My loves,

Welcome to the third installment of our spring-summer series!

This week, we explore what it means to FIGHT for the world we dream. I’ve been back on the road again and everywhere I go I meet with people who feel a profound sense of overwhelm. How do we respond to all that’s happening right now — the assault on women and trans people, the relentless war in Ukraine, the climate crisis, and ongoing pandemic and searing inequality? The question I most often get asked: How do I start?

It begins with tapping into our own sense of power.

Any act to change the world around us begins within us. The crises of the world will seek to deplete you, numb you, empty you of hope. But we are more than victims. We have agency. We have power. There are billions of us who want a just, healthy world, and every moment — in every exchange, every conversation, every choice — we are co-creating culture and shaping what happens next.

So this installment is meant to ignite that fire inside you, or to keep it burning when the world wants to snuff it out. We begin with uncovering information in your body, harnessing grief and rage for creative action.

Scroll down for your Fight Practice. Then join our community conversation and share with me: What is the one thing you can do to channel your fight energy this week? 

I believe that fighting for the world we dream is not just a means to an end. It can be an ongoing labor of love, infused with energy and song and yes, joy.


P.S. If you are ready to fight for reproductive rights — for a world where all of us have the ability to decide when, whether, and how to bring children into this world and to make family, then join us in the march this Saturday, May 14th. Click here to find an event near you.

Notice the grief you have been carrying in your body about what’s happening in the world. Now think about the causes of that grief — the institutions and individuals responsible for the suffering and the loss and injustice. Let images flash before your eyes. Slowly, if it’s available to you, let your fists start to clench.

Notice what it feels like to want to fight back. Notice your fists clench, jaw close, heart beat rise. Your impulse to fight is not something to be ashamed of or to suppress. Honor it. You are alive, and there is something worth fighting for. Then stop, breathe, and ask:

What will you do with this energy? How will you channel the fight impulse into something that gives life? 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 practice uses warrior metaphors to explore what you need for creative, disciplined, and powerful nonviolent action. I use terms from the sage-warrior path in the Sikh tradition. 

First, ask yourself: what is your sword, your kirpan? What can you use to fight on behalf of others—your pen, your voice, your art, your pocketbook, your presence? Begin where you are, your home or campus or community, on the front lines or behind the scenes.

Second, what is your shield, your dhal? Ask yourself: What can you use to protect yourself and others when the fight is dangerous—your camera, legal counsel, a group of allies, public witness? Your safety matters.  How will you protect yourself and others?  What brings you joy, lifts your spirits, and helps you breathe?

Finally, who is your sacred community, your sangat? Ask yourself: Who are three people in your life who will fight with and for you and others? If you are not able to imagine three people, start with one or two. What communities can you fight alongside with? Explore community organizations that fight for justice, especially those where women of color are free to lead.

Read an Excerpt

“The fight impulse is ancient and fundamental. It is biological. Sometimes we fight to protect who or what we love from those who would destroy it. Other times we fight with the ones we love to protect them or ourselves. We must summon the wisdom to discern between threats that are real rather than imagined, and respond in ways that give life rather than deal death. The question therefore is not whether or not we will fight in our lives but how we choose to fight. I learned how to fight from my ancestors. My mother’s father, Papa Ji, connected me to my Sikh warrior tradition. But it was my other grandfather who taught me what it meant to fight in America.” — excerpt from SEE NO STRANGER, Chapter 3

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.