Revolutionary Love – Love Ourselves

The third section of the Revolutionary Love compass is ‘Breathe and Push‘ – a way through our pain to find the transition we long for. Using a birthing metaphor, we are reminded that we breathe and push, and then breathe and push again, that there is no way around but through.


Breathing brings us to ourselves and to the present moment – it creates space and time to be present to our body, our emotions, our surroundings and to one another. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing calms us, increases our capacity for choice over how to respond. It increases our awareness and our resilience. “Breathing creates space in our lives to think and see differently, enliven our imagination, awaken to pleasure, move towards freedom and let joy in.” In this sense, breathing and loving ourselves is a revolutionary act, asserting that we are worthy, no matter what.


This invitation is to breathe and push through grief, rage and trauma to find healing, forgiveness and even reconciliation. There are times when we need to push, to go deeper, and times when we need to breathe, to rest and recover. There is so much more information now about how trauma is stored in the body, how bringing back awareness to those places in us we have shut off is an act of loving ourselves, the whole of ourselves. Part of this push is to step towards forgiveness and maybe even reconciliation, when we feel able, not to forget but to find freedom from hate.


The final stage in this birthing metaphor is ‘transition’: “Transition feels like dying but is the stage that precedes the birth of new life.”. Valarie talks about the pain, and the voice of fear inside that says ‘I can’t’, that wants to give up… and the voice of wisdom inside (or from others) that says ‘You are brave’. In most of us the inner critic voices are constant* – the voices of fear, judgement and cynicism that try to protect us and keep us small. And in time we can also tune into a wiser voice – internal wisdom, growing in presence and clarity as we learn to tune in and trust it. Both of these are part of us, and we can choose to spend time listening to people who are speaking from their deepest wisdom.

*I highly recommend Claus Springboard’s book ‘Disengaging from inner criticism‘ if you feel stuck around how.

In learning to love ourselves, to love others, and to love our opponents, we are taking a step towards transforming our relationships, our community, and even our nation and beyond. This is a radical, joyful way to practice and live, “a practical guide to changing the world”.

I have found so much joy and wisdom in the ‘Revolutionary Love Project‘ and in the ‘See No Stranger’ book, and am curious to explore with others, as community, in our local contexts. If you are inspired by this too, please get in touch.

Revolutionary Love – Love Our Opponents

The core wisdom of this section of the Revolutionary Love compass is ‘Tend the Wound‘ – an understanding that underneath tension, conflict and division is so often hurt that has been left untended. We go first to ourselves, to see if we need to rage first, before really checking in with ourselves whether we are ready to listen to understand opponents, and then be ready to reimagine together.

Again it feels such an important reminder that this work is to be done in community, that we will all play different roles at different times, and can honour where we are and not feel we need to do all of this ourselves.


In many of us, rage is something we might not be comfortable with, or might skip over to get to action or to try and find empathy for the other. The lesson of this part of the compass is tending our own wounds by finding ways to express our rage in a safe container, and allow our bodies natural response to the hurt, with whatever support we need to do that.


When it really feels safe to do so for us, in our bodies, there is a choice to step towards our opponents with curiosity, to listen to understand their perspective. This is the work of listening for the wound in others – taking in different perspectives, alongside rather than instead of our own, so that we have the possibility of finding solutions that can work for all.


When we tend to our wounds and connect to the wounds in others, we have the possibility of reimagining institutions that could work for all. Some of the institutions might need to change, others to be dismantled and created again from scratch.

In each of these steps i feel hope, that there is a possibility, a map, that doesn’t try to jump over the hurt, and that also gives a way forward to create the new.

Next up: Love Ourselves >

Revolutionary Love – Love Others

Valarie Kaur’s beautiful brilliant Revolutionary Love Project compass offers an orientation and practices to find love for others who are experiencing harm, love for our opponents, and love for ourselves.

Absolutely core to this work is understanding this is something we do as community – to know we all have different roles to play in each moment, and to trust our body as a guide to what is right for us.

Revolutionary Love Project Compass

I’d highly recommend following the content at, or the brilliant series that is US based but applicable to all at The People’s Inauguration. Here is a taster of what you can find there…

Love others – See no stranger

How do we cultivate our love for others, our willingness to take action to protect what is at risk of harm?

How can we look at any other living being with the mindset ‘you are a part of me I do not yet know’…

Revolutionary love gives 3 practices…

1. Cultivate wonder

Seeing others with wonder, being curious about their story, what breaks their heart, what they want and care for.

“I am defining wonder as letting in a sense of awe and openness, deep curiosity. It is to look upon the face of anyone or anything and say ‘you are a part of me, I do not yet know’. Its an orientation of humility. Wondering about another person, their thoughts and experiences, their pains and joys, their wants and needs, gives us information for how to love them. It’s how we have learned how to love our partners, our children, our friends. Now when we wonder about those who we would otherwise see as strangers, let even them inside of our circle of care, then wonder becomes an act of revolutionary love.”

2. Grieve together

Whose grief have we not let into our hearts? When we come together to grieve, to hear someone else’s story of heartbreak, and let in their pain, we are saying ‘you grieve, and you do not grieve alone’. This is part of how we love others.

3. Fight together

From wonder and grieving together, we can notice and honour the impulse from inside us to fight against injustice, to take action, to prevent harm, to show up in active solidarity, to be there as an accomplice from a place of love.

“To fight is to choose to protect those in harm’s way. To fight with revolutionary love is to fight against injustice alongside those most impacted by harm, in a way that preserves our opponents’ humanity as well as our own. When we fight for those outside our immediate circle, our love becomes revolutionary.”

The fight impulse is natural, ancient and fundamental. It shows us what we love, and gives us the energy and the impulse to protect it. When we come to this fight from a place of love, without denying anyone’s humanity, we can fully move on this path of living nonviolence and loving others.

Up next… Love our opponents >