Majora Carter & Kelly Morris: How to Create Community Around Mindful Living

Posted by admin on 6/10/13 in Community

Have you ever felt too small to make a difference?  The concept of community change can be daunting – let alone the audacious aspiration of world change -- and at times it seems too big an issue to tackle. But if we decide to opt for a passive instead of proactive attitude every time a challenge seems too large great, how will change ever be accomplished? You’ve heard it before, but Margaret Mead’s apt quote on change always bears repeating: “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.”

To help get inspired on ways to rise up and make a difference, watch this Speakeasy lecture with Majora Carter and Kelly Morris from Wanderlust Vermont 2012, "Creating Community Around Mindful Living."  You may know that Majora Carter is a force to be reckoned with – she has won the Peabody award, The MacArthur genius award, and has fought battles fiercely in the public eye, playing both good guy and bad buy, depending on the perspective of the writer at hand.  But she has never shied away from her mission to create change in the community. 

1658 You may find it hard to believe that a personality as seemingly-empowered and confident as Majora’s would seek out a mentor - and yet, upon meeting Kelly at the Wanderlust Vermont Speakeasy in 2011, the two became not only friends but took on a student-teacher relationship as Majora enrolled in Kelly’s Conquering Lion teacher training program.  Clearly, Ms. Carter didn’t have the intention of dropping defending community for a new leadership position in the yoga studio, but she did identify with the self-empowerment techniques and discipline that are part of Kelly’s training program.  This Speakeasy serves as both homage to the importance of having a mentor, as well as inspiration upon witnessing the incredible environmental solutions Majora pioneered in the urban landscape.

"I was a poor black kid from the South Bronx, I wasn't born of any money, I was born of no connections, and so to expect to stand toe-to-toe with the biggest real estate developers in the north east and want to compete to develop that site in my own neighborhood required some pretty big ovaries," says Majora about rising up from a small background to making big, monumental environmental changes.

1659 "We used to have racially segregated communities that were economically diverse, which created a sense of aspiration, for people to see different things in a community, and recognize if you happened to be a black person you knew there were different things you could do - maybe a janitor, maybe a doctor, maybe an engineer.  Now with the way poverty has developed, you only have poor people in poor communities for the most part - there is no intention for a mixed community."

Majora goes to on explain her relationship with Kelly Morris, and how Kelly's teachings enabled a broader perspective on the changes she was enacting.

"My recent path has really been achieved because in addition to having this goal, there were great teachers who helped me see things differently all along the way.

It wasn't until I realized that Kelly could help me move to completely different level and focus on always looking forward and just being a proud woman who could bring people all along, and that the path that you're taking is so you can help other people find their own path," Majora continues, "Also, one of the greatest things I learned from Kelly is that when you do give, there's always something coming back."

In response, Kelly confirms: "You need a teacher and support until you realize that the teacher is just like wind, and you're the bird taking flight." 


1655 Majora Carter is an internationally renowned urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster.  After establishing several local and national organizations to carry on that work, she built on this foundation with innovative ventures and insights into urban economic developments designed to help move Americans out of poverty.  Her long list of awards and honorary degrees include accolades from groups as diverse as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, Goldman Sachs, as well as a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship.  Follow her on twitter at @MajoraCarter and on


1656 Unapologetic, famously frank, jacked up on compassionlike no other yoga teacher you’ve ever seen. Kelly Morris is the founder of the renowned Conquering Lion Yoga Teacher Training Program in NYC. The New York Times and Yoga Journal have called Kelly “one of NYC’s foremost teachers.” Loved by celebrities, beginners and advanced students alike, Kelly Morris blows the mind, rocks the body and opens the heart, Every time.  Follow her on twitter at @kellymorrisyoga and on facebook.


Wanderlust Festival is indebted to Hay House who helped us realize the entire 2012 Speakeasy Lecture Series across all four festivals (Stratton, VT in June 2012; Copper Mountain, CO in July; Squaw Valley, CA in late July; and Whistler, BC, Canada in August). With Hay House's amazing roster of speakers (which you can witness in person at their incredible "I Can Do It" events), it's no wonder that they helped elevate the conversation at Wanderlust's Speakeasy this summer. We encourage you to stay tuned to the Hay House FB feed to make sure you know the next time one of their authors is speaking near you. 

Wanderlust is also grateful to our Speakeasy Vermont partner, Omega. Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 195 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.

Stay tuned to our Wanderlust networks (Youtube | Facebook | Twitter) to catch our weekly Speakeasy Video releases from the likes of Dr. Wayne DyerCongressman Tim RyanShiva ReaSeane CornIrshad ManjiMC YogiWaylon Lewis (from Elephant Journal) and so many more.

Tags: carter, kelly, majora, mindfulness, morris, Speakeasy, Vermont

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