Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

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John Chambers: Art and Activism
Every week, we have a "Forest Call" to share insights and inspiration from various corners of the ServiceSpace ecosystem.  Typically, the call opens with a circle of sharing, then features a guest speaker and is followed by dynamic Q&A around the emergent themes....
Dr. Sriram Shamasunder: Poetry of Medicine
There are corners of the world whose struggles and triumphs seem hidden from view. Kigutu, is one of them -- a little village three hours away from Bujumbura, capital of Burundi. Whereas New York has one doctor per 200 people, Burundi has one per every 200 thousand. As an American doctor and UCSF...
James O'dea: Social Healing
Every week, we have a "Forest Call" to share insights and inspiration from various corners of the ServiceSpace ecosystem.  Typically, the call opens with a circle of sharing, then features a guest speaker and is followed by dynamic Q&A around the emergent themes. Our...
Chaz Howard: Radical Joy and Holy Play
Our guests this week will be: Professor Charles Howard, aka Chaz!  After his early life struggles, he became a young leader and activist to uplift others.   He sang.  He preached in many places of worship on topics wide-ranging from Tupac and Hip Hop to poverty and...
John Malloy: Insights from Ancient Traditions
John went to work for the county probation department as a senior group counselor at the mere age of 21.  It was there that he first used group therapy to help inmates make peace with their victims’ families and with their own families.  He also sought to guarantee prisoner rights...
Sunil Desai: From Marine Corps to The Bindi Project
Sunil Desai is the President and founder of The Bindi Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering love and respect for women and girls in India by engaging boys and men directly and broader audiences through public and social media. He envisions an Indian society that loves and...
Ali, Atman, Andres: Holistic Life Foundation
Brothers Ali and Atman Smith met Andres Gonzalez at the University of Maryland College Park. During their last semester there, the trio spent a lot of time reading books on spirituality, philosophy, modern history, religions, ancient history, politics, and astronomy. They all saw some things...
Americ Azevedo: Truth Demands to be Lived..
A few years ago, Americ Azevedo sat in a college classroom with about 15 students. It was a meditation class and he was the instructor. This past fall, that same class enrolled 603 students and took place in one of the largest lecture halls on the UC Berkeley campus. A philosopher,...
Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee: Elemental Water
Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee discovered the power of "oneness" in jazz music. "An accomplished bass player who was performing and teaching jazz by his mid-20s, he recalls with reverence those rare moments when an ensemble melds into something special that transcends the skills of the...
Sachi Maniar: Bloom Where You Are Planted
Sachi Maniar (aka Sachmo!) is one who does not let a day slip by unnoticed. A talented filmmaker with an eye for what makes life beautiful, she puts every inch of her body and mind into all that she takes on. She is a fierce change-maker, resourceful sister, social media...
Melissa Dickman: Desert Love Warrior: From Activism to Giftivism
In 2008, Melissa Dickman moved to the Sonoran Desert as a graduate student.  Nothing unusual, except that it transformed her identity in the "most excruciatingly painful and beautiful ways." An eager graduate student, Melissa quickly found herself on the front lines of the...
Shwetha Sridharan: Receiving requires showing up
Shwetha Sridharan started her life in this world as a migrant.  When she was a few months old, she moved to Zambia, Africa with her family as part of the migration of Indians into African countries. The first 7 years of her life, which she later came to know, were filled with community,...
Matt Kowalski: Service as a Vocation
Matthew Kowalski is a recovery coach, certified addiction counselor and motivational speaker who has worked with recovering addicts in both clinical and 12-step settings since 1998. Raised in a chaotic environment of generational abuse, he ran away at age 15 and spent the next 27 years lost in...
Jacques Verduin: Guiding Rage into Power
Jacques Verduin, MA Somatic Psych. is a father, community organizer and a teacher with a unique understanding of the profound meaning of criminal activity. He is the Founding Director of the Insight Prison Project (IPP), a non-profit that since 1997 pioneers innovative in-prison...
Alissa Hauser: Giving for Transformation
Alissa is the Executive Director of the Pollination Project , a foundation that gives away $1000 a day, every day, to individual social changemakers who have a vision and a plan for making the world a better place.  They fund projects all over the world, in any issue area.  Their...
David Robinson: Unconditional Leadership -- Walking the Talk
In college, David Robinson wrote a thesis paper, and then went on to actually implement it! That organization he started as a young graduate, Community Links, is still thriving many decades later as a grassroots effort to build stronger, healthier and more vibrant community. It has received many...
Bidyut Bose: One Breath at at Time
After his PhD in Computer Science at UC Berkeley, Bidyut Bose spent many years doing research and development for Silicon Valley's tech companies.  However, in 1998, he started paying forward a gift that his father (and later monks from the Himalayas) had endowed him with -- gift of...
David France: Music for Social Change
While playing in the Chicago subway one day, David France heard someone singing along in a distance.  Slowly, the voice drew closer and closer until a blind man stood in front of him.  They finished the song in unison, as the crowd erupted with glee by this serendipitous performance....
Mark Dubois : What I Learned From the Rivers
"Despite my strength, I remember the oar being ripped out of my hand like I was a baby. I was not yet paying real attention to the river. I broke seven oars my first year because I wasn’t in rhythm with it. I was fighting against it. The next year I learned to dance with the river. I...
Vilma Caban-Vazquez: How Morocco Changed My Life
Proud of her humble beginnings, Vilma Caban-Vazquez feels that perhaps she was destined to become a global humanitarian vessel.  Although she faced great adversity along the way, she flourished like a resilient urban flower.  Vilma’s mother, with a 2nd grade education,...
Peggy Callahan: Heart of Service
Peggy Callahan is Co-founder and Executive Producer of Free the Slaves and is regarded as the world’s premiere filmmaker on modern slavery. Ms. Callahan is a critically acclaimed television producer with more than 20 years experience in documentary, non-fiction series and television news....
Kazu Haga: Movement of Peace Warriors
Kazu Haga is a nonviolence trainer and founder of the East Point Peace Academy in Oakland, California. East Point Peace Academy envisions a world where historic conflicts are fully reconciled and where new conflict arises solely as an opportunity for deeper growth. Where the depth of human...
Haleh Zandi: Social Justice - Cultivate Food, Nurture People
Haleh Zandi is a co-founder and the Educational Director of Planting Justice. Planting Justice is on the forefront of a movement to create living-wage jobs for reentry people with barriers to employment, while transforming their local food system into one that fosters positive relationships...
Sarah Van Gelder: Unity in Diversity
As co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Yes! Magazine, Sarah has been at the forefront of positive and solutions-driven activism. With articles like '10 Hopeful Things That Happened in 2013' and 'Cooperative Way to a Stronger Economy', Sarah speaks on leading-edge innovations...
Sujatha Baliga: Forgiveness of Unforgivable Acts
sujatha baliga's legal career is characterized by an equal dedication to victims and persons accused of crime. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, she was fairly certain that she wanted to become a lawyer and lock up child molesters. Along the way, life circumstances brought her to...
Ven Pannavati: The Journey from Inner Change to Outer Change
Born into a Baptist family, Ven. Pannavati shares, "I felt the love of Jesus enter my heart when I was 6. But, when I was 13, I had an experience that the Baptist church said was not real, so I had to look outside of the church for an explanation. Eventually I became a Christian pastor,...
Aaron Ableman: Nutritious Pop Culture: Igniting a Global Youth Movement!
A celebrated entertainer, author, and entrepreneur, Aaron Ableman grew up under the guidance of a farmer and a public-health nurse for parents, studying with indigenous elders, Hollywood elite and working class professionals alike. Born in Michael Douglas’ basement, Aaron was raised under...
Claudia Bernardi: Art for Political Change
Claudia Bernardi is an internationally known artist who works in the fields of art, human rights and social justice. In her work over the past two decades, she has used creative works in collaboration with communities that have suffered from violence and human rights violations.‚Äč In...
Karma Lekshe Tsomo: Women in Spirituality
How did a Malibu beach girl who then moved to Hawaii and surfed the waves in Honolulu become the Mother of the "Daughters of the Buddha" (Sakyadhita)? Being teased as a teenager is rarely a trigger for life-changing serendipity, unless you're Karma Lekshe. Prior to ordaining as a...
Gwen Austin: Deepening Our Understanding of the Homeless
Gwen Austin is a community builder and social justice advocate with Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), an organization in Berkeley, California that helps homeless and disabled people achieve health and self-sufficiency, as well as fights the root causes of poverty and...
Gitanjali Babbar: A Force More Powerful: Transforming Delhi's Brothels
Delhi's GB road is the biggest red light area in the nation's capital.  Behind most of the faces lie untold stories of pain and suffering.  More than 4,000 women and 1500 children live in 77 brothels, most of whom are there by force, having been kidnapped, sold as young...
Rudy Corpuz: It Takes a Hood to Save the Hood
“I got tired of going in and out of jail. I got tired of waking up at people’s houses that were dope houses. I got tired of being on the streets where I didn’t know where I was going to be at, you know what I mean, the next day because I was living foul," says Rudy Corpuz....
Emily Baxter: We Are All Criminals
Emily Baxter is the Creator and Director of We Are All Criminals, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to inspire empathy and ignite social change through personal stories of crime, privilege, justice, and injustice, disrupting the barriers that separate us. Through their stories,...
Ferial Pearson: Secret Kindness Agents
Ferial Pearson is an instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the College of Education and a former teacher in the Omaha Public Schools. She is the founder of The Secret Kindness Agents project. Ferial was a teacher at Ralston High School in Nebraska in 2012 when the news came from...
Carol Ruth Silver: Embracing the Responsibility to Make Things Right
Like the story of the blind men describing an elephant -- a tree, a rope, a snake! -- the name Carol Ruth Silver evokes different responses when being introduced:  "Oh, weren't you elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with Harvey Milk, and allegedly targeted along with...
Sonya Shah: Witnessing Suffering and Transcendence in the Most Extreme Places
Sonya Shah has decades of experience as a facilitator of restorative justice practices in her family and community, as well as in schools and prison settings. She has been teaching social justice education for 20 years and grounds all of her work in critical pedagogy and a systemic analysis. She...
Maria Jain: Buddhas on Death Row
Maria Jain is a seeker, traveler, writer, entrepreneur, advocate, and story teller. For the past 8 years, she has been working in international development, focusing on women's empowerment, gender equality and ending gender-based violence.  Between 2008 and 2012, she lived and...
Keith McHenry: Abundance and Cooperation Toward Peace and Justice
In 1980, Keith McHenry was a college student trying to raise money for a friend who had been arrested at an anti-nuclear protest. To help pay for the lawyers, Keith was planning a bake sale; in a fateful moment, he saw a poster that read: It will be a great day when the schools get all the...
Robert Yazzie: Navajo Notion of Justice
Robert Yazzie is a citizen of and Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo Nation. He served as Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation from 1992 through 2003.  During that time, he promoted the development of Navajo common law and helped articulate the Navajo "bill of rights."  In an...
Mushim Patricia Ikeda: Taking the Great Vow Not to Burn Out
Mushim Patricia Ikeda is a sansei (third-generation Japanese American) poet and writer, social justice activist, diversity and inclusion consultant, secular mindfulness coach and core Buddhist teacher based in Oakland, California.  She teaches primarily at the East Bay Meditation Center...
Rhonda Magee: Addressing Social and Racial Injustice with Compassion
Rhonda Magee is a teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions for lawyers and law students, and for minimizing social-identity-based bias. A full-time faculty member at the Jesuit University of San Francisco since 1998, and a full professor since 2004, she is dedicated to...
Charles Halpern: Cultivating Wisdom for Justice and Social Transformation
Charlie Halpern is a public interest pioneer and an innovator in legal education. Author of Making Waves and Riding the Currents: Activism and the Practice of Wisdom, he has made multiple big waves in the public sector – as the "father" of the public interest law movement, as a...
Cheryl Angel: Standing Peacefully Firm at Standing Rock
Cheryl Angel is an indigenous leader, wise (Sioux) Lakota elder woman, mother of five children, and lifelong devoted water protector who helped initiate and maintain the Standing Rock camp since April 2016, and who was vital in the nonviolent resistance to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL...
Sharyle Patton: Understanding and Reducing our Communities' Chemical Burden
Sharyle Patton is an environmental advocate who has spent much of her life working to remove toxic chemicals from the landscape and to empower communities to monitor their toxic burdens.  She led a network of 350 nongovernmental organizations from around the world in Stockholm in...
Maya Breuer: Listen to Spirit and Take Action
After embracing the yogic lifestyle and becoming a successful yoga teacher, Maya Breuer was visited by her grandmother in a dream, having fallen asleep with the question on her mind, “what will my work be?”  In the dream, her grandmother told Maya to be herself and to...
Jasmin Singer: Compassion Unlocks Identity
"What I want to stand for is compassion for myself first, and then for all those other individuals, humans and non humans whom we so easily cast aside. The ones we marginalize, the ones we choose not to see, the ones we don't call beautiful." -Jasmin Singer from her TED...
Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer: Healing through Indigenous Wisdom
Manulani Aluli Meyer (Manu) is the fifth daughter of Emma Aluli and Harry Meyer. Her family hails from Mokapu, Kailua, Kamamalu, Wailuku, Hilo and Kohala on the islands of Oahu, Maui and Moku o Keawe. The Aluli ohana (family) is a large and diverse group of scholar-activists who have...