Building-Blocking-Being [or things I learned from Buddhists]

Last weekend I got the distinct privilege to go on a leadership retreat in the Bay Area put on by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship which focused, in part, of their Build/Block/Be framework for spiritually in-tune social justice work. Below is a brief overview [at least of my understating] of that frame work and poetic reflection of my amazing time at the retreat!

Build: An analysis of structural causes and the creation of structural alternatives

Examples: teaching, study, restorative justice, cooperative economics, solidarity economics, consciousness building groups, cop watch, intentional communities, time banks, inclusive leadership approaches, reparations.


Block: Actions to slow damage to beings, communities and the earth itself

Examples: blockades, whistle-blowing, survival programs, boycotts, lobbying/protesting, work-stoppages/strikes. Withholding tacit consent to our oppression in ways that make the wound visible.

Be: Shifts in consciousness and new paradigms that are embodied individually and collectively before, after and during blocking and building actions in order to increase sustainability, effectiveness and trans-formative pre-figurative capabilities. The underlying view point that encompasses why want to Block something and how you go about building.

Examples: Differential consciousness, methodology of the oppressed, Black love politics, humanist/evolutionary marxism, Liberation Theology


Sometimes beauty overwhelms me
Sometimes my power overwhelms me
Sometimes your beauty overwhelms me

Sometimes the brown eyes, and smiles, and revolutionary acts of kindness makes me undone.
Sometimes the shutdown/stand up/fight back/ March on/make breakfast/still love is too much to bare.
Sometimes your ability to hold the world & the legions inside of you in balance is kinesthetic poetry
Sometimes revolutionary/transformative power flows through the me/us/Inseparable/Ubuntu

Sometimes I can see/feel the line between where I am and where I want to go
A long golden arch of faith
Flowing freely like these words through our lips
Being bent towards justice
I can feel/sense this pull of energy
And ride it through time
Navigating through and around bodies in motion
Gathering power as I/we slide

Sometimes this command whispers to me
Stroking my hive mind gently
Lifting us up
Coaxing me to break the world

Sometimes I/We listen.
Sometimes I break all the rules:
Building, blocking, being,
Letting the runoff drown the invasive species
As I slide towards liberation.

In these moments I/We Am/Are Whole-
But still hungry-
Never alone.

We stand with all
Time travelers, sliders, growers of power, warriors for peace

Building, Blocking, Being:
The deconstructors of worlds.
Called forth to be the healers of our ancestors
And spirt guides to our descendants.

We are more beautiful than they ever imagined
We are more powerful than even we can see
We are more capable than they could have hoped for
We are everything they’d hope we’d be.

We are our ancestor’s wildest dreams.


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