My loves,

I’m excited to introduce you to our spring series! It’s a heavy time in the world, and we need one another. Over the next few months, we will explore how the practices of revolutionary love can anchor you. If you are searching for how to navigate each day with clarity, agency, resilience, and joy, these emails are for you. Let’s begin!

This week, we explore WONDER.

It’s easy to see wonder as secondary to the work for justice. What of wonder when the world is on fire, or at war? But wonder is a revolutionary practice: Who we wonder about determines whose stories we let into our hearts, who we grieve with, and ultimately who we fight for.

Wonder is the wellspring of love.

Let’s start with a definition. To wonder is to let in a sense of awe, openness, and deep curiosity. It is to look upon the face of anyone or anything and say: You are a part of me I do not yet know. It’s an orientation to humility. Wondering about another person — their thoughts and experiences, pains and joys, needs and wants — gives us information for how to love them. It’s how we have learned how to love our partners, children, and friends. When we wonder about people we would otherwise see as strangers, and let even them inside our circle of care, then wonder becomes a revolutionary act.

In a time of pandemic, climate crisis, and war, it is easy to become overwhelmed by other people’s pain. The solution is not to go numb to suffering but to deepen our capacity to hold it. This will be next week’s practice: how to be brave with our grief.

So I ask you: Who have you not let yourself wonder about? Whose stories have you not yet let into your heart?

Scroll down for your Wonder Practice. To go deeper, share this email with a friend and practice together. Go gently. Breathe, then push.

Yours,
Valarie



What is your first memory of feeling wonderstruck? Notice where you were and what it was. Notice the felt-sense of awe in your body.

What is your first memory of wondering about another person? Choose a moment that felt safe. Notice what openness and curiosity feels like in your body.

How long has it been since you felt this? Maybe it’s a familiar sensation. If it’s rare, without judgment, notice the qualities of calling that feeling back into you.

Let’s invite wonder into the present moment. Open your eyes, look around the room for the most for the most beautiful thing in your view. Choose something living, a plant, a pet, tree out your window, a face in a photograph. You are a part of me I don’t yet know. Notice what this feels like in your body


When you see faces on the street or screen or subway, say to yourself: “Sister, Brother, Sibling. Aunt. Uncle. My Child.”

You can also say: You are a part of me I do not yet know.

You can practice this with animals, trees, and the earth.

In doing so, you are retraining your eye to see all others as part of you. You are creating an embodied sense of the truth of our interconnectedness. You are training yourself to see no stranger.

It’s okay if this practice is hard. We all carry unconscious bias. It’s not the first impulse we are responsible for; it’s what follows. It can be as simple as wondering what another person likes for dinner. Through conscious practice, we can change how we see. And who we see as one of us shapes what we do, who belongs in our circle of care.



Read an Excerpt

“In the beginning, there was wonder. Out in the country, far from city lights, the night air was clear enough to gaze into the long shimmering galaxy that stretched across the sky. I would stand in the field behind our house and talk to the stars like they were my friends, just like I talked to the cows over the fence or the horses across the road… Back then, there was no question: The earth under me, the stars above me, the animals around me, were all part of me. And wonder was my first orientation to them all, the thing that connected me to them: You are a part of me I do not yet know.”   —SEE NO STRANGER, Chapter 1


Start here with our introduction to the compass. I teach ten core practices of revolutionary love, backed by research and infused with ancestral wisdom. Imagine these practices as points on a compass. Point the compass toward whomever you want to practice loving— another, an opponent, or yourself. Decide what practice you need. You can use this compass as a tool in all arenas in your life.

Listen to Valarie walk you through the compass and explore stories, lesson plans, meditations, and music on our learning hub. Click here to explore!


Take the Revolutionary Love Training Course. Just pop in your earbuds and go on a journey with me. Intimate, inspirational, and practical, this course is a deep immersion in the practices of revolutionary love: How do we love when it’s hard? How do we tend the wounds in ourselves, and others? How do we stay awake to the world and still find breath, pleasure, and joy in our bodies? If you are hungry for transformation that bridges the political and personal, spirituality and social justice, this is for you.