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The People's Inauguration

10 Days to Activate Revolutionary Love


January 22–31, 2021

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Day 5

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Teaching and practice with Valarie Kaur

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Today’s teaching and guided inquiry help us understand why listening to opponents is worthwhile and when it is our role to listen. We’ll explore the challenges of listening, the gifts it can bring, and how to listen when it’s difficult.
Home Practice
1. Identify an opponent you are ready to listen to. You don’t have to start with the most challenging opponent. Imagine reaching out to them. If you are ready to call them, do it now. Remember, it won’t happen in one sitting. This is about sustained listening.

2. In your wisdom journal, write what you are learning about how to listen. What is challenging? How do you keep returning to wonder?

Remember, when we feel like we have reached our limit, wonder returns us to love.


Interview and live Q&A

with Van Jones and Sister Simone Campbell: “Listen”

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Listening to our opponents is seeking to understand them. It is an act that preserves their humanity—and our own. Listening gives us the information we need to fight strategically against unjust systems and invite our opponents into transformation. In this conversation, Van Jones and Sister Simone Campbell join Valarie to reveal why deep listening is not only moral, but strategic in building bridges of understanding.

Moderated by: Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD

Session Highlights:
  • What is required of us when we practice deep listening?
  • Listening to our own bodies to know when it is safe to listen to our opponents
  • Why we must risk being changed by what we hear when we listen
  • Ways to practice listening
Compass of Revolutionary Love
Van Jones

Van Jones

Van Jones is the CEO of REFORM Alliance, a CNN host and political commentator, an Emmy Award-winning producer, and a New York Times bestselling author. Jones has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than 25 years. He has founded and led many thriving social enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Dream Corps—a social justice accelerator that houses Dream Corps TECH, Green For All, and #cut50, which led the charge to pass the FIRST STEP Act, a bipartisan federal bill that the New York Times calls the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation.

Sister Simone Campbell

Sister Simone Campbell

Sister Simone Campbell is executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, which advocates for policies that mend gaps in income and wealth in the US. She is the author of the famous “Nuns’ Letter,” considered critically important in convincing Congress to support the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Sister Campbell has led six cross-country “Nuns on the Bus” trips focused on tax and economic justice, health care, immigration reform, and other issues. She is the author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community and Hunger for Hope: Prophetic Communities, Contemplation, and the Common Good. She spoke at the 2012 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions and has appeared on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD

Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD (Moderator)

Melissa Ann Canlas, EdD, is the director of education at the Revolutionary Love Project and a full-time faculty member in the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Canlas’s research and teaching focus on issues of educational equity and human rights. As a lifelong educator, Dr. Canlas believes that education should be directed toward learning to love and care for one another as we build systems where every person can live in wellness and dignity.

  • David says:

    How you move me.

  • Al Owski says:

    I am overwhelmed. You have recharged my hope and given me a way forward. Starting with Day 5, I have listened slowly and taken notes. I realize I have been so careless in letting the present atmosphere of fear and hate infuse me without giving it a second thought. My response is to be most intentional about carefully *listening* and then committing these words to my memory and my way of being in the world. Thanks to Valarie, Van, and Sister Simone!

  • Isabel de Katona says:

    I was working on the Census in New York, and they sent me down to southern Georgia to help the count. I spent a month in a part of the country I had never experienced, doing nothing but talking to people of every background possible. The most challenging moments were when I had to listen to very angry, scared white people. As a representative of the Census I could not engage other than to listen, build trust and try to get the information needed, and it was at times utterly exhausting, at others genuinely terrifying, but it was a practice I had never engaged in before, and within the three weeks I was there, I learned so much about the people of this country, so much about groups I only see on the TV, or on social media. If felt like national service, coming to know the faces and the humans that make up this nation, and I carry it with me now as we navigate this immensely trying moment.

  • Ann says:

    Feeling open to new possibility

  • Tatiana says:

    I m feeling peace.

  • Heather (UK) says:

    So much enjoying these opportunities, to listen to such discussions and sit in on such thinkers (is that the same thing?!). Thank you for your story about the men in the restaurant and all your other illuminations, Valarie.

  • Dorothy says:

    Thank you All! You’ve given us good reasons to listen, and new ways to look at our opponents.

  • Tammie Fowles says:

    What’s Maggie’s, (the creator of “It is a rhythm”) last name?

  • Kay says:

    This is so needed in the world, it needs to be a required course for human being! Thank you all for your work in revolutionary love!

  • Asha Dornfest says:

    This was a wonderful session, full of truth and heart. Thank you, Van and Sister Simone, and Valarie — thank you for sharing the beautiful story of your grandfather.

  • Abigail Herring says:

    I so love this discussion and meditation,thankyou for your contribution to humanity,I am breathing much more easily now,I am certain that my prayer has been answered,you all are so brilliant,thankyou,In Love,Abigail

  • Debra Sands says:

    Oh how I love this LISTEN session
    The feeling of OPENNESS, like a Can being opened completely. I have so much listening to listen. with my heart, eyes, touch and off course ears.
    After the Rage session, my whole being was stirred with so many emotions. My poor husband had to listen to my rage of the family, the community, the world…..God I thank him more now as he knew how to listen to me . I’m absolutely sobbing tears now as my journey is only beginning. Thank you Sr Simone, Van, Valarie & team 🙏🏽❤️

  • Susan Olshuff says:

    So beautiful what you are sharing with us all. Biggest thanks and respect. And LOVE!


    I don’t understand what drives racism against African Americans, other than a feeing of superiority. We didn’t just show up we were brought here against our will. We did not create this division, the whites that hate us created it and perpatuate it still today. They have put road blocks in our way to equality and equal rights under the law.. I had moved to Florida in 2009 and I was out with my husband at the mall, we had stopped to get something to eat and a little white girl between 2-4 years old called me and my husband monkies, she said, look mommy monkies. The mother tried to shut her up but she would not stop saying it. Look mommy monkies. I nor my husband said anything to the mother about what her child had just called us, we just looked in disbelief. What I know is racism is taught, hate and division among the races is taught, accepted and perpetuated. So I don’t know what trauma whites have experienced to hate Africn Americans and to treat us less than human and I don’t think anyone can make me understand it ever.

    • Len Novak says:

      Could it be true that the trauma is the teaching? I don’t know that listening to the story of any one person that has been the perpetrator of racial violence, injustice or whatever even has a clue. While I believe strongly in living in the Now, I am hopeful that education acknowledging the beliefs, attitudes and atrocities has been, is. and will be a significant means toward reconciliation. For now this program is as good a resource I know of and I have only experienced Valarie Kaur’s presentations.

  • Pam Mulligan says:

    Thank you all for sharing your magical wisdom and stories tonight! I hope we can all continue to listen to each other with pure presence and strive to attune to the inner worlds of others so that can we can possibly resonate with or connect to each other’s truth and pain.

  • Forest says:

    Inspiring…big time..

  • Bea says:

    Thank you, Valarie, Van, Sister Simone, and Melissa. I am so grateful to be walking this earth at the same time as so many stunning souls.

  • Kathy Locker says:

    I am feeling warm and was curious why that word came up. Then you described how wonder wa the way back to love. Warm that is!

  • Therese says:

    where is chat? I do not have chat ot q and a box
    I feel awe in front of such generous willingness of acceptance of the other

  • Roscoe Reed & Janice Reed says:

    I feel reassured that love and peace will have its way with us and it won’t be in the next minute and that’s okay.

  • Kelly Pennington says:

    WOW! Thanks so much for sharing such wisdom. It sounds true🙏🏻

  • Mary Butash says:

    How do you listen when your opponent is someone you love, a sister, a brother.

  • Carmen says:

    Inspired and affirmed. Thank you!

  • Mary Jo Dalton says:

    What was the bill that Van spoke about with prison reform?

  • elvier brunel says:

    waiting but not connecting yet

  • Sharleen says:

    I hope I am in the right place at the right time (7;05 PM Central time) to hear the live Q&A. Still hearing the song. See No Stranger. Wondering who is singing and who wrote the song. Thank you.

  • sarah says:

    how do i listen?

  • Ginny May Drotar says:

    Do you have a list of the music playing before the interview.?

  • Tiffany says:

    How do you access the zoom?

  • Karen says:

    I can’t access the speakers. It only registers 4seconds.

  • Nicole says:

    Thank you Valarie for this session on listening to the opponent and to the body for signals about safety and lack of safety. During the session I imagined talking to a white supremacist. I felt their wound of uncertainty and feeling of losing power. I imagined if this wound were healed and they felt whole that they could be a true warrior for change and equality and advocate for women and people of all ethnicities.. It allowed me to see them in a more human way and the awareness that they need to feel heard in order for the revolution of love to transform our society.

  • Andrea says:

    Van Jones interview was only a 4 second recording- pls send better link

  • George says:

    To address these issues we must begin with the an understanding of why the One created this universe and humanity. This purpose has been a secret that very few have discovered. By diving into my heart and transcending this illusion to return to being One I discovered the purpose. Having experienced all that is interesting for One to experience as One, the One wondered, how does it feel to meet mysterious others?
    To find the countless answers to that question the One created the Heavens the Earth all life and human beings. To guide each human a divine portion of the One was placed in everyone’s heart. All was good; however the Original-People lived in Oneness consciousness seeing everything and everyone as part of themselves. Although this is the ultimate truth, that Oneness perspective prevented the Original-People from being able to discover the many answers to the question, how does it feel to meet mysterious others.
    To individualize the Original-People so they could see everyone else as mysterious others some sort of divisiveness needed to be introduced. To accomplish that, spirits from the Heavens led some people away from their inner divine guide within their hearts to follow external spirits. These external spirits lead the people who are willing to turn away from their heart into being divisive people. These divisive people are part of the divine plan. Their job is to divide humans and make everyone into individuals so we can accomplish our purpose, finding out how it feels to meet mysterious others.
    By realizing that the divisive people are simply doing their job, individualizing everyone, those of us who have remained true to our hearts can forgive these people for playing their their divisive roles in the divine play that we are all characters in. Since these divisive closed-hearted people inevitably suffer for being divisive, while the open-hearted people are blessed by the divine guardian within their hearts, the open-hearted ought to be grateful that other people are playing the closed-hearted roles that lead to suffering.
    Forgiveness and gratitude open the doors for love to emerge more than when we hod resentment and anger. Rather than endeavoring to fix the details of the divine plan, that are beyond our ability to understand, it’s best to accept what is taking place. Masks, anti-social distancing, and the numerous new divisions that have emerged in 2020 are part of the plan. The One didn’t lose control of Herself who is absolutely everything. The current events are the final step of individualizing humans more than ever before.
    A new era will soon emerge. The divisive closed-hearted people will ascend into the heavens where they get the cancelation prize of satisfying their greatest passions. Once that is achieved each closed-hearted person will return to the One releasing them from their suffering. This is their reward for playing the villain.
    Meanwhile, the open-hearted meek will inherit a new Earth, one populated with open-hearted people. Communities will form, Soul-Mates will couple together, Mother Nature will heal, peace will prevail and the full blossoming of love will unfold on the New Earth amongst humble open-hearted people.
    All of this is explained in detail with tools and techniques for opening the heart and following the heart and opening to love in: The Magnificent Soul: The Art of Living in a World Founded on Consciousness. Check it out here:
    Many Blessings and Aloha

  • MARK S EKDAHL says:

    Thank you Valerie. I love your passion and sincerity and emphasis on the term “wonder.” I have since recalled many instances of it. As well as describing how to deal with opponents. Christopher Hitchens once said that we shouldn’t love our enemies, because it makes good people vulnerable to the wicked, but I believe he was wrong. We need to see the “righteous mind” in others and have compassion for them and what led them to become so angry or nativist or whatever, and shut down their own compassion. I think a lot of it is fear.

  • Sally says:

    Thank you, Valerie, for the primer on choosing an opponent and preparing to connect and listen with wonder!

  • Alx says:

    Thank you Valerie for this whole series and this one “Listen”.
    It’s difficult enough to make a change in ourselves. Even when we WANT to make that change. Trying to change someone else to be more in-line with our estimation of what is correct for them is far more difficult.
    The internet and social/anti-social media shows how much people want someone to listen. Some validation from some place.
    There is evidently a large number of people that unwittingly joined a cult disguised as a political movement and there are some helpful guidelines available online for how to talk with cult members 😉

  • Rita says:

    Dear Valerie, I’m “SO” greatfull to be in the possibility following this sessions!!!! I’m from Belgium EU so my writhing iss’end strong, stil hope You onderstand wath I wont to let You no. 🙏💞🙏
    Love to all the lisseners of Sounds True. 🌏🕯🌏💞🌏

  • Bryan says:

    This is a heavy lift to engage these aggrieved folks. These hurt people exist in many families. They certainly live within mine. I hadn’t seen my brother in 15 years, work schedules, different countries, and etc., and was excited to see him after such a long time. It turns out that he had changed into a wounded, blame filled, and aggrieved soul. I talk to him once a year now and wish to connect more often as he lives nearby. My attempts to touch base with him, via texts and phone calls go unanswered. I am saddened by this but I will continue to try and reach him.

  • Cindy says:

    I am taking your class but not with zoom. I am white, a daughter of immigrants from Northern Europe. My Swedish great grandparents came to America due to lack of food. My mother and her family left France due to the rise in power of Mussolini and Hitler. I was raised with respect and compassion for all people and all cultures, but I only have friends who are white! How can I overcome fear of rejection, and seek diverse community and hopefully friendships?

    • Rita says:

      Dear Cindy, open your hart with and trust, I was left allone with a child of an African man at the year 1965, in the period of my
      pregnancy my parents were a shamed, a daughter with child not marrid, afther my son was born it took a som time, afther +
      +- 4 months we boot were excepted again, it was ‘end allways easy, it’s was a journey, buth is was and is beautyful. Love take care.
      From Belgium EU 🤗

  • Susan says:

    For yesterday or the day before: (To be continued)

    • Susan says:

      4. Rage
      Catching rage in jars
      where it lights up like fireflies
      signalling its truths.

      5. Listen
      Those of us who can
      read fireflies welcome their sparks
      and take detailed notes.

  • Jen says:

    I loved your talk, Valerie, and want to add that someone might be, say a political opponent and not “wounded”, as you suggested. just because they have a different viewpoint .

  • rachel says:

    This really IS hard work. While I am part of the global movement for revolutionary love and committed to showing up for social justice in all the ways, I found myself thinking of much more personal ‘opponents’ in this session on listening. Valarie has so much wisdom to share and I am honored to be able to access and learn from it. I truly appreciate her willingness to be so vulnerable with her own stories- each one opens my heart and I can sense my increasing receptivity for this learning and work.
    Looking forward to this evening. Grateful to be part of this sacred, beloved community.

  • Marion says:

    Thanks you so much, Valerie! This was a fabulous presentation.

  • Nina says:

    The link to discussion with Van Jones is an empty link.

  • Lucinda says:

    As we come back again and again to the importance of “wonder,” I’m realizing how many people in my life seem to lack any sense of curiosity or wonder … about the world, themselves, other people … I’m just not sure how any of this works with the millions of people whose response is “I don’t want to think about any of that right now.” For example, what if the “wound” my opponent is carrying is “toxic masculinity” and the sense of entitlement that comes from a lifetime of being male in a society that tells white males that they really ARE entitled .. . and that all non-white, non-male people are “less than” (and that any questioning of those assumptions is “discrimination” against them)? What do I do with that??
    Thanks for providing ways of working with the concepts from your book. It’s a challenge, but I’m trying.

    • Bryan says:

      i have encountered this, also. I consider people who have lost their sense of wonder wounded. I use this idea to explain why people have irrational belief systems. I am not a big believer in both sides as often the choices are between right or wrong. Entitlement has certainly led to the anger i have seen in many white males who seek to blame others for their own life choices. I am a white, educated, middle class, etc. that truly understands the privilege I am granted by society. I try to remember this every day, especially when I encounter those white males of lesser means. It’s truly a massive undertaking mentally to deal with these folks, but I still make attempts. Peace!

  • Susan McDevit says:

    Interview with Van Jones and Sister Simone Campbell nit available

  • Patrick Watters says:

    Delighted to see you are tapping into elder wisdom with Sister Simone. Though only 75, she is in that place of the Journey beyond 70. And experience across the years instills wisdom if we are “seeing and hearing”. Go do small things in great LOVE. Go, “be” LOVE.

  • Sharleen says:

    Thank you Valerie, again. I am so glad I signed up for the upgrade since I have not been able to listen to many of the other days. How and when will the transcripts be available? This is just what I needed today, to hear about listening and asking the questions: Who and when? Many blessings on our work as fellow human beings. as we do as you have been saying: appreciate the gift of today and imagine the most beautiful future possible.

  • Janki says:

    Inspiring indeed!!Had I listened to my body a couple of years ago,probably I would’ve had a better understanding of life. But it’s never too late to learn,thank you for coming into our homes.

  • >

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