The CARMA Chronicles

Kisai Henriquez, creator of CommUNITY in San Francisco, sits down with Flourish Agenda to talk about how the love work of building community connects and honors young people and their families.

June 03, 2022 Flourish Agenda Episode 11
Kisai Henriquez, creator of CommUNITY in San Francisco, sits down with Flourish Agenda to talk about how the love work of building community connects and honors young people and their families.
The CARMA Chronicles
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The CARMA Chronicles
Kisai Henriquez, creator of CommUNITY in San Francisco, sits down with Flourish Agenda to talk about how the love work of building community connects and honors young people and their families.
Jun 03, 2022 Episode 11
Flourish Agenda

In this episode, host Chris Nguon has the honor to be in community with Kisai Henriquez, one of the dopest community healers that Flourish Agenda has had the pleasure to meet and learn from. Kisai, who has worked out of San Francisco for more than a decade, brings into the conversation space authentic love and grace for healing work and the communal connection that evokes the essence of holding space for colleagues, families, and young people. Kisai is the founder of CommUNITY and the most incredible educator, creator, and community builder. Our conversation, next.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, host Chris Nguon has the honor to be in community with Kisai Henriquez, one of the dopest community healers that Flourish Agenda has had the pleasure to meet and learn from. Kisai, who has worked out of San Francisco for more than a decade, brings into the conversation space authentic love and grace for healing work and the communal connection that evokes the essence of holding space for colleagues, families, and young people. Kisai is the founder of CommUNITY and the most incredible educator, creator, and community builder. Our conversation, next.

Hey everyone. So we have an incredible conversation for y’all today. We sit down with Kisai Henriquez, who is, y’all, an incredible community member who brings their full self to this healing work. Kisai is the the creator of Community Unity, a dope space for colleagues in this work to connect, and has been a program coordinator and case manager guiding work with young people and their families for a decade now. This conversation was such an honor for me, and us here at Flourish. Hope you enjoy.

Peace and love again, everybody. Thank you for joining us on the Carma Chronicles. So excited to speak with Kisai Henriquez, just a dope sista and all the work that we do, both in healing work and just showing up for young people. Kisai how are we doing today, fam?

I'm blessed. I'm blessed. Thank you so much for having me here. Blessings to you and your loved ones. I wanted to start off our conversation today just doing a land acknowledgement and also acknowledging some of my ancestors that are with me today or with us. I would like to honor that I currently occupy the unseated ancestral Homeland of the Yellow Mo Ramish [00:47 inaudible] peoples, who are the original and current inhabitants of what we now call the San Francisco peninsula, who currently live and have never seated, loss nor forgotten their responsibilities as the caretakers of this place. As well as for all peoples who reside in their traditional territory. As guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional Homeland. I pay respect, honor and acknowledge the elders and relatives of the [01:18 inaudible] community.

Indeed. Thank you so much.

Thank you. And I just want to also just name some of my ancestors as well. I'm showing up today with the presence of Hava Novaro, El Novaro, Isabelle cha Heka, Jose, FIFA, Pete, Rivera, Gil Ramirez, and Kelly Harrison. Thank you for letting me do that.

Thank you. And thank you for that grounding. And for me, myself, I also come from a lonely land. So I appreciate how you have opened the space with [02:08 inaudible]. I appreciate how you hold the space and have held the space with us just in these couple moments and acknowledgement of the beautiful land that we sit on and acknowledgement of our ancestors, your ancestors, my ancestors, our ancestors, that set the path before us, so that we can be here to continue to do this healing work for others as well. So thank you. And Kisai, I would want to just lift up too. I think a lot of folks who are listening also practice, land acknowledgement, practice these rituals, but there are a lot of practitioners who might be new and introduced to some of these rituals as we hold space, just really want to pose and start out there and ask what is the importance of land acknowledgement? What is the importance of rituals before we really hold space and open space for young people for ourselves when we're thinking about healing work?

Yeah. And just to say, this is newer to me to do land acknowledgement as often as possible. And it's something that I've always been around, but took a few years for me to actually integrate it into my life. And I think one of the main important reasons for it, is because a lot of us are not in our indigenous homelands, our ancestral homelands, whether that was because of migration, chosen migration because of colonization, displacement, even gentrification. And we need to speak and name where we come from, where the original habitants of the land that we're currently living, working on, occupying, because it helps heal actually and kind of repair that harm and acknowledge that that has happened and just kind of give some space for that reality just by naming it.

And then it also, it can't just be the land acknowledgement. You also have to do the work and that kind of looks different in everybody's lives or communities, but essentially, like in the bay we have a [04:29 inaudible] land tax. So it's paying monetarily, could also show up as volunteering, but intentionally kind of giving back to the indigenous communities here so that they can continue to hold and maintain their traditions on land and get it back, basically. Have that land given back to them, taken back. So I think it's just really important to start there at least, knowing the land that you're on and then doing that land acknowledgement. 

Also just to say the land acknowledgement that I recited is one that I do often, but it also is approved by the Ramish of Loney folks. So now in the city, actually there's a lot of city departments and meetings that happen that they start with the land acknowledgement, which is very new. I would say that's definitely part of healing work as well. And so just to say that too, it is something that they have approved because there's a lot more people wanting to do this work of land acknowledgement.

Well, thank you so much for that context Kisai and I think it's twofold, as we are talking about this work and I've had these conversations ourselves, is number one. It's never too late to start and ask how to do it. And also there's a component for all of our practitioners and community members listening to this, you have to do your own work too. You have to do your own work to figure out who to ask, how to acknowledge. And that's great insight about the land acknowledgement that you recited was approved by the Loney people. I think that's really important to really respectfully honor the space in that way. 

So I really appreciate you holding space for us and introducing us and kicking us off with the land acknowledgement and the context that you provided. And this is part of the reason why I think it's so important for us at the Karma Chronicles and Flourish Agenda to speak with healers and community members, such as yourselves, because you really embody this work. And this is a constant practice for you. This is not a one time thing. This is something that you're constantly crafting and embodying in who you are and how you show up in space. And that shows up traditionally in your 9 to 5 but also this organization and this beautiful community that you've created called Community Unity.

And I can't even give it justice by even naming it in that way. So I want to hold space for you to kind of break down for us a little bit. What is this beautiful organization of healers and community members that you've created that have really taken off in San Francisco and has held so much impact for practitioners in the work right now?

Thank you so much. Yeah, so it's actually pronounced community unity and I've tried different ways to kind of help people know that by reading it, but it's hard because community is such a common word we use. I may eventually go to some rebranding around it, but anyway, it's community unity and essentially where it kind of grew out of is, and actually in October it was a 10 year anniversary of this project, of this organization, this entity. And I started it when I was actually a case manager working at Huckleberry youth programs Cark and Cark is the San Francisco juvenile justice diversion program. So at that time I was working with young people at the point of arrest and doing that work as many people may already know. It's hard in multiple reasons, but one of the main kind of significant impacts of doing that work is really experiencing and witnessing the injustices of the justice system.

I also, as a young person, went through the justice system and been arrested a couple times and was on probation and actually went through the Cark program. Also graduated Life Learning Academy. And anyway, so as I was a case manager doing that work, I and a lot of my coworkers, my friends, my support system at the time, we would almost always after work, still be talking about work. And this is still true today. But at that time we were really still decompressing and really processing the equities that we were witnessing and experiencing just like how the cycle would continue, the patterns would repeat itself. And we were just so disheartened by it and we didn't know what to do, but to talk about it and do what we could in our role and within the power influence that we had.

So as we were doing that, I just really, it started resonating with me and also being in trainings and workshops or community events, cultural events, different things that were going on, where I felt so disconnected from folks. And even though me being the practitioner, I loved connecting with people and building community and networking and the icebreakers or any of the actions that those spaces would hold for people to connect. I love that. But I realized it was still very clickish and people kind of stick to who they knew, who they maybe grew up with. We know that also in the nonprofit world it could be very competitive and organizations are fighting over the same small pool of money.

And that kind of reverberates into the direct service work as well, or the interpersonal work as well. So I was witnessing that as well. And amongst all that, as we were decompressing and kind of processing all this. I also knew, we were trained to like, well, you need to take care of yourself. You need to be practicing self care, but the places, the spaces were not set up for us to do that. They weren't maybe always valuing us and taking care of us. So it was just left to us to do it ourselves. And so I  kind of was sitting with all of that. And I started realizing, well if myself and my coworkers are feeling this way and doing this, there's probably other folks doing this too, where they're still processing after work, connecting, feeling this disconnection in these spaces where we're really supposed to be connecting and working together.

And then I just started talking to people and basically saying like, Hey, is this real? Is this something you're also feeling, what have you done about it? What would you want to see done about it? And I did that for a couple months as far as I remember, it was so long ago. And basically just started holding space. And so what it basically evolved to be as a monthly community builder, as I call it, it's held the third Thursday of every month pre-pandemic. We would host that at different neighborhoods and different local spots. I try to go to places that we frequent outside of work or with our families, places that kind of really have roots in the community or give back to the community in some kind of way. And or newer spots that are trying to have that tradition as well.

And there are different themes. I always have different activities, different ways to engage people, for people to kind of show up to network and connect, either on a personal end or a professional level. And then it was just doing that for years and that's been really beautiful and really magical. And now it's kind of evolved more into also offering workshops and trainings, special events, retreats, and all of that is usually in collaboration with other healers, other practitioners, other educators, other service providers, however they identify. Because I also realize doing this, like I don't need to learn everything and know how to do everything, especially when it's about community building. 

I want to uplift and empower people that are already doing dope stuff and maybe don't have the platforms or need more space to be able to spread the word and that knowledge to our peers. So yeah, it's been super beautiful. So that's kind of the story of it. And a nutshell, even though I probably talked a little longer about it then.

No, not long enough really because what I would say as I lift up and thank you so much for the beautiful history around Community Unity is Flourish Agenda, we work with practitioners now all over the country in New York and Chicago now, up in Washington State and also in places like Bermuda. And one of the things that our colleagues and our folks in community always asks is how do we build a community when institutions aren't really set up intentionally to cultivate these spaces, how do we build community? And one thing that I'm just so excited to hear how you've built community unity is it can happen and it's possible. 

And there's actually, as you say, so many folks out there who are feeling the same way, who want to be able to be in community in the same way, who both need it and collectively can come together to create this agency of love and learning through workshops and do conversations in different parts of community. So I think that's a beautiful, beautiful thing. And I'm curious, when you first started out, did it take a while to get it going? Did you feel that momentum come up right away? Because now y'all 10 years in. So y'all rolling and community unity is really popping in so many beautiful ways, but I'm curious, did you ever reach a point where you're like, wow, I know there's this power here, but there's not a lot of people connecting or I'm curious that kind of journey and that path to where y'all at now?

Yeah. So I guess a couple of things. So one is, I think there's always been, I think a energy around it and people really attracted to the space and still to this day. And I think part of it is I really try to make it a co-created space. So even though I hold the space, I help curate it in such a way. And I do it in a way that people can kind of make it their own. And I really intentionally wanted it to not feel like work after work, even though technically people may see it as they're working still. Especially if they're using that space as a networking space. I do that in different ways. I have different options for people when they show up and I introduce myself to everyone and I also, if I know who's there and kind of what they're about or the work they do, I want to connect those people to each other and always just kind of say, do what feels good for you and works for you.

And so I think part of that culture really attracts people and I think people have benefited from it. There's been direct conversations and where really people broke bread and created things out of meeting at community unity, or maybe they met up after it a few times or something and something's grown out of it. So I think in the moment they benefit and then seeds were planted. And things kind of bloomed or blossomed later. So I think that's what keeps people around and coming back. I also have seen or notice and reflected on how the more I've done my own work and kind of evolved in my healing and deepened my relationship with myself. And the being open to being held in healing spaces, that it has evolved as well.

When I started it, I just was like, I felt like there was a need and I wanted to meet that need. I didn't want to wait. And it probably never happened, but wait for somebody else or some other organization or entity or system to try to do it for us. We don't need to wait for that. And so I just started doing it, but now I actually understand that this is part of my purpose here, is to bring people together, is to break down the walls and the barriers and really be a bridge person, so to speak and, and really bring people together. And I think people want that too. People do really want that and need that and know that that's something missing and they may not be the ones to help do that, but they'll show up, they'll come and be a part of it.

The last thing I'll just say that has, I think been challenging for me is still figuring out how I want to navigate it, not be like my space, right. And that I'm the one holding the space, but it's a collective space. This is not about me. This ain't my birthday party. This is not my home. This is something I was called to do. And I'm doing it, but it's for all of us. And I think there's still something about that, that I need to work through and figure out how to do that outward facing. And also noticing that's part of still our work I think as a whole, as service providers, is that people are still learning how to make space for themselves and take advantage of spaces that's made for them. 

Sometimes what happens at the community builders or as they're coming up or just things that are offering. People apologize to me for not coming. And I'm still fascinated by it and I always tell them the same thing. This space is not for me. You don't need to apologize to me. You do not need to apologize to me. This is here for you. You already know what I do. This is here for you whenever you can and need it. And if there's something I can do differently to help you show up, please let me know, but don't apologize. And I trip out about it. I'm like, this is for you, if anything apologized to yourself, but also I know the space isn't for everybody. Even though I'm trying to curate it. That's for a certain population.

Not everybody's going to vibe it and that's okay. I just want people to do what they do, what is best for them. So just to share, that's something that I definitely have noticed throughout these 10 years as people really thinking that it's like my thing. And I really try not to hold it that way.

No, that's a great point to bring up. As you're talking, one of the things that came up to me is burnout is real for service providers and you've seen it through multiple lenses as a case worker, as a social worker, as a community member, as a community organizer, as someone who's trying to advocate on policy on that level. So it could be a lot on the spirit. And when I hear folks apologizing for not showing up, in a way, practitioners and our people are acknowledging how special that space is for them and how community really holds each other accountable, but in a loving way, to be able to hold space, to say, Hey, this is a space for all of us. 

One of the things that come to mind for me too, Dr. Gen Wright, and you kind of brought it up in a roundabout way as well is Dr. Gen Wright has a big critique of self care in a lot of ways. And the reason why he brings that up and he says that is because it dissolves the institution's responsibility to also create policies and create conditions in which care can happen in the workplace. Definitely, as you're saying, acknowledging that self care is important and on your end, you really captivated with your peoples in San Francisco or community where y'all captured agency to be able to create that container of self care, while acknowledging that these institutions aren't designed to be able to even provide that space. That's real. 

So I really appreciate that context and I think that's really helpful for folks to listening to. Now you've done so much beautiful work in San Francisco all of these years and San Francisco is a wonderful place for young people to grow and the culture and the history, people sleep on Frisco a lot. Those who know know, but nationally they have a different perception of what San Francisco is, but San Francisco is so rooted in culture. And so rooted in the people in all these abolitionists and liberation movements, from the third world liberation front on down before and now with what a lot of folks are doing. 

How would you describe how healing work is kind of showing up in San Francisco now in 2022 and how has it evolved, like maybe since the pandemic? Are there different things showing up, what are some of the things that you're seeing on the ground right now?

Yeah, one of the things I think that is really special about, well, there's a lot of things special about San Francisco or Frisco. One of the things that always have stuck out to me since I was a young person myself or younger, I'm still young, is the art. I think the artivism, that really happens here through the murals, the street murals, of course the graffiti that happens, but also the local art galleries and just spaces or even events for that matter, but that help really curate spaces for self-expression. Very unapologetically, I think about [23:47 inaudible] in the urban youth arts festival, for example. I think they're at least 20 years plus in but I don't want to get the year exactly wrong. And that is a really youth centered community centered annual event. That's very intergenerational and it's really about uplifting graffiti as a tool for, of course liberation, but also healing and connecting. 

And so I think about that space or spaces like that. I also think about places. There's a organization, [24:24 inaudible] that does grassroots, community organizing around environmental and economic justice. They worked over probably five, eight years to establish the Hummingbird farm, which is over in the Excelsior, actually right outside of kind of like McLaren Crocker Park, past the soccer fields. And it's literally farm and it's still getting developed and in a lot of different ways, but it's an urban learning farm. And so one of the significant things about the space is that you can just walk up to it. It's not bordered, there's not fence seeing. There's not limitations to kind of being able to feel like you can go into that space and feel welcomed.

And there's, of course different me medicinal workshops that happen there. There's events. Actually, yesterday I did a bike ride with them and we started off at Hummingbird farm and it was a watershed ride. So I was learning about some of the watersheds here in the San Francisco and Bay area. But of course we stayed in the City. So I think about spaces like that and also the solidarity forever collective and that's local Frisco heads that created an annual event to celebrate 415 day. And just celebrate everything Frisco and Frisco culture. And yeah, those are just some of the special things and places that have always been happening in the city, but also I think have really kind of thrived and even during the pandemic.

The last thing of course I'll say is I think a lot of different mutual aid efforts. And I think this popped off in the whole bay especially in Oakland as well, but mutual aid efforts that already have been going on, but I think during the pandemic, it just kind of, I don't something shifted. I don't know if it was just more pronounced because people were doing it in response to something impacting everybody. But I would say that's been really something beautiful to also witness and see here in the city is the mutual aid efforts happening and still taking place as well.

No, that's real. That's real. I love the piece about solidarity that you bring up because sometimes, media be straying sometimes and they uplift some things and not other things. But these grassroot movements have been here for decades, always been here in so many beautiful ways. So San Francisco has really been a pillar and an example and a motto of that in so many ways as well, along with Oakland and so many other beautiful places here in the bay. So really appreciate you lifting that up too, for sure, for sure. One of the things that come to mind for me too, is I hear dreamer in you. I hear possibility thinking in you. Just even the concept of community unity, you have to think of it and you have to execute it because you know you felt it in your spirit to be able to hold this space because that's, as you say, what you were called to do, what is your dream for how healing work shows up, not only in San Francisco, but we can focus there, but all around the country, let's say in the next five years, with the remnants of the pandemic, with the social uprisings, a couple years back and still always going on? What are some of your dreams about how healing work can evolve and how it can evolve in the next, let's say five years or so?

Yeah. Thank you for that. There's so much I want to say about this. I think one of the things I'm already witnessing and experiencing is us just taking and making more space for what we want to see and what we know our communities need. And as young people doing that for themselves and us creating more spaces for them to basically have that seed money, so to speak, to be entrepreneurs, because they don't need a wait until they're adults to make changes in their community. We know that and on an any level. And so I think more spaces where they are having that agency, they're taking that ownership and really co-creating with each other, the world that they want to see now. And that will last of course for generations. And I think there's going to be more organizations, either having to totally revision what they're doing or not exist, period.

They just can't exist anymore because it's just not working or it's working the way way it's meant to be too. But yeah not for us, against us, but even the spaces that believe. They genuinely believe that they exists to bring healing, to bring joy, to bring creativity. They often also perpetuate harm. And so I think those spaces are just not going to exist or they're going to start crumbling down and they already have, and then there's going to be more room and growth for us to come in and continue to create the spaces we want. 

I think also what I've seen a lot more and I believe will continue to happen is people partnering and really collaborating and really building bridges and working together to co-create the world that we want to live in. And maybe we are already living in our small spaces, but just expanding that. I believe that is going to happen and that's the way we need to go. We can't work independently. We have to work inter-dependently. And I think in the meantime, the spaces we are working in, I think they are going to be more healing centered. I think that's going to be at the forefront, not productivity. We're going to be replacing productivity and the data and meeting the numbers, just all that kind of hustle and bustle, like really letting that go and really centering on even just doing a check in. 

I don't know how many places I go in and meetings and I'm like, can we just ground here? I just dealt with some shit and I'm just supposed to show up to this space and you not knowing. I know if I'm going through something you're also, just to a check in with ourselves. And that we're just so focused on getting the task done. So I feel like that's going to happen more where it is very healing centered and we show up to work and we're able to do what we got to do, because we feel cared for or we're loving on ourselves. We're feeling loved by others and loving other people. And that's really what's at the focus and at the center of it all.

I love that. That cross collaboration unity is happening. It's happening and it's growing. That's a beautiful thing. One of the things that came to mind for me too is I'm curious, how have you cultivated your own strategies for yourself to create these boundaries between what we call at Flourish hustle to flow? Because you talked about the check in, when we're talking about holding space together. And there's such a desire and Dr. Gen Wright calls it an addiction to just get it done. The next thing on a list. I think one of the things that I so appreciate about how you hold space is your ability to pause and shit still gets done. 

That's the thing that we're really learning more and more in healing work. What was your process in being able to deconstruct and maybe it's still being deconstructed in you because we're all trained, what we call traditionally. Colonial traditionally terms about transactional capitalistic work. How were you able to deconstruct that in yourself and how you model it with fellow colleagues and young people? What are some of your kind of key tools that you always go to to be able to slow things down and be more present in space and tap into that collective healing work?

So yes, it definitely is something I'm still deconstructing. And so being a student, a teacher. I think part of it is being in spaces where it's being facilitated. it's being held in a way that is making space to pause, to slow down, to not overextend ourselves, that there are breaks and it's playful, there's joy in it. It's not too serious. So I think just being up part of spaces like that and looking for spaces like that and when it doesn't feel like that I remove myself from it as soon as I can and not engage with it. So I think that's one and I still do that. I think also I do my best. I mean even for example, preparing for today, I have a candle next to me, a small tea candle. I have a [34:37 inaudible] with some water and I just kind of spoke in the water what my intentions were for our conversation together. 

And I made sure I washed my hands. Brushed my teeth, even though I'm here in the house. And I got dressed. I wore all white because that helps ground me and helps me to speak really from my heart and my intuition. And so I think the more I do those things, I'm already modeling that naturally without even having to share that with people. And then I do intentionally think how can I integrate it into my day? How can I integrate it? I manage a program for example. And so I have a team of people, a small team, but we work together and we have our team meetings once a week.

I know that's important, but the first, maybe 45 minutes of it, is literally wellness activities.And we co-facilitate those every week. So we alternate, we start with a check-in question and then we add what's on the agenda. We have some running agenda items and then we have a closing which usually includes some kind of affirmation or physical movement. And then we have a break in between at some point. So for that, for example, and that can still be built out a lot more. But even that in itself, it's helping to break down what normally would be happening, which is just maybe a check in and going right into the nitty gritty. 

And then I think just to speak to when we're holding space for young people, very similar, we do a grounding together and of course a check-in, we're sitting in a circle. We have a closing and actually we close with affirmations as well. And having the young people repeat them at least three times. So I think that's just how it kind of gets worked in is because we're practicing it ourselves. I'm going into spaces where I'm being held in such a way that I really feel called to, so I'm trying to embody that myself. And still, I think having it be co-created, people kind of wanting to be in that space, that's more healing centered and slow down and more room for breath.

Real talk, and it's possible. I think some folks believe time and what time allows just is impossible to hold some of these spaces throughout the course of the day, but we're seeing it more and more in all of us. And how you model it and how others model it, that it is possible and things get done and it's going to be okay still, if we just see how we're doing. You good fam, I'm alright. Break that down for me. I think that's so real. I think as you bring up young people and we'll close up in the say and I so appreciate this conversation. 

The power of young people is so immense. We all know that, in this work that we do, and you talked about the beautiful bike ride you went yesterday with community members and young people. I'm curious, do you hear young people's language or around healing work shift and has shifted over the last couple years? I always ask this question, but what are young people saying about healing and when you're in space with them?

Yeah. So yes I'm fascinated by this still as well. one thing I'll name a kind of more specific example is just doing the work I do. I do a lot of tabling. About the agency I work at, services and I grew up being an outreach worker at Chalk Youth line. So I'd outreach and doing tabling. Resourcing is embedded in me. So one of the beautiful things about doing tabling is that you connect with all different kind of folks and hopefully you're engaging them in such a way that you can attract a lot of different people. So what I've noticed is, and I always try to integrate of course, different games and playful things. And so one of the things, for example, we have is the spinning wheel.

And I always include, or I try to always include something around self care or wellness or things like that. And they always get. A lot of times the young people get all intimidated by it. And I try to let them know, like, no, you know this. Don't trip off of the word I'm using, but you know this, you know how you take care of yourself, you know how you're making space to feel better about yourself when maybe things around you don't feel so good. But as I've been doing that more, meditation for example, is very common and I'll of course ask someone, what do you mean by meditation? Do you practice it? Can you guide me through it right now? 

And so that's something that's really popular, because I think a lot in, and we're I think lucky in the bay that a lot of our teachers integrate that into their classroom. And so a lot of young people know about meditation and what's beautiful about meditation is that it's connecting you with your breath, which is I believe the most powerful tool we have and it's free. We always have it. We need it. And for young people to be able to just take a moment to just breathe and for them, even in their own way to slow down. So that's been something, I think them talking about meditation. 

I think also them talking more about being kind of unapologetically themselves. Young people who are quire. An I know for me being a quire fan, when I was a young person, I was so in the closet, like nobody knew anything. And now it's like, no, this is who I am, this is a part of who I am and I'm no different than you, but yet I am. And you're going to accept me or not. And I think that has definitely been coming up a lot more too. And then I think also demanding, not asking, not wondering, but really demanding for basic rights.

I know young people at one middle school, they were asking if you had a million dollars, what would you change in your school? You know, what the fuck they said? The bathrooms, that the bathrooms would be private. That the locks on the doors would work. And I was still surprised by it. I was taken back. I was like, what? That should already be addressed. So anyway, so I think now they're even more so, I think it's more common in different spaces that they're really demanding these things that really are their to have of course and should already have, shouldn't even be demanding, but also things that maybe we wouldn't think about. 

Because they are a young person in the world today and they're asking and demanding for it. And we're listening more. I think as adults, we're listening more to them and looking to them as a resource versus this power difference, we're the experts and you're here to listen to me like, nah, hell no. 

That's hell real 100 time, a hundred, in terms of how young people are lifting their voice. So I appreciate you lifting young people up in that way as well. And as close out, for newer practitioners of healing work, maybe folks who have been teachers in the classroom, which a lot of folks at Flourish we work with are educators or social workers or just community members who are so interested in healing work. What are some of your recommendations for them as they're feeling so inspired about the work, but maybe in their community, in wherever, not in Oakland where we're centered? 

What are some of your suggestions and recommendations about how they continue to practice their healing work both for themselves and also in trying to connect community in having conversations about what healing work is for their community, what are some of the things that you can kind of throw a little game out there for them?

Yeah, when I think about this, I think about how we can get so caught up and it's supposed to look and feel a certain way and just to keep it very simple. But in that I think it's about you, building and deepening a relationship with yourself first and that looks different for everybody, but being able to be alone with yourself and sit with yourself and do the things that you really enjoy, down to the core and that really make you happy and feel content and feel fulfilled and doing that and doing that alone, doing that in community, doing that as often as you can. And those things, how can you integrate that into your daily routine or weekly routine? So I would definitely say that just like deepening your relationship with yourself and maintaining that.

I think also people who are doing cool shit, dope shit, that you really are into. And you're attracted to. You feel really called to, like keep engaging in that and continue to be apart of spaces that you are able to just show up at and not hold it, not do anything, but just be there and be present and engage is really important. And then from that, maybe you are partnering with them. You're like, Hey, how can I get you into my classroom? Or who were your mentors? Who were your teachers? What books are you reading? How did you get to where you went and just kind of connect and kind of resource that way I think as well. And then I think the last thing I would say is really nature. I think nature is such a powerful tool and something that I think no matter where we are, whether you're in an inner city, a rural, suburban setting, wherever you are you can connect with nature and there are different ways to do that. 

Water, we're at least 60, 70% water, as humans. So I understand everybody has access to fresh water, drinkable water, clean water, but you can still honor it from, even if it's not right in front of you too, the ground. Having your feet to the ground. Noticing the clouds and the sky, the sun, sunrise, sunset. All these things are really accessible to us, but we don't trip about it as often as I think we can. Those are, I think my advices, but really just keeping it simple and starting with yourself. And the last thing I would say is don't ask people, especially young people, but don't ever ask people to do things that you wouldn't or don't do for yourself.  Don't do that. And it can be as simple as an activity, it can be like an expressive arts activity you're doing with a group of young people or one to one, and you never did it, either with yourself or other people don't do that. Because it's harmful or can be harmful. 

And that's a smaller kind of example, but also kayaking. We take young people kayaking, and if you aren't going to get on the kayak and even if you're afraid of water or you don't know how to swim, or you've had some traumatic experience with water, or even with kayaking itself. Don't set yourself up or those young people up or whoever the population is up for that, if, if you haven't done it. If you haven't worked through that or the staff, the team of people that are holding that space. So that's something too. So we got to keep doing the work.

You got to keep doing the work. That's real, beautiful, beautiful words by sister Kisai, especially that last part. Is the intentionality about how we hold space. Don't ask folks to do things that you haven't explored yourself yet. And it's a journey. Nobody really has answers. It's just a continuous journey of healing in so many ways. Thank you so much for all your wisdom and all your knowledge and all your love and holding space together for us today. And as we close out sister Kisai and everybody who's listening, we just want to close out with some affirmations and with some gratitude and I encourage everyone who's listening, just the whole space, wherever it is you're listening right now. Your desk, your car, you are in transition to just give affirmations to the folks you love most. Give affirmations to yourself and affirming all right, to be well. Our collective right to show up in space and how we need to show up in space.

We affirm our right to give thanks to our ancestors, to those who pave the way before us so that we can be here. We affirm the land that we stand on. We affirm the acknowledgement that this is stolen land, that we acknowledge that we have been given a gift to help cultivate this land. And we have a responsibility to maintain this land in all of its respect. And we affirm our beautiful community members like Kisai and everybody listening, who so inspired by healing work because we see the power in it. Not for us, not for me, but for community, for community unity and for San Francisco and Oakland and all of us together, we give thanks. And until next on folks, thank you so much for listening to another episode of the Karma Chronicles and Kisai again, fam thank you so much for spending some time with us today.