communities. I helped start @mentalhealthleague which makes sure no one suffers alone. And now I send daily emails on practicing anti-racism to thousands of you 🙋🏾♀️
But why I do this is all the more simple. Because I am a black woman. I deserve to be here. My breath belongs in my body. My body belongs on this soil. And I deserve to thrive. All of us do.
Black lives don’t just matter. We are this country’s heart, lungs and blood. We were forced to breathe life into this nation and this nation consistently tries to take it away. Protecting our right to be well starts with dismantling this system while we imagine a new one where no one can take our breath away.
I’m not telling a single black person to do anything right now because we’ve been told enough. For everyone else, I need you to join this fight like your breath depended on it. Because mine does. So does the breath of my ancestors and my generations to come.”
Resources from Lama Rod Owens:
• Pre-order Lama Rod’s upcoming book, “Love and Rage”
• Purchase and study “Radical Dharma“, co-written with Rev. angel Kyodo williams (above)
• Read his piece, “Protest is my Spiritual Practice” in Lion’s Roar
• Listen to his interview, “Making Good White People Understand their Whiteness”
“It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the discovery and assertion of Siddhartha Gautama, the historic Buddha—that every human being, irrespective of caste, race, creed, or birth has within them the potential for waking up to the ultimate nature of reality—is one of the most radically life-altering propositions for human life on and in relationship to the planet. One that we need right now.
Yet, at this time when the Dharma is needed more acutely than ever—a time when our very existence is threatened as a result of our socially embedded greed, hatred, and ignorance—its expansive potential to liberate us from suffering is in danger of being rendered impotent because it is held in subjugation to the very systems that it must thoroughly examine…Much of what is being taught is the acceptance of a “kinder, gentler suffering” that does not question the unwholesome roots of systemic suffering and the structures that hold it in place. What is required is a new Dharma, a radical Dharma that deconstructs rather than amplifies the systems of suffering, that starves rather than fertilizes the soil of the conditions that the deep roots of societal suffering grow in. A new Dharma is one that insists we investigate not only the unsatisfactoriness of our own minds but also prepares us for the discomfort of confronting the obscurations of the society we are individual expressions of. It recognizes that the delusions of systemic oppression are not solely the domain of the individual. By design, they are seated within and reinforced by society. We must wake up and cut through not only individual but also social ego. This is not only our potential, but we now each have it as our collective responsibility… there is no neutral.”
Resources from Rev. angel Kyodo williams:
• On June 1, join her Black Sit, a space for folks socially-located within Black experience to take time for simple practices of stillness and breath.
• On June 2, she will host a sit for BIPOC and all peoples.
• On June 12, join Rev. angel’s Half/Day Sit.
• Read “Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation“, co-authored by Lama Rod Owens and Jasmine Syedullah.
“love letter to all beloved black bodies:
your beloved black body need not prove itself.
you don’t need to have credentials or degrees or fewer car tickets or even have worked always and have a job now to be afforded dignity.
your accomplishments are laudable. your humanity is beyond comparison.
the perfection of you as you are is unassailable.
the only flaw is in this toxic system that has the momentum of history inducing white-bodied people, especially those in policing forces, into becoming sociopaths.
to be clear, often people of all colors, persuasions and classes are induced into such illness that they cast harm on the people that most remind them of their own lack of relative safety.
this is beyond belief. this mass sociopathy is a Great Illness that insidiously consumes people without them ever realizing that they have been infected, that theirs is not a natural state at all.
it is the most unnatural of states, constructed and massively deployed through every social space.
like Death of human decency disseminated through the air in microparticles.
beloved black body:
you are perfect.
you are beauty itself.
you are worthy.
this environment is a toxic, sociopathological one.
we — especially we that are subject to wanton mental, emotional and physical violence as the daily course of our existence — can and must transmute the illness in the air we breathe by putting our masks on and protecting our own hearts and minds first.
grieve and go easy.
take care of yourself.
protect your Self.
take radical care of your beloved black body.
because it is yours, and it is also mine.
—Rev. angel Kyodo williams.”