“The Shambhala community in Chicago, in partnership with organizations around the city, has built an incredible movement of kindness, understanding, and action where people from every walk of life can join together to bring peace into daily life. This year, Awaken Chicago will be a pivotal moment for learning from and supporting each other as we inspire change in ourselves and society. Together we can help alleviate the suffering of our neighbors and celebrate each other’s joy.” —The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche
ASK YOURSELF, ARE YOU BEING DEFINED RIGHT NOW BY A LABEL? ARE YOU DEFINING OTHERS?
Prince Ea has developed a powerful video challenging each of us to identify our true self, without the labels we have been force-fed and have digested. Once we set aside each of these labels, we recognize that we are one. It is through this oneness that all things are possible. Together. It is time we ask ourselves, Who would I be if the world never gave me a label? And to start to care and connect with one another – that should be our mission! Awaken Chicago is about this exact point. Who ARE you…? Who AM I…? Are we ONE…HUMAN!?
Every breath I share becomes the air you breathe – so let’s shift our focus from dualistic nature to unity and oneness. Although Price Ea is not one of Awaken Chicago’s speakers he embodies what Awaken Chicago is all about. It’s time we write a new history for Chicago. Together.
Awaken Chicago welcomes Rev. angel Kyodo Williams Sensei to our speaker lineup. Called “the most intriguing (and vocal) African-American Buddhist in America” by Library Journal, angel Kyodo williams is an author, activist, master trainer and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of transformation and justice since her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace.
For over 20 years, angel has deeply invested in her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our inner lives. She applies wisdom teachings and embodied practice to intractable social issues at the intersections of climate change, racial and economic justice, and is a preeminent thought leader of Transformative Social Change. Both fierce and grounded, she is known for her unflinching willingness to both sit with and speak uncomfortable truths with love.
In the video below, angel Kyodo Williams talks about transformative change and the interconnectedness of every person we interact with, simply through each breath we take. The breath is a powerful tool, as it is our contribution at a molecular level. Let’s stand up for real change which needs to start from within. Then we will realize the profound responsibility to support the transformation in others.
View more work from Rev. angel Kyodo Williams:
Throughout the month of March, we will reveal mind and heart opening content about each of our guest speakers and articles related to each of the conference workshops.
We’d like to kick off the series by welcoming Exavier B. Pope I, Esq. Mr. Pope is an award winning attorney, media personality, Fortune 500 motivational speaker, thought leader, tastemaker, yogi and humanitarian.
Like many people, Mr. Pope was not handed his accomplishments on a silver platter. His story brings to life the quote that “sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place” by Pema Chӧdrӧn.
Mr. Pope was raised in foster care. His birth father and mother faced challenging circumstances when he was growing up. In the video below Mr. Pope talks about the harsh realities of his childhood growing up and how that has shaped him into the person he is today. He found a guardian angel, his foster mother, during a time when silver linings were hard to distinguish and has defied his odds ever since.
Learn more about Mr. Pope and his work by reading his recent blog posts:
“Together we have the power to heal and change the conditions causing violence, trauma, and inequality in the city of Chicago. Each day of the Awaken Chicago weekend is full of inspirational features that you won’t want to miss; a continuous thread of meaningful resources, information that will deepen understanding and ways to help. I look forward to seeing you there and participating in this meaningful and necessary endeavor.” Pema Chödrön
. . . the irrelevance of the systems that continue to privilege small groups of people is laid bare now. . . .There’s no such thing as being neutral. You’re either playing along with how things are or you are disrupting them and turning them on their head. . . – Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, Radical Dharma
We are, then, the artists of our lives and of our collective destiny, co-creating a disastrous or healthy future: it’s up to us. May all our innate seeds of natural bravery flower as communities of compassionate courage.” — Gaylon Ferguson, author of Natural Bravery: Fear and Fearlessness as a Direct Path of Awakening