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All Life is Sacred

Kristin Barker Interviews Lyla June


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes


Having compassion for ourselves and each other, while also holding ourselves to higher standards are completely compatible. In fact, you need them both. You can’t do one without the other.

I want to be a part of healing, and apology, and sorrow, and amends, you know, reparations. Because otherwise we’re just going to be enemies forever and I don’t want that.

We could point fingers and blame and shame all day, but is that really going to heal us on a deeper intergenerational level?

It’s unfortunate that we take so long to admit our mistakes, but it’s incredibly joyful and fulfilling once we do.

I’m very much a believer in forgiveness and that helped me probably to come forward with my ancestors misdeeds perhaps a little more readily.

We have yet to really grapple with this notion of human supremacy, this notion that for some arbitrary reason, we are more important than all other life and our needs and our wants are primary because we’re smarter or something.

Just because something can’t fight back, because it doesn’t have opposable thumbs or is not intelligent in the way that we think is intelligent, doesn’t give us a license to abuse them, enslave them, factory farm them and extract from them.

I think when we give reverence to the earth, we have a deep sense of joy, a spiritual joy because we’re living out our purpose.

I always pray for help. That’s a really powerful prayer I was told. Just help, one word. You don’t have to say, help me with this or help me with that. Just help. Because frankly, we don’t even know what we need help with.

You can read the transcript of this interview here.

This talk was excerpted from The Time Is Now: Showing Up for the Planet, a daylong program on April 22 hosted by Spirit Rock. Explore additional program resources here.

Lyla June

Lyla June is an Indigenous musician, scholar, and community organizer of Din√© (Navajo), Ts√©ts√™h√©st√Ęhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages. Her multi-genre presentation style has engaged audiences across the globe towards personal, collective, and ecological healing. She blends her study of Human Ecology at Stanford, graduate work in Indigenous Pedagogy, and the traditional worldview she grew up with to inform her music, perspectives and solutions. She recently finished her PhD on the ways in which pre-colonial Indigenous Nations shaped large regions of Turtle Island (aka the Americas) to produce abundant food systems for humans and non-humans.

Kristin Barker

Kristin Barker

Kristin is co-founder and director of One Earth Sangha whose mission is to cultivate a Buddhist response to ecological crises. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock's Community Dharma Leader program and now teaches with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (DC). As a co-founder of White Awake, Kristin has been supporting white people since 2011 with a Dharma approach to uprooting racism in ourselves and in our world. With a background in software engineering as well as environmental management, she has worked at several international environmental organizations. She is a GreenFaith Fellow and serves on the advisory board of Project Inside Out. Kristin was born and raised in northern New Mexico and currently lives in Washington DC, traditional lands of the Piscataway peoples.
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