we have to come back
hand it over to nature
the beings we really are
- alan watts
Hello Beautiful Community,
I wanted to share about how founding the East Bay Meditation Center opened my heart. We have entered into a very challenging period in our time. At the forefront is the issue of diversity and inclusivity. Who is in and who is out. This is playing itself out on the world stage. Millions of people potentially being banned, mass deportations, hate crimes and new laws being drafting that are discriminatory in nature. In a way nothing has changed yet everything has changed.
Internally there is also a shift happening. We are being provided with an opportunity to investigate our own deeply held beliefs. Opening to diversity isn’t just a noble idea; it’s actually a genuine path that leads to both wisdom and deep compassion.
Dr. King once said:
Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
He couldn’t have been more right. On an absolute level, who we are doesn't matter. However on the level of the heart race, gender and sexual orientation matters because discrimination takes its toll. When I awoke to this deep pain in my heart early on in my spiritual path, the need to create something new, different and inclusive grew stronger everyday. Until recently, very few spiritually based organizations even considered words like inclusivity or multiculturalism in building their centers. No one ever talked about racism or inclusion. It has been a facet of the diamond left unpolished.
Creating an open, inclusive community has been a healing process for me and not always easy. What I’ve discovered is that diversity is radical because it accelerates our learning process. The journey is not about being comfortable it’s about seeing the truth in any moment. In diverse communities, we grow more, because we have to consider the needs, opinions and feelings of others. We all have internal hierarchies. Diversity challenges these set preferences and opinions. It becomes the mirror that exposes all of our biases. As spiritual practitioners, we WANT to see our delusions so we can overcome them. We want to become mindful. At the end of the day our practice is dedicated to transforming greed, hatred and delusion.
We envisioned the East Bay Meditation Center as a place for communities of color, LGBTQ those with disabilities and all people who are marginalized. In order to do this we had to do things differently. I personally had to adjust and grow; I couldn't stay the same. I thought, I was an open person, and then people came with chemical sensitivities asking, "What about us?" Then Spanish-speaking people came and asked, "What about us?" Teenagers came and I started to think, "I’m not sure we can fit everybody in." Then a group of transgender men came and asked, "What about us, Spring? We need a place, too."
I started to feel the barriers to my love. Every new group needed us to change something so that they could have a home at our center, and I got to see my own clinging. All these diverse groups were coming with different needs, and they wanted our center to be as accessible as possible. I would feel this resistance within myself. It was painful, and challenging at times. Yet I slowly felt my heart expanding every time I said, “yes” we can include you too.
The heart of the dharma is always about opening, accepting and including more and more parts of ourselves. There’s something profound about widening your circle. Einstein said, "Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." The only way to do that is to truly engage. Every time I open the door, I grow.
I have many upcoming opportunities all over the world to practice together. I hope to see you soon!
With all my heart,
2. eye contact with Dre
3. Mom making appreciation plants for employees
4. hammock naps
5. rock salt baths
Captured in Captions
Father's Day 2017
The madness of perception, the illusions in reality, the pain and hurt twisted up in our desire to love each other, complicates the relationship arena for us humans. We have a hard time disassociating what we believe to be true about ourselves and the world, most of which we learned very early on, and with the necessity to protect ourselves from what was happening around us.
Every time someone leaves, communication disappears altogether, or is concealed, this old, well acquainted feeling arises. The feeling of being left all alone, without a clue as to why, reappears. I immediately become tiny Heather. Tiny Heather thinks that what her Dad did or didn't do will be what happens with everyone else she meets. Tiny Heather thinks it was her fault he left, something she did or should of done and has not yet realized that this was not about her, though it involved her.
These flashes from the past still rule our present until we decide to investigate. To take a closer look at why we behave in the ways we do toward our family members, our friends, our intimate relationships. Every single relationship you have with anything else will bring up your story, your baggage, your wounds. This is why the gossip, shit talking and insecurity epidemic has launched out of control. We have no idea who we are talking to and what they are saying to us.
Launching Sister Roots was a promise to myself, to hold what always deserved to be held, to commit to unwavering honesty and to do so in the name of community.
These days everything seems to be falling apart just as quickly as new things come together and I can feel tremendous shifts in my heart.
Not everyone is my dad.
Not everything I believe to be true because of his absence is true.
Not the way I thought it always was.
Time to take a better look.
The second was in mid February, diving into Sister Root's third 8-Week Women's Workshop Series. This circle gave me many clues to what was working within the workshops well and what needed some shifting. I found that every perceived "dropped ball" or frustration or "failure" was actually a clue, pointing me in the direction of what I was actually after. I am currently drafting what will become Sister Roots: The Workshop.
Take away: I can do life with this woman, up close and far away, no matter what. That discovery was big. For us as friends, for us as business partners, for us as the starting place of what Sister Roots stands for.
Our biggest project yet, our dreamiest dream not yet made reality, came to life this Memorial Day Weekend. Sister Roots celebrated its first ever Women's Retreat, in a place very dear to our hearts, the Santa Cruz mountains.
Jacque and I teamed up to bring to life the experience we wish we had when becoming a woman. This is often marked socially by our first bleeding, menarche, and the surge of hormones that shift us into new stages of development.
Most of us were never talked to about what it meant to become a woman, never understood the changes taking place inside our personal homes. Worse, most of the key pieces were completely disregarded. The fact that we bleed. The fact that we're cyclic. The fact that we're incredible at transmuting things from one thing into another. So much misinformation, as well as a lack of understanding and truth about it* all together.
*It refers to the full body experiences that we as women, have. Directly related to our wombs of creation, we must reunite with our sources of power and this begins with the place we were told to keep locked up, only for the pleasure of another, completely disregarding a personal relationship with ourselves at our deepest level.
Jacque and I have directly experienced the transitions that occur when you place her at the center. When you begin to recognize you're worthy of being honored, adored and celebrated, everything that follows after must change. You are no longer accepting the shame stories, the fear and the disrespect that has gone stuffed under the rug over your lifetime.
There is no more time to believe in the shame of who you are. There is no more time to believe in the fear of who you are. There is no more time to believe anyone else about who you are.
Reclaim yourself by understanding yourself.
Reclaim her by understanding her.
Reclaim liberation because it is meant for you.
Look to your roots and build up.
Foundation first, the sky scrapers will follow.
I believe in you.