Photo by author

I was born in Burma. For the first eight years of my life, my family and I lived in a dilapidated, wooden house in a rural neighborhood far from the bustling downtown of Yangon, Burma’s largest city and former capital. My family was poor. We didn’t have basic amenities like a TV or refrigerator. We took showers outside in a makeshift area, splashing ourselves with water stored in a large, metal barrel using a large plastic cup. We ate meat once a week because it was too expensive. Despite our financial poverty, we had ecological wealth. Our house sat on…

Candlelight Vigil at Washington Square Park (NYC) for Victims of the March 16, 2021 Atlanta Spa Shooting. Photo by author.

Violence against people who are racialized as Asian is anything but new. It has been taking place ever since the first Chinese indentured servants landed in the United States in the early 1800’s and experienced forced residence in Chinese ghettos which evolved into modern-day Chinatowns, police and mob violence, lynchings, and other heinous violent acts. Given how long anti-Asian violence has been occurring, it seems unbelievable that so little is known about any civil rights and social justice activism that Asian communities might have organized to combat anti-Asian racism. Maybe that is why the current spate of physical attacks on…

Lotus flower opening. Photo by author.

What more can I say about this month’s siege of the U.S. Capitol by white supremacists that you haven’t already heard from journalists, writers, and elected officials? I am tempted to share my outrage and anger but those emotions have already been strongly reverberated on media outlets and social media so I don’t feel the need to contribute more. I’m interested in offering something else. I want to explore how we can metabolize what happened in a way that creates a pathway for healing using my own experience.

Oppression is a process of estrangement and one of the first things…

Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash

White supremacy is not fringe extremism that occasionally rears its ugly head when “White power” groups, like the KKK, hold a rally. White supremacy is an entire economic and political apparatus that pervades all aspects of White-dominant societies. White supremacy is also a cultural apparatus that reinforces a particular set of values, norms, and narratives that place White, European people and their way of life, beliefs, and customs on a pedestal above other cultures. Many people doing anti-racism work have probably encountered by now the insightful article on White supremacy culture written by anti-racism educator, Tema Okun. …

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

I am ethnically Chinese.

I was born and grew up in Myanmar for the first eight years of my life before moving to the U.S., so I also consider myself culturally Burmese.

These two aspects of my identity and upbringing play a critical role in feeding my anxiety around identifying as a person of color.

For the first 18 years of my life, I didn’t even know the term ‘people of color’ existed. I primarily identified as Chinese, Burmese, and sometimes Asian. I only learned of the term and started adopting it in college when I became active in social…

People under a blossoming cherry tree. Photo by author.

My partner and I went to Prospect Park in Brooklyn this past Saturday after being cooped up in our apartment for 36 days since we started following the stay-at-home order due to COVID-19. It wasn’t the first time we stepped outside, of course. We had been taking daily walks in our neighborhood and gone to the supermarket numerous times. But going to Prospect Park was our first venture “out into the world” since the pandemic started. I was craving some form of nature immersion and my partner had the brilliant idea to go to the park. We didn’t know what…

Cactus flower blooming. Photo by author

I have been on a journey through my entire twenties and now through my early thirties to cultivate a profound understanding of the organizing principles of living systems in the hopes that I can interpret and apply them to what I’m passionate about — the design of regenerative and socially just organizations and communities.

I am not the first to apply ecological principles to social systems. Peter Senge developed his infamous systems thinking approach to organizational learning. Joanna Macy crafted her Deep Ecology philosophy for personal and societal transformation rooted in ecology, systems theory, and Buddhism. Margaret Wheatley developed her…

Daniel Lim

Writing at the intersection of ecology, social justice, art, and magic.

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