Pathways of Teshuvah, 2of3: The Power of Reconnection

Pathways of Teshuvah, 2of3: The Power of Reconnection

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Chris Searles 0:02
Hi Chris Searles, here (HOST).

Chris Searles 0:04
I am Executive Editor at and I am the Director at which produces AllCreation. What Dr. Channaniah is showing us and what Marcus's work is showing us postdocs personal experience as well, is that reconnecting to the land life is our best asset for a whole number of non environmental solutions. My focus in bio integrity is why that's the best asset for environmental solutions.

Chris Searles 0:34
But what these guys can tell you is that this reconnection to nature is healing traumas, and helping people grow into greater relationship with the other people around them. And the rest of the so called environment, this reality that we share of this life support system that we have named nature, which by the way, is unique to earth, of all the known planets in the universe. Right now. 1000s of planets have been surveyed by NASA, only one has life on it.

Chris Searles 1:02
I want to say one more thing about all this. One of the things that Pesach and Marcus and myself are finding which kind of comes out in this interview, is that by Re engaging in a nature connected life, immersing ourselves in nature, as much as possible, we're finding a sense of physical peace, and reestablishing physical alignment in our own bodies through stress relief. So every person I know has the need for physical comfort through feeling accepted and connected to the people around them. And the human world tends to make us feel not just emotional, the human world of today anyway, it tends to make us feel not just emotionally overwhelmed or abused, but physically uncomfortable, and we carry that body.

Chris Searles 1:47
There's a thing of getting into the natural world, and participating with it, observing and enjoying it that allows you to relax and become more open. Because that's what this world is this natural world. It's not a place of defensiveness, tyranny, the narratives and fear, it is a place of truth and reality.

Chris Searles 2:09
Alright, everybody, welcome. What we want to do in this event with you here is provide an introduction to some revolutionary ideas, this idea of reconnecting to nature being more beneficial than just growing food and just saving the planet, so to speak, that is about accessing our positive potential as human beings through reconnection to nature, when in fact, Marcus's work really shows us this experience is generating deep healing and space for compassion, and growing self confidence and, and moving people into a better state. So okay.

Dr. Chananiah 2:50
There are so many stories, and I can I can point to others as well, so many stories, these myths in the Jewish tradition, where the connection with the Divine happens outside. And we talk about these myths as if that was something that happened in ancient times, it used to mean something. Right? And now we don't do that right now. We just talk about it.

Dr. Chananiah 3:13
And so the opportunity that I'm presenting the horizon that I think this approach brings is, what could it mean to meld our spiritual traditions and stories, the opportunities, the possibilities that they present to actually being outside?

Dr. Chananiah 3:33
If I know that this happened to my ancestors, to the myths in my tradition, could I potentially also be able to experience divinity just because I get out there because I left law and you know, in my experience, yes, in my experience, it really did require first just being outside spending more time on my parents balcony as a as a teenager and through the years on my own balcony, or just wandering in the forest, just getting out there.

Dr. Chananiah 4:07
And that's where the Divinity happens in my experience much more than either reading or being under a roof although it can happen there. Diveykut could can happen anywhere where we let the divine in, but the wilderness and I'd be curious to hear how others on this call experienced that too. But the wilderness, it makes it I think, really accessible.

Chris Searles 4:30
Yeah, beautiful... Marcus, if you want to jump in, I mean, I have a bridge over. But that's really a great bridge to this idea that there are non environmental benefits to connecting to the other life on the lands around us and the spirituality of our ecosystems. Do you want to comment Marcus?

Mr. Kar 4:48
I think it's all a part of it, I think is all one thing, right? So I think everything this way is one thing and it's interesting. So one of the most impactful people In my life was a man you still alive is in Israel right now his name is odd reason. And he owned a business here selling and designing emergency lighting systems. And Aubrey pretty much taught me how to take myself seriously. And one thing he installed in me is, like you were just saying, you know, the stories, I grew up in a very religious household. And I think over the years, I started finding my own answers, like you say, outside amongst people in plant medicine, and the the sky.

Mr. Kar 5:41
And the one thing he told me was, you know, any word written, consider the Word of God is an instruction manual for how to live, how to be a better version of yourself. Doesn't have to be literal. The house I grew up in, I think, many ways people took it literally. Because it's just a Western thing. You do all the sin during the week, and then Sunday, you are forgiven for it, or something, you know, whereas, um, there's another old man who lives across the street from here and seems, is Dean, he's an old Vietnam War vet. And he's like, it's like a father to me. And he's Muslim. But he told me that sin has a source, the word itself, before it was sin, he says, all it was, is a scenario. Anything you can possibly imagine, is a sin.

And I really gotta throw me off a little bit, you know, I have like pretty crazy conversations, just being in gardens and in community and walking around. And this intergenerational and cultural mix of things have created like, some form of wisdom in me, but I always keep those things they tell me like very close, and they walk alone in nature, you know, really processing what they mean, you know, they were here before me, they must know something.

Mr. Kar 7:23
So it's interesting. And you have like such a deep history, there are people that have left language and information about generations of your people. And I find that to be rich. Because I started learning about mine. And I'm like, Whoa, like, this is why I'm kind of weird. And like a little more, I have a thing about me, and it's not average, okay. I think it's because of knowledge itself. And the nothingness that I know I am. And I find that to be powerful, and all the disadvantage and things that we look at, I find to be a distraction, because all those disadvantages has become my absolute advantage. The adversity,

Chris Searles 8:09
living in North Minneapolis? the social issues ?

Mr. Kar 8:14
I mean, living in America, as a Black man in my skin --

Mr. Kar 8:17
I served this country, I'm a decorated war vet. I been home since my mom had a stroke, I got home and I really wanted to show her something else, you know, than working three, four jobs, and surviving.

Mr. Kar 8:34
Most people in my community are constantly in a fight or flight. And they're constantly surviving, whether they have to move because they can't afford the cost of living in places they've been living their whole lives. Or they're trying to survive from organ failure due to the amount of things they're consuming, or they're losing the size of their space because of the things they're consuming physically. So like they're buying furniture before the House and the cars and fancy name brand and things. And all that doesn't mean anything. I really love being a creative because everything I have has real value that I really appreciate everything I have in my life has been very blessed this way.

Mr. Kar 9:23
And yeah, I would love to talk to you more by your studies, because this is like interesting. I tend to absorb information from a lot of people. And when you were talking just now you reminded me of Aubrey, just because he was probably one of the most gentle human beings I've ever met at the same time, the most direct and honest one thing he told me to stop apologizing. Why do you apologize all the time? I told him because I you know, I'm sorry I got in your way I was in your way and his thing is like well If you keep apologizing for something that petty, what happens when you really mean it, I'm not gonna believe you that sat with me for the rest of my life.

Mr. Kar 10:11
The best gift anyone could ever give me is to be honest and be direct with me. I really value, simple things like that, you know,

Chris Searles 10:23
I want to jump in, because I think I can tie that exceptionally important point to the conversation, you and I were having Marcus on the phone an hour ago. And essentially, one of your main themes, as you're talking about your work with youth is always about being honest.

Mr. Kar 10:42
It's based on trust to you know, like, they trust me to be a direction, I think nowadays people have taking that phrase, you know, get down to their level of meet them where they are a little bit too, literally, because I want my teachers to know something.

Chris Searles 11:01
Theres so much respect and this honesty you're talking about for yourself. The person you're trying to communicate with, it's about building, like you said earlier about building

Mr. Kar 11:08
They look at me for direction, or like, as you know, you know, a place of safety is a very spiritual thing for us, you know, like, I tried to take away the trauma that has been installed in us and we create these spaces, safe spaces, there are tools, no farms, gardens,

Chris Searles 11:29
The farms and gardens are the safe spaces?

Mr. Kar 11:32
Yes, they're all tools in inner cities for me and children that run around with me, I want them to come there, I want them to be free to fail without feeling like the world is ending. I want them to be able to talk to me, like I'm there equal, because I'm literally looking for them to take my job. Because I'm not married to it.

Mr. Kar 11:54
And I want to, I want them to be able to go around the world and have conversations with like minded people about the experiences, they had learning life learn skills and places like North Minneapolis in their nothing this not based on what they paid for. Now, this is starting to become more transactional, what I'm what I've been doing on the ground seems like everyone is looking for a job and things like that. But what they don't realize is, what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to get us all the lift. So we don't need a job. There's, that's the point.

Chris Searles 12:28
And give people listeners a little more context, what we were talking about earlier, also was this idea that you and I and probably Pesach you sort of see this visceral value, we seek meaning. And we seek these real connections. And so, you know, this is what I hear you talking about, in a way. It's like that's all here, rich in the garden.

Mr. Kar 12:47
Nature is abundance, there is enough room and space for everybody. And it's funny that we do think that there are people that try to control how much you have access to or who is allowed and who isn't, you know, in Minnesota, you know, I forgot the number of farmers there are in Minnesota, but how many of them are Black? And why aren't there many Black farmers, you know, and things like that.

Mr. Kar 13:15
But like I was telling you before, the reason why I feel like I'm able to be a part instead of aim to control or be the boss or whatever, is literally because of the creative part of me, I I come from a place where I've always been a part of rhythm or harmony. When I was sad. I was singing. And I was happy. I was singing when I'm sitting on the phone with you I'm sitting with a GET TO Nelly. There's a banjo somewhere. No other things. So always been that way for me.

Mr. Kar 13:54
So any process I'm invited into, I'm listening. And I hear it. And it's not because I'm the best musician. It's because I'm listening and I'm willing. So the best things come out of the Coalition of the Willing this way in the process, the end result is to get to the end on the same frequency. And I feel like that's what we're lacking. When we take that I was telling you earlier that the artists mind and spirit is same as an indigenous or village concept to me, just because what was the scenario I used I was like well, a guy digging a well in the village doesn't divide up the jobs for who brings the shovel and who pours the water who's like making the food. Everyone jumps in. Some people make the foods and people set the table. Some people pour your water but the end result is hit the aquifer we have water

Chris Searles 14:52
(Yes), and the other thing you were saying was that big picture is the main idea here. Everyone's part of the same big picture. That is what's happening in this to shuba I'm gonna interrupt you, Marcus and as Pesach to jump in and talk some more.

Chris Searles 15:03
I mean, again, Marcus, you're so evolved in your ability to articulate where this takes people and how it helps people. So I want to come back to you again in a second and hear Pesach talk a little bit about that emotional experience in Gaza Strip and the sort of compassion that came through this reconnection to the land in a new way. And we're really now I'll say one more thing.

Chris Searles 15:25
We're definitely deeply in part two, we transitioned well into that almost exactly on time. But we're just flowing, we're flowing, but part two for the listeners. This is the power of reconnection. So Pesach, not a reconnection. And one of the stories he tells personal stories he tells in this auto ethnography essay is about how he went into Gaza Strip as a Jew, and basically said, I'm sorry, I love you. And, you know, let you take it from there!

Dr. Chananiah 16:00
Thanks Chris. There was something that I heard you say a few minutes ago, Marcus that I want to respond to. Before I do that, I just want to clarify, I was in the West Bank, not Gaza Strip. And I just clarify that because territories are very different. And I'm not going to get into it because I'm not an expert there. But the West Bank is an occupied territory, fairly close to also the Palestinian territory of East Jerusalem. And, and I had an awakening.

Dr. Chananiah 16:34
And my senior year in college, which I talked about in the article, and I just realized that I needed to contribute in that land and do something and, and do something with land. And I didn't know exactly what that would look like. But what I want to respond about that you said earlier, Marcus was this concept of of sin. And I think that so many of us don't really relate to it. Um, it feels very, very judgy. Right? It's very make wrong.

Dr. Chananiah 17:06
I grew up as a Jewish kid hearing that word, but as a teacher of Jewish youth, I would always explain to them that the better translation for the the Hebrew word, which is usually translated as sin is cheit. And really what it means is missing the mark. Hmm. And the solution to missing the mark that I'm talking about in this article is to tshuva is returning right? If I'm trying to be right there, and I go here, all I got to do is come back. Right. And so I'm hearing that in what you're saying in, in working with youth as a guide, and helping them not to feel necessarily feel bad about missing the mark, but it's just, like, just just learn how to write back.

Dr. Chananiah 17:54
Yes. Right. And, um, and I appreciate that, like, don't apologize for everything, because sometimes you really need to win and in, in the Jewish tradition, and around this holiday of Yom Kippur War, where you really see this word to shuba, there is an emphasis on, on apologizing, on repentance on making amends. And so I do think that that's that that's an important component sometimes.

Dr. Chananiah 18:24
And so, you know, that's what Chris was referring to, I was trying to discover, with this burden that I carried around Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, how can I in my little way, feel like I was making amends. And for me, just in my own little way that I could, oh, I can help to water these plants. On this Palestinian farm, right. There's all kinds of actions by Israeli settlers and military of cutting down plants in Palestinian lands, which by the way, both goes against and I talk about this both goes against Israeli law, and Jewish religious law. But it's a pretty effective...

Chris Searles 19:14
and destructive for,,,, all the wrong reasons

Dr. Chananiah 19:17
... A effective technique of colonization. And so for me to just be able to attend to these olive trees was huge. And I remembered this mantra that I learned from a book, it's a Hawaiian practice whole oponopono and the way I learned it is simply I love you. I'm sorry, please forgive me. Thank you. And so again, that's that's a way when I've taught Jewish youth, how do we do to teshuva? How do we, you know, missed the mark and come back. You know, that's, that's a real simple, simple way.

Dr. Chananiah 19:54
The other thing I just want to share quickly, I do in in addition to having a Jewish practice, I have a Muslim practice a Buddhist and yoga practice. I'm pretty interfaith myself. And I happened to be at the mosque last Friday for Juma. And as I'm leaving the mosque, I see that the building right next to it, it's a little little Mosque, the historic West Side in Vegas, historically black community, there's a building next to it. And there's this beautiful tree. And at the roots of the tree is all this trash. Like, man, we just got done praying. And then I'm looking, and there's all this trash into the tree. And I admit, I didn't do anything I just got in my car and left, right. But it just occurs to me that one thing we can do if we are expressing care for, for God's creation for the holiness of the earth, you know, I don't have to get mad at anybody, I don't have to do nothing. But I could just go and pick up that trash. Right?

Dr. Chananiah 20:54
I could just do it, make that amends. Do that to shuba just in though, in the little way, and it doesn't have to be like going across the world. And, you know, trying to make a difference on some with some other people's existence. It could just be in you know. Right. Yeah. So I just, you know, that's in some I'm hearing that again, Marcus, with with your teaching of youth with with gardening is like just such a great opportunity to, to coach or guide around, like, how do you get get back on track,

Mr. Kar 21:30
It is literally medicine. And when you talk about that tree, you know, the biggest part of my summer is literally picking up our environment. So we got to prep spaces and create. So like I just give the lecture on this where I was talking about healthy environments, and it's like everyone feels like they're entitled to one in America. But what they don't understand is this is nature and in nature, you have to create a healthy environment. That's why we have predators and prey, and things in the dark, lurking and things and Unlight we got to create an environment to be a part of those things.

Mr. Kar 22:11
And I tell people like what if you planted all these watermelons, someone come and smash them? What don't you do that make you angry is like, Well, no, we just plant them back. And if I find out who did it, I give them an opportunity to give back. So maybe they put it back. This is all a part of programming. There's no need for reaction.

Mr. Kar 22:30
But there's something you said that was like, That resonated with me. And it was about, you know, reconciling and returning. So this is a problem we've been having here in America for longest, this idea of white and black. Who in America, do we have this duality, right? Wrong, better, worse, winner, loser, white, black. And one thing I know about my community is that there's a very little choice trust because of the historic narrative when it comes to like institutions, when it comes to dominant perspective and white supremacy, and how just predatory things just kind of take over the entire existence of people that look like me. I mean, they're every day they're moving.

Mr. Kar 23:16
And I think that's a mental. I mean, that's the impact of slavery in this country. And what happened to black people in this country was still happening to black people in this country. And I have these conversations with people around culture building, right, who has really stayed really focused on the white and black part, it's just really us, you know, comes from the word uni. Community means one only from one can come to write. And we talk about reconciliation, and people talking about reparations, and all these things. And to tell you the truth. You know, while black people will love an opportunity to catch up economically in this country, or have opportunities to actually create their own possibilities. All they really need is to be protected. And for people to acknowledge that the impact of systematic oppression in this country is real. It's not equal to anything. It's not equal to anything in this country. I don't understand it.

Mr. Kar 24:27
So we talked about reconciliation and self correct and this is how I got to nature is because I decided that I didn't need that. You know, I got tired of arguing that. Is this really happening to me? Am I like a well decorated person being thrown on the ground on my face right now? With no apologies afterwards? Just pick up your stuff and leave. Right? I start seeing people that look like me becoming and interpretation of that same oppression, to feel safe to have control.

Mr. Kar 25:09
But the only place I found control was Nature. It was where I could go and scream out loud. And it's an empty void. And it's also fold. And everything, felt it. And I became a part of everything is where I could cry is where I could laugh is where I could process what's happening here on a human level, and how to approach people because we're all a little bit sick. In my community, so I approach I'm going

Chris Searles 25:36
Marcus, im going to interupt to say -- you're a process person, this is what part of your practicioners message is, first and foremost: relationships, and process. And then I'm also curious, though, about where you are right now, what you're talking about your kind of personal story where you came from, wherever you were, to where you are now. Yeah, through the nature engagement. Because the leader in Minneapolis, you just had this meeting today where you secured this food policy with for the whole city. And you know, we're various things going on, you're a leader, but you weren't, for a long time, probably, you had to get.

Mr. Kar 26:10
I mean, I found I didn't name myself that I think people have given me that title is a community leader or like a food champion. And with the help of all these people on the homegrown food council here in the city of Minneapolis, I've been able to grow and learn a lot more about what's happening to me and what's happening in our food systems. I couldn't make it your

Chris Searles 26:32
your experience of healing in the garden in nature, where you can yell and cry and laugh. And share that with the youth that you're working with today is that

Mr. Kar 26:40
I'm trying to share that with my entire environment, anyone who is willing, I'm here for and everyone is invited here. I think I found that level of humility, and like just a passion for what I do. In my enduring despair. You know, I don't want kids growing up experiencing anything I have, I don't want to pass my trauma on and have be stuck in this idea that I'm lesser than, but what I want to do is enjoy myself as I am. And I shared with everyone and just so happened in my environment has seen and absorbed and septic, that for what it is like it's okay for there to be people that thinks that I'm not human.

Mr. Kar 27:36
But the idea of reconciliation, is where I am, because I've had this conversation this week, this is great. And we're gonna have more of this conversation. Because I don't know how to explain how to reconcile. I don't need reconciliation, when it comes to the historic narrative, what I need now is the ability to spend the rest of my life enjoying and producing and creating my own healthy environment. And that will impact everyone around me and give them the same opportunity if I can actually stay focused and not be distracted by, you know, the trauma of it all. And it's here, all I can do is hold people we cry together and talk and laugh together. And be present, not present for reason for money or some kind of expertise. But just because we are being.

Mr. Kar 28:30
And I been trying to figure out how to approach this idea of reconciliation, because I don't really feel like any, you know, body's like, currently responsible for, I don't think it's a one person or one kind of people responsible for some of the trauma inflicted on black people in this country presently, I think, use a historic narrative is this is what it was. And we're living in a system design to uphold that history. And everything I'm doing is fighting that narrative and trying to be honest, look, the people I'm holding that that history and hiding behind, you know, their false sense of superiority, I want to be able to name the impact of it on me and move on.

Mr. Kar 29:22
I don't want... I don't hate,

Mr. Kar 29:24
I don't have the ability to hate anybody.

Mr. Kar 29:28
I think that's too heavy of a thing to bear for anyone.

Mr. Kar 29:36
But it's so deeply rooted in my culture that I really, you know, I really, you know, I really, you know, I'm sympathetic to like black people in this country and everything I'm doing is to hold them high and try to lift the spirit and that the land has given me the tools and the ability to do that. Every time I see their faces, I see God I said, whatever, you know, then you worship I see. And nature has given me the ability to understand what that looks like. And I am learning constantly now, especially from younger people, where do you live? This intergenerational thing is actually the best form of education I can ever imagine.

Mr. Kar 30:23
So when you said reconciliation, and just kind of like a woken woke up that conversation I had recently. And I told these people, I don't know what they do. We're like, well, what does reconciliation how do we get how do we start over and get back? And it's like Kenya?

Chris Searles 30:43
Or how do we move forward together?

Mr. Kar 30:45
How do we move forward? That's the thing now we don't backwards

Chris Searles 30:49
or anything really. I'm gonna interrupt Marcus also, because we want to invite people do q&a. So if you'd like to ask a question, maybe let us know in the chat.

Mr. Kar 31:01
I just want to say I really love the narrative of reconciliation, in your experience, to all your practices because I think there's something there of substance and the truth that really needs to be heard ...

Mr. Kar 31:16
And I don't think is a you know, just a Jewish thing.

Mr. Kar 31:19
I think it's a human thing. I think that's your study.

Mr. Kar 31:22
I think I really appreciate that about you. I can't wait to talk to you more.

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