Harmony for the Holidays

Harmony for the Holidays

This year has been quite a ride. And I hope you are enjoying some much deserved time off with your loved ones.

And if you are like a lot of folks, the holidays mean family time, and family time can mean awkward or contentious conversation time. 

If that sounds like you, then I've compiled a few resources for you. And whether you read them on the plane, or while hiding inside your aunt's bathroom, these tips and fresh perspectives will help you make the most of your time together.

Decolonize Your Truth: 3 Tools for Clarity in a World Distorted by Gaslight

Decolonize Your Truth: 3 Tools for Clarity in a World Distorted by Gaslight

We were in Goa.

A bunch of 20-something South Asians of many nationalities, who all knew each other and happened to be there at the same time.

Me and a friend went in the water together. The water was warm, calm, gorgeous. The sand was soft. We swam out a bit, to where our toes couldn’t quite touch the bottom.

We looked over, and noticed 3 young men in the water, staring at us, hard. We ignored them. Then they started to swim towards us. Then they circled us.

I was afraid. I looked at my friend. She looked afraid. None of our friends were near us. We started to swim back to the beach.

I’m a terrible swimmer.

How We Become Unstoppable

How We Become Unstoppable

I am starting Dialogue Lab because I believe we — the progressive movement — have what it takes to become an unstoppable force for social change. 

BUT. So often progressive spaces are defined by a sense that no one is saying what really needs to be said. Or if you are saying it, no one seems capable of hearing it. Or if you are hearing it, it’s as if every bridge is being burned. 

And so often, that’s what stops us in our tracks. 

But I believe we can do this. In so many corners of the movement, we are ALREADY doing it. We are finding ways to be together, and work together, that are true, fearless, make room for love, but leave no room for bullshit. 

And Dialogue Lab is all about amplifying THAT. Because that capacity to be both fierce and loving with each other is what’s going to make us unstoppable. 

Walking Against the Wind: Activists, Leadership, and Resilience

Walking Against the Wind: Activists, Leadership, and Resilience
How do I stay awake to our troubled world, without emotionally shutting down?  
How do I take action from a grounded place, when the wind threatens to knock me off my feet? 

And how can be both open and resilient, so I can show up fierce? 

These questions have been on my mind for a while. Then, last week I happened to be on a video conference with a bunch of therapists and coaches. One therapist told us about a client struggling with anxiety and depression.

Activism as Ritual: A Reclamation of Love and Justice

Activism as Ritual: A Reclamation of Love and Justice

Caro Acuña is a dear old friend of mine. We met while working at a nonprofit in Berkeley. I was 22 and pretty confused about life. She was 30 something, and she struck me as having more wisdom and heart than just about anyone I’d met.

One afternoon I asked for her help with a troublesome relationship. She sat down with me in the shade of a tree, and taught me the concept of emotional boundaries. It was a revelation.

I couldn’t get enough of her. Still can’t.

Talking about racism isn’t divisive. The way we talk about it often is.

Last week, I dove into an online conversation with someone in my network about the dynamics of talking about institutional racism. 

The crux of his argument was that when we talk about white privilege, or criticize America for its institutionalized racism, we are being divisive, classist, and even racist against white people. 

I disagree. But that’s not the point of this post. 

The Persuasion Paradox (How winning sometimes takes letting go of winning)

The Persuasion Paradox (How winning sometimes takes letting go of winning)

To make an impact, we've got to let go of winning.

That might sound odd, especially for anyone going to protests, or working on an advocacy or electoral campaign. It might sound near impossible if you're in the heat of a contentious campaign.  

And to be clear, I’m not advocating that we as progressives stop being serious about change. We've got to keep asking ourselves the tough questions: How will our efforts make a difference? Are we making progress? How can we do better? I want change too, and these questions are essential.

And so is your capacity to lead and inspire. 

That's why I’m talking about how to more powerfully connect and persuade those around you -- to take a resonant stand -- through a practice of letting go.