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The Seed: Conversations for Radical Hope

Pendle Hill

Quakers and other seekers explore visions of the world growing up through the cracks of our broken systems. This project was made possible by the generous support of the Thomas H. & Mary Williams Shoemaker Fund.

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Top 10 The Seed: Conversations for Radical Hope Episodes

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“My life’s work is really finding ways to remind people of, and validate, what they already know.” Ricardo Levins Morales thinks of his art as a medicinal practice, dedicated to treating both our cultural immediate diagnoses and the underlying inflammations, helping people to see their realities with more clarity. “The underlying inflammation in our society is hopelessness, despair, and disappointment,” but drawing on the cycles of the natural world, Ricardo reminds us of our places in the deep liberatory cycles of the world, and how awareness of these timelines is a necessary ingredient for hope.
If despair shuts down our ability to take in information, hope is the practice of awareness of our current condition and what’s happening beyond our field of vision, bringing us to a greater sense of agency, power, and mutual responsibility to each other and the earth. Using this as a frame, Ricardo and Dwight grapple with what it would mean to embrace the cycles and focus on changing the soil in order to plant the seeds of new worlds.

Ricardo Levins Morales
is an artist and organizer based in Minneapolis. He considers his art political medicine to support individual and collective healing from the injuries and ongoing reality of oppression. He was born into the anti-colonial movement in Puerto Rico and was drawn into activism in Chicago when his family moved there in 1967. This began with the Black Panther Defense Committee and has included organizing for labor, racial justice, and environmental struggles.

Learn more about Ricardo’s work by visiting

View Ricardo’s June 2020 Pendle Hill First Monday lecture, “Planting in an Earthquake,” here:
The Seed asks guests to share a quote or text that has been transformational to them. Ricardo shared the following quote from Amilcar Cabral’s essay “Tell No Lies, Claim No Easy Victories”:

“Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.”

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How can we practice courage? How do we build our “fear toolbox” and find our roles in social change work? In this episode, Eileen breaks down concrete steps for discernment around these questions. Her work as an environmental activist and spiritual writer has long focused on building effective movements that are grounded in love and harness people’s power. Here, she and Dwight break down the turning points and learnings over her career that have transformed her thinking about the relationships between love, power and justice, and about the illusion of separation.

Eileen Flanagan
has served as both clerk and campaign director of Earth Quaker Action Team, which uses nonviolent direct action to pressure corporations contributing to climate change. She has also been a Pendle Hill Resident Teacher, a university lecturer on racism, and Trainings Coordinator for Choose Democracy, which trained 10,000 people in nonviolent strategies to prevent a coup in the lead up to the 2020 election. Her online courses on effective and spiritually grounded activism have engaged people around the world. The award-winning author of three books, she tells the story of her leading to work on climate justice in
Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope.
Read more about Eileen's work at

Listen to Eileen’s November 2020 First Monday Lecture, “What Happens Wednesday? Preparing Ourselves for the Work Ahead” here.

Register for Eileen’s upcoming Pendle Hill workshop, Making Our Activism More Effective through Nonviolent Direct Action, here.

The Seed asks guests to share a quote or text that has been transformational for them. Eileen shared the following quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “Where Do We Go From Here?”:

“What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best ... is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power, correcting everything that stands against love.”

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Cai Quirk frames their art and their work expanding gender narratives as a collaboration between themself, the natural world, and Spirit. Despite the continued erasure of queer stories, Cai reminds us that the natural world keeps these stories of the “fluidity and diversity of ourselves...for us to be able to relearn.” In their conversation with Dwight, Cai invites us into those processes of collaboration, expansion, and relearning.

Cai Quirk (they/them or ey/em) is a lifelong Quaker with passions for Witness, personal discernment, and diverse methods of spiritual deepening. With a gender that transcends binaries, Cai is practiced at deeply questioning societal expectations and norms and in shifting towards roots of individual and group integrity. Spiritual deepening, Witness, and integrity are expanded in Cai’s writing, photography, and music practices. Cai’s upcoming book of photography and stories, Transcendence: Queer Restoryation, connects themes of spirituality, mythology, and gender diversity, nature and storytelling.

Learn more about Cai’s work here:

Preorder Cai’s upcoming book, Transcendence: Queer Restoryation , here.

Listen to Cai’s First Monday lecture, “Myths of Gender,” here.

The Seed asks guests to share a quote or text that has been transformational for them. Cai shared the following quote from Winona LaDuke:

“When we start our stories at the moment of harm, we get limited, we lose imagination. What were our stories before the harm? We can reimagine our pasts, imagine the pieces, the stories that weren’t handed down.”

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