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MEND Season 3 - Episode 48

Yoga for the Revolution with Carrie Ingoglia

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Happy Voting Day!!!!!

If you’ve listened long enough to this show, you know I am a semi-proud member of the woo club.

I’ve drunk the wheat-grass-flavored koolaid and donned the galaxy-themed stretchy pants and played joyous, studious & deeply-driven rounds of solo Twister on my little sticky mat.  


For better or worse, I am a self-identified yogi.

But, as you also may know, I tend to want to throw up some caveats and barriers between me and that crowd.  

Yogis as white, affluent, cis-gendered folks who achieve enlightenment through bettering their handstands.  

Nope.  Not it.

Yogis who, when confronted with the atrocity of gun-violence or police brutality or the proposed erasure of non-binary peoples, prefer to do a little slow-motion disco on their sticky mats, send light & love, and let some other, less spiritual being do the dirty work of confronting this icky bit of humanity.  

Please don’t toss me in this bin.

Yogis who think it’s enough just to concentrate on elevating their own vibration as a way to make the world a better place.

Yogis who use practice as a way to retreat from the world and it’s problems rather than a way to arm ourselves to confront them.

Yogis who use spirituality as just one more consumer product they can buy, soak up, and then toss by the wayside as it suits them, spraying themselves in its’ ephermal mist and never letting its’ harder teachings penetrate the skin.

As you can see, I’ve got some beef with the current mainstream yoga culture, as it were.  

So, it’s always a delight and a surprise when I come across someone who is using the practice to move counter to the culture.

Who is not so fixated on the perfect handstand, but, rather on using the physical practice to perfect their character, learn how to sit with the uncomfortable and confront injustice both inside themselves and in the world.

These are the types of conversations I love to have.

So, I was thrilled to have this talk with Carrie Ingoglia, an Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher, who is the writer and producer of the podcast Yoga For the Revolution. I say more about this inside the intro of the talk, so listen up for more details about that.

Carrie and I talked about carrying the practice beyond the mat, learning how to be uncomfortable and some of the people we look to in this world of the spiritual who are also doing real-world good, as well.  

Far from a conversation with two polished, lifelong devotees & activists, what you are about to listen to is a real-life chat between two, heartfelt, imperfect women who are wanting to do better.  Who are not always certain of what the next step is, but are willing to move into the gap, nonetheless.

Like the physical practice, it is always an invitation.  To get quiet. To see where we are moving out of alignment - with our hearts, our beliefs and our calling.  And to take steps - humble, daily, faltering ones - to move out into a better way forward.

For more on Carrie, her podcast and the other great work that she does, make sure to check the show notes.  And, as always, if this chat has touched you in any way, and you want to add to the conversation, please make sure to leave a rating and review in iTunes.  

And, of course, if you haven’t already, get out there and cast your ballot.  

It’s not the be-all-end-all, of course for righting the wrongs of our culture.  

Voting doesn’t buy us a free pass to go back to whatever-ing the other 364 days of the year, right?

But it’s a start.

MEND Season 3 - Episode 47

Taking Poetic Action with Leslie Castellano

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“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact. ”

William S. Burroughs

When it comes to leading lives of passion & creativity, we tend to believe in a set binary.

There are those of us - so we say - that are meant to write, paint, dance, create - make the world a bit more vivid and beautiful by our voice, our touch, our presence.

It is the work to which we are called to in this life.

Then, the same story goes - there are those who are meant to engage in matters of policy.  Civic discourse and dialogue. Who can best affect change at the structural, boardroom, nuts-and-bolts, dare I say, utterly artless side of cultural exchange.  

There are the artists.  

And then there are the policy makers.  

And ne’er shall the two entwine.  

They are made for such entirely different things in this life.
My guest today is someone who tosses this limited theory out on it’s head.

Leslie Castellano is a local performance artist, teacher, dancer & businesswoman - who also happens to be running for City Council - Ward 1, in Eureka, to be precise - this year.  

In this talk, we discuss her decision to venture out of her long-tenure as contributing artist to her local community to a person who is striving to affect policy, as well.

We talk about the intersection of Art & Politics.  

About shifting out of our individual and collective comfort zones to lobby on behalf of the type of world we want to live in - which sometimes means canvassing, making phone calls, and going door-to-door, rather than simply writing a song or creating a dance piece.  

At the heart of each of these impulses, Leslie states,  is a driving desire to care for people and build community.

Through her efforts as an activist, artist & community organizer, she longs to build a society where all people are valued.

We talk about where this impulse has taken her thus far and the places she’s venturing into just now.

I hope you’ll be inspired, as I am, by the work and presence of this wonderful woman.

She’s a reminder to me that even though we all have our designated comfort zones - we can step out of them.  

We can take on new roles, new languages & new possibilities to begin to mend the culture where we live.  

There is a place for ART.  For beauty & symbolism & delight.

And there is a place for re-writing laws and by-laws.  For upending the current structure and mapping out an entirely different system than the one we’ve known.

And there is a way to synthesize the two - so that together they - we - all of us - can THRIVE.