Reflections on Whole Thinking in Practice by Kofi-Charu Nat Turner


Center for Whole Communities hosted our annual Whole Thinking in Practice retreat in northern California last year. Though currently based between Western Mass and NYC, Dr. Kofi-Charu Nat Turner – one of last year’s retreat participants – grew up in Southern California and went to school in the Bay Area. So as Kofi reminisced about his days in California, he shared stories about crossing cultural boundaries growing up in LA, and campus organizing around issues of social justice and a more expansive curriculum at Berkeley.

Kofi brought a joyful and buoyant energy to the retreat. He shared his yoga practice with us one morning, the inspiring story of his grandmother (Caffie Greene) a pioneering community organizer and public health educator and activist in LA, and – in the most modest and caring of ways – Kofi shared generously of his wisdom and strength. Here are Kofi’s reflections on his experience of Whole Thinking in Practice last year:

I have to admit that heading into Center for Whole Communities’ Whole Thinking in Practice retreat in the fall of 2016 I was not sure what to expect. I was definitely interested and honored to be a part of the retreat, but I wondered if or how it could enhance my practice as a professor and budding sharer of yoga.

Like many of us in higher education I had been to numerous professional development retreats and disciplinary specific professional conferences. And it had only been on the rare occasion where I’d been inspired into change that lasted long after the various activity.

Immediately upon arriving at the Whole Thinking in Practice retreat I allowed myself to release into the space that our experienced facilitators and my fellow retreat participants co-created through daily practice. At first I saw the practices of Awareness, Building Relationships, Creativity, Dialogue, Hospitality, Story and Working with Difference as mostly a set of well-articulated but separate pedagogical approaches.

What I hadn’t ever seen or heard of was how you could put all of the above practices in concert with each other to bring diverse constituencies together to change themselves and the world. During my time at the retreat I was able to go into it with an open mind to the possibilities and come out with experiences and practices that I was able to use immediately in my personal and all of my professional realms.

I also made a host of new friends and contacts that have been able to push my practice further than I thought possible before attending the retreat. The retreat was definitely value-added to my life and I would highly recommend it to any activists, artists, educators, healers or just people interested in expanding their horizons as leaders and organizers in their respective fields.

Special shout out the the Whole Thinking in Practice 2016 Team: Melanie, Kavitha, Mohamad, and Jesse! I love ya’ll and miss you!!

Dr. Kofi-Charu Nat Turner
Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Language, Literacy and Culture

Please click here to learn about this year’s WTiP Retreat – October 25-29, 2017 in Millerton, NY

Questions? We will be holding informational calls on:
Thurs. July 13, 5:30-6:30 pm (EST)
Fri. August 25, 3-4 pm (EST)
Sign up here