Dear friends, Thank You for supporting my page and the dream-team work of Block, Build, Be!
May we do our best to Block harm and oppression; Build better futures for all beings on this planet; and Be awake to the gifts of life, with each and every breath, each and every day. Simple, but not easy.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs writes in her Black queer feminist sci-fi story "Evidence," in a letter from Lexi post-capitalism to Lexi during capitalism:
"Breathe deep, baby girl, we won. Now life, though not exactly easier, is life all the time."
If this isn't awakening — life, no easier, but life all the time — then I don't know what awakening is.
If this isn't enlightenment — collective liberation; overcoming the greed, hatred, and delusions of colonization; composting the white supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy that currently poisons and rots our relationships to ourselves and each other — then I don't know why bother becoming enlightened.
And if deep breaths and warm affection aren't core and key to the (r)evolution, then we are in deep trouble.
Drawing on wisdom from spiritual and political traditions, Block Build Be is one way we practice living life all the time — a retreat of 4 precious days together, with 35 to 40 healers, activists, organizers, militants, and seekers. Thanks for helping us host this gathering for our 4th summer in a row!
With gratitude to you,
and to all those who have come before,
ABOUT BLOCK BUILD BE
How do we find joy, belonging and refuge at the end of the world?
Living amid crises, injustices, and toxic hierarchies— sometimes even in our social movements— we can feel tight, tired, frustrated, and isolated. Yet, this moment is a deep opportunity to act, and to do so out of love and protection for one other, to paraphrase Assata Shakur. In troubled times, you are invited to invest in a spiritual-political outlook that helps people bridge and connect three vital energies: Blocking, Building, and Being.
WHAT IS BLOCK BUILD BE?
1. A framework you can use
2. A live, annual retreat that you can help grow
For the past 3 years, Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) has offered a unique space to grow spiritual power collectively: Block Build Be (BBB). BBB serves a niche that neither activist training camps nor Buddhist meditation retreats typically fill. For 4 days in a beautiful, natural setting, we gather 35 activists, community care workers, and Buddhist practitioners to explore together how to:
Block harm and oppression;
Build inspiring alternatives;
Be in alignment with spiritual truths.
Each aspect is necessary to complete the whole.
The framework itself is simple and intuitive — but simple doesn't mean easy to do. We need space to practice: and that's one reason BBB gatherings come in handy.
WHAT MAKES BBB GATHERINGS DIFFERENT?
BPF puts care into crafting BBB cohorts, translating the wisdom and compassion of Buddhadharma into collective practices that leave no one behind. Demographically, we are a leader in our field of diversity in dharma. In 2018 we were:
85% People of Color (primarily Black and Asian American);
80% queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or pansexual;
25% trans, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, or two-spirit.
Learning how to truly support, serve, and respect our world and each other, healing toxic messages and habits ingrained by external and internalized oppression, is a deep practice in both expanding our political education and growing our spiritual power.
One 2017 BBB participant said,
“At most events, I only process about 60% of what is said, but because of people’s actions and awareness of my learning disabilities [at BBB], I was able to take in 90% of what went on, which unfortunately is a first. Love you all for what you do and how you love.”
WHAT DOES MY DONATION SUPPORT?
Some progressive Buddhist and mindfulness events cost thousands of dollars per participant to attend.
We will ALWAYS keep BBB affordable for single parents, students, retirees, monastics, and working-class people. This completely transforms what is possible at the retreats.
The scholarships and reparations that YOUR GIFT MAKES POSSIBLE are *not* about guilt, but about the power of awakening together toward peace, justice, and compassion.
May your donation of any amount help Block myths of scarcity; Build the fair, loving, caring economies we know are possible; and support you to Be joyful and grateful in your own fundamental interconnectedness and enough-ness.
HOW MUCH DOES A GATHERING COST?
Current costs for the BBB retreat total $65,000 per year: including
$10,000 for accessible lodging scholarships
$7,000 for travel scholarships
$3,000 for simple yet beautiful Walker Creek Ranch facilities
$4,000 for facilitators and childcare providers
We also invest part of our dedicated staff time and overhead into trainings for facilitators and follow-up with participants, honored to serve as best we can.
WHAT VALUES DOES MY DONATION UPLIFT?
So many! Including:
+ free childcare for participants
+ full scholarships covering lodging, food, and travel
+ fair stipends for facilitators: who are majority People of Color
+ natural settings that inspire thoughtful relationship to land
The basic theme is that We Have Enough, and we are stronger and happier when we share — for the benefit of all beings in a politicized world.
WHAT DOES MY DONATION MAKE POSSIBLE?
[$20] Dinner for one participant!
[$50] Fragrance-free soap provided in every bathroom!
[$200] One child to attend with their parent, covering their childcare!
[$500] Honorarium for one of our absolutely amazing facilitators!
IS MY GIFT TAX-DEDUCTIBLE?
WHAT DREAMS AND IMPROVEMENTS COULD MY GIFT HELP REALIZE?
Now that we've hosted 3 successful Block Build Be retreats, at times with over 100 people applying for 35 spots, we're ready to properly meet growing demand, and keep striving to honor our community’s needs.
We are called to expand resources by $10,000 — allowing us to provide
+ travel scholarships for international participants
+ even better accessibility and language support
+ and a full kids’ program
among other dimensions of our values.
Goal: $75,000 for BBB 2019.
Will you help BLOCK harm, BUILD solutions, and BE part of the compassionate power our world needs now?
Yours in gratitude,
Team Block Build Be Blossom