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Kerri Kelly: This is CTZN Podcast, where we are exploring the politics of wellbeing and the practice of citizenship. I'm Kerri Kelly.


Mark Gonzales: The only way we know ourselves is through manufactured identity. The identity boxes, the census boxes, the love boxes that we've been given. And until we shape a new lexicon and a new way of knowing each other, and the vastness that every human being holds, then we only reinforce the maze. And the maze itself has fragmented a species in very unhealthy ways.


KK: That's Mark Gonzales, architect, storyteller, creator, and author. And in this episode, you'll hear his bold ideas about our future, and how he is waging beauty on all fronts.


KK: Okay, buckle up, people, because Mark Gonzales is going to stir things up on this podcast. Mark is what I would call a human architect. He is a futures designer, a storyteller, a disruptor, and a creator. And he wrote this incredible book called In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty, which is exactly what he does. He wages beauty in the midst of chaos. He sees the potential in failure. He makes magic and art out of nothing. And on this podcast, he invites us to level up – to not just disrupt and push against, but to imagine better, and to dream bolder.

In his book Wage Beauty, he says, "Context is what enables us to remember that we have survived far worse than this present moment, and we will grow something far better." He believes that when we get a taste of the real – of love, of beauty, and of belonging – then we can reject what they are offering us. We are able to discover creativity, which he defines as "introducing invention into existence, and only then can we imagine better, and plot towards the world that is beyond our wildest dreams."

As you listen to Mark's words, you too will start to wonder about what's possible, and wage beauty in a whole new way. Take a listen.


KK: Welcome, Mark Gonzales.


MG: Thank you, thank you, thank you.


KK: So good to have you here, so good to see you in LA in your ... Well, is this your home? For this particular moment.


MG: Yes.


KK: All right, so let's start on that note, what that question means to you.


MG: Absolutely. Often, the way I've talked about this is, we live in a time where everyone asks, "Where are you from?" as one of the first questions.


KK: That's right.


MG: And it's a really interesting question, because I find it odd that people will ask a question and then veto your answer like, "No, that's not what I meant. Where are you from?" And it's like, "But I answered your question! How can you tell me my answer is wrong?"

But if we think about the process of asking questions in general, which is just exploring information – inquiry, if you will – that we're trying to inquire something about the person who stands in front of us, whether we've known them a long time, or whether we've known them very shortly. We're like, "How do I inquire and understand you?" And in that spirit, and we'll take it as the best spirit possible, someone who asks that question-


KK: Always with you.


MG: ... I find that that's a really just unimaginative question, "Where are you from?" Because we answer it unimaginatively. We say, "Here's my state of origin. Here's the passport I hold." And I'm like, human beings are so much more vast than that. I was born in Alaska. My mother was French-Canadian. My father's indigenous to Central Mexico and born in Wyoming. I've lived across the globe and call many places across the globe both my home, and that I feel that I'm from, and a part of me will be from in the future.

And so I began asking, "Where do you call home?" as a way of just trying to create a more welcoming space for people who are in front of me, and to say, I'm really interested in understanding who you are. And "home" has so much more of an emotional texture than just this "from" in abstract, and it often ... Where we grew up may not be where we call home. Where we are right now may be not where we call home. Some of us live in places 10 years and we still don't call it home. Like, no, no, I live there, but it's not home.

When you're 20 and you've moved out of the house you grew up in for many years, and you may even be renting a place or staying with people, and you're like, "I'm here the next five years," but for many of us, that didn't feel like home. So it causes a person both to reflect, and I feel that anything that causes a person to reflect, go in, and ask honestly, makes the conversation that much more rich.


KK: When I think of home, I think of spaghetti and meatballs. I think of, like, Led Zeppelin.


MG: Yeah, absolutely! So the home isn't just a physical, architectural space. It's not just a ZIP code, it's not just a geographic location. Home can be a person, home can be an intimate relationship or a marriage. Home can be a child. Home can be ... What I've come to in the last several years is this concept that I want to share more and more, which is, we are the generation that understands home is not singular.


KK: Why is that?


MG: Why are we the generation, or why is home not singular?


KK: Both.


MG: We are the generation in terms of the most interconnected generation in the history of human existence-


KK: Because of technology?


MG: Technology, through the transformation of information. And also interconnected in terms of knowledge exchange, not necessarily emotional connection, 'cause we could say we're actually the least emotionally connected generation-


KK: That's a good distinction.


MG: ... in human history. But with that knowledge exchange, there's an understanding of how vast the globe is, because information is traveling so fast. Versus, if I wanted to understand something on the globe 100 years ago, I had to go there and I had to have the means to go there. And I may not even live in the process of going there or coming back. It's like, oh, he went to there ... and he was never heard from again. Now I'm like, oh, Google Earth! Hey, look what's over there!

And with all of that, and the ability to buy a plane ticket for some of us, and/or take a car, and an ability to cross borders for some of us, whether "with permission" or without permission, or by necessity, or out of desire. We traverse this place we call home, Earth. We can't live anywhere else than Earth, at least in our current design, if you will, as a species.

So in that, as you go across, you just realize ... You're like, "Oh, this is home. And that's home too." And not just in an abstract way of, I am human, and so everywhere is home, although I very much align with that belief in many ways. But also the idea that we have probably one of the most intercultural relational generation, I think, than any other moment in human history, whereas it used to be a big deal to marry across the tribe. We're marrying across planets and we're having children from that space.

And so in that, it's like, oh, actually, no. That is my home, because the other part ... It's partner, wife, spouse, whatever term you want to apply to your love, is from another part of the globe, and you have children, then your child is like, "I'm not choosing. This is home. And that there is home." Which, whereas, you used to have a passport that said, pick one. And then if war breaks out, you have a responsibility that and only that organization. We're saying our identity and our values and our commitments are far more complex than that.


KK: So do you think that's disrupting our idea of borders? You use the word "borders", and I know that's a word we're debating often in this current time, where we're building walls and we're establishing borders, or we're redefining or reaffirming borders. What do borders mean in the context of an inherent home?


MG: So if I think linguistically, or at least in the popular definition of "border", we could say at the core, the core, the core, the core, the core, as angel Kyodo Williams loves to say, and we'll have to have two or three more cores, the core, the core ... and then one more core! It's important to separate what a physical border is in terms of nation-states and what linguistically a border is meant to be. A border can be a point of beginning or a point of ending, as a demarcation that marks beginning, end, separation, or difference. Which, it's beautiful. "Border" in terms of "nation-state" is a militarized demarcation forced upon a geographic region and all the populations that live within that. And so those are very different things. And so that's where I say, for me, that's why it's important. And you've known this. I always say that we operate on an assumption of a shared understanding, that people utilize the same set of phonemes. We don't communicate in words, we communicate in phonemes, sounds. Those sounds represent a word within a specific language we speak, and then we share the words and we automatically assume that we have the same definition, the shared understanding. When in reality, we never unpack, what does that mean, "word"? So you live in a lexicon and someone says "freedom" and we say, "We all believe in freedom!" And I was like, I think we have very different definitions of what the word "freedom" means.

KK: That's right.

MG: You enter relationships and people are like, "I loved you, and she loved me." And then, a divorce, and it was horrible, and it was abusive, and it was like, what happened to the ... We had very different definitions of what the word "love" meant.

KK: So how do we do that? How do we get better at saying what we mean, or getting to a greater understanding in relationship? And I know you founded the Institute of Narrative Growth. You're an architect and a storyteller. In your book, In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty, you say a better world begins with a better story. What do you think is the role of storytelling in starting to disrupt those assumptions that we're making about meaning and understanding, and see each other in a new and different way?

MG: So, if I think about story, outside of curated language and an arc that involves plot, protagonist, antagonist, I get to really the question of, what is story? Stories are ceremonies, depending upon your worldview. And in my worldview, if you have a technology like storytelling, it's not an art form as much as a technology.

I firmly believe that a better world begins with a better story. Why I believe that comes from this long journey with storytelling, and asking, what is a story, and why is it important to people? Because if we think about it, human beings – homo sapiens, at least – have been around 150,000 years in our current form, and story has been around almost as long as we have. Many other forms of practice, of tradition, have come and gone. Many other lifestyles have come and gone. But story remains. So what is it about this technology, if you will, that is so essential to human existence?

And I think about this in two ways. I think about stories as ceremony, as a person who comes from a Mexican Indigenous background, who's been fortunate to travel and hold listening parties across the globe in at least 16 different countries, and sitting with people and populations and cultures and asking, "What do you feel about being alive at this specific moment in human history?" with so many, from cities to tribes to villages, and people always responding with a story. And when they tell their story, and they really get into their story, they close their eyes. They travel.

KK: Time travel.

MG: You time travel. You plane travel. You dimension travel. You generation travel. And I say that's a ceremony, because in it, you're asking someone to relive and to re-experience a moment. That traveling is not just psychological. It's somatic in a lot of ways, in terms of the muscles.

And then I'm like, wow. Look at this ceremony that is occurring. We don't treat it like ceremony. We often treat it as a marketing tool or as an object of consumption – story and the story sharing process, if you will. But story really is ceremony, and if we viewed it as ceremony, I think we'd have a lot more respect for it and the power it holds.

The other way I look at it is very much, stories are the engine of identity. They're the drivers of human behavior in so many ways, whether it's the narratives that we live under and within – nations, to me, are nothing more than a collection of narratives – or it's the stories we tell ourselves, the looped tape in our head before we go to sleep at night. Whether they're small micro-stories of power and possibility, or micro-stories of impostor syndrome and not being good enough, it shapes how we show up in the world.

And so hacking story and re-authoring story, and then looking at ways it can scale up to narrative, to me ... That is a fundamental part of reshaping the public imagination. And the necessity, in terms of going back to what you were saying, of the role of, right now, storytelling in disrupting our current reality. Or recalibrating our social trajectory to a far more imaginative space – not just disrupting, but plotting towards the world in which we and our loved ones deserve a world of wonder. To me, that has to begin with a on-ramping process. And story is a phenomenal on-ramping process.

KK: Another quote you have in your book is, "Context is what enables us to remember we have survived far worse than this present moment, and we will grow something far better." And I think it speaks to the way in which we're shaped by and are trying to shape something new. Do you think that's what happening in the Resistance right now, given the times that we are living in? Are we on the right track, do you think?

MG: I would never tell someone, "Don't tell that story," even though I'm a firm believer that not all stories are meant for all people, and not all stories are shared in the right moment or in the right space. I think we think of stories just as something to, again, just throw around, versus ... It's more than a marketing tool. It's more than a recruitment tool. You're really dealing with the fundamental subconscious of human beings. I mean, story itself is the foundation of Western psychoanalysts, if we think of talk therapy, Freudian thought. And we know that from the Western psychoanalyst lens, and then we know that from an Indigenous epistemological lens, that all these cultures say this thing is important, so don't use it haphazardly.

KK: Yeah.

MG: So I share that to begin with, create your own stories. Now, if I look and survey or audit, if you will, the current stories that are being told, as someone who lived through the invasion of Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan in the Bush years, and watching that and trying to pretty much build a social engagement strategy that says, "This is not okay, we deserve better than this," as someone who lived through the Reagan years as a young child, as someone who sat with people across the globe to hear what they've gone through in order to get a big picture view at this moment ... The moment we're living in is in very much ways a moment that we've lived before. And I don't say that in order to minimize the moment. I created the language and collaborated in the engagement strategy for the We The People series with Shepard Fairey, Amplifier, Ernesto, Jessica Sabogal.

KK: It launched with the Women's March in 2017.

MG: Right.

KK: Like, iconic. All of the images that we see associated with the Women's March really came out of that campaign.

MG: Yeah. So if you're holding up Defend Dignity, if you're holding up Protect Each Other, if you're holding up We The Resilient Have Been Here Before, you're holding up my language. And that's not just language, per se. It was an engagement strategy about articulating the values that we need to remember instead of just doubling down on an identity strategy, which is, don't do this to this group of people.

Because for me, I feel a lot of the reason we're in the place we're in is because the only way we know ourselves is through manufactured identity. The identity boxes, the census boxes, the love boxes that we've been given. And until we shape a new lexicon and a new way of knowing each other, and the vastness that every human being holds, then we only reinforce the maze. And the maze itself has fragmented a species in very unhealthy ways.

So going back to the images holding up, Ernesto's image, Ayse Gursoz, an amazing Turkish photographer out of the Bay Area caught an elder, Lakota, Dakota elder, at the NODAPL Standing Rock activations holding her fist up. Took that beautiful photo, got her permission, and then gave it to Ernesto Yerena, an amazing Chicano Indigenous Yaqui artist.

KK: So good.

MG: One of the brilliant lithograph and street artists of our time, fine art maker, who then turned it into this image. And then you see We The Resilient Have Been Here Before, and a large part of that came from Ernesto's and I's conversation about the way that I do feel we focus on youth, because we've given up on our elders. And because we've given up on our elders, we don't sit with the elders. And when you don't sit with the elders, you don't understand the amount of wisdom or experiences they're holding.

And I don't romanticize elders. My father's 81 and I love him dearly, and I've come to see him as a person who came out the womb, and at 81, has that same brain he came out the womb with. He's just had so many experiences, positive and painful, that have shaped him. And when you sit with elders with that, and then they share the stories that they heard as children, you begin to get the context, the bird's eye view that we miss of this moment that allow us to say, "Oh, this didn't just spontaneously happen." Whether we say Trump's election, we say the 45 administration, that is more than an individual, and we say, "This is not America ..." We have to talk about the vastness of a nation that's over 250 years old with 300 million people in it before we just dismiss and only highlight good parts.

KK: Right.

MG: I'm a firm believer, it's part of one of the principles of the Wage Beauty book, and was even a part of the principles of CTZNWELL, which is, we cannot heal what we cannot face.

KK: That's right.

MG: And so in that for me, are we telling the right stories in the moment? I don't think we've created spaces and stories of authenticity and vulnerability that can allow us to get honest with how we arrived at this moment. And without honesty, I don't know if we can really honestly start to move in a new direction. Because if I look back at the moments that were challenging right now, every moment is a new moment. So, same strategy or same action can create new possibilities where they previously failed, and the strategy or belief in a lot of people who were like, "Well, now it will get so bad that people will have no choice but to change the world."

KK: We've said that many times.

MG: And I'm like, so-

KK: What are we missing?

MG: We're failing. And that's one of my favorite questions, sitting with elders across the globe, and thought leaders, philanthropy leaders, and everyday people, is ... We have more people engaged in the conversation than ever before, and on every metric, we're losing. So what are we missing?

KK: Right.

MG: And so that will make me feel that ... I don't want to say the stories we're telling are wrong, because when I think of Carmen's work, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour and the Women's March, and the Sisters, and the Resistors, it is absolutely necessary. What I will say is that I still think it's incomplete.

KK: Mm-hmm.

MG: And I don't know what the missing part is. And the beautiful part of being a believer in participatory design is that you don't get to choose what's missing by yourself.


KK: I want to give a shout out to our community of supporters on Patreon, without whom this podcast wouldn't be possible. CTZN Podcast is reimagining citizenship for all of us. Not the kind that requires documents and papers, but an everyday practice of how we take care of each other and the whole of society. We're daring to ask hard questions about who we are and who we are to one another, and what's possible when we show up for the wellbeing of the whole.

But making a good podcast takes a village, and so we're building one on Patreon. And what we love about this platform is that it's mutual. It's about supporting one another. By joining this community, you get lots of good stuff from us, like practice tools and meditation, community forums that inspire conversation, and lifestyle content that you can trust.

And not only does it keep us going, but it keeps us honest and real, and pushing the envelope of courageous conversations that are independent, transparent, and authentic. You can opt in for as little as $1 per month, or $5, or $10, and so on. And think of it this way: for the equivalent of one coffee per month, or one yoga class, or one dinner, you get to be a part of something bigger, a call to action to become better citizens for humanity.

So check us out on, and build with us as we create a culture of wellbeing that works for everyone.


KK: How do we move towards that thing that we cannot name, or that perhaps we cannot see yet? What is the practice of how we get there?

MG: So if I think of it from an architectural standpoint, or what is the wireframe that we begin to build this world-building process on-

KK: (laughs) Yeah, a wireframe of world building.

MG: Yeah, and if we think about it from that, then I think about it as two parallel tracks. And they're literally the kind of tracks that I'm dedicating 2018 to. One is, what are ways to excite the personal and the public imagination in very real, profound, intimate, and bold ways? How do we expand our ability to dream?

KK: Mm-hmm. Because it doesn't feel like we're dreaming right now. All we're able to do in this particular moment is defend and protect and resist, and so that's really interesting. Is that part of what's missing?

MG: Yeah. If I thought about my design statement, if you will, then a key part of my design statement is disruption through creation.

KK: Right, which is both.

MG: Right.

KK: Death and birth.

MG: And that you don't have one without the other. I think we disrupt, but we don't disrupt through the creative process, or through ... And creativity, if we think about it as introducing invention into existence ... That's, to me, what's at the core of innovation. That we think we're being creative, but we didn't introduce anything. So is it really creative?

KK: We're replicating.

MG: Yeah. We're using new language. One good friend would say we're caught in a particularly dimensional sphere, i.e., stuck in the same level of the video game.

KK: (laughs) That's so sad, Mark.

MG: And so the video game replicates itself.

KK: That makes me so hopeless!

MG: No, well, I think it's actually very real when you come down to it. If you think about relationships and you're like, "Dammit, it happened again!"

KK: Oh, that's right, yeah. I did that thing again, shit!

MG: And it's like, why?! It's like, oh, because the lesson I was supposed to learn kept on coming back.

KK: And Pema Chödrön says that too. Nothing goes away until it teaches us what we need to learn. And every time I read that quote, I go, "Dammit!"

MG: Yeah, and X said that's the invitation to level up.

KK: That's right.

MG: And so I think about that, and I think about that passion capital, that constant passion is contagious.

KK: Yeah.

MG: That that's disruption creation, that you show something, and it's like ... I've been stuck with this dried out, old, dehydrated, non-nutrient white bread, and I thought it was good. And then I went to Paris and had pain au chocolate and a croissant. And I was like, "This is what bread's supposed to taste like! Oh my God, I've been denied my whole life."

KK: (laughs)

MG: And in that same spirit, it's like, when you get the taste of the real that you really begin to reject what they're offering you. And I think that's what we're really missing, is that creation of our authentic real. That it's like, don't you see how beautiful this is? Because we spend all our time pushing against. Against. Most of our time is spent in negation.

And I don't minimize that, because negation is essential. The Zapatista principles, Zapatista being the Indigenous movement in Chiapas and Southern Mexico – the most successful, probably, in the modern era. 20th century, 1994. Rage Against the Machine. Everything can change on a new year's date. We're 23 years after that and they're still going. We can't think of another successful moment like that.

The Tunisian revolution, I think, would be the most closest thing we've had. And they're still in just the beginning stages of that, and being in Tunisia in a lot of ways, where people are frustrated with the pace. I'm like, well, after 50 years of not being on control of your country and then 100 years of colonialism, not being in control of your country, I think having an unfair expectation for us to right and correct and readjust and recalibrate and unlearn and design and create new ways, in two years, in three years, after centuries of not being able to, I'm like ... We need to love ourselves, and part of loving yourself is being patient with yourself.

KK: Do we need to be patient with change? I feel that theme everywhere right now, that we want immediate, right now, real-time change. We want the metrics of change that we can see and touch. And yet, is that realistic, given all that we have to undo and unlearn and reclaim to transform?

MG: I think of two thoughts simultaneously that may seem to contradict one another, but they're actually complementary. And it's like, how do we hold both of these as truths? Yin and Yang. One is, we are a generation raised in an era of immediate gratification. Even immediate download. Grace Lee Boggs, before she had passed, one of her last interviews on PBS where ... Is it Bill Moyers?

KK: Mm-hmm.

MG: ... Was interviewing her as a changemaker who had been at the forefront of every major human rights movement of the 20th century, now fascinated by urban farming. And he's like, "Why? After knowing all these amazing people across the globe, and Kwame Nkrumah proposing to you, why have you come back to urban farming?" And she's like, "Well, I think it does something. It reshapes your understanding of time, of space, your relationship to your food." And he says, "Why? How does it do that?" And she looks at him and she says, "Well, if you go to a machine, and you press a button, and food comes out, and you think that's how the world works, you're in a hell of a mess as a human being."

KK: (laughs)

MG: So I think there's something to be learned about this kind of desire for immediacy that prevents us from loving ourselves and being patient. That is the truth. Then I think of Bryan Stevenson and his reminder that if we cut 50% of the prison population in the United States tomorrow, we still incarcerate more people than any other country on this planet. This idea of gradualism is also a trap. That also is the truth.

And so I don't have an easy answer for that, because we're in complex times, and I deal with both of those. It's like, both dreams, and I think maybe bold changes, and then seeing Prop 47, largest prisoner release in US history.

KK: In California.

MG: Through de-escalating 10 felonies to misdemeanors by understanding that most of the things that a particular group of people were being incarcerated and imprisoned for were not criminal issues, were actually health and addiction issues, and that it was costing us more to lock them up, and harming not only them but their family, their future. Therefore, they were doing two sentences at the same time. That if you actually took them out of prison, provided some support, you not only save taxpayer money, you actually saved human life, human capital, social capital, et cetera. By creating that, in one year, they literally had the largest prisoner release in US history, and saved the California budget $80 million in a single year.

MG: Then earmarked that for education and the schools, which is the most known preventer of incarceration. And that was a one- to two-year architect, engage, do process. So I don't want to limit us in our imagination. I think we're not patient with ourselves in process, and we're too limited in our dreams. You dream bolder, you become more patient. I don't want to be patient for mediocrity.

KK: You go around the country – the globe, really – and host listening parties and storytelling parties. What do you hear are the questions being asked by people right now in this moment?

MG: That's just a great question. I think every human being right now is dealing with questions of, are we going to be around as a species? I think that's a real question.

KK: Will we survive this? Yeah.

MG: And we ask it in different ways. Some of us ask it from the place of, I don't know if I'm going to be here tomorrow. So the human species that is my being is asking it from a very personal place of, I don't know where the next meal's coming from. And then you scale that up to people not knowing where the next check is coming from, and then you put that in the context of, what is it, 40-50% of all US jobs will be lost on automation in the next 15 years. Not even two decades. 15 years. And you put that in the context of, I don't know where the next meal is coming from.

People are really scared in a lot of ways about where we go. And I think in that place, another question, which I feel we're completely missing – and this goes to the Department of the Future that we were talking about earlier – is, at the core of a lot of the questions we're asking is a common back end. And to me, this common back end are age-old philosophical questions that human beings have been asking as long as we've been here. Why am I here? What is my purpose? What is the purpose of a society? Literally, I've sat with people in the United States from across the political spectrum, to "we pay too much taxes," to "I voted for Trump so we could cut these things," and et cetera. And one of the things that really amazed me was, I was just, like, "Why do we have a society?" And people would pause, and I would find out we actually haven't even answered that question.

KK: We don't even know what that means.

MG: It's just, like, I need more returns 'cause maybe I need more money for food, or I need more money for this desirable thing, fancy stuff I want. But this idea of that, we're actually in ... Whether we say a circle, a globe, a box together. And that we have a responsibility to each other, and that we all contribute to certain things, and everybody benefits on certain things, and that if you don't pay on the front end, you're going to pay 10 times as much on the back end ... This idea of a society of taking care of one another, it's just gone.

KK: Like, our wellbeing is bound.

MG: So those are the questions I find, are just these age-old philosophical questions that are informing the design challenge that is in front of us at that current moment, 'cause disrupt, design, reflect. Pivot. Disrupt, design, reflect. Pivot. It's like, we're talking about disrupting, but we're not talking about designing. And I was like, everything we see in front of us is really a design challenge.

KK: And the questions, it sounds like, are the unlocks to design fodder.

MG: Yeah. And designs are built in a public and personal imagination. So our current imagination as a nation-state, if you will – I'm not saying individuals, but a nation-state's imagination – for what keeps it safe is physical structures and militarized apparatus, security apparatus is the technical term. And I find that unimaginative. But I can say it's unimaginative, and I can also say, so what is the design challenge? The design challenge is, how do we, on a personal, and at scale, design new frameworks of safety?

KK: And belonging, and love.

MG: Yeah.

KK: Really, those are all of the themes I hear about in your book, and this book, In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty, I think that there is no more perfect invitation for us as a community and as a society to begin to contemplate those questions that I hope and believe will point us in the direction of where we are to be going.

MG: Thank you. I think of one thing, of when ... The book was originally written three years ago as a guide. A guide for healing and hope in the 21st century, because it really is a different time than every other moment. Every moment is, but it really is unique. And when I think about the values of Wage Beauty, it always came back to love, beauty, and belonging. And not just as abstract words, but really understanding, when I look at self-harm, when I look at addictions, when I look at interpersonal violence, when I look at large-scale conflicts, how much of it in a lot of ways was driven from this idea of love, beauty, and belonging are essential components to the human psyche, and to the social fabric. And when any one of these fall out, a person or a people do not feel loved, a person or a people do not feel beautiful, or a person or a people do not feel they belong, then it is almost always that harmful things then follow. Whether that person and people do to themselves, or do they do to the other.

And so I don't see it as "the answer" to everything, but I do understand these are integral ... not only values, but they're the DNA of wellbeing.

KK: Mm-hmm.

MG: On a micro and macro level.

KK: Yeah. Personal, social, systemic, cultural. And to invoke Rev. angel again there: the core, the core, the core, the core, the core, the core.

Mark Gonzales, we are so grateful for you, for all that you give us, for all of the ways that you challenge us and call us up and love on us. I could do this with you all day long, and so let's talk again soon, but thank you for pointing us in the direction of the North Star.

MG: Absolutely. Love it.


KK: We are reimagining a citizenship where everyone belongs. And that calls us to fight for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. Among them, 800,000 young people are living in fear because of the DACA crisis. An attack on immigrants is an attack on all of us. We need to fight to keep our families together and ensure the wellbeing of everyone. Please make it a practice of your citizenship to demand permanent protection, dignity, and respect for our undocumented communities. You can learn more about how to engage at and

While this episode is coming to an end, our work in the world is just beginning. This week's call to action is to be bold and imagine better. Not just to push up against what's wrong or broken, but to create and design a new story of who we are and what's possible. To learn more about Mark's work, check out

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Special thanks to our producer, Trevor Exter, and DJ Drez for the amazing soundtrack. You can check out his music at