Zen teacher, activist, and author angel Kyodo Williams describe how to transcend the stories we are born into, what emergent leadership looks like, and how to invest in love, healing, and self-care.
Omega: To be a spiritual warrior—an archetype in all traditions—you've said we need to “transcend the stories we make up in our own minds about ourselves and our shortcomings... It's the labels that we apply and that are applied to us that box us in, break us down, and wear us out." How does this apply to women, specifically, who want to act in service to the greater good?
angel: We all get handed these stories, right? Every one of us—we’re born into a family, a time, a region, a culture. We get handed a story about what we look like. As we express our capacities we get stories about whether we are more or less capable. Not only do we get individual stories, but we also get collective stories. We miss a great deal when we only pay attention to the story that’s been handed to us and we’re not intimately connected to the deeper story of who we really are—as Buddhists say before our mother was born. We come encoded with a deep memory of who we’ve always been but when we arrive on the scene our focus is turned toward the external. We forget we have that operating information about who we always are.