My loves,

Join me this Sunday, March 13 at 3pm PT/6pm ET for how to practice revolutionary love in war-time. Watch on Instagram Live @ValarieKaur.

I’ll be in conversation with my longtime sister Michelle Goldhaber. Michelle is a peacebuilder and organizer who has lived and worked in Ukraine for over 15 years, where she focused on increasing understanding and building relationships among people from different ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds.

We’ll check in with our hearts and hear how Michelle is experiencing this crisis and what it calls from us. How do we metabolize grief on this scale and still act? What is our role? How do we find resilience? What of imagination and joy? Together we will explore how to use the revolutionary love compass in wartime.

Looking forward to being together Sunday. Until then, I am breathing with you.

Yours,
Valarie


artwork by @HeartOverCrown on Instagram for @AmplifierArt

My loves,

I have been breathless watching the terror in Ukraine unfold. Russia’s invasion comes in the midst of nearly a decade of escalating tension, violence, and antagonization. Since 2014, at least 14,000 lives have been claimed as the result of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and persistent military presence.

To the people of Russia: We see you marching in the streets, risking arrest, bearing the cold, and holding your signs high: NO WAR. Your courage is a beacon. You show the world that Russia’s leadership is not Russia’s people. Only you have the power to stop this war at the source. Keep going!

To the people of Ukraine: We see you — waking to the sound of sirens, pulling your children from the windows, and preparing to protect all you love. We tremble with you, and wail with you. You are not alone. We are rising up in solidarity and sending you our prayers, our action, and our aid.

To the children of Ukraine: When I told my son about you, he wanted to send you our prayer Tati Vao Na Lagi. My grandfather sang this as a soldier in World War II. When German air raids came at night, he slept on the ground and imagined this Sikh prayer as his shield. So tonight, we closed our eyes and sang his prayer for you. We imagined a shimmering gold shield around your homes and your families and you. The prayer means: “The hot winds cannot touch you, you are shielded by Love.”

And so, I ask all of us:

What if we made a shield of love?

What if this was the moment an unprecedented number of people around the world stood against war? What if we shifted collective consciousness so that never again would any government win support to start a war? What if our voices and songs and actions flooded Russia and Ukraine now, bringing aid and courage and change?

We can choose to see no stranger — to see the people of Ukraine as our family, and the soldiers of Russia as lost ones who can be called home. We can let that sight shape how we grieve — and what we do. Each of us has a role.

Just remember, my love, we are tired and wired and stressed from pandemic and injustice. Now, war. So breathe and rest before you push, read and learn before you respond. Revolutionary love is not the sacrifice of an individual, but the practice of a community. Together, courage.

Yours,
Valarie


How to help immediately

#1 Click here for a curated list of organizations you can choose from to support the people of Ukraine. These have been vetted by partner organizations we trust and our friends on the ground.

#2 Contact your elected officials to voice your support for peace in Ukraine.


To learn more, read these.

Russia’s at war with Ukraine. Here’s how we got here (NPR) – A detailed overview of what’s happened between Russia and Ukraine since Ukraine gained independence.

Ukraine profile (BBC) – This timeline provides deep historical context on the evolution of the region that is modern day Ukraine.


A guided inquiry for this moment

I invite you into this guided inquiry to process emotion and find breath and action.

Where do you notice feeling grief in your body? What is the quality of that grief? What is the shape of grief inside of you? If it feels uncomfortable, take another deep breath and stay with it. Breathe through it.

What does your body need to be brave with this grief? What do you need to feel it and to move through this energy? What rituals are you called to? Who do you need by your side.

Who have you not yet grieved with? Whose story have you not fully let into your heart? What community’s struggle have you not fully taken in? Notice what is happening in your body. If your fists tighten, or your heart beats fast, or if shame rises to your face, it’s okay. Breathe through it. Trust that you can. The heart is a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. You don’t need to know people in order to grieve with them. You grieve with them in order to know them.

What do you need to do to be able to grieve with them? What vigils or marches need you? What houses of worship are you ready to visit? What phone call are you ready to make? You can begin where you are, with a simple text or email, saying to someone “I’m here for you.”

You have a role to play that no one else can play. You don’t have to know all the answers now. You simply need to allow yourself to feel the power that you have, the abilities that you have, the voice that you have, and invite that deepest wisdom inside of you to guide you into what you need to do now and next.

 

This guided inquiry comes from the GRIEVE portal on our Learning Hub. Explore the full Learning Hub, with all our resources, available to you here.

Artwork by @MariaSputnik on Instagram.