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My name is Dominique. I am the founder of start the wave, an online community, and non-profit organization focused on empowering, supporting and uplifting positive change makers worldwide. We do that by funding action, amplifying voices that need to be heard and encouraging growth through education and healing. I’d also like to acknowledge that we are all currently on various different indigenous lands. I am in Montreal, which is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst many indigenous peoples, including the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Huron-Wendat, Abénakis, and Anishinaabe to recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation both to the land and to those whose territory we are on. It is so important to understand the longstanding history that has brought us here and seek to understand our place within that history so that we can restore justice and work towards reconciliation. Thank you so much and over to you, Geneva. Oh, sorry. Over to you, Valerie. My bad. Thank you, Dom. Yah, no problem.
For more than 5,000 years, the Himalayan mountains have been home to wise women and men, sages who taught the knowledge of yoga science to disciples who then became masters and teachers themselves. This unbroken Bharathi lineage is the meditation tradition passed through Swami Rama to Leonard and Jenness Perlmutter, Leonard and Jenness founded the American Meditation Institute in 1996. AMI is devoted to providing comprehensive training in yoga science, the world’s oldest, holistic mind, body medicine, and the core principle of every spiritual tradition. Yoga means union. Yoga science enables us to use our inner wisdom to guide our thoughts, words, and actions in the world. Our conscious mind sees everything is separate from each other, but our inner wisdom is a reflection of the superconscious mind that sees the underlying unity within the diversity. Meditation and contemplative practices are the paths to our own inner wisdom, the reflection of the One Supreme Intelligence. Our minds are capable of accessing this inner wisdom through the conscience. When we have a conscience that is not obscured, we can make decisions that are caring, considerate, and compassionate, not injurious harmful or violent.
January 2021 is the Second Annual National Conscience Month, an official observance originated by the American Meditation Institute. Its mission is to remind and encourage individuals across the nation to use their conscience as a guide in every level of decision-making. This webinar honors the importance of all these traditions as paths to oneness. The American Meditation Institute is pleased to participate with the Interfaith Center and Start the Wave in this important event. Thank you.
As so, hi everyone. My name is Geneva Blackburn and I’m the program director for the Interfaith Center located at the Miami University campus in Oxford, Ohio. The Interfaith Center is a safe, welcoming interfaith space, inviting our local and global communities to engage in dialogue, education and service. Our mission is to invite people from diverse, religious, spiritual, and secular traditions to participate in each other’s practices in order to cultivate appreciative understanding and friendships. We seek to unify people of all faiths and no faith around common, moral, social, and ethical concerns in order to build a more just and equitable society. With that in mind, I believe that transformation of the world inherently includes a radical transformation of self. The wisdom found in the many religious, spiritual, religious and spiritual traditions of the world has always pointed to the reality of interconnectedness and the root cause of suffering created by the solution of separateness.
J. Krishnamurti goes as far to say that “The religious mind is indistinguishable from the meditative mind, adopting content contemplative practices can cultivate the level of compassion necessary to vicariously accept the suffering of others as a room, and to understand what response is appropriate of us in each moment.” Father Richard Rohr writes that “When we experienced the reality of our oneness with God, others, and creation, actions of justice and healing naturally follow.” It is only by unlocking this compassion in each one of us that we may begin to eradicate rather than perpetuate systems of injustice and truly enact radical change, which is why I am honored to be here with all of you today in partnership with Start the Wave and the American Meditation Institute and with gratitude for all of the panelists who I look forward to hearing from shortly. And I’m going to hand it back over to Dom.
Thank you. How beautiful! Well said, very beautiful, thank you. Um, yeah, so, okay, today, uh, we’re going to be hearing from six wonderful humans who will be giving us their perspectives on meditation and its role and importance in today’s current climate. For anyone who’s watching and has never meditated before, um, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and calm state. Many traditions and religions have meditative or contemplative practices. Each practice is different and there’s no one term that captures all the meanings and descriptions. So due to this limitation of language today, we will use meditation as a general and inclusive term. There are so many benefits to meditation. I can safely say from my own experience that the gifts that it continues to give are so vast and so numerous.
Um, but one of the advantages and the aspect that we are going to be exploring today is the direct path to the intuitive wisdom or divine knowledge that is available to all of us. Um, some people that may be listening today, um, may very well have heard me talk about the moment when I started following my gut, um, listening to that inner knowing in my own journey. And again, there are so many different terms to describe this rather magical and powerful experience, but when we strengthen our connection to this inner compass, we create a strong foundational relationship with our intuitive wisdom and it guides us, I believe, it guides us to where we need to be to fulfill our purpose in this lifetime, helping to see the world unified, the, the illusion of separation that creates the conditions for our destructive actions dissolves and in its place, we experience our interconnectedness and sense of oneness in today’s suffering world, where we are facing a global pandemic, climate chaos, and a whole range of other social issues, divisiveness and injustice.
It’s crucial that we share our tools with each other to help us return to these fundamental universal truths. I think it’s totally normal to be feeling overwhelmed right now. We’re experiencing unprecedented turmoil and collective trauma, but by finding ways to get out of our minds and into hot centered action, we can hopefully raise unity consciousness and bring about a new world. So without further ado, and enough for me, let’s get to these beautiful speakers. Firstly, we will hear from Reverend Will Rucker. Reverend Will Rucker passionately works to transform culture through compassion. As an author speaker, pastor and host of Compassionate Las Vegas, the podcast. Will is engaged in local statewide and national platforms advancing socio-spiritual transformational efforts in restorative justice, anti-racism, and Humanity First initiatives. Will believes that we are on the cusp of a global transformation in consciousness, like the world has never known and is dedicated to helping people through their spiritual awakening and into expanded levels of enlightenment, how beautiful. Over to you, Will.
Well, thank you so much. It is such a privilege and honor to be a part of this panel and to talk about what is one of my favorite subjects, which is really the centering practice of meditation. I come from the Christian tradition, though I am embracing all. And the more that I would tour in my faith, the more I recognize that there really is no distinction or difference between whether I’m Christian, the Buddhists, that it just doesn’t doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, we’re all really, uh, seeking the same aim. So when I approached this particular subject, I think back to Jesus and his 40 days in the wilderness. People wonder what was happening for 40 days, and I don’t know, but what I do suggest is that Jesus was having experience with himself. We know that he faced temptation and hunger and all the things that a human faces in any remote area for an extended period of time.
But I think that this is something that we can use as a template or as a guide for our own experience. I think back to my journey and my 40 days in the wilderness experience, which was really my, my time at Bible college and experiencing nothing, but theology, day in and day out, learning from my peers, learning from my instructors, having those experiential learning opportunities and really coming to the end of myself and recognizing, Oh my gosh, this is so much bigger than anything I ever thought or imagined. So for me in those days, when it was very difficult, when I was hungry, because I had chosen a fast or because to be candid, I was a Bible School student and didn’t have much money. So, you know, sometimes it was food or not. Uh, but during those times I was really able to, to come into myself and hear myself do what I consider meditation to be, which is really thinking. A lot of traditions offer the absence of thought.
And I think all of this works together, but for me, I go to Philippians, the fourth chapter, verse eight, and I’ll read it. It’s this: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever’s honorable, whatever’s just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” And so I really took that to heart and said, you know, I’m, I’m counseling someone who’s just lost a child, but I’m going to think on the things that are lovely, because losing the child is traumatic and counseling a couple that’s going through a divorce due to infidelity or some other cause, this is a traumatic experience, but I’m going to think on something that’s lovely. And as I continued to explore this practice for myself, firstly, do to stay centered and to stay, Um, really just in a place where I could be of service and then branching that out to others.
What I discovered is that there’s beauty in even the tragedies and that there’s beauty in something lovely and something pure and something Holy and even the most heinous of events because when we get right down to it, all that truly is, is love. And when we expand our view and our consciousness, we begin to see that our entire planet, as massive as we believe it is, is but one tiny cell in the body of the universe. And so putting these things into perspective is truly mind boggling for me. And in this time in Bible school, I really did feel like I was in the wilderness because my consciousness was expanding. And I didn’t know what to do with that. I didn’t understand that I could think certain thoughts that I was thinking or have experiences that I was experiencing because they were just outside of my norm.
And when I began to grow and try new things, it was scary. It was frightening. And then it was peaceful when I embraced it and begin to just let go and to simply be in whatever that thing was that was happening. And so I also think about the aspect of silence in this, because during these times I would call out to God and say, give me an answer, help me with this problem. I need something to say, I need something to do. And the answer was simply silence. And so all of this together has brought me to the place where I am today, where meditation is a part of my regular routine. I do meditative yoga in the morning and I incorporate stretching and, and all of these things to awaken and become aware of my physical body, as well as my energetic and emotional bodies and the thoughts that I’m thinking.
So I take that time every day now as part of my practice. And I used to take that time for what would be traditionally known as prayer and I still pray. And I still believe that prayer is amazing and powerful and wonderful, and is a contemplative practice. You can do prayer in a contemplative way. And when I brought in that term, it just became more inclusive. I was able to experience something at a greater, deeper, more intimate level. And I’ll close with this final thought. When I spend time in these meditative practices, as I spend time simply becoming aware of how I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing, what I’m thinking. When I think about what I’m thinking about, when I observe my thoughts, what I begin to recognize is that my eye and God’s eye are the same and that I am observing myself in the same way that God observes me and the scriptures tell us that it’s in Jeremiah before “I formed you in your mother’s womb.
I knew you,” and this is bigger than just the, Oh, I knew you were coming. Or I knew I was going to make you or anything like that. When you really dive into what’s being communicated in that passage, what you discover is that knowing that word I knew you really means I was you. I am you. And so God and I in this practice of consciousness simply exist in the space of being one being, one entity, one consciousness. And it brings a peace that is beyond comprehension. It brings a joy that doesn’t require happiness to accompany it or pleasurable things to be involved. And really what it brings is a sense of contentment where I am is enough. And so my mantra daily is “I am enough just as I am.” And so I’ll close with the final scripture, which is found in first John, the fourth chapter. And it says, “As Jesus is, so are we in this world.” And so with that idea, that thought want to thank you for listening and I’m looking forward to the other presentations.
Thank you. Well, okay. So next up we have Murshida Stephanie Nuria Sabato. If any of your names are mispronounced, um, professor and Pir-o-Murshid educator designer uh, world traveler, Servant of God and a Sufi messenger. As Pir-o-Murshid, having trained and having training and title from Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan son of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Nuria has also been initiated by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and His Excellency Khamtrul Rinpoche, her personal Buddhist teacher. Thank you,
Brings a tear to my eye, the great, good fortune that I’ve had in this life. I want to talk about what’s up right now for me, and maybe that will illuminate some things for others. I think what we’re talking about here is we’re all seeking union. We’re seeking connectedness and more so now than ever. Uh, some of us are in isolation and we’re reaching out really. I want to say, take that finger reaching out and turn it right in here, right into the heart. The very heart of our being is really where we need to go. Years ago, I had, uh, taken up, um, an opportunity to go on retreat in the Swiss Alps of all places talk about being in the wilderness, because it was a very remote place. There were other fellow and sister, uh, Sufis gathered there, but I was taking the opportunity for an individual retreat.
Now me who thinks the Holiday Inn is really roughing. It took a tent, pitched it in a thunderstorm and lightning storm rain storm and decided I needed to go do this and go inward in the most, uh, inclement circumstance, there was an inner voice and Rev. Will you talked about that? And that inner voice was saying, build the sanctuary within. So I was feeling a little helpless in regard to the elements and, and I was sort of looking externally maybe for help or some sort of grounding, but it wasn’t there. The voice was saying, build the sanctuary within. And that’s the whole point. You can go to Switzerland, you can go to India, you can go to wherever, but it is ultimately within. And that’s where we want to turn and go to.
So interestingly enough, it’s kind of my natural inclination to turn within. Uh, I I’m also can be extroverted for the benefit of the world or for whatever I’m trying to accomplish, but I can very much and enjoy. That’s probably my safe places within. From the time I was a child. I found solitude in play at prayer and reflection, the great Haven, these three lead to a deeper kind of meditation. Um, of course, as it is said, every religious tradition has a method, gives us a method for building the sanctuary within and developing a meditative contemplative practice. And again, all towards, I believe towards the aim of experiencing union. So what I want to speak about right today is kind of what’s up for me in this moment. And that is, there is a Sufi prayer that I have said every day since I was an initiate.
So for decades, and you know how that is, sometimes there is a line to something that just starts popping up and you’re not working it, it’s working you well. I want to read these lines because this prayer has just keeps going over the first few lines over and over and over in my head. It wakes me up at night and it’s, it’s doing me and I see it outwardly manifest and also see or notice when I’m not so tuned into it. So it’s a good, uh, biofeedback mechanism for me. The prayer is the morning prayer of the Sufi lineage of Hazrat Inayat Khan. The prayer is called Som. I’ll read the lines, and then I want to go through the, what I am experiencing as the deeper meaning, because I feel this in and of itself is a meditation. So the prayer goes through this.
This is just the first two lines. “Praise be to thee, most Supreme God, omnipotent, omnipresent, all pervading. The only being.” When I think praise be to thee praise, be to thee, it’s an exultation. It hoists my consciousness upward. It’s this Alleluia, this is al-ḥamdu lillāh, the Sufis may say, and it is praise due to thee, not praise be to me. So always thinking in terms of a Tibetan, you know, sort of philosophy, what is sitting at the center of the Mandalah is that ourselves and self thinking, or is it thee, whatever that thee is for you, and then the next line, omnipotent omnipresent, all pervading, the only being. Omnipotent, think of that. Thee, thee T H E E having unlimited power. I trust my, I put my faith in that. What can, what can worry me? What can hurt me, not even death. It will carry me to thee and omnipotent able to do anything, all powerful, almighty Supreme, putting one’s faith and relaxing, falling into it.
Like, uh, here, I’m living in Florida, right on the beach. And people are swinging in the hammocks between the coconut trees like that, falling away into that beautiful experience of understanding that, although I may not be out all powerful and unlimited, I can tune to that, which is, and then omnipresent everywhere all the time, time, all enveloping all at the same time and everything. God is in that everything, all pervading spreading through and in everything again. And now we get to important. The only being. The only being and Rev. Will pointed to this there’s one being the illusion is it’s you it’s me. It’s them, it’s it. No one single one, only one being, and this is manifest everywhere and we can see it everywhere and we can recognize it everywhere if we train ourselves. So another person is just part of that only being in that last scriptural reading of Reverend Will.
I know you before you were born, how is that even possible? It’s possible because we are part of that same thing and we’re all interconnected in that way. So just, I have no idea of my time. Someone might have to just shut me off and that’s fine, but there’s a few more lines that says, take me in thy parental arms, that reliance, that surrender, that, um, confidence that there’s something there that I can rely on. And it’s parental and parental for some may not be such a comfort, but in this bigger meaning, it’s that being that protects us, that loves us. That cares for us, gives us sympathy, compassion, understanding, knowledge. And then the last line. This is just the first few lines of this prayer, or raise us from the denseness of the earth. Hello, brothers and sisters. Amen. Turn on the news. There’s a lot of denseness.
We all want to be uplifted because as we uplift ourselves, we have the potential to inspire and uplift others. And so raise us up, lift our consciousness, elevate our awareness, our understanding, help us move beyond self limiting thoughts, because sometimes I’m seeing someone and I’m thinking a lot. I don’t know about that person. I don’t know what they think. And then I think, Oh yeah, where’s the prayer. Go back to the prayer. Remember the only being, don’t separate. Now there’s a line that I want to leave you with because I think it’s all headed towards turning within, finding the voice within which others have said already listening, listening carefully. When we have to be quiet, I need to do that soon to hear that. But there’s another line that Hazrat Inayat Khan gives us. And it’s called thy light is in all forms thy love in all beings. But if you don’t remember one other word, I said, just remember two words, light, let light illuminate your path. Let outwardly, but inwardly and love. Let love be your guide and your touchstone. God bless everyone. Praise God. I’m so happy to be here with all of you. Thank you so much.
Thank you. Okay. Next we are going to Leonard Perlmutter. Oh, I can hear myself in my headphones. Okay. We’re good. Leonard Perlmutter is a noted author, philosopher and the founder of the American Meditation Institute and National Conscience Month observance. Since 2009, his comprehensive foundation program on yoga science as holistic mind, body medicine has been certified for physicians and nurses by the American Medical Association and American Nurses Association over to you Leonard.
Thank you very much, Tom. Appreciate it. And I too, I’m honored to be here to join, uh, this beautiful little panel. I’ve always been a since early childhood, a very philosophical and practical. That seems to have been, uh, uh, two, uh, guideposts that have, uh, led my journey. And so today, uh, I wanted to take a few moments of my time to go through a, a short PowerPoint of the practical nature of yoga science. So I’m going to try to share my screen okay. And hopefully everybody can see that. And so interestingly, yoga is a science of experiencing unity, of experiencing this oneness.
So it starts really, uh, with the law of karma and understanding the importance of our thoughts, which is our most, our greatest resource, our thoughts. So as it turns out, and we all know this, this is all fifth grade science, every thought leads to an action. And every action brings about a consequence and that can lead us in one direction or another all the time in every relationship. And gosh, our whole life is relationship. We have a relationship with our thoughts, our desires, our emotions with human beings, with animals, with plants, with minerals, with the universe. So it’s important to understand what pulse drives you. In other words, what are you looking for in life? What is the consequence that you want every action to lead you closer and closer to what is your goal of life?
So that answer can be manifold, but most of us want to be happy. We want to be healthy. We want to be secure. And we want to experience some form of unity, some form of oneness, and that’s perfectly legitimate. Why not? So the, the only question on a practical level is, uh, answered through with the language of algebra X it’s unknown. What’s going to get us to point B from point A. Well, we already know what the answer is from the law of karma. It’s our thoughts, our words, and our actions. That’s what leads us to our goal or we’ll delay the prospect. And that brings out us to a, working definition of yoga. Yoga is both a, a scientific and a philosophical bridge that can helps us inspires us, instructs us to base our thoughts, our words, and our actions with our own inner, intuitive wisdom. And the promises that if we do that, if we base our thoughts, our words, and our actions on our own inner, intuitive wisdom, the consequence is going to enable us to fulfill the purpose of our lives without pain, without misery and without bondage.
So how do we, how do we reach that inner wisdom? How do we contact that inner wisdom? Well, it’s interesting if, if we have, uh, uh, a problem, um, most of the times we engage the senses and we look outside for some answer. So if I’m cold, I might look for a coat or I might turn up the heat, but there are problems where the answer lies within the problem. That would be like a jigsaw puzzle. Oh yes. The jigsaw puzzle is the problem, but the jigsaw puzzle is also the solution. So from a yoga perspective, we want to be happy. We want to be healthy. We want to be secure. We want to experience unity with the Supreme Intelligence. How are we going to get to point B from point A, we are going to do that by using this instrument, using this mind body sense complex. And interestingly, part of this mind, body sense complex within this matrix of our reality of me.
We have equipment that can receive inner wisdom from the center of consciousness. We call it the conscience. Okay. So the conscience operates as a mirror. It has the capacity to reflect perfect wisdom from the superconscious portion of the mind, and it can reflect it into our conscious mind. Now, this is very important to be able to see that because if we don’t have this bridge, if we don’t rely on our own inner wisdom, we create and maintain conflict between inner wisdom and outer action. Oh, and inner conflict. That’s the mother of all problems. If there’s going to be conflict in my mind, there has to be conflict outside of my mind in interpersonal relationships, within my own body.
But if I can ameliorate the inner conflict, I also make it impossible for there to be outer conflict. So from a yoga perspective, from a yoga perspective, the key is to coordinate all the functions of the mind because the mind moves first, then the body follows and the consequences follow from those actions. So we know what kind of consequences we’re looking for. We want to be happy, healthy, secure, and we want to experience oneness in unity. So what we need to do is we need to coordinate these functions of the mind and to do that we have to take actions. So here’s a wheel and it’s an, it’s an analogy for the body. And we want that wheel to turn, but the wheel cannot turn. Why not? Has no spokes has no spokes, but if we put spokes in the wheel, theoretically, it should be able to rotate. Okay. So it can do that. That’s great. So what are the spokes that animates the body that takes the action that brings about the consequence? Well, that is the four functions of the mind. The first of which are the senses and logic, which is constantly, this function of the mind is constantly asking us the question. Should I do it? Or should I not do it? Should I do it? Or should I not do it?
And it engages the senses into the world to look and smell and taste and hear and touch and bring back information into our awareness, into our consciousness so that we can decide whether we should do it, or should we not do it? That’s the first function of the mind. The second function of the mind is the ego. The ego always walks around with something like a chainsaw strapped on its hip. And it’s already dividing things up into two pairs of opposites. Oh, this is good. Let’s reprise this pleasure. And this is bad. Let’s avoid that. But we already know from our own personal experience, that, which is pleasant, is pleasant isn’t always good for us that, which is unpleasant isn’t always bad for us. So what we’re seeing that both with the senses and logic and ego, and also with the unconscious mind, the third function, these are limited perspectives, limited perspectives. They’re not always wrong. I mean, we all need, uh, uh, a strong ego to be able to operate technology, to drive an automobile. We need a healthy ego for our whole lifetimes. We don’t want to get rid of the ego life is to be enjoyed. Why would we want to deny the senses? And sometimes the unconscious mind has some, uh, important information for us.
So the census and logic receive information, the ego, what brings information and the unconscious mind weighs in and in preparation for an action of the logic and senses, then presents limited perspective of the census of the ego and of the unconscious mind and says, look here we have two choices right now we have alternative a with these consequences and we have alternative B with these consequences kindly make a decision and take an action. And this repeats and repeats and repeats because the logic senses are constantly asking us, should I do it or should I not do it? And if I don’t answer the question and I don’t make a decision, well, the question keeps on coming, keeps on coming. Should I do it? Should I not do what? Should I do it? Or should I not do it? Oh, it drains my battery. I get exhausted.
Don’t I? And so gee uh, uh, I have a friend, uh, I’ll ask my friend. This person is a very sweet, loving, considerate kind person, very knowledgeable. Maybe my friend can help me make a decision, but the truth is that my friend, uh, has the same kind of issue going on in their mind. So let’s take a look at this schematic. We have the senses and that limited information, we have the ego and that limited information and the unconscious and that information to in order to make a decision. But fortunately we have one more spoke and that is the key. That’s the key. That’s our conscience. Our conscience is the only function of the mind that can discriminate, determine, judge and decide the only function of the mind. And it’s up to us to parent the senses, the ego, the unconscious mind to support this old knowing wisdom that is reflected by the conscience, because what does it reflect? It reflects the superconscious wisdom of the unicity. It reflects the wisdom of the super conscious portion of the mind. That is part of the definition of the Supreme intelligence that we refer to as G O D.
So through our meditation practice, this focusing of all of our mental energy, we gained skills so that we can coordinate the functions of the mind so that the ego senses and unconscious mind increasingly reflect our and our partners with the wisdom that is reflected by our conscience. So we gained the skill and the tool of one point that attention we gain the scoop, the skill of detachment. We create spaces between stimulus and response. Unlike what the culture is, uh, serving for us, we gain discrimination because we’re continuously using our conscience clearing that, that mirror. And we increase the muscles of our willpower to do what’s to be done, but not to do what’s not to be done. And we have enhanced confidence. Don’t wait, and we have the ability to solve problems. Like we never thought we could. And not only is our mental capacity more flexible, but that means that our physicality is more flexible. And our immune system is stronger as we continuously engage in transforming stress into strength. So that’s something that’s practical, it’s philosophical, it’s scientific. And I wanted to share it with you today. Thank you very much.
Wow. That was fantastic. Thanks you Leonard. It was so interesting. It’s like glued to the presentation and yeah, it was really wonderful to see it sort of laid out like that and in such a clear way, uh, sometimes it can get very busy up there. And I think it’s really difficult sometimes to understand which part of the mind is talking to you. And often I’m trying to figure out whether it’s the ego part or whether it’s, you know, so it’s just like being able to see it. Like that was really helpful. I very much appreciate the time and effort you put into preparing that for us. Okay, where are we, here we go. Okay. So next up we, Katie Breslin, Katie Breslin is a Quaker writer and advocate for peace and justice issues. Katie writes about issues related to religion, culture and technology. She is currently a seminary student at Earlham School of Religion, where she is studying Quaker ministry before coming to seminary. Katie worked in Faith Based Advocacy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Legislation, F C N L, and Catholics for Choice at FCNL. Katie led the work of engaging young people to lobby Congress on peace and justice issues. Thank you, Katie, over to you. Thank you so
Much. And it’s been such a joy to hear all of my panelists and to have you Dominique, as our moderator. So thanks to everyone who has been participating and being part of this process, it’s been really great to be part of it. Uh, I found I’m not a, uh, born Quaker. I’m a convinced friend is what they call us. And I became convinced when I started working for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Um, I was already working in Catholic organizing. Um, I was raised Catholic, but at the time of my life, I started working for FCNL. I was experiencing some, um, issues around identity, and I came out as a queer person and I was literally looking for a spiritual home. And so, uh, it was really convenient that I was working with the Quakers because my life had been so chaotic. I lived in DC.
I was constantly out at happy hours doing lots of different organizing things. And I never really spent a lot of time centering and listening to myself and listening to the voice of others. Um, and so when I started hanging out with the friends, uh, by working for them, I learned a little bit more about friends practice. We would start our meetings with a few seconds of silence. We would, uh, friends practice and worship in silence, um, as part of their worship services. And I learned in these spaces and these corporate spaces where I was able to sit in silence with other people, which is something I’d never experienced before, you know, sitting in silence for an hour. That was something that was totally new to me. And it made me so anxious. And I was wondering, why does this make me so anxious to be alone?
And with my own thoughts, with all these incredible people that I trust. And so I would practice and I would sit in silence and when I would work with my colleagues and I really deeply appreciate what Quakers believe they believe that there’s that of God in each person. And when I took that, when I was able to center that in my worship, I was able to bring that out, not only in that worshiping space, but in the ways that I navigated the world. And I think that worship for me is also my place where I can dream about a more just world. And so the organization I used to work for, uh, they believe in the, we seeks, we seek a free of war and the threat of war, we seek a society and earth restored. You know, these are really things that I wanted to see in this world too, but I was often too busy, too busy doing other things, too busy, worrying about my to-do list to really center and think about what this world can actually look like.
And so that slow down, uh, that, um, desire to really be able to dream was really the center reason why I became a convinced friend. And so I started going to meeting, that’s what we call church here in Quaker world, uh, or friends world. Um, and I started to meet incredible people and it was those incredible people and worshiping with them and being vulnerable with them is really what brought me a little bit closer to what I think of as the divine. And so I started to see the divine in everyday actions. I started to see the divine and how we look at stories, how we interact with one another. And so my spiritual practice was not just that 15 or 20 minutes of silence or that hour of worship every Sunday. It was an every action that I was doing throughout my life, but I needed that spiritual practice regularly in order to be able to do that.
And so I was really grateful for the opportunity to move from DC to Indiana a total culture shift, but I’m really grateful to be here in Indiana and the Hoosier state, um, where I was able to be among other friends and to really study this long history of Quakers and other religions, um, really in these contemporative practices. And so during the pandemic, of course, a lot of us felt really separate. Uh, but Quakers were meeting on zoom and doing worships every day. And it was really actually an opportunity for me to reconnect with different friends communities that I had so missed. I think when we talk a lot about the self and like how we experienced it in meditation, but for me, the corporateness of it, the ways that we are able to connect through worship and through meditation and through, you know, this, uh, collective desire to change the world, that’s really where, you know, that’s where really where I believe God is, uh, for me.
And so I was really grateful, um, that during the pandemic, I picked up a daily practice of meditation. I really calmed and centered me. Um, and I knew that there were other friends that were doing the same. And so I’ve just been really grateful. It’s changed my life. I, you know, not to be cliche, but I think that it’s true that, um, you know, for those of us that are especially interested in social change, uh, it’s really important to take a step back and to think about what are, what are we, what do we want to see in this world? And so that’s, that’s really what brought me here. So thank you for this.
Oh, that’s so beautiful. Thank you, Katie. Before we move on, I just want to touch on something that you said. Um, I think it’s really normal for a lot of people to be fearful of silence. And so, um, in fact, I’ve met people that have said, like, I’m, I’m quite scared of silence. What would you say to people that are really scared of that silence? Um, and, and not used to, you know, taking some time and being completely quiet,
I have really struggled with it so much. And, you know, I, uh, used to mentor a program of young adults who would go into Quaker worship for the first time. And it was terrifying. It would be like we were going to be in silence for an hour and then Quaker worship. Sometimes people speak out of the silence if we believe that God is speaking to them to share a message to the community, but sometimes you’re in an hour worth of silence. And that can be really terrifying if you have 15 minutes alone in your head, seems like a lot. Yeah. So I it’s really, and so what I would do is I would recommend that they would take, um, a pad of paper, um, to sometimes to help, uh, write out their thoughts if that was, um, being really distracting. Um, but I would also say, and I would just be empathetic and say, it’s, it is really hard.
Like we, aren’t taught to sit in silence often here in the United States, at least in our context in Western society. And so, you know, it’s okay if it is hard and, you know, and that’s why, you know, little practices of five to 10 minutes oftentimes really helps. And that’s why I think because of the practice of, uh, where I worked, that we had, you know, five minutes of silence before a meeting, I was really able to build up my capacity to be able to sit in that hour long silence. So it’s, sometimes it is really painful still, but I think, um, having little tools like paper and otherwise could be,
Yeah, I love that. That’s, that’s so such a good idea that having just a paper and pen next to you, just to be able to jot anything down that, that, uh, that comes up, this feeling of overwhelming and then also the ability to like reference back to it later. Um, yeah, I think it, I think, uh, in today’s world where we have like so many different distractions all the time and things popping up notifications on our phone and our computer and stuff, it’s so unusual to actually go inside and take that, that moment for ourselves and, and go into silence. So, um, I really appreciate your, uh, tips for, for everyone who is watching at home.
Can I just comment on that
For a moment? Yeah, of course.
Okay. I’ll try to be as quick as possible. And that is that, uh, it’s critically important that we examine every fear that comes into our awareness. You know, what President Roosevelt said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And yet fear is a resource. It’s a resource, it’s all energy. Uh, and in most cases, uh, it’s a debilitating contractive force, but it can be transformed into, uh, a, an expansive force. Right? We learned that again in fifth grade science class energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed. So the two faces of fear are number one, I’m afraid I might not get what I want or two I’m afraid I might lose what I have. And it’s important to understand which is which, and if, if I am, uh, uh, in a, uh, uh, a Quaker, uh, uh, service and I’m aware of fear, I can deal with that fear, not necessarily immediately in that situation, but it’s a tip off to me that, that there is fear that often trumps my inner wisdom. And so I look for small seemingly insignificant little worries that seemed to trip me up or hijack me during the day. And I deal with them because they’re relatively easy for me. But the more that I deal with those relative easy things, when something more powerful comes along, I have the energy, the willpower and the creativity to deal with it.
Wow. Yeah. So when you say that you can like transmute fear into, how can you just explain a little further, like how that happens? Like, I don’t remember my fifth grade science, unfortunately. Um, and yeah, just for anyone else.
That’s a great question. Terrific question. So energy cannot be created. It can’t be destroyed, but it can be transformed. And through the human being, the mechanism for transformation is sacrifice, sacrifice, go back to the Latin and the Italian sacrificare to make it sacred. This is my sacred energy. It is coming to me in an improper debilitating form. If I keep on dancing with it the same way it’s going to cause me more and more and more pain. So what the Supreme intelligence is bringing it to me for is so that I can recognize that it’s an improper form and sacrifice it, offer it back to the origin from which it has come, Oh, dear Lord, dear Jesus, dear Allah, dear divine mother. I have no use for this. I hear you through my conscience, that this is not going to help my path reach the goal of unity. So I’m offering it to you and as I sacrifice it, it’s automatically transformed into strategic reserves of energy, willpower, and creativity that are deposited in my unconscious mind that I can use at any time in any relationship. So it’s an asset.
I’m, I’m, I’m going to chime in. I’m going to chime in here from a, from a Buddhist perspective, which I have a lot of training in. If there’s a, the highest tantric, yoga tells us to take all of those emotions and see them as pure energy. So the fear that whatever it is, you take it, you see it as pure energy. This is exactly what you’re saying, Leonard, but here is a very practical way in which my mother would give me advice. If something’s bothering you, take the energy and go clean out your closet, go rake the leaves, go shovel some snow, use the energy in a productive way. And therefore, like Leonard said, you’re transforming it. And pretty soon you will see the mind becomes clear and the issues begin to resolve themselves. The answers will come that you take the energy and you use it in a very productive way. And you’ll see what happens. It’s simple, but it’s direct. And it’s practical, practical, be practical. I’m always saying demystified, the mys mysterious and the mystical.
So that’s selfless act. First, we have to let go of what we’re holding onto. We have to let go of the fear, the anger, the selfish desire, all of the, all of our human emotions, every single human emotion comes to us with the purpose of bringing us nothing other than love. But if I ignorantly think that I am a separate human being that love from at an em for many emotion, morphs into desire for something outside of me. And therefore I say, I love you. I love the movie. I love the book, right? And if that desire is fulfilled right away, I’m afraid I might lose what I have. And if the desire is blocked, I’m angry. So the desire, the fear and the anger all come from my own ignorance, my own mental ignorance because of the gift of emotion is all about love. The most ancient traveler that travels from eternity to eternity. And now it is coming through this human being.
Wow, so much food for thought. Um, we’re going to come back to this, but first I want us to hear from our final speaker today, Brad Warner is the author of Letters to a Dead Friend about Zen, Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up, Don’t Be a Jerk and several other books. He was ordained a Zen Buddhist monk by Gudo Nishijima Roshi. He grew up in Akron, Ohio, and Nairobi, Kenya. He has practiced Zen for over 30 years. He plays bass in the hardcore punk punk band, Zero Defects. And for 11 years, he worked in Japan for the company, founded by creator of Godzilla. He’s appeared in the film, Zombie Bounty Hunter MD. And there is a documentary documentary about him titled Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen. What an amazing intro, Brad, over to you.
Hi. Yeah, you read the whole intro. I usually send it when I send it out. I send like the short version and the long version that you read the long version. So I’m always a little embarrassed. So, uh, let me see if I can, uh, find a way into, to start what I want to say in the Zen tradition. There is a thing called the, the four bodhisattva vows, which are beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them. Dharma Gates are boundless. I vow to enter them the Buddhist ways unsurpassable, I vow to become it. That’s the normal translation, but the one that always hangs everybody up is beings are numberless. I vow to save them. And I heard this for a long time and came, came to the point where I was even a teaching Zen.
And I didn’t have a good way to, I tried various ways to try to explain it a take on this. And then this guy named Rob, who comes to our Zen classes, or it came as this like 15 years ago or something said, uh, I vow to save all beings from myself. And I thought, ah, that’s it. That’s the, uh, that is the essence of the bodhisattva vow. And that is how meditation is a way to sort of help the world. Uh, not that I vow to save all beings by being Superman and going out and rescuing them from something. But I vow not to be, uh, to be the problem. I vow to save all beings from myself. So I got into Zen practice kind of accidentally. I was a student at Kent State University in Ohio in the early eighties. And I had, as the bio says, had grown up partly in Nairobi, Kenya and had been exposed to Indian cultures, lot huge, uh, Indian element in, in Kenya and all over East Africa.
And I had this idea that I wanted to study some kind of Indian philosophy when I was at university. And the only thing I could find on the syllabus was a not for credit program, which tells you what Ohio culture was like in the early eighties, you didn’t get credit for studying Zen Buddhism. There was a class called Zen Buddhism, uh, but it was not for credit. So it doesn’t even appear on my college transcripts. And so I took this class and being that it was the only thing that was close enough to what I wanted to study in Indian philosophy. Um, you know, knowing that Zen was a sort of a Japanese permutation of, of an Indian philosophy. That’s, that was the sum total of my knowledge of Zen. And when I got to this class, uh, the, the instructor who was a guy named Tim McCarthy is still a friend of mine and became my first Zen teacher read, uh, the Heart Sutra, which is a very famous, uh, Sutra in, uh, in the Buddhist tradition, in the Zen tradition, which has the line in it form is emptiness.
Emptiness is form. And I just remember when I heard that form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Um, I thought, well, this is it, this I’ve this. I have no idea what this means, but this is the thing I want to study. You know, I wanna, I want to figure out what this, what this means. And, uh, Tim taught a, uh, style of meditation called Shikantaza, which is a fancy Japanese way of saying just sitting. But when it says, just sitting, it isn’t just sitting like mum, just sitting, it means just sitting, doing nothing but sitting. So it’s a, it’s a form of meditation in which you’re not trying to do anything. You’re not trying to become enlightened. You’re not trying to become a better person. You’re not trying to steal your mind. You know, anything you can think of that you might be attempting to do with meditation is just out the window.
You’re just trying to sit still, uh, nothing, but sit still for the allotted time that you are given to sit still. Uh, you would think that you would exhaust that practice pretty quickly, but it’s been Jesus. Well, I guess I started in 1983 and I can’t do math quickly in my head, but it’s been a long time, you know, several decades of doing this and I still have yet to, to master just sitting. Uh, I, um, I think it’s a really important, uh, practice. Um, and it, it enables one to eventually come to see the unity of things without necessarily being informed of it. Of course, there’s a certain amount of philosophy and stuff that you learn along the way, but in the tradition, we don’t even consider it that, that important it’s, it’s important, but it’s not a supremely important to study the philosophy.
It’s much more important to do the practice. So by doing this practice day after day, what I discovered was it, it, uh, it made me feel better. And, uh, I wasn’t initially committed, uh, to Zen practice. I didn’t go into this going on. I’m going to become a Zen master or something like that, or a monk. Um, but I, at this practice that I learned in this class, in, in university, I thought, well, this is good. And I just kept doing it day after day. And what sort of convinced me of the practice eventually was that a few times I’d be like, well, yeah, I’m not really going to be ever become a monk or anything. So I quit know I just stopped doing it. And things just got weirder and weirder for me, every time I would stop doing it. And it took me God, four or five times of, of this same thing happening where I go, where I go, well, what is lacking in my life?
And I go, well, I’m not meditating anymore. I’m not doing that Zaza and every morning anymore. So I’d go back to it. And it eventually became something a habit. And I, I think the best analogy is like brushing your teeth in the morning. I, you know, when you first learned to brush your teeth, usually it’s a parent sort of forcing you into it and forcing the brush into your mouth and, and making you do it and yelling at you if you don’t do it. But after a while, you start to see if you’re a reasonably intelligent person, I suppose that, uh, the brushing your teeth is actually, um, something you want to do. Uh, and you don’t really think of it that much, but you never want to start a day without doing it. And that’s the way I feel about Zaza. And I never want to start a day anymore without doing Zaza and for at least 30 or 40 minutes, and that’s become my practice. And, uh, I think that’s my five minutes. So there you go.
Wonderful. Thank you so much. Uh, yes, field, uh, persuading at the beginning, uh, and it still shows up for me, but the getting to the point where you really, you know, it’s benefits. And so even when your brain is saying, I don’t want to do this reminding us of to come back to that practice and, um, is a big journey, I would say for lots of people, um, and probably is ongoing. I don’t know, actually, maybe you’d like to speak to that if anyone feels called, but I, I know that a lot of, a lot of people that have spoken to me about meditation, um, find it to be very difficult to develop that, um, ongoing routine and that, that, um, committed practice daily. Um, are you all so, uh, experienced in the world of meditation that it just comes naturally to you now? Or is that still, does that still show up for you?
Well, I can, I can, I can answer. Uh, I hate it a lot of the times, I just don’t want to do it, you know, even after all these years, I get up in the morning and go, uh, but, but I do it anyway. My, my first teacher had told me once that the best thing to do, if you have a problem is to sit with it and I would go, Oh, yeah, right. But I found that that was the best thing. And it’s helped me through a lot of the more, uh, really seriously difficult, uh, portions of my life, just sitting and, and, uh, not even trying to do anything about it, just sitting and being with it, not thinking about it necessarily, but just being with, so yeah, I, I, I
Make myself do it all the time, you know, but I do it. Yeah. I think it’s nice to, to hear that, uh, it’s not uncommon to have those, those struggles and that we need to work through that. Um,
So it’s a, uh, it’s a, uh, a journey and until the last breath of life, uh, my greatest inspirations, uh, took place, uh, on the cross of Jesus’s crucifixion. And, uh, a thought comes into his awareness of fear and another one of anger. And he yells out to the old man upstairs. Why have you forsaken me? Totally loses it. And then he, uh, uh, observes it from a more of a detached perspective, I believe a higher perspective and sees that he had made a misstep and he sacrificed it. And through that sacrifice, even on the cross, it increased his capacity to see things as they are to see the truth. And then only then was he able to speak the words, forgive them father for they know not what they do. It’s a process. Some days it’s challenging. Sometimes it’s like silk, that’s the nature of the mind.
It’s a journey and it’s a process. Absolutely. Okay. This is a question for anyone who feels called to answer, um, how do it’s, it’s coming from an audience and, but how do we balance rational, almost scientific thoughts that lead to doubt without having with, um, sorry, that lead to doubt with having a spiritual life. So I’m just going to repeat that question. So how do we balance rational almost scientific thoughts that lead to doubt with having a spiritual life?
Doubt is part of this is part of spiritual life, uh, doubt is excellent. I’m a doubting Thomas. That’s why I’m a practical person. I, uh, here’s an interesting little quick story. Uh, I was raised in the Jewish tradition. So about 20 or 20 years ago, there was a new book that came out. It was sort of, uh, encyclopedic. It was called the Jewish Book of Why Oh. So, uh, I bought it and, uh, uh, I was, I was thrilled that, uh, finally I get some answers and, uh, uh, I was leafing through it, leafing through it, leafing through it. And it was a whole series of questions and answers, questions, and answers, lots of different questions, but really every answer was the same. And the answer was something like, because rabbi thus and such in 1650 said, so, Oh, I said, really well, that wasn’t good enough for this doubting Thomas.
It was all hearsay. So, uh, I, I, I began to think about, uh, my experience in education, uh, being educated as a young person and, and, and the best education that I felt that I ever got was when I was in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, uh, because it taught me skills for life that I could apply. In fact, in the Boy Scouts, the motto was be prepared. So I once asked my scout master be prepared for what, and he looks at me and he says, how would I know that’s why you have to be prepared because you never know what life is going to bring you
May I just interject for a moment. One of my spiritual guide said the whole of the spiritual path is attempting to reconcile those things, which appear to be irreconcilable. So that is the path that’s kind of the thing that can lift us up and wrestling with those is actually very good for us. And as Brad said, just sit with it, don’t try to change it. Acceptance and surrender are very key on the path. And this is from one that, yeah, it takes a lot of things into her own hands, but it’s also knowing that it’s not me. Like I have to turn to that power. That’s ultimately within as God as a guide, but reconciling that, which is irreconcilable it’s the whole of spiritual life is like that, that’s it definitely.
If I could add something. Of course. I think a lot of about, uh, in this question, um, I think a lot about the history of social change movements here in the United States. And a lot of some times what you’ll see is that often there are religious movements that are part of them. And the reason why is because being part of a religious community for many people is a way of continuing, um, that resilience. And, and I think that the community, part of our worship is really important for that. So when we’re thinking about doubt, uh, I know that there are moments that I feel burnout and doubts. I think that it’s important to know that we’re not doing this alone, but there are other people on this path with us. And that there are people that we are working towards. The goal of justice is in and of itself a really hard thing. So none of us can do it alone, but I think that that’s the importance of my spiritual practice is to remember that community,
Um, to remember and find like-minded individuals who maybe are on a similar path to you, whatever that may look like in order to share and deepen together. Absolutely. Okay. So this, uh, question here, where is it? Um, here we go is for Will, Reverent Will Rucker, what would you suggest if your family does not support your beliefs and religion?
Well, that’s a great question. And it’s one that I’ve personally faced, uh, as I have expanded in consciousness, that also means that others have felt further away, uh, coming from a traditionally Christian family or one that perceives themselves to be that way because candidly, my family is nothing traditional, but you know, they have a bit more of a conservative lean than I do. What I’ve learned over the course of time is that most disagreement isn’t in the principle or the value or the substance, most disagreement is simply in the language and words are tools that allow us to paint pictures of what we’re trying to convey. But often we have our own filters and our worldviews that prohibit us from seeing what the other person is truly trying to convey. So for someone that’s struggling to make that connection with their family, love your family, love them, have compassion for them, recognize that they have your best interest at heart.
Always take that positive intent and assume that they’re wishing you well and allow them to go on their own journey. The me of today is a complete heretic to the me of just five years ago. And so I would be praying for myself today, you know, get them saved, Lord, save them. If you know, this was five years ago. So your family just may not be where you are. The other part of it is as a being of light, just shine, do your best, not to offend, but also don’t dim your light. Don’t don’t hide who you are, allow yourself to be authentic in where you are at the moment. And I guarantee you to change, but understand that where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be in your family and friends need to see that the last part of this is there are people that embrace you as you are right now, there are people with very similar beliefs and ideas right now.
So connect with those people to have those types of conversations, the things that your family doesn’t jive with. That’s fine. Talk to them about the weather. I mean, whatever it takes, but then find that community that does feed you and that you can have those intellectual conversations with. You can have those heart to heart conversations with, and you can have those spiritual conversations with, um, one of my favorite passages is Psalm 65:1. And, um, I didn’t mention that earlier because it’s more of a, from the Jewish tradition, but it basically says that God consider silence praise, and in many translations of the Bible that doesn’t come across. So go look at a literal translation, to find that, but allow silence as well, because God will consider that to be praise. If you can’t improve the silence, don’t speak
One other suggestion, especially with family, but in, in, in a variety of relationships. And that is cheerfulness. A good sense of humor be centered in your fullness, uh, in the presence of praise or blame. Uh, you have to realize that, especially with family, uh, very often people are threatened. You know, uh, part of the definition of family, any kind of family is that we do the same things together. We eat the same food. We do the same things. We pray the same way. This is us, you know, you know, it’s the ego definition of ego of me. Uh, and so it’s a threat, it’s a threat. So have compassion, uh, and be cheerful. And I endorse everything that everybody else has said. Just be the light, be what you, that, what you are
Great. And so, um for Nuria, what are the keys for going within? That is the question that’s coming up here in the chat. What are the keys for going within, you’re muted my love.
Seeking solitude, even if that’s a walk or sitting by the ocean or Lake or looking at a tree, whatever that is. If you’re a busy mom taking a bath, you know, something practical to give yourself some time, but seeking solitude, because as so many have said, it’s the silence and the quietude. That’s so very important. Then the mind, if you’ve really tried to meditate, as I know everyone here has, you can see it becomes very active. It’s called the monkey mind. So many people know that term. So how do we still that mind? Well, we can do it with a phrase. I gave an example of how the prayer has been working me lately or contemplating I think beauty is very important. So something which you consider beautiful, uh, a flower, it could a photo of an inspirational figure or scene or a stone, something that puts the mind at rest upon an object in Tibetan Buddhism.
We do this, of course, contemplating, uh, various, Mandalas or, uh, thangkas of a deity, which are often so complex that it kind of blows the mind and just still does. But at any rate, something that stills that mind and then just breath, the breath is the greatest vehicle we have for meditation. And so breathing in the essence of the beauty of what you’re contemplating and breathing it out again, I’ve had the great opportunity to be sent to the caves, high in the Himalayan mountains, and there I’ve met with many deans that have been years and years in retreat. And one might say, what, what, what good could this possibly be doing for anyone? Well, it’s doing a lot of good, it’s like entering a church or a sacred space, the Quaker meeting, whatever it is, there’s an atmosphere there. And they’re generating a certain quality of atmosphere and vibration and giving it out.
You know, I had the good fortune of going to school with the nuns. Most people didn’t like that. They wanted to run away from Catholic school. I loved them. They were fantastic. They would teach me think of this and then telling a small child, very small child in grade school. This remember the vibrations of the breath of Jesus Christ still exist in the universe. Remember the beautiful notes that were played by the great symphonies and created by the great composers still exist. Remember all the great speeches that have ever been given throughout times still exist, be still and listen, and breathe it in so we can tune ourselves in that way. So when I’m talking about, as a kind of attunement, seek a little solitude, you know, it doesn’t need to be hours, take five minutes to begin with. You know, don’t be too grand start
Simply you’ll desire will increase to want to do this quietude contemplation on something that inspires you or you consider beautiful. It could even be I’m visual, but it could be music. You know, when said, people are afraid of the silence will sing. You know, eventually it leads to the silence, be practical in your spirituality. It helps you, it helps, uh, ground it. And then just relax. In our tradition, we talk about three phases. First is concentration. So for example, the lines of the prayers, then you contemplate them deeply. What, what does each word mean? What does this, what does this, what is it really saying? And then after you’ve concentrated, it’s like a yoga pose that you hold for a very long time an asana. But when you’re released at what do you feel? You feel a complete release of tension and relaxation. You fall into a kind of state.
That’s what meditation is. It’s releasing the concentration and then you fall. And then the, you turn, you, you feel that inner space. That’s I always told my, I was a professor for many years until my retirement. I was still my students. The great frontier is not outer space. It’s inner space. So do whatever you can to still yourself stilling the body helps stilling the mind by concentrating on something, helps use the breath, bring the breath in, bring the breath out and let yourself travel deeper and deeper with the breath, whatever arises, let it be. Welcome it as your friend, embrace it and release it. This is it. It sounds simple. It takes years, you know, enlightenment happens after 50 years of practice. What can I say? But, you know, God willing, we all will get there. Um, and I, I, again, I’m very grateful for all the people that have contributed, and it’s so interesting to hear my voice through your mouth and your heart. So thank you so much.
Okay. So this is for Katie. How do you think meditative practices can or will affect social injustices and the eco crisis we are facing
Meditative practices for me, or worship for me, has really given me permission to pause. And we talked about that a little bit earlier and to really think about what’s going on around me. And I think that, that, you know, with all the chaos and the noise coups, you know, all of these things that are happening, that we just don’t spend enough time really thinking and reflecting and thinking clearly about a path forward for how do we stop these major injustices. I also think that there’s just a huge amount of bonding that can happen from meditating with a friend, even if it’s on zoom. And I think that oftentimes when we worship together, like the people in my meeting, who I love dearly, even when they’re frustrating me, just having the ability to meditate with them and to worship with them really, uh, brings us a lot closer together.
Um, not in a, you know, compromising my values way, but in a human way, in a collective vision way. And so I think that if we were all meditating and taking care of ourselves and making sure that we are feeling centered, I think we can have a lot more productive conversations about how to move our country forward and how to move, not even our country, but even, you know, the world forward. How do we social progress forward? Um, so that’s, that’s really been crucial for me in my practice. And I also think, um, meditation creates a very specific way of being able to listen. Um, I think that my listening skills have gotten better since I’ve started meditating. And I think that that is something that we all desperately is more, um, practice and listening. So that would be what I would say for that.
Beautiful. Yeah. I was thinking about this today and wondering whether the forced isolation of the pandemic and the introspection that, um, the, the consequences of introspection, whether that will have, um, an effect on the way that yeah, we connect in the way that we listen to each other and take each other. And because we have been on our own for such a long time, would you, would you think it would have a positive, like it’s difficult because obviously it’s very, um, it’s been a very painful time and stuff, but the, I wonder if people will be searching for meditative practices during this time, maybe more so than other times. Um, in history
Certainly noticed more of my friends signing up for like insight timer. So at the very least, I think that there are a lot of people who are recognizing the chaos at the time and are saying, I need to do something about this anxiety that I’m feeling and trying to do something positive. And I do think that the internet, you know, while it isn’t the same as being in person often, uh, it’s connecting all of us, which is great. And it’s also creating new opportunities for community in a way that it wasn’t before. Um, I mean, there are always been internet communities, but now we have even more communities and more ways to stay in touch with each other and Christmases and holidays over zoom, you know, more ways of connecting. So I hope that some of these trends continue, um, and that we can, you know, really be a more connected body as a whole
Beautiful me too. I hope so too, Katie. Okay. So this question is for Brad, how does one stop start the practice of meditation when the idea of being alone with their thoughts, terrifies them being alone with the trauma in their head? Any advice?
Yeah, it’s a difficult question. That one, I, I think the best answer I ever have can give for people for any reason that they give to not want to start meditation practices, just, just do it. You know, you just have to do it. Uh, if, if you’re specifically afraid of the thoughts in your head. One of the things that, um, Zen meditation taught me over a number of years was that my thoughts are just thoughts. And it’s very easy to say that, but I can remember being almost bowled over the, the minute. You know, I can remember the moment when I recognize that as a, as a, you know, as a fact that, that any thought I had, no matter what it was, was still just another thought is just, it’s just something going on in my brain. And most of them don’t don’t matter.
And most of them don’t, don’t go anywhere. They, they fade away. If you leave them, be for long enough, a friend of mine, uh, who practices at the Tassajara, the place that’s in the fake background behind me, uh, said that he was on a meditation retreat and realized that his thoughts after a while were like a wad of gum that was in his mouth, that he chewed all the flavor out of, you know? And then, and then, so there just wasn’t any more flavor, but you still chewing on it if you’ve ever had that experience. And I thought, yeah, that’s kind of how it is after a while. Your thoughts are just thoughts initially they can be overwhelming. But I think just, just knowing that even just intellectually, that it’s just thought is, uh, is very useful. So, so no matter what the thought is, it’s just the khe noise. Um, that’s the best advice I can think of right now.
I just liked it when I mentioned one thing. And that is that, uh, uh, even for people, uh, who have never taken to a formal meditation practice practice all the time, they, they meditate all the time. When you read a wonderful book, you’ve been meditating. When you see a fantastic movie, you’ve been meditating when you’re on the beach and it’s sunset and you’re watching the sun go down, you are meditating. What does that mean? It means that automatically when we’re doing something that we love, the energy of my mind is automatically focused down to one point. And I, I really just disappear. And all that is in my awareness is I just feel fantastic.
And then when the experience is over, the ego comes forward and authors the thought, Hey, it was the sunset that made you happy. Say it was the book that made you happy. Oh, it was the movie that made you happy. But really what it was was I was aware of myself because all of my mental energy was on into that point. So we already have that experience, even just eating an ice cream cone that I love. I am, my, my mind is automatically focusing. So, uh, really it’s not the meditation that is off-putting or fear provoking. It is what I think of it. It’s my concept. It’s my preconceptions of it. That’s the problem. Um, I’m looking through lenses of my own ignorance.
Brilliant. Is there anyone that would like to add anything to that people that may, may be curious to start meditation and, and, um, any tips that you think give anyone that’s watching at home or any other thoughts that you want to add before we wrap up here today?
Well, you’re still muted,
There we go. Just to make things a little relative, because so there’s been a lot of, uh, not, not here today, but you know, you hear, Oh, uh, I’m, you know, I’m so low and I’m suffering because of the isolation. I’m not dismissing that. I I’m not, please don’t think I’m making light of it, but to put it in perspective, I was talking somewhat recently with a friend of mine that lives in, in France. She’s an American, she’s part of a translation committee of ancient Tibetan texts. She’s quite fluent into Tibetan. And she says to me, I’ve just been in the most wonderful four years, silent, silent retreat alone. Well, that puts it in perspective. I mean, she’s embracing that experience and a lot of us are just trying to run away from it. So, you know, try to again, and everyone’s been telling us all the same thing today.
This panel has said do a little bit at a time, notice a sunset, just sit for a little while, uh, take five minutes of a breather. But I will say to the person that maybe has some trauma in their lives, if you can find, um, some good help to overcome the trauma, you can’t just sort of do a spiritual bypass. There’s something that maybe is needed at a skilled level. And, uh, I, I hope that that person, you know, I pray that you’re relieved of that suffering because I can understand it and I appreciate it. And your questioning will guide you, just let it be your guide and blessings upon that healing.
Thank you. Thank you. All right. Well, it’s looking like, uh, about that time, I would say four 30 and I just want to, once again, open up to anybody who has any extra thoughts, uh, to finish before I close up here. Um, do you jump in, if you do and if not, I will close her up. Okay. Ready? Thank you for your moderation. And, um, you’re really skilled at asking questions, so we really appreciate that. Oh my goodness. Thank you. That means a lot. I really appreciate that. So, um, as I was prepping this panel yesterday, um, I pulled a few taro cards, uh, and I asked spirit, what was the purpose of today’s panel? Um, and what, what was it that needed to come through? And one of the cards that came through was the high priestess. When I just wanted to leave you with this little quote from my book and the description that I just feel is so beautiful.
And so fitting for our conversation here today, she speaks her secrets to us, through our intuition, and only those wise enough to retreat into silence will know them. So I just thought that was so lovely. Um, and I really hope that this panel has cultivated some curiosity around meditation and whether you’re new to the practice or have a steady and developed routine, um, that you continue to follow what feels right for you and to listen as much as you possibly can to your heart-centered intuitive wisdom and contribute to a brighter tomorrow. Thank you so much, much love and light to everyone and bye for now.
Bye. Okay, We’re not live anymore. Hurray. We did it. We did it. Thank you all so much. It was great to meet you all. Yeah, really. So, um, that’s why he’s not here. He had another meeting, but he said thank you to everyone, brilliant.
Thanks Katie. Thank you.
Bye guys. Bye!
Korinne: Hi everyone and welcome to Earp Curse Con Start
the Wave Team Panel. Today we have Dom, Julie,
Korinne: Porter, D2, Addie, and Randi. Thank you guys
so much for participating in our con
Dom: Yay! Thank you so much for having us
Korinne: absolutely I didn’t realize how many
Korinne: people were like so eager to find out
who was behind the Start the Wave team
Korinne: until we announced your panel and people
went absolutely crazy. Dom: yeah I’m sure Julie: Surprise!
Dom: Oh you lucky people you get to meet some of the
most wonderful humans i’m super excited for this
Korinne: so i wanted to start out just going around and
introducing yourselves and telling us kind of
Korinne: what your roles are in the team and your journey
on becoming a part of the team. Dom, we’ll start
Korinne: with you just in case anybody’s here that is just
kind of finding Start the Wave so if you want to
Korinne: if you want to lead the way go ahead
Dom: absolutely. My name’s Dominique and i am the founder
Dom: of Start the Wave. It all started back a few
years ago when i.. well.. well.. really it started um
Dom: i.. i.. felt a real need to try and make a difference
and up until that point i didn’t really know how
Dom: to and off the back of some traveling that i did
i decided to buy everyone in the cast and crew of
Dom: Wynonna Earp who.. er… no one here knows about
Wynonna but it’s uh that’s for sure um yeah no one
Dom: no one knows what that is uh but i decided to buy
everyone a reusable water bottle um because i had
Dom: really seen the effects of our disposable
lifestyles first hand when in india um
Dom: and i thought well this is something
that i can do and i just felt really
Dom: passionate to try and eliminate
some of the plastic waste on our set
Dom: so i went out and bought everyone a water
bottle and then posted about it on instagram
Dom: and overnight um so many amazing earpers went out
and followed suit and also got the water bottle
Dom: and suddenly i started seeing the effects of that
and the ripples that were caused by an action that
Dom: i decided to take and it felt really empowering
and really exciting to see you know how if you
Dom: calculate how many water bottles that would
actually amount to it was like crazy because
Dom: i mean per season on wynonna earp we were going
through north of 12 000 water bottles every season
Dom: so it’s like a lot of plastic that i was like
well amazing now that’s eliminated and now all
Dom: of these other people are sort of taking it upon
themselves um being really open and listening and
Dom: and it was really exciting so so that sort of
formed this idea that actually you know what we do
Dom: do does make a difference and every single person
can make positive change um if they feel called so
Dom: i started the idea of yeah start the wave which
um has grown and evolved and developed and never
Dom: in a million years would i have thought that it
would have become a non-profit organization um but
Dom: it sort of naturally happened like this as all of
these beautiful team members that i can’t wait for
Dom: you to meet um all started joining and suddenly
we realized that hang on a second this could
Dom: be something bigger so it’s been an amazing
journey and without further ado go and meet
Dom: these beautiful humans because that’s really what
you’re here for today
Korinne: well congratulations um this
Korinne: organization has already made like huge impacts
um across many different communities so nice work
Dom: thanks dude really nice to see you by the way
Korinne: you too addie you’re up
Addie: uh hey guys my name
Addie: is addie i was um i’ve been with start the wave for
about three years now i was the the second in line
Addie: um i reached out to i i was on uh instagram one
night and um was already looking at things like
Addie: zero waste and eco-friendly stuff and and trying
to make changes uh in my own life um to live a
Addie: more sustainable lifestyle and uh to start the
wave like right as Dom had started it kind of
Addie: popped up in the algorithm and i was sort of
familiar with wynonna but um i’d seen maybe a
Addie: couple episodes so there was enough of a
recognition there um that i was like oh i
Addie: recognize her um and then started checking out
start the wave and was like i think i could help
Addie: in some way i could offer um some web development
to start and um so i reached out to Dom and i
Addie: reached out to the yeah reached out to Dom and basically was like you know i i’m trying
Addie: to do the things that you’re trying to do i think
i could um help give the community a place to
Addie: connect and organize um and uh yeah and then the
rest is kind of history so um we worked together
Addie: for about a year and a half two years um trying
to get all of the all of our ducks in order um
Dom: addie was very patient with me i did not know what..
i would even.. yeah what start the wave was going
Dom: to become and you’re incredibly patient and just
went with the natural flow of things do carry on
Addie: i was um so to give everybody like timeline
reference when dom was like uh traversing through
Addie: brazil like from fishing village to fishing
village i would get random voice notes um like
Addie: once every two weeks like okay i’ve got wi-fi
for just a second and i love the idea i think
Addie: that’s great let’s do this and then like i would
work and then another two weeks would go by like
Addie: hey i’ve got wi-fi again and i’m not you know um
and it it just it kind of just constantly evolved
Addie: so we went through a couple of iterations through
the website and then um we’re trying to get uh
Addie: get everything sort of show ready and recognize
that we needed a third we needed somebody who
Addie: could help um formalize everything uh get us
uh set up as a true nonprofit um and somebody
Addie: who had a little bit more experience in the in the
nonprofit space um and one of the many many things
Addie: i am learning from dom to sort of separate from
my very corporate american mindset is um to allow
Addie: things to unfold unnaturally and uh to to really
sort of surrender to uh a sense of divine timing
Addie: because when you need something often it will
appear and just like that we got an email from
Addie: a beautiful human named melissa porter
Dom: as if i mentioned that
Addie: i will kick it over yeah
Porter: hey guys i am porter um let’s see um i
have been with start the wave i’m going
Porter: on my year anniversary so pretty pumped about that
Porter: thank you um like
Porter: addie it actually happened through instagram
um those those algorithms will get you and *everyone laughs*
Porter: um like she had mentioned just kind of reached
out and offered uh legal services and so for
Porter: start the wave um specifically i do
like the legal and business stuff
Porter: finance stuff and then like partnerships um
Porter: and let’s see what else are we i guess that’s
kind of it that’s my story that’s what i do here
Dom: all of the stuff that i literally am like.. eeee..
sorry porter can you explain to me what
Dom: the hell that means and she’s so generous and
like yeah no problem no problem but it’s like
Dom: completely different worlds which is amazing
because like you say eddie we so needed porter
Dom: to get it to the next level um and it really was
like the most magical thing in the world like we
Dom: had the conversation i think the week before and we’re like
Dom: s*** like we’re at a place where
Dom: it’s you know we either make it into an official
non-profit organization or like where are we going
Dom: with this like what’s it gonna become we kind of
oh we need somebody that’s going to be able to
Dom: understand all that stuff and then like literally
and they happen to live.. addy and porter happen
Dom: to live two hours from each other just by chance i was like wow it’s happening yeah
Korinne: it’s the universe
Porter: when i looked at the instagram for start the
wave i literally looked at it and had that thought
Porter: i was like i they look it looks like they’re going
they’re inching towards being like a non-profit
Porter: officially and incorporated but like they just
need those final steps and that’s why i had
Porter: reached out i was like man i’m driving with like
everything that’s on this page let’s let’s do that
Dom: so f****** cool
Korinne: and to to second what dom said porter you like working with you for
Korinne: these past couple of months has been amazing
and you are very good at explaining things and
Korinne: and you’re pleasure to work with
Porter: i appreciate that
Porter: you as well you’ve been fantastic
Korinne: thank you
Korinne: so i i have a follow-up question for
you porter what about start the wave
Korrine: um what made you drawn to start the wave
versus any other organization um or non-profit
Porter: um man i think everything like i’m uh i’m a huge
energy person and like everything about the page
Porter: and then when i spoke with addie initially and
then when i spoke with addie and dom everything
Porter: about it feeled like it was like speaking to me
and like i i’m um on the board of a couple of
Porter: other non-profits and i absolutely love them and
i love everything that they do but like there is
Porter: this energy with start the wave that i just feel
so drawn to and i just believe in everything that
Porter: we’re doing and promoting that there’s just
there’s there’s so much honesty in it like i
Porter: don’t i don’t have to fake anything i don’t have
to i can just be myself and i can promote these
Porter: things and i feel great about it like i love it
Korinne: that’s amazing that’s incredible d2 how about you
D2: um so i am also coming up on a year i didn’t
realize porter and i joined so close but yeah
D2: my year’s in november um i’ve been following
start the wave from the beginning i’m at an
D2: earper so of course you know dom posts a video
and everyone runs you know and uh it was super
D2: inspiring and um it kind of like like to porter’s
point it spoke to the things that i knew i needed
D2: to focus on in my life um and it was just kind of
like that oh my gosh moment like okay let’s do it
D2: um and i’ve changed completely how i consume
everything information food you know plastics
D2: waste everything has changed um i was lucky
enough to be connected with dom through cons like
D2: we met there um and a friend of mine and dom were
collaborating on a sticker at the time um for gyc
D2: and so we had been in contact and uh they
mentioned uh because i was working with addie as
D2: well that they were about to become a non-profit
and you know they were getting every all their
D2: ducks in a row and so i just said hey i have a
ton of free time if you need help and addie’s like
D2: actually we do we need someone to take over social
um because we want to act like start posting more
D2: regularly have you know consistency there um and
then we could also use your design skills and so
D2: that’s kind of how i joined was um was
that conversation and so i’ve taken over
D2: all of the design for start the wave so
all of the instagram posts that you see
D2: the t-shirt campaigns um website stuff all of that
um is my wheelhouse and then i also do all of the
D2: social media management so i make all the posts
reply to messages comments that kind of thing so
Korinne: and we’ve seen a lot of positive feedbacks
especially about the social media post and
Korinne: the design so fantastic job on your end
D2: Thank you. Thanks. Yeah and we realized i think a couple months in
D2: that that was a lot for one person so that was
when julie joined the team and she was my savior
Korinne: Hi Julie!
Julie: hi folks um i guess my my joining
of the team was a little more
Julie: organic as in i was in a vegan bar dom was
in a vegan bar so it was like hey meditation
Julie: all of the things intersectionality
me too and it was really cool because
Julie: it’s uh it’s kind of hard to find your people
when you’re so passionate about so many things
Julie: and not just one thing so through super
awesome conversations dom was just like
Julie: well speaking of all of the things we love i have this NGO
Dom: literally all the things we love
Julie: so it just it was it was too perfectly lined
up so that’s when i joined in and became super
Julie: tight with d2 we talk every day and the
thing that i sort of bring to the table
Julie: is the content you see on social and
the researching behind that as well
Julie: as the resource page and then also working
with the awesome d2 and dom to make sure
Julie: our visuals are super cohesive across all the platforms
Korinne: you guys are such like
Korinne: go ahead no finish
Julie: i started at the brink of 2020 this beautiful transformative year
Korinne: awesome awesome
D2: one good thing in 2020. we got Julie
Korinne: yeah right. take one positive out of it
Julie: there are so many good things. We’re all waking up
Julie: nothing’s new. we’re just waking up
Dom: yes exactly.
Julie: it’s so good 2020 is awesome we all just got a slap
Julie: and now we’re like s*** okay
Dom: yeah so true so true
Korinne: hi randi
Randi: hey so hi i’m well i’m randi i
Randi: um i’ve been here for about a month and a half
so i’m like the baby of the family um uh yeah i
Randi: i followed dom i obviously watched the
show um and i followed dom on instagram
Randi: and um there were a couple things that i saw i saw
her divacup video and i was like this is amazing
Randi: for like 10 years this is great and then i did
see the water bottle thing and then i started
Randi: following start the wave more and it’s just
the same thing as julie just everything that
Randi: that i was passionate about start the wave hit
and when they started posting about black lives
Randi: matter because i’ve been a part of organizations
and they’re always missing one thing but as soon
Randi: as start the wave part started posting about black
lives matter i was like i need to be involved in
Randi: this in any way shape or form so i reached out
and uh and yeah i got an email and said would
Randi: you be interested in meeting and i met with porter
and she was awesome and then met the rest of the
Randi: team it was it was good it was really really
awesome but yeah so i i’m hoping that you know
Randi: my direction is potentially or it’s research and
and content maybe a little bit of outreach that
Randi: kind of stuff so yeah awesome
Korinne: well it’s nice to meet you all and i’m sure earpers are going crazy
Korinne: finally getting to see you all together so yay all
right so my next question is for my fellow earpers
Korinne: dom, D2, and i feel like i know the answer to this
the first part of this question but i’m going to
Korinne: ask anyway what are your thoughts on earpers and how that community has affected start the wave
Dom: oh my goodness okay d2 do you… am i cool to kick off
D2: go for it
Dom: okay awesome um
Dom: well really start the wave wouldn’t exist
without the earpers if we think about it
Dom: like like i said if we go back to my water
bottle mission where the seed was planted
Dom: had there not been a beautiful team of earpers
that were so open and receptive and took action
Dom: start the wave wouldn’t exist or maybe it would
maybe it would be something different you know
Dom: um but very much like they inspired me so
i always say this about earpers in general
Dom: like i feel so grateful that i have been part
of the earpers community because it has helped me
Dom: in so many ways um on my own personal journey
stepping into my authenticity my sexuality
Dom: everything and start the wave is very much um
a part of part of that bundle too um because
Dom: yeah i would go to conventions and i would see the
effects that my little videos had at the time and
Dom: have amazing conversations that would continue
to inspire me and then i would go back and go
Dom: hang on a minute like there’s maybe there is
a place for this maybe you know my mad sort of
Dom: my mad mind that goes off into a thousand
different new tangents like maybe maybe there’s
Dom: something to this and and i have a responsibility
with um you know being part of this community to
Dom: to make something of this and you know overcome
my own fear and anxiety around it and just um
Dom: yeah hold space for not only this amazing
community but anybody else who feels cooled
Dom: to come and join join the team so um yeah
without the earpers this wouldn’t exist and i’m
Dom: so grateful to yeah have them as family and
you know i think that earpers and start
Dom: the wavers intersect so much and they will
always be such a huge part of this journey
Korinne: that’s awesome i’m glad to hear that
Korinne: D2 how about you?
D2: um yeah i think dom summed up
D2: as far as you know earpers and start the wave
exactly that like um you know when i was thinking
D2: through things to prepare for this it was really
like i think start the wave would have existed i
D2: think it would have become what it is but i don’t
know if it would have done it as fast um because
D2: i really think um that like earpers were left fuel
for the fire um you know dom lit that little match
D2: and you know they just poured gasoline on it
and so um i think start the wave will forever
D2: be thankful for that um because they really
put us on that trajectory of where we are now
D2: um i mean obviously just earpers in general i am
an earper so i love them um this show has brought
D2: me not just friends but family you know people
that will be in my life forever um my tight group
D2: of friends you know were hyping me up for this
panel and um you know one of them helped me test
D2: zoom this morning you know i mean i’m just so so
thankful that um i’ve met these people and that
D2: you know they’re just good people i mean that’s
that’s the fandom is it’s just good people yeah
D2: and that’s what start the wave needs to be built
Korinne: right it’s that found foundation
Dom: well said
Dom: d2 h*** s*** yes
D2: thank you
Korinne: i find that earpers often say that it’s a found family and you find um
Korinne: your tribes within um and your close groups within so yeah
D2: and i mean they brought me
D2: to this tribe of these beautiful people
Korinne: right exactly
D2: very important in my life too so
Korinne: so so this next question is for everyone um dom
i’m going to start with you how has start the wave
Korinne: impacted your individual lives outside of the
organization and what has been your biggest
Korinne: takeaway from this organization
Dom: good question uh really good question i think for me you know
Dom: having start the wave in my
life is is so good for me because
Dom: it helps me it helps me stay curious it
helps me be creative and it helps me zoom out
Dom: and see the bigger picture you know because
um as the sort of the founder i suppose and
Dom: and what i bring to the table is often like
inspiration from the outside world and try and
Dom: feed that back into the organization say hey i’ve
been thinking about this and maybe we could try
Dom: and use this to you know achieve this so many
“this” um uh but like you know that’s that’s um
Dom: that’s a lot of what i do and so for me it’s like
it’s been my sort of north star and like my moral
Dom: compass and it keeps me aligned with the things
that i really care about and the things that
Dom: i’m passionate about and also helps me check in
both with myself and with the community and the
Dom: collective and think about how i can best be of
service in this lifetime which is the biggest gift
Dom: i could ever have and you know it’s it’s funny
like i was thinking about it and um start the wave
Dom: for me personally feels like a philosophy
that is sort of outside of myself and what
Dom: we’ve created and we’re like the facilitators
of this community that we can hold space for
Dom: other people to find their own authenticity
and their own way into positive change but
Dom: really like i’m i still very much feel like a
member of the community too you know i i don’t
Dom: really like the the word founder because
it sounds like i i sort of um created it
Dom: but really like without sounding too you know
hokey pokey but i feel like start the wave found me
Dom: in some ways like the philosophy it continues to
i continue to understand more about it every day
Dom: and i feel like it’s just um keeps me checking
in with you know universal truths and trying to
Dom: um really understand why i’m here and what how
yeah how we can best be of service for everyone
Dom: really so um it makes a huge difference in my
life i’m so grateful to have it and and to be
Dom: you know have have been um um to have attracted
in this in incredible group of people that are
Dom: inspiring me every day like without start
the wave i wouldn’t have that in my life so
Dom: um yeah it keeps me keeps me grounded and
it keeps me inspired which um is just yeah
Dom: the best gift ever did that sort of answer your question
Korinne: yes absolutely
Korinne: it was it was so sweet
Porter: i agree with you dom too about like the
learning like i’m constantly learning from
Porter: you guys and i love it um it’s amazing you i mean
you guys teach me like a lot like it’s really cool
Dom: yeah it’s like but and that you know we see it
within our own the the team here like we’re all
Dom: learning from each other but it’s such a
key philosophy of start the wave like to
Dom: stay open and to be continually learning and to
you know eliminate your ego as much as possible
Dom: and know that you’ve always got more to learn and
that’s why you know it’s so much more than just
Dom: like an organization it’s like a community where
you know i all of us are learning from all of us
Dom: you know every single person that has found start
the wave has a different way of looking at things
Dom: and a different angle different life experience
and different things to bring to the table and
Dom: like that is it is so key so yeah you’re right
it helps you it keeps you learning keeps you
Dom: curious keeps you um aware
Julie: so true it also keeps you like accountable like i think like as a team we send
Julie: a lot of individual messages to each other
when we’re when we’re learning and growing
Julie: and sometimes it’s like quite simply like i don’t
know if you know but this sort of language maybe
Julie: leaves out this sort of community so let’s come
away from this language and start using these
Julie: and i find more often than not we’re like each other’s accountability buddies
Julie: and it’s like a cool thing to practice within an
organization and also take out to your friends
Julie: and your family and people on the street it’s
a good way to sort of feel out how you could be
Julie: not only like bringing yourself up and
holding yourself accountable but like help
Julie: bring the people around you along because
if you’re not growing what are you doing
Porter: a hundred percent and then beyond that like
there’s just there’s so much going on in the world
Porter: right now and so much is being thrown
at us and a lot of it is negative
Porter: like a lot of us and a lot of us do suffer from
Porter: depression and anxiety and you hear all of these
things and it’s overwhelming but start the wave
Porter: gives everybody this community that says you
know what guys like we can make a difference yes
Porter: bad is happening in the world but you know what
if we all stick together and we all stay positive
Porter: we can do this like let’s make this world a
better place and it’s hard to feel it it’s so cool
Addie: i think too like a little bit beyond that for
me like the um watching the community and the
Addie: interactions and stuff and um being a participant
but also an observer it it gives me a lot of hope
Addie: to piggyback on what porter says there’s so much
negativity that is out there right now especially
Addie: um i know a lot of us are really feeling
the passing of ruth bader ginsburg yesterday
Addie: and um so it’s it is start the wave for me i
think is sort of um i love the duality of really
Addie: uh finding your own authentic way into bringing
about positive change but also as a collective
Addie: um bringing about positive change and i think
um the thing i i’ve taken away is the um
Addie: that we are sort of the heroes of our own story
and it calls us all to be the heroes of our own
Addie: story and not to wait for anybody else because
sometimes you know other people take a little
Addie: while to get to you so show up for your own story
and your own evolution and um and yeah and as we
Addie: uh as we all know from our favorite tv show heroes always win so it’s a good time
Korinne: oh yeah hell yeah
Korinne: well done well done
D2: yeah yeah and i think to build on addie too like for me um i think my
D2: biggest takeaway and like the biggest impact
it’s had i mean obviously personally i’ve had
D2: a lot i kind of talked to that in the intro
question but it i think it came at a time
D2: where i was able to adjust my parenting style
and because i have an 11 year old um son and he
D2: was at that age you know he was eight or nine
and it it taught me how to teach him to go out
D2: as that next generation and lead in a better way
um and like it just it’s crazy to me sometimes
D2: we’ll be watching a show or we’ll be watching
a movie or something’s on and he’ll make some
D2: comments that’s like totally feminist and i’m like
whoa like did you just say that like and then i’m
D2: like oh my god
Dom: Yes Toby
Korinne: good job D2 good job
D2: yes and i’ll give him a high five and like when he D2: sees representation on tv like i mean just little
things like start like the star wars kiss and you
D2: know the mom’s in toy story 4 he’s like oh mom it
was it was lesbian moms and i was like i know bud
D2: he’s like super excited yeah. there’s what?
Porter: there’s moms in toy story four?
D2: yeah there’s these two
D2: these two moms that dropped their kid off for
the first day of school yeah yeah and he picked
D2: up on it and i was just like yes and so like i
think for me that’s like you know i’m proud of
D2: the things i’ve done as a person and like the
changes i’ve made for like my family and you
D2: know things like that but i think my most proud
is the way that my parenting style has changed
D2: and what i’m doing to help him kind of go out
in the right mindset um because they’re really
D2: the next generation that are going to leave this
world so we need to get them off on the right foot
Julie: D2, feelings!
Randi: we’re talking about when you get overwhelmed by
the negativity that’s going on in the world i
Randi: i have kind of i felt like it’s affected my
focus on the ways i want to affect um you
Randi: know change in the world and being a part of the
team and actually dom and i had a conversation
Randi: of where it’s going and i’m it just gives me so
much hope of of what we can do to to help make
Randi: this community better and make good changes so i’m
i’m just it’s given me so much excitement and so
Randi: much drive and focus and i’m very very excited to see where things
Dom: go yeah me too hear hear to that Randi
Dom: yeah awesome
Korinne: wow um so d2 i’m going to pick on you for a second
D2: oh you’re going to pick on me
Korinne: yeah in
Korinne: a good way in a good way
Korinne: we talked a little bit about your artwork and like i said we’ve been
Korinne: getting a lot of questions and like positive
feedback about your art and your sketches and
Korinne: all of those kinds of things i want to know what
has been your inspiration for start the wave art
Korinne: specifically and i also have to mention that
the last one that was posted the new moon one
Korinne: has been my absolute favorite
Dom: so beautiful. yes
Korinne: just had to put that out there
D2: thank you thank you um inspiration
D2: i mean um julie touched on it um earlier and and
talked about how her and i and dom um you know
D2: one of the really good things you know we have to
find a blessing in a hiatus is that we had a ton
D2: of free time with dom to where we could sit down
and i mean like one to two hour phone calls every
D2: other day for like weeks where we were just diving
into like what dom’s vision of visuals were um
D2: and really narrowed down a design identity for
start the wave um and that’s what we’ve been
D2: doing for the last few months um and so it really
is you know there’s some key components like
D2: we always want to have them be positive we
always want to have them you know showing this
D2: perfect world that we’re hoping to to change and
create um so you’ll see free-range animals you’ll
D2: see blue skies you’ll see beautiful forests um
clean water you know all these different things
D2: and we also do a mixed media that’s also been
kind of one of our design styles so we’ll do
D2: illustrations photographs textures colors all
of that so whether it looks like it or not
D2: every single thing has a photograph so a lot of
times it’ll be like the night sky in the moon
D2: post that’s an actual photograph whereas the other
things are illustrations or like the moon was an
D2: illustration about the earth that was over top of
it is a photograph you know those types of things
D2: um as far as like inspiration since you brought up
the last post i can kind of just go through like
D2: one post as an example because it’s what we just
worked on so the steps kind of go where dom will
D2: give me an umbrella inspiration so like with
the moon she said okay the moon this time is
D2: about health and healing and transformation and
um introspection and kind of you know opening our
D2: eyes to new things and i’m like okay and then i
go away with that and i like start looking through
D2: what’s available and different things and i’ll
actually start looking like symbols of healing
D2: you know symbols of transformation you know and
and kind of get what those things are and then
D2: i’ll go in and i’ll start designing everything
and throwing it together and then we’ll go back
D2: and forth from that point and sometimes when she
writes her caption they’ll be little words and
D2: i’m like oh i gotta go to i gotta go change this
really quick um and add this element and you know
D2: things like that and so with the moonpost like
i added the little like first aid cross on the
D2: backpack that wasn’t there before
Dom: did you add that? cool!
D2: i did add that yeah
Dom: and you know it’s interesting
Dom: because i thought about the it and oh that’s tight
that’s really uh you know um worked out well that
Dom: there’s like a first aid cross i didn’t know you’d added it
D2: there wasn’t yeah so i added it because
D2: it you know it’s for health and healing um we
did the moon and the earth for the earth power
D2: um i don’t know if a lot of people noticed it but
i hid a butterfly in the moon for a transformation
D2: so there’s all these little elements that um
kind of bring the caption together into like
D2: one visual thing but yeah that’s basically
how each you know graphic is inspired is an
D2: umbrella of the content and then we work together
to make sure that the final content and that match
Korinne: you do such a fantastic job so
D2: thank you
Korinne: well done and also um i know you do wynonna earp merch
Korinne: and so for all of the earpers watching if you’re
one of those people that likes wynonna earp merch D2 has redbubble
Korinne: you have to go there and support her work because it’s incredible
D2: thank you
Korinne: you’re welcome
Dom: thanks korinne
Korinne: so we talked a little bit about um the resource pages and things like that i have to say
Korinne: this is my absolute favorite thing about start
the wave um that you guys take the time to collect
Korinne: not only information but the correct information
and you take your time with that before you go and
Korinne: put it out to the community because this is
such a big community you have such a large
Korinne: platform so it matters what you say and what
you put out so i love that you guys take the
Korinne: time and you get it right before you put it out there
Korinne: i just wanted to ask you um
Korinne: why you think that’s important and and why it’s
important to put the correct information out
Korinne: before it spreads into a large community like earpers and start the wave and
Julie: yeah i think for for
Julie: us um you know the thing with like the resources
that we have the single resource page on our site
Julie: and we’ve been wanting to have multiples for every
pillar for a while now but we’re a pretty small
Julie: team and it takes a lot of work we’re getting
there though um but the importance of just having
Julie: this vetted material is key because there’s just
so much information out there constantly that is
Julie: not being vetted and we want to present stuff to
the community so like here’s some true information
Julie: and we’re not going to tell you what to do or how
to do anything or how you should be living your
Julie: life but here’s a wealth of information that
you can absorb and then decide for yourself
Julie: and see how your impact can suit your life in
your community with this information you have
Julie: at hand and if you’re not getting truthful
information or authentic information how are
Julie: you going to figure out the authentic life you’re
trying to live so it’s just a matter of you know
Julie: like when you walk into your favorite section of
the library and you’re like you go in the one row
Julie: and you pull down all the books you just like sit
down one day and you’re just like this is all the
Julie: stuff i want to absorb we kind of want to present
that in an online format for people who are just
Julie: really truly trying to figure out some truths
about themselves in the world around them and just
Julie: compile it to make sense in their minds so they can take those steps forward
Korinne: well i applaud you in
Korinne: um bringing that into start the wave because
that’s huge and there are a lot of young people
Korinne: coming in and and finding start the wave that
don’t know where to turn for those resources so
Korinne: it’s nice to have
Julie: yeah it’s tricky because everything’s about click bait and like we’re not here to
Dom: Yeah, there’s so much stuff out there.
Julie: make money off of advertisements and you know we’re not
trying to make you skim through this ridiculous
Julie: story just so you can pass for ads we’re just
truly like here’s information because like i
Julie: am such a google rabbit hole person and there’s
nothing more frustrating than getting blocked
Julie: by by ads or unnecessary most of the time untrue
information before you can get to the good stuff
Julie: i’m just like give me the truth like just give her the truth
Dom: and sometimes it’s so hard
Dom: to decipher what that is you know in today’s world
like there’s just such so much stuff out there and
Dom: i certainly find it incredibly overwhelming
Julie: like we have to do a lot of research for every little
Julie: thing like we do general googles and backtracking
of original sources and then porter needs to grab
Julie: the really juicy stuff and make sure there’s
no sneaky legal things we should be knowing
Julie: about which every once in a while there
is and porter’s like guys red flag sorry
Julie: back to the drawing board okay
Korinne: it it really shows it really shows
Korinne: it shows how much time and effort
Julie: you’re not the bad guy porter you’re the hero
Korinne: porter’s the hero
Addie: Porter’s the hero. For sure
Dom: Porter’s the hero
Porter: Right right right
Korinne: yeah even even my mom is like watching
the news and she’s like what it and i’m
Korinne: like no no no no you gotta go to start the wave and
Dom: awww that’s so sweet
Korinne: umm so
Korinne: uh we talked about the resources portion on
the website and there’s also a portion for
Korinne: veganism which i myself am trying to explore and
it’s been really difficult um so this question’s
Korinne: for randi and julie um randi if you want to
start this off what advice would each of you give
Korinne: someone trying to explore veganism
Dom: i can sit back and enjoy this yeah
Julie: Dom takes off her sweater
Julie: she’s like I’m so ready
Dom: all right hit me
Porter: she was like yeah what advice would you give me
Dom: nobody so… like genuinely i’m excited to hear the answer to these questions because like veganism is such
Dom: a journey right so like we’re all at different
stages and i’m also still on the journey we we
Dom: all are sorry go ahead randi
Randi: yeah no no no it’s it’s true like
i mean my veganism journey has been 24 years so
Randi: um well i stopped eating red meat pork and fish 24 years ago yeah
Randi: um yeah so it’s it’s been a while it’s been
a long time a long time coming and it was
Randi: super natural for me um but but yeah so i’d
say start out with like why you want to be
Randi: vegan and like let that be your focus um you know
for me it started out uh because i was like wait
Randi: i don’t have to eat meat cool then i won’t um and
then it eventually became about um sustainability
Randi: and animal rights so i’m sure you’re you
know it’ll it’ll evolve for people um and
Randi: then i would say you know start out um start out
slow do things that are manageable for you don’t
Randi: jump all into it all at once like don’t you know
throw everything out in your fridge and go buy
Randi: everything vegan or or your cruelty-free products
or whatever just start out slow and something
Randi: manageable that you know that you can make the
shift very easily like non-dairy milk super easy
Randi: um uh and then i would say kind of like manage
your expectations around it and what i mean by
Randi: that is like don’t you know go into a vegan
restaurant and if it’s crappy food be like
Randi: veganism is the worst i hate vegan food because
like no one goes into you know a meat restaurant
Randi: gets a burger and has a bad experience like meat
burger’s the worst no one ever eat a meat burger
Randi: so yeah so like manage your expectations you
know it’s going to take you a bit of time
Randi: to find what really works for you and what you
really like so just be be patient and then come
Randi: have compassion for yourself so if you like
slip up don’t give yourself a hard time it’s
Randi: it’s as dom was saying it’s a journey it’s
not a race it’s not a competition and remind
Randi: yourself of why you’re vegan that’s that’s kind
of the advice i would give to everyone
Dom: well said randi
Randi: thank you
Julie: i never thought of that whole like someone eats a burger
Julie: at a meat restaurant once and it’s crap and
they’re like i don’t want meat anymore like
Julie: that never happened i wish that was the case
wow that’s so awesome i feel like the whole um
Julie: you know like we don’t need a bunch of people
doing all this perfectly like everyone just needs
Julie: to do whatever they can bring to the table i think
is really key in sort of giving yourself a break
Julie: but i also think there is um a grander larger
accountability you need to hold yourself to
Julie: like you were you were raised by society to feel
entitled to a lot of things that isn’t necessarily
Julie: true and we’re now at a point in time where we’re
seeing effects on the environment effects on our
Julie: health you know these are sentient beings so
really trying to flip that switch of i’m not
Julie: entitled to these things really really helps
when you’re presented with things that you may
Julie: be craving like i was a meat-atarian like my snack
would be like let’s roast a ham and like dip it
Julie: in some gooey cheese i was ridiculous i don’t
know how to have a heart attack when i was 10.
Julie: but flipping that switch to all of a sudden like
i’m i’m not entitled to this sentient being that’s
Julie: that’s interesting like this wasn’t put on this
earth for me that was really really helpful um and
Julie: i guess as as you’re going along um i think the
biggest food tip i can give to everyone is stop
Julie: thinking of what you put on your plate as a pie
chart in terms of like this is a protein so i’m
Julie: replacing this chicken with this like your plate
is not a pie chart your plate is a party and just
Julie: have fun with it because like get some like
nutrient apps like what we put on start the wave
Julie: and you can really you can really figure out that
like all this stuff you’re throwing into a bowl
Julie: or in a pot miraculously becomes you know a whole
protein or you know if i don’t know what i’m doing
Julie: i can sprinkle this on it and all of a sudden i
have b12 and my omegas and you just you don’t need
Julie: to compartmentalize your food and once you get
away from the places they fit your dishes become
Julie: way better and way more insane and the number one
thing i hear from people in my life that go vegan
Julie: is they’re discovering flavors that they never
knew existed which is wild because since the
Julie: dawn of time you’re seasoning your food with
plants so obviously plants for the yummy part guys
Dom: hundred percent and also just get like all the nutritional yeast
Julie: all the nutritional yeast!
Dom: Just like…
Julie: on everything
Dom: on everything if in doubt nutritional yeast
Porter: and if you like spice
Porter: red chili pepper flakes on
everything hot sauce on everything
Porter: oh you’re set if you like mexican
food it’s a pretty easy transition
Porter: with some tacos
Korinne: i’m taking notes i’m taking notes
Dom: i’m pretty sure that everybody here like tacos
Julie: did you just make a taco reference porter
Julie: oh yeah tacos are tasty
Korinne: it was such a great opportunity
Porter: it was an organic drop it really was
Dom: it was you did not even plan it
Korinne: all right so speaking of uh crazy times um
we’re in a pandemic still um and this
Korinne: is a question for everyone um what have you all
been doing to keep your heads up and stay positive
Korinne: and um maintaining your energy and ambitions
towards things that you’re most passionate about
Korinne: and uh randi i’ll start with you again for that one
Randi: sure yeah um so i actually took this um
Randi: opportunity i just saw this i saw this
pandemic as an opportunity to recharge
Randi: in a way that we’ve never been able to uh before
and likely we’ll never ever be able to ever again
Randi: um outside of this this specific pandemic so
i just spent a lot of my time being out in the
Randi: sunshine unlike i’ve never been able to and being
alone with myself but also with friends and family
Randi: um and you know they helped me with the laughter
to recharge and refill my uh refill my cup
Randi: but um but when it comes to like staying motive
motivated i just kind of remind myself that
Randi: um the things that i’m doing like the direction
the ways i want to you know help change
Randi: the world like what is going to make me happier
or like less miserable doing something or not
Randi: doing something and it’ll always be you know doing
something is always going to keep me happier so
Dom: wow that’s so beautiful
Randi: my motivation is for sure
Dom: wow good for you dude that’s incredible
Porter: think yeah it’s interesting because this pandemic
and this year has hit everybody so differently
Porter: and so many of us are so fortunate just with what
we do have um but then it makes you feel bad for
Porter: even being down or for feeling for feeling like
you you feel you shouldn’t feel um and i think
Porter: for me it’s been helpful to find joy in just
everything like when i step outside to meditate
Porter: in the morning i’m like oh the sun is shining the
sun is perfect the sun is like the sun is doing
Porter: its job for us right now the grass is growing
the grass is beautiful um you know just finding
Porter: joy and and like thinking through everything that
i’m doing and just what it’s really bringing me i
Porter: think has been super helpful um for me personally at least
Dom: beautiful gratitude eh it will save you
Korinne: so d2 do you want to add on to that
D2: yeah um i mean being outside has been
D2: like it’s increased a lot which is like i think
you you think you spend a lot of time outside and
D2: then you realize that you don’t um when you’re
forced to stay inside and all you want to do is
D2: go outside um and so yeah going outside um even
if it’s just like going out and sitting in my
D2: yard like it’s just been amazing i’ve also been
focusing not surprising on a lot of art um but i
D2: always would say i didn’t have time for it and um
i think that’s been the biggest lesson too is like
D2: um realizing all the times we say we don’t have
time for stuff when really like we’re just sitting
D2: on the couch on our phones you know being pulled
in by social media or youtube rabbit holes or
D2: you know and it’s like oh yeah but i don’t have
time for that you know but you don’t realize the
D2: time you’re wasting on non-essentials i think
that’s been my biggest thing is like realizing
D2: the time that was spent on non-essentials
like spending more time as a family like
D2: really focusing on that um has been
awesome um and so yeah i think slowing down
D2: and like really evaluating how time was spent um
and like money was spent you know i mean we are
D2: like crazy movie people in our household we love
movies and like we would go to the theater like
D2: probably three or four times a month like it was
ridiculous um and it’s like i haven’t been to a
D2: movie theater in six months and i don’t miss it
like and so but it’s weird like but it took this
D2: for me to realize like that was a waste of money
it was a waste of time like we could have gone on
D2: a hike you know all those types of things and so i
think kind of just slowing down and opening up and
D2: realizing how you were spending your time and how
you could be spending it in a more valuable way as
D2: far as like building relationships and connections and all those those types of things
Julie: i think that’s
Julie: so important d2 like i want to go off a little
bit the whole like evaluating how you’re spending
Julie: your time because i think during this period um
i was really focused on like why i’m spending my
Julie: time doing these things and you know those times
that you’re infinitely scrolling on your phone
Julie: you may be doing that for a reason like i
don’t know about y’all or everyone watching but
Julie: like hands up depression anxiety all those
things my whole life so like really evaluating
Julie: in especially a pandemic like why do i find
myself on the couch more than often or why
Julie: do i feel better today like oh i meditated twice
today already i did some cardio today or i like
Julie: picked up the phone and talked to a friend so like
really breaking down during this time why you feel
Julie: you need distraction or you feel down versus like
why you feel happy and figuring out what those
Julie: things are so you can start like pulling them out
of your little basket when you actually need them
Korinne: yeah definitely definitely i feel like even
for myself um covid gave me the opportunity
Korinne: to to discover like i didn’t like my job and
i wanted to do something else so a lot of
Korinne: a lot of real realizations and and good things
came from it even though it’s such like a horrible
Korinne: time and and people are going through some really um hard times so
Julie: for sure like what is this
Julie: darkness trying to teach everyone like just like
our own personal shadow sides we exist with these
Julie: things all the time so what can you learn from it
Korinne: definitely a learning opportunity for sure
Korinne: so i wanted to switch gears a little bit
and talk about the lgbtq2ia+ community
Korinne: um start the wave since the rebirth
dom since your coming out since the
Korinne: rainbow waves i have seen the amount of people
that i’ve seen come forward and they’re younger
Korinne: and younger every i feel like every time i see
and they’re starting to discover themselves and
Korinne: they and they give credit to start the wave and i
just wanted to know um what advice would you give
Korinne: to these younger people that are coming
forward and trying to discover themselves
Korinne: and um like what would what would you say to
them and porter i’ll start with you for this one
Porter: um i would say similar to to all of the other
things you’re committing to so when we spoke
Porter: about veganism similar to that journey and just
being patient with yourself along your journey
Porter: because a lot of people um especially now it’s
amazing how much positive representation there
Porter: is of that community and like we did not have that
you know even five years ago um and i’ll be honest
Porter: i did come to terms with my sexuality and and
realize what was going on with myself when i did
Porter: see it it was the show called south of nowhere and
it just like oh yeah have you guys seen it like
Porter: man that show i was like wait are are these
two wait they’re they they’re kissing they’re
Porter: two girls two girls they’re but they’re kissing i
grew up in like northern minnesota and you didn’t
Porter: you didn’t see that like that was not a thing it
didn’t exist if it did exist people spoke ill of
Porter: it and it it was so unfortunate um so i i just
think people need to to see that representation
Porter: and then when you feel like you know maybe
maybe you’re not conforming to what you’ve
Porter: been told is normal let that journey happen
but don’t automatically put yourself in a box
Porter: like just because you’ve seen something and you
feel something when you see it doesn’t mean that
Porter: you have to be placed in a box man you
don’t have to ever put yourself in a box
Porter: um that’s why the big the big q is awesome
that was a q q yeah it’s awesome because
Porter: you can just say yeah man i’m queer and like
don’t even define yourself you don’t have to
Porter: um you can figure it out in life’s journey and be
patient and there are going to be times that are
Porter: going to be hard it’s going to be difficult
and push through man like you have support
Porter: you will always have people if nobody else you
have the start the wave community man like
Porter: there we go everybody is here for you and don’t
do not get yourself too down like if you have a
Porter: bad day cool but then you know what bring yourself
back up take a look at these posts watch uh wynonna
Porter: earp you can see man like representation’s there you’re not alone you can do this
Dom: Yes porter! just getting a little rainbow flag out
Julie: oh so good it’s so true with the whole box
thing like i love that because it’s like
Julie: you know what somewhere along the lines because
the original way of living there were no boxes
Julie: like some boxes were brought in this like
cis heteronormative idea so if you feel like
Julie: you’re anything but that just i encourage
you so much to not try to find another box
Julie: because everything about our existence is fluid
you know our sexuality how we choose to present
Julie: to the world how we identify on the inside who we
love who we don’t love it’s so ever evolving and
Julie: if you’re trying to put your sights on this box in
the distance where you’re like oh i think that’s
Julie: me and i want to go in it to feel safe i just
really encourage you to like sit with yourself
Julie: and have like beautiful expansive conversations
with people you feel safe with to constantly talk
Julie: about the ebbs and flows of the way you present
in your sexuality and how you feel because
Julie: it is this lifelong beautiful fluid journey and
the more we’re all giving that grace to ourselves
Julie: and not gatekeeping ourselves that means the
more we will be gatekeeping our community
Julie: because like we don’t need gatekeepers we
just need this like nurturing love of living
Julie: your authentic self however that looks in this
moment in this year in this decade in your life
Julie: just be you in every single moment
Korinne: that’s really great advice
Korinne: i know
Dom: Korinne I told you eh?
Julie: do you have this proud founder moment
Dom: i’m just like have you seen my cheeks
Korinne: yeah proud mom
Dom: the classic like but like for real it’s just
like there’s a lot of love in my heart right now
Korinne: does anyone else wish to uh touch on that
Dom: i felt i feel like they they said it all
Dom: so beautifully
Julie: i want to say one more thing
Korinne/Dom: go for it
Julie: i want to like touch on the whole like uh there’s the one slightly negative and i will bring it up about the queer community is a
Julie: lot of times we have this perspective of oh you’re
not one of us and i just want to crush that you’re
Julie: all one of us you are all one of us no matter
where you feel you are in this beautiful spectrum
Julie: you you are queer and we love you and just
be yourself and i don’t care if that looks
Julie: like a certain sort of box just be yourself
we love you you are part of the community
Dom: yeah so true
D2: yeah very well said
Korinne: all right guys well we’re at the time where we
Korinne: have to start wrapping it up unfortunately oh there’s so many questions
Dom: we could talk all day couldn’t we
Korinne: good i say
Korinne: uh start the wave team panel round two
Julie: yeah same time tomorrow?
Korinne: yes same time tomorrow i don’t think we have panel then
Korinne: so i just want to say thank every single one of
you for taking the time to participate in this and
Korinne: we are so excited to be giving our net profit to
you guys i couldn’t think of a better place to put
Korinne: that towards um so
Dom: thank you so much gratitude you have no
idea you guys are incredible and this has been so
Dom: fun i don’t know how the other team members
Korinne: hey hey hey
Dom: feel but it’s just like it’s a real defining moment
Julie: we all quit, Dom’s getting a resignation email from every single one of us
Porter: speaking of the profits going to start the
wave um as everybody knows with the pandemic
Porter: we had to push submissions and we wanted to
get you know project submissions in so that
Porter: we could fund those grassroots uh efforts and *drumroll*
we are accepting them starting november 1st
Porter: everybody get ready and we’ll we’ll be live on the site november 1st for project
Porter: submissions from the 1st to the 15th um we’re
super stoked like this is going to be awesome
Porter: so excited to see what everybody comes up with
and what we can help make happen
Dom: yeah absolutely
Korinne: that is so incredible
D2: we have a lot of stuff coming up in the next couple of months i’m excited
Dom: yeah there’s there’s a lot yeah it feels like a
very yet another very sort of defining moment in
Dom: the evolution of start the wave and you know like
we were talking about COVID it it we have been
Dom: so lucky in a sense uh to have had this time to
be able to slow down and really think about what
Dom: it is we want to do and how we’re going to do
it so exciting things coming as you say porter
Dom: submissions opening which is awesome if you know
every i’d say to everyone keep your eyes and ears
Dom: open for any little grassroots initiatives that
you feel could do with some support you know um
Dom: we are we are open to all of them so that
we can try and create as many positive
Dom: waves as possible and yeah just thank you
so much to every single person that like
Dom: showed up today and and took an hour has it been
an hour an hour out of their day to like listen
Dom: to uh you know our journey and um and keep
keep going on your own journey to positive
Dom: change because it looks different for everyone
and that’s the thing that is really coming true
Dom: oh my god i’m so sorry but jann arden’s just
walking past with her dog at the moment which
Dom: is hilarious i’m at jann arden’s house and sat in her
in the back and the signal’s best in the van so
Dom: there you go that’s a nice way to end but um no
what i would say is that like positive change
Dom: looks different for everyone and um one thing
that from my own personal experience um as i
Dom: was growing up i felt very overwhelmed as we’ve
spoken about all of the different places where
Dom: i felt like i needed to put my focus and
attention to create positive change in the world
Dom: and it’s unsustainable and exhausting to be
overworking yourself like that like uh i feel
Dom: like a almost so stressed to to um put a
foot in every pond is that an expression
Korinne: it is now
Dom: it is now it is now
Dom: i don’t know why foot in every pond but but
D2: i can envisage that very well
Dom: yeah, can you? i can envision that too
Dom: personal joke, anyway but what i would say is
it looks different for everyone
Dom: keep like really checking in with yourself and
um you know we’re talking about authenticity
Dom: we’re talking about uh connecting with who you
really are at your core and it’s just like it’s a
Dom: it’s both a journey of you know seeing where you
can be of surface but also like what speaks to you
Dom: and what lights you up because that’s where real
sustainable change comes because i think there’s a
Dom: very common misconception that to create positive
change in the world you have to sacrifice things
Dom: and i actually don’t think that that’s true and
as i’m sort of the the insights that are coming
Dom: through at the moment for me is like we need all
different types of change makers in the world
Dom: and what’s going to speak to one person is is
not going to speak to the other but that’s great
Dom: that’s good we should be celebrating and uplifting
each other and their differences rather than
Dom: judging people for not being like you you know
we we need to be continuing to um to amplify
Dom: each other rather than uh put people down so
with that in mind gonna have a beautiful day
Dom: and yeah i was gonna say i was gonna say start
the wave which is a very quality way to end it but
Korinne: all right well now we now
we have to end it that way
Korinne: i can’t i can’t top that
Porter: should we all like do a wave like
Julie: i would say like
Julie: how do we how do we
D2: i don’t know how we are all aligned i think we all have a different view
Julie: or like one of these ones?
Dom: yeah that’s that’s uh
Korinne: no that doesn’t work either but um thank you guys
so so much and thank you for being a part of this
Korinne: team and and making such a difference this team
is i think i told porter this what i would call
Korinne: a dream team seriously you guys are amazing and
now everybody knows who the team is
Dom: yeah exactly
Porter: thanks korinne
Everyone: thank you so much
Dom: bye everyone have a good one
[Korinne]: hello everybody and welcome back to earp
curse con’s start the wave team panel 2.0
[Korinne]: i’m korinne your moderator and back with
us we have d2 addie randi porter and dom
[Korinne]: happy halloween everyone
[Everyone]: happy halloween!
[Korinne]: i feel like we need to go around and uh
share our costumes d2 lead the way
[D2]: i’m jeremy obviously
[D2]: yeah i had to go earp for this
[Korinne]:of course of course
[Dom]: did you have your jacket and everything already
[D2]: i did that’s why i picked it like we have we’ve been big on halloween
[D2]: um until toby got too old um
[D2]: and then so we have like i know he’s a buzzkill but
[D2]: uh we have like huge rubbermaid tubs full
of like all of our old halloween costume
[D2]: stuff and we have this we did back to the
future and i made my husband dress up as doc
[D2]: and so i had the lab coat and i was like oh i could be jeremy easy beautiful
[Korinne]: and porter and dom tell us all about it what do we got going on
[Porter]: you want to show the full appeal
[Porter]: yeah you can’t really see it um i’m mr green with the wrench
[Dom]: and i am the colonel mustard
[Porter]: in the dining room
[Korinne]: such a good idea such a good idea all right so
we have a lot of content to get through um and
[Korinne]: i just want to start off right away with some fan
questions if that’s okay uh dom you can lead the
[Korinne]: way with this question um this first question is
from lina and lina says i love that start the wave
[Korinne]: is not choosing a single issue to address but
instead supports many different organizations
[Korinne]: working on different issues this is brilliant how
did you arrive at this intersectional strategy to
[Korinne]: avoid becoming a one-issue organization
[Dom]: beautiful thank you lina this seems very odd responding to
[Dom]: this question of colonel mustard here talking
about positive change today um but yeah now i
[Dom]: think um really we got to this place uh over time
originally um when i sort of began the idea of
[Dom]: start the wave um it came from a place of feelings my mustache is already falling off
[Dom]: began i suppose um because of a responsibility
[Dom]: to um when i gained a platform to talk about
some things that uh i felt would be important to
[Dom]: to me obviously having a bit of a nose job here we go there we go
[Dom]: i’ll figure it out i’ll figure it out
[Dom]: i felt responsibility [everyone laughs] this is amazing you know
i only realized that we had to dress up
[Dom]: this morning for the panel i didn’t i didn’t
realize that we were going to be dressing up
[Addie]: i have a 10 month old i have to get ready
for halloween so there’s like this this is
[Addie]: all you get i love you guys so much but i’m
a tired mom for halloween so there you go
[Dom]: okay so lina i’m going to start again apologies
for for that uh buffle at the beginning we’re
[Dom]: just getting used to the old monocle and mustache
situation um yeah originally when i um gained a
[Dom]: platform unexpectedly um i felt a responsibility
to talk about some of the issues that i felt to
[Dom]: be pressing in the world and so that sort of over
time developed these six pillars of things that i
[Dom]: feel passionate about myself but one thing
that’s become clear over the course of this
[Dom]: journey i suppose of creating this amazing
community is the fact that um in many ways
[Dom]: trying to concentrate on all of the world issues
that are happening can be quite uh draining and
[Dom]: unsustainable for an individual and what has
become clear is that i i believe what is more
[Dom]: important is to connect with the thing that speaks
to you the most and positive change is infinite
[Dom]: and so it’s important to me to hold space for
all of it and our start the wave rainbow pillars
[Dom]: is almost a sort of gentle guidance for those uh
to to explore those subjects that we believe too
[Dom]: there we go it’s coming off we believe needs some contingencies
[Korinne]: i love that answer i love that answer
[Korinne]: um i feel like… i can’t take this.. [everyone laughs]
[Korinne]: alright um…
[Dom]: there we go
[Korinne]: lina has a second question and i’m going to
um have addie start this off and then randi you
[Korinne]: can add in after if you would like there are so
many isms to work on at a personal level one of
[Korinne]: the biggest ones is racism how has the start the wave team worked on dismantling
[Korinne]: implicit racial biases inside the team are
there any trainings you have taken or recommend
[Addie]: yeah this is a great question and i apologize
if i’m like really fighting the giggles it’s not
[Addie]: at the importance of this question it’s that the
sheer just uh situation that is dom and porter and
[Addie]: um so i i want to make clear what i’m giggling
about so i think um yeah it’s a it’s a super
[Addie]: super important question um i think for us uh
internally um we’ve done a couple things so one is
[Addie]: um we’re working with dr martha sales uh who is at
my alma mater western kentucky university go tops
[Addie]: um and was my african-american studies professor
when i was an undergrad there and we’re working
[Addie]: with her specifically on diversity and inclusivity
uh within the organization and within building
[Addie]: out content that is truly representative of
this vast and beautiful community um i know
[Addie]: a number of us have also read um me and white
supremacy by layla f saad that’s her last name um
[Addie]: and are actively if you if you check out our
black lives matter resources on the web page um
[Addie]: we’re ample so many important uh beautifully
articulated and well voices black voices during
[Addie]: uh like from here on out right because it is
so important um and uh some additional work
[Addie]: i think is is recognizing that um recognizing
our own places of privilege of white privilege
[Addie]: um and really um taking ownership for our
part and all of it doing the work to both
[Addie]: um learn about that and then unlearn all
of the things that got us to this point
[Addie]: so i think for us it’s really important to to
dig in and build that foundation within ourselves
[Addie]: and then share what we’re learning and
share our own um you know missteps and um
[Addie]: epiphanies with the community i think it is it’s
really important to recognize that this is like
[Addie]: a journey it’s not a destination there’s always
going to be things to learn there are always going
[Addie]: to be things to unlearn as we go forward in the
world and have different experiences there will
[Addie]: there will give rise to things within our own
lives that we have to address or have to figure
[Addie]: out how to handle like personally i’m raising a
daughter who is going to be 11 months really soon
[Addie]: and it it very much um has been a critical
for me to think about not only how do i model
[Addie]: behaviors but how do i pass those on to her as
well and teach her how to be a very thoughtful
[Addie]: and um you know cognizant citizen of the world
so i think for us it’s it’s really been um a lot
[Addie]: of just educating on our own is how we’re handling
it internally um and then also moving forward with
[Addie]: thinking about how to how do we diversify the
group of folks that you see on the screen here
[Addie]: because it it is something that is hugely top
of mind for us critically important but we want
[Addie]: to make sure that we’re doing uh when we bring
anybody on to the team um we want to make sure
[Addie]: that we’re doing that in a way that is setting
that person up for success um that is thoughtful
[Addie]: um and it’s not performative right so um and it’s
that’s not an easy undertaking it’s really not
[Addie]: so it involves some external guidance which we’ve
gotten with dr sales which has been hugely helpful
[Addie]: um it takes a little bit of time and it also takes
a lot of really important internal conversations
[Addie]: about how do we want to show up how do we want
to grow as an organization and how do we want
[Addie]: to sort of model um that thought process in our
own lives and and to the rest of you as well um
[Addie]: the mustache
[Dom]: yeah this monocle… at least we figure it now instead of later i need to find a solution
[Addie]: you’re making my top lip… (cannot hear Addie here)
[Dom]: i’m gonna give it up
[Randi]: so for me as a person of color coming on the team it’s actually been really
[Randi]: heartwarming to see um the team actually reflect
on any feedback that they’ve been given and that
[Randi]: we’ve been given and be like okay time to alter
that um and that’s a common thing that i see
[Randi]: see within the team is that okay this language
is not you know it doesn’t serve anyone anymore
[Randi]: it’s time to shift that language so that’s
been really really heartwarming for me um
[Randi]: and i think it’s just a good reminder um for
everyone we’ve we’ve been everyone has been um
[Randi]: we’ve all grown up in this society where that is
basically based on white supremacy so everyone
[Randi]: whoever you are you’re gonna have biases and
it’s important to know that it’s not it’s not
[Randi]: i’m not racist it’s what are my biases and once
when someone challenges me on it accept it as
[Randi]: something really good like okay my language or
whatever it is my actions are harming someone what
[Randi]: can i do to to shift that um and then and then do
that i was taking this amazing training by this uh
[Randi]: change maker uh kevin sutton and he actually did
this this beautiful training um with my teammates
[Randi]: um a couple years ago of of recognizing how
bipoc navigate the world and and how he did it
[Randi]: excuse me was he basically um told everyone to go
around in the room and ask and ask questions about
[Randi]: each other personal questions about each other
but the but you couldn’t repeat a question so
[Randi]: i think you had to ask like five questions give
the answer and then go around to the rest of the
[Randi]: team well in everyday inevitably you run out of
answers to give to people um and so his challenge
[Randi]: at the end was okay what um didn’t you answer
uh why didn’t you answer it so basically it was
[Randi]: i didn’t give them information that i was fearful
of a reaction for um and he said now imagine
[Randi]: you had to navigate that world not being able to
hide that answer and it just blew my mind because
[Randi]: it was like okay color of my skin means i’m gonna
be fearful of certain actions but i can’t hide it
[Randi]: and i just thought it was so brilliant
the way he he did that training and i
[Randi]: think trainings like that are so so important
because they really put you in a position where
[Randi]: you’re like huh i never thought that like of
course you you as a as a person of color as bipoc
[Randi]: you go into this world and expect you know certain
reactions from people uh that you can’t hide
[Randi]: um so anyway i just thought that was really really
really it was incredible and and everyone like
[Dom]: that’s beautiful
[Randi]: needed a break they’re like okay it kind of just
sunk in and i was like this is amazing because
[Randi]: it was finally someone seeing something from my
perspective like a life a small little look into
[Randi]: you know how i see the world and it was i just
think it’s really important to open your mind
[Randi]: to learning and to accepting um accepting things
like that with grace and wanting to continue to grow
[Dom]: exactly [Porter]: well said both of you yeah
[Korinne]: thank you for sharing that thank you for sharing that randi
[Korinne]: um i think it’s always important um addie like you
said to always um know that there’s room to grow
[Korinne]: and things to learn and yeah yeah so thank you
for sharing that that was amazing um so our next
[Korinne]: question is from laura dom you can go ahead and
answer this if you would like besides meditation
[Korinne]: will start the wave upload more content on
youtube like fashion or food recipes
[Dom]: very likely i think one of the um one of the
sort of core foundations of start the wave
[Dom]: is um going with the flow and um allowing for
inspiration to come in and show up in the way that
[Dom]: that feels right in the moment so uh my answer
would probably be yes absolutely open to it all
[Dom]: and yet not putting pressure on any of it you know
i think that that is what i have learned to be uh
[Dom]: the best way to navigate start the wave um there
are constantly new energies coming in different
[Dom]: people’s ideas different sort of collective ideas
the community that are giving feedback and um
[Dom]: the most important thing is that we stay open and
receptive to that uh so i i i what were the two
[Dom]: that they said meditation and food recipes [Korinne]: fashion fashion
[Dom]: fashion [Korinne]: i believe you did yeah you did a fashion
[Dom]: um well we did uh with kat we did a bit of a sort
of awareness around around um consuming [Korinne]: right
[Dom]: and uh and buying for you know giving up fast
fashion which i think was really important um but
[Dom]: yeah i’m not sure what the future is going to look
like but i think in many ways that’s the beauty
[Dom]: of it um and open open to all of it and i think
one thing that um is really exciting with with
[Dom]: what we’ve just launched on social media um
is that really uh the community in many ways
[Dom]: are going to be fueling a lot of what is coming to
the surface and the stuff that we put out and that
[Dom]: really excites me to see the inspiration
that’s coming from you guys to see what
[Dom]: what’s interesting you and then i’m sure that that
will also influence the things that are coming up
[Korinne]: yeah letting it come naturally [Dom]: yeah exactly
[Korinne]: and congratulations on the social media evolution launch
[Dom]: thank you i appreciate it [Korinne]: um okay d2 you’re up
[Dom]: sorry jeremy actually [Korinne]: i mean sorry i’m so sorry
[Korinne]: jeremy one of the most shared quotes from the
start the wave video is kindness breeds kindness
[Korinne]: and jeremy you recently celebrated your
birthday with that except exact concept
[Korinne]: in mind with the start the wave hat giveaway which
was incredible um can you share the impact of that
[D2]: yeah um i mean i was completely blown away
i’ve i’ve done many giveaways on twitter um
[D2]: you know i used to work with sandy my friend we
did SandyTilDawn giveaways and um it had been
[D2]: a minute since i’d done something like that
and i knew that i wanted to give away a hat
[D2]: um during our campaign and i was like i’ll just
do it on my birthday you know i’d rather give than
[D2]: receive and so um you know i’ll just put up a hat
have people enter and you know i’ll give one away
[D2]: and over the four days it was like i would get
a dm and it’s like hey i want to add a hat to it
[D2]: so we can have two winners and i was like oh okay
cool you know and then it was like hey i want to
[D2]: add a hat hey i want to add a hat and like in the
by the end of the four days we had 20 hats um that
[D2]: were given to people that would not have otherwise
been able to buy one and i like the generosity and
[D2]: like just everyone jumping on board just like i
mean i can’t even describe like the feeling that
[D2]: it gave me um because i really like i mean that
is the epitome of kindness breathing kindness like
[D2]: if you see someone doing something good you’re
inspired to do it you know um and then i’ve seen
[D2]: that with so many different things you know last
time with the earp curse con cleanup like people saw me
[D2]: and my friends out cleaning the the park and we’re
like what are you guys doing and we were just
[D2]: like oh we’re just you know cleaning up the park
there’s a bunch of trash around and they were like
[D2]: you’re just doing it on your own and i’m like yeah
and they were like i’m gonna do that next weekend
[D2]: like i don’t know if they did but like
they saw that and it bred that kindness
[D2]: you know for our earth and you know you hold the
door for someone and someone sees it and then
[D2]: they hold the door for the next person you know
and so yeah i think um i think there’s a reason
[D2]: that kindness brings kindness is one of the
most shared quotes because i really think it
[D2]: speaks to people on a very like individual like
deep level um it’s definitely the the quote that
[D2]: spoke to me most um in the last couple years so
[Korinne]: well thank you thank you for starting that off
[Korinne]: because that had a huge impact on the um
on the fandom specifically i saw a lot of
[Korinne]: people that were very very grateful for that so thanks d2
[D2]: yeah for sure [Korinne]: um randi can you
[Korinne]: add your own example of the ripple effects of kindness
[Randi]: yeah so um
[Randi]: i’m just going to kind of talk about
like exhaustion and what not
[Randi]: through social media and stuff like that it’s
kindness on using social media so it’s very
[Randi]: sorry to make bring this low for a second so um
[Randi]: it can be challenging when you’re dealing
with you know social media and reactions
[Randi]: of people online and whatnot and i think
it’s important to recognize two things
[Randi]: one there’s trolls and you don’t want to
engage with trolls um and and two i mean
[Randi]: there’s not a single person in this world who
is identical and even if you grow up in the same
[Randi]: house you share completely different views
like i’m vegan my brother eats only meat
[Randi]: very different very different lives and we grew
up in the same place um so when people react it’s
[Randi]: when they when they come to you and
it’s and it’s triggering for you
[Randi]: to be kind in those moments i think it’s important
to kind of like take a step back know that you
[Randi]: know what they’re saying to you is is based
on something it’s not arbitrary their views aren’t
[Randi]: their views are based on like their experiences
and whatnot so i think it’s important for you for
[Randi]: us to recognize that like they’re likely there’s
no mal(icious) intent it’s just a difference of opinion or
[Randi]: difference of views or whatnot and it’s important
to give yourself a moment if you can’t answer
[Randi]: something right away without feeling negative
about the situation just give yourself a moment
[Randi]: and then once you’ve given yourself a breather
then respond and and do it in a way that
[Randi]: that thought allows you to listen to what they’re
saying even if you don’t agree listen um and
[Randi]: just be as respectful as you can be to your own
intentions and your own values if you can’t engage
[Randi]: anymore then don’t but but if you want to then you
know continue the conversation but but that’s what
[Randi]: i mean by like engaging being kind to yourself
um and being kind to the person with within
[Randi]: your own capacity if that makes any sense
[Korinne]: yeah of course of course i feel like a lot of people are
[Korinne]: struggling with this you know with covid and
being stuck inside and constantly being on the
[Korinne]: internet and online and um yeah i could
definitely use that advice so thank you
[D2]: yeah like kindness with boundaries you
know i mean exactly the way i look at it
[D2]: like i will be kind to every single person in this
world but i also have boundaries and i need like
[D2]: to randi’s point i need to be kind to myself that
if that interaction is not doing good for me like
[D2]: i can’t just be like well i need to be kind and
deal with it like you need to also set boundaries
[D2]: and be kind to yourself so yeah i love that randi
[Porter]: well and just keep in mind too um just how you can
[Porter]: impact other people just so simply um hell last
night i was parking downtown and almost had to pay
[Porter]: for just kind of a stupid amount of money for
downtown parking somebody was leaving and they
[Porter]: rolled down their window and were like hey do
you want our ticket we’re actually heading out
[Porter]: did they have to do that absolutely not but they
took the time and it i’m sure it made them feel
[Porter]: great it made me feel great and now i want to
pay that forward like it’s like the simplest
[Porter]: things that you can do um and the same goes for
negativity like negativity breeds negativity
[Porter]: so if you want to go online and you
want to be that troll and you want to
[Porter]: you know bombard people with negative comments
and um especially with the online world because
[Porter]: you probably don’t really even know the person
that you’re bombarding judgments about their life
[Porter]: um that that breeds additional negativity
so you know put that positive spin on it
[Porter]: and and continue to afford with kindness
rather than negativity you’ll find yourself a lot happier
[Addie]: one of my new favorite things to do and it’s i
blame my partner because um he got me started on
[Addie]: tic toc like i don’t post anything i am simply just a
lurker and d2 knows it’s probably better than
[Addie]: anybody because i find the most random things i’m
like look at this like watch this person do like
[Addie]: the thing but i call it reverse trolling where
like i’ll just literally go on and like write
[Addie]: something nice on every person thing that i see
because they a lot of the things that are posted
[Addie]: are people saying like you know it really hurts
my feelings when this happens or whatever and
[Addie]: it takes 10 seconds to go and be like you’re
beautiful and like and sincerely mean that
[Addie]: um but it and like now my husband does it too it’s
just you know it’s it’s a little something like
[Addie]: intentionally go out and spread kindness and you
don’t have to you have to leave your house to do
[Addie]: it you don’t have to move to do it like you’ve
got your phone um switch your mindset about it
[Addie]: a little bit and it does i mean it it’s
twofold right it gives to that person and
[Addie]: it also gives back to you as well it it changes
the chemistry in your brain yeah [Dom]: scientifically
[Porter (in an accent)]: yeah yeah yeah i have heard that to be true
[Dom]: i believe it’s science [Porter]: i think it might be science [everyone laughs]
[Porter]: yeah it’s science it’s science
[Korinne]: oh my goodness sorry um uh that was that was incredible i kind of i
[Korinne]: kind of want you guys to answer the rest
of the questions like that [Porter]: i was just telling you i
[Porter]: can put an accent for like two sentences and
then it’ll turn either jamaican or australian [everyone laughs]
[Korinne]: um we’ll see if you can answer this
next question porter with that accent
[Korinne]: um so the election is in two days um
and with that coming up in the political
[Korinne]: climate uh that the world is in at the moment
what are some ways that the lgbtqia+
[Korinne]: community can fight for their rights um and
how can allies of the community support those
[Korinne]: that are within the community
[Porter]: yeah um i think they’re oh wait i don’t know if i can do it
[Porter]: am i going for your accent is that what i meant
okay um this is why i’m not an actress i have
[Dom]: i should have lied [Korinne]: it’s all right you get a pass
[Porter in an accent]: i think that there are a couple of ways that people
[Porter in an accent]: can really show up for their community um i i
think the number one thing you could be doing
[Porter in an accent]: um especially in america at this time um it certain to go australian [D2]: it’s australian now. it’s australian now. [everyone laughs]
[Porter in an accent]: it is to get out there and to vote
[Porter in an accent]: um everybody knows right now it is absolutely
crucial to get people in office who will fight
[Porter in an accent]: for us um unfortunately it comes down from the top
and so those in power put in place the regulations
[Porter in an accent]: and laws that um protect us both protect us and
um provide us the the freedoms that we all seek
[Porter in an accent]: um i think beyond that um i mean
america’s got a lot going on but then also
[Porter in an accent]: in other countries worldwide there are many many
many worse things happening to the community
[Porter in an accent]: and so it’s definitely not australian and so [Korinne]: you did good
[Porter]: if you if you can even support organizations
[Porter]: um through your dollar or um through through
your activism through your volunteer work um even
[Porter]: if you can volunteer your time there’s so many
wonderful organizations that you can partake in
[Porter]: that help and fight for those rights worldwide
and so um you know that that’s a prime example
[Porter]: of like voting with your dollar you know
contributing to those organizations and if
[Porter]: you haven’t got money reach out and see if
there’s any sort of work you can be doing
[Porter]: as you guys see even with start the wave here we
all do remote work and so we all contribute in
[Porter]: different ways but you could do that for other
organizations um push your local government
[Porter]: too push them and push them and push them for
those equal rights show up to the marches and
[Porter]: if you’re not into that kind of stuff because i
know we’re not all front line people you don’t
[Porter]: have to show up to the march maybe make signs like give them to those that are marching
[Porter]: um ask them what else you can do if you can work
a table or a booth basically show up and we just
[Porter]: need numbers we need to show the world we’re
here we’re queer and we deserve f****** equality
[Korinne]: fantastic um and for the for the second part of this question um i know i have like family
[Korinne]: friends and people that are always like as an ally
i’m not a part of the community but what can i do
[Korinne]: to help um and so yeah
[Porter]: like people need to speak up i think that’s one thing
[Porter]: i myself do not do enough and i’m so sorry i i
put you off there because i was so like excited
[Porter]: that’s fine um yeah speak up when you hear
homophobic transphobic comments say something
[Porter]: when you when you hear somebody just just being
inappropriate or you hear somebody being targeted
[Porter]: don’t sit quiet you need to speak up and um i
understand that it’s uncomfortable it’s very
[Porter]: uncomfortable it’s uncomfortable for every one of
us it’s not easy and you feel your heart racing
[Porter]: you feel that’s actually how i ended up coming
out to my grandma is like me ending up speaking
[Porter]: out for the LGBTQ2IA+ community because
she just kept going and i could feel it i could
[Porter]: feel it measuring it up and it was in my throat [Dom]: it’s so intense it’s so intense isn’t it. [Porter]: it’s so intense and i finally just was like
[Porter]: i know that people don’t choose to be
gay because i am and immediately was like
[Porter]: yeah it’s terrifying and it’s terrifying to step
especially in you know hard to speak up in certain situations but do
[Porter]: it um i think things as simple as um a place that
i play sand volleyball at put a rainbow flag out
[Porter]: and i was overjoyed because
it just makes you know like
[Porter]: you are you are somebody there and you
can feel comfortable to be yourself
[Porter]: um so i think speak up and just don’t feel bad
about expressing that you you’re an ally like
[Porter]: that sure if you hold the rainbow flag put that
thing out and be like yeah i’m not part of the
[Porter]: community but i am an ally of it that’s awesome
[Korinne]: yeah it’s it’s the little things and sometimes the
[Porter]: hardest conversations are the ones that need to
be had the most um yeah so [Dom]: there’s so much power (hard to hear what Dom’s saying)
[Dom]: i i think it’s important for allies to feel
like they can’t because they’re not part of the
[Dom]: community if anything there’s more there is a lot
of power in them speaking out as somebody who is
[Dom]: straight cis or whatever and because they may be
able to relate to other people who aren’t seeing
[Dom]: it necessarily in the same way through a different
lens you know because they they share the same
[Dom]: um identity in some way so so there’s a lot of
power in that and sorry yeah piggybacked with your
[Dom]: answer you said some other things [Porter]: yeah that’s good
[Dom]: but yeah like just knowing that that that you have you have just
[Dom]: as much of a place and such an important role in
um in moving this movement forward [Korinne]: right that you
[Korinne]: belong um so while we’re on this topic um porter
during the first start the wave team panel you had
[Korinne]: mentioned that when it comes to finding ourselves
and finding which label if any label fits us best
[Korinne]: that we should not place ourselves
into a box based off of social norms
[Korinne]: and how society portrays sexual identities um d2
can you if you would like to answer this first
[Korinne]: and addie you can add on um how as a society
can we break away from these social norms and
[Korinne]: help every human fully live their most authentic
lives no matter what they choose to identify as
[D2]: yeah um i think porter um porter and julie both
last time i think um you know i walked away from
[D2]: that panel with that answer about the boxes and
then julie’s comments about the gatekeeping and
[D2]: not being queer enough and not belonging um you
know i walked away and kind of reflected on like
[D2]: my own experience you know and you know really
quick two things like i’m gonna like talk about
[D2]: the negative but we all know the community
is amazing um but we do have to talk about
[D2]: like where we need the positive change um and
two i wanna like recognize and acknowledge my
[D2]: privilege as a cis white female i am married to a
man i could very easily walk around this world and
[D2]: be straight and no one would know the difference
um and so i understand that i have not had the
[D2]: same experiences that a lot of you have um but
at the same time like you do also have the same
[D2]: experiences but usually behind the scenes um you
know personally like my experience i came out very
[D2]: late in life and it was literally because of the
boxes um you know i came out at like 35 and it’s
[D2]: because when i was questioning everything a bi
box a pan box those didn’t exist like when you
[D2]: brought that up it was like that’s not a box you
have to be this or this and it was like oh oh okay
[D2]: well i guess i’ll just pick this then and go with
it um and then you know you have to go through
[D2]: that experience of realizing that you don’t need
to be in a box you know and it took me a while
[D2]: um you know i was always already married i was a
mom like and then i was just like no this is my
[D2]: truth and i’m gonna speak it and it doesn’t matter
i could have very easily just kept my mouth shut
[D2]: um but then once i came out then like the
gatekeeping and what julie brought up came out
[D2]: you know is am i queer enough like do i actually
belong because i i don’t appear to belong you know
[D2]: um and then it you know reflecting on that last
time it made me look at like the divisions within
[D2]: our community i think it was our biggest detriment
and i think it’s what holds us back um you know
[D2]: we’re as a community like we could just be one you
know one community it doesn’t matter who we are
[D2]: and instead you know there’s people that don’t
want to accept trans women there’s people that
[D2]: don’t want to understand or see bi or pan
or they don’t want to accept non-binary like
[D2]: as a community we should just be accepting of
everybody it shouldn’t matter like you know
[D2]: porter said a little bit ago like we’re here we’re
queer it shouldn’t matter if someone comes to us
[D2]: and says i’m queer we shouldn’t say okay but like
how queer like who like who you dated who have you
[D2]: you know slept with who how do you identify like
are you are you trans like it shouldn’t matter
[D2]: they should just say we’re queer and we should
just open like open our arms and accept them um
[D2]: and i always tie everything to a movie because i’m
a huge movie buff i mentioned that last time and
[D2]: for some reason now and then kept coming up you
know super 90s like coming of age girl movie but
[D2]: in that movie they play red rover um and i don’t
know why i just kept thinking of this but like
[D2]: the whole point of red rover is to stand as this
united front hold hands and not let anyone through
[D2]: and when i look at the divisions that we have
you know and if we were to play red rover and
[D2]: people were like well i don’t know if i want to
hold their hand because they’re trans and i don’t
[D2]: really think they fit in the community like
can i go hold this person’s hand instead
[D2]: if we have those divisions and we have those
worries within our own community we’re not
[D2]: going to be very strong playing that game but
if we accept everyone no matter who they are
[D2]: how they identify no matter what and we just grab
their hand and hold on as tight as we possibly can
[D2]: nobody running at us at full speed no one telling
us we shouldn’t get married that we shouldn’t be
[D2]: able to adopt kids that we shouldn’t be able
to be in the military we have no rights to
[D2]: medical insurance none of that would get through
like we would knock all of them on their asses
[D2]: and that’s what i want to see like that’s what
i think the community needs to do is that we
[D2]: just need to attend everybody and like stand
united and just be like like we’re here and
[D2]: this is who we are and you’re not gonna f*** with us um and like if we are that community
[D2]: imagine the waves we could make like [Porter]: f*** yes
[D2]: that’s really what it comes down to
[Korinne]: d2 you’re making me have feelings
[Porter]: the imagery man i pictured all of us
around the world like joining hands [Korinne]: I know
[Korinne]: thank you for uh sharing a little bit of
your own experience there and um yeah well
[Korinne]: i don’t even know where to go from there um
okay um so just switch gears a little bit um
[Korinne]: addie this next question is for you and again this
is one of my favorite things about start the wave
[Korinne]: um start the wave is continuously listening and
growing especially after feedback is given from
[Korinne]: the community this is just another reason why i
believe this non-profit is so successful in its
[Korinne]: mission it’s been noticed by many people that
start the wave is continuing to become more and
[Korinne]: more accessible online do you all enjoy getting
constructive criticism and how do you think it has
[Korinne]: helped um start the wave grow
[Addie]: yeah great question and i um i have a lot of animals and they’re like
[Addie]: behind me doing some shenanigans so if you
hear some random things apologies in advance
[Addie]: um yeah so i think uh constructive
uh being the operative word there
[Addie]: is really helpful um we are a small group
uh we have a lot of shared experiences and
[Addie]: a lot of different experiences and we have this
incredible vast diverse and beautiful community
[Addie]: um who have no doubt had more experiences
than we have right and so if we have if
[Addie]: we say a thing in a way and it could be
said in a different way or a better way we
[Addie]: are open and welcome to that feedback um i
think it is there have been a lot of times when
[Addie]: it’s definitely helped us grow or challenged us
to think in a different way um at the same time
[Addie]: i think it’s it’s really important to consider
again that we are a very small team and so um
[Addie]: a lot of the there there there will definitely
i i can you can take this to the bank there will
[Addie]: definitely be times when something is going on in
the world or something is um you might be waiting
[Addie]: for us to speak on a thing we are hyper aware of
it and are actively working on the best way to
[Addie]: come forward with that information but it’s
not something that can automatically happen
[Addie]: um we all have full-time jobs and families
and are involved in our communities and so um
[Addie]: it is uh again there will be there will be times
that there there might be a little bit of a delay
[Addie]: there or it is there is a perception that we’re
not um as involved or we care about something as
[Addie]: much as we actually do so um i think the and i
think it goes back to kindness right like there
[Addie]: is a kindness and saying and reaching out and
saying hey i noticed that you said this thing
[Addie]: um this is my experience and maybe consider this
we are open for that all day long um and are
[Addie]: grateful to the people who who reach out and share
that with us um we may not be able to respond to
[Addie]: all of you um again small team but um yeah we’re
definitely definitely open and appreciative um of
[Addie]: that feedback i think we are um you know our goal
is to create an experience and a resource and a
[Addie]: platform uh for a vast group of folks and and with
that we have to be open and receptive and able to
[Addie]: be nimble and pivot when that’s necessary um while
still holding true and balancing the core reason
[Addie]: of why we’re here and really staying true to dom’s
vision for what start the wave is and so um yeah i
[Addie]: think i i would only ask to recognize that we’re
trying to maintain that balance um to know that
[Addie]: we’re grateful for those who have reached out with
and shared their experiences about um whatever it
[Addie]: is like black lives matter or their experience
uh being a part of the LGBTQ2IA+ community
[Addie]: et cetera all that stuff um but it’s uh yeah we’re
just grateful i guess i can i can end on that yeah
[Korinne]: yeah i have to give the team credit though um on
some of these topics that take a little bit longer
[Korinne]: to speak on that i said this in the first panel
start the wave is known for you know collecting
[Korinne]: the correct information before putting
that out and making sure that it’s right
[Korinne]: before speaking on it and so i think start the
wave does an incredible job of that and um you
[Korinne]: guys are killing it so
[Addie]: i really appreciate that and just one more quick thing i mean think about
[Addie]: uh put yourself in our position for like a quick
second and and think about the huge responsibility
[Addie]: that comes with being a part of this team
and having this platform and having a direct
[Addie]: um impactful um opportunity to to
reach out to so many different people
[Addie]: we don’t take that lightly um sorry my cat’s
like my cat saw your cat right and now she’s like hey what’s up
[Addie]: um yeah we don’t take that lightly and it
and it is something that um it’s necessary
[Addie]: sometimes to take a little time and really make
sure that we’re leading with the the most accurate
[Addie]: information that’s available to us that we’re
able to to get um and then to own it if we if
[Addie]: we miss step or if we miss something and you
know every day’s a new day and continue to um
[Addie]: try to do the best we can with the information we
have and the time that we have to to make a wave
[Korinne]: um thank you um i know a lot of people um you know
had questions regarding that and so thank you for
[Korinne]: speaking up on that uh um to lighten the mood a
little bit um this next question is um a little
[Korinne]: bit of uh of a fun way to get to know each of
you so d2 will start with you for this um i would
[Korinne]: love if each of you could share one thing that we
would not know about the rest of the team members
[D2]: um okay uh let’s see uh randi randi randi can
make anybody fall in love with superman within 30
[D2]: seconds i was like okay there we go see uh yeah i
never gave superman much thought but uh on a team call
[D2]: she was like gave a whole spiel and i was like
okay i see that completely different now [Randi]: yes! [D2]: um
[D2]: addie addie addie um i swear she is psychic
um she has like a crazy emotional connection
[D2]: to the people she cares about um i can’t tell
you how many times i’ve been having a bad day
[D2]: or i’m frustrated about something and i will
get a text out of nowhere and it’s just adding
[D2]: hey sis how you doing are you having a good
day and i’m just like how do you know i need
[D2]: to talk to someone right now like it’s absolutely
amazing um and uh it makes the hard days easier uh
[D2]: porter [D2 giggles] porter is terrified [Korinne]: what was that giggles before
[D2]: she’s terrified of octopus and i find
[D2]: it so funny and i send her like the most hideous octopus videos
[Porter]: they’re really smart!
[Dom]: have you seen a documentary of them?
[Porter]: f***no i haven’t seen a documentary about them no
[Dom]: have you seen the documentary about the octopus [D2]: it’s awesome [Dom]: these guys have (points at dogs)
[Dom]: you have? it’s so (hand motion)
[D2]: i have. it’s good they’re amazing creatures but yeah Porter
[Porter]: if they grab a hold
[Porter]: there’s no letting go
[Dom]: so you know me being the amazing friend i am will send her octopus gifts
[D2]: and videos and random stuff i see on instagram
all the time um let’s see dom dom uh dom no matter
[D2]: every phone call conversation you have with dom
whether it’s two minutes or two hours she will
[D2]: use no less than four accents she will like go
back and forth and like she’ll just be normal dom
[D2]: and then all of a sudden she’s bristol dom and
then all of a sudden she’s australian and then
[D2]: she’s waverly and then sometimes she like does
french american and like it’s one of my favorite
[D2]: things about talking on the phone with her is
what accents i’ll get and when i’ll get them
[Dom]: no way that’s brilliant i don’t feel like i’m
doing it at all said in a very bristol accent
[Dom]: all right dom you’re up if you want to use your uh different accents
[Dom]: all right um okay so randi is
[Dom]: a champion runner she has done marathons and
seems to seems to think that running’s easy
[Dom]: or certainly has figured out a way of uh
finding joy and loving running which i
[Dom]: cannot say that i have done the same thing and
in a conversation that we had very quickly uh
[Dom]: something that really inspired me she was saying
how um like the key to running is really finding
[Dom]: your motivation of like what it is that why
you’re putting one foot in front of the other
[Dom]: which i thought was so awesome and different
all right so yeah if you want to but she’s oh
[Dom]: um so yeah super super
duper runner um addie uh has
[Dom]: uh has pretty much a zoo of animals or certainly
would have a zoo of animals if she could
[Dom]: um has rescued many different beautiful
beautiful creatures and yeah would continue
[Dom]: i i believe i’m right saying is ad(die) is that you would never stop if you could
[Dom]: which i think is one of my favorite things about
you when you when you first told me that i was
[Dom]: like telling all of my friends i was like you
have no idea like the person that’s reached
[Dom]: out just like has a pack of animals but she’s
looking after and saving i love it um porter has
[Dom]: has dopest outdoor shower you’ve ever seen
in your life like it is so cool with these
[Dom]: amazing stones that light up in uh that
are charged by the sun and then light up
[Dom]: as like this walkway i arrived of course
last night as you can probably see we’re
[Dom]: in the same box um actually i’ve arrived in north
carolina finally to meet these two beautiful
[Dom]: ladies addie and of course we’re gonna have um a
weekend talking about how we can best move forward
[Dom]: in 2025 incredibly exciting um and yeah i
arrived at her house and we we star gaze
[Dom]: last night and looked at the moon which is
like one of my favorite things to do and
[Dom]: also one of porter’s favorites today and uh
yeah she showed me the badass shower and i am
[Dom]: installing one of them as soon as i get but
[Dom]: um and beautiful d2 i mean apart from
eggplants and bananas i’m not really sure
[Dom]: personal joke personal joke um d2 i loved um
loves the outdoors i’m gonna go with that i
[Dom]: would say that like one of the things that they
really connect with d2 is is is your love nature
[Dom]: and and try to one day meet that beautiful
hammock and does it fit two people
[D2]: sure [Korinne]: make it fit two people [Dom]: nice
[Dom]: i have two hammocks now though
[Dom]: so okay there we go
[D2]: we can each have one yes
[Dom]: okay fine ill take my own hammock
[D2]: and one of them is insulated so it’ll
keep you warmer because you’re always cold [Dom]: fancy
[Korinne]: there you go [Dom]: thanks D2
[Korinne]: very nice very nice porter how about you [Porter]: all right um
[Porter]: oh this is why i wrote these down i almost forgot
[Porter]: okay randi knows how to make homemade stain which
i found so f****** cool so she like made her own
[Porter]: bed and then stained her own bed with her own
homemade stain um we’ve got another team member
[Porter]: sarah who um isn’t um on the video but she is a
master gardener and she grows her own food and her
[Porter]: medicine which is really cool um d2 i had another
one for you but i think i’ll return the favor
[D2]: mine’s legit mine is legit okay
[Porter]: d2 is terrified of sharks at the point of like if i send her i will
[Porter]:send her pictures of sharks and broccoli because
even pictures of sharks will scare her and um i
[Porter]:sent her shark teeth too and drew um well did it
look like a shark i think it looked like a shark
[Porter]: enough my drawing [D2]: yeah it was beautiful [Porter]: yeah yeah
[D2]: it scared me [Randi]: you mean terrifying yeah
[D2]: I was like oh my gosh
[Porter]: I cut my own hand to put blood coming down
[Porter]: D2 is very terrified of sharks um addie is a
miss fix it herself and she like loves to
[Porter]:do hands-on projects and so her hubby would
call her rosie after rosie the riveter they
[Porter]:named her they named their daughter rosie
after rosie the riveter because she’s a
[Porter]:badass feminist um dom um so i was already
aware like of the dancing and singing
[Porter]:um but specifically was interested to
find out she is an expert tap dancer
[Porter]: tap dancing [Dom]: I feel like it will be very appropriate if I had tap to go with the dancing
[Porter]: so yeah i think that’s the team
[Korinne]: awesome awesome uh addie you’re up
[Addie]: aw snap let’s see i’ll go i’ll go
like this way across my screen okay so
[Addie]: d2 your first step d2 is literally the most
thoughtful human being i have ever come across
[Addie]: in my entire life she remembers birthdays if
you’re like oh i’ve got a doctor’s appointment
[Addie]: and i’m nervous about it she will remember what
time you have the doctor’s appointment will text
[Addie]: you to check in when she doesn’t hear from you
she will text you afterwards like the level of
[Addie]: compassion and kindness and thoughtfulness that
just radiates from that human is a gift to anybody
[Addie]: who is anywhere remotely in her circle or who is
uh loved by her and um yeah it is it is inspiring
[Addie]: and it makes me want to step up my own game i
try i think of myself as a relatively thoughtful
[Addie]: person but i um yeah they broke the mold with d2
in that respect for sure um randi has well the
[Addie]: first time i talked to randi she um is like has
such a huge massive knowledge about sustainability
[Addie]: and she has her own washing machine that she
pedals with like her feet which is so cool
[Addie]: um and dual purpose right you’re cleaning things
saving the environment and like getting a workout
[Addie]: all at the same time um i desperately want to
get one of those and i’m wondering how like how
[Addie]: soon is too soon to get a toddler to like give it
a go um we gonna have to wait a little bit she’s
[Addie]: not walking yet but you know we’ll get there
um dom is so kind of piggybacking on what um
[Addie]: what d2 said uh dom leaves the best voice
notes of anybody on the team and um some of my
[Addie]: favorite so you can with whatsapp i think you can
download voice notes i’ve not downloaded with it
[Addie]: but the urge the urge has been there um there was
one like when we first started working together
[Addie]: years ago when she was in brazil and she was
staying somewhere with cat and the first part
[Addie]: of the thing you can tell she’s like really she’s
like yeah we’re gonna oh we could do that with the
[Addie]: website and that’d be great blah blah blah blah
whatever and then like forgot she was recording
[Addie]: and was sort of blessing out this cat and this
very like sweet british accent that was like
[Addie]: trying to take her snacks and it went on
for like two and a half or three minutes
[Addie]: and i listened to the whole thing like she’s
gonna come back eventually but it didn’t i
[Addie]: don’t know if like she just put her phone down
and it stopped recording or whatever but it was
[Addie]: literally like just this like no no no that’s
mine and you’re naughty and whatever and it was
[Addie]: adorable one of my favorite things and then
sometimes if she is like walking and she can’t
[Addie]: text or whatever you’ll get like a really quick
one and one of my favorites was um i can’t i can’t
[Addie]: i don’t remember what the question was but your
response was like hell yeah the best and if i can
[Addie]: figure out how to make that my text tone for when
she’s like hell yeah i’m definitely gonna do that um
[Addie]: elet’s see i had a really good one for porter and
i’ve spaced it porter has um a if we porter and i
[Addie]: elive about two hours apart um and if it were any
closer she would be in danger of me dog napping
[Addie]: eher dog rolo who was like this little tiny nugget
of joy and just bliss and so freaking cute i can’t
[Addie]: even handle it i love sydney and her other dog
very much uh but rolo has a huge place in my heart
[Dom]: that’s okay i’ve been giving sydney all the attention so ads this is going to work out just fine [Addie]: okay great
[Addie]: okay great yeah teamwork
[Porter]: especially love rollo because he’s basically a cat in a dog body and so
[Porter]: you’d vibe [Addie]: yeah i did no labels i’m here you
know what rolo however you show up is i am here for it
[Korinne]: all right and randi last but not least
[Randi]: all right so i’m just gonna like tie us all together
[Randi]: and um so basically i don’t know if anyone knows
this i’m sure they do the team is just the kindest
[Randi]: they are the kindest most wonderful people i
have ever had the privilege of working with
[Randi]: every conversation that we have every meeting
that we have there’s always just something
[Randi]: they always have something kind to say about
each other but in addition to that there’s
[Randi]: always something nerdy that they say um i’m
always laughing at uh at some point during
[Randi]: the meeting usually multiple times during the
meeting we usually talk for a good portion of
[Randi]: it and laugh for a good portion of it and then
get down to work and i learned recently that
[Randi]: um in addition to myself porter and d2
have wands that they’re very very proud
[Dom]: that was the coolest revelation
[Randi]: and i was gonna say and dom dom was super
excited to know that we all loved wands
[D2]: yes we all have wands [Randi]: yeah
[Dom]: randi i um addie of course knows this already but i was staying
[Dom]: at my friend’s house and i actually met a
real life wand like legit a real life one
[Dom]: it was the most beautiful thing i’ve ever
seen from a shaman in tibet that gave it to
[Dom]: my friend’s dad like years ago and it had two
crystals on each side and then all in a rainbow
[Dom]: all different like incredibly powerful stones
like this and i swear to god when i when i
[Dom]: walked in i was like instantly drawn to
it and for the entire time i was there i’m holding onto this with my dear life
[Dom]: this is my wand (hard to hear what Dom’s saying..)
[Dom]: it was so good
[Porter]: oh look at the time we’re coming
[Dom]: Addie and Porter we had a meeting the other day and they were
like so what you got in your hands and i was like my wand
[Randi]: I think we all need to make sure we have wands
[Randi]: Addie do you have a wand
[Addie]: i don’t i need a wand i need to get one
[Randi]: we’re gonna have to get you a wand
[Korinne]: everyone gonna get wand
[Dom]: you and me are going to go wand shopping
[Porter] i have been wand-ering why you guys don’t have one
[Randi]: all right [Addie]: that’s what i was gonna say
damn it that’s what i was gonna say and then yolo
[D2]: i was gonna use the pen one and then i thought
octopus was way better [Porter]: it’s too obvious anyhow
[Randi]: porter you do puns all the time so i figured
many people know that about porter’s puns
[Korinne]: all right guys well we’re almost out
of time so i think one more question
[Korinne]: and then we’ll try to get through the game
really quickly if that’s okay with everyone
[Korinne]: um so i love this question um this is a fan
question from mama if each of you could choose
[Korinne]: one superpower to make the world a better
place which would you choose and randi you
[Korinne]: can kick this one off for us
[Randi]: oh sweet this my favorite question [Porter] superwoman herself
[D2]: bring out your ass
[Porter]: really for you randi it’s just which is
your favorite super power that you have
[Randi]: yeah exactly um so this one is always
my favorite question to answer because
[Randi]: they’re actually not any of superman’s powers um
so years ago in like the mid 90s there was this
[Randi]: incredible movie called powder and i don’t know
if anyone remembers [Addie]: i love that movie [Randi]: yeah such
[Randi]: a good movie and uh there’s a scene where a guy
shoots a deer and he basically powder touches
[Randi]: the deer and he touches the guy and basically
transfers the feelings of what the deer has
[Randi]: my so what i would love would to be would be to
be able to transfer it goes further than empathy
[Randi]: it’s the feelings of any single person of how
they’re suffering or how they’re feeling to
[Randi]: another person to be able to really understand
them and understand [Addie]: that was mine [Randi]: oh damn it i’m sorry
[Randi]: i’m so sorry for it [Dom]: it’s so cool
that you guys had the same one
[Dom]: i love that
[Randi]: you were worried about me stealing
your answer and it was randi
[Addie]: sorry i didn’t mean to interrupt you but i was
just like so me too me too you know go ahead i’ll duck
[Randi]: no that’s it it’s just so so this world would be
such a better place if everyone really understood
[Randi]: why people [Dom]: how would you actually make it
happen how would you actually like what would
[Dom]: be the action that you would do randi would it
literally be like say porter’s going through
[Dom]: something and you wanted me to feel it would it
be like you would be the connector [Randi]: yes a touch
[Randi]: yeah [Dom]: beautiful yeah pretty cool i love that
and addie [Randi]: my bad addie sorry you can add on it
[Dom]: yeah jump on it what what yeah what
would how would you like [Randi]: make it your own
[Addie]: oh god i don’t know it was for me it was
the touch thing too i had this so when i
[Addie]: was little i had this um like this idea in my
head that like it would be so cool if everybody
[Addie]: had um like would carry around a cart that had
boulders on them that was like representative
[Addie]: of all of the things that they were carrying so
we could all like look at somebody else and see
[Addie]: um like oh my you know like i’m not doing judging
that person at all like look how many boulders
[Addie]: they’re carrying like look at all the weights that
they’re carrying and how cool it would be if you
[Addie]: could like transfer those from one person to the
other and i’ve thought about that a lot as i’ve
[Addie]: gotten older how awesome it would be to just sort
of like touch somebody and understand like that
[Addie]: that’s a really um that’s one of my huge sort of
batting connections really sort of uh paramount
[Addie]: for me in my life and in my journey is um really
wanting to understand people and where they come
[Addie]: from to be able to authentically connect with them
um and i thought what a gift it would be to be
[Addie]: able to transfer that and for me it’s kind of the
same thing it’s that if that touch it’s uh it’s um
[Addie]: giving someone vision where they don’t have it
or maybe where they’re short-sighted or whether
[Addie]: so in their own experience that it’s really hard
for them to step out and see the beauty and the
[Addie]: pain and the complexities of the world around them
and how better off we would be if if we had that
[Addie]: um if we had access to that and we do know a
certain degree as empaths right but it’s um but
[Addie]: it’s not something that you can assist somebody
else with unfortunately unless you’re just really
[Addie]: good at articulating uh what might be going on for
that other person um but yeah i’m i’m with you 100
[Addie]: it was funny i was thinking either that or like
a healer where you could go like touch somebody
[Addie]: and absorb whatever is like plaguing them um but
i love the idea of the the sort of the transfer
[Addie]: and the the the broadening of understanding for
a group of people i think is beautiful [Dom]: beautiful
[Randi]: nice [D2]: you guys are putting mine to shame like i feel like
[Porter + Dom]: what’s yours D2
[D2]: mine was super selfish because like i i just
got back from california um and i spent a week
[D2]: on the beach and i swear like the ocean and
the beach are in my dna like i mean it’s like
[D2]: just i need the water in my life and like all
along ever since i was a child it was like i
[D2]: want to be able to breathe underwater i just
want to be able to go swimming as much as i want
[D2]: wherever i want and not worry about
it so i want that but so i could go
[D2]: and like clean the oceans and like [Dom]: oh that’s amazing
[D2]: aquaman and like yeah
[D2]: rescue like take all the fishing nets out
of the water and all that b******* that’s
[D2]: killing everything so
[Porter]: that’s cool if you’re a fish i’m a fish do you too i’ll go with you
[D2]: i will protect you from the octopus [Korinne]: there’s octopus in there
[Porter]: Yes! [Dom]: there you go [D2]: team work [Porter]: i’ve been waiting to get
[Porter]: in the fight with the shark for like a long time
[D2]: so there you go i like hugs so like if i can get
[D2]: like eight arm hugs i’m fine hugging an octopus like i’m good with it
[Korinne]: there you go all right porter [Porter]: so picture this
[Porter]: wars are breaking out we’re in the middle east and
i come down in true superhero form from the sky
[Porter]: and i land yeah like one of those where you land
like that yeah and of course i don’t either but
[Porter]: you you land like this oh i guess because you have
to crouch because your knees would break obviously
[Porter]: dropping from the sky yeah yeah so you land like
this and the halos of light is around me and i
[Porter]: stand up and i give it one of these and the
entire war stops and then everybody turns
[Porter]: in almost like zombie mode where like all of a
sudden their mindset immediately changes to like
[Porter]: oh we actually love one another they drop
everything and then everyone stops fighting
[D2]: i like that
[Randi]: i like that
[Korinne]: so world peace
[Korinne]: good answer [Dom]: very good answer yeah
[Porter]: what are you thinking [Dom]: yeah i think um for me it would be if i
[Dom]: could if i could sort of um if i could if i could
bring out the best in people like if i could if i
[Dom]: could sort of i don’t know how i would do it
maybe i would like maybe just simply a smile
[Porter]: (hard to hear what Porter’s saying)
[Korinne]: oh man
[Dom]: really like bring out the best of people and
[Dom]: bring the best intention and then able to manifest the manifest the greatest
[Dom]: purest most uh beautiful
desires um to to yeah bring them
[Porter]: to the best state of themselves
[Dom]: to help people step in to the more positive side
of themselves um and therefore it will just create
[Dom]: waves all over the world um or transmute people’s
pain the other one that i did think of uh just be
[Dom]: because of my own um experience with with pain in
my body chronic pain would be i would love to be
[Dom]: able to have healing hands where i could just go
around and and heal people’s physical pain because
[Dom]: it’s something that you know on a personal level
really affects me so i’d love to be able to help
[Dom]: them in their journey [Korinne]: that’s a great one i love
how all of your answers were to help other people
[Korinne]: start the wave team for you all right is every
is everyone okay with going through a couple
[Korinne]: of the game questions [Dom]: sure let’s do it
[Korinne]: do you all have something to write on
[Dom]: Porter’s on it
[Korinne]: all right and for our viewers this is a who is most likely game
[Addie]: we just can pick
[Addie]: one person for each one right
[Korinne]: yeah no pick one person for each [Addie]: ok
[Korinne]: all right is everyone ready
[Addie]: yep so ready
[Korinne]: all right the first one is who is most likely to survive the hunger games
[Dom]: oh good one ooo that is so tough oh good one [Porter] f***
[D2} oh my gosh [Korinne]: i didn’t mean to make it this difficult i’m sorry
[Addie]: and we can only say one person
[Korinne]: one person yeah okay
[Dom] wait wait
[Korinne]: you’re good take your time
[Dom]: okay [Korinne]: everyone ready
[Dom]: uno dos tres [Korinne]: ready flip
[Korinne]: addie randi randi randi randi
[Korinne]: i see randi the most
[Dom]: randi for the win what did you pick d2
[D2]: i said porter [Dom]: nice
[Dom]: and randi
[Randi]: i said addie
[Randi]: because she’s quiet and she could survive and like
[Randi]: make her way around [Addie]: it’s always the quiet one
[Randi]: yep [Korinne]: always the quiet ones
[Dom]: because when you think about it it means
that like you’d have to kill other people
[Randi]: oh [Dom]: and i don’t know if randi would be able to do that
[Addie]: i didnt think about that.
[Randi]: oh yeah no i won’t be able to kill
[Porter]: tie them to a tree
[Dom]: im just think she would run like out [Korinne]: america, right?
[Korinne]: this is what you’ve been training for with those marathons
[Randi]: yeah it’s actually true
[Randi]: i often think because i’ve run
for like five hours straight
[Randi]: be like i i could out run out most people i think
[Dom]: yeah [Porter]: i mean you would just be in like
[D2]: running mode though and then you would just
like run into like the little force field
[Dom]: it’s pretty telling isn’t
it neither of us got a vote
[D2]: im not going to kill anybody
[Korinne]: all right the second one the second one is who
is most likely to drink you under the table
[Addie]: ready [Korinne]: that was easy i’m kind of scared that that was so easy for you
[D2]: i’ve seen the tower of
[D2]: uh white claw cans for this person so
[Addie]: hard to say
[Korinne]: everyone ready [Porter]: yep
[Korinne]: one two three flip addie port reporter porter porter porter
[Dom]: interesting… nice…
[Korinne]: that was almost unanimous there
[Porter]: i like a little bit of some some alcohol on the weekend
[Korinne]: hey i’m with you i’m with you all right the
next one is who is most likely to become
[Korinne]: who is the most likely to be elected president
[Dom]: oh oh oh
[Dom]: oh i have two i have two i have oh i
have really for all of you basically um
[Addie]: most likely to be elected president of the state
[Korinne]: of the united states yes of the us
[Dom]: oh but that that’s not fair as not american here [Korinne]: okay um
[Dom]: i don’t think it is me
[Korinne]: listen if you put everyone i will accept it
[Porter]: vp president
[Porter in an accent]: wait wait wait you mean i was elected i actually won
[Korinne]: as long as you as long as you
[Korinne]: as long as you promise to wear that outfit when
you’re elected you can be elected [Dom]: wait hold up hold up
[Dom]: hold up hold up
[Dom]: i’m ready [Randi]: i’m not ready i don’t know hold on um
[Dom]: like i would love to see any of these humans
[Dom]: honestly [Randi]: that’s why i’m struggling
[Dom]: with different reasons and um
[Randi]: okay i have my answer
[Addie]: and it’s most likely right
not who would be the best
[Korinne]: yes mostly [D2]: you’re throwing in competition
[Porter]: yeah that is a heck of a semantics call
[Addie]: I lawyered the show [D2]: was that a joke about whos elected is always the best [Porter]: lawyered [Dom]: are we picking
[Dom]: out the sort of american canadian all that jazz, right [Everyone]: yeah [Dom]: beautiful
[Korinne]: okay everyone ready [Addie]: yep
[Korinne]: all right one two three flip
[Dom]: yes nice [Korinne]: nice different answers
[Korinne]: you would all be great at it um all right
we’ll do we’ll do a couple more because we’re
[Korinne]: we’re out of time but um this one’s
funny who is most likely to get arrested
[Dom]: seriously eh [D2]: oh super easy
[Dom]: are you serious [D2]: and i have a really good reason
[Addie]: this one’s i i okay
[Porter]: this person also wouldn’t mean to
[Korinne]: yeah it doesn’t have to
[Korinne]: it doesn’t have to be something bad
[D2]: that’s that’s where i’m going with that
[D2]: i mean i’m a very good reason why i
chose this person with no hesitation
[Korinne]: are we all ready
[Dom]: yes yes yes
[Dom]: 1 2 3
[Korinne]: Ready? 1 2 3
[Korinne]: dom addie
[Dom]: dom and addie me nice
[D2]: yeah you’d be all jane fonda at some protest
[Randi]: yeah exactly
[Korinne]: that counts that counts all right we’ll
do two more um who’s most likely to be
[D2]: why would i get arrested wait
[Dom]: i don’t know d2 I panicked i panicked
[Porter]: i heard her scribble two letters and i was like she picked d2
[Randi]: we’ll all get arrested together because
we’re definitely all going to be at
[Randi]: a protest [D2]: we’ll be at the same protest
[D2]: exactly [Porter]: i really shouldn’t get arrested
[Porter]: if you want me to continue doing work for start the wave
[Dom]: yeah that’s true porter’s out (hard to hear what Dom’s saying)
[Korinne]: all right who’s most likely to
be late to their own wedding
[Korinne]: okay ready one two three flip
[Korinne]: that was amazing
[Dom]: probably too busy pulling some tarot cards before i walk down the aisle
[Dom]: D2 I (hard to hear what Dom’s saying)
[Korinne]: last one
[D2]: she was once late to a team meeting because she forgot it was monday
[Korinne]: yeah there you go [Dom]: true
[D2]: and we all were like how nice it is to not remember it’s monday
[Dom]: as i wake up in my van like okay
[Dom]: open the van door
[Dom]: check it out [Korinne]: all right the last one which is
which is a little bit of a joke and if you
[Korinne]: get it you get it and if you don’t you don’t
who’s most likely to make their box light up
[Addie]: oh s***
[Dom]: oh okay so we can’t put Korinne in because obviously
[Dom]: out of the team
[Randi]: oh it’s got to be the team
[D2]: that was amazing
[Randi]: wait is it does it have to be part of
the team i’m confused now [D2]: yes it does
[Dom]: okay [Korinne]: all right ready three two one flip
[Dom]: oh oh oh [Korinne]: sorry sorry [Dom]: it’s okay
[Korinne]: addie addie addie addie
[Porter]: addie yes addie
[Porter]: that’s so good [Addie]: there’s always something
going on at my house between the menagerie
[Addie]: of animals my infant or like just
people randomly coming and going so
[Addie]: it’s there’s yep [D2]: that’s why it would light up
[Korinne]: addie i love that we’re on the same level then
[Addie]: it’s you and me [Korinne]: you and me here right so with that
we have come to the end of the panel unfortunately
[Korinne]: um thank you guys so much for participating in both panels
[Addie]: thank you so much [Porter]: thanks for having us back [Korinne]: yeah of course
[Korinne]: been such a um uh successful panel
within the communities and people
[Korinne]: rave about um the start the wave panel so
hopefully we will do this again down the line
[Korinne]: um and also a reminder to earpers um start the wave
has teamed up with eh con and they are hosting an
[Korinne]: auction that begins today and ends november 14th
auction items include handmade necklaces by dom
[Korinne]: autographed bobble heads guest banners nicole
haught wardrobe items set props and so right after
[Korinne]: this panel ends eh con is going to release that
um the link so you can go over there head over
[Korinne]: there and support start the wave and to
all the earpers thank you so much for
[Korinne]: participating in um earp curse con and supporting
both us and start the wave and i hope you all
[Korinne]: stay safe and be kind and stay weird yeah
[Porter]: real quick too submissions start tomorrow so we come in
[Porter]: the first through the 12th guys we’re
super super super stoked we have
[Porter]: so many um so many things we want to do to close
out the year and then to lead us into the new year
[Porter]: and submissions is is one of them so super psyched
[D2]: i will be posting the first thing tomorrow morning
[D2]: so take a look for it [Korinne]: awesome
[Addie]: thank you for the reminder to update the website
[Addie]: and it is not in front of me so i’d forgotten
[Porter]: thanks korinne and winnie and everyone else at earp curse con
[Addie]: thank you guys so much
[Everyone]: happy halloween everyone happy happy halloween
So, thank you so much for joining us today for this crucial conversation around eco spirituality. Um, eco spirituality invites us to look at the spiritual connection between humans and the environment. I’m so thrilled to be moderating this panel here today. And when I was reflecting on why this subject holds such an important place in my heart, uh, it took me back to the beginning of start the wave and my own personal awakening, both spiritually and to the bleak reality of our disposable lifestyles and the climate crisis we face. And it really was these two things combined that created the catalyst for me taking action in my own life, which then birthed the seed of start the wave and has for us here today. I think if I had known that we’d be here having this conversation today, back then, I don’t think I would have believed it. Um, I so appreciate you taking the time to discuss the necessity of, um, us recognizing our interconnectedness with the planet before it’s too late. You know, this subject really gives me, gives me hope and I really believe that holding space for conversation conversations like this one is integral in deepening our understanding and opening our minds. Um, so I’m really looking forward to hearing all of your stories and your perspectives and your insights and for everyone at home to be equally as inspired. Um, okay. So enough from me, over to Artie
Hi I’m Artie, uh, I’m in the central Valley of California and, uh, Clovis. Um, I became, we are co-sponsors with this group we are the United religions initiative. And I was reflecting back on what I would say. And 25 years ago, um, Bill Swing was asked by the UN to gather all the religious leaders together because they could, they could agree to incredible things across the board, but then the religious leaders would go and, you know, make it their own. Well, he took a lease out on his home or whatever it’s called and traveled the world to talk to the religious leaders. And he knew he was talking to the, this, the final one that made the difference was he talked to the Pope at the time and the guy said, I love it, but I want to run it. And that wasn’t what he was doing.
So he came back, he re- reorganized and he went and talked to the people on the ground that were actually doing the work. And that’s how it started because we are grassroots. What you’re doing here now for me, I got involved in 98. And so it’s been, and in 2000 we actually incorporated as a 5013C 20 years ago, we couldn’t even do this. It was not possible to be able to talk to people around the world and see your faces. Okay. Myself personally, there was so much that I didn’t know. And as it has grown into this incredible over a million people around the world, doing the very work that you’re talking about, about all the different, uh, it’s unbelievable, but for me personally, to be able to be here and sit with you, the change makers of this now it’s been thrilling and an honor for me. So each of you are pivotal in this whole thing, the movement that we’re doing. So thank you. We are so glad that we can be a part of this. Thank you. And whoever’s next?
Thank you Artie. It’s me. Hi everyone. My name is Geneva Blackmer and I’m the program director for the Interfaith Center located at the Miami University campus in Oxford Ohio. The interface center is a safe, welcoming interfath space, inviting our local and global communities to engage in dialogue, education, and service. Our mission is to invite people from diverse, religious, spiritual, and secular traditions to participate in each other’s practices. In order to cultivate appreciative understanding and friendships. We seek to unify people of all faiths and no faith around common moral, social, and ethical concerns in order to build a more just and equitable society. We consider environmental justice to be an intrinsic part of this mission, recognizing that environmental degradation, not only compromises our collective life on this planet, but also exasperates social inequalities and contributes to the ever-growing refugee crisis. The beautiful wisdom of our religious, spiritual and secular traditions can guide us to recognize our responsibility as environmental stewards and restore our reverence and awe for the divine in nature. I’m humbled to welcome you all here today with the utmost gratitude for all of our panelists and our partnership with start the wave and URI North America who allowed this conversation to flourish. And with that, I’m going to hand it back over to you Dom. Fantastic. All right. Well, without further ado, um, we are going to hear from Tom Bailey first. Uh, Tom Bailey is an energy and climate expert with 14 years of experience writing climate strategies and policies for governments, cities, businesses, and NGOs. He has also been practicing Shoshin Tibetan Buddhist meditation for 20 years, and is currently working with an organization called the Jump, part of which considers the personal and inner transformation needed to address our ecological meltdown. Over to you, Tom.
Okay. Thank you, Dom. And firstly, a massive thing to everybody who’s been involved in putting this on, like, this is the theme of this event is really the most important and frankly, beautiful thing I can imagine talking about. So I’m going to really enjoy this. So thank you everybody. So what the question I was saying was what motivated me to start the Jump, um, uh, found the jump well, that is a recognition, a recognition that to avoid ecological meltdown, the science is very clear that we need an inner transition, a deep inner transition, a transformation in our mindsets and our cultures. Okay. And the very locally, our wisdom traditions from around the world offers very powerful tools to be able to make that transition. So that is a recognition that’s transformed my life recently. And in response to that recognition, I’d like to also offer you all an invitation, an invitation to take the Jump.
Um, so that’s the summary, but how did all this happen? So since age of 11, I’ve known, I wanted to work on behalf of the environment. And so for my career, I’d been working as an engineer and as a consultant, as a head of research working on technology changes like green energy, energy efficient buildings. And then recently we did a research project that was a collaboration between Leeds University, um, a consultancy and a big, uh, um, a big NGO. And it showed us basically that these tweaks I’d been working on technologies, policies, things like that, will never be enough. Okay. You can do all the new technologies and all the policies you like, but as long as our society is focused on ever more stuff, it can never keep up. Right. And this was a shock to me after 15 years of telling this story, I realized it wasn’t true.
Okay. And in fact, the research showed that we must reduce the impact of consumption in wealthy parts of the world by two thirds in just 10 years. Okay. And it also showed that individuals and communities have a massive part to play in that. So that’s the really good news. Right. Um, and the question, um, but that obviously is how, um, and hopefully you can all see this image. These are some of the six recommendations that came out from, from the report that everybody needs to make a, I’m not going to go through them now. Um, but, uh, just to give an example, Holiday Local invites us to fly just once every three years short-haul and once every eight years long haul, and this is what the science says that we all need to do. And if we’re doing it, these six shifts and then we’re doing what the environment needs. No more fads, no more confusion, just real deal science. Um, and so with this new information, I left my job, um, and me and some friends, uh, headed in a new direction and set up this new grassroots movement called the Jump, which launched only a few weeks ago. And it invites people to take the jump, which means to try these six shifts for one, three or six months. And then we offer the community the tools and hopefully the good vibes to help people along the way. So,
So far so good. Right. Um, but all of this, like begs a pretty big question. Like if these shifts are so important, why are they so hard? Right. And that’s because to take them, we have to swim upstream against our society’s systems, it’s cultures, it’s mindsets, it’s behaviors, all of which are currently designed and focused on, on more consumption. Alright. And for example, the prevailing mindset around the world for the moment is that happiness is not to be found within us. Alright. It’s out there in the world amongst all the things that I have to compete with each other and fight to get hold of. Right. And if I get 10 times more of that stuff, I get 10 times more lasting happiness, you know, and, and that is the foundation really of the way that our world works right now. And it’s just physiologically simply not true. 10 times more stuff doesn’t make me 10 times more happy. That’s not the way our brain simply works. Right. It’s not like it’s factually incorrect, like as a route of becoming happy. And as a way of organizing ourselves and seeing reality, it’s like we’re under some sort of spell or like a confused dream, alright. And the question is, how on earth do we wake up? And this is where, like for the first time, two huge parts of my life were sustainability and environment and meditation and inner journey come crashing together and now occupy the same space. And that’s because the wisdom traditions of which Buddhism is one, um, and I’ve been practicing with that for about 20 years, they offer so many tools and views to help us with this exact problem, alright. In a very real practical and ordinary way.
So first they help point us in a more sensible direction, frankly. And then they give us the tools to be able to move there and to be able to get on with it and, uh, and progress. And an example of a sensible direction is to put wisdom and kindness at the heart of our lives. Alright. And an example of wisdom that often comes up in Buddhism is recognizing the deep truth of impermanence, for instance, alright. That everything passes, no matter how hard you try and hold onto things, grasp at them, try and make, you know, make the world, you know, safe for you. Everything passes, everything changes, right? That’s just the way the world works. Look at all the evidence in history. And so when you really connect with and accept this obvious and unavoidable fact, naturally you stop grasping at stuff too much. You start to relax, you start to feel much better.
And all of this undermines, um, this foundations of consumerism, another is about compassion and kindness. Like wisdom is how we see the world. Kindness is how we relate to it. And if we engage with others, generously, we quickly become disinterested, uh, in amassing a great pile of stuff and dominating the world and each other so that we can get it. And when we take joy in other people’s happiness, we just start to feel so much better. Don’t we? Again, undermining consumerism and, you know, you might say fine, great. This all sounds very nice. Yeah. But how, how on earth do we do any of this in a modern world? Well, again, these traditions offer so much, right. Um, and individually, I mean, my experience meditation and the teachings of Buddhism help establish a daily life practice that really, it’s kind of like going to the gym for your love and your compassion and for your wisdom daily, you can nurture it and it becomes real, you know, and then that’s on your own, but also together rituals, ways of celebrating and coming together that don’t involve stuff that that actually nurture, um, a better way of living.
So, yeah, so there’s so much on that end and to conclude, actually, I mean, all of a sudden these lenses and tools that these wisdom traditions offer us, you know uh become most more than just a way of improving our lives. You know, to me, it’s clear the science, um, demands that we find a 21st century way of putting these into practice, not just to make us happy, but simply as a way of surviving, um, of dealing with this common crisis as I’ve outlined. And so this is why, I mean, the Jump has got five tools in it that help us make the transition, right. Um, and one of them, we called Deepen and it basically is aimed at addressing exactly these sorts of things. Iy is brand new and we’ve not developed it much yet. Um, but we’re starting to hold events and spaces for people to come together to discuss this sort of stuff. And then very hopefully um soon workshops and events from notable teachers and stuff. So, so basically I want to finish with saying, I’m inviting you all to take the jump, to get involved in, in this great experiment. It’s www.takethejump.org. Um, and I look forward to seeing you all there and also talking to everybody after this. So thank you very much, everyone.
Wonderful. Thank you Tom. Thank you so much. And we have, um, we’ve already shared the jump on our social, so you can also go through there, um, to find the amazing work that Tom’s doing. Um, and we will continue to support you and wish you all of the best of luck Tom in this wonderful venture that you are embarking on. Okay. So next up we have Mike Roman, a former Kiribas Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright fellow, co-creator of the social media platform, humans of care of us and author of When There Was No Money, received his PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh, his dissertation: “Migration, Transnationality, and Climate Change in the Republic of Kiribati” was turned into a 2018 Sundance election Anote’s Ark. He has spent the last 20 years raising global consciousness of our planet’s climate crisis from the front lines. Over to you, Mike.
First off, thank you everyone for having me and congratulations to you, Dominique, you said Anote’s perfectly
Oh yay, Fantastic.
I’m going to start my story with talking about what got me into where I am today and that not really being my connection of my Catholic faith and background, even though Pope Francis has written the encyclical on the environment. Um, that, wasn’t the thing that connected me because my journeys started a long, long time ago. When I was little, my dad would always take me to church to do some kind of service, whether it was making meals for the homeless or packing Christmas baskets, for those that didn’t have the money or the means to have a Christmas, uh, celebration. Um, from the young age, I was always attracted to service. So it was pretty predictable that I would dedicate myself to some kind of service when I graduated high school, college graduate school; my life is a life of service. So at Miami University, I went in and interviewed for the Peace Corps.
I told the person that was interviewing me that I was allergic to fish, hated hot weather and was severely prone to motion sickness, especially on boats. I was sent to this central Pacific Island nation, where there is nothing but fish, heat and boats for 2000 to 2002, uh, two for two years from 2000 and 2002. On my first week there, I have to explain to you what Kiribati is. It’s a central Pacific coral atoll nation, and it’s one of the first nations predicted to vanish in the planet because of climate change with elevation of maybe just one to three feet for uh, English for American measurements or one meter at, for, for the rest of the world. Um, so it’s very low lying. It’s centered on the four corners of the planet. It’s the only nation to have territory and the Northern Southern Western and Eastern quadrants of the earth.
It is literally where the day starts and predicted to be one of the first to disappear. I lived and worked there for a while and I’m still living in, working there remotely. We went through droughts that lasted months. I’ve seen oceans rise over villages. My adopted Kiribati’s fathers, my adopted father from Kiribati is, um, living without his home village. It’s been under the ocean for more than 15, my entire time there and I include up until this very day because I still work with the nation. It has been something that has changed my life drastically. I am still a servant. I am still fighting for their nation, my nation and our world. I left service in 2002. The day I left service was the day that my commitment to the country ended, but it was also the day that my commitment to the nation began, leaving service was hard.
I didn’t want to leave and I wasn’t done my time wasn’t done. Since then, I’ve been working in academia. I’ve been teaching, I’ve been working around the world, talking at the UN and the Pacific, partnering with nations all around the world, just to tell the world that we exist for however long we exist in our country. Yesterday was the signing of the Paris agreement in 2015 with great fanfare we celebrated, but we knew that no matter what would happen, our chances of survival would still be pretty slim to none. We say 1.5 to survive because as what we need, but we have to humanize climate change because the science hasn’t been working as fast as it needs to work for my family, for my friends to stay on this planet longer than the next 10 years, we realized that we’re not going to change the world, but we want the world to change for us. And for those other nations, Kiribati, Toca Lu, Marshall Islands, Maldives, and Tuvalu. We are the human faces of climate change, and we don’t want this to happen to anyone else. Thank you so much for inviting me here and I want to leave it open to the rest of, uh, of the panel. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Mike. Uh, I had a little look online at some of the links that you had sent over and, um, the, I was unaware before of Kiribati honestly, before, um, finding your work and I highly recommend everybody makes sure to go out, we’re building our resources page and we’ll make sure to put your Ted talk and various other links up on there so that people can have to it. Um, in terms of the, the film that was made from your dissertation Anote’s Ark, I found the trailer, but is there a space that we can actually watch the entire film at this time? Or is it, um, yeah, let’s speak to that.
So, the dissertation topic was turned into the movie, but it wasn’t based off of my dissertation. Um, I know there is, I guess, an adopted relative of my family. So, um, he is the former president of the nation of Kiribati. I still film made that film. Um, and it was released in 2018. It was in the Sundance film festival. And, sorry, that’s my timer. Just not to go over.
I asked the question. So you’re doing absolutely fine.
Well, it was released in 2018 and it traveled the world, right now. Uh, another film that I helped, uh, develop was, uh, is released around the world. It’s touring the world virtually right now. It’s called One Word, it’s about the Marshall Islands. And, um, my goal is to have a film out by every nation that’s in danger. And so we have the Underwater President that wasn’t, I wasn’t any part, I didn’t have anything to do with that, but that is on the Maldives. Uh, the Marshall Islands is One Word. Anote’s Ark is Kiribati, uh, when the pandemic, um, we want to do one on Tuvalu and we want to do one on Tokelau, um, that, that is my, my ultimate dream. And, and I’m not, we’re not stopping.
Wonderful. Well, I’ll make sure to get all of the relevant details so that we can get it out to our community and anyone who’s interested. Um, okay. Now we are on to Randi Ramdeen. Randi Ramdeen is a queer woman of color and activist and advocate for human, animal, and environmental rights. She was a regional officer for the Green Party of Canada, election organizer for the Green Party of Ontario and campaign manager in the 2019 federal election for the Green Party of Canada leader Annanee Paul. Although she was raised Catholic, Randy now identifies as atheist and rather than subscribing to organized religion, her faith lies within spirituality and the connection between herself, the planet and all its inhabitants; over to you, Randi.
Thanks, Dom. Uh, so yeah, my, um, my story is a little bit like, uh, an Ikea floor plan. Um, it’s confusing, but we’ll get there. So I was raised Catholic. I was baptized when I was three years old in Trinidad. Uh, I was, um, I had my first communion when I was seven and I was confirmed at 12. Um, but I never, throughout that time, I never really felt connected to the religion. Uh, even though my first job was at the parish center as well. And when I tell people later just how Catholic I I was, I went to Catholic school from kindergarten until I went to college and I had a nun as an elementary school principal. So it was, it was pretty Catholic. Um, but it was just, it was just life for me. It was just, that’s just how it was, but I didn’t, I didn’t realize quite how much Catholicism played a big part of my life, uh, because I didn’t feel connected to it.
And when I realized that I was queer, I felt even more disconnected, uh, with it. So when I was in grade 12, I took a, um, world religions course, and I was like, maybe I can find something. Maybe I can find something in here, maybe I can feel a little more connected. Um, and I actually felt a draw to Judaism. And so I started learning a little more about Judaism and felt, Hmm, maybe this is the place for me. And, uh, coincidentally, when I was in college, I met a girl online who happened to be Jewish and, um, and we started dating and, um, she ended up moving to Chicago, um, and we stayed together. And so I actually had the opportunity to go to Chicago quite often and for good, good lengths of time. And we celebrated Hanukkah and a couple of Seders and yeah, it felt, it felt really good.
And then one night we were watching a movie called Trembling Before God. And if anyone’s seen it, it’s about Orthodox, queer Orthodox Jews who really struggle in, in the community and with their religion. And I was like, Hmm, okay. Maybe Judaism isn’t for me. Um, and so I just kept searching and, um, I got to know my then partners, uh, schoolmates very, very well. She went to Purdue University for couple and family therapy and one of her schoolmates was Mormon. And I used to love sitting with him and talking about it. Um, and I just, I just kept my mind open to, to what he had to say. Um, and then one day my partner came home and she said, you know, so-and-so said something really interesting in class. And it was, you know, I’m really struggling with my religion right now. Um, my religion tells me that, um, being gay is wrong and I look at Randi and my partner and I think how could that possibly be wrong?
And so I just was like, Hmm, okay. Maybe everyone struggles with their religion and maybe organized religion isn’t the place for me. And, um, some then, something really cool happened. Uh, an organization called Christian Organization Relief Effort reached out to Purdue University students and their partners and said, would you like to come to, um, uh, work with survivors of Hurricane Katrina? And so, uh, we were all on board with that. So the students obviously went there to provide, um, emotional support. Um, but we also went and we, um, cleaned and sanitized homes and delivered water. So we went all around, um, Ocean Springs, Mississippi and in Biloxi. And a couple of things happened on that trip to really change my perspective. One thing that happened was we met this woman named Joanne and she had been to what she called cancer camp twice. She had a tracheotomy, she had a little voice box and she lost her entire home.
She was staying in a trailer with uh, the door had flown off, um, and FEMA came to visit her and said, would you like another trailer? And she said, no, I’m fine. Give it to someone who actually needs it. Um, and I just thought, wow, this woman is incredible after all she’s been through, she’s just so incredible. And so we helped her as best we could and, and invited her over to the church that we were, we were staying in. Um, and but one moment that we have that I would just, I’ll never, ever forget is, um, she said, can we pray together? And so there was a group of us, probably about six of us. And so, uh, I know a bunch of us weren’t religious, so we were, we were hesitant. And so we did, we did it anyway because she’s just so wonderful.And we stood in the circle and held hands and she just prayed. And in that moment, what I felt was a spiritual connection to a human being, to human beings. And I was like, huh, this is the moment. This is what I’ve been searching for is not something that I, I am trying to force. It’s just a natural connection with human beings. Um, and then when we got back to the church that night, we did a debrief and I, um, had my first guided meditation. Um, cause they knew that that was important for what we had just gone out and experienced the emotional toll it took on seeing all those people being displaced and whatnot. So I, yeah, that day specifically was really moving, really important day for me. Um, and then another moment, the second moment that I had was when we were traveling from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which is a very vibrant, very nice little area.
Um, the very developed area to Biloxi and Biloxi was, um, highly racialized, low income area. And the difference of, from what seemed like devastation and support was night and day, Biloxi was completely ruined. Um, and it was just, it was heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking to see the disaster that the hurricane had caused. And it was heartbreaking to see how it didn’t seem like there was the same amount of support, uh, that was given to Ocean Springs. Um so, so I, I took those thoughts. I took those two experiences and I came back to Canada and I just decided to look up, uh, as much as I could research as much as I could on, on the impacts of climate, climate change and, um, environmental justice and environmental racism. And, um, when I was on my, when I was doing my research, I came across this book called The Politics of Pollution.
And in that book, it discuss, it discusses how, before the Confederation of Canada, which is in 1867, the powerful people knew about pollution and how it was affecting the environment and basically didn’t care. They wanted to just make money. And so it was that moment that I was like, okay, I don’t know how, but I’m going to start being active and going to, and I’m going to make change somehow. So I, you know, started getting involved in the Green Party and I put my money where my mouth is. And I ran as a candidate, uh, three times and I worked for the party and did all that stuff. And then I got involved in an amazing organization. It works for positive, positive change called Start The Wave. And, uh, and here I am, but I’m, I’m constantly, I’m doing, I do everything in my life to make, to make change. And whether that’s small change, you know, starting with, um, changing your, your soap and your house to be biodegradable to protect the, the sea life or, you know, being at pipeline protests, uh, you know, it’s, you can do there’s anything that you can do. And, uh, you know, we, we do what we can. So when we know when we know better, we do better. So yeah, that’s my story.
Beautiful. Thank you so much, Randi. That was super interesting. And I have many follow-up questions for another day. Um, wonderful. Thank you for your share. Okay. So now we have David Loy and David Loy is a professor, writer and Zen teacher in the Sanbozen tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. His most recent book is Ecodharma, but his teachings for the ecological crisis, see www.davidloy.org for more information on his work; over to you, David,
Thank you, Dominique. Um, thinking about today, it, it, it seems to me that it would be more interesting, uh, you know, rather than talking about my own life, saying a little bit about the life of the Buddha, because he had this truly extraordinary relationship, with the natural world, uh, especially trees, um, according to the traditional stories, he was actually born in a Grove of trees Lumbini Grove when his mother went into premature labor. Uh, and then there was a very famous incident when he was just a very young child where he was sitting under a tree, spontaneously went into a kind of meditative, uh, samadhi or, or trance. And later when he left his palace on his, uh, spiritual quest, where did he go? He went into the forest where he studied with a couple of teachers, did his aesthetic practices, and finally ended up meditating.
And, uh, we believe had this great awakening, uh, sitting under another tree, a Bodhi tree next to a river. Um, and even after that, uh, it, it, it wasn’t as though he sort of went back and lived in the city. He continued to live outside, uh, for the most part, uh, he taught outside and when he died, he actually died outside as well, which I think is, is, it is quite striking. He had this deep, obviously there was something deep there. Uh, and you know, we may wonder those of us who are Buddhist today, we tend to have it a lot more comfortably. We, we sit in, you know, uh, rooms with windows and screens so that we can control the, the temperature and the rain and the insects and so forth. But we may also wonder, is, is there something that’s lost, uh, have, are, are we missing something and something that in fact, I think is found not only in Buddhism, but if you think about the story of Jesus, what did he do, uh, after his own baptism by John the Baptist, he actually, uh, went out into the desert right into the wilderness fasting for 40 days and 40 nights.
And if I remember correctly, Mohammed who, you know, the Quran was something that was sort of given to him by, I think the Archangel Gabriel, when he was off by himself, communing in a cave. So there is the suggestion that, you know, many of the greats, spiritual founders have this deep connection with the natural world. And I think the question for all of us, you know, not only for our religions, but for us as a, as a now global civilization, what does that mean? What, what can we learn from it? Uh, in the Buddhist case, there’s this interesting story that, uh, he once had a dream where the, the spirit of the tree came to him and complained that one of the monks had actually cut down its tree, the tree, uh, in order to make a little hut. And it’s interesting how the next morning, the Buddha gathered the Sangha, the monks together and made a new rule. He said that monastics are not allowed to cut down trees or even a living branch, or even pluck a green leaf from, from a Bush. Uh, all of which I think suggests an incredible sensitivity to the natural world that, you know, to a large extent we’ve, we’ve, uh, lost today. Um, when, when we think about Buddhism,
Obviously the Buddha didn’t face the kinds of, uh, challenges that, that we do today. In other words, when you go back to the original teachings, the Buddha doesn’t have anything to say about carbon emissions or rising sea levels and that, uh, but nonetheless, there are a lot of really interesting sort of implications built into the teachings. Um, one of them that is, I think, especially interesting to me is that there does seem to be a kind of a parallel between what Buddhism has always said about our individual predicament, um, and our collective predicament today in the sense that from a Buddhist point of view, can, you can understand that the fundamental problem is, this is one way to say it, the fundamental problem is our sense of separation,
Uh, that we have a sense of ourselves as somehow inside and that other people and the rest of the world are outside. And therefore in some sense, our own wellbeing is separate from their wellbeing. I’m fascinated by the fact that it really seems to be the situation we’re facing now in terms of how it is that our human global situation, or civilization that we feel so separate from the rest of the natural world, that we feel that we can exploit it because we’re separate from it. We can use it for our own benefit. So in both cases, it seems to be that the fundamental problem is this sense of separation and the fundamental. Uh, and if that’s also, we can say a kind of spiritual problem that we face today, then it really does raise this question. What can we do to overcome this sense of separation? What, what are the practices? When you look at Buddhist teachings, again, they don’t give us a lot of help in terms of specifically what we should do today. They, uh, you know, there’s a variety of things that I think we need to be creative about.
Um, you know, some, some people work on individual carbon footprint, other ones work on sort of passing a carbon tax in Congress. Some other people, including myself, uh, work with groups like Extinction Rebellion, uh, you know, realizing that direct action civil disobedience is probably going to be necessary. But if I can just conclude by pulling out what I think is the single most important sort of Buddhist implication. And it’s the idea of the Bodhisattva Path, which in Buddhism is basically the understanding that when we look for spiritual awakening, we shouldn’t do it just for our own individual wellbeing. We should do it to help everyone as well. And I think that’s the challenge we face today. I think that not only Buddhism, but I think religion in general needs to reconfigure itself. Uh, not only do we need to see through the idea that the goal is to somehow escape or transcend this world, but we also need to realize that it’s enough, that it’s not enough to focus on what we think promotes our own wellbeing.
We also need to look at the larger picture and bring together the kind of personal or individual transformation that Buddhism has always emphasized with the kind of social collective institutional transformation that’s necessary today. And, and I think the really exciting thing that’s happening certainly in Buddhism, but I would say in many other religions as well, is the realization how these two transformations are dependent upon each other, that each requires the other, if it’s going to be as successful as we need it to be. Now, Dominique, I’ve lost track of the time. So it’s probably time for me to stop, right. Should I leave it at that?
It’s up to you. Do you feel like you’ve come to the end of your, of your share or would you, yeah. I mean, it’s wonderful and things
One very quick, quick point, you know, Buddhism traditionally doesn’t talk about good versus evil; Buddhism traces our problems back to greed, ill will and delusion. And traditionally these have been understand in an individual way, but I think we’re in a situation now where we can see actually these aren’t only individual problems. They’re actually institutionalized in the modern world. We’ve institutionalized them to be quite frank. I think consumer corporate capitalism, at least the way it’s functioning now in Sofar, as you always want more and more, whether it’s more consumption, whether it’s, uh, uh, you know, more profits, higher stock prices, market share, whatever it’s always this need to keep growing. If you’re not going to collapse. And from a Buddhist point of view, you know, why is more and more, always better if it can never be enough? I mean, I think that’s one example, but we could see it with the others as well that the challenge we’re facing is not simply working on our own individual radio dual delusion, but to see how these have taken collective institutional social forum in the world and working together with other people to try to find, to address them.
So maybe I’ll leave it at that for the moment. Yeah.
Beautiful! Yeah, absolutely. Uh, fantastic. Okay. So we, uh, now on to some questions, um, that are coming through from those watching at home. So the first question will be for Tom. Um, I work for a local government. How do we push our local public agencies to start making changes internally that will spur environmental awareness and environmentally friendly practices?
Hmm, good question. Um, so I mean, I’ve seen research that shown that cities are responsible for all of the savings we need to get to a, uh, um, a climate safe place, cities or local authorities, action at the local level government level could be responsible for up to 30% of the savings we need. Right? So it’s a mass and local authorities actually have huge influence. Um, and there’s lots they can do. And therefore there’s lots that we should want to push. Um, you know, we can push them to do, uh, transport buildings, green space, um, and in some places, energy, it really does change by local authority, what they have influence over. But I mean, I think, you know, uh, the best ways to push them and there’s all sorts of things. But I mean, I think obviously, um, civil disobedience and protesting and the XR kind of stuff is really key, but really one thing I want to say is that like, um, actually at the moment, even if they were to do all of those things, it would still be a long way off enough.
And there was some research we saw recently. Right. But that was really, really insightful around this question that I asked the question, if you were to ask yourself right now, where in the world looks like the future, right. What place looks like? You know, like if we haven’t gone to part in the, you know, the planet saved, well, it looks like that now. So you think, Oh, it’s places with like green energy and lots of public transport and energy efficient buildings, and everyone’s kind of cycling on their bikes and it’s all green and lovely. Do you think about places like Copenhagen, Oslo, um, Portland in America, these right. These places that have actually got really low local emissions, they’ve kind of done a lot of what the local authority, you know, exercised a lot of the local authorities power, great progress, great credit to them, their emissions locally down to two tons a person, right.
And we need to get into one ton pretty much. And most cities are up at five, 10, 15. So the great work on the, on these spaces for that, but that’s only their local emissions. When you look at their global emissions, some of these cities go from two to 20 tons. They go from being the best places in the world to actually the most intensive. Alright. So this tells us the whole story of like, of, of what progress, but where we’re working towards, what the example is, we’re trying to emulate, turns it on its head. So I would uh, invite whoever asked, this question that the most powerful thing is to start trying to embody that real future, you know, and start moving away because the reason those places are really high impact is because of the consumption curve. Copenhagen also tends to be very wealthy, lots of flying, lots of meat, lots of investments around the world, redoing your house every couple of years.
Cause you can’t because you can afford it, stop that! I know and, and, and start living in touch with your local environment and work less and, um, kind of what makes life good and, and cause, cause there’s nowhere we can point out right now that is the future we need to live in. Um, so to start creating examples of that, little pockets of that in our communities, I would say is the most important thing we need to do right now. Uh, and then that will filter up and our local authorities, our systems, our cultures will change. And then all of our local authorities will know what to do. So yeah; a slightly curveball answer, but there you go
Oh no, beautiful! And so important too. Yeah. To observe our sort of place within what’s going on right now. And then, like you say, we start by embodying that, um, that inevitably influences other people to also get on board. Um, and uh, thank you very much, Tom. Okay. So the next question is for Mike, what can we do to help these countries get fresh water, food and basic needs met in order to survive? What can we do Mike, as people watching here today, um, after hearing your heartbreaking stories about Kiribati?
The great thing about COVID 19, if there is anything great about COVID-19 is that, um, it forced us to not rely on external imports. And so, Kiribati closed its borders in, I want to say mid to late March and I was supposed to go back. There has been thousands of us, stranded and Germany and the USA and Australia and New Zealand. And we’re still quote unquote COVID refugees. Um, but what that made us do and the country people do in their country is grow things like they have grown for thousands of years before, rely on the natural environment, do things the way that they were done before. Fresh water, without going into a geological explanation of coral atoll lenses and the aquifers that form and desalinate the saltwater due to the coral. Um, there is fresh water, there is ways to get water on those islands.
Um, people have done it for thousands of years. Kiribati archeological evidence shows that there were people in Kiribati 2000 years ago. So we know how to live. We know how to survive. One thing that really connects us is the word Abba means people. It means land. It means community all in one. When you were born on that Island, you live on that Island, you grow up on that Island. You have children of your own on that Island. And when you died, you returned to the Island and you watch over the Island for future generations that will come after you. It’s cosmologically connected; the past, the present and the future is all connected to land. So when we talk about the land disappearing, we’re also talking about a people disappearing and my Kiribati parents will not leave that land because they are attached to that land.
Um, so the land takes care of us and we take care of the land, but what is happening outside of Kiribati is impacting us. And that one thing that we cannot control, that people cannot control. We leave that up to the rest of the world. Um, it’s baby steps for baby feet. I can almost guarantee that no one heard of Kiribati or even knew how to pronounce Kiribati. Before I said Kiribati, everyone would think it was Kiri-batis while the T and the, I make the S sound. So it’s Kiribati, get a bus if it’s too hard to pronounce and just say, get a bus really fast and we’ll understand. So it’s these little steps that we’re trying to take while we still can take; fresh water, medical supplies, all that stuff is great, but we live in a place and I’m thinking of Tamanna thinking of the other islands, where money is not the currency. People are the currency. That’s how you survive. You survive with people, you survive with the land.
Um, so spreading the word then is what I’m hearing. Um, talking about Kiribati, making people aware that that is a place that is, um, really feeling, I mean, there are many places in the world, but truly feeling like the devastating effects of climate change firsthand and shedding light on that, having conversations, um, and doing the work where, where we are in order to, um, try and reduce the effects of, of, of what, what, uh, our actions are, how they are impacting other places in the world. Um, is there anything else you’d like to add to that?
It’s powerful. Um, governments are very, very powerful and I have worked, um, during the past four years, I’ve worked with the United States Congress and the Senate and things have been happening in the halls of Congress and the tunnels of Congress. That gives me hope that, um, give me hope for things like amendments or things like Senate resolutions for displaced populations put forth by a Senator from Vermont. And co-sponsored in the house by a Senator from the, by a Congresswoman, from New York City. And when I go up to DC, I’m in conversation with these people and they have never heard like everyone on this call, most likely they have never heard of these situations happening on the other side of the planet. So it’s stories can do a huge amount of good and they can inspire people to work for justice. For those that don’t have a voice and tell our story. We love, we love where we live. We love the world that we are in and, um, my family doesn’t want to leave.
Thank you. Um, I realized that I forgot to say that we were supposed to have the lovely Winona, Winona Leduc on our call here today. Um, but unfortunately, um, she’s protesting and due to some complications with line three, um, she is not able to make it today. So we are sending all of our love and positivity out to her, um, wherever she is right now. Um, so okay. Back to the questions, we have a question for Randi, did you find being brought up in Catholicism, um, easier for you to search for answers outside it?
Um, yes. Uh, in the sense that I never, like I said before, I never really felt connected to Catholicism when we would go to church. Like the stories just didn’t didn’t penetrate for me. Um, you know, when I went to my retreat at a convent for my confirmation, I was like, this is a great place to party. That’s what I was thinking about instead of feeling that connection. And the, and like I said, when I got a bit older and realized how, um, realized that I was queer and realized the views of Catholicism at the time, um, were very antiqueer .It was easy for me to search for it elsewhere because it was search for answers elsewhere because I didn’t fit in, I definitely didn’t fit in anymore in that. Um, but I’m always searching for answers and I’m always open to listening to people.
Like I, one of my best friends is, um, Baptist and I love listening to her. And while I don’t believe, like I said, in organized religion, I love listening to people who have faith and to see how much that faith has affected them and inspires them to make change. Um, and I’m, you know, I, I keep an open mind, like I said, and there’s actually this church in Toronto that I go to with my friends, uh, called Gay Church, um, because it’s super inclusive and we really learn good lessons from it. And so I’m not, I’m not anti-religion by any means. I’m, I’m constantly, um, open to, you know, receiving the messages that, uh, that I can get in really good spaces. And that’s a really good space to get it. So, uh, so yeah.
Fantastic. Thank you. Okay. Question for David now, can you clarify how Buddhism rickens.. reconciles, I’m going to start that again. Can you clarify how Buddhism reconciles the idea of impermanence and a non transcendental view of the world?
Hmm. You know, usually when we think about religion where we’re, we’re looking for some kind of permanence, some something real and unchanging, like God, for example, and sort of hoping to sort of ground ourselves in that. And, and in that regard, I think Buddhism is, is quite strikingly different in the way that it emphasizes, uh, impermanence and embracing impermanence. So, you know, in, in Buddhism it’s a big tent. So there are people who would understand the goal in Buddhism as some kind of complete transcendence of this world, but certainly in, in the tradition Zen that I trained in, I think, and I think for a lot of other Buddhists as well, uh, what we need to transcend is really our ego. You know, the delusion of a me that’s separate from the world and my wellbeing is separate from mural. That’s the problem. And by, uh, letting go of that, opening up to the impermanence and, and, and for Buddhism too, impermanence is very much connected with another essential teaching, which is insubstantiality, which is a fancy word, just to say that nothing has any separate reality of its own.
It’s all, everything is interdependent, everything is connected with other things. And so what this ends up emphasizing is that the life for a mature Buddhist practitioner is, is open to the, the impermanence and also responding appropriately, according to situations because of that. So that’s the emphasis. And of course, what’s, what’s uniquely challenging about our situation today is the ecological crisis, not even just the climate emergency, but the larger one, the fact that there’s so many, um, you know, species disappearing, so many pollutants in the air and the earth and our bodies and so forth. And so the question really is how do we respond appropriately to that? And it’s because I think Buddhism doesn’t get preoccupied with escaping the world, but rather trying to address its problems that, I mean, I think that’s moving in the kind of direction that we really need. You know, religions have a kind of a checkered history in the sense that a lot of times they’ve ended up emphasizing are, you know, we’re unique, we’re special, we’re separate from all the other creatures, uh, our wellbeing, they’re all here for us. And, and I think rather than continuing down that road, we, you know, all of our religious traditions really need to ask ourselves, you know, how do we need to transform our understanding in ways that will help us engage more fully with the kinds of crises that we have today? Because if we can’t do that, our religions are going to be irrelevant and, uh, we don’t want that to happen. Yeah,
Mmm; Absolutely. So this is a question for the whole panel. Um, anyone who feels called to answer, how can we motivate others to see how small behavioral changes can have an impact and widespread positive, have an important and wide spread positive impact for the environment? Does anyone feel cool to answer?
Yeah. If I can say just very briefly, a two points, number one, I think the best way to motivate other people is to set a good example. You know, it’s, it’s really, I mean, we –words are cheap, right? It’s all very easy to talk about what we should be doing. If we can set a big, good example, especially a non consumerist one, because as Tom was saying, you know, so so much we identify more consumption with more happiness. And if we can show that, you know, not being focused on this consumerist religion, if in fact that makes one even happier, more joyful, more free. I think that example is really important. But the other thing I’d want to add to that is although reducing our own carbon footprint is important, I think it’s not to, it’s important not to buy into what sometimes the large corporations want is to think that that’s the main problem. We also need to address the way the economic system is structured. Uh, and it’s really important that our preoccupation with reducing our own footprint, doesn’t remove us from that. I remember Bill McKibben said at the Paris talks, you know, somebody asked him, uh, what can I do as an individual? And he responded, stop being an individual. We have to work with others if we’re really going to adjust this problem anyway, enough from me.
Absolutely. No, it’s, uh, it’s great. And, and I guess the question is like, how do we join forces and come together? Right? I mean, we have so many tools in order for us to do that. Now, the fact that we can have this conversation from all over the world, um, and come together is, is remarkable. So I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can use the tools that are in place in order to create positive change and to make those connections and deeper and deepen our understanding, um, through connection. Uh, anybody else have any, have any thoughts in regards to that? Yeah. Tom, go for it.
Um, yeah, I mean, just to reflect, I completely agree with everything David said that I think, I think there was, you know, there’s, um, there is a lot of this certainly in the environment movement at the moment that there’s really firm sort of recommend, reckon…. recognition of the responsibility and the big businesses kind of put on individuals, Oh, it’s you buying the wrong things? That’s, what’s causing all this trouble. Then at the same time, I think like the, um, the science is really clear at the moment. Depending on where you live 20 to 40% of the emissions, um, the, the, uh, your personal per capita emissions can be influenced. You are the primary influence over that 40, 30, 20 to 40%. So right now you could take a massive chunk out. So there is an enormous impact we can have. That is the science is basically really clear.
We need all action from all actors right now. We don’t have time to buy the business. And then all, then it’s our turn. Everybody needs to be doing everything yesterday. So like, um, to that, just in terms of that messaging is really clear. And, and actually, you know, we do have real clear idea of what those things are now. Um, and it’s really important to get them out. Cause a lot of people are like, well, what about my recycling? Is that enough? And can I just offset my flights? And like, what if I just won’t get a stairs rather than the lIft, is that enough? And it’s like, uh, all I, you know, soy milk that is not chopping down the main forest as well. It’s like, we just need clarity. And hopefully then a bit the point now with the science where we know what they are, right.
It’s the diet is the flights is, um, and just in terms of how we drive impacts like to be, you know, you could, you could see the world the way our, what’s the, our society in different chunks, right? This is the systems which are the infrastructure, our politics, our economics, there’s our cultures, which is how we organize ourselves together, how we relate to each other, there’s our mindsets, which is our own experience, right? And these things are all equally important parts of the orbit, right? And often we focus just on the system, but actually it’s not until we change, we’ve been talking about, you know, fundamentally what it is we strive for on a day-to-day basis where the example I always use is just like our celebrations look, all our celebrations, birthdays, um, uh, the winter holidays, you know, uh, uh, baby showers, anniversaries, they all centered around stuff now, like what, is there a way that we come together and share which doesn’t? So I just think, you know, that’s the sort of thing that we could start by doing, let’s create celebrations and come together where we don’t buy things. Um, so yeah, I think there’s just so much fertile ground for, for changing the way we live. And then that will start to filter up because once you change those mindsets, cold enough, people start to go, wow, that looks all right, actually, and then you get cultures change. We’re not gonna do that. And then the systems change.
Absolutely. So as we’re heading into the holiday season, um, our family has spoken for many years about the necessity to, to remove presents from the equation or find alternative ways of doing it. Um, but it always manages to creep in somehow, you know, because I think we’re all so used to this being such an integral part of, of our celebrations. Do you have any alternative ways that you think that people can come together without the necessity for exchanging more stuff? Um, and yeah. What could that look like if anyone wants to..
Hell yeah, well, yeah. I mean, I think, well, one of the first things I, as part of that journey is, you know, it feels viscerally good to buy stuff sometimes. Right. You know, when you’re fed up and you’re going, ah, God I’m really screwed up today, what he did at the time. And you’re like, well, I’m gonna tell myself, I’ll feel better. I’ll go and buy something on Amazon. Right. And like, you feel for like five minutes, it’s a strong emotional reaction. Right. And like, and that is, you know, that’s why consumer advertising so, so powerful. It can harness that. And actually this is where, like the practices that we talk about are really important. so you can take it, just take a moment and just kind of sit through that and, and, and, you know, to have the, almost like the sort of soap, I don’t know what the word is, but the, yeah.
The psychological, the kind of meditative infrastructure to just kind of pass through that moment, you know? Um, uh, I think it’s a really important part of what we just described. Uh, cause we do end up just buying something anyway. Um, and then in terms of coming together, I mean, there’s just so many things we could have just, you know, I think what’s better than having it bought. You know?. A gift doesn’t have to be a thing. You know, there’s all sorts of ways we can give things to each other, you know, find other ways; our time is the biggest gift, uh, after all isn’t it just being my that’s the thing that the lockdown has taught us when the lockdown was lifted, we didn’t think, Oh my God, I need lots of cheap t-shirts you were like,
I want to, I want to see the people I love. Right.Right. So, so each other’s time, I think is the best
Embracing that quality time. Absolutely. Before I move on to another question, does anybody have anything else they’d like to add in regards to, um, how we, how small behavioral changes can have an important and widespread positive impact on the environment?
Uh, I’d like to add something on to what Tom was saying. Um, it’s, it’s, uh, people’s nature to a certain degree to want to fit in. And Tom was saying, you know, when they see something they’re like, Oh yeah, that actually looks pretty good. So the more people see the changes that other people are making, the way they’re shifting their lives, the more they’re going to want to start doing that themselves. Um, and if I can get political for a moment, uh, voting the right people in and changing policy, it’s not a perfect system, but, uh, it’s a system we have. And so I hope everyone on this panel, uh, runs for candidacy wherever they are to make some changes.I’m definitely out of that. I can’t see that being in my future, but
Everyone here, the people we need to make changes.
Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. So another question for the whole panel, um, what part do you feel organized religion plays in the need for ecological change needed today? So for the eco… ecological change needed today and how does it affect the impact needed for the change to either start or continue?
I think, um, I think you don’t make changes unless something happens to you personally, or, you know, someone who hasn’t been impacted by that. And to that point, uh, half of the country of Kiribati is Catholic. Half of it is, uh, Protestant and smatherings of Mormon, uh, Baha’i Muslim, uh, seventh day Adventist and, uh, throw something else out there. Being able to connect the call that we’re making with religious organizations around the world, we were able to work with Pope Francis in putting together one of our pieces that, you know, putting together that movie, because I know that is Catholic I’m Catholic where all my family USA , Kiribati is all Catholic. Being able to connect religions that connect millions, billions of people around the world and able to do something with that is almost, um, it’s almost like social media on steroids. And I think the call to serve the call to, um, humble yourself, the call to work with each other, like Dr.
Loy was saying so many things of what he talked about and the Buddhist spade I could feel reflected in my Catholic faith. So many things that he talked about within the Muslim faith that he reflected on the Buddhist faith. I could, I could feel that in my Catholic faith and parts of it and the Mormon faith, that I’m knowing that I’m learning about it as well. So I mean, we are all connected and I think that’s what an environmental group does need in a global connection to each other. And I think, um, humanity is best when we face the worst, because that, that brings out the best in all of us.
Anyone else want to jump in? Go for it, David.
I think that our religious institutions are both part of the problem, a big part of the problem, and also an extremely important part of the solution. By part of the problem. I mean that, as I said, somewhat earlier, I think that too often, they have focused our attention elsewhere. They’ve talked about some other reality, some way of transcending this world and therefore understanding the value of this world as simply kind of a means to some higher eternal end. I think in so far as our religions have encouraged us to do that, they have sort of been complicit in the kinds of degradation that, that had, that have been happening. They they’ve treated the earth as simply kind of a backdrop to this great story of salvation that will eventually involve us escaping somewhere else. But the other side of it is religions have, are so important in the lives of so many people.
And also, you know, they’re all big tents. They all have a lot of teachings. And I think the, the, the teachings about, uh, compassion about kindness about really, you know, helping it’s like all of them in one way or another, they articulated differently, but they’re all talking about the problem of ego, of, of, you know, selfishness. They all point out what a, what a problem that is. And I think by building on it and also understanding that selfishness can also happen on a collective level, you can have a species that is selfish in terms of how it relates to all the other species of the earth. You know, these teachings are also built into our great religions traditions. And so I think there are these double aspects. We have to be wary of the problems and the ways that religion can sort of reinforce some of the negative turning away from this world, but also how at their core, the great founders, the great teachers exemplify and show us what it can really mean to, to let go of our egos and to become part of something greater than ourselves whose wellbeing we identify with.
Beautiful. Yes. Uh, an ongoing journey of, uh, eliminating the ego, but it’s so important. Um, anyone else want to jump in on that question before we move on? Not seeing any hands go up. Okay. Um, to what extent is eco-consciousness yet another privilege of the privileged? Hmm. Interesting question. Who’d like to take that first one.
I can go. Um, so yeah, so this goes, this reminds me, and it goes back to, um, environmental racism and just having access; less access to information and to that knowledge, um, uh, but also the difference between being in survival mode and being in a privileged state. So there are people who are literally just trying to survive, trying to put dinner, put food on their table and feed their families. And they just don’t have the bandwidth to be able to focus on, uh, those ways that they can, you know, make, make change. It’s just, it’s just not in their capacity right now. And I think that’s something that’s really important for us to understand that these, all of us right now are very privileged, not privileged to be able to put thought into these things and to dedicate our time and ourselves to these things because we’re not in survival mode. Um, and I think that’s, that’s just an important reminder for, for everyoneBeautifully said, beautifully said, Randi, um, anyone else wants to speak on that
Maybe to add to that quickly? That’s right. I think I know, I know, you know, the corollary of, of, of, of, um, privilege in this context is probably a responsibility, right? I mean, there’s a bit of doing a lot of engagement, um, part of the job to make sure this is a place for all voices, obviously crucial. I mean, obviously the environment movement has not been, um, but also there’s as, as we recognized that, I think it’s really important to recognize that it’s not everybody responsibility evenly. There’s the enormous economic inequality and therefore there’s inequality and responsibility. And a lot of the push, a lot of outreach to certain communities here has been like, well, you know, you caused this mess, you fix it and come back once you have, you know, um, uh, I don’t think this is a completely, there’s a lot of truth to that, you know? So I think, um, uh, I think it’s important that the space be most more compassionately held, uh, for everyone to be a part of it. Um, but really it’s an invitation is, and actually if it ends up, you know, being lonely, lonely, the privilege, sorting that mess out, then I think that there’s probably some justice in that. Um.
Well said, well said Tom, okay, this is a question for David. Um, just looking at the time three 15, I think we can continue going for a little longer if everyone is, is happy to do so. Um, so this question is for David, uh, could you speak about how to bridge or translate the connections of Ecodharma with Christian perspective?
In a way I hope that I’ve done that to some degree in some of the other comments that I’ve, that I’ve made, um, especially the last one, you know, regarding the, the fundamental, the fundamental issue of, of what I think the founders were really pointing at. I mean, if we go back to the original teachings of Jesus, what, what is he really pointing toward? Is it, is it really a matter of transcending this world? Or if we look at the emphasis upon relating to other people and kindness, I mean, I see that as, as a, um, kind of an essential, an essential teaching there. Yeah. Hmm. I don’t know that that’s a very good answer or an adequate answer. I mean, the religions are, are, are so big that it’s hard to sort of sometimes generalize about them in the way that I’ve been doing, but maybe that’s the best I can offer for the moment.
I think that’s great. Coming back to the fundamentals of compassion and loving kindness that, that runs through old, um, religions and spiritual ideas. I think from what I’ve learned personally, it is, it is that which connects us all, whether we’re talking about spirituality and, um, and religion, or just as humans, it really feels like that is the energy that connects us all. And if we can really tap into that, um, we’ll be able to find that common language too,
Can we extend that beyond human beings? You know, I mean to other species, can we extend it to ecosystems and indeed the whole biosphere, you know, the earth just isn’t… the earth, isn’t just our home where we happen to be living it’s our mother.
And in a sense we never, you know, cut that umbilical cord. So how do we acknowledge that, that too is a way in which we are part of something greater than ourselves. And therefore we have a sense of responsibility to that.
Yeah, absolutely. So this last question here is for everyone, and it’s an interesting one. Um, the pandemic has reduced individual emissions, but online shopping has increased pollution from big tech besides not shopping, how can we hold big tech accountable for that impact?
Well, I could offer one quick thing. Things, um, in, in the job, one of the shifts is to is, and clutter. And basically the research implies that we should be keeping all electronics for at least seven years. To only buy products where the supplier is providing you with, you know, a product that might last that long, um, super important.
And how are we, how are people to know what is the research that needs to take place in when buying these products? Right? Because they may, there’s a lot of lying that’s going on in the world currently, which is they, they may promote something as being a sustainable or, you know, something that will last and then you get it through the post and it breaks virtually instantly, you know, it’s, uh, that’s an interesting thing to think about in terms of how can we be more conscious buyers when we are consuming conscious consumers.Maybe that’s a reflection about you were asking earlier about how is it we can all come together. There’s so many of us around the world that are concerned about these things collaborating on, on, on that kind of sharing that information is probably yeah, Sure there’s websites for it. Yeah.
Yeah, definitely. There will be soon if there isn’t already.
Would you mind if I spoke up on a question a couple of questions ago as
Of course, I’d love that, I’d love that Mike.
This idea. And I had to look at that. I kind of have a feeling that I knew what it was, but I wanted to make sure that my definition was correct and this, uh, this idea of ego consciousness. Um, I think Randy said that it was for the privilege, but I would argue strongly against that, that it’s not for the privileged only because we are very conscious about what is happening to our water. We are very conscious about what’s happening to our lands. We are very conscious about the funerals that we are doing for children that pass away because the water has turned into this. I’ve had this water bottle for almost a decade now, but this was our well water. And when children drink this, they get diarrhea, they vomit, they end up dehydrating. And my family in Kiribati has buried children less than two years of age because of things like this. And this has been happening for a long time. So we are not unconscious to whether it’s happening to the environment. Like I always say, it’s not just the polar bears. We need to have our story heard too, because we, we are receiving the water that’s melting on the poles. And so while they are losing the Tundra, we are losing their islands. Uh, I guess that, um, this story doesn’t get told because no one’s interested in hearing until now I hope. W e don’t have electricity. We don’t have running water, but yet we are facing one of the world’s biggest challenges and to a very, very, very large part that is not the fault of the Marshall Islands. Kiribati, Tokaido, Tuvalu, the Maldives. Right.
Absolutely. And I think going back to what Randi was saying, it’s the responsibility of the privilege to make sure that we are addressing how our impacts affect, um, people like yourselves in Kiribati and beyond. Um, does anyone else have anything they want to add to, to Mike’s share or, um, or back to the question on, on how we can hold the big techs accountable for that impact or what needs to, you know, as we’re moving into this new world of a global pandemic and figuring out, you know, new ways of living new ways of doing things like how, what we should be conscious of, um, as we navigate this time and the shifts that are changing
Maybe I can speak a little more generally if, if I can, uh, it’s, it’s not just, it’s not just holding big tech accountable, but, but, but I think it’s, it’s the larger issue. Um, and I think Buddhism is, that’s what I usually talk about, but I think Buddhism is just a, um, just, just a kind of example here. I mean, the way that Buddhism traditionally focused on our own individual awakening when it came to the West, it, it, it also tied into sort of American individualism, right? It’s, there’s a lot of Buddhist groups where, you know, leave me alone. Don’t distract me with all this social ecological stuff, because, you know, I’m focusing on my own enlightenment. And I think the big challenge, uh, certainly for Buddhism. And I think for a lot of other organizations, a lot of other religious institutions is, is the need to find ways to come together, right?
Like I alluded to, Bill McKibben, you know, stop being an individual, if it’s true that the three poisons that Buddhism talks about greed, ill will, and delusion are not just functioning individually, but they’ve been institutionalized. We really have to, you know, we can’t think of ourselves as lone Rangers. We have to find ways to come together and to work together and in order to address them. And ideally, I would think religious institutions are a great way, you know, because in a religion, we, we, we come together, uh, in our beliefs in, and in our concerns. And that just seems kind of a natural way to create a kind of community that then understands and is able to act as a community as a group to address these deep rooted collective problems. So I guess what I’m trying to say is the, the answer really is isn’t simply about us, about you and me sort of signing online petitions, the sort that we get a dozen of every day, but it’s actually finding ways to work, finding ways to be a part of a loving community where people are there for each other who really want to support each other. And I think that’s one of the main challenges for religion in general these days. And certainly if it’s going to be relevant in, in helping to address these kinds of challenges that we have today.
Hmm. Wonderful stuff. Does anybody have anything else they would like to add about, you know, any of the things that we’ve covered or just in general, about eco spirituality as a subject and how, um, you know, keeping it in the forefront of our mind and, and diving deeper will, um, is, is very necessary at this time. Uh, before I sign off,
Then maybe just a quick follow on from what David was saying. Just that to, just to recognize, you know, the absolute, it’s going to be so difficult for us to progress through this next civilizational bottleneck, where we’re basically setting fire to the raft that we’re on. And, you know, the, the, these traditions have the tools, right. If we can just present them in a way that that kind of fits with the 21st century psyche. Right. And I think that to me is the big question and the thing that we would love to invite in a jump that this question, but also I hate everywhere. Like how can we bring the ancient wisdom to land in a way that today works? Because obviously we have to be honest, like the religions that are our traditions are, um, you know, they they’re born of a time and there, there isn’t a sort of, uh, reshaping that might be required in some ways I feel. But yeah, that discussion I would love to continue having when we do that
Apologies for talking too much, but really, really briefly. I think something else religions can do is help us deal with our grief because I think frankly, a big obstacle for a lot of us is that we’re repressing our grief about what’s happening. And when we do that, that sort of disempowers us. And one thing we’re doing at our eco Dharma center here in Colorado, that we’ve started is we not only meditate together, but we actually have exercises that can help us get in touch with that grief. Grief is different from despair, but we have to feel our grief and, and real, and that perhaps more than anything else can sort of bring us together. And that’s something I think religions can play an important role. Sorry, I’m talking too much.
No, it’s great. Not at all, Never need to apologize for sharing. And last, last chance. Anyone else want to say anything before I sign off? I think we’re good. Okay. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much to all of our speakers here today. Um, your shares have been so valuable and I have no doubt that, uh, that the impact of this panel will be huge, both for our community and beyond, um, and to all those who are at home watching, thank you for taking the time out of your day to really listen with an open mind and an open heart. What I would say is just keep questioning and reflecting on all of the things that were, were mentioned in this panel and see what resonates with you and keep opening conversations about what you’ve learned, whether it be with loved ones or literally anyone who will listen. Um, and, and together as guests of mother earth, we can take action both small and big, turn the ship around and create a better future for all. So have a beautiful rest of your day and bye for now.
Thank you, Dominique and everyone else who arranged this panel, really appreciate it. Yeah. Thank you so much everyone. Come drop into me. Stay safe. Be well, everyone.
Okay. We’re not live anymore. All right, all right.
The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest polluters. The world now consumes a staggering 80 billion items of clothing each year. That’s up 400% in the past two decades. Now it’s so important to understand the advertising and big businesses are selling us the idea that we need more stuff. Whereas the fashion industry used to have four seasons. They now have 52 seasons a year. That means new stuff is coming in each week. And their aim is to try and persuade you that you need that item in your life. We now have hard evidence to suggest that the more we concentrate on these values of money, consuming, and material importance, the more depressed, anxious, and unhappy we actually become. Stuff does not make us happy. But I’m afraid to say that we have completely bought into it, myself included. Even though our wardrobes are completely saturated, we are obsessed with this constant newness because the fashion industry has instilled into us this fear of being out of fashion. But how can we be in fashion when there’s 52 seasons a year? For so long I never even questioned it. I used to go down to H & M or Zara and get a bargain; I thought I was winning, right? And that’s what people are doing. More and more people are buying more and more clothes, and we’re not keeping them as long as we used to.
The fashion industry has become disposable in a way that it never used to be. We are now in the age of fast fashion. All of that comes out a very real cost. Only 3% of the clothes in America are actually made in America. The rest are made in developing countries in unfathomably bad conditions. The majority of these workers are women that earn less than $3 per day. These countries so desperately need the work that they have no choice but to lower their prices and cut corners, such as worker safety, otherwise the big businesses would just look elsewhere. The conditions are so bad that people are dying. And yet the big businesses just turn a blind eye. How is that okay?
The fashion industry has a massive negative environmental impact: water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals, and insane amounts of textile waste. Even when we donate clothes to charity shops or thrift stores, only 10% of them actually get sold. The rest of them end up in landfill, or they ship them to developing countries where they completely destroy the local industry. I know this is super depressing, but if you’re like me and you care about people and the planet, we have to be aware of the truth.
So, what can we do? What can we do together as a community? Well, first things first, we have to make an effort to buy less clothing. So get inventive, creative, grab some old pieces of clothing and see how you can do something new with them. Hold swap shops with your friends every once in a while to switch up your wardrobe. When you do go shopping, make sure you look for things that are higher quality and will last you longer. Or even better head to your local thrift shop, charity shop, consignment store or vintage shop. Second hand shopping is the way forward. And it’s actually really fun. It’s pretty easy on wallet too. We need to change the way we think about fashion and clothes. Pick something that you’ll really love so you know you’ll want to keep it for a while. I have a pair of green trousers in my wardrobe that I have had for probably over five years. I love them. I whack them out every single autumn without fail. Look good sustainably and help reduce the impact of fast fashion on the environment.
Get out there, you beautiful people and start the wave.
As STW continues to grow and evolve, so have our ideas about the best way we can use social media to connect us. To further integrate this beautiful community, we will be focusing on amplifying the waves you are creating in your lives, in our stories!
To get involved, all you need to do is use the hashtags listed below whenever you share steps, ideas and inspiration along your positive change journey. Our team will be searching the STW hashtags to find your content to highlight. And we encourage you to do the same: use the hashtags to find Start the Wave Community posts and likeminded folx.
Search, share and deepen your understanding of this vast and stunning collective, as we create a sort of web of positive change throughout social media, together. So, if and when you feel called, and only if you feel called, please post around our foundational pillars:
– Equality & Justice *I realize this one is different from what I say, but please add “Justice” to it in the text!
– Meditation & Spirituality
– Veganism & Animal Rights
With the three following focuses in mind:
-Individuals, groups and organizations that you may have found that are creating positive change
-Any steps that you are taking in your life to create positive change.
-And any STW aligned resource recommendations, it can be books, podcast, documentaries, films or literally anything that you find that has been helpful and you want to share with the community.
Lastly if you’re posting about an activity or event that is location specific use the hashtag STW… and then whatever your location is, so it could be #STWcalgary or #STWmumbai or #STWbarcelona you get the idea. So that we can find each other in the real life to connect and join forces!
For the next 6 days, beginning today, our posts will be introducing our 6 pillars along with a question to get you reflecting around each of them. We need all sorts of change makers to create a better world, and our hope is that by using these hashtags it will create a way of finding inspiration and content in the specific areas that speak to us most individually, as well as empower us all to be active change makers within this community. YOUR community.
Let’s use this tool to continue strengthening our ethical intuition, give back and learn from one another, as we forge new paths to a better future for all.
Thanks for listening, have fun, and Start the Wave.
Today I want to talk to you about the power of kindness. Which I believe is arguably the most important idea of our age. We live in a capitalistic, materialistic society. It’s a system that teaches us that in order to succeed, we have to fight our way to the top, regardless of who we hurt or harm along the way, because power trumps all, right? As a result we have lost the notion of community and the very ideas that connect us: togetherness, relationships, support, love, and kindness. In my opinion, it’s high time for a paradigm shift. The world needs to change the way we view love and kindness because in my opinion, kindness is the road to true success. The way we treat our fellow humans will eventually decide our own destiny; as individuals, as groups, and as a society as a whole.
Most of us would probably say that we’re pretty kind, right? We don’t ever go out of our way to do wrong or hurt people, but do you truly treat everyone you cross paths with as equals? Do you give your time and kindness to others without expecting anything in return? Now, these questions are probably getting your backs up a little bit here. Our egos probably saying, ‘uh, yeah, I’m nice to everyone. Stop telling me what to do you’re balland.’ Why am I from up North? I don’t know, but just go with me for a second. Okay. Because when I examined it in myself, I realized that I really did have a long way to go. In every moment of every day we make judgments: on the way people look, what they wear, the things they say, status. For most of us it’s just how we’ve been programmed. Becoming aware of how you react moment to moment is crucial. And actually the very first step. What I’m saying is we need to reprogram ourselves to lead with compassion.
Let’s first have a look at why our society is so disconnected and individualistic. I think in many cases, keeping others at a distance stems from fear. Fear of losing something, a fear that if you give a piece of yourself, self to someone, they will want more. Our instincts have developed to protect ourselves as individuals. Well we need to break down that belief system and prove everyone wrong because I’m telling you now that is not how it works.
Now, I’m going to tell you a story and to be completely honest with you, it’s not one that I am particularly proud of, but I really do think it’s an important one to tell. Whilst we were in Mumbai, we went on an expedition to see the reality of the slums and to get a glimpse into their lives. The morning leading up to it, I made special care not to pack anything that I thought they would want to steal. Cause that’s what everyone had told me to do. Right? The system that instills into us this fear had told me to be fearful of these people. So we just took our bumbags and that was it. And as I got there, I realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. These people don’t have much, but oh my God are they the most giving people I have ever met. As we were walking around, it was just like, so obvious how content and happy they were with their lives. They didn’t want anything from me. I needed to learn something from them. We learn that many of these people choose to stay there living on very little, because they love the sense of community, community, that they just can’t find elsewhere. They know if they go hungry the family from across the teeny tiny alleyway, will feed them for a bit. Their doors are always open. Kindness breeds kindness. Here I was calling myself an open, kind, generous person. And I have to be honest, I was really unkind in that moment; judging people before I had any real reason to. I know in my case, I have to be actively working on it constantly. Reminding myself not to attach unnecessary fear beforehand. Because when I am open, I gain so much from it. Because the bottom line is, none of us on this planet are better than anyone else or have any more of a right to be here. We all come from different walks of life. That’s the beauty of it, right? Everybody has a different story to tell. And so if you’re willing to listen, guaranteed, you could learn something from each and every one of them.
How can we expect to be accepted if we’re not doing the same in return? So, be open. Listen, no matter who it is. Some of the people I least expected to learn lessons from handed me the biggest pearls of wisdom. No matter how busy your life may be, give someone the most precious thing you have, time! A moment where you are truly present, be it with coworkers, friends, family, or someone you just pass on the tube. Treat them with respect and love them for all of their complexities.
And last but not least, forgive. God, that’s the one I struggle with because I always find it so hard to forgive myself. But please, we must, trust me. It’s what I’m working on and I really hope you’ll do the same. Forgive others and forgive yourself. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. I’m only joking. Let it go. Seriously, holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Even if someone hurts you or lets you down, treat them with compassion. I know that might sound like the hardest thing in the world to do, but believe me, if you hold onto that anger and pain, the only one suffering is yourself. Try your hardest in as many moments as possible to adopt a compassionate mindset. I feel bad for that person for they are not living from compassion. It’s hard, yes, but trust me, so worth it. If everyone led from a place of love, kindness and compassion, instead of pointing blame, seeking revenge and hurting one another, we would be living much happier lives. That’s the kind of world I want to live in. How about you?
Kindness is also a great response to anxiety. Oh, anxiety, as much as we love ya, we’re going to say goodbye. Gonna beat you down by being kind to people because a group of highly anxious individuals who performed at least six acts of kindness a week, after only one month, there was a huge shift in positive moods, relationship satisfaction, and social avoidance and socially anxious individuals.
Now we know things don’t change overnight, right? The world doesn’t just suddenly wake up. We didn’t suddenly realize that we needed to stop slavery or that women needed the vote. Every movement started with a small group of passionate people. I see love and kindness in the same light, a movement. Good deeds spread like waves, and well this world needs it now more than ever; community, care, and kindness. For when you truly live from that place of love and kindness, you adopt good habits. Like Martin Luther King said about Ghandi, “he lifted love beyond mere personal relationship and turned it into a broad scale social force for good.” Let’s turn love and kindness into a social force for good. God, I’m so excited about this one. I think ultimately all of this has come down to this moment of me understanding what it’s all really about, being kind. Start the wave!
Hi everybody. I am Valeria and I’m calling in from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and, um, I’m so happy to welcome all of you here to this panel as a representative of URI in North America. You’re right. The United religions initiative is the world’s largest grassroots interfaith organization. We promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation. We try to end religiously motivated violence, and we strive to create cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the earth and all living beings. The URI community in North America is made up of tens of thousands of people. Who’ve come together across a diversity of beliefs and traditions to work together for justice, equity and inclusion, and that you’re right North America. We really believe that diversity is a gift and that pursuing justice means hearing and lifting up every single voice around the table and acknowledging and honoring and uplifting sexual and gender diversity is an integral part of our approach to peace building and interfaith dialogue.
I know how challenging and painstaking and hard this work really is and how much still needs to be done. And so I’m so, so thrilled to be with all of you today to have this conversation and gather, and the commitment of the interfaith movement to moving this conversation forward is one of the reasons why I’m part of it and part of URI, and I’m so glad to be with all of you today. So on behalf of URI North America, thank you so much for being here and thank you Geneva for, uh, making this happen through the interfaith center and organizing this and thank you Dom and Start the Wave for joining us today and taking the time to be with us. I’m so looking forward to the conversation.
Hi everyone. Welcome. Um, my name is Geneva Blackmer and I’m the program director for the interface center at Miami university in Oxford, Ohio. And we are so infinitely grateful to start the wave for their willingness to not only have this conversation, but to create space, which amplifies the voices of small nonprofits across the country. Our organization’s mission is to invite people of diverse, religious, spiritual, and secular worldviews to participate in one another’s practices in order to cultivate appreciative understanding, and build relationships and friendships. We seek to mobilize people of all faiths and no faith around common, moral, social, and ethical concerns in order to build the most just and equitable society for all people. Ultimately, we hope to create a safe space to engage our local and global community in dialogue, education, and service. I’m going to be your moderator today, and my pronouns are she, her, and hers.
Uh, for many of you, this may be the first time you’ve ever heard the word interfaith, which simply means dialogue and cooperation between people of varying religious, spiritual and secular traditions, or perhaps this is the first time you’ve ever heard sexual orientation and gender identity recognized as an intersectional, uh, religious or spiritual identity. We hope that conversations like this one help to normalize the reality that LGBTQIA2+ people are not at odds with religion and spirituality, but rather comprise an integral part of these communities. So each one of our panelists today will begin by describing their own journey with faith and spirituality as a member of these communities. Each panel will have approximately six minutes to respond to that prompt, and then we will open for an audience Q and a, and our student liaison, um, Brianna Alita will be monitoring your questions in the chat. So please feel free to put all of your questions there and they will be relayed to us. So without further ado, I’m going to introduce our first panelist Slats Toole’s pronouns are they, them, and theirs. Slats is a writer, musician, preacher, and theater director, and sound designer currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their poetry has been published in numerous journals, The Anthology, This Present Former Glory, and their own collection, Queering Lent. Their work seeks to communicate an honest, raw, and sacred approach to living a life of faith.
Thank you. And thank you for inviting me to be a part of this really incredible panel of folks. I am so delighted that this conversation is happening in such a vibrant way, um, and appreciate the opportunity to share a bit of my story with you. So for pretty much my entire life, um, I’ve known that I don’t fit inside the boxes that I was so often being put into. Uh, it’s, my story is not a story of knowing that I was transgender from a young age or presenting my gender in a way that was drastically different than what was expected of me. I think of my story is more about trying to find the language for how to express how I was feeling and who I was. So I was in fifth grade and I started to realize that I might like both boys and girls, but I actually didn’t have the language to describe what that was because I only had the word gay and the word straight and anything in between was not part of what I had experienced.
It wasn’t until a friend came out to me as bisexual in middle school, that I was like, “that’s a thing?” and I started to feel this freedom that I could identify in this way and didn’t have to choose a box, uh, for me. Um, it was also how I always struggled with my given name, which actually literally means girl and how I spent a lot of my adolescents in online spaces back in the early days of the internet, where the internet was not necessarily connected with who you are offline and you could exist kind of anonymously and I could exist without gender. It actually wasn’t until I was in graduate school. And I started to get the words, “gender-queer” and “non-binary” and started to realize that there was a space that I could exist and have conversations about gender that actually made sense to me in a way that they hadn’t before.
Now, the part of my story that is the most surprising for a lot of people is that the first place that I was able to experiment with using they, them pronouns for myself was actually a church camp. So I was raised by two church musicians in the Southern part of the United States, which means that I was raised kind of in and around the tradition that still dominates a lot of the national conversation in the U S about Christian values and about how being gay, which is usually the words that are being used is against the will of God. The church that I was raised in was mixed on the issue, but my parents and my pastors both affirmed that all of who I was is loved by God and that my identity is not a sin, but even with that really solid affirmation, coming to me from a very young age, I’ve had to deal with the ways that the church has hurt me, particularly in the years, where I had to spend so much time defending my rights to even be in the room and be a part of the conversation.
While my straight cisgender peers were able to spend their time and energy growing spiritually and developing their relationship with God. But even through all of that, there was something that kept drawing me to spirituality and religious practice specifically within Christianity, even though that is also been a center of so much pain for queer people and even for myself. So I started to study scripture and theology and church history more seriously as a person, I went to seminary, I got my master’s of divinity degree. And as I was doing that, I started noticing a resonance between my own experience of queerness and what I was finding in Christian tradition. So there is a whole lot of mystery and paradox in our tradition. Uh, Jesus is described as being fully human and fully God at the same time, or God is sometimes described as being one God in three different substances.
There’s a lot of language of paradox that doesn’t quite make sense. And it almost feels like the early church was searching for language to try to describe something that they didn’t know how to describe. I mean, how do you describe an infinite God, you have to put this language around it that’s going to be imperfect. And it actually felt like I felt when I was trying to find some language to frame my own identity. I’ve actually found that in some places of the church, people are more comfortable with this liminal space that I tend to exist in as a queer person, because that’s our image of who God is, or like our story of people being created in the image of God. And this image of God encompasses male and female, which must mean that our idea of God includes male and female and beyond gender.
And then we’ve got this story that this God that encompasses all gender is put into a human being in Jesus Christ. And that human being is assigned male at birth. So we’ve got a being that encompasses all gender going into a body that is assigned one gender, which is in and of itself a transgender experience, but more than anything I saw throughout scripture, a God that was not aligned with the people who were in power, but with those who were cast out, people who are not allowed in polite society, those who had to create their own families and their own communities as so many of us have had to do. And that throughout scripture, God was always pushing people towards this wider idea of who should be included. I would even say that God was seeking to queer society to turn the ups, the expected order upside down so that all of those who didn’t fit in boxes or whose box was rejected by the powers that be still had a place to be. The church camp, where I first experimented with my pronouns was a secret queer future pastors camp in, uh, it was at a time when it still wasn’t safe for a lot of us to be fully out in our denomination, our branch of Christianity.
And so those of us queer folks looking to become pastors met in secret to support each other. And I was able to experiment with my gender there in a way that I have rarely ever experienced in the secular world. And I think that we were able to create that kind of space in part, because that’s our tradition, it’s a tradition that’s comfortable with things that are outside of the norm. It is a tradition that reaches out to those who other folks may not understand. And so my hope is that in this larger conversation, we can begin to move past this idea that Christianity and queerness are incompatible, when I believe they’ve actually always gone hand in hand. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Slats. Our second panelist is Porter. Porter works full time as an in-house counsel for a software company. And while she wears many hats within Start the Wave, she primarily handles Start the Wave’s legal and corporate manners, including partnerships, incorporation, documentation, and overall risk management. Porter’s pronouns are she, her, and hers, and she realized her identity as a lesbian when she was a teenager, but unfortunately didn’t live an out and proud life until many years later. Even though Porter grew up in a Christian household, learning and practicing Lutheran teachings coming into her authentic self, prompted her to seek her other religious avenues and she now identifies as spiritual and searching.
Hey guys, um, I want to start by saying again, thank you Geneva so much for, for organizing all of this and thank you so much for all of the other speakers. Um, coming out to tell you her stories I’m already impressed and so excited for all of the others. Um, yeah, I think these conversations are so necessary and a lot of them aren’t being had, and, and if we had them, we would all just find so many better ways to connect and deepen our understanding of one another. So, um, this, this work is so important. So again, thank you. Um, as Geneva said, I identify as a lesbian and, um, now, um, more spiritual. I consider myself to be more spiritual rather than religious. Um, I grew up in a very, very small town. Um, we had 1,235 people, uh, graduated with, I think just over 80 people.
You knew everything about everybody. You knew everybody’s middle name, everybody’s business, probably what they had for lunch, um, everything. And while it was great and everything was familiar. And, um, you know, I enjoyed all the opportunities I had getting to jump on the snowmobile, go snowboarding and, um, dirt biking, all of those little experiences. Um, the unfortunate thing was the grave lack of diversity. And open-mindedness in an area like that. Um, I also had the fortune of growing up just down the street from my grandparents and spent, you know, loads of time with them. They, they helped raise me, um, especially my, my grandmother, who I was very close to. Um, so she taught me so many things and she taught me, I mean, she taught me how to shoot a gun. She taught me how to grow veggies. She taught me how to ride a horse.
She, um, taught me how to, they raised chickens, which also led to me not eating chicken for a full year after I watched her butcher said chickens, another story. Um, but she was also a staunch Christian. And I mean that in the sense that I, there are a few times I did not see a Bible in her hand or right next to her. Um, she, she would anoint me with oils when I was injured. She would do communion, um, for us at, at, um, Christian holidays. She never swore, um, I think her go-to was, “Oh, sugar”. Um, and then beyond that she even owned a Christian lending library right in town, which was this adorable little library. She had an apartment up top where she would, um, lend this space to individuals that were in need and they didn’t even need to pay her, but she just provided that, um, for, for anybody. She would do prayer teachings at the jail, um, which was amazing to hear about and she would talk to me about those individuals. She would nurse animals back to health and, um, just kind of do, she was, she was, she was such a wonderful woman in so many ways, um, but she really taught me most of the Christian values that I came to now, um, outside of my parents. And so we would go to church every Sunday and on Christian holidays. Um, I prayed before I ate, I prayed before, um, going to bed and, um, really just lived, I mean, I lived a Lutheran lifestyle and I didn’t, I didn’t meet and many other people that weren’t Lutherans. Um, there were a few Catholics in town, but, uh, for the most part, it was just that, that religion that I came to know. Um, so I, I say all that to make clear that, just, religion was very ingrained in my life, um, from, from a very young age and I never thought twice about it.
I welcomed Jesus into my heart, when, at the time, I was so young, I literally pictured a little Jesus, like coming into the doors, right into my heart and where we were hanging out all the time, Jesus and I were. Um, but then as, as I got older and realized he’s not literally there, um, I still continued all of the other, all of the other, um, practices. I still went to church. I still prayed. And, um, around the age of 14 is when my life started to shift a bit, and I started to think of females in a different way, and I started to realize that I would think, “I wonder what it’s like to be more friends, more than friends with a female. I wonder what it’s like to kiss a female rather than a male”. Um, and, and then it immediately hit me based on all of the conversations I had heard around town from my grandparents, from, you know, everybody around me, um, homosexuality was not good.
You should not be a homosexual. It is against God’s will and God’s way. Um, and so then I started into my two year journey of attempting to pray the gay away. Um, I think in that first year, it was more about denial for me. I would pray the gay away every single night and my prayer was quite similar to my meditation and that I had steps that I would take, I would picture my prayer and it was a white room and I was climbing the steps to hit everything I needed to hit. And if I had forgotten to pray before I went to bed, I would wake up in a panic because I should’ve prayed, um, and if I didn’t thank enough, but I asked for too much, that would also send me into a bit of an anxiety ridden state, and then I would have to go back and thank, thank more.
Um, and so it wasn’t really a saving grace for me, but rather, um, rather just adding to my fears and my anxieties. So I prayed the gay away for, for that first year. And then, um, upon turning 15, I ended up becoming friends with some, some different people that I felt understood me a little bit better. Um, and then around 16 was able to come out to one of these friends and she was actually struggling with the same thing, which was great, but rather than she and I dealing with this in a healthy manner, um, because I was already in a depressive state, um, hiding myself and feeling like I didn’t belong and dealing with high school all the same and trying to get straight A’s and trying to play sports year round, um, and just hiding this part of me and dating, um, just everything, that we decided the best way to deal with this is to just get high and drink all the time.
Like why not? Because when we are high and when we’re drunk, we can be ourselves and we’re with each other and we can just numb that pain. Um, then it got to the point where we just, there, there was too much of that numbing and, um, I overstepped and ended up getting arrested. Um, and it kind of reached that breaking point and, and got arrested specifically for, uh, um, smoking weed where I will not just where I wasn’t supposed to it’s illegal in general, but, but got caught because of, of where I was, um, got arrested and got suspended from school. And, um, it was quite shocking, I think for most, um, my, my dad picked me up and I got home and, um, we didn’t really talk about it. Like we, he, uh, it just wasn’t really approached in a, in a super open manner and that could have been cause he was just kind of giving me space. Also, we just never dove too deep on the emotional side. Um, and so I got home and I, I put my phone on the counter and, and, and then the next day woke up and started shoveling and shoveling the walk and like cleaning the house, doing all the things. But what terrified me most, like wasn’t the suspension, it wasn’t the arrest. It was, I’m going to have to come out. Like I’m going to have to, I’m going to have to deal with this now and praying the gay away now for two years, hasn’t helped me. It’s not gone anywhere. Um, so after a few days I had told my mom, “I need to talk, I need to talk about this a little bit”. Um, and we went into my room and she, she, um, asked me “what’s wrong, like what happened?” And, and I made her guess because I couldn’t say it out loud still at that point.
Um, and I remember just the build of like, you know, you’re just, you’re beat red, your heart’s now in your throat, and, uh, she guessed a ton of things and then she finally just goes, “do you think you’re gay?” And, and really just like that basically. Um, and I think the way it was said almost hurt harder because it felt so dismissive. Um, and then she, she kind of told me like, “this is just a phase. You don’t have to worry about it. Everything will be okay.” Clearly it wasn’t a phase, um, and two years later I was going off to, to college and I was so excited. So I’m like, this is it. I’m going to find my tribe. Like I’m going to live this out and proud lifestyle. I need to get some rainbow stuff. Like we’re ready to go. Um, went to college and the same anxieties creeped up, and then I went to, to find, um, other churches I could finally break out and find other churches with, maybe youth groups or, or, you know, um, young adult groups that, that I could relate to. And so I specifically looked for churches with, with the rainbow flag outside of them, and I was so pumped and, um, still appreciate that. And I would go, go to church, um, and I would meet other individuals, but unfortunately a lot of them were either much younger than me, um, or, um, couldn’t relate in a lot of other ways. And so while we had our religion and we had our, our being part of the community, um, in common, I still couldn’t seem to find that, that tribe. Um, and so I just kind of continued on, and then, um, actually my first winter in college, uh, was my first bout of seasonal depression, so that was fun to deal with. And in Minnesota seasonal depression lasts from like October to June. So, um, started dealing with that. And then I went home, um, that year and got into a conversation with my grandmother and, um, she kept saying very terrible things about the community and again, felt that rise in my heart all the way to my throat and ended up blurting out to her that I was gay. Um, she told me she was going to grab her oils and anoint me and I, when she left the room, I left the house. I couldn’t, I couldn’t face it. I couldn’t do it. I was crying and I was going back to college the next day. After that, I found out she had called the rest of the family, um, which is composed of a lot of individuals, like over 30 people on that side, um, including the cousins and whatnot. She had called them all to start a prayer circle for me. Um, and then I had come out to my, my friends, so the whole town knew. So at that point in my life, I had also just lost most of my family, I’ve lost my friends, not all of them. Some, some people were very supportive and my immediate family was very supportive, but had lost everybody else. Um, so then I went back to school and took, I had taken a world religions course, which was quite pivotal because I learned about so many other open religions and ways that, um, people can celebrate their spirituality and religion. And, um, I apologize. I think I’m probably going over my allotted time. So I’ll try to, I’ll try to pick this up. Um, so, um, after that I had kind of actually gone into an atheist stage and I decided, you know, what, I, I’m not going to believe in anything that isn’t scientifically proven and atheism is, is something I can just say, I can look at everything and I can explain it scientifically and that’s it.
Um, but then later in life, I realized I needed something more and that there had to be something more. I feel something more, I feel something more when I look at the moon and I look at the stars and I’m sitting at the beach, I can feel that pull in those energies and those vibrations. Um, and then I just started in, on, on the spirituality journey that I’ve been on, where I’ve been able to connect from a universal standpoint with the earth and with how we are all connected to the earth and how we can all support one another and how we need to stop imposing our will on the earth and instead appreciate her and instead celebrate her and celebrate one another. Um, and so I think at this point in my life, I don’t know that it matters what, what your religion is, but just how you, how you, how you celebrate it. And, and if it brings kindness and if it brings joy, then celebrate that and spread it around. And, um, I’m excited to just continue my spirituality journey, but I’m happy that I found it, and I do believe in something just more than myself at this point. Um, I’ll stop there. Sorry for running over.
No, thank you so much Porter and thank you for being so vulnerable with us and with the audience that, I can tell from the chat that, that was very impactful to a lot of people and they appreciated it. So thank you. Um, so our third panelist is, uh, Dr. Joshua Paszkiewicz. The most venerable Sunyananda. He is a priest, psychotherapist, martial artist, culinarian, and a pathological epistemopheliac. Josh is a Zen Buddhist lineage holder in the Japanese Korean and Vietnamese Buddhist traditions, but also holds graduate, graduate academic and ecclesiastical training in a host of religious traditions. He currently serves as the executive director of the greater Kansas city interfaith council, and maintains a private practice of spiritually integrative psychotherapy. He may or may not remain involved in religion, chiefly for the Brocade fabrics and extravagant hats, and very disappointed he’s not wearing an extravagant hat today, but Josh, hand it to you.
Thanks Geneva. And as I did mention, before we got formally started here, I did consider the hat, but the limitations of my zoom reality, uh, didn’t allow it. So I apologize for the lack of, you know, Brocade that’s present. So I want to say that I really appreciate the format of this panel. Um, you know, I’ve participated in a few this week and I think it’s a fairly difficult task to talk about the intersection of LGBTQIA et cetera, and spirituality with any sense of authority for a host of reasons and not the least of which is because, both spirituality and the queer experience are defined simply by what they are not. So we’re perpetually cast as other, as queer people. And as people experiencing spiritual longings and religious practices, uh, we’re cast as not secular, which is something that’s a divide present in our society too.
So within that infinitely wide array of experience, the only point of authority that I can find to speak from is that of my own experience and I think it’s a wonderful thing that we’re doing that, that we’re giving sort of live case studies, to draw from the psychotherapy vernacular, about how we as individuals with unique capacities to process science, and religion, and metaphor, and metaphysical realities are coming together and tackling these things in a real way. And while I’ve identified with several points of each of the panelists that have been here already, there’s also points that I diverge from, and I think that’s a really special thing to highlight for each of us.
So I remember being a young closeted boy having two career aspirations. Namely, I wanted to run a martial arts studio, and, or, and I wanted to be the Pope. So coming from an exceptionally devout Roman Catholic family, I grew up with a holographic portrait of Pope John Paul the second tape to the backside of my bedroom door. So if you’re over here, he was waving this way. And if you’re over here, he was waving this way, and that was just my incessant daily reminder of where I was going on the career ladder. Um, but that was not long lived. So my parents got divorced when I was five or six. I don’t remember exactly. And we pretty much were out of the Roman Catholic church and hierarchy immediately. Uh, neither one of my parents felt the need to reconcile to the church. They didn’t feel the need to seek an anullment or anything like this, and, uh, subsequently my father came out of the closet as a gay man. So we were left to drift in sort of this world of attending mass frequently and, uh, you know, visiting my grandmother’s house, she had rosaries on every bedpost and a crucifix in every corner. You know, that experience was suddenly gone, but I will say that that early experience of ritual chanting, and gestures, and incense, and bells, and yes, the Brocade dresses and jewel and Palm Palm flight, the eclesiastical head dress left a permanent mark on my psyche, but how do I arrive in this context? It’s interesting that my mom was pretty much devastated by that divorce as sometimes happens, and she was all of a sudden questioning the things that spirituality seeks to address, these big concerns of meaning. Why are we here? Where do we come from? Where are we going? And so that sort of underpinned my, my, you know, earliest schooling memories. So that lasted from, like I said, the age of five or six to about fourth grade and my dad still took us to church as kind of Christmas and Easter, like he felt there was an important aspect to, uh, spirituality, to remain in touch with, but not to be super serious about.
He was struggling with his own queer identity and place in the world of spirituality. Uh, and this was at a time when, you know, this was just completely unacceptable to talk about, you know, I remember, uh, he had a roommate that I later found out was a long-term romantic partner who had a big place in my life. Um, but when we would go out in public and even, especially to church, you know, we had to sit separately, we didn’t sit in the same Pew or in the same row, and you staggered going into restaurants, cause you didn’t want anybody to question what was going on. It was physically not safe in our part of the world. So I remember around fourth grade, uh, we had a knock at the door, my maternal great grandmother who was kind of the matriarch of our family died. And, uh, everybody was kind of mourning that, but again, not being in this Catholic religious milieu that we were all sort of raised and formed within, we didn’t have a lot of resources to lean on. And so on the other side of that, knock at the door were a pair of Jehovah’s witnesses. And so all of, I will say now, the karmic conditions aligned perfectly for my mom to invite them in. And so very shortly thereafter, we were attending church, or meetings as the Jehovah’s witnesses say, upwards of five times a week at the local kingdom hall. And I say, local, we had to drive like 45 minutes to get to the kingdom hall. We lived in very, very rural South Missouri.
That was an interesting experience. Um, you know, I don’t remember the exact age when sort of sexuality became a concern of mine, but it was something, even not knowing the details of my dad’s life, cause that was kept from us for a time too. Um, it was just kind of unquestioned that I enjoyed male company, I guess, I enjoyed being around men in a way that not everybody else did at that age, but you know, it was something that I was cognizant of, but didn’t have a vernacular to describe. It was nothing that I had to rally against or struggle with because we didn’t talk about this sort of thing. Um, fast forward being in the Jehovah’s witness congregation, this is all we talked about for some reason at that point. There was at least one sermon a week speaking about the depravity of humanity expressed in the homosexual, queer culture and agenda that has taken over popular media, et cetera. So, um, that was interesting for me, because, on one half I was deeply, deeply attracted to religious praxis and, and all things that were involved in that. Those big questions were meaningful for me still, um, but on the other side, the answers I was being given were questionable. And I think if it weren’t for that early understanding of my sexual orientation, if I could have called it that, being slightly different, I would have adopted that fully and probably been in a very different place in time right now.
So I had this struggle as many of us do that says, “Hey, this whole religious tradition, seemingly, is standing in opposition to something that’s fundamental about myself.” And yet I, myself truly divided in two camps, not knowing exactly where to turn because both of those interests as I developed into an adolescent, those big questions and obviously these romantic concerns as a teenager, uh, were, were significant in my life. And so I grew up, uh, continued in that process until my dad had had enough and I think he had enough when my little brother came and gave him a lecture about why homosexual people were not going to live forever with their families as everybody else was and paradise restored on earth. And so he immediately looks up a local church, which was the only open and affirming LGBT inclusive congregation in our city at that time, and begins taking, us as an agnostic himself by that point, to church. And I’ll never forget him saying, “what your mom is doing? That cannot be your only experience of Christianity.” And I’m forever appreciative of that because I really didn’t know there was another way to approach scripture and Holy writ. That Jehovah’s witnesses had a really good, wrapped up, pretty, even way to deal with that and present it as authoritative. So all of a sudden I’m sitting in a congregation with transgender people, and with LGBTQ families, and straight people, and young people, and old people, and that was really important. And still, by the time I was an adult, I’d had enough of the conflicting Christian message and ethos and left it entirely. Um, so I had discovered Buddhism by way of martial arts as a young kid. Uh, and that was an interest that I secretly kept up throughout all of my upbringing. Um, I had a Buddhist teacher in Kansas city, when I would visit my dad on the weekend, that would give me this literature and books and I would take it home hidden in my weekend bag and hide it under my, uh, bed, you know, so I could read it and it wouldn’t be discovered.
And there was a big incident of my mom finding it, raiding my room one day at school. And you know, that was a problem, but it was a colorful upbringing. So long story short, I find myself hopping around Buddhist monasteries, um, throughout the world and being trained as a Buddhist cleric and eventually leading some congregations. And while it was a respite in the sense that Buddhism didn’t have as much to say, or to be concerned about sexual orientation as an ontological sin or, or a reality that damns you to, to some punishment forever in its worst forms, even it also wasn’t deeply affirming of that aspect. So it’s kind of ambivalent, right? And in fact, training in Asia rather than the Western, you know, sort of commodified version of, of Buddhism, uh, there are some things that come up in a cultural background that, that questioned the reality of, of where do we fit within the Buddhist, uh, ecclesiastical structure as people who are maybe not clearly male or female, or mix that up on the other run by who we’re romantically involved with or interested in.
And then of course, uh, sexuality itself is repressed in the tradition that I still walk within. So, you know, there are, there are not clear, easy lines to draw that this is better than that. And that experience has re-introduced me, and I went back to seminary and got a Christian seminary degree, to having a new appreciation for how things can be. And so sexual orientation as an experience has given me sort of, um, epistemological and, uh, interpretive framework to wrestle with the big questions that all religions still have. And I think in a fairly unique way, because I’m able to question things from a fundamental level based on experience that might’ve been forbidden or inaccessible to me, if not for this LGBTQ identity that says, “Oh, there are things that are not talked about, that are unseen, but are nonetheless powerful realities.” And, you know, I’m really grateful for that.
And I still wrestle every day with what that means. I work within the Vietnamese cultural community, which is, that’s sort of a taboo theme there within Vietnamese culture, but also within the specific Buddhist context that I’m in, it can be difficult. So I don’t have this all figured out. I don’t know that any of us do, but, uh, it’s a process that yields unique potentials. And I think that’s what I’m excited to learn more about as we have this conversation and hear more about, and continue plumbing in my own life. So thanks for the time.
Thank you so much. Our fourth panelist is Tahil Sharma. Pronouns: he, his, and him. Sorry. Tahil the regional coordinator for North America for the United religions initiative. He was born in Southern California to a Hindu father and a Sikh mother. He believes that interfaith cooperation is impossible without embracing one’s full identity in such spaces, including his own bisexual identity.
Thank you so much Geneva. And thanks to all of the previous, um, panelists for actually giving me a sense of confidence as I actually am addressing this intersectional identity. I am on my own for the first time in such a big space. So I think I have a lot of gratefulness and nervousness for that. Um, and I want to start off by saying that I was definitely born at the center of many intersections. I was born as a Hindu and a Sikh, I was born as an Indian American and probably as a later discovery, I was born being bisexual. And that came with a lot of confusion. I will not lie to anyone on this call about that, because it was a lot of concern overlapped with curiosity and skepticism that made me think about, is it possible for me to be all of these things. I actually learned over time that it was possible.
And it actually happened because of the activism work that I do in the interfaith movement. Um, when I was told at a younger age that it was impossible for me to adhere to two different traditions in the same household, when I knew that was a reality that I embraced, I knew that there was something wrong with someone’s understanding of that. When people live within this constant idea that there are singular journeys and single ways of living and understanding the world, they don’t actually understand the expanse at which the human experience works. And for me, it was actually challenging that status quo and saying “as much as I need to open my eyes to this larger reality, so do many others.” And it starts with actually kicking down these walls that say they need to be built up and things are the way that they are. So it actually started off with me acknowledging that I came from a dual religious household and that I adhere to my Hindu and Sikh realities as much as I do anything else.
I struggled for quite some time when that came to the balance of my religiosity and spirituality with my bisexual identity. Something that I was concerned about, not because my family actually wasn’t accepting, because they’ve been very accepting of many others since I could remember. They taught me the ideas of acceptance, and compassion, and love. And I just was never comfortable of being able to embrace that with them until, actually, July of this year. And it meant a lot for me to understand that it’s not just about the approach to how people and institutions have created this idea that you are not accepted with your religious identity while being something else that might seem “not accurate” or “not connected” whatsoever. The fact of the matter is, is religiosity and the institution of religion are newer constructs in comparison to LGBTQ identity. And that’s just a fact of the human experience.
What we have to keep reminding people is that our ability to love others, our ability to accept our entire selves is the highest priority, and that institutions will never dictate that for you. And that took me a lot of, that gave me a lot, a lot to think about when I was trying to see how my identities would react to me and my bisexual identity. When I look towards Hinduism, a religion that’s seen as being over 5,000 years old, the fact of the matter is, being LGBTQ was equally a part of the Hindu experience more than I had ever been taught at home, because I lived in a cis heteronormative reality that was filled with patriarchy. And I was told that it was not okay to be homosexual. It was not okay to be anything but straight. When in reality, we have gods and goddesses that are dedicated to the LGBTQ community as patron deities. Why was I never taught this when I was growing up with my Hinduism. And in Sikhism, that actually does not address scripturally anything about spirituality. There’s an important line that I’ve gotten from a Muslim Saint, who is a contributor to the GRU grand sub, the six scriptures that says [inaudible] not to coach [inaudible] coach combated, that we, as, as vessels of the divine spirit are like clay. And that God is the Potter. There is nothing wrong with the clay and there’s nothing wrong with the Potter.
And there’s so much value to understanding that we’re all shaped as these unique vessels. If I was taught at an earlier age, that I’m this unique vessel that can hold a divine spirit, like God, that is unnameable, that is unimaginable, that is infinite. And that I could still be the whole person that I am entering any space that I want to, I would have not struggled the way that I did. Millions of us wouldn’t have, anyone on this call wouldn’t have. But the fact of the matter is, is it took me, through these struggles, through this understanding, through challenging the status quo. And this is an invitation to everyone that’s on this call. You are equally a part of the, the deconstruction and the reformation of what religion and spirituality looks like now. However you adhere to being religious, spiritual, or secular, you are a part of a growing movement that says religion and spirituality have never been the same since the beginning, and you’re a part of it.
We will never learn to know what it means to actually be our full selves. And I continue to ask this with full skepticism towards my religions. When I look at systems like the caste system that comes from Hinduism, I know to challenge it at the very core of how it exists, because it is an oppressive system. That oppression exists in volumes, when you adhere to other identities, that also have been a part of an oppressive legacy, that understand oppression more in depth. So if you’re an LGBTQ person and you’re a part of the caste system, you’re definitely more screwed in comparison to others. And when I look at it through the Sikh lens, a lens that’s always taught me that I must serve everyone like I serve the divine, yet there’s still heteronormative practices that allow men to still take rule and to dictate the way that things function, that I must go out of my way to make sure that women, and others, and trans people, and others who are not usually represented, take the helm of leadership like others should. At the end of the day, this is a part of our work. I have to understand that in-depth knowing that not everyone is going to agree with me. People from my own tradition are probably going to look at this call and keel over because I’m saying these things. My parents had a struggle, being as accepting as they are, to hear that I was bisexual earlier this year. I know that because this is something happening to their own. And there are three uncomfortable things that Indian parents don’t like to talk about, sexuality, mental health, and if you’ve eaten before you’ve left the house or not. Those are three very central things, um, and it continues to be a struggle.
There’s no easy way around this because they don’t see this as normal. But the fact of, the fact of the matter is, is we are a part of a normal, we are a part of a greater good, and we’re a part of something powerful that no one can change except ourselves. So I have this invitation to all of us to keep remembering that we have, there’s a struggle internally and externally to how these intersection, intersecting identities work, but we have to make sense of it to ourselves first and embrace it because that’ll be a part of the change that we’re seeking in the world. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Tahil. So our final panelist, uh, needs no introduction. Uh, Dominique is the founder of start the wave and inclusive non-profit organization focused on empowering and supporting grassroots initiatives worldwide. She’s also an artist best known for her role in SciFest TV show, Wynonna Earp, where she plays a bisexual young woman coming into her sexuality and power. Despite having grown up in an atheist household, Dominique now identifies as spiritual and open-minded having found great relief, strength, and clarity, in surrendering to a higher power. She feels that her spiritual awakening has been a great balm in her journey of self-acceptance leading her to come out as her queer authentic self earlier this year.
Thank you, Geneva. My goodness. What inspiring human beings. This has been absolutely magic hearing everybody’s stories. So thank you for sharing. Um, for me, I was brought up in an atheist household. We didn’t have any faith. There was not really much talk of faith at all in my childhood. And I just thought that was, you know, I didn’t really have many feelings around it until, um, uh, later on in, um, as I started to get older as, as a highly sensitive individual, um, I found that the more I learn about the injustices in the world and the pain and suffering, the more it like weighed down on me, like really heavily. And I found that not having any faith, um, yeah, how it showed up in me, I suppose, was just like this sense of this weight, this weight. Is there any way that I can, can describe it of like knowing that I wanted to good in the world, but not knowing how, because it just felt like there was so many problems and so many issues, and I didn’t really know where to put my focus.
Um, and so this led to my mental health being, um, really suffering and it got to the point where, uh, I felt very unwell and I needed to find something to try and help my mentality and the way that I saw the world and to try and find the beauty in the world, because it just all seems so dark. Um, and so I, you know, on my journey, I met, um, a beautiful woman. In fact, I was really drawn to her energy. I’m somebody who’s always felt energy and experienced. Um, I felt like I’ve experienced energy if that makes any, any sense. And so I was drawn to this woman, uh, who informed me that they’d just come from a 10 day Vipassana meditation course. And she said, it’s funny that you were drawn to me right now. I could just come back from Vipassana and I didn’t know anything about that, but, um, after having a very brief conversation, I was really interested in, in meditation and diving into meditation.
And so it took me a year to actually have the courage to sign up to 10 days of silence and being alone with my own, my own thoughts and my own mind. But, um, it got to a point where I just knew that I had to do something and this just felt like it had organically come on my path and that it might be an avenue to explore. So, uh, I was heading off to go traveling and I decided to go out of my way to a little place in Cambodia and do a 10 day Vipassana retreat in Cambodia. And what happened in that retreat is it’s very, very hard to put into words, but it felt like my entire being was cracked open and a light to down and throughout my entire vessel. And really that was, um, the beginning of my spiritual awakening.
And it was almost like the way I describe it is that it was as if I was handed a key to my own happiness in, in that meditation retreat. And, but I had to take it and I had to go and open the door. So it was like being gifted a taste at maybe something else, um, a different way of thinking and a different way of being that that was, um, incredibly addictive. I was like, Oh, I want some more of that. That feels, that feels really good. And that feels like that lightness. Um, and the weight started to lift the clouds started to part in my, in my brain and I just started to see things a lot more clearly. And so what has happened since then over the past three years, that was in 2017 has been just, um, an unfolding, I suppose, all of, uh, you know, really seeing and experiencing the interconnectedness of all things, um, and surrendering, surrendering, and letting go and releasing the ego and control.
And, and so as I have been really diving into these practices of meditation and various different forms of meditation since then to try and find my own path with it, my own path of spirituality and how I connect to the divine, um, through various different practices, it has given me a sense of faith, right? Faith for the future, faith and hope, um, which has been, you know, absolutely saving grace. Like I, I it’s, it has helped me come out of, uh, you know, very, in a very negative head space and, and really was a big part of the reason that Start the Wave was, was born because I had, I suddenly had hope again. I was like, okay, there’s what can I do? This is something that I can do. And, uh, you know, Start the Wave, very much being founded on, um, embracing evolution and the law of impermanence and just like being open-minded to all things.
And the infinite, as we talk about like just the, we may put you use different words and different ways to explain it, but really like just the infinite nature of this human experience that we all have. And when I started living that and realizing that actually I was just a spiritual being, having a human experience then, um, yeah, it released a lot of things in me. Um, now where my sexuality intersects with this story, we’re getting that is that, um, I, I knew that I was queer, since I was nine years old. Um, I had some experiences that, um, I definitely confirmed to me that I very much liked, uh, uh, both male and female, um, and now all gender inclusive. Um, it, and I, and I had experiences with, with, with, um, a girl. And, but then, um, after that, I had some pretty negative experiences that shut me down.
So some, uh, moments with, uh, friends and, and, uh, that, that pro- sort of taught me that it was wrong, that it was wrong, that this is not something that we should be doing or exploring. And my, um, I had, I put a lot of importance on fitting in, and I guess the way that, uh, when I was reflecting on how my sort of atheist upbringing intersects with this, um, I was really taught that like I could be whoever I wanted to be. And so I think that extended really to my sexuality in a way that I saw my sexuality, I was like, I can control whoever I want to be really all I have going on is me and my, my surroundings. Like I didn’t have any sort of, I found difficulty in or an inability to zoom out like that, that wasn’t taught to me.
So it was very much like the focus on me, my experiences around me and those that are closely affected by that. So I was just trying to fit into whatever everybody else was, maybe teaching me to be able to, or, um, reflecting that I, that I should be. Um, and so I just decided to suppress that side of myself and focus on, you know, the fact that I was attracted to men and, and that, that was the easier route to go. Um, but since my spiritual awakening, I think what the journey that I’ve been on is really coming home to the fact that actually as Tahil said. Like it, I’ve been getting to know who I am now on a soul level. Like I’m, I’m realizing that instead of being controlling and being some, whoever I want to be, actually my journey through spirituality is, is, is coming home to an adult learning who I am at a soul level, and that I have been put on this Earth, as I am. And that much of my journey is to, into, you know, to, um, find and to love all those unintegrated parts of myself, um, and celebrate them and free myself from, from that suppression. Um, and realize that, you know, have faith, I suppose, that I am exactly as I’m supposed to be. Um, yeah, I think that’s, that’s about it.
Thank you so much. Thank you to all of the panelists for sharing your stories and for being so vulnerable with everyone. I know it’s, it’s very meaningful to me and I’m sure to our audience as well. Um, so Brianna has been, um, monitoring the chat for questions, and I think, uh, maybe we’ll open with, uh, a group question. There were two that really stood out, um, and they may not apply. They may not both apply to every panelist. So perhaps if you want to just pick the one that speaks the most to you. Um, so the first question is if your family’s values and faith did not connect with your own, how did you navigate coming to terms with that difference of opinion? And do you have any advice for people who are going through the same? And then the second question, if this may be more applies to you, is how do you mentally with the idea that there are liminal spaces for gender and section gender and sexuality present and reconcile that with maybe gender specific religious ritual practices such as the bat mitzvah. So I’m going to, who would like to start to you or, okay.
Yeah. Sorry. I don’t know. The unmute button was just not co-operative, um, both really important questions. Um, in terms of the first one about my family’s values and faith. Um, I know for a fact that much of my family was coming from a conservative interpretation of Hinduism that, you know, in its own ways was actually espousing, um, misogyny and chauvinism as a ploy to just say, well, men are better because God made us better. And me being the act, the person that actually was like, Nope, that’s not how that works. I’m actually, uh, I actually adhered to what is known as shaktism, which is this idea that the feminine divine is what really, it exists as energy in all things. And that means, you know, when there are ways that you don’t know how to find a, um, an agreement or a consensus with your family about their values and traditions, this is where you have to create your own space.
You’re not there to concede that you have to agree with your humanity and your identity and become a part of a mold because your values and your existence are not to be compromised. It’s about making sure that in the previous point that I made about being a part of this change of religion and spirituality, that you begin to etch your own and create your own traditions that are a continuations of those from the past, um, for the sake of conversation around gender and sexuality, as a point, um, Hindus and Sikhs don’t, you have this idea that, you know, two men and two women can get married as a part of the tradition, but there are now Hindu priests and priestesses who are actually hosting same-sex marriages. That is a direct challenge to tradition, quote unquote. And it’s actually an extension of tradition. That is the point, what is not made for you. You make for yourself, don’t let anyone think you can’t because that is exactly how these traditions work. They’re an extension of ourselves and our legacies, which are about rebellion, which are about accepting our whole selves. And which is most importantly about connecting with the divine. And no one is exempt from being connected to the divine. And that’s the point we’re trying to make
Thank you Tahil does someone else want to jump in. I’d love to follow up just on that, because I have just a little bit of a comment that relates very much to what you were saying. You know what I think it’s important
As we grapple with these questions to do some formal education or inquiry into religion as well. Um, you know, there’s, I joke sometimes about Buddhism. For instance, we say, Oh, Christianity is schismatic. And so splintered in Western culture. Well, we’ve had 500 more years to do that. And Hinduism has had, you know, several hundred years, a thousand years more than that. So, uh, when we think of something as being Orthodox, it’s important to remember that orthodoxy is an agreed upon reality over a period of time. And so much of what we consider Orthodox in many religious traditions, including the Buddhist tradition is really in fact, heterodox. When you look at it through the lens of a, of a classical, uh, historical examination of reality. So these are ideas that people have that often diverge from the charismatic founders of a religious school of thought, and they embody it in a particular way.
And that’s fine. And I think we can utilize that same sort of authority as, as religious practitioners and especially as religious leaders today to make changes where they’re required based on our understanding of reality and scientific observation of, of, you know, biology and physiology, that’s all well and good, but we should also be careful. You know, for instance, I was made a patriarch in our tradition in 2015 and promptly changed the title to ancestor. It’s a better translation and it’s inclusive because one of the changes that I was able to make was to stop dividing men and women, you know, historically in our tradition, women have to sit junior to men forever, no matter if it’s the most junior male, the females, the nuns always said junior to the men, no matter if they’re the oldest most senior in the world, I just stopped doing it, but it wasn’t just a flippant change. And I think that’s important. Religion has some staying power, and if we want our changes to be meaningful, we need to be in conversation with the orthodoxy, with heterodoxy and with the history that’s actually present within our tradition so that we can make it in accord with the foundational principles of a tradition that allow it to stay and be meaningful into the future,
Uh, Dom and Porter do you guys want to jump in? I was, I was going to say, let’s go out for a sec. I can jump in real quick. Um, so I think, and this is something that I do very frequently. I have very, um, frequent conversations with friends and, and family about religion and values that differ, um, especially with my own immediate family. Um, and I think one thing that we need to remember is that a person and you, you can hear it expressed here by all of us, a person’s religious or spiritual identity is extremely meaningful to them. So when you approach those conversations, um, I think it needs to be coming from a place of loving and, and kindness and openness and no judgment because those conversations are so delicate. Um, and I think that a lot of presumptions are made a lot of, uh, or assumptions.
I apologize. Um, and I think that a lot of people go into those conversations thinking about what they’re going to say, but they’re not thinking about listening and hearing for points of connection with that other person. Um, so for instance, when, when I speak with my, my mom, who, who, uh, converted to the call Catholicism actually, um, just a few years ago, um, she, she speaks to me about her prayer and I speak to her about my meditation, and we try to find how those two things make us feel and how, how they, they aren’t that far off. Um, and, and I think that I accept what she says so openly, and I’m so happy for her that she has found a faith that she believes in, and that brings her so much joy that I love that it brings me so much joy to know that.
And I think that she’s gotten she’s, she’s been more accepting with me knowing that I may not believe in that religion specifically, but I do believe that we are all celebrating the same thing and that we are all doing it differently. And we should celebrate that. Um, I created recently with one of our rooms, we call it the Zen den, but it’s, um, it’s basically just a good space for prayer and meditation. And, um, in going through that, I actually thought of all the people in my life and ended up getting their books, their religious texts that, that they, um, like to read and like to go through. And I do intend to read all of them, but also just so that they’re there so that when they’re staying or if they’re even just popping by for dinner, but they have a prayer that they’re supposed to do. They can pop up to the Zen den and celebrate them. Like it should be so open and inclusive. And I think maybe just enter those, those conversations from, from an open space.
Um, this is speaking a little bit more towards the second question about, um, holding space for, uh, liminality in the midst of hyper gendered traditions. Um, in, in Christian practice, we have something called confession. And I say that knowing that there, uh, there are a lot of people with Catholic backgrounds on this, on this particular call, um, in, in how it’s practiced in my denomination. Uh, it is a corporate confession that we it’s a prayer that we say together every week when we gather for worship. Um, and the point of that time is not actually to make you feel terrible about yourself, which is how it’s often portrayed and how it often is done. And, uh, in a lot of traditions, but actually to acknowledge that we don’t always get things right. And when we are honest about how we don’t get things right, and we are able to bring that up before God, then we are more likely to be able to change our behavior and do it better.
And I think that, you know, for all of us, there are things that we, that we are, that we get, right. And other things that we get wrong. And in the traditions, there are practices that come up because the culture at the time thought this, and now we’re learning something else. And so we can look at those traditions and confess, wow, something was missed here, and now we’re going to revise in the spirit of that tradition. So I know, I know I’m B’nai mitzvah, which is a gender neutral term. Um, I have started to happen. Um, I’ve been, we have few hyper gendered rituals in Christianity, but we have a lot kind of culturally in Christianity. So you’ll find a lot of churches that have men’s groups and women’s groups, and that’s their adult social programming. Um, and so trying to examine those traditions that really come from how we have played out our tradition in specific cultures and realizing that it’s okay to adjust those based on, based on what we know now, and actually get back to a more, a more authentic practice.
Thank you all for your responses. Um, so now I’m gonna give each of you an individual question, uh, that was put into the chat. So, um, the first question will be for Slats. I’ll just go in the order that you guys spoke. Um, did you ever think about leaving church and the religion behind, after being unaccepted in the beginning?
This is a great question. Um, yes and no. So I, I struggled a lot, particularly in middle school and high school when I was in the midst of a lot of the, um, anti queer messaging, um, lit still living in the South and still being around this all the time, starting to be involved in conversations in my particular denomination about what does it look like if we allow gay people to get married or ordained, or, you know, serve in these leadership roles? Um, which weighed a lot on me. And I think it was a combination of that as well as just growing up, getting older, having been raised with the tradition and being at the age where it was healthy for me to question that, that I actually considered myself agnostic for the majority of high school. Um, no, because my parents both worked in the church.
I was at church all the time. I was constantly participating in things. There was really no other option. So, um, in that time I kind of developed two two selves. So one that said, you know, I’m agnostic because you can’t prove or disprove the existence of God. And this is what makes sense. And then the other part of me that said, well, if I believed in God, here are the things that I would believe about God. And, uh, at the end of that at the end of that time, which is when a pastor was, um, who had been really influential for me was actually leaving our church and going, going to a new position. And she’d been really keeping that faith part of me alive, that I realized that I was going to have to make a choice. And I realized that I was actually happier when I was putting faith in something than when I was not.
I also had several experiences, um, that had nothing to do with emotions, but just practicality. Like when I started undergrad, I was in theater school and theater school was notoriously busy and I was not going to church cause I had no time to go to church. And I, I missed that and I felt, I felt this ache. So I knew that if I were to leave, it would be enormously difficult. Um, and now I say that I stay because I’m actually, I need that specific kind of practice. I need that practice in community. I am a worship nerd. I love liturgy. I love hymns. I love gathering together and singing. I’m, I’m struggling now a bit because of the pandemic. I haven’t been to church in person since March. Um, and that is what I need because I’m, I’m not actually able for myself to do that on my own.
Um, I do, I am kind of constantly in the process of figuring out how I interact with the church as a person, particularly in leadership. So I’ve gone to seminary. I worked, uh, leading a church for three years. I am still not ordained. Um, and that is largely because I am, I, I am not sure if I have the energy all the time to be ordained in a church that is primarily straight and cisgender and have to do that kind of, that kind of work of educating everyone. Um, particularly at like my own job with I got ordained, it would be my job. And that just seems exhausting. So at this point I kind of stay a little bit outside. I write, I resource, I talk, um, uh, but I’m kind of constantly examining what my relationship should be. And I also think it’s important to say that that my experience is my experience and that is not going to be true of, of everyone, um, who is raised queer and Christian, um, that the, the experiences of that are going to be unique to every person and how every person finds healing from that experience is going to look different.
I believe that there are churches out there. Um, I know that there are churches out there cause I’ve worked with them and I’ve been to them and I’ve celebrated with them who will unabashedly welcome in queer people and do what they can to heal that hurt. And also that might not be the path for everyone.
Thank you so much. So the next question will be for Porter. Uh, do you think one day that churches and the LGBTQIA2S+ plus community will find a balance to understand each other without judgement,
Um, Oh, I mean, that’s a, that’s a good one, I guess. Uh, it would be hard for me to know or, or say, I think we’re moving the ball forward. Um, I think that we’re getting closer and I think, um, or rather I hope that in more and more areas and more and more religions, more and more churches, um, more folks that are part of the community do feel acceptance and, and do feel that they can, um, be their true selves and, and still be part of that religious community, um, in, in really a more wholesome manner, um, and not have to hide who they are. Um, I do think we’re getting closer though. I mean, even with the Pope coming out and saying, you know, we need to love people regardless of their background. I hope that that narrative continues. But then even, we’re not saying we need to love them, even if, but just that it is accepted.
It is wholly accepted and they are, everybody is connected and we are all brothers and sisters and we all love one another. Um, and, and should be there for one another and no human is better than the next. And, um, I think that we’re getting there. I think it’s, it’s especially interesting because I know that, um, the younger generations get a lot of flack, uh, that we, we are constantly known as, you know, lazy and like we don’t, you know, we don’t, um, believe in the traditional values of, of what we all grew up in, but I think it’s amazing. I think the younger generations are, are opening the, the ceiling and saying like, no, there’s so much more than this. We don’t need to be doing all of the things that our parents and our grandparents and our grandparents parents did. We need to open conversations and we need to celebrate new things and we need to accept everybody. Um, so yeah, I guess overall to answer your question, I, I, I don’t know when it’ll happen, but I think we’re moving the ball forward and that’s a positive thing. Thank you. So the next question will be for Josh. Do you think psychological spiritualism and homosexuality have a connection?
Yes. Uh, but I want to break that down a little bit. I would break this down into psychology, spirituality and, and, uh, sexual orientation. You know, some of the more, I think, I wouldn’t say in touch psychologists and mental health professionals out there are keen to understand the psychology has long suffered from what we call physics envy. Uh, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a hard observational science that would allow us to say, this is why this happens, and this is exactly it, but alas, we don’t. Uh, when we look at the field of, of spirituality and the intersection of science, especially in Western religion historically, and where the church has regarded scientists with concepts that we take for granted today, spirituality at large has often struggled from physics envy as well while we’ve got these suppositions, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was some observational way to say, this is exactly it, and this is why this is the only true path and you should do that.
Um, and then we look at sexual orientation and I think those of us that have this lived experience it’s understand that it’s somewhat fluid, but there’s a deeply physical, uh, physiological component. And there’s a large psychological component, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could just look at the legislation and the naysayers and say, this is exactly where it is on the genome, and this is why it happens and et cetera. So, you know, we look at these fields as sort of being oppositional, there’s secular hard science and there’s spirituality. That’s the opposite. And then maybe there’s gender identity and sexual orientation that float in this other multi-modal or bi-modal realm. And in fact, all of these things are just grasping at straws based on what we can observe and experience and what we can know to be true in our hearts and trying to bridge them consistently. So I don’t know if that’s an adequate answer for what you were looking for, but I think that none of these suppositions are farther apart, uh, than just that they all share this physics, envy that’s problematic, but also kind of exciting. So hopefully we get closer to understanding things as time goes on.
Thank you so much. So the next question will be for, Tahil. Um, are you familiar or aware of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda? I do believe in their views, but I am struggling to find a place as a gay person, uh, going hand in hand with Hinduism.
That’s a very real feeling. And that’s a feeling that I had when I began to question many parts of my identity, including my faith and sexuality. Um, wherever there are points where we don’t feel things go hand-in-hand that’s when you have to know you need to dig deeper, because there’s a lot of what we consider sort of the superficial norms and realities that we create around traditions, because we don’t actually go back far enough to see what they tell us. And this was a point that Joshua you were making before as well in this idea that we’re studying about religion and spirituality. It’s much more in-depth than the past century. It’s much more in-depth than the past millennia. It’s much more than the common era, which is the past 2000 years or so. The point is it’s not just about, you know, trying to see things go hand in hand.
If things don’t go hand in hand, nothing is held against you to find a better place for yourself. That is the bare minimum of what you deserve. But the thing about religion and spirituality is it’s also not a monolith. Uh, the two, um, people that you talked about Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda are a part of the Vedanta school of philosophy. The Vedanta school is more modern. It is more accepting in some ways, and it’s still very rigid in a lot of ways, which means it’s just one school in this giant school of understanding of Hinduism. It doesn’t end with the Vedanta society being the latest and greatest denomination that we have. We’re still developing schools of philosophy. We’re still developing ideas of what it means to be a part of tradition and what it means to be a part of new movements for justice. Hinduism has a lot of work to it.
That’s why it’s not as easy to say. It’s just a polytheistic religion. That’s from India. It’s way more complicated than that. When you tell people that there are 330 million gods, but we still believe in one God, you thought the Trinity was confusing. Imagine trying to get 330 million deities together and make it into one thing. And the example that I use is like taking a spoon of sugar, acknowledging all the individual crystals, and then mixing it into a glass of water. It’s just as sweet to realize that all of those crystals make that one identity, that one entity possible it’s that kind of imagination. It’s that kind of interpretation and relationship that you also have the responsibility to build and discover for yourself and potentially for other people to understand it’s actually possible. And Porter. There were actually two things that I kind of wanted I reflected on and want to kind of respond to as well in this answer.
Um, one is I, I often hear that, um, it should be that we do things regardless of what makes people different. And I always invite the opposite response. And I say, I, you should actually do it in full regard as to where people come from and why they’re different. Because I think what we’ve really struggled from oftentimes is this idea that, Oh, it doesn’t matter where you come from. As long as you’re a good person, actually, it shouldn’t be the complete opposite. I want to know how in the world you came from a different world, a different reality. Yet we still came to the same conviction of loving one another, that we still came to the same conviction that we have justice striving for one another. It really involves us being millennials, being the people that are not, that are trendsetters in a negative connotation and not a positive connotation.
That actually this is an invitation for that intersectional justice to take place by being very intentional about how and why we learn about each other. And more importantly, the other point that I wanted to address is that, like, we’re not the ones to push away from tradition, this conversation that we’re having granted it’s on zoom, granted it’s as being live on YouTube. And it’s too modern for a lot of old farts to really like grasp onto it’s fine. The point actually is this is tradition. This is legacy we are doing some really solid work right now that is being viewed by over almost 600 people. And this is a part of what will make a difference if there are churches that collapse, because they’re not being radically inclusive, it’s not on the people it’s on the church at the end of the day. If they’re not willing to say that our love that God associated love that we create is not going to accept the whole person. That’s going to come into our doors. That church deserves to collapse. So does that mosque, so does that synagogue, so does that temple because they are not actually acknowledging that they’re putting a limit, they have the audacity to put the limit on. God’s love. That’s the point. That’s what we’re challenging and that’s how we go forward
Thank you so much. So, Dominique, um, so there’s sort of, there’s a lot of questions for you, we’ll say. So I’m going, gonna try to narrow it down. Um, so first, uh, would you say that meditation saved you and also, um, how do you stay focused on your journey and truth when you spend so much time uplifting other people’s stories and their journey?
Hmm. Um, I’m not sure that I would use the phrase that it saved me that, that, but it certainly helped me a lot. Um, there’s no doubt about that. And it changed the course of my future. I, it changed my path completely. It helped me to separate myself from the thoughts that were in my head, which then allowed me to access my gut and understand the difference between the truths that were coming through from a place, a deeper place. And that once I allowed myself to listen to that, um, it guided me into where I am now into places that I am very, very grateful, uh, to, to be. Um, and yeah, so it’s been, it’s been incredibly transformative and, and what the, you know, the, the path that unfolded since meditation has been like none other, but the magical is the way that I can describe it.
Like it’s, uh, the synchronicities and the, you know, um, the representation of the interconnectedness of all things has been so apparent that I had no choice really, but to surrender to a higher power just when I was doubting it, that would be something that was gifted to me by the universe that then led me on to further deepening my understanding. So what, you know, meditation definitely being the, the thing that kickstarted that started me off on that journey, but that many things have come along my parks since then to deepen my connection to all that is the great mystery of life and, and the divine. Um, so yes. And what was the second question? Geneva three,
You stayed focused on your own journey and your own truth when you’re, you spend so much time uplifting other people’s stories too.
Um, I think they, they inform each other. So, um, it’s definitely been a journey of like rarely, uh, getting clear about my needs and my spiritual needs and what that looks like and being, um, allowing myself to put those things, put those things as a priority in my life. So, um, working out what that looks like, whether it be that, you know, I wake up and, and, um, you know, start to start the day with yoga and meditation and prayer and gratitude practice or whatever those things look like and allowing myself to, and trying to shift my mindset and not see that as, um, something that, that is, um, selfish in any way to take that time for myself, but rather that in order to uplift other people and to, to truly love from the right place, I need to fill up my cup first, so that it seeps over into the universe and, and, and creates that light.
And that’s been a, that’s been a real journey. That’s been very, very hard from, for me personally, I came from, um, very, very, um, a background that taught me that, uh, the most productive, the most important thing is productivity and that we should constantly be, do, you know, being productive and not taking that time for ourselves. So within, within my journey, it’s very much been a, um, uh, deepening into self-love and realizing what that looks like for me and how those practices can, um, inform, inform, um, yeah, that, that, that sense of, of worth and, and, and self-love so, um, but then also I would, I would also say that by having conversations like this, by doing this work, it, it has tremendous value in my own life. So I’m constantly learning by doing the work that I’m doing. So it’s really just a gift and it it’s, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels just like, Whoa, as if I get to be a part of this. And, and so, um, yeah, just immensely grateful to all of those things.
Thank you so much. Um, I definitely echo that and I, on that note, we are about out of time. Um, so I want to just thank all of the, for being here today and everyone who is watching this on YouTube. Thank you so much for your time on behalf of the Interfaith Center, Start the Wave then, uh, URI North America, just thank you for attending. I hope you found this program meaningful and that it encourages you to embrace your whole self in your own life. Um, and if you’d like more information about any of the organizations that participated, um, I have put all of the links in the description on the live video. Um, so thank you all and, and have a great rest of your day.
Thank you so much. Thank you. Bye. We are no longer live. Okay. Alright Nicely done guys.
UPDATE: Since filming this video I have become aware of the critical importance of using gender-inclusive language when talking about periods. People of all genders have periods and it is vital that we reflect this lived reality in the language we use, holding space for the full and diverse experiences we have around menstruation—in all our bodies, in all our genders. As I have said many times before, I believe the world is more interesting and beautiful because of our variations and differences. Understanding other people’s truths, (especially when they differ from our own), is a continuous journey, one that I am deeply committed to and care wholeheartedly about. With this in mind I would like to apologize to any folx who didn’t feel seen in this video, it was never my intention to exclude you, I was simply unaware. Since then, much has changed and I absolutely hold myself accountable for my mistakes. Please let me reassure you that in the past few years I have deepened my understanding, shifted my use of language and am continually becoming more conscious—considering the ways in which I use pronouns and gender-inclusive terms to contribute to the peaceful and all-embracing world I so dream about. Here’s to growing out of our mistakes, staying curious, open minded, and evolving together to bring in the new age with active loving grace. 🌈 With gratitude, Dominique 🌞
(Start of video)
Ladies. It is so important to own your period. When I was growing up, periods were seen as gross, something to hide or be ashamed of. Well, let me tell you now that is utter rubbish. The female body is extraordinary, amazingly complex and beautiful. We have to start breaking down those old fashioned ways and support one another in empowering our periods. This is in no way, an advert. I am doing this 100% completely and entirely from an environmental and feminist standpoint. So today I’m going to talk about an alternative sanitary product that I truly believe changes everything. About three and a half years ago, I was sat around the table of girls drinking a glass of wine, and somebody brought up the Mooncup. Honestly, they could have been talking about a space-aged tea cup designed by NASA or something. This inspired a chorus of shock from the table and what followed was a heavy pitch by five amazing females. That very conversation shifted my relationship to my period and completely changed my adult life. So here it goes. I’m hoping to do the same for you.
This is the diva cup, AKA the Mooncup. I will probably be referring to it as the Mooncup, as that is the make that is most widely sold in the UK. And of course in British. I’m just going to open up the sighting sheers. Hey look, it has, you can even measure how much that is amazing in ounces and in milliliters. The Mooncup is an alternative sanitary product to the tampon or pad. So you fold it over, like so. Pop it up there. It pops open. Collects your menstrual blood. Yeah, that’s right. Menstrual blood, menstrual blood over it. Okay, good. And then we take it out, empty it out, give it a wash and voila. It even comes with a little bag so you can pop it in and be discreet. No one will ever know, that it’s your Mooncup. Or if you’re like me and you like arts and crafts, you can make very own.
Let’s be frank about this, who out there loves tampons? You ever heard someone say, ‘Ooh ya, I can’t wait to shove a tampon up my vajayjay.’ We just use them because that’s what we’ve been told to do. Don’t miss this shit. Look at all this plastic and bollocks. This is a tampon. Hi tampon. They make these things super absorbent so that the minute that they touch any liquid, they instantly inflate. Look at that. So when you have it in, you feel like you need to change it all the time. And then they consequently sell more of them because you’re going through so many of them.
Even though these things have huge benefits for women by their very nature as non-disposable products that don’t have to be bought regularly, the big businesses don’t have a huge profit incentive. So instead they just keep selling us the idea of shoving a bit of cotton up there instead. It’s bad enough that we get crumps every month. We don’t need the industry to exploit our vaginas too.
Tampon troubles. Dryness. Tampons can be really uncomfy. You know, when it’s sitting funny and you have to just move it around, like poking around down there and hoping no one will see. Or even worse at the end of your period, when it completely dries you out because you haven’t got enough moisture and it becomes really itchy. Some people even get thrush from it. That was me. Not cool. Who are we kidding? It’s horrible. And actually really bad for your lovely lady parts. Well, the Mooncup saves all of that. Its non-absorbent so it won’t cause dryness when your periods light. It’s so comfortable in fact, I don’t even know it’s in there.
While tampons absorb 35% of vaginal moisture, the Mooncup doesn’t dry you out or leave any of these horrible fibers behind. Look at that. Leaking. Leaking becomes a thing of the past. You know, when you want to go to yoga or swimming or literally anywhere at all, and you’re worried that your string is going to be hanging out or you’re going to leak everywhere. The Mooncup saves all of that.
To vagina, and beyond!
Okay. Relax Buzz. This little bad boy holds three times more than a regular tampon. So ladies say goodbye to pooey looking stained knickers. Okay, bye. You can put in any time. So the morning that I think I’m going to possibly come on, I whack it in and even if I don’t, it literally does nothing. Money saving. You only need one Mooncup that pays for itself after six to eight months. And regardless of flow this bad boy will last 10 years. Just think of all the money you’ll save. But most importantly, it reduces waste. Each one of us goes through around 11,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime that end up in the sea or landfill. The time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade is centuries longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it. Ocean conservancy volunteers collected 27,938 use tampons and applicators on our world’s beaches in a single day.
So by switching to the magic, Mooncup, you’re saving the manufacturing of all of those tampons and all of those plastic applicators, all that unnecessary disposable waste that we need to start eliminating from our lives. Now, listen, I’m going to be totally honest. I was really daunted by the idea at first, but luckily I had these amazing women to tell me that it was completely normal to feel like that. Yes, it may take a little bit of practice to get used to it, but once you have mastered it, you feel invincible. When I made the change, I finally felt like I was taking control of my period. All that itchy scratching blah feeling sorry for myself, nonsense, diminished. And I started feeling a woman, a woman who has a period and is not scared of it. Truly, if you can work through a bit of trial and error of putting it in and out, it will change everything. Then we can concentrate on being badass, amazing women all the way through the month. It’s time we stopped throwing away insane amounts of disposable products. Please take a chance, go out, buy yourself a Mooncup. You won’t regret it.
Representation matters, but why is it so incredibly important that we keep pushing forward for our social growth on this planet we call home. The media that we consume directly impacts the way that we see the world; our place in it, and the way we judge and understand other cultures and communities. For so long now we’ve been seeing the same thing characters on our TV screens or in theaters, predominantly white males, so that’s who we learned about. But what about all the rest of humanity? Are their stories any less important? If you don’t see yourself represented in the media, it could lead you to believe that perhaps you are unimportant or invisible. There’s even a term for it, ‘symbolic annihilation’, but it makes sense, right? If you never see your story told it could lead you to believe that you’re the only one out there experiencing it. Which could be incredibly lonely.
When the same voices are being heard over and over again, the conversation never progresses and the world is never challenged. Representation brings fresh ideas to the table. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the reaction from fans to Waverly Earp, it’s the representation creates relatable, powerful role models and sources of inspiration, which is vital for the confidence and growth of minorities. I mean, just seeing how many young females have had the courage to come out because they’ve seen Waverly’s journey is cement proof of that. The other thing I’ve learned about representation is that it has to be done right! There’s no point just sticking someone in a TV show, just for the sake of it, you know, to tick a box. If anything, that can be more damaging. For the underrepresented, seeing someone that looks like them, but is inauthentic or one dimensional can actually have very negative and limiting effects. If that character is restricted to only acting in certain ways, you know, ways which, which don’t reflect the reality of their actual life’s experiences, it might make them wonder if perhaps that’s all that is asked of them in society.
But listen, representation is slowly but surely getting there. And although sometimes it may not feel like we’re moving fast enough, there is optimism in the future of media and its portrayal of minorities. Wynonna Earp, for example, can give us hope for the future. I couldn’t be prouder to play a strong, female, queer character and push the envelope of representation that the LGBTQ community desperately needs. In certain countries, unfortunately, we have a further to go than others. Brazil, for example, needs all the support it can get. And meeting the fans only proved that further. So let’s support positive representation around the globe and together we can make a hell of a lot of noise and show the bigwigs what media we want for our future. Thank you so much for watching this video. We’ll have a part two, two, two, two, not four, two. So make sure you check it out. Um, and I just want to say a huge shout out to Gi for making this video, you absolute legend. You beautiful human. Thank you for doing something for this amazing community. And yeah, bye.
I love you guys
Dom: It feels so incredibly special to be here in Brazil at this amazing convention and meeting all of the beautiful, beautiful fans of Wynonna Earp. I feel particularly lucky that I’ve spent some time in Brazil to really fully understand the depth of the importance of representation here. And I think spending those few weeks beforehand has really made me appreciate kind of every second here with the fans.
Fans were asked one important question: Why representation matters?
Fan: Representation in a fictional world means social existence. And the absence of it means symbolic annihilation. Representation means that our world works and that there is a place for everyone in it.
Fan: It matters so much because we deserve to see ourselves in things that we love and that really matter to us. And the world is so full of ugly things that just a little bit of kindness makes it so much better.
Fan: I think representation matters because at the end of the day everybody want to belong, make their story valid and wants to understand that it’s possible. Besides, it’s a good thing to see stories that work out and inspire you. Sometimes you are not in your best moment and you see that you are not alone.
Fan: That’s it, is all about knowing your story is possible, real and valid. To see yourself being represented makes you feel that.
Fan: Representation matters because when I see people like me I feel happier and I find a place in the world where I can be myself and fit in.
Fan: LGBT representation. That is something that we see a lot today, but not really strong. Sometimes they’re not the best representation. We have queer bait. We have writers that put some characters in television and don’t give them the right screen time or don’t give them the right representation that you really do deserve. LGBT is normal. We are normal. We’re not sick. We’re not ill. We’re normal people. And we deserve better representation on TV.
Fan: I think representation is important on TV shows and movies because we all need to have something that we can get inspired and identify with. When we see a character that looks like us, we may not even know what we’re going through and that character is able to put into words and actions what we’re feeling. These characters can be LGBTQ, they can love whoever they want and still be incredible people. That makes us accept ourselves and know that we are also incredible for being who are.
Fan: It’s important for the LGBTQ kids, the little ones who think that is something wrong, those who suffer at school, at church, anywhere else. You look at the TV and you don’t often see LGBTQ characters so you think that you’re never gonna work. Right. So when you see these kinds of things, the representation and everyone here… It inspires you. It inspires so much, it’s great and so gratifying.
Fan: I think what is more important to say is we need to see ourselves because many of us can’t live these stories. We can’t continue to be invisible, we need to be represented right. It’s important that our stories are real and treated with respect.
Dom: I think it is so powerful that each and every person has come here today and to basically stand together and be like this is what we need more of. So thank you so much for coming to each and every person like it means the world, you have no idea, and it’s a gift for us more than anything else.
Fan: LBTQ plus representation is very important, especially for us Brazilians, because we don’t have this representation in Brazil and Brazilian TV. What they do with this little, little show called Wynonna Earp is so important. Especially with Dom. They started the wave for us. Myself as a bisexual, I feel very represented. Like I cannot even measure how I feel when I see a character like her representing a bisexual person.
Fan: I didn’t have a lot of representation growing up, I was very confused. I didn’t know what was happening or why I was like this. The very few representation that we had was completely different and it didn’t contribute to anything, only made us be scared of who we are. Now this is changing. Now we are having good representation with Nicole and Waverly. So this is what Wynonna Earp represents, not only the empowered women but the LGBTQ representation as well.
Fan: I think in the world we live in today where things are worse and hatred is increasingly present, even more in politics, I think it’s important to have representation to show us that being gay is alright, being part of the LGBTQ community is alright, we will find a community that accept us no matter who we are and that we have a bright future ahead no matter who we love and who we are.
Fan: It’s also important that we now have a positive representation because sometimes when we watch a TV show, we see someone coming out and not being accepted. I can give you an example with Wynonna Earp, when Waverly comes out, not only Wynonna accepts her and continues to love her the same way because she is still the same person, everyone around her does it too.
Fan: I think representation in a world that gay people die, gay people always die and it’s not only in the movies or TV shows, in real life too. I think it’s so important not only for us who are in this generation that watch and need this, but also for the young generation, for the kids who are watching and growing up in this world, I don’t want them to grow up in the same world that I did and that they watch their character die. In Wynonna Earp, for example, when Nicole got shot I felt it and I cried for like 5 seconds but it was in that moment I thought ‘one more.’ It’s important because this can’t keep happening.
Dom: Playing Waverly Earp has been without a doubt the greatest gift of my life. I feel like since I started playing this character, I have, Oh God, I’m gonna cry. Since I started playing this character, I’ve come on such a journey with myself, of self-acceptance, and understanding what real bravery is and that you can totally be yourself and be brave. You don’t have to hide behind something else. And I think that I, I believe that that is what people see in Waverly.
Dom: Never stop being you because it’s like a very, very, very special trait to have.
Kat: And I will piggy-bank on that and say just be so proud of you because you guys are such beautiful, strong, passionate people, and don’t ever forget if you ever feel alone, look around this whole room. And these are all your new friends, you know, so never forget that we love you. And thank you for having us in your home. We are very happy. We love you.
Fans: Start the Wave. We are here. Start the Wave. We exist. Start the Wave. We matter. Start the Wave. We deserve. Start the Wave. We are worth it. Start the Wave. And we will keep fighting. Start the Wave.
Thank you for watching.
Kat: Maybe we should start with the like, hi guys.
Both: Hi guys.
Dom: I hope you’ve checked out my video on fast freakin’ fashion. We think it’s really important to put our money where our mouths are and stop buying into the idea of fast fashion.
Kat: And as we learn more and more about the horrors of the fast fashion industry, Dom and I decided to do a fun little challenge. So, we are going to go out and buy all of our outfits, head to toe, shoes, jewelry, clothing, everything, from secondhand clothing stores and wear them all weekend at ClexaCon.
Dom: Woooo! We want to show you that it’s really fun and easy to go secondhand shopping. With a little bit of creativity you can put together some awesome outfits.
Kat: And you’re going to look amazing. And, as an added challenge, just to show you guys that you can look great and be kind to the earth and not spend a lot of money we are going to find an entire outfit for under $50. Thrift stores are generally the cheapest option and usually the proceeds go to a charity or a (Dom: nonprofit) nonprofit organization.
Dom: And then we have vintage stores. Vintage refers to clothing that is over a decade old. So they have lots of nice retro goodies.
Dom: I really love this. This isn’t actually usually what I go for, but I think it’s like, it’s so fun and colorful, and the back is so different.
Kat: Consignment stores are where members of the community bring in gently used items, uh, they get a percentage of the sale and the store gets a percentage of the sale.
Dom: Okay, let’s get inside before you freeze.
Kat: So as a little FYI, thrift stores are generally universally cheaper than consignment stores and vintage stores tend to be slightly more expensive than consignment stores, but the quality is generally much, much higher.
Dom: And one take to keep in mind is if you love something, but it doesn’t quite fit, go and get it tailored. Believe me, it will end up looking like it was made for you.
Kat: We really hope that you guys have found this video informative and inspiring. So, the next time that you’re looking to buy some new clothing, you vote with your dollar, be kind to our mother and try out secondhand clothing shopping.
Dom: Yes. So keep an eye out for what we wear and we’ll see you at ClexaCon.
Kat: See you at ClexaCon. Let’s go shopping!
Hello. Yo. What’s up? No, I’m joking. Um, hello and welcome. We are living through a crucial time in history. Climate change is posing a real threat and arguably we are more disconnected to what really matters than ever before. After the amazing response from my water bottle mission, it inspired me to do more. And so I introduce to you ladies and gentlemen, Start the Wave, an online community that considers the notion of possibility and positive change. I’m not sitting here claiming to have all the answers. Believe me, quite the contrary. I’m working it out day by day, and I’m inviting you to do the same. I truly, truly believe that the responsibility lies with us. So please, if you will join us! Eeeek, it’s very exciting. We must educate and inspire the next generation, the generation of our future to go forth and make positive change.
Start the Wave is a safe space that will support you on your unique path to creating the positive change that speaks to you. We are one, and yet we are all beautifully different, each with our own strengths, visions, and ideas. What positive change can you bring to our world? By embarking on a journey to finding your true, authentic self, you will begin to connect with your unique purpose, your power. By opening up to new ways of thinking and letting go of the things that no longer serve us we awaken to possibility. We are here to empower you in whatever socially or environmentally conscious venture you find is calling. Whether through art, activism, or simply being an example of a different way of living, we all need to make brave, conscious change in order to save our planet. Every individual has something different to bring to the table and when we aligned with what truly sets our soul on fire, that’s when the magic happens. We are here to support, nurture, and grow those ideas that are close to your heart. We welcome you to a community that encourages your evolution, celebrates your journey, and helps you feel less alone in the process. A caring, connected, conscious community. We are at a crucial time in history. We have a chance to do things differently, to break away from the madness that has plagued our beautiful earth. We believe in a new world. A world where kindness and compassion overflow, and we make decisions based on love for the good of all beings and our precious Mother Earth. We believe in you to contribute to that world. It’s time to inspire one another to counteract the darkness. It’s time to awaken to what is really important and encourage others to do the same. Let us empower each other on the road to choosing our light. Let’s start the wave for a brighter future.
Welcome to your Start the Wave community meditation. For those of you joining for the first time today thank you for being here with us. And for those of you returning, welcome back. Whatever brings you here today, just take a second to trust in the process. So to start off today, I want us to scan the room. So either from left to right or right to left, just observe your space as if it was the first time you’d ever seen it. Slowly, taking every object in. Slowly scanning round the room as if for the first time. And when you finish that, I want you to do it again and now just take in and notice anything green. Anything that is present in your space that has the color green; left to right, or right to left, doesn’t matter. Just noticing anything green. Observing your space with fresh eyes and taking it in for the first time. And then once you’ve done that, take a moment to get comfy and let’s settle in.
As always listening to our bodies and adjusting any parts that feel uncomfortable. Maybe today you need to lie down. Or sitting up straight with a long back. Whatever your body is telling you, accept it and take that position now. And gently in your own time, close your eyes as we start to go inwards.
And we’re going to start today by noticing what we see. Bringing our attention to our eyes. Making a conscious effort to relax the muscles around the eyes. And just taking in and observing what we see. Noticing any color; perhaps you see speckles of light interspersed and moving. Maybe there’s some shapes. Or maybe you see nothing at all as you enter into blackness. This experience is different for everyone. So don’t judge it. Just notice and observe.
And now I want us to take our attention to the sounds. Listening to the sounds that are present. The sound of my voice, the music, and any other background noises that may be present for you. Could be the sound of electricity. Maybe you can hear children playing in the street. Just notice. And anytime a thought pops up, just bring it back to the sounds, bringing your attention back to whatever you hear.
And let’s take our attention to the breath now. Observing the natural inflow and outflow of the breath. Breathing in and breathing out. I’m not trying to control it or manipulate it, just letting it be and observing.
Breathing in and breathing out. Breathing in and out. Just observing. Noticing how the lungs lift and fall as we breathe in nourishing air and exhale anything that no longer serves us. If you find that your mind has wandered off, it’s totally okay, don’t get angry with it, it’s all part of meditation. Just bring it back. Refocus on the breath, observing how the air comes into your nostrils, passes through to the lungs, and reverses to come out. Relaxing further with each breath, tapping into the present moment and surrendering to this practice.
And now I want you to bring your attention to your heart. Breathing in and out of your heart center. Focusing in on any sensations; you might be able to hear the heart beating as it pumps blood around our body. Just take a second to feel that.
So today we will be focusing on the heart chakra, which is located in the center of the chest at the heart level. The heart chakra is where we hold the vibrations of: love, compassion, patience, kindness, hope, trust, forgiveness, generosity, connection, and joy.
So just breathe in and out of the heart space. Taking a few minutes to center in, accepting wherever we are today. The heart chakra is the center of your deep bonds with other beings. It allows us to recognize and get in touch with the sacred and fundamental truth that runs through all of life and connects everything together. When you’re blocked from your sense of caring, your self-love, generosity, kindness, respect, and all other meanings or functions associated with the heart chakra, it can often be Jude to a protective mechanism that our heart develops. We refer to it today as a heart wall.
The heart wall builds itself to try and protect you. Usually this heart wall comes up when we process grief. When we experience the loss of love and enjoy heartbreak of any sort. Over time we can get really good at disconnecting by putting up this protection to avoid pain. But living a life without the free flow of love is arguably more painful. So working towards opening up our hearts, living from love and compassion and breaking down the walls that block us from doing so is incredibly valuable work. Work that I am very much in the process of doing in my own life.
So as you continue focusing on your heart space, I want you to imagine your heart wall. It might be wood, glass, brick, can be any material that you connect with, or that feels right for you. And just visualize it for a second around your heart. Creating a layer between the outside world and your heart. And now just ask it, what do you need in order to let go? What do you need in order to release? Maybe a word pops up into your mind. Could be a series of images. Or could be nothing at all. This experience that you have with yourself is very intimate. Be delicate and gentle. And just hold space for anything that comes up. Appreciating it’s your heart walls, intention to protect, but trusting that it’s time to lovingly release it.
Now in your mind, see the wall break down, melt, disintegrate, and disappear, leaving room for your heart chakra to radiate unconstructed and its openness. Breathing in and breathing out, breathing in and breathing out. As we start to bring in our chakra bathing technique. I want you to see your heart chakra as a vortex of Emerald energy. See its vibrant green light emanating out of the center of your being. I want you to take both hands up to your chest now, and gently place one on top of the other and bring them to your heart. Feel the comfort of your hands as their placed on your heart center and just take a few really deep breaths here.
And now, as you return to its natural rhythm, bring your hands out, ever so slightly and start to make a clockwise motion, creating small circles in front of your heart chakra. As you do this, I want you to imagine the vortex of green light start to expand to about a foot wide, lighting up your space, coming from within and emanating out. Keep with the clockwise motion, and then when it feels right for you, just let your hands fall to either side and open up your chest to the sky. Imagine sucking in the energy from the universe and giving your energy back to the world in a free flow of love and compassion.
And now as we bring in our affirmation, continue visualizing that green vortex of light, breathing in and out. You can repeat this in your mind or out loud, whichever one feels right for you. Everything I do, I do with love. I am receptive and open to receiving love. I forgive others and forgive myself. I am love.
Continuing with the breath. Everything I do, I do with love. I am open and receptive to receiving love. I forgive others and forgive myself. I am love. Continuing with the breath as you let these words resonate. Everything I do, I do with love. I am receptive and open to receiving love. I forgive others and forgive myself. I am love.
Breathing in breathing out. Feeling your heart chakra spinning freely as we plant these seeds of intention into our heart chakra. Everything I do, I do with love. I am receptive and open to receiving love. I forgive others and forgive myself. I am love. Observing how these words make you feel. Listening to anything that comes up, allowing all emotions and feelings to be present as you nurture them in this healing heart space. Everything I do, I do with love. I am receptive and open to receiving love. I forgive others and forgive myself. I am love.
And now I can to bring in a mantra. Today’s mantra is Yom, with a Y. So again, you can repeat this in your head or out loud. We’ll simply let the sounds wash over you. As you continue focusing on the breath, breathing in and out of your heart space. Yommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Feel into your chest as you open up to receive. Yommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yommmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Everything I do, I do with love. I am receptive and open to receiving love. I forgive others and forgive myself. I am love.
As this week progresses I invite you to continue working on the heart chakra. And one way to do this is to take action in the things that generate the emotions associated with the heart chakra. So this could be acts of kindness. You could start a gratitude journal or create a gratitude practice in your life, taking a moment each day to really connect with the things that you’re grateful for. Or you could just simply open your heart to someone and find connection through vulnerability and honesty. Developing trust, and truly holding space for someone. Or just take part in any activities that bring you joy, true joy. And when you’re taking part in these activities really feel into your heart space, remind yourself to activate your heart chakra to receive. Love flows through everything. We have access to it in every moment of every day. We are surrounded by it. It connects us all. When you go outside this week, use the trees as a reminder, and every time you see that green color of the leaves, breathe it in and let it activate your heart chakra.
You are loved. You are enough. You are love. Namaste.
Welcome to your Start the Wave community meditation. Today, we will be focusing on the root chakra to help us feel balanced and grounded.
Those of you who may not know Start the Wave, we are an online community focused on empowering individuals to make positive change all over the world. Whatever called you here today, to click that button, to sit and meditate with us, trust it. For the duration of this meditation, I encourage you to fully commit to this act of self love that you’re giving yourself in this difficult time.
So start by finding a comfortable position. This will look different for everybody. It could be cross-legged with or without a pillow to lift you up. It may be with your legs out straight, back against the wall. Just find what feels good for you. Listening to your body and settle into your seat.
We’ll start by taking a deep breath in and a long breath out. And we’ll repeat this, deep breath in and a deep breath out. Slowing down and calming the nervous system a little more with each breath. And as we do this, start to observe the inflow and outflow of your breath, filling up your lungs with nourishing air and exhaling anything that no longer serves you. Feel free to make the out breath audible if that feels right for you, sighs can be a nice way to release some tension. Focusing on the breath, becoming curious and conscious as we relax further. Letting go of any negative feelings that we might be holding on to in the body.
During this unexpected and challenging time, collectively and individually, we’re going through something we’ve never experienced before. Being forced into the unknown can bring up fears and anxieties that manifest themselves in all sorts of ways. So as you continue breathing, becoming more and more aware, I want you to take a moment and just accept wherever you find yourself today. However you were feeling, it’s okay. It’s totally normal to feel. Especially during this time. Be gentle and kind with yourself as you acknowledge and accept whatever may be coming up. And then let’s extend that compassion out to everyone else meditating here today.
So in your mind create a small ball of light. It can be any color you choose. Just see it hovering in front of you and fill it with as much compassion and love as you can. Really pack it tight with love and compassion. Once you’ve done this, send your ball of light through the sky to someone else who is meditating here today. No need to be specific. Just send it with intention, to someone in the community who may be feeling sad or scared, a household where tensions may be running high, someone out there who’s isolated and feeling lonely. In this moment we are here, together. Allow yourself to take comfort in that. For the next little while we are here, breathing as one.
In and out. Breathing in and out. Once you’ve sent this ball of love to the universe, feel one of those balls of light coming down into your space, through the ceiling and landing gently into your heart space. Deep breath in and breath out.
Through this collective experience we have an opportunity. We can use this time to look inwards, observe, learn more about ourselves, and grow. When things come to the surface that perhaps we usually manage to avoid by diving into our busy lives, well now we can use this time to address them compassionately and then overcome them. Leaving behind our negative patterns and replacing them with deep understanding. This time can be used to work on and heal ourselves just as the planet is healing. And together, we can become healthier, stronger, and happier. If we can work to find a sense of balance and grounding during these uncertain times, it will stand us in such good stead for the future.
Now, as you breathe in and out, let your breath settle to it’s natural flow. If that is deep, let it be deep. If it’s shallow, let it be shallow. Don’t judge it. Just breathe naturally. And keep observing the breath. When a thought comes into your mind, acknowledge it. Don’t let it frustrate you. See it, let it go, and bring yourself back to the breath. Allowing yourself to feel the sensations of the breath. Tingling at the opening of the nostrils or above the upper lip. Just notice and breathe.
Now I’m going to bring in a chakra bathing technique. Some of you may have seen it pass by on our Instagram story. I found it incredibly helpful during this time. Our chakras are energy centers that live inside our bodies. Chakra literally means wheel or disc, and these power centers in the body are believed to receive and radiate energy. When they are blocked, we can find ourselves unbalanced and uninspired. Today we are starting with the root chakra, which lives right at the base of the spine. I’d like us all to move our attention down to that area and just observe.
As you become more and more aware of your chakras you may start to feel them as a sort of cool breeze or subtle vibration. If you don’t feel anything at all that’s completely normal. Just keep your awareness on the base of the spine, focusing your attention to this ball of red energy.
Continue breathing in and out of this energy center. Breathing in and out, focusing your energy on the root chakra.
The root chakra is highly responsive to anything connected to your security. So during this time, if you’re feeling unbalanced in any way, you can come back to this energy center and recalibrate.
If any thoughts come up gently let them go, bringing yourself back to your root. Notice and let it go. Right now we are here meditating together. We are exactly where we need to be. Trust them, breathing in, breathing out. I’m going to plant a seed into that chakra to set intention and get it moving. So in your mind or out loud, repeat this mantra.
I am balanced and safe. I trust myself and I’m grounded. I am balanced and safe. I trust myself and I’m grounded.
Really connect to these words and see how they make you feel. Each time focusing on your root chakra as you plant your affirmation into its center.
I am balanced and safe. I trust myself and I’m grounded.
Feel your root spinning freely and observe any feelings or thoughts that come up, acknowledging them, and then letting them go. You are clearing out anything that may be blocking the free flow. Continue with your breath. Right here. Right now, as you open and unblock this grounding energy center. Waking up to what is without judgment. Opening up to consciousness.
Now we’re going to introduce the mantra, Lam. As we continue meditating, keeping our attention on the base of our spines, breathing in and out.
Repeat after me: Lammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Lammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
It doesn’t have to be loud. If you’re in a space that makes you feel uncomfortable doing this you can repeat it in your head, but I encourage you if you can join me to use your voice to bathe the chakra in sound.
Continue in this way. Planting seeds of intention into your root.
I am balanced and safe. I trust myself and I’m grounded. Lammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Listening to what comes up, noticing and letting it go. Returning to the root and to the breath. Continue this process.
I am balanced and safe. I trust myself and I’m grounded. Lammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Wherever you find yourself now let’s all bring ourselves back to the breath. Calmly and gently breathing in and out. Take a moment now to feel any sensations that may arise on the surface of the body. Any tingling sensations, any sensations at all, just observe them, letting yourself live in the body, feeling it fully. Out of your mind and into the light.
And now if it feels right to you, bring your hands to the center of your heart in a prayer position. Remind yourself of that ball of love that came down from someone else here today, as we created a beautiful rainbow in the sky. Take a moment to feel that compassion once again in your chest, as we come to the end of this collective group meditation.
In your own time slowly open your eyes. Find movement in whichever way feels right for you. Stretch your legs, rotate the wrists, maybe circle your head, stretching the neck. And lastly, thank yourself for the positive energy you created by doing this meditation today, creating a better world for all.
Welcome to your Start the Wave community meditation. Today, we will be focusing on the sacral chakra.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with Start the Wave, we are an online community that believes in a kinder, fairer, and more compassionate world. We believe in the power of the individual to create that world by starting positive waves, big and small.
Whatever brought you here today to sit and meditate with us, just trust it. For the next 30 minutes. I encourage you to fully surrender to this act of self love that you’re giving yourself during this challenging time.
So start by finding a comfortable seat. There are no rules to what this looks like. Just find what feels good for your body and settle into this position you choose for yourself. We’ll start by taking a deep breath in and a long breath out. And we’ll just repeat this, deep breath in and breath out. Observing the inflow and outflow of your breath. Each breath, filling our lungs with fresh nourishing air and exhaling anything that no longer serves us.
Today, we will get in touch with the energy center associated with creativity, passion, and self-love to help ignite our creative spark and learn to fall in love with whatever we find. Getting to grips with who we are at our soul level, discovering our desires and figuring out how we’d like to spend our time when we’re not defined by our old structures is a process. By meditating and going inwards we can work through these questions, reflect and gain deeper understanding. Who am I when I’m not defined by my work and my social interactions? How do I like to spend my time? What lights me up? And when everything is stripped back and slowed down, what do I truly love about myself?
I offer this as an opportunity to better understand ourselves, tapping into our passions, our curiosity, and gaining a sense of play, can hopefully lead us to find enjoyment amongst the uncertainty. When we are feeling overwhelmed or unsure that is the time to dig deep and listen. Listening. What would I like to do in this moment? Not what should I be doing or what am I supposed to do? But what do I, my highest self, my true, authentic essence. What do I desire? What would bring me joy in this moment?
And then once you discover your truth, not being ashamed of what you find, but accepting. This is what I am called to do right now. And trusting the process. Emotions and passions are fluid in nature. They change, evolve and flow much like water, and we must let them do their thing without judgment or resistance. As you continue breathing, I want us to take a moment and just accept however you’re feeling today. It’s totally normal to feel. Allow yourself to feel. Here we hold space for you as you are. Be gentle and kind with yourself, accepting whatever you discover here in this moment.
Then as we did before, let’s extend that compassion out to everyone else meditating here today. So in your mind create a small ball of light, make it the color of your choice. See the ball in front of you and fill it with as much compassion and love as you can muster up. Once you’ve done this, send it through the sky to someone else who’s meditating here today. Just send it with intention, to someone in the community who may need it this time. In this moment, we are here together. And for the next 30 minutes, we are breathing as one. In and out, breathing in and out.
And once you’ve sent this ball of light through the universe, feel one of those balls coming down into your space. See it coming through the ceiling, see it’s color, and it’s vibrance. It’s filled with love and compassion. And let it land gently into your heart space. Deep breath in and breath out. As you receive this ball of love today, I want you to really accept it in. I deserve this love. I am enough. I love myself. I am love.
Developing self-love is key to living a wholehearted life. Having your own back, becoming your best friend, learning to love yourself as you are wherever you are, along your journey. Falling in love with the evolution of self. So where do I, right now, find pleasure. Get curious about who you are and explore the different parts of yourself. This is the time to get creative. Listen to that inner knowing and fall in love with exploring what comes up. Choose to develop an intimate relationship with yourself, as you learn and grow from experience to experience.
Deep breath in and deep breath out. Deep breath in and deep breath out. Deep breath in and breath out. Now, as you continue breathing in and out, we’ll start letting it settle to its natural flow. If that remains deep, let it be deep. If it’s shallow, let it be shallow. Just let the body breathe naturally and keep observing the breath. Focusing solely on the breath, entering and leaving the body.
If thoughts arrive, acknowledge them, see it, let it go, and bring yourself back to the breath, allowing yourself to feel the sensations of the breath. A slight tingling, perhaps at the opening of the nostrils, or above the upper lip. Just notice and breathe.
Now I’m going to bring in our chakra bathing technique. Chakras, for those of you joining for the first time, are energy centers that live inside our body. They receive and radiate energy, and when they are blocked, we can find ourself unbalanced and uninspired. Today we are focusing on the sacral chakra, which is placed at the lower abdomen just below the navel or belly button. So let’s move our attention down to that area. And just observe right there below the belly button. You may start to feel your chakras as a sort of cool breeze or subtle vibration. If you don’t feel don’t get frustrated, just keep your awareness on that space just below the navel. Focusing your attention on this orange ball of energy. Continue breathing in and out of this center. Focusing your energy on your sacral chakra. See it as an orange ball of light. Allow any thoughts to come up, but gently let them go bringing yourself back to your sacral chakra. Notice it and let it go. You are exactly where you need to be.
Breathing in and out. We are now going to plant a seed into that chakra to set intention and get it moving. So in your mind or out loud, repeat this affirmation.
My feelings are healthy. I am strong and creative. I love myself. My feelings are healthy. I am strong and creative. I love myself.
Really try and connect with these words, seeing how they make you feel, each time focusing on your sacral chakra as you plant your affirmation into its center.
My feelings are healthy. My feelings are healthy. I am strong and creative. I love myself.
Feel that ball of energy at the lower abdomen, spinning freely. See the orange light and observe any feelings or thoughts that come up, acknowledging them, and then letting them go, clearing out anything that may be blocking the free flow. Continue with the breath. Right here and now as you open up and unblock this creative, loving center.
Now we’re going to introduce the mantra, Vom. Vom with a V. As we continue meditating, keeping our attention on the lower abdomen, breathing in and out. Repeat after me. Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
It doesn’t have to be loud. Again, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable doing this, just repeat it in your head. If you can I encourage you to join me using our voices to bathe the chakra in sound.
Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Planting seeds of intention into your sacral chakra.
My feelings are healthy. I am strong and creative. I love myself.
Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Vommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Focusing on the sacral chakra and the breath. Breathing in and out.
My feelings are healthy. I am strong. I am creative. I love myself.
Wherever you find yourself now let’s all bring ourselves back to the breath, calmly and gently breathing in and breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out, Breathing in and breathing out.
Now, bring your attention to your hands. Notice any sensations on the surface of the palms, to the fingertips, perhaps on the back of the hands, the air connecting with the skin. And now take your attention to your feet. Just notice. Perhaps they feel warm, maybe a little numb, any sensations at all. Keep breathing here as you observe. Out of your mind and into the light.
And now it feels right to you bring your hands to the center of your heart in a prayer position. Remind yourself of that ball of love that came down into your space from someone else here today. Thank you for creating a rainbow with me. And just take a moment to feel that love in your chest once again as we come to the end of this group meditation. Slowly open your eyes, climatize with your surroundings, finding movement, listening to what your body needs. Maybe you need to arch your back, roll the shoulders, rotate the wrists, circle your head. Just take a minute before moving forward with your day. And lastly, thank yourself. Thank yourself for taking the time to connect with you.
Welcome to your Start the Wave meditation. Start the wave is a community that believes in the power of positive change, both in the transformation of self and in action, to create a better world for all. In today’s meditation we are going to connect with our personal power, personal identity, and finding our authentic preferences in the lives we lead. I think it’s fair to say that we all want to be living the lives that we were intended to live. A life that you feel connected to. One that you consciously choose and love. Now I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we are all beautifully different.
And though it’s easy to be influenced in a world where we follow our idols, aspire and compare ourselves to others, your power comes from you. Your personal choice, the things you like, the colors that you’re drawn to, the music you enjoy listening to the way you like to express yourself and dress yourself. All these things come from you.
We all have personal freedom. By connecting with today’s chakra you will start finding the willpower to proactively act upon your truth with confidence, responsibility, and most importantly, with authenticity.
This energy center, the solar plexus, or manipura, loves forward momentum. But here’s the interesting part: only when it is in alignment with our own personal truth. So by connecting with and opening this chakra, we can gain a sense of personal empowerment in the things that we love and access the power of transformation. So wherever you find yourself now, just make sure that you’re in a comfortable position. This will look different for everybody, but the key is to listen to your body and see what it needs from you today. Observe, and just take a second to readjust any parts that might be feeling constricted or out of alignment. And then just settle in.
We’ll start by taking a few deep breaths and I encourage you to make the out-breath audible. A few really nice, big, deep sighs. Just to release any tension, anything we might be holding on to.
And then once you’ve done this, we’re just going to breathe normally today. If that’s deep for you, then let it be deep. If your natural breathing is shallow in nature, let it be shallow. There are no rules in how to breathe. So just let your breath come in and out of your body, naturally, as we start to obsessive and tune into the breath.
Just observing the inflow and outflow of your breath, as it enters and leaves the body. Don’t try and control it or manipulate it. Just let it do its thing and observe. Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, and breathing out.
Observe any sensations that you might be feeling perhaps at the opening of the nostril, maybe underneath the nostrils, where the air connects with the skin. Just, keep serving as you breathe in and out, breathing in, breathing out.
And now take your attention to the lungs, observing how your chest rises and falls with each breath. Breathing in, breathing out.
Again, not trying to manipulate the way you breathe, Just letting it come naturally in and out of the lungs. Breathing naturally. Staying conscious with every breath.
I want us to take our attention to the sounds you might be hearing. Listening to the background music that I have added into this meditation, aiding us to connect with our solar plexus chakra. And then extend that attention to any other sounds that you might also be hearing. Anything else that is present in your space. Anything at all, just opening your awareness. Noticing the sound of my voice. You might even be able to hear your heart beating, tummy rumbling, any sounds at all. Making sure to stay with those sounds and not let it trigger any thoughts that then lead you somewhere else. If ever that happens, not to worry, just bring it back. Focusing on the sound of my voice or on the music or any other sounds that are present.
Now, we’re going to take our attention to our eyes. Firstly, just notice any sensations around your eyes and just try and relax the muscles surrounding your eye. And then focus on what you see. Is it just pure black? Is it another color? Perhaps the light is acting with your eyelid, creating some sort of shapes or lights? Or maybe you see nothing at all. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just observe, keeping your attention from whatever you see. Just observe. And anytime your mind wanders, don’t get angry at it. Just bring it back and notice.
And now let’s bring our attention into our bodies. Just observe as we go inwards. Becoming consciously aware of this home in which we reside and see if there are any areas of the body that are calling to you today. And see if there’s anywhere that needs your attention. Whatever came to you first is usually the place that needs your focus. So trust that and bring your attention to that area of the body in which you feel some sort of sensations or feelings. Just focus your attention there. Continue with the breath. As you breathe into this part of the body and then just ask it: Is there anything I need to know? And listen. See if anything comes up, if it doesn’t not to worry, maybe ask it one more time: Is there anything I need to know? Whatever comes up, accept it, and then let’s bring it back to the breath. Focusing on the inflow and outflow of the breath as it enters and leaves the body.
And now I’m going to bring in a chakra bathing technique. Chakras, as a reminder, are energy centers that live inside our body that receive and radiate energy. When they are blocked we can find ourselves unbalanced and uninspired and have limited access to the energy that chakra emits. So today we are focusing on the solar plexus chakra, which is placed at the upper abdomen, just two inches above the navel. If you know where your diaphragm is, just bring your attention there, two inches above the navel. Let’s just observe if any thoughts come up, accept them,
and then gently bring your attention back to your power center.
The solar plexus chakra is associated with the color yellow. You can visualize this energy center as a ball of vibrant yellow light emanating from your center. The color of the sun or fire. That said, if you don’t resonate with the color yellow, for one reason or another, if it doesn’t speak to you, sub in another color of your choice. This chakra is all about personal preference and personal identity. So it’s just as important to connect with whatever color you choose.
We’re now going to plant a seed into that chakra to set intention and get it moving. So in your mind, or out loud, repeat this affirmation.
I accept myself completely and I’m receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided. I accept myself completely and I’m receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided.
Continuing with the breath, finding awareness as you connect with your solar plexus chakra planting seeds of intention.
I accept myself completely and I’m receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided. I accept myself completely and I’m receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided.
Really listen to those words and let them affect you. Noticing how they make you feel.
I accept myself completely and I’m receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided.
Noticing what comes up, how it makes you feel and bringing your attention back to the solar plexus chakra. Feeling its power in the center of your body.
And now we’re going to bring in the mantra, Rom. That’s Rom with an aw. As we continue focusing on our power center manipura, our solar plexus, chakra.
So repeat after me. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Doesn’t have to be loud if you feel uncomfortable using your voice, not to worry, just repeat it in your head, as you listen to the music and to my voice.
Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
As you do this really connect to your sense of personal identity, accessing your personal power, being authentic to yourself and who you are. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Continue in this way, planting seeds of intention into your solar plexus. I accept myself completely and I’m receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided. I accept myself completely and I’m receptive to divine energy. I accept my responsibilities and am guided. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Rommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Continue doing this in your own time, either repeating the affirmation, continuing with the mantra, or just simply focusing on the solar plexus, breathing in and out of the energy center. I’m gonna let you continue now for a few minutes of silence and just let your solar plexus chakra guide you as to what you need in this moment. Breathing, deepening your awareness, and listening.
I found this to be a good time to be looking at the way we navigate the relationships in our lives. Looking at the ones that are serving us, the ones where we feel free to show our vulnerabilities and authenticity in safe and nurturing environments. And then those in which perhaps we feel trapped, unable to show our truth, relationships that block you from evolving, expressing and exploring your personal identity.
When we live our lives from the truth of who we are, we naturally attract relationships and opportunities into our lives that are in alignment with our own personal authenticity. In turn, creating a reality where we thrive and feel a sense of belonging. As this week progresses why not make it our goal in every interaction to simply be authentic. Not trying to people please or bend ourselves to avoid judgment, but connecting with who we are and our personal power, and leading with courage. When we shape who we are to fit in, and please others, we disconnect from our personal power. We hide our authenticity, which in turn blocks us from building confidence in who we are. So as I wrap up this meditation today, I just want to end with a gentle reminder, be brave, be bold, be you.
Welcome to your Start the Wave community meditation. I hope this finds everyone well. It’s been a moment since we did this, and I think it’s fair to say that during that time collectively we’ve had a lot to process. I’m incredibly happy that the throat chakra happens to be up next. And my hope is that by connecting to the energy of this chakra, it will help us find our voices in a time when it’s essential that we use honest and conscious communication. So take a second to get comfortable, feel into your body and just remind yourself why you are here today. Close your eyes. And let’s begin.
Start by taking a few deep breaths. As we slow down and settle in, let go of whatever happened before, then forget about whatever you have to do next, and really just allow yourself to be here, fully. Make a conscious decision to leave all other aspects of your life at the door and really surrender to your practice.
Breathing in and out, feeling into the breath. Allow yourself to sigh out any energy that might be stuck. (Heavy breaths) And when you’ve done that let your breath settle to its natural pace. We want the air to come in and out of the body without force or control. Just let yourself breathe naturally and observe. Notice the way the air comes in and out.
Observe the sensations of the breath and the subtleties of movement in the body; your chest, your lungs, your entire being, breathing. If any thoughts come up, as they’re bound to, notice them, see them, but keep bringing your attention back to the breath.
Okay. So today I want us to keep with the breath, consciously breathing in and out. But also bring into your awareness the sounds in your space. So continue breathing but start to open up to listening. Becoming conscious of both your breath and what you can hear. Perhaps you can hear yourself breathing, the air escaping the body. Keep with the breath, but also taking the music. And now extending your awareness to all the sounds present in your space as you continue breathing in and out, in and out.
So we’re opening up, becoming more and more present in our awareness. Anytime a thought pops up, see it and let it go. Bringing yourself back to the sounds and back to your breath. And now take your attention to what you see and again, keeping with the sounds, still observing your breath, but just noticing what you’re see. Becoming aware of your breath, what you can hear and what you can see. Almost as if we’re turning off the thinking part of your brain and easing into awareness. You have nothing to do but observe and be, as you are, here and now. Thoughts are normal. Let them come and go. Don’t attach yourself to them, but let them pass through and simply flow back to this present.
Continue with this exercise. The throat chakra energy is all about expressing your truth and integrity through communication and creativity. If you’re someone who experiences an inability to express yourself, perhaps you hold back your truth or you experienced social anxiety, this one’s for you, and me. If you’re someone who speaks out without thought or without truly meaning what you say, connecting with this energy will also be very helpful for you.
Words are like spells and we have to be incredibly mindful of how we use them to ensure we’re communicating our deepest truths. When we pass vibrations through our throat chakra we call things into being, manifesting our reality. True adulthood or stepping into your authenticity, in many ways is learning to mean what you say.
So wherever you find yourself now, let’s take a couple of head rolls, slowly getting the area of the throat moving. Not forcing the neck, but just rotating it slowly. And then place your finger at the hollow of the neck, where the collarbones meet. This is where your throat chakra is. Take a second to feel into that space, bringing your entire attention to your neck. Start to imagine a turquoise blue light filling up your throat area, bathing your vocal cords in a comforting, encouraging, creative energy.
Focusing into the chakra as you feel it spinning in a free flow of truthful expression.
Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in and out. Now we will bring in an affirmation so you can repeat after me or simply let the words wash over you as you keep focusing on the throat chakra.
I am learning and growing. I receive and express clear communication. I use my words to create beauty in this world.
I am learning and growing. I receive and express clear communication. I use my words to create beauty in this world.
Really listening to the words, seeing how they make you feel.
I am learning and growing. I receive and express clear communication. I use my words to create beauty in this world.
And now we’ll introduce the mantra: Hom. Hom with an H. Our throat chakra is activated by singing. So I highly recommend joining me in this one. Let go of fear, embarrassment, and restraint and let the sound bathe your throat chakra. Let the sounds flow out through your throat. Hommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hommmmmmmmmmmmmm. It doesn’t have to be pretty or loud. Just let the sound flow out through your throat. Hommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hommmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Planting seeds into your throat charka as we repeat the affirmation and saying the mantra.
If you feel called to continue with the mantra, please do. Perhaps you’d like to repeat the affirmation a few more times.
If we want to live freely it is essential to express our truth. Even at the risk of being different or standing apart from others. If we want to make change we need to connect with our integrity and find ways to express it clearly and creatively. I encourage you to think of the throat chakra as a doorway, the avenue of true expression. As you move through this week, connect with your creative outlets and find ways to communicate your truth. Repeat this meditation, listen in, trust your knowing, and start to become conscious of what it is you choose to express in your day.
2020, though very challenging, appears to me to be an opportunity for deep growth. Learning to use conscious communication to express ourselves truthfully will be key to creating the positive change we so desperately need. Thank you for joining me in this meditation. Trust your truth. Namaste.
Hello, this video is coming to you from Brazil, so I do apologize for the backing music, if you can hear it. This is going to be part of the traveling series. And so I just want to get this information out to you as quickly as possible. So please do excuse the quality of the video
Recently, I had the honor of standing beside vegan activist group, Coletivo Animais Sem Amarras, I think I said it right, in a silent protest. Their commitment and dedication completely blew me away. And as we stood there, computer in hand, mask on my face for an hour in silence in front of the biggest agriculture and livestock exhibition in Northeast Brazil. Well, it gave me a lot of thinking time. These amazing animal loving vegans, meet up at least once a month to silently protest and try and raise awareness to the horrors of the meat and dairy industry. Let me start by saying, being vegan in Brazil is not easy. It’s the only way that you can basically do it is if you prepare absolutely everything at home, three meals a day, seven days a week. I mean it’s a lot of work. So firstly, if you are hats off to you, if you’re in Brazil and you’re vegan hats off to you, because what it really showed me is that you have to have commitment. And that’s exactly what this group is. But the bottom line is the world needs people like that. People that are willing to stand out and stand up for what they believe in no matter, unapologetically, no matter what the consequences. I was lucky enough to spend a few days with one of the members, a young woman who single handedly has rescued 44 cats off the streets of Natal and attempted to nurse them back to health. Some of them successfully, and unfortunately some of them not so successfully. The way that she spoke about veganism really spoke to me and opened my eyes. It made me realize and confirm to me, ultimately, that veganism is a philosophy. It’s a way of seeing the world. A world that reacts in kindness and compassion to all living species. A world where we think about the bigger picture and we treat animals as we would like to be treated. Making absolutely no exceptions for the animals that we humans have chosen acceptable to kill, because truly there is no difference between a cat, a dog or a pig. A world that we want to nurse back to health and to know that you’re doing your bit; that you’re on the side of good. A world where we don’t slaughter 150 billion animals each year. If you just want to see the scale of that, go to thevegancalculator.com. It’s not great.
So as I was standing there it struck me, being vegan is simply choosing to put something else other than yourself first. To put your morals first, to put the world first. All we have to do is eliminate that voice in our head. That voice that tells us that you know that, Oh, “it’s not that bad, me changing it probably won’t make that much of a difference.” To eliminate that voice that’s telling us that actually it’s okay to eat meat and dairy. Just for a second if we can eliminate the ego just for a second to see that actually in today’s day and age in 2018, with the state that the meat and dairy industry and the state that the world is in, it just makes so much sense to be vegan.
Veganism is so much more than just a diet. It’s a philosophy. It’s a philosophy that can change our relationships. It has the power to create a kinder world. One that is gentle and understanding and is grounded in, in love for this planet. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to Coletivo Animais Sem Amarras for opening my eyes and inspiring me further. Please make sure you check out their stuff on their channels. I will link it below and yes, join the vegan movement worldwide and together. We can make a huge step in the right direction. Yay. Right then. Where to now?
The most immediate change you can make to help significantly curb climate change is to switch to a plant based vegan diet. And that’s because the number one leading cause of climate change is animal agriculture. Simply put, humans eating meat is destroying our planet. And boy oh boy, do we eat a lot of it. The demand for me has reached insane proportions. The average consumption of meat today in industrialized countries is 224 grams of meat, per day, per person. That’s around 80 kilos a year. We collect our juicy piece of meat from the shop or the butcher’s right, easy peasy, but it’s important to look at how that meat arrived in our hands. For that succulent steak or big ol’ burger to arrive in our plate a cow had to be brought, up given water and fed grain. And then that grain had to be watered in a field on precious land, and because of course we’re running out of arable land, a forest likely has to be cut down. And of course the poor little cow had to be killed. Poor little cow.
There are countries right now, currently struggling to survive due to lack of food and water. And here we are watering the grain to feed the cow so that we can eat it. How does that make any sense? The meat and dairy industry use one third of Earth’s fresh water. A third! For just one quarter pound hamburger it requires over 660 gallons of water. Not to mention that livestock covers 45% of the world’s total arable land. The fact is we are running out of water, land and crops. And we’re still eating meat. But wait without me, I’m gonna die! Vegans are doing just fine. Trust me. In fact, that all huge health benefits to switching to a vegan diet.
Veganism is a big weapon against type two diabetes, heart attacks, strokes. It eliminates all dietary cholesterol. Believe me, your lovely heart will thank you for that later. And in countries where women eat less meat and dairy, there was a way lower rate of breast cancer. Listen, I could go on and on and on and on. There are so many positives to switching to a vegan diet and it’s way easier than it looks. You’ve got almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, vegan cheeses, soy yogurts. There’s vegan restaurants popping up left right and center. I even went for sushi the other night and there was an entire vegan section. Yay! Slowly but surely people are clocking on and the community is growing.
But listen, I know realistically, this video may not instantly change your mind, but what I do hope is that it makes you think, where could you eliminate some meat in your diet? Cut down? Pick the veggie option? Meatless Mondays? Maybe it becomes meatless weekdays? Just start by having a look at your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and seeing how much meat you’re actually consuming. I’ve included a bunch of links below to help you get started. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that before. Just have a go try out some recipes and let me know how you get on. Reduce your carbon footprint by 50% by switching to a plant based vegan diet. A little bit of vegan thinking will go a long, old way to save the world.
Good luck! Oh God. That was terrible. Sorry. Um.