Reviews for Sacred Body Wisdom

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT “transforming the culture of whiteness in dance & sexuality COMMUNITIES”

I first met Z more than a decade ago at the 11th White Privilege Conference. Although I had come to the conference to present, I was compelled to attend their workshop for the title alone, “Freeing the body mind spirit from racism,” or something like that. I wanted to know who at this conference was naming the body as a site for social struggle and liberation. That was Zahava. I have been a devoted student, comrade and sometimes colleague, ever since. Z was already working with the ideas distilled into this chapter. The richness of ideas herein, forged in the laboratory of experience and relationship, could fill a whole book. They represent, a good map for the journey of dancing through and beyond “the culture of whiteness.” It is clear to many that “the story of whiteness” is falling apart. Humanity will transform white culture in this generation or the next, or I fear, whiteness will end humanity. It is in the spirit of this urgency and the compelling beauty of a regenerative, loving intercultural vision that I feel this lover’s labor has been crafted. It begins with a brief autobiographical account, that hints at the unique cultural and experiential standpoint around which their ideas are woven. It follows with a historical and cultural critique of whiteness, and how it merges in contemporary communities of dance and sexual exploration. It concludes with a “9-point-plan” for culture transformation in predominantly white racialized community of dance and/or sexual practice. The insights articulated are solid and deeply grounded in lived experience. The work as a whole is visionary, courageous, disarmingly honest and refreshingly humble. I will recommend that the leadership of my primary dance community devote a period of collective study to this piece right away, to begin or renew its own transformation of whiteness. Z is a wise body, a deep seeing visionary with relentless kind courage. – Victor Lee Lewis, Director of the Radical Resilience Institute, Trainer, Speaker, Social Justice Educator.

Z offers a powerful point of entry into what it means to honor, appreciate and build sacred, loving and inclusive community. It is kindling for the willing – may it spark dialogue everywhere. – Rha Goddess, Entrepreneurial Soul Coach, CEO of Move The Crowd

Creating welcoming and inclusive communities is a wish set deep in the hearts of so many in dance and body centered communities right now. I was thrilled that Zahava Griss’ “Transforming the Culture of Whiteness in Dance and Sexuality Communities” provided both a detailed look at how whiteness can show up subtly and overtly in communities and a clear template for how to act to address and transform it. As a dancer and community organizer, I see the need for the kind of clear, action-oriented approach Zahava proposes, and the success stories that they share for other communities to rally around. Rich in vision and passion, Zahava’s writing is both a call to and resource for this very important work, a way for us to get out of our heads and unending conversations and into the work of building communities that we would truly love to see. – Jeffrey Anderson, dancer, organizer, coach

In the cultural climate of transforming and evolving oppressive, racist systems, visionary leaders like Z Griss bring a voice of clarity and wise action.  “Transforming Whiteness In Dance and Sexuality Communities” offers a roadmap for creating more inclusivity in traditionally white, cis-gendered, able-bodied spaces.  Z draws from their rich personal experience, deep spirituality and cultural awareness to guide other leaders to create a more connected, joyful, healed collective. – Taina Lyons

What if racial healing were appealing? What if we could bring our instinctive, primal parts to the front lines of racial justice and have a fucking awesome time doing it? Z Griss has created a deeply inspiring and awesomely accessible guide for a body-based, heart centered cultural shift. With incredible clarity and insight, readers get to feel what’s possible in a world where interconnectedness is at the core and FUN is the name of the game. Refreshingly practical and deeply felt, this guide will inspire readers to take action, hit the dance floor and *actually* create the world they want to see. – Kaitlin June, voice doula, social justice theater creator

Z’s commitment to leverage dance and embodied sensuality practices to transform white culture is captivating and contagious! Z masterfully weaves their own life experiences as a professional ballet dancer, a BDSM submissive, and a gender-non-conforming facilitator of diversity in dance spaces into practical tools and suggestions for how to create inclusivity in our own embodied communities. Z has a special knack for exploring and integrating the topics of sacred body wisdom and race in a meaningful and palpable way. Z not only offers a compelling invite to white readers to make community spaces more diverse, Z gives nine clear steps for how to make that a reality. Z’s voice is crucial to the racial justice and white privilege conversation. – Kamela Laird

Z writes from the heart and shares with us a path to being uniquely human, which is to see and interact with everyone as intimately as breathing together. Z’s discoveries heal the wounds of humanity. – Sokhna Heathyre Mabin, Yogini~Healer, Mama Sutra Loving Arts

What a beautiful piece. I found my body going through waves of emotional dissonance, joy, fear, heartache, delight, and hope as I turned each page. Thank you Z for sharing from your heart, and I have no doubt that these points of inspiration will help us all move from “working” on our collective wisdom to “dancing” in it. – Lee Harrington, Author, Educator, Instigator

Z writes with a clarity that is (benevolently) powerful.  Their perspective is one that is entirely unique, and lights up many unconscious patterns in our culture and society in regards to whiteness, race, and sexuality.  They simultaneously and compassionately state what is not working in our society while lighting a path towards a new, more inclusive one by using stories, examples, and by asking questions that lead to personal clarity, solutions, and action-steps that can be taken. Their chapter is so packed with wisdom which stems not only from research, but from direct, loving experience, that I could probably read it 10 times and still be learning from it. This is one of the most important, insightful things you will read regardless of your race, age, gender, relationship to sexuality, or any other identity or body-signifier. – Danny Brave, Artist, Healer

Inside each of us is the strong desire to contribute to the lives of others. In this chapter, Zahava lays out a clear invitation for the reader to consider intentionally how their relationships and actions could be more effective at creating the inclusive communities they’d love to be part of. I have worked with many communities seeking to do this work and always it comes back to building relationship with each other and ourselves. For those struggling to understand how whiteness might impact them on an embodied level, including with movement, how we value bodies aesthetically, and even in our sexuality, this chapter provides a whole new perspective on how white culture (obviously and subtly) limits our capacity to create truly inclusive communities and then shares guidance on how we can, together, find our way home to our bodies and communities. – Aimee Eddins, Community Builder and Coach,

The transformative impact that Z has made in communities through their sacred embodiment facilitation is absolutely radical, or down through the roots of being. They tell of their journey with humble, dynamic and ferocious love that offers a vision of what’s possible if we expand ourselves to welcome the whole darn truth and commit to living it in awakening with All peoples. – Hilary Lake, MDiv Community Minister & Somatic Educator 

Zahava Griss will open your heart and create a new sense of what’s possible as we heal from racism. This is a powerful read especially for people who are in communities that focus on the body and spirit yet have a gap between their values for inclusivity and their current community. These are the specific and practical steps you’ve been looking for. – Anurag Gupta, Founder of Be More

We cannot create real social change without radically healing and transforming our relationship with the body and sexuality — on both personal and collective levels. The analyses, stories and calls to action in Sacred Body Wisdom offer inspiration and practical tools to readers who want to shift from a culture of disembodiment and sexual mistrust to a culture of joyful erotic embodiment and true freedom. – Leonore Tjia, Sexuality Educator

[This chapter] contains deeply resonant, powerful gems of experience and potential solutions from the vantage point of an author who has obviously put in a LOT of work and is deeply passionate about, and connected to, the subject matter. It is packed with insightful, considered, intentioned ideas, sentiments, and concepts that bring the notion of transforming the culture in some of these dance and sexuality communities into the realm of activated possibility. – Micah BlackLight, Catalyst, Thought-Influencer, Author, Illustrator, Empowerment Orchestrator

Z Griss is a force of love, vision, and truth. Their dedication to shifting white culture in dance and sexuality communities—and beyond!—is deeply inspiring. Z gives us precise, practical steps towards the wholeness we are seeking. – Barbara Carrellas, Author, Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-first Century

“As a long time racial equity leader I have questioned staying in this challenging work. Z’s chapter resonates with the pain and the hope in my heart and has inspired me to re-engage with transforming my personal community.” – Maketa Wilborn, Master Facilitator, Activist, Principal, MW Consulting

In one chapter, Z shares a beautiful vision of inclusivity and sacred body wisdom on the dance floor, their personal experience living between cultures, an understanding of white culture, and an actionable roadmap to create inclusivity in communities. This is a personal, leadership and visionary map to free you, your body and your community from shame and oppression. Thank you Z. – Kiana Love, Healer and Founder of Be Wild Woman

We are in a pivotal moment to dig deeper and really look at equity, leadership, and participation in dance, somatics, and sexuality communities. Zahava Griss’s chapter adds to this conversation with thoughtful and challenging questions and action steps to consider. – Jill Randall, Artistic Director of Shawl-Anderson Dance Center and Blog Director of Life as a Modern Dancer

Zahava’s writing is candid and bold revealing deep seated racism and sexism in their embodied white experience of ballet and sexuality. They share their process to find truth and their best practices to date for creating spaces of inclusivity. I appreciate their humility in pointing out white culture and their thoughtfulness in sharing how they support POC experience in a white dominant event by: hiring POC faculty, making sure different bodies are represented in the opening circle, creating a witness committee to lookout for behaviors and patterns that burden POC, and calling for a collective container for grief and eros. Amazing, really, this article is filled with such power for intimacy and presence. – Andrew Suseno, founder of Parcon Resilience

Zahava Griss (Z) describes what whiteness is and how it affects our body-mind-spirit and our relationships, to concisely frame a step-by-step process to create community dynamics that will deliver diversity and inclusion. With these clear, educating, inspiring and hopeful words Z has transgressed the paralyzing anguish of oppression by giving a sensible and practical reflection and response to the unreflective status quo of Anglo-American society. – Maybel Ovalles, Artist

Zahava Griss does not shy away from speaking their truth while tackling head on powerful questions concerning gender, race and cultural diversity in dance and sex positive communities, bringing light to a world that is unknown to most of America’s consciousness. – Christian Rodriguez, Founder of Interfusion Festival, President of Institute for Integrative Wellness (IFIW)

Thank you, Zahava, for this moving and deeply needed how-to-guide for how we can create inclusivity in our embodiment communities. Thank you for the clear and powerful articulation of how racism and white culture show up and impact us all and for sharing not only practical tools and strategies but also a strong and inspiring vision for how we can transform our culture to one of wholeness and authentic human connection. – Julia Taylor, Performance Artist/Dancer and Embodiment Events Organizer

In this chapter Z brings home the whiteness inherent in various body-centered practices, with illustrative experiences from classical dance to yoga to sex parties. What would be possible if we could see the limitations and exclusions of current white-centered body culture, acknowledge the embodied value of other cultures, and work to transform the spaces we move in? Z fleshes out this vision with a much-needed set of tools for fashioning multi-racial, gender-diverse, anti-oppressive communities. – Pepper Mint, Polyamory Activist

Z’s writing truly reveals their heart and soul, their love of dance and their dedication to creating spaces that invite courageous revisioning of how to relate across race and gender. They share practical tools to identify dominant (conscious and unconscious) white and binary gender norms that perpetuate separation in embodiment communities. The clarity and directness of their examples help reach both beginners and experienced people in the work. Step by step strategies layout ways to be in alignment with your personal vision while building relationships that break down the dominant culture of exclusion and oppression. Z uses their personal story to demonstrate what it means to go back and connect to your lineage as a white American. They focus on curiosity and possibility instead of blame and shame. The stories show how important both personal history and future vision are as guides in the movement for liberation and inclusivity of all bodies. This short chapter covers a tremendous amount of information, learning, healing and growing. Z offers many practical tools and experiences condensed from over 15 years of inclusion work in community. The inspiration in Z’s writing is a spark that I hope will lead white, cisgendered and able bodied leaders into more action in their communities. As a conscious movement facilitator who is white, queer and gender expansive, it is refreshing and inspiring to finally read a clear account of the white and gender norms that I experience, knowingly or unknowingly, in dance and embodiment spaces. It feels vital to begin having these conversations more openly and to have examples from someone as experienced as Z to guide us.  – Nik Kurtz, Soul Motion Facilitator, Esalen Massage Practitioner,

Zahava’s work of bringing humanity into deeper embodiment through dance, sexuality and kink has PROFOUNDLY impacted my life in the positive. This chapter reads to me as both a rally cry and a soothing love song of devotion to the dance and sex-positive communities of the world. Z masterfully illustrates how whiteness shows up in body-centered spaces and offers sage and practical advice to leaders who desire to hold more inclusive, consensual and enjoyable spaces on both the individual and collective level. I will personally be sharing this with my team and following Z’s lead in crafting our vision and how we set our containers for greater inclusivity moving forward. – Wren LaFeet, Founder and Somatic Permissionary, Cocréa Mindful Partner Dance

Zahava Griss is a WorldBridger, SoulShaker and Transformer. They bring you years of collected wisdom from various lineages with the intention of transforming and unlearning racism and moving into a new culture of co-empowered aliveness. Zahava’s dedication to authentic being and relating shines on every page. It’s clear that Z has come into this life with important work to do, and they will inspire you to be more aligned with your own personal path. –  Teeni Dakini, Tantra & Energy Awareness Educator 

With vision grounded in experience, Zahava offers insight into how various body practices can be part of our collective liberation. These creative and useful tools can help us address and repair the harms of racism (and other forms of oppression). – Jesse Phillips-Fein, Teacher, Dancer

I am overjoyed to know this chapter is out there and this important work is being shared with the readers of this book! I’ve known Z since 2000, and have personally benefited from and supported their visionary leadership in a variety of contexts and seen the brilliant ripple effects they have provoked. When I joined as a founding organizer of the first US Touch&Play festival in 2016, I was clear that Z was meant to be a prominent teacher and influence. I had no idea at that point how far Z’s growing body of knowledge could take us to connect in relationships, to explore inclusivity, nor how necessary this approach would become. I’m thrilled that this chapter is bringing forth the harvest of Z’s lifelong journey that uniquely combines and integrates modalities including anti-racism work, sexual and kink knowledge, ritual experience and spiritually, community development, dance, healing bodywork, and organizational business and leadership development. I see how this chapter also draws on the work of the Academy for Coaching Excellence and appreciate how people are encouraged to consciously take actions that are aligned with their visions for a better world. – Alyssa Lynes, Life Coach, Dance Facilitator 

I found Z’s chapter to be an authentic, passionate work that explores, educates, and reveals the contribution they are making and that invites us all to embrace inclusivity using sweet, physical motion of all kinds. This is not only a vulnerable revealing of their own amazing path, but a powerful step by step outline, with both concept and example, of how to embark on this fabulous journey in joyful community. Z shares obstacles, wins, approaches, and solutions with empathy and humility. It is well written, direct, and compassionate. – Maria Nemeth, Master Coach, Founder & Director of the Academy for Coaching Excellence

Highly original and based on a lifetime of training and praxis in dance and anti-racist work, Z Griss’s chapter, brings to light numerous insights into the ways that whiteness limits how we perceive and enact movement, the body, gender, sexuality, and race. They identify possibilities for reflection and transformation of cultures that are bound and limited by whiteness and binary gender socialization offering possibilities for radical transformation for individuals and communities. Drawing on their decades of experience training as a professional dancer, working as a kink educator and intimacy coach, and interrogating their own whiteness, Z describes the ways white culture invades both dance and sexuality spaces—unpacking a powerful force that is invisible and yet instrumental in shaping the ways we perceive ourselves and others—limiting possibilities for all of us. By sharing their experience working to transform a predominantly white dance space, Z identifies ways to continue working even when feeling alone in the work. Focusing on the vision for the future, rather than the challenges being faced, they reveal specific principles for creating inclusive communities. Z’s writing is reflexive, vulnerable, and wise—sharing important and specific insights based on experience that has been challenging, but ultimately deeply rewarding. A generous and transformative piece of work! – Alexis Halkovic. Ph.D., Lecturer at University of Colorado Denver Department of Psychology

Z’s writing has to the potential to greatly contribute to the healing process that is badly needed in the world and especially the U.S., by opening our eyes to the continued systemic injustices in our societies and the significance of the color of our skin in their creation and perpetuation.” – Daniel Hayes, founder of Touch&Play