NEW: Plant Yourself merch designed by my daughter, Yael Zivan.

Kindness as a Strategy for Revolutionary Change: Teju Ravilochan on PYP 565

YouTube player

Teju Ravilochan, the founder of GatherFor, returns to the podcast — and in a big way!

GatherFor is an organization that fosters community support and mutual aid among neighbors as a means of improving their lives and coming together for massive cultural, political, and social change. Their work challenges our culture's individualistic mindset by promoting a culture of reciprocity and mutual support.

Teju's belief in the inherent social nature of humans and the power of community is not just theoretical. He has put these principles into action, allowing neighbors to transform a neglected public housing development in New York City.

Here's a link to the story, from GatherFor's Medium account.


Faced with residents' frustrations over the lack of repairs and support from the housing authority, Teju and his team used a unique approach to bridge the divide between the residents and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Instead of fostering an adversarial dynamic, their approach was rooted in appreciation and acknowledgement. The neighbors announced a “kindness party” to celebrate the timely completion of repairs — some of which had been ignored for almost three decades!

This shift in tone led to a collaborative and productive environment, resulting in faster response to repair requests and improved communication between residents and NYCHA. And the promised party was a celebration of that success, complete with media presence and good food and drink.

I loved the story, and I had a problem with it: it smacked of fawning, at best a manipulative technique and at worst an expression and reifier of a traumatic lack of agency. I put that to Teju, and his response blew my mind.

True power comes from being seen and valued for who we are, rather than amassing wealth or military force. The ability to reject your opponent's narrative, to choose to play a different game, is a fundamental expression of power rather than a capitulation.

Teju also discussed the resilience that can be found in experiences of oppression and marginalization, and how all of us can benefit when we open the doors of power to those who have until now been denied its use.

Upon reflection, the theme of power is central to the conversation. Reju emphasized the importance of reconnecting to oneself, community, and the Earth, given how the dominator structures work to disconnect people from these sources of power.

In the face of environmental issues and social injustices, Teju advocates for the power of community and collective care. He encourages kindness and forgiveness as acts of power and resistance, and emphasizes the need for imagination and creativity in finding sustainable solutions and healing connections to self, community, and the Earth.

Teju's perspective is essential for anyone interested in community building, social justice, and transformative narratives. His work serves as an inspiration and a call to action to harness the power of community – and kindness and compassion – in addressing the challenges we face.


Teju's first appearance on Plant Yourself

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paolo Freire

Looking for Transformational Change?

You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?

That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.

But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, my team and I are studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, with the goal of introducing it into our health coaching training.

If you're interested in experiencing the magic of memory reconsolidation coaching with me or a member of my team trained in the process, click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab. Someone will get back to you within 3 business days.

Yes, I'm interested in Memory Reconsolidation Coaching.

You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

Tip Jar

This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.


The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.


This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive compensation from your actions on such links. It don't cost you a dime, tho.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *