The Belonging Series
Building Revolutionary Listening & Radical Empathy
In our experience there are two crucial and essential ways that we can transform and better ourselves and our world,
1) Revolutionary listening
2) Radical empathy
Revolutionary listening is akin to imagining oneself to be a big ear or a big heart. It is a practice where you learn to tune in first to your own inner voice and callings. It is about listening to oneself and then practicing listening to one another beyond the literal words spoken. It is an active practice where you put all your energy and attention into understanding the meaning revealed through body language and eyes of the one being listened to. It is tuning into first your own heart and then another's. It's leaving behinds your own bias, opinions, judgements, knee-jerk reactions, and experiences to become fully captivated in the real story being told. It is believing the story you hear with your full being even if it contradicts your beliefs, what you've been taught or how you've lived your life to this point. This story may be a story being told by another or it may be a new story you are finally telling yourself. Listening in this way is a revolutionary act. It is a full-bodied, full-being practice of relating to oneself, one another, and the world and stories at large.
Radical empathy is complentary practice and a consequence of revolutionary listening. It is the experience of feeling so connected to another person's story and heart that all of the typical barriers, differences and ideologies that often separate us dissolve. The superficial falls away. It no longer matters to you what color, gender, political party, class, accent, or religion they are. You are wholly and completely surrendered to understanding and experiencing and accepting another's lived experience and perspective, even when, and perhaps, especially when it directly conflicts or contradicts your own. That's where the radical part comes in.
The consequence of this is truly life changing on the individual level and revolutionary on us as a whole. When you practice this kind of listening and empathy, the sort of love and compassion that the sages throughout history have been trying to get us all to awaken to becomes our lived experience. This is what the Greek concept of agape, the highest form of love, is all about.
We are living in a time when most of us feel and experience trauma on a daily basis. For many of us trauma has always been par for the course. The Belonging series casts light on the history of these traumas and the origins of the divisions that are constantly being exploited by mainstream media.
Whatever side you fall on in the ever-widening chasm of politics, the pain, inequity, and injustices that have come into the light can no longer be ignored. We need to be engaging in real conversations about what it means to be an "American" now, how we want to define ourselves, and how we want to be seen on the world stage. We need to open our hearts to one another and expand our idea about what it means to be a neighbor and a human being at this time in history.
Each film in the Belonging Series focuses on the life story of an individual or a family who we like to think of as our "neighbors" (think Mr. Rogers). We use this term broadly to mean all of us living in this country, and even more broadly to all of us on the planet. Our series is an invitation to get curious about your neighbors near and far and explore how whether their experiences are similar to your own or not, they can all be learned from.
We want you to get the feeling that you are in your neighbor's living room, having a deep, intimate conversation. Each film is an opportunity for you to "meet" some amazing people you might never have a chance to get to know otherwise. The films are also contextualized by historical and cultural influences, wisdom garnered as a result of lived experience, and what "belonging" means to each neighbor in their own life context .
We host community screenings and conversations, holding space for challenging, uncomfortable dialogues on themes dealt with in the Belonging Series: anti-racist practices, privilege, prejudice, bias, belonging, being truly neighborly, how to build greater empathy, love, and a better world for us all.
Our goal is to activate diverse audiences into greater involvement in their own lives and communities.
We also host a monthly FB Lives Conversation series we call "On Belonging."
If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on an upcoming FB Live, please get in touch.