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Nov 30, 2021

People seek many different spiritual paths to identify a means to fill in the sense of lack. Zen priest and Sensei Rev. angel Kyodo williams shared that it can be very surprising for many people to realize that community and finding a relationship with the divine are necessary, but what should not be forgotten is how to discover belonging is rooted in one's self.

Tune in and learn more about The Alchemy of Belonging with Rev. angel Kyodo williams.

Key points covered in this episode:

✔️  Belonging is so critical to what it means to be a human being. Every day, people are put in a position where their sense of belonging is arbitrated by something and someone external to them. We threaten each other with belonging in our families, workspaces, communities, and countries. 

✔️  Marie-Elizabeth’s growing up in three cultures: American, Venezuelan, and Swedish, speaking three languages, living in different places and feeling like an outsider in all of them. In my formative years, there was a constant chronic sense of not belonging in my own body. Until I figured out how to belong to myself, at a young age, I discovered that the answer was to look for belonging within, that is the antidote to the lack of belonging I felt outside.  

✔️ We use things and people to fill that sense of emptiness when we don't have a fullness for ourselves. It can take the form of being clingy, needy or jealous in our relationships because we end up feeling that if we don't have that person reflecting at us at all times and in all the ways that we want to, we end up feeling empty. 

✔️ Pulling away from life rather than going through it and its many pains often result in more detrimental results. It's critical to have a practice that allows us to build the capacity to tolerate the discomfort.

✔️ Relationships are contracts. When you begin to shift, you are breaking or renegotiating the contract with people. If the other person doesn't want to come along with the change and engage in their own growth, it's likely not going to work eventually. 

✔️ As you become aware of how people and circumstances may have hurt you, it's important to practice forgiveness not just for them but for yourself. Only so can you liberate yourself from spinning, looping and feeling how you need to go back and fix everything because that's not always possible. And frankly, it's not always necessary.  

✔️ Be willing to be curious enough to discover who you might want to be and to build the capacity to do the work to become that.  Life is all about choices, so you have to be willing to face the truth of who you are and how you are in the world. 

✔️ True liberation is letting life happen by choice.  Rev. williams reminds us it's letting ourselves be truly present with life — letting life touch us, have moments of hurt, heartbreak and loss or dancing, joy and excitement rather than squelching ourselves. 

✔️ Ground yourself in the now rather than looping back to the past. Everything that can happen in the future all situate themselves in the now. We can overcome fear and anxiety and manage to thrive and win.


Called "the most intriguing African-American Buddhist" by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodo williams was made for these times. She has been bridging the worlds of transformation and justice since her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace was hailed as "an act of love" by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, and "a classic" by Buddhist pioneer Jack Kornfield.

Her work, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love & Liberation, ignites communities to have conversations necessary to become more awake and aware of what hinders the liberation of self and society. Rev. angel applies wisdom teachings, embodied practice, and is a leading voice for Transformative Social Change. She is known for her willingness to sit with and speak uncomfortable truths with love. Rev. angel notes, "Love and Justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters".

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★★★ About Marie-Elizabeth Mali ★★★

Marie-Elizabeth is the founder of Relationship Alchemy, where she helps people deepen the love and fulfillment in their personal relationships, so they can expand into the full and free expression of who they truly are.



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As a Relationship Alchemist, two-time TEDx Speaker, and host of the Relationship Alchemy podcast, Marie-Elizabeth Mali shows women leaders how to cultivate deeper love and connection in their intimate relationships. Drawing on her Master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and over 20 years of working with clients, she teaches women how to show up as authentic leaders in their relationships and work instead of twisting themselves to fit in. Marie-Elizabeth’s work has been featured in Thrive Global, SWAAY, and Forbes. She is also a member of the Forbes Business Council, a published author with an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and an underwater photographer who has a thing for sharks. Learn more at