We are all holding so much in our hearts these days. Over the past two years many of us have experienced more loss than any other time in our lives. We have waded through more uncertainty than the nervous system was designed to respond to. And now, there is more clarity and wisdom about the systems that need to be dismantled for us all to thrive. It is time to gather together and find refuge in one another and our spiritual practice. It is time to cultivate and hone skills to disrupt the injustice causing so much suffering in our world.
The Skillful Action, Refuge and Rest weekend immersion is a space designed for you to peer into your heart and notice what is present there. It is a space for you to process the tenderness housed in the heart and heal the places in your heart that feel fractured or broken. During the immersion, we will explore how patterns of privilege, oppression, and imbalances of power become internalized and embodied, how systems of oppression build grief in the individual and collective bodies, how dominant culture conditions and shapes our thought patterns, behaviors, and actions, how to engage spiritual and contemplative practices as skills to build social change, and how to move into collective action.
We will explore cultural trauma, individual, interpersonal, and collective grief, why it is so important to make space for our grief, and our collective resilience. With the aid of ancestors, benevolent beings, and guides, we will remember how to heal individually and collectively. We will make space to breathe, grieve, gather, move, rest and celebrate. This immersion is for yoga teachers and practitioners, spiritual practitioners, activists, and organizers. This immersion is for people who want to build intentional community and authentic relationships with others. It will include asana and meditation practices, pranayama, ritual, journaling, self-reflection, small and large group discussions, and more!
Facilitator: Michelle Cassandra Johnson
Michelle is the founder of Skill in Action; she is a social justice warrior, author, dismantling racism trainer, empath, yoga teacher and practitioner, and an intuitive healer. With over 20 years of experience leading dismantling racism work and working with clients as a licensed clinical social worker, Michelle has a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit, and heart. Her awareness of the world through her own experience as a Black woman allows her to know, first-hand, how privilege and power operate.
Michelle holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary and a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has worked in several non-profits and served as an elected official and on many non-profit boards of directors. Michelle has led Dismantling Racism Trainings with large corporations, small non-profits, and community groups, including the ACLU-WA, Duke University, Google, This American Life, The Center for Equity and Inclusion, Eno River Unitarian Universalist Church, Lululemon, and many others. She published Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World in 2017, and her new book Finding Refuge: Heart Work for Healing Collective Grief was released in July 2021. Michelle teaches workshops in yoga studios and community spaces nationwide and is on the faculty of Off the Mat, Into the World. She was a Tedx speaker at Wake Forest University in 2019, and she has been interviewed on several podcasts in which she explores the premise and foundation of Skill in Action, along with creating ritual in justice spaces, our divine connection with nature and Spirit, and how we as a culture can heal. Recently, she created her own podcast, Finding Refuge, which explores collective grief and liberation and serves as a reminder about all the ways we can find refuge during unsettling and uncertain times and of the resilience and joy that comes from allowing ourselves to find refuge.
Michelle leads courageously from the heart with compassion and a commitment to address the heartbreak dominant culture causes for many because of the harm it creates. She inspires change that allows people to stand in their humanity and wholeness in a world that fragments most of us. Whether in an anti-oppression training, yoga space, individual or group intuitive healing session, the heart, healing and wholeness are at the center of how Michelle approaches all of her work in the world. There are a myriad of ways to work with Michelle, and she hopes to support you on your healing journey and path towards wholeness in whatever capacity allows you to live your fullest life.