Sharon is joined by Holistic Life Foundation co-founders Andres Gonzalez and brothers Ali and Atman Smith for a conversation around the role of love in community building.
The Holistic Life Foundation has been serving Baltimore’s underserved communities since 2001 with high quality programming focusing on yoga, holistic health, environmental advocacy, sustainability and interconnectedness. This episode is the second in Sharon’s Real Love Podcast series.
The Real Love Podcast Series is a special series on the Metta Hour featuring a variety of conversations with some of the world’s finest thinkers and teachers exploring Sharon’s forthcoming book “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection“. Real Love a field guide for anyone seeking awakened living in the 21st century – regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity or status. The book explores love is three different arena in life: love of oneself, love of an other, and love for all of life. Real Love is now available for order now!
Bringing Love Back (Opening) – Sharon introduces the Holistic Life Foundation co-founders and they share a little about the work they do in inner-city communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care, the Holistic Life Foundation demonstrates a deep commitment to education and development for the greater community through their work with drug treatment centers, homeless shelters, and mental illness facilities.
Using the word love in the communities that the HLF works in can be a tricky thing. The group talks about how the practices HLF introduced to their community has brought love back into the conversation and into motion. Sharon discusses with the group what happens to a community when love is brought back into the picture.
“When we first moved back into our old neighborhood, it was kind of like the Wild West. The fifteen years of service that we have done in our neighborhood has transformed our community. Every kid that attends our neighborhood elementary school takes mindfulness classes five days a week and it’s a common occurrence being able to talk about mindfulness and yoga in our hood. The love feeling has come back to our community; it was gone for a while.” – Atman Smith
The Power of Love (16:00) – The group talks about the kind of teamwork mentality and relationship building skills that HLF helps their kids build. They discuss how powerful of a force that Real Love can be in our lives.
“The reason that we believe that love is the strongest force in the universe is because we see it in the love that we have for ourselves and for our communities and everyone. I think we have witnessed the transformation it has had in our neighborhood. We are always just spreading love.” – Andres Gonzalez
Being Love (32:00) – Sharon asks the group how their own lives have changed after all the years at Holistic Life Foundation. They share the triumphs that they have experienced since beginning their work and how practice helps them through their times of struggle.
“No matter what is going on, you are giving and not looking for anything in return. I think that is a big part of what love is.” – Ali Smith
Q&A (49:00) – Sharon and the Holistic Life Foundation crew answer questions from the audience about caring for all, loving-kindness, and talk about how to describe love.
For more on the Holistic Life Foundation, check out their last visit with Sharon as well as one of their great TEDX talks.
Photo via Sharon Salzberg