Love Beyond Binaries with Kai Cheng Thom

A riveting and dynamic conversation about love, community and complexity with the phenomenal Kai Cheng Thom! We hear about her act of prayer in a collapsing world: FALLING BACK IN LOVE WITH BEING HUMAN, a book of poems and rituals for connecting with the unlovable in ourselves and others.

Kai Cheng shares about her early experiences with being conscious of consciousness, daydreaming and intentionally projecting self into another world, and wondering, ‘is this the real reality?’. A thread of nonbinaristic thinking weaves throughout the episode.

We hear about led Kai Cheng to writing her most recent essay, The Village and The Woods, a venture into inquiring about a problem with no name. This essay explores the anatomy of the cycle of social panic: how community, initially a place of refuge, can turn more and more horrifying; the seductive urge to raise ourselves “above” and maintain that above status, even (especially?) in social justice communities; the importance of going more slowly and resisting the urge to dive into that swift right/wrong pattern. Can we really tell the story, slowly understand all of the different threads of what happened? What are the extenuating factors?

Recognizing that abuse is about power, Kai Cheng offers a meta and a micro example of how we can train our sense perceptions to hold onto multiple threads in a story and hopefully gain a holistic understanding of what’s going on. Holding onto complexity – which can be difficult with activation and trauma – and tending to our own nervous systems and the collective nervous system, especially involves the responsibility held by the bystanders, and the capacity for nuance. That egregious harm is real, that the monster/innocent binary doesn’t allow us to address different grades of harm, and that we all deserve to be able to say “I am hurt right now, I was let down, and I need community,” and be met with support.

We transition back to poetry, and being in touch with the wild divine. Kai Cheng reads Leia’s favorite poem from the book (and, perhaps, favorite poem ever), To Jesus. We muse on the beauty and power of ritual and symbolic action, and on personal relationships with the divine.

Bio: Kai Cheng Thom, MSW, MSc, is a certified Somatic Sex Educator, Qualified Mediator, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Certified Professional Coach based in tkaronto/Toronto. She is also the author of six award-winning books in various genres, including the recently released poetry and self-help collection Falling Back In Love With Being Human. Kai Cheng’s work focuses on the intersection of social justice, pleasure activism, and transformative approaches to healing conflict. A noted speaker and practitioner of somatic wellness, healing, and group process facilitation, Kai Cheng supports individuals and groups who are seeking to repair relationships and make transformative change. She also teaches as Adjunct Faculty at the Institute for the Study of Somatic Sex Education.

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