Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 137 – Real Change Series: Killian Noe

Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 137 – Real Change Series: Killian Noe

For episode 137 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Killian Noe.

Killian is the Founding Director of Recovery Café, providing a beautiful, safe, warm, drug and alcohol-free space and loving community to anchor Members in the sustained recovery needed to gain and maintain access to housing, social and health services, healthy relationships, education and employment. Before starting Recovery Café in 2004, Killian co-founded Samaritan Inns, a non-profit in Washington DC, which provides transitional and longer-term drug and alcohol-free, community-oriented housing for individuals recovering from homelessness, addiction and other mental health challenges.

This is the tenth episode of the Real Change Podcast series. In this conversation, Killian and Sharon speak about Killian’s longtime work as a change-maker and what role compassion has played in her work. They discuss the role that contemplative practice and service have played in Killian’s personal life and how it has informed her career as an activist. They also speak about how to maintain balance and joy when helping others through practice and leaning into community. The episode closes with Killian leading a guided practice from the contemplative tradition: the “Welcoming Practice.”

Pulling Towards Paradox: Contemplation & Action

Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina with her dad as a pastor, Killian instantly felt a push away from her normalized upbringing, and a pull towards mystery and paradox. Through this lens, she found herself drawn towards an African American church, where the sermon focused on themes of exile and speaking truth to power. Steeping in these themes awakened a sense of urgency in Killian, sparking a path of dedicated service to unfold in her life. Tying together the important practices of contemplation and action, she reconciles the paradox of the inward and outward journeys.

“If we take seriously this inward journey, then we will also be able to discover someplace in the world to offer our gifts, someplace of suffering and need in the world. Those two things are two sides of the same coin.” – Killian Noe

Join Ram Dass for an illuminating Dharma talk on navigating the confusion of paradox to overcome the illusion of separateness, on Ep. 69 of Here & Now
Recovery Cafe: To Be Known & Loved (6:18)

Sharon invites Killian to share about her ever-growing Recovery Cafe Network she started in 1999 to offer individuals in recovery an alternative, therapeutic, supportive community, founded on the truth that every human being is precious and worthy of love regardless of their earlier trauma, mental and emotional anguish, addictive behaviors, or past mistakes. Killian explains the unique potency of her holistic person-centered recovery model based around service and contribution, and how that leads individuals to feel both known and loved within this small, loving accountability group.

“In these recovery circles, we really value being both deeply known and deeply loved by the same core group of people. We find that there’s something very powerful and healing about those two things going together.” – Killian Noe

For an insightful and healing conversation laying out the road to recovery and offering tools for overcoming addiction, tune into Ep. 75 of The Indie Spiritualist
Finding Balance: Practice, Boundaries, & Community (26:48)

Touching on the added difficulties that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to the Recovery Cafe, Sharon inquires with Killian about how she stays balanced, focused, and centered amidst uncertain, trepidatious waters. Killian shares some of her keys to staying grounded and in the flow; ranging from daily contemplation and movement practices, to setting healthy boundaries, but the deepest foundational groundwork for her staying balanced, she recognizes as her community.

“If I need to pull back a little bit, that creates some space for someone else to lean in a little bit. Community is what helps me stay balanced. Community does not depend on one individual. It depends on many individuals leaning in.” – Killian Noe

Gather, listen, meditate, chant, & feed: If you would like to find or grow a heart-community locally in your area, visit the Ram Dass Fellowship

This is the first episode of the Real Change Podcast series. In this conversation, Joshin and Sharon discuss some of the themes from her new book, Real Change, exploring the ways that meditation practice can inform social action. They discuss working with anger, pathological altruism, finding long term resilience and joy in activism, and working to find balance. To close the conversation, Joshin leads a ten-minute meditation practice on equanimity.