Radical Purpose: Our Compass Home Through a Crucial Evolutionary Stage
Humanity is at an important stage of transformation and initiation, shedding an old skin to bring forth a new home of radical love and freedom. If you’ve landed here, you’re clear that a deep evolution is in the works and is necessary for our survival and thriving.
In moments of evolution, there are often two common and natural responses to transformation that are born out of the fear of the unknown and the shedding pains that accompany the process.
ONE: We hold onto the status quo with even more force and vigor.
We witness the flagrant return of destructive ideologies, thrust in full force into the public sphere. Our sleeping personal and cultural demons are called out into the open for clear examination. We cling to them as they are a part of us that is, in fact, dying. And death, in the western context, is deeply misunderstood and feared so we resist it. We are trying to protect who we think we are so we hold on for dear life.
TWO: We (over) determine how the change is supposed to happen.
This is a more subtle response where we accept the need to change but seek to control the transformation process because we fear the process itself. We fear the unknown, the mystery. We subtly impose (through social coercion, derision, policing and outcasting) new/old, often familiar, ideological and cultural systems that we deem more advanced, pure, liberal, revolutionary or radical. We sit on a moral high horse and claim that our approach is the best approach. We wonder why those who are less ‘conscious’ than us haven’t stepped in line yet.
At Turtle Tank, we honor both of these natural, human responses to change, transformation and evolution. And, we know and experience them ourselves to a certain extent. They both serve (and have served) their purpose in navigating our survival and evolution across time and place.
Yet, at this point in our collective evolution, we want to offer a third possibility that amplifies a process of transformation and evolution rooted in radical love and freedom. Where we operate from desire and love rather than towards it. Where the outcome of a new world is simply an extension of a radically loving and freeing process. Where the outcome may not even be imaginable or determinable yet because it is more mysterious, free and loving than anything we’ve ever known.
We call this third possibility: the way of Radical Purpose.
We are each born with a unique Radical Purpose. The very reason we are here is to live out and fully express that purpose and contribute to our collective evolution. And in order to fulfill that purpose, we each engage in a unique personal and challenging process of transformation and evolution (which some deem to be the purpose itself). We can choose to resist it or surrender to it, but one thing is for sure -- transformation and evolution are always in the works for each of us.
So why Radical Purpose as a guiding principle on the journey of evolution?
Ultimately, we are each here to evolve through a journey of fulfilling and expressing our Radical Purpose.
From examining our Radical Purpose, we learn who we are, why we are here, how we work, what our gifts and wounds are, how we heal them and what we’re made of (when the sh** hits the fan). Our journey through Radical Purpose drives us to know ourselves and our potential and with that knowing, learn how to co-create our world anew.
Radical Purpose reminds us of our unique, sacred power and value on this earth. It is what instinctually and inherently drives us to survive, thrive, evolve and contribute to the collective. It is our core guiding force on the evolutionary journey.
At Turtle Tank, we say that Radical Purpose is our unique, individual, internal compass that directs each of us through effectively navigating our personal journey of transformation and evolution towards our fullest collective potential.
And when we each root in our unique Radical Purposes, we create a movement of transformation that honors the sovereign evolutionary process of each individual. And that honoring contributes to a collective evolutionary process guided by radical love and freedom.
We create the conditions for the emergence of a world that no single culture, group, system or human being could have imagined alone. That none of us can even begin to imagine from where we currently sit because that kind of imagining requires our very own consciousness to evolve through an ever deeper commitment to our purpose.
At Turtle Tank we say that purpose is the fundamental organizing and guiding principle of any system towards its fullest integrity, its deepest truth. Every system naturally self-organizes through the purposes of its parts and evolves to support those purposes. Every system becomes naturally emergent, creative and alive when it is rooted in the organizing principle of purpose. It is the evolutionary force working from the inside-out to propel us into deeper levels of consciousness and love.
Each individual’s unique purpose is the community’s source of value, power, well-being and wealth. We define Freedom as the ability of each person to know and fulfill their unique purpose on this earth. We define Love as the fullest expression of our purpose.
When we organize around our unique individual Radical Purposes, we move away from the need to control ourselves, others and our collective evolutionary process. Instead, we tap into the power of the unique, creative self that contributes to a regenerative, interdependent collective. With that, we grow our creative power and the power of our communities exponentially.
Through Radical Purpose, we are driven and guided by the mysterious creative force of the universe into worlds of radical love and freedom.
The Practice of Radical Purpose: Creating Life and Work as Sacred Ritual
We are crossroads people. Weirdos and misfits. Wild ones. Diaspora multiply-removed from land and family. We’ve lived many communal lives spanning artistic, activist, spiritual, creative, scientific, corporate, social entrepreneurship, organizing, and non-profit journeys.
We never felt at home in pre-existing communities or disciplines. As queer people of color, we were often outcast, ostracized, belittled or shut down for speaking our truth in both conventional and radical spaces. Our truth almost never felt welcomed.
Our healing and transformational journeys have often felt quite lonely. Putting the pieces back together of broken cultural systems, in the dark, threading meaning from what we could find.
Over the years, as our Radical Purposes unfolded, we understood that our lives were set up this way for a reason. That our outcasting and power struggles had spanned lifetimes across communities laden with sometimes supportive yet often limiting structures (religious, cultural and otherwise). That we often romanticize those past structures for the medicine they brought but forget the erasures of personal freedom and expression that many have imposed. An erasure that would ultimately cost us all our collective well-being.
Our loneliness spans generations and lifetimes. It is deep and it is old.
And in that loneliness there is great pain but there is an even greater evolutionary opportunity.
In the darkest of nights, the loneliest of moments, we had to learn a most profound lesson: to surrender to ourselves. Our knowing. Our truth. Our power. Our co-creative potential. Our unique connection to the mystery. Our magic. Really surrender.
When there is no other choice, we have to go inward. That is the beauty of darkness. Where the illusion of no choice is actually the infinite realm of possibilities.
It is in our darkest nights that we develop the unwavering embodied knowing of our Purpose in life. It is in our darkest nights that we learn to take the seat of our power.
And every time we hit a deep knowing threshold of our own power, the appropriate teachings and teachers would transpire to make themselves available to us -- in life or in dream -- towards our next evolutionary milestone.
We remember that we are here to create an evolutionary world that has never quite existed this way. Because the universe is sacred and unique in every moment of its creation.
It is from that place of knowing, practice and wisdom that we develop and teach our frameworks. That we create our community of collective, interdependent yet Sovereign Learners. That we birthed Turtle Tank: the School for Radical Purpose.
Given our lifetimes of exclusion and crossings, we question the concept of cultural purity in all of its forms while simultaneously respecting the ancient foundations that make sense to us through deep relationship, considerable engagement, initiation, learning and conversation.
We understand that intra-indigenous and intra-cultural sharing and adopting of wisdom has historically been the case more often than not (pre-dating and beyond capitalism and globalization). That there is a way to integrate wisdom respectfully. That, in fact, the very survival of that wisdom often depended on that sharing, syncretizing, connecting and reframing of cultural knowledge - much like the genius of old loops in new music.
We also know that there is no single or right path through the evolutionary process. And we want to create an environment that supports both individual sovereignty and collective well-being.
For that reason, we guide our Sovereign Learners on their own unfolding journey of Radical Purpose that only THEY can truly know and co-create.
Many of us approach our journeys of purpose and evolution as if they were not our own. Waiting for someone or something (earthly or not) to help us, save us, direct us, tell us what to do, where to go, what is best for us. The very antithesis of sovereignty. We want power yet we fear the weight of its responsibility. We fear having access to the realm of mystery, the realm of possibilities. We fear ourselves and our ability to abuse. And with that, we fear the very connection to our own mysterious source of power and suppress our reason for being here, our Radical Purpose.
At Turtle Tank, we are not here to tell you what to do, give you instructions, systems, plans, to-do lists, blueprints or recipes. We are here to support you in aligning with your Radical Purpose to create your own systems of living and working.
Our evolutionary journey is ultimately ours - even though it inherently contributes to collective evolution.
Every great teacher will support us in understanding and owning that truth. And if they do not, they are abusing their power and imposing their truths.. We’ve earned our great, revolutionary teachers and mentors not through surrender to them, but through surrender to our own power and evolutionary process. We earned them because we approached them humbly yet with our sense of self, of power. Simultaneously willing to learn while holding responsibility for our own path, our own learning. While being attentive to our day-to-day journeys and remembering our sacred purpose that only we truly know.
We’ve learned that every moment of our lives is sacred when imbued with evolutionary intention -- that we do not need to wait for anyone to sanctify or consecrate our lives, to tell us we are worthy. That our entire lives and our work towards our evolution are in fact: sacred ritual.
Sacred Ritual is not limited to ‘spiritual’ endeavors, it is about everyday life. It is about remembering that everything we do has the power to make or break us. And that we are responsible for our lives. Everything we do, every daily habit, work habit, relationship we engage in, project we embark on, wound we are healing can be a sacred ritual moving us towards our evolution, our Radical Purpose.
In fact, when we deem some aspects of life sacred and some not, we start creating a value system based on a false duality. We give birth to unnatural hierarchies. That is how capitalism was born - elevating product over process, excessive production over evolution. Claiming some people and spaces sacred and others profane and inferior.
Though many of us have revolutionary visions, when it comes to our daily life and work in the world, our moment-to-moment practices, interactions, processes, projects and enterprises…we still operate within the frameworks of a producer/consumer culture. We cannot seem to escape it even when we try. Even and especially when our work is in the space of social justice, ironically.
We critique corporate culture yet in so many ways, we emulate its living and working style.
We emulate its creation process. We push, we overstretch, we agonize and burn-out. And when we can’t meet its standards we consciously and subconsciously feel like failures. Especially when our livelihood depends on high production (as it often does by design). Produce, produce, produce! Results, results, results! Little rest! forget play! No desire or sense of wonder! All at the expense of our mental, emotional and physical well-being.
That is what we’ve learned to do to survive. That is what we’ve been told we need to do to earn a living. To EARN our LIVES.
Our frameworks bring the sacred back into the creation process, into everyday life and work. They bring the original purpose of living and working back into focus: to fulfill our evolutionary journey of Radical Purpose.
Every little thing we do on that journey is sacred ritual when imbued with the intention of our evolution, of expressing our Radical Purpose.
Our frameworks were born through years of observation, on the ground and in practice. Observing our teachers and elders. Observing our creative process. Observing natural processes like the evolution of a butterfly or the growth of a tree. Observing how a person’s system settles and how we heal trauma. Observing how radical enterprises and organizations develop over time. Observing how social change comes about. Observing the patterns of the Odu Ifa, the Yoruba cosmosystem and Elm El Raml (or the science of earth), an Arab cosmosystem.
The practice and journey of Radical Purpose is about developing life and work processes as sacred rituals. Vibrant, alive, liberating, desire-filled, magical and wondrous sacred rituals.
At Turtle Tank, we are creating a community of free, creative, powerful Turtles (our folks). A community of Sovereign Learners on their journeys of Radical Purpose. Our frameworks are foundational underpinning code or building blocks that inspire each person to create their unique structures and habits for their own lives and journeys of evolution.
Our Sovereign Learners develop their own way of working, centered in Radical Purpose. They each create their practice of Radical Purpose, their Life and Work as Sacred Ritual.
With that, we are collectively re-weaving our own, present-day, empowering cultural systems and community, inspired by each person’s unique approach to their life and work. To their Radical Purpose.
Turtle Tank: School for Radical Purpose
Turtle Tank is a radical modern-day mystery school where we ignite Radical Purpose, support the evolution of consciousness and harness creative power to bring forth worlds of Radical Love and Freedom.
Our aim is to reintegrate old and new wisdom into practical tools to revolutionize all of our diseased human systems and evolve into worlds of ever deeper balance.
At the School for Radical Purpose, we focus on three core paths:
Radical Creators: looking to co-create a fulfilling and impactful life and desire-filled work by rooting in their unique radical purpose through a nature-based creation process aligned with sacred ritual
Radical Entrepreneurs: looking to co-create a radical enterprise rooted in their unique radical purpose and desire-filled work as sacred ritual to contribute to just and balanced systems of well-being and wealth.
Radical Leaders: looking to ignite and amplify the purposes of others through radical forms of teaching, leading and organizing towards worlds of love and freedom.
We, Ije and Samia, the co-founders of Turtle Tank are on our own journeys of healing, self-discovery and evolution. Our work is to learn the graceful dance with the mystery (aka the universe), to understand the process of creation and our responsibility and power in it. We investigate the most effective ways to co-create purposeful, fulfilling and impactful lives for all towards collective balance, well-being and wealth.
From that personal work, we’ve created a community of Sovereign Learners to teach and learn with.
We are not a conventional mystery school, nor do we belong to a specific lineage as a school though some of us are initiated in our respective foundational cosmosystems. We bring a diversity of lineages together, in conversation, towards our collective human evolution. We are still (and always will be) students on the journey of life with our dear mentors and teachers.
We teach our own wholistic, nature-based frameworks inspired by our personal creative, healing and transformational journeys. Our work is rooted in metaphysics, somatics, human development, consciousness evolution techniques, ecology and natural systems, radical entrepreneurship and economics, afro-indigenous and other indigenous cosmosystems and radical, queer people of color creative & artistic processes.
We are also in the process of bringing our own mentors and teachers to the Tank to create and share their transformational and evolutionary teachings. Right now, we are preparing our community of Sovereign Learners and our infrastructural space for those teachers. What we teach at this time is foundational for all that is to come.
As a community, we practice (re)aligning with our unique Radical Purpose, designing our work and life as Sacred Ritual and creating lives, relationships, projects, enterprises and communities of collective wealth and well-being.
We invite you to sign up to stay connected to our School for Radical Purpose.