Ep 019 | How to Create an Inclusive Community, online and off, with GaneshSpace

Feb 13, 2023

Where you won’t find trendy business tactics, but you will find truthful insights and timeless stories from leaders to look up to.


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Ep. 019 | Curate Conversations With Pia Beck

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In this episode, Pia interviews Kim Thai, Linda Lopes, and Tisha Samuels — the leadership team at GaneshSpace, a mindfulness and social justice organization. 

GaneshSpace is a 501c3 mindfulness organization that creates healing spaces for historically excluded communities and social justice education for all.  Through embodied practice and compassionate conversations, GaneshSpace is a community of mindful changemakers moving towards personal and collective liberation.

GaneshSpace is also a past Curate client — and we are so incredibly proud of all that they’ve created over the last 2 years. 

In this conversation, we discuss what it means to create an inclusive community; things we might be doing in our online and in-person communities that create harmful disconnects and divisions; the importance of holding safe spaces; and how intersectionality plays a role in truly inclusive practices. 


**Links mentioned in this episode:**



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Okay. So this quarter’s, uh, community panel is with some very special people. We have Kim and Linda who are from Ganesh Space here with us, and I’m just gonna pepper them with questions until they ask me to stop. So I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kim and Linda and supporting Ganesh Space over the last year, question mark.

Year and a half. I don’t know. [00:03:00] And they’re up to some, some really cool work when it comes to creating inclusive spaces and approaching really big social justice issues through the lens of mindfulness and a whole lot more. So Kim and Linda, I would love for y’all to introduce yourselves, like individually and the organization.

And then we’ll go into the questions.

Hello everyone. My name is Linda. 

My pronouns are she, her, and I’m joining this call from the land of the Lenape people, colonized today as New York City, New York. And I am a founding teacher here at Ganesh Space. And here at Ganesh Space my focus is really creating community and conversation, uh, to help us really, uh, explore and uplift.

The voices of those who have marginalized lived experiences. And a lot of my work has also been really crafting and thinking through some of our [00:04:00] programming and ways that we can support folks in understanding their positionality in the world affirm folks in their experiences and encourage everyone to take action towards social justice and, and change in the world.

And I am a yoga teacher. I’m a guided energy healing practitioner. I’m also on the mentor side of Yts yoga teacher training. So supporting soon to be yoga teachers, uh, to be the best yoga teacher that they can be. And yeah, I’m really happy to be here. So thank you so much for having me here.

I’ll make a, a, a plug for Linda that she’s one of the best yoga teachers I’ve ever practiced with. And I’ve practiced with a lot of yoga teachers, so well, hi everyone. I’m Kim Ty she, her pronouns and also calling in from the land of Lenape people. But I’m a little bit further northwest than New York City.

I’m calling from Livington Manor and I’m the founder of GNE Space and [00:05:00] started what was literally just an idea in my head, I am almost four years ago at this point, which is really something I still process every day that we’ve gotten this far. And it’s wonderful. But, uh, it was really born out of the idea that I would go to wellness spaces, to healing spaces.

To work on feeling othered and then felt othered in those spaces as a result. And it felt like there was a little bit of an irony happening there. And so as I finished my training in, uh, India with one of our other founding teachers, Felipe Gonzalez really came back writing that sort of spiritual high and was like, I’m gonna try this thing.

And did our first community event, having no expectations of people showing up and people did and, uh, really was wonderful and beautiful to hear that people felt heard [00:06:00] and seen. And and we built community in. Wanting to find a sense of belonging together. And so since then, uh, our community has grown.

Linda’s been in the trenches with me, along with some other founding teachers for the past, almost three years now. Right? And so and officially last year we became a 5 0 1 a nonprofit organization and served 2000 people across America, which I’m really proud to say. So that’s a little bit about our organization and, you know, for me also a meditation and yoga teacher studying to be, uh, uh, a lay Dharma teacher and a Buddhist tradition.

And, I’m also a writer and storyteller, and I have two cats. 

So that’s the most important detail left for last . Maybe, one or both of them will make cameo. Okay. So thank you for those lovely introductions. [00:07:00] I really appreciate how y’all talk about your work and yourselves and your place and all the things that you’ve done and are gonna do in the future.

My first question is, not a simple one. Maybe it’s really simple. Maybe it’s not simple, which is what does inclusivity mean to you?

Yeah, I mean, is it simple? Is it not simple? I mean, for me it can 

mean a lot of things. So I guess depending on which way we’re looking at it, perhaps it’s simple. Perhaps it’s not. The idea behind inclusivity is really thinking about how do we embrace or welcome folks from all different lived experiences, right?

Regardless of their race, their gender, sexuality, body. And I think that. is beautiful, and I think it’s absolutely necessary. And I also think it’s not the easiest thing to do, right? I think a lot of times we create community and we say we welcome all everyone, and we kind of miss some of the ways where maybe the space [00:08:00] isn’t inclusive or maybe isn’t even accessible to all right.

So I think it’s very important that we’re very clear on who the space is for and who the space is not for, uh, to have an inclusive space. I think what’s so important is whoever is holding that space or creating that space, it’s important that they’re doing their own work in terms of like dismantling their own internalized impression, understanding systems of oppression.

Because when we do that, we get to understand whose lived experiences are being centered, whose voices are being heard the most, who’s able to take up more space and, and certain spaces or You know, and then we, then we get to understand, well then who’s not right? Whose stories are we not hearing?

Whose voices are we not hearing? Who can we make space for? So once we have an understanding of that, then we get to understand of like, well, who do we wanna bring in to the space? Who needs to to be seen and heard in this [00:09:00] space? And yeah, again, I, I think it’s it’s absolutely necessary. It’s just really important that we, we do our work so that we aim to create, you know, less harm and you know, move away from microaggressions or any sort of like triggers that one who maybe in previous time, Had never like, been into that space or in that community that they actually do feel welcomed.

Right. Uh, last thing I’ll say is I know the yoga studio in the community and they have this sign on the door and it’s like, we welcome all races, all genders, and it has like this list of like, we, Mel, we welcome X, Y, Z. And a lot of times folks who are not what you would think of as like the, I guess most typical lived experience that walks into that, that space, things happen.

Like is it your first time practicing yoga when, when someone else might not get [00:10:00] that? Right. So it’s beautiful to say that we’re all welcome, but we really need to do the work to make sure that everyone does feel welcome, that we embrace everyone as they come in. So, yeah. Thank you. 

Yeah. So well put Linda.

Thank you. I always love listening to you. I mean, I, I really, I really see inclusivity as a practice, right? And, and I mean that in the way, just to build off of what Linda was saying, is that there’s so much that we’re unconscious of that it is not in our sort of like awareness whether we learned it from, you know, our, our parents or our upbringing or it’s ingrained sort of in our genealogy and on a biological cellular level, right?

Like, you know, there’s studies and, you know, different faith traditions and practices to say that we, it takes like literally seven generations before you unlearn something, right? That’s how hard we have to do to un to, to get something rewired in our neurological and, and nervous systems. And so when [00:11:00] we talk about inclusivity, I think it’s so important and to actually try to find the gaps in which we’re not doing the actual work and practice.

Right. I think to Linda’s point, it’s really easy to say it. It’s really easy to put a sign up, and I think all that’s important too, right? Like the verbalization of it. But I think that there is often such a gap in between intent and action. Intent and impact, right? And so inclusivity, you know, you know, in Sina, one of our other founding teachers talks about this all the time.

Like just the simple use of correct pronouns or even sharing your pronouns can save someone’s life. Like, just think about that for a second, right? Like that to me is like, that’s what practicing inclusivity is. And, and yeah, it’s. Annoying or whatever, a burden to like, not say you guys anymore, but that, [00:12:00] that that’s what inclusivity, that’s the impact it could have on a particular person.

Right. And so that’s why we do the work and that’s why it’s so important to us. 

Very well put, I think from, from both of you. And I think just reiterating and, and what I’m really taking away from that is that inclusivity is truly actually having space for all people. And being really mindful of not just what you’re saying, but also what you’re doing, such that all the lived experiences can have space, safe space to be able to.

exist in community with other people, whatever that might look like. And I think that kind of the key trait that you both hit on is that an inclusive community isn’t just that you label it as such, right. But it’s this like felt experience and it’s a set of practices that you adhere to [00:13:00] over and over and over again to make sure that that’s always the case.

And so you know, Kim, you mentioned using pronouns, right? Being mindful of the language that we use. You both, uh, provided acknowledgements of the land that you’re calling in from when we started. What are some other I don’t wanna say small, cuz they’re not small, right? Like you said, Kim, like it can save someone’s life.

But what are some other, uh, low barrier actions, right? Like it’s, it’s not a burden. I don’t think to like change the way you say something. Like, I consider that to be really low barrier. There’s not a lot standing in your way of doing that if you just choose to do it. What are some other things like that that we can practice as holders of, of spaces and leaders of community and facilitators?

I think, you know, Kim touched on, uh, 

using gender neutral language when she mentioned like saying like, Hey, hey guys, or hey ladies. That’s one for sure. And it does take practice, right?[00:14:00] I think another one, which I know Kim and I are really, uh, it’s a continuous practice is avoid avoiding to, uh, use ableist language and it’s just like so ingrained in our language.

For example saying something like, oh, I, I had a blind spot there, right? That’s extremely ableist or Just the way we say, like in a, in a yoga practice, right? If I’m in a downdog, I so often say, walk your feet to your hands, if I wanna say, come to a forward fold. So I have to think about like, what’s another way that I could say that, right?

Bringing your feet to your hands. Or maybe it’s just folding forward at the top of your mouth. And I don’t wanna go all into have this whole conversation, you know, bring up a, a yoga example every time, . It’s just something that is really alive for me in this moment. 

So, yeah, I mean, you’re, you’re in good company.

Taylor’s a, a yoga teacher. I went through yoga teacher training as well. And I really relate to that, right? Like the, the pr the [00:15:00] philosophy methodology of yoga that I was trained in as very like, action oriented, right? And there’s a lot of action verbs that are very ableist and and so I think, I think that’s a really, really good example.

I mean, I think. Some low barrier things, like all the language stuff really is 

important and it’s low barrier and it’s also not right. Like, I think it kind of straddles this line. And, and I also think it also depends on which language you’re speaking. I think some languages are so gendered, right?

Like I’m Vietnamese and it’s such a gendered language and, but you know, one of the things that I think is a really simple thing to do that anyone can do, and it’s particularly impactful when you’re a leader or a manager or, in a position of power is notice who’s not talking in the room.

Like literally, right? Like, and, and, and invite and call them in and invite them to like, and even if it’s. [00:16:00] They have nothing to add. That pure acknowledgement that you cared enough to be like, Hey Taylor, like what do you think about this? Or whoever it may be is like such an act that in itself is a practice of inclusivity, right?

And so, so that’s what I would say, and you know, Linda touched on this a little bit earlier, but like, see who dominates in a, in a conversation and, and it, and is constantly kind of being centered in a, in a conversation, whether it’s at the workplace or at your place of worship or wherever it may be. And really kind of see if you can shake that up a little bit.

Right. And, and have fun with that. 

I have so many questions. Linda, were you gonna say 


Yeah, I was just gonna say like, Kim, I love that. And I think if we think about it, like just kind of like flip it almost too, it’s . A lot of times when we’re in spaces and, and we’re, you know, collaborating with others or working with others, we don’t always realize the similarities across like the team.

And so [00:17:00] with that said, it’s like, who’s not there? Right? . And, and that’s something that’s very important to, to recognize as well. So I just wanted to add that in.

Yeah, that’s great. Thank you for that addition. 

I think on that note, I have a, like a short story example that I’ll provide to as just like another way to think about this and, and y’all feel free to step in and, readjust me however you see fit.

I have a friend who just had a baby and, she just got back from her maternity leave and her literally her first back to work experience was going south to like greater LA area for this like two day. Offsite or whatever. And so she, you know, has been out for four months. She is leaving her baby for the first time.

She is, you know, breastfeeding and so she’s pumping and she hasn’t seen any of her coworkers since, whatever the spring. And not a great way to like come back to work, like period, in my opinion. [00:18:00] And she was, I was catching up with her and I was like, oh, how did your trip go? How do you feel about it?

Like, what was it like for you? Blah, blah, blah. And she was telling me how, like, the one thing that was really, one of the things that was really hard for her was that they were in meetings like all day. And so she, you know, would need during their lunch break, which was intended to be like the social time for her to reconnect with her team, she had to go pump.

And and then she missed the social element. She missed actually, like, reconnecting with her team when they weren’t working cuz she had to go pump. And and you know, by the time she came back, the lunch break was over and, whatever. And I remember like the, my, the first thought I had and what I said to her was like, that’s really shitty, that they didn’t wait for you.

That sucks that they didn’t say like, go pump and then when you come back, we’ll like all eat together. And it was really interesting. Her reaction was immediately just like, oh, well, you know, I wouldn’t expect them to do that and blah, blah blah. And I was like, that, that’s not the, [00:19:00] that’s not the point, right?

Like, that is something that needs to be happening. Right. And and they, that’s what I think what it looks like in, you know, another way to be inclusive is to your point, Linda, like who’s not there? Right? Who’s not in this conversation, who’s not sitting around participating in this? And, and how do we get them here?

Go ahead. 

Yeah. Uh, that’s so, so true. And I think, in terms of like meetings really asking what everyone, or understanding what is everyone’s needs, right? And maybe that’s like every 60 minutes we, everyone needs a bio break, right? So that folks don’t feel like they can’t get up and do what they need to do, or they can’t honor their own needs.

And that’s just another way to make the space feel more inclusive as well. Like what does everyone need to feel supported here in this meeting, here at this job, here in this community? That’s a good question to ask. 

Totally. I love that. If someone is dominating the meeting, the [00:20:00] conversation, the presence, the space, how do you know we as a, a facilitator, restore equilibrium for everyone’s benefit?

Yeah, I’ll jump into this one, Linda. 

Feel free, I’m sure you have so much to share here. I mean, I think the thing that has been a really big gift of working remotely and being in a virtual world is like there are tools to help facilitate conversation that is much harder in person. Right? So like, I think, and this is something I noticed, like there’s literally a mute button, right?

Like, not that you would like mute your coworker, but you could, right? Like, but I , I’ve done that. , I believe, I believe that you’ve done that. You’re such a boss like that. But like, But I say that in the same, the, to say that like, it’s really one of the things that’s so important to us whenever we’re holding space is like grounding the space to like at first, right?

And we don’t just mean within a breath, cuz [00:21:00] that’s, that’s what we’re about in terms of mindfulness practice, but also like setting expectations of how we’re planning to treat each other in this conversation, right? Like setting the conditions for each other. So that means saying, Hey, use the raised hand function instead of me just talking over Pia and trying to get a word in and then nobody can hear anybody.

Right? Or, you know, uh, if you aren’t feeling up for being on camera today, that’s okay too, right? Like, I think it’s like the permission piece that Linda was talking about, that I think there are tools in this like box of technology that we use to communicate with each other now that are really, really helpful.

And I think that, you know, The little emoji things are also really great to like encourage people, cuz sometimes folks who might not be as vocal or who might not like have things to add sometimes, like just putting up a hard emoji [00:22:00] or thumbs up, just like shows how participatory or actively they’re listening, even if they’re not seeing anything and just, and, and a and being conscious in a conversation doesn’t mean always talking either.

You know,

The Ganesh Space team does such a good job at raising hands and using emojis like more than any team I’ve ever talked to you on a Zoom call ever. Like, every time I’m on a call with all of you, I am just like, yeah, I’m, I’m just like, you’re so good at it, . It’s clearly a strength and it, I think it just shows that you’re, you are using the tools at our disposal.

So just wanted to acknowledge y’all for that because I have not seen any team do this to the extent that you do it.

Thank you for letting us know that fia, that feels like really good. I’m proud of 

us . And yeah. You know, another thing that we do at Ganesh Space when we hold, community events or workshops or, we open, we launch a program. There’s always community guidelines. And so there we’re very clear about how we wanna ground the space similar to how, you know, Kim was saying, we [00:23:00] always ground the space and we name like whose voices we want to call to the front, right?

Who we wanna hear from. And then hopefully that just makes folks feel a bit more comfortable. And the other thing too is like, it’s always easy to just unmute your mic and just say, let’s make sure that all voices get heard. Uh, let’s make space for others. And then the, the other thing I wanna point out is whoever is taking up a lot of space, it’s important that we get an understanding.

Their identity, right? What’s their positionality? Uh, cuz sometimes it could be someone who always takes up a lot of space and they hold a lot of power and privilege. And then sometimes it could be someone, if it is someone who you know, has a marginalized hold, marginalized identities, I questions I, I’d ask folks to just kind of question like, if they’re only noticing it because it’s someone who maybe wouldn’t always take up a lot of space.

Because sometimes we don’t even realize that cuz we’re just not used to seeing it, that we for some reason realize it. But [00:24:00] if it was someone else who held a lot of power privilege, we wouldn’t even notice or even think that they were taking up a lot of space. So, yeah. Mm-hmm. 

and I, can I add one thing to that that I think is, is, it’s so important that Linda hit on, is like, I also think what identities people hold are not always visible either.

So someone who might be taking up a lot of verbal space might have some narrow divergence, there might be carrying a lot of trauma in their body and into the space. Right. So, I think it’s always the role of the facilitator to know that like there might be a lot of things happening outside of this zoom box that we can see.

And like striking that balance of like, okay, cool, but like we need to move on. Right. And there’s a loving way to like do that. 

Yeah. I wanna circle back. I have another question that I think hits on that of like, how do we like, like this, like the loving piece, right? Of, you know, [00:25:00] we have to set boundaries, we have to make sure that, you know, That we move on when we have to move on, that also the voices that heard need to get heard.

And one of the things that you all do, I think remarkably well, and one of the things I admire most about you is you do everything with so much joy and so much love. And I think that’s really important. And I think a lot of the times that that part is lost in an effort to do the right thing, genuinely.

Right. So I wanna put a pin in that because that’s like a, that’s another, I have one more follow up question and then we’ll go down that path. mindfulness is a huge part of this, right? That’s not like evident in this conversation already. I’m just calling that out now, right? To be cognizant of who’s in the space and who’s not, who’s taking up space and who’s not the identities, the positionality that people either visibly or don’t, or not visibly, Hold the lived experiences that everyone’s bringing into the space, like that requires a lot [00:26:00] of mindfulness, right?

Which is why GNE Space exists as it does at the intersection of mindfulness and social justice, because you can’t really have one without the other. And you can expand on that in, in just a moment. And like you said, Kim, like sometimes there is a barrier, right? Or like you said, Linda, there’s, there’s certain things that are so ingrained in our, our culture that we mess up.

I grew up in the Midwest and I grew up saying, you guys and I, it took me like eight years to learn how to not say it after I became aware of the fact that I was saying it and it wasn’t inclusive. And so let’s say you You, you say something or do something that’s, that’s not inclusive, and then you catch yourself or someone else catches you and it’s brought into your awareness.

What do you do?

Uh, depending 

on what it is that is said or done, I think, uh, for [00:27:00] you personally, to name it right. And move on. We have a tendency sometimes to like over apologize and that could be more harmful. Mm-hmm. And just the, the ownership of it and try better next time or do better next time, I should say. And keep practicing.

Right. It is a practice, so know that, uh, it might happen again. But just naming and owning what, uh, the, the mistake or what you did that you, are trying not to, do moving forward. Yeah. And, and I think, I think, you know, 

I wanna elaborate a little bit on the move on piece that Linda said, right?

Because I think, I think it’s so easy for you to kind of, even if you’re, if you do the, the one apology once the person that you harmed for you to ruminate and to be feeling a whole bunch of shame and guilt and however that might manifest, right? And that’s not productive for anyone, [00:28:00] right? Particularly you

who’s trying to learn. So I think such a key part of this is being compassionate with yourself and understanding that you’re gonna make mistakes, have grace with yourself, right? And like, hold yourself accountable, right? And so, do the work of okay, I made a mistake. Yes, I need to move on. But like, what prompted that?

Like, try to investigate it a little bit more, try to be, you know, more. Come from it and from a place of reflection and not judgmental like space on yourself to be like, oh cool, I’m Pia and I grew up in the Midwest and this is why it’s ingrained in me and that’s what it is. It’s nothing more than that, right?

So I just have to keep on trying. That answer might not be so simple for other people. And so I think the invitation I would give for people is to like ask why the harm was done and where that’s coming from. And don’t be [00:29:00] afraid to look, you know, cuz often we are.

I think that’s such a good point.

Okay, so I’m gonna circle back on my other question. What are we laughing at? I missed it. I was looking away.

No, I was just, I was laughing at you. Being deep in thought.

I, I love talking with you all because you, I, I think about what I’m saying, right? Like I’m more mindful because you are mindful and because you support people in the way that you show up in being mindful. And so I talk slower and I think more when I’m talking with you, which I love and appreciate.

And I think that’s part of the magic of your work and why everyone should be in your work with you. Let’s say that someone finds themselves in a situation that, uh, through no act of their own right, they’re observing, they’re witnessing clearly something is happening that’s not inclusive. And either someone is, you know, clearly visibly experiencing that from their own experience and worldview or not.

[00:30:00] And How do we hold others accountable? How do we step in and do something in a way that is firm, right? And sets boundaries and makes it clear of like, this is not in line with our community guidelines. This isn’t how this is gonna proceed forward. And also has compassion when appropriate joy still be able to exist in that space.

Uh, what’s coming to 

mind right now is like, right, the idea of allyship and an allyship. You stand with the individual, the individual that, uh, in that particular scenario, Is being harmed. Right? So I think the first thing you would do is check in with that person. Are you okay? What do you need? And then, and then you can address the group.

And yes, it’s a practice, but there’s also gotta be boundaries, and we have to ensure that everyone’s practicing the what we’re, what we’re trying to [00:31:00] create here. So if you have to I don’t even wanna say the word, like warnings cause that like, takes me back to, to school and like punishment. 

Which I don’t, I don’t think we, uh, yeah. I wanna move away from that. But how can you support the person who did cause the harm in being more mindful? Are there resources is there, uh, any direction that you can provide? Is there any support that they could get in terms to start to, uh, understand the harm that they caused?

Right. I mean, I mean, it’s like one thing to say like, We need to use gender neutral language, but if you don’t know why, then we’re not really learning anything. Or the, the, the deep desire, that compassion, uh, and the love to, to wanna not use that or, or change the way that we, we speak. Right. Wouldn’t be there.

So yeah. Well, Kim, I’m curious to, to know what you have to add here.

Yeah. I mean, I think, I think it’s so [00:32:00] 

important to talk to the person who was harmed and check in with them and do it in a way that feels genuine and authentic, right? Like, texting a random person that you were college roommates with just because they happened to be black when George Floyd got murdered is not a way to do that.

And like I say that because that happens, right? And people, and again, I think the intention is there, but there’s that huge gap that I mentioned earlier. And so, you know, I think it’s kind of trying to figure out, uh, constantly what your role is to help the sort of overall, collective and community that you exist in.

Be more consciously aware. So say, You do live in the Midwest [00:33:00] and you don’t know a single black person, but you’re really affected by Black Lives Matter, right? You’re really affected by, uh, what ha you know, the murder of George Floyd. There are other ways to get involved. Allyship can look so different, and it’s more than just donating, right?

If that’s not in your financial capacity, although that is something real, and people say it because people who are marginalized systematically do not get the same privilege or power, which equates to money in a capitalist country that we live in, right? Just to name that and say it. But I think, you know, often people don’t understand the why, like Linda was talking about, because they don’t have, they don’t have people in their life to connect that to or put a human face on it.

If you don’t know a black person, then go. Volunteer somewhere and helps a block people, like, you know what I mean? Like, I know that seems very simple in a [00:34:00] lot of ways, but like just grounding that and not making it theoretical and understanding that it’s actually a person who is getting affected. Right.

And so to me that’s so important and, and I think speaking up can look a lot of different ways depending on the situation too. I’ll share really quickly that, you know, there’s a lot of bystander trainings that exist out there. Right. And one of the things that, you know, this wonderful group does, uh, to help mitigate a p I hate crimes is, sometimes it’s not always checking in with the victim.

It’s also like distracting the person doing harm. Right. Like you don’t need to like just go and like tell them off. Sometimes that actually can make it more explosive. It’s more like, hey, like wanna go over here for a sec? Or did you check this out? There’s so many ways to kind of [00:35:00] diffuse the situation that isn’t direct confrontation.

Right. And I think the thing that I would just invite folks to do is like, how can you be most useful in a situation to help diffuse any sort of harm and mitigate any harm that might be happening? 

Hmm. Yeah. I love that. And 

something that comes to mind, Kim, is the idea of, uh, you know, if we use the Midwest example, don’t know any black people and let’s say there is happens to be that one black person that gets harmed in, in whatever space we’re we’re in, right?

If you don’t hold that identity, right It’s, it’s interesting cuz sometimes, uh, folks who do not hold, and it could be any identity, right? A specific gender that’s experiencing, uh, oppression or harm or we wanna become the educator. We wanna become the teacher, right? And so one way to practice allyship or to really uplift, uh, the voices that need to be heard is, well, uh, [00:36:00] can I find someone who who can come in to provide a lecture or workshop around race, right?

Someone who actually does identify, uh, or holds, uh, you know, a marginalized identity in terms of, uh, you know, race or whatever, uh, example you want to use there. I think that’s so important, right? That if we don’t hold that identity that we’re trying to educate folks on or support folks in learning about that we’re not the ones that are teaching it, you know?

And I think to address your question about like, where does the joy come in a little bit, like, I think sometimes checking in with someone who’s being harmed either directly or indirectly is also like making space for like, not talking about it, right?

And trusting their process and that they’re gonna be managing it however they need to be managed. And sometimes they need to go for a walk and you’re the great, you’re the person to do it, and let’s go talk [00:37:00] about reality TV shows, or, you know, let’s go do whatever it may be to make them really, really joyful.

It doesn’t, it sometimes being there for someone doesn’t necessarily mean being the ear, right? And being the therapist and being the educator, like, like Linda was saying. And so, I just wanted to add that to the conversation. 

Can I also add something that just came up for me, sharing?

No, I’ll just, you go for it. This is your floor. You do whatever you want. I, for me, a lot of the joy that I experience in, in social justice and social justice, justice movements is not always felt immediately, but it’s the idea that in this practice that I am creating more joy for more humans and that I am potentially liberating us all right?

Or working towards that. And that is just such a joyful experience and that I get to honor folks who [00:38:00] maybe don’t always get to be honored, seen or heard uplift them in ways that they need and let them know that Your, your experience, your life, your voice is just as important as everyone else is.

And like, that just brings me joy. Mm-hmm. . And that encourages me to continue to take action for change. 

I love that. I think before I move on, I, I wanna just offer you all in acknowledgement. And that is that one of the things I’m so impressed by so much of what you do, I mean, everything about your platform and the work that you’re doing and the way that you do it, and the team that you’ve assembled who do it.

Like, there’s so much that you’re doing so well. And when I think about the Ganesh Space team, the thing that always comes up for me first, and I had this realization after, I don’t know, one of the meetings we had this year is that you are such a genuinely joyful group of people. And of course, there’s like a whole spectrum of emotions that we all experience, right?

And, you know, [00:39:00] Acknowledge those two. And like one of the thing that just like floors me every single time I interact with you two and Tisha and everyone else on your team is just like, there’s so much love and there’s so much joy in everything that you do. And honestly it’s impressive. Like it’s so impressive to me how genuine and how deeply felt that is in your lives and the way that you offer that to other people.

And I think that’s worth acknowledging just as much as all of the hard work that you’re doing too.

Thank you, Pia. Thank you for for, 


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Now I don’t wanna ask my next question cause 

I’m like, oh, that’s so nice, . I know there’s a question that I’m gonna ask that Linda’s got some like fierce opinions on, which is great, and I wanna hear them and I’m like, ah, do we want, do I wanna go there now or like having this lovely moment? Okay. I think, we’ll, I think we’ll go there eventually.

We’ll ease into it. Let’s see. I’m gonna jump around a little bit. Okay. I’ll buffer us. I have an example that I’ll share and and then we can move on. I think one of the things that you said, Kim, about not having an experience to like ground into when we’re doing this work is something that I, I think saw really, really [00:43:00] clearly at some point, I don’t know, not super recently, but sometime in the last couple of years, I was having a conversation with my dad who.

Grew up in the town that I grew up in and, you know, went to college, but then came back and like has spent his whole life in like this town and, you know, we were talking about a lot of things that we disagreed on . And it was a really productive conversation actually. But I remember about halfway through that conversation, listening to what he was saying and hearing, you know, his reasoning for the way that he was thinking about certain things.

And like, you know, we were kind of orbiting around each other in this conversation, right? It was a respectful conversation, but like, we were just like, we were not connecting, right? It was like, I’m over here and he’s over here. And like, there were just like, wasn’t a ton of overlap. And I, it was in, I remember this so clearly.

It was in that moment that I realized like, we’re not, we’re not gonna connect on this right now, right? Because he doesn’t have anything to ground this in. He [00:44:00] hasn’t seen it. Like literally , right? He like literally doesn’t know what I’m talking about. And that’s a problem, right? That’s, that’s a problem that I think a lot of our country is, is faced with.

And I think that it’s, I think it’s something to acknowledge and how we mindfully show up in these conversations and in these spaces. Like having that moment of clarity of like, he doesn’t have anything to ground this in was, I think just helpful in me deciding, you know, really intentionally like, okay, where do we, where do I go from here in this conversation?

Right? So I think just wanted to, to reiterate that as something that I think it we, we can forget, right? That plays a role in some way or another. 

Yeah, I, I’d love to respond to that. Pia. I mean, I think, I think the, the thing, you know, in some of my, in my consulting work [00:45:00] recently, I’ve been really looking at the division that’s in our country and what’s polarizing our, our nation right now.

And, and often I think the challenge, I think the thing that sometimes we, we come up against is, is actually trying to, to change each other’s point of view versus just leaving space for it. And that goes both ways, right? That goes, uh, in, in a multitude of ways. And, and I know it’s something that I’ve more recently been trying to practice of folks who have different diversity of thought or ideology, right?

Obviously not when it’s harmful, but, or what I, I consider harmful. So I think that in itself is also an inclusive practice. When we talk about unbiased compassion, that is also part of it and that’s also part of the challenge. And I also think going to our last sort of conversation on allyship, like you are, do, like you are in a position to do the work [00:46:00] potentially that me or Linda might not be able to do, right?

Not, not just because of the iden, the different identities we hold, but because your dad might hear you in a way that he might not hear us. So I think again, it kind of ties back to like allyship might mean like actually just having a conversation with someone who otherwise might not have this conversation at all.

Not with the intention of being like, Hey, I’m gonna cut get you to do X, y, Z outta this conversation. Or I’m not coming to Thanksgiving dinner. But more along the lines of like, Let me just bring this into your field of awareness. Yeah. Hey, dad, wanna meet my trans friend that uses they them pronouns?

And it’s like, and the thing is, is like most of us have the right intentions. I truly believe that. Right? We are, we, we all come from a place of basic goodness. And I’ve seen someone who’s incredibly conservative in their [00:47:00] thinking and go out of their way to ask someone for their pronouns because they saw it as a sign of respect.

And sometimes that’s how it translates for people, right? So I think it’s sort of like, how do you kind of meet people where they are constantly. 

Mm-hmm. , thanks for, for sharing that and for giving that example. I felt that example, I had a very clear visual of that example right at the end. So it’s powerful.

Yeah. You know, 

as, uh, someone who shows up in this lifetime as a black woman, right? My mother is a black woman and just because she is a black woman doesn’t mean that I don’t have really hard conversations with her sometimes. And I think self-care is so important and the mindfulness around that because sometimes I have the energy for that, that moment to educate her or to really stand strongly on what I’m feeling or what I believe in.

And sometimes I notice that I don’t have the capacity for it, right? And [00:48:00] that’s not the time. And sometimes I can also just pull resources. Maybe it’s giving her a book or maybe there’s a magazine that shows diverse spread of folks in the magazine, right?

we only know what we know, right? We don’t know what we don’t know. And we’ve been, I think Kim had touched on this, uh, earlier in our call. We’ve been like, so wired and programmed and for so long that it takes time. It literally takes time for like the brain to like, for the neural connections to like shift and change, you know?

So we have to be patient. Unfortunately, I mean, when we think about like movements like Black Lives Matter or just movements towards equality and equity. It didn’t just happen in like 2020, right? This happened before our lifetime here, and the fight still continues. Uh, so we have to remember that sometimes.

And, uh, just practice patience, self-care, and, yeah, knowing we, we ca when it, when we have, when we have the capacity to, to be in those conversations and when we don’t.[00:49:00] 

Can I, can I add something to the beautiful point that Linda just shared, is that I, I think. One of the reasons why it’s so important for us to look at social justice through a mindfulness lens or to root it right in, in mindfulness and be at this intersection is exactly what Linda just talked about.

Because when, when you often think about social justice fights, and I’ve been in political organizing, I’ve done a lot of that sort of work. People run themselves to the ground, like they, they become, you know, it, it’s a labor of love that sort of happens and, and nothing sort of else exists.

And, and I, that is not helpful or sustainable in any sort of long-term sort of way for anyone. And, and so, this idea of self care is and patience is actually working in a long term sort of way. And, and being able to say oh, like, [00:50:00] I don’t think I’m at a capacity to go to a protest today, or I don’t have capacity to talk to my mom or whatever it may be.

I’m gonna take a break. But the important part is that I’m still showing up the next step. Right. And, and, and that’s, that’s where we lose a lot of people. Right. But you know, we had such an influx in our community after the murder of George Floyd. Right. People kinda rushed towards us and, and then, and it was just interesting to see who has kind of remained and who hasn’t.

So that’s the thing I would inquire people about is that when things like Roe v Wade gets overturned, right. Or when a horrific tragedy like the Yuval Bay shootings. Right. And you’re, every, everyone has this sort of, 48 hours, you know, week of like, I gotta do something. This is so worked up. Yeah, of course.

Listen to your body. Go do your [00:51:00] thing, but like, keep doing the thing. Like, don’t exhaust yourself to the point where like you’re like, oh, I’m exhausted and I can’t get it. I can’t do anything anymore. Or to the point where you feel like I’ve checked off that box. Right. I think that’s important to note too.

So there’s kind of a, 

a third, you said, you know, doing it to the point where I feel like I can’t do it anymore or I’ve checked off the box. And a third thing that I think you can tell me that I think kind of might be in alignment with this is like the overwhelm like a sense of overwhelm.

We haven’t really talked about that yet. Like, I think.

This is, this is awful and I’m gonna make everyone feel overwhelmed. I think about like every history book that’s sitting in every classroom and every high school across the United States. And I’m just like, how do we solve this problem? Like, how does this happen when it’s like that much and that big?

So I think I wanted to, I think, [00:52:00] pose a question back to you all, which is can be really overwhelming as you know, to, to continue to do this work. And it is long-term and it is lifetime’s worth of work. And I think to reiterate your point, like having that self-care practice, having that mindfulness practice, being able to like, kind of manage what you need to throughout that is really important.

And I wonder if, if y’all have anything else to say on, on that point, on that note.

I think change is scary. Change can 

be overwhelming, right? And I think a lot of times in this social justice, uh, movement and taking action towards change, we feel that overwhelm and we’re like, oh, oh, I gotta, I gotta take, I, I gotta take a break. Or there’s the cat , or not cameo. Sorry to interrupt you, . I knew it was gonna happen at some point.[00:53:00] 

Sorry, continue linda, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Oh yeah, no, no, no. Anytime for the cat. Yeah, so we feel that overwhelm and we’re like, oh. I can’t do this. Right? And I think when we practice mindfulness, we start to understand that sometimes what we think is overwhelm is actually like so much power and so much courage coming in.

And we have to be able to distinguish, right? Because sometimes it’s really like a fuel of energy, like a big yes from the body that’s like, keep going. But we just automatically label it as like anxiety or overwhelm. And mindfulness again. Take a few breaths, take literally like sit, sit, ground yourself, settle the nervous system.

Think about your why. What is my why? What is my deepest desire here? What is the purpose here? Why am I showing up here? And then you can continue, you know? Mm-hmm. 

I was muted, Linda, but I was doing a lot of Mm, so while you were talking just [00:54:00] now, because it’s so true. I mean, I think we all have to find a way to regulate our, our bodies and our nervous systems.

And we have to do it as in, as in yourself. Not an external person telling you, you should do this, or you should drink this, or not eat that, or be a certain size or what have you. Like, and it’s gonna look different for every single person. Like a sitting practice doesn’t work with everyone.

Like yoga Austin. A practice doesn’t work with everyone. And it’s so interesting, like a friend of mine. You know, like had this realization after we became close and she was like asking about meditation and stuff and she was like, I just realized my husband sits every single morning and just stares at a wall.

And he’s done this every single day since we’ve been married for 10 years. [00:55:00] He does it for like 30 minutes. And she was like, and I think this whole time I just thought he was staring at the wall, but he might be meditating. And I was and I was like, yeah, you can label it however, but if that’s his me time or his self-care time.

And so I think like the first and foremost is figuring out how to regulate your body and your system and so that way you can figure out those different textures of understanding your emotion, like Linda was saying, and being able to sit with. Literally sitting with the emotions versus running away from them.

You know, we talked about our, our bodies being hardwired. Like we all still have like a primitive, uh, function of being in fight or flight. It is literally there for us. So that way we could survive, right? It’s a good thing, right? It’s not a bad [00:56:00] thing, but it often overrides everything else. So you gotta kind of figure out, ooh, wow, this conversation is activating me, or this person is activating me.

What’s the best way for me to kind of manage that? And it’s either I can step away from it or I can, you know, change the subject. There’s so many different ways. But you gotta, you gotta have, you know, as one of my Buddhist teachers says, you kind of have to continually have tea with your emotions and like really get to know them and become friends with them.

That’s so good. I have two 

questions that I wanna make sure I ask you. So I’m gonna do those and then we’ll kind of finish out wherever we would, wherever we wanna finish out. One of the things that’s come up throughout this conversation is the word identities in the plural. And there’s one thing that’s really important to the work that you do that we haven’t talked about yet, and it’s really important to building inclusive [00:57:00] communities, which is, uh, intersectionality.

For anyone who might not be intimately familiar with what that means, maybe they heard it. Can you define that for us? And then tell us a little bit about how that comes into play. Creating inclusive spaces.

I think when we, uh, think about intersectionality, it’s really about understanding and embracing the fact that everyone has their own unique experience. Everyone’s navigating the world uniquely. Kim and I both identify as women, we have two different lived experiences. And so it’s understanding that, it’s understanding that someone how they identify with race and how they might identify, uh, with gender can be completely, it’s a different intersection, meaning that it’s a different experience.

Right? And that just because we all have the same race doesn’t mean we experience being in our body the same way. We don’t experience gender the same [00:58:00] way. See, it’s just, it’s really honoring the uniqueness that everyone holds. and that we all are. 

Yeah. And just to nerd out on a little history, you know, I think , I’m always that person.

You know, Kimberly Crenshaw coined the term back in the, the seventies, because of the, the sort of second wave of feminism happened. And so often the black female experience was excluded in that sort of feminist movement. And and so she really wanted to uplift how her experience was different .

And there was often only one narrative that was happening. And so I think that’s another way of kind of like, thinking about it or the way I think about it as, as someone who considers himself a storyteller is like, What stories do we often hear about a particular type of [00:59:00] person or identity, right?

Like what are the stereotypes? What are the things we see on shows or in news media that reinforces those things. And so, and those attributes. Whereas we, we are all so, so different and we all have very different lived experiences. And so, you know, our work is so much about, again, bringing that into the space and acknowledging that.

And so Pia there’s a white woman who was your neighbor growing up. I guarantee y’all aren’t gonna like be coming into this space the same way just because you happen to be neighbors and hold similar-ish identities, right? So I just think that’s, That, that’s, a key point in, in building inclusivity is understanding that.

I have what I think is a hard follow up question to that. I love that. The way that you described this, right, which was not at all technical although that’s an, an important [01:00:00] definition and is very much as simple as like, yeah, we’re all having our own unique experience every single one of us, and we’re all so different.

And I think that’s so true. And one of the big whys for me in exploring this work is that I really believe that we all have so much more in common than we do different, right? Like the human experience is something that we can all share in. We have the ability to relate to each other. We have emotions experiences, examples, references that we can share in right?

I, I think that it’s just something that I really try to bring into like all the conversations that I have. Which is that like we are in a, in such a divisive world, right? We are, we are more similar than we are different. And also every single person is so [01:01:00] different and completely unique.

What do we do with that?

Yeah. I love this question, Pia. For me and my personal life, I have a deep desire to truly experience liberation. Right to truly honor my entire full self, the parts of myself that are hard to look at, the parts of myself that I wish weren’t there, the parts of myself that I wanna celebrate, the parts of myself, that I wanna be so loud and let everyone know about me.

Mm-hmm. and I, I trust that as human beings, whether we are conscious of it or not, we all want that. And I think that’s something that is like a, a thread that, that moves through all of us. And so in honoring my uniqueness or all the ways that I might be different from all of you here on this call, I trust that at the core we all wanna be like fully, we wanna live full lives and we wanna be filled with love, and we wanna share [01:02:00] our love, and we wanna be happy and we wanna be joyful.

And I think that’s the, that’s the connection right there for me.

I have nothing to add to that. That was a 

mic drop, uh, answer Linda. It was beautiful. 

Totally. Total mic drop. So well said. Thank you.

On a similar note, this was the other question that I wanted to ask and Linda, I’ll toss this to you first, then you have opinions about this that we all wanna hear. One of the questions that I put on the list of what I wanted to ask you was, how do we maintain a safe space for everyone? And yeah, I’ll just leave it.

That’s, that’s the question. And answer it however you wanna answer it.

Thank you for asking the question, Pia. It’s an impossible. Right, but the, the need to create a space that is at least safer or creates less harm is a need. And I say it’s almost impossible because I might be aware of what I need to [01:03:00] feel safe, but I’m, I also am also, I know that I’m unaware of what could quickly make me feel unsafe.

And I might not have experienced it yet. I won’t know until that happens. Also where and when I feel safe shifts, I might go to a class and the teacher might give me like a hands-on assist, and maybe that day I actually feel safe with that. Maybe in another setting, maybe in the week that I’m having, maybe in the season that I’m in, that could really, you know, be very alarming for my body.

So, yeah, it, it’s, and it, and we all again, have unique experiences. So to really create a space that every single person feels safe is a difficult task. That is definitely the goal, though. That is definitely where we should be moving. And, yeah. And just to, to say this again, we don’t always know what will quickly make us feel unsafe until it unfortunately happens.


and something I’ll [01:04:00] add to that and that Linda did such a good job of explaining that safety is relative right, is that, we use the term brave space in our and in gathering folks, it’s a lot of other space holders use that that term too, cuz you’re thinking about that’s what you’re asking people to do.

In the space is to be brave. And being brave means different things for different people. So and I think it takes off the expectation that it, that safety is guaranteed because we can’t guarantee it. But I think, again, when we talked earlier about that sort of community guidelines piece for that sort of condition setting and, and grounding folks, like, I think saying we strive to make people feel as safe as possible or, or we, or striving to mitigate harm as much as possible.

We [01:05:00] all, but we also acknowledge that it, it is not right, but like, but we’re showing up anyways and that’s what is brave about it. 

Hmm. I love that. It’s a great substitution. Alternative.

What didn’t I ask you about that You wanna say?

An amazing program that we have, uh, launching soon, that I would love everyone to join. And I want to invite you all Kim, unless there was something else before I go ahead and share about this . Ok. You know, as Kim had mentioned after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 the community grew and a lot of folks came to Ganesh Space or found Ganesh Space because they wanted to learn.

I’m like, what can I do? And then also a lot of folks showed up because, uh, the need to create a space to feel affirmed in your experience and to share and be, and be held in what you are experiencing was needed. And [01:06:00] so Mindful Change Makers, which is an eight week program that takes, uh, intersectional approach, and a mindful approach towards really creating community that, wants to learn, wants to heal, wants to unlearn, and really wants to make change in the world was created.

And so a lot of times when we have these events that take place in the world and things kind of get shaken up and, uh, we realize that we’ve been navigating the world in a way that is harmful and is oppressive, the desire to wanna create change or make change or, you know, take action towards change is so strong yet we don’t know what to do.

And so it’s so important that we understand who we are, right? That we understand how we are showing up. Uh, to create less harm in the, the change that we wanna make and to also understand what [01:07:00] our work is, right? Or, uh, where we could actually be supportive. And so what we do is, is we really allow folks to understand how they are or who they are within the world, within the systems that are already happening, right?

It’s one thing to be like, oh, racism is happening. That’s a thing that I can read about, that I know about. I know it’s there, but how are you participating in this oppressive system? How might you be perpetuating it and not even knowing it, right? How has this affected your life for so many years? And you’ve never been able to, to speak about it, you’ve never been able to find community that has a similar lived experience, right?

And so we take you through, uh, our four pillars, which are race, gender, sexuality, sexuality in the body, and we explore the intersections of them all. And we understand where do I hold power and privilege? Where do I not, right? And when I don’t, what can I do for it towards that self care, that [01:08:00] healing, that rest to really take care of what I’ve been experiencing for so long.

And part of this program, uh, in, in the eight weeks, we have, modules and that we, or chapters that we created, there’s eight chapters. So every week there is a chapter that will, uh, be discussed and we get really deep into so many topics, right? Like the history, the construct of, of gender, uh, ableist language Joy as liberation, right?

The list goes on of, of all this content that we share, and you can take it as self-study. Every week the chapters will open and you can view the videos anywhere from like four to 10 videos ranging from two minutes to 10 minutes long. There are reflection questions that you can, you know, take your time and really reflect on that and, and journal on that.

There also is the live study. So same thing, you get access to those chapters and to the overall portal. However, in addition to that, we have six live [01:09:00] calls where we have amazing guest teachers that are coming in. So remember earlier in this call when I was saying, uh, it was that scenario about like you witnessed harm happening and are you the one that’s supposed to be educating folks on why the harm happened?

We’re bringing in people who actually have lived experiences to talk about what we’re talking about, right? Whether it’s something around the body body image, capitalism in the body, right? Folks who can actually speak to it because they live it. . And then regardless of self-study or live study, we want folks to, to leave this program understanding how to take action.

Like what is the action for me? Right? And so we help folks in developing that plan, and that can look like community organizing. Maybe you wanna put on event for kids in a certain community, and we really work with you on how, right. Uh, maybe for you it’s, you want to start to kind of like decolonize all the ways, , uh, of, uh, of how you’ve been living.

And that might look like rest saying no to things. Yeah. So it’s a, it’s a [01:10:00] beautiful journey and you can do it again, self-study. You can also do it in community. And I, I find that a lot of my learning has come from being in spaces with folks and honoring their unique experience. And I learn so much about my own experience, even if we share many or, or one identity.

Yeah. And then Kim, if there’s anything that I left out, we are launching September 26th. So with that said, there is an info session that is coming up in September, and I know it’s on a Tuesday, I wanna say the 19th, but I don’t know if that’s a Tuesday , but I can look that up as I pass the mic to Kim and, uh, share all the details around that.

Yeah, no, 

I, I, I’m obviously super biased, but I think it’s a, a really incredible program that Linda has designed for us and in my opinion, the most comprehensive program that I’ve seen out there as someone who’s done a whole bunch of education in this work and training. [01:11:00] And so what I would just say is , if you are.

Interested in this work in any way, if you felt any sort of tug in your heart, come to our free 99 info session right, and check it out so that way we can like tell you more about it. And one of the things that’s so important to us is, again, meeting people where they are. So the, the overall training the eight weeks is, is $500, but we have made room for financial accessibility for folks.

And you know, have raised funds for scholarships. So that’s something that people should pursue. And and what I, what we always say at our, in our community is if you don’t know where to start with your breath. So like, that’s one way to do it with us. And so I, I pulled up the info session.

In case folks wanna like see it in here and, drop in and get some more details. [01:12:00] And we hope you join us in community and and like, just again, such a, an honor and a pleasure to be in community with you again tonight. And, and Taylor. So 

Thank you both so much. We’ll be sure to include the link to the info session and the link to the program with the recording and, and everything we send out.

And thank you both so much for bringing your, your full selves and your hearts and your experiences and everything that you’ve worked so hard to build too into our space. I really, really appreciate it. 

Pia, thank you 

so much. It’s always a pleasure to connect with you and Taylor, it’s been awesome getting to know you and connecting with you as well and I just appreciate I just appreciate like the, the openness and I appreciate just really feeling like your, your commitment to, to learning and to, to sharing what it is that you learn and, what you think is impactful and just so necessary.

So I, I appreciate you so [01:13:00] much for that. Thank you. 


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