Thursday, April 18, 2013

2013 Statement of Purpose

Arriving in a new time and place, here is my updated, hope-to-be annual Statement of Purpose. I am consciously renouncing language that evokes empire, militarism, and religious oppression, so I choose to refrain from calling this a “mission statement.” I hope this statement will encourage others to contemplate and write out their own purpose statements. Please share, so that we can inspire each other, and compassionately hold each other accountable.

2013 Statement of Purpose:
I am here on the planet, and in this city, to heal myself on every level, so that I can be a healing presence for others. I am here to participate in the healing of my ancestors, my progeny, and members of my communities, as well as communities themselves. I am here to be student, teacher, and collaborator in the process of healing.

In order to fulfill this purpose, my goals are:

1.     To creatively and relentlessly resist and speak out against oppressive structures, while focusing primarily on building self-determined communities. I commit to spending 90% of my time and energy on building healthy communities free from exploitation and oppression, and 10% of my time and energy on creative resistance.

2.     To live increasingly independent of governments, societies and livelihoods based on exploitation and oppression of the earth and its people, especially people of color.

3.     To live increasingly in voluntary simplicity, reducing personal possessions and use of earthly resources, while cultivating a sense of inner abundance.

4.     To cultivate clarity of consciousness and continually increase my capacity for loving kindness through inner work including yoga, meditation, and the arts.

5.     To live cooperatively with people of color and allies committed to healing themselves and their communities, sharing resources, inspiration, and healing practices. These resources may include time, energy, space, food, vehicles, skills, information, and life experience.

6.     To strengthen cooperative communities by practicing clear, compassionate communication through deep listening and conversation, and frameworks such as Nonviolent Communication, Circle work, Clearness Committees, and more.

7.     To embrace celibacy as a spiritual path. Instead of partnership and sexual relations, I choose to channel my energy toward healing in the wider community. Meanwhile, I actively support other expressions of non-heteronormative sexuality.
8.     To recognize and maximize my gifts and the gifts of others, directing them toward uplifting community.  I commit to freely sharing my gifts, and to encourage others to do the same, trusting that giving and receiving are the basis of healthy community.

9.     While working for the healing of the wider community, to be the best mother I am capable of being, the best friend I am capable of being, the best neighbor, housemate, student, teacher, mentor, etc. I am capable of being. I understand that as inner work provides the foundation for outer work, my personal relationships provide the foundation for relating to the wider community.

10.  To place learning as a higher priority than teaching, and to continually be open to new lessons, and the challenge of new experiences and new perspectives. I commit to honoring the voice of truth within me, and speaking from that voice, while humbly recognizing that truth is multi-faceted. I commit to regarding everyone I encounter as my teacher.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I pour down the ramp
thick as crystallized honey
collected from local hives
line up and hold steady

slow as michigan spring
slow as bureaucracy
slow as dreamless sleep

tens of thousands of cars on my ass
right foot light pulse on the gas
left foot steady on the clutch

all I can see is open road
ultimate american dream in motor city
why my parents left korea
the promise of freedom

fuck jack kerouac
and his white male privilege
he is not on the road with me
the blank canvas of road is mine and my ancestors

I slow down for my grandparents
who converted to christianity
because the american missionaries
were the only alternative
to japanese rule

for my mother’s mother
I choose to slow down
because she was not given the choice
betrothed in childhood to a stranger
bearing daughter after daughter
after daughter after daughter
after daughter
weeping after each birth
until the necessary son was born

my mother’s mother
who held me in her womb
as the ovum carrying my dna
formed inside my own mother

I slow down for my mother
capable of flying but forced to walk
behind my father per confucian custom

I slow down for my mother
who tamed her anger
by learning to love jesus
and fled early to the kingdom of heaven
unable to find it on earth

I slow down for my father
who never dared to slow down
who worked himself into an early death as well
who stifled his protest for so long
his brilliant mind atrophied
until he could no longer speak

I slow down for my adopted city of detroit
city of radical self-governance
determined to chart her own course
never mind the attempted corporate takeover
and the manufactured emergency
instead of rushing headlong into privatization
we meet outrage with outrage
turn the other cheek in first gear
with blinking hazards

I slow down for my suburban sisters and bros
pounding on my tail
because if there were no prisons
we would realize we are all in chains
because harriet tubman would’ve freed a thousand more
“if only they knew they were slaves”
I slow down for their gas guzzling sierras and expeditions

I slow down to honor vincent chin
who looked japanese enough
to be beaten to death by a white mob
for stealing american jobs
as a blonde sister leans out of her white suburban to shout
because I am an asian woman driving a volkswagen
her voice a blaring bullhorn on repeat

as if that would fix everything

I slow down to piss you off
if that’s what it takes to wake you up
I slow down to make time to breathe
slow soft inhale
slow soft exhale
I slow down to wonder
what is next