Welcome to this episode of The Lesson is Love Podcast! Click here for all episodes and podcast information on the Grisha Stewart Academy.
*Content warnings: mentions of slavery at 13:35-14:50 and 36:27-37:25, the Holocaust at 19:00-21:00, and CSA at 25:35-26:00*
“This is why these things are happening, because it’s only through the embodiment of these knowings do you carry the wisdom as an elder. And so the song came through: ‘Move at the speed of trust and breathe…what kind of elder do you want to be?’” -Alexandra “Ahlay” Blakely
Join us for the third episode of The Lesson is Love as I speak with Alexandra “Ahlay” Blakely, a song carrier, grief tender and community organizer.
In this episode we explore how our relationships with our dogs can be spaces to both acknowledge and unlearn internalized oppression, the significance of grief in a grief-phobic culture, what it is to be an elder, and the importance of intentionally practicing pleasure. Ahlay’s thoughtful words and grounded presence made creating this episode such a beautiful experience. I hope this conversation resonates and inspires you to connect to your grief, your pleasure and your kin.
About the Host, Grisha Stewart:
Grisha Stewart is an author, international speaker, dog trainer, and online dog school facilitator based in Oregon, USA, who specializes in dog reactivity and canine empowerment. She’s been training dogs since 2003. Her two most recent books are Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0: New Practical Techniques for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs and The Official Ahimsa Dog Training Manual: A Practical, Force-Free Guide to Problem Solving and Manners. In 2022, she revealed the update to BAT 3.0 (BAT 2.0 is still the best book on the subject).
She presents dog training and behavior seminars around the world and lessons online. There are over 100 different courses in her innovative online dog training school, with more coming every few weeks from a variety of instructors, including Grisha. In addition to her professional pursuits and projects, Grisha is an avid conversationalist and enjoys exploring topics of connection, love, communication, and interspecies community.
About the Guest, Alexandra “Ahlay” Blakely:
Alexandra “Ahlay” Blakely (she/her) is a song carrier remembering that which was meant to be forgotten in her lineages: song technology as connective tissues of the communal body. She blends song, body percussion, dance, stillness, breath & silence with the deepest intention to support others in remembering their inherent birthright to singing and rhythm. Her ancient ancestors of Old Europe (Ashkenazi, Scandinavian, Finnish, English, Scottish, Irish) sang while building, creating, birthing, working & being in reciprocity with the Land. She understands song to be fundamental in the expansion of one’s internal capacity to participate in the collective shift towards life-affirming conditions.
An underlying prayer in her song offerings is that they may contribute to the shared effort to transform white culture into being more connected with our bodies, emotions, Land & the animate world around us. These songs are swirls of spells for cracking open, falling humbly to our knees and cultivating more access to the conversations our souls are aching to have with us about their most intimate longings. They are dedicated to the more than human world, the Waters and our Kin in both the seen and unseen realms. We sing to shame, courage, for breaking cycles of intergenerational trauma and for the preparation of being ready for these times we are living in, all while sending these song-beings in ripples through to the ancient and future ones. The songs sung have come directly through Ahlay.
Some of her mentors: Whale, Mycelium, Rue, Lightning, Rain, Oak, Redwood & Rosemary
- Grisha Stewart’s website
- The Grisha Stewart Academy
- The Lesson is Love Podcast Webpage
- Ahlay’s website
Find Ahlay on:
From the Episode:
- Spells from the Unknown, an album by Ahlay
- More information about Ahlay’s upcoming album, WAILS: Songs for Grief
- The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief (book) by Francis Weller
- The Zookeeper’s Wife film
- Whale Rider film
- S.A.F.E Framework for Dog Training and Care (article) by Grisha Stewart
- Multiple Dog Households (webinar) on Grisha Stewart Academy