Michelle Cassandra Johnson on Finding Refuge and Prioritizing Collective Care

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We each have maybe a handful of teachers in our lives that fundamentally shift the way we see or experience— Michelle Cassandra Johnson has been one of those teachers for me.

Michelle is a true embodiment of grace, fire, compassion, and grit, and is a radiant example of how to to show up with skillfulness and heart in a dysfunctional world.

Her new book Finding Refuge: Heart Work for Healing Collective Grief was released just this week, and I am so excited to dive into and savor it starting next weekend when I’ve carved out some special time and space to do so.

I hope you enjoy this conversation with Michelle, and that if you arent’ already familiar with her books and other offerings, that this will be the first of many times you get to experience her gifts.

“Our culture conditions us to notice what is going on from the head up and not from the throat and heart down. The only way out is through, by way of the feelings. If we are going to make social change, we need to cultivate a practice of feeling... When one connects with their feelings as yoga teaches us to do, one can connect with their heart. If one is connected with their heart, they have the opportunity to be changed and to shift their perspective. They have the opportunity to feel the pain of living in a world that is designed to break the spirit through violence, oppression, and injustice.”

— Michelle Johnson (from Skill in Action)

About Michelle Cassandra Johnson (she/her)

Michelle is an activist, social justice warrior, author, anti-racism consultant and trainer, intuitive healer, and yoga teacher and practitioner. She has led dismantling racism work in many settings for over two decades and has a background and two decades of practice as a clinical social worker. Michelle’s work centers on healing from individual and collective trauma, coming back into wholeness and aligning the mind, body, spirit, and heart. She published Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World in 2017 and her newest book, Finding Refuge: Heart Work for Healing Collective Grief was published by Shambhala Publications in 2021.
Michelle teaches workshops in yoga studios and community spaces nationwide and is on the faculty of Off the Mat, Into the World. In 2020 she created her own podcast, Finding Refuge, which explores collective grief and liberation and serves as a reminder about all the ways we can find refuge during unsettling and uncertain times and of the resilience and joy that comes from allowing ourselves to find refuge.

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