Dear Family,

I want to share with you the words of a young woman who spoke at the vigil for the Oak Creek massacre on August 5th. Amaris Kaur was six years old when her grandfather Satwant Singh Kaleka was killed as he tried to stop the gunman on his rampage in the Sikh gurdwara in 2012. Ten years later, she is grown and has found her voice.

Amaris took the stage and chose to address the gunman directly:

“Wade Michael Page, 1971-2012, army veteran, neo-Nazi, monster… I wish you could have seen your failure, for you did not break us, but united us. I do forgive you, though. You are not a monster. You were just in pain, and I wish somebody would have told you. Your anger was fueled with a gun instead. You were hurt, so you hurt people. For I am not your enemy, you are.”

Amaris is brave with her grief, fierce in her rage, and stands in humanity. What is the internal work it takes to do that?

In this installment of our summer series, we explore what it takes to push in the process of healing. 

To push is to choose to enter uncomfortable emotions, memories, and thoughts as part of a healing process. Seeing the humanity of those who hurt us requires working through our pain. Accepting the pain we have caused another requires working through our shame. Both demand courage. Learning how to imagine the apology we never received, and giving the apology long overdue can profoundly support this healing process.

Scroll down for your toolkit. Tell us what push you are ready for this week in the community conversation. If we are brave enough to do this work in our own lives, like Amaris, I believe we can gain the collective wisdom to do this for society as a whole.

Yours,
Valarie



There are two parts to this week’s guided inquiry, the second building on the work you do in the first. Go slow and be gentle with yourself. You can step away and return to this work as much as you need!

#1 Think of someone from whom you want an apology. They could be living or not. The harm they caused could have been great or small. Think of someone it is safe for you to picture. Notice what is happening in your body. If you are very activated, this is not the opponent to work with. If you can breathe through these sensations, focus on their face.

Imagine this person apologizing to you, sincerely, deeply. They are telling you exactly what they did, with remorse in every word. They are reflecting on everything in them that led them to do it. They are fully imagining what you must have felt and the harm they caused you. They are promising you that they will not harm you again. They are taking steps in that direction. You don’t have to hear the words exactly. You’re imagining them going through these gestures. Notice what is happening in your body. If you notice some resistance or disbelief, that’s OK. This is an imaginative act. Give in to the vision.

What does it feel like for you to receive their apology? You might notice a sense of openness, relief, and freedom. Or maybe even just a hint of this. And that’s enough.

If you are ready to go deeper, continue on to the next phase of this guided inquiry.

#2 Think of someone who you might be ready to apologize to. It could be someone specific. Or a group of people whose suffering you had not seen before. It might be the earth itself. Now imagine yourself standing before them. You are describing what you have done, the harm you have caused. You are reflecting on what led you to take those actions. You are mustering the courage to imagine how it must have made them feel. And now, you are making a promise of non-repetition of harm. You are demonstrating that you will be taking steps, so that you will not continue to harm them. As you imagine yourself giving an apology, notice what it feels like in your body. If there is tightness or constriction, feelings of guilt or even shame, breathe through it. Now imagine what impact your apology is having on the person or the group hearing your apology.

What information have you gained about yourself? What actions are you ready to take or receive because you have imagined them first? What breathing might you need to do before you make the next push in this direction?

Thank you, V (formerly Eve Ensler) for inspiring this practice with your powerful work on the alchemy of apology.


Reflect in your wisdom journal: Are you ready to imagine receiving an apology as part of your healing process? Are you ready to give an apology?

Choose one, then write out the apology letter. If you are ready to receive an apology, write the apology that you never received.  If you are ready to apologize, write the apology you are ready to give.

Then reflect: What sensations did you notice in your body as you engaged in this process? Were there times you wanted to stop the process? What kept you going?  Remember how you pushed through the process once and know that you will be able to push through the process again.



Read an Excerpt

“I had forgotten the stars, burning so strong and long that their light reaches us long after they have died. Isn’t that what our lives and our activism should look like? Not the supernova, a single outburst under pressure. We must be the long-burning star, bright and steady, contained and sustained, for our energy to reach the next generation long after we die. Oh, and to be part of constellations! Let us see ourselves as part of a larger picture, even if we are like the second star on Orion’s Belt, or the seventh of the Seven Sisters. For there is no greater gift than to be part of a movement larger than ourselves. That means that we only need to be responsible for our small patch of sky, our specific area of influence. We need only to shine our particular point of light, long and steady, to become part of stories sewn into the heavens.” – excerpt from See No Stranger, Chapter 8


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.