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Racial Justice Discussion Group

Saturday, August 22, 12-1:15 PM

For our third session in this ongoing series of open discussions, we’ll meet online to discuss the book How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, “A groundbreaking approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.” 

Register HERE for this free event. All are welcome as we support each other in being a positive force for racial justice. 

Accept – Educate – Self-Inquire – Act

Recap of Session 2: Our second meeting (July 18) was on Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad. Each participant spoke with vulnerability and deep care about the inquiries in this book, including realizations and personal challenges. Listening to each other’s reflections with embodied presence brought awareness of systemic racism to the forefront, similar to watching an educational film or reading an article.

Remember the 4 steps in the heading above, and the reminder: This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s clear that racial justice work is lifelong work that will deepen over time. (Inspired by interview with Jennifer Hutton.)

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Poems of Presence – July 2020

When I recite an inspiring poem or quote in class, we practice being present together in shared experience. I hope you’ll enjoy re-reading them and sharing them with others in your own voice.

This is the real secret of life — To be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play. ~ Alan Watts

Apply Within (Suzy Kassem)
You once told me
You wanted to find
Yourself in the word --
And I told you to
First apply within,
To discover the world
within you.

You once told me
You wanted to save
The world from all its wars -- 
And I told you to
First save yourself
From the world,
And all the wars
You put yourself
Through.

And the People Stayed Home (Kitty O’Meara)

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

From Bob Sharples, Meditation: Calming the Mind

“Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself;  rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself.  In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough.  It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot.  Instead there is now meditation as an act of love.  How endlessly delightful and encouraging.”

It’s not about how much you do but how much love you put into what you do. ~ Mother Teresa

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Racial & Social Justice in Mindfulness Community

George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police spawned an awakening and call to action for many of us; Awakening to the naked truth of injustices and violence related to racism, injustice and privilege in our society, and the necessity to take action toward real change in deeply-embedded beliefs and systems.
In response to expressions of immense care in our community, and as part of my own commitment to make a positive difference, I invited our Mindfulness community to gather on Zoom on Saturday June 13 at 12 noon to reflect, connect, share and get inspired. 
45 people expressed interest and 27 attended. After a guided meditative reflection, a dozen people shared passionately from various perspectives on the path of awareness. The hour passed quickly, and although we may have just scratched the surface, it was heartening to see people show up, be present, and give voice to what is true.
Here are Racial & Social Justice Resources our community shared during and after the meeting.
DATE CHANGE: Join me on Saturday, July 11, July 18, 11AM to discuss the book Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad. Register Here (free)
“If we are all committed to doing the work that is ours to do, we have a chance of creating a world and a way of living that are closer to what we all desire for ourselves and one another.” ~ Layla Saad
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Poems of Presence: June 2020

These insightful poems and quotes enlivened the themes of recent yoga and meditation classes.

(Photo credit: Nancy Beckerman, 2020)

Connection

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded. ~ Maya Angelou

Breathing Into Discomfort

Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There’s a crack, a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in. ~ Leonard Cohen (Anthem)

When the Heart is Cut (Michael Leonig)

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.

For A New Beginning (John O’Donohue)

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
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Poems of Presence: May 2020

Practicing daily gratitude and open presence allow the space for deepest connection. Similarly, these poems and quotes invite us to pause and remember what matters most. (Related to class themes)

Choosing Gratitude

Everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ~ Viktor Frankl

Open, Listening Presence

I don’t ask for the sights in front of me to change, only for the depth of my seeing. ~ Mary Oliver

Attention without feeling, I began to learn, is only a report. An openness–an empathy–was necessary if the attention was to matter. ~ Mary Oliver

Connection

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded. ~ Maya Angelou

Clearing (Martha Postlethwaite)

Do not try to serve 
the whole world 
or do anything grandiose. 
Instead, create 
a clearing 
in the dense forest
of your life 
and wait there 
patiently, 
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to the world 
so worthy of rescue.
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