‘Brené Brown has a Ph.D. in social work and is a professor at the University of Houston. For her research on human behavior and emotion, she has conducted tens of thousands of interviews with study subjects and amassed reams of data. She could easily have spent her career in the academic ivory tower.
But Brené Brown chose to do something that’s rare and dangerous in academia: she made her work popular, translating very rigorous scientific research into very human stories about relationships, parenting, and leadership. She just launched a popular podcast, and every one of her books is a best seller. Her plain-spoken lessons have particular resonance in these days of anxiety and disconnection.
Empathy skill set.
Compassion a belief system treating ourselves and others.
It is not based faith or spirituality…it shaped with boundaries. Those who share compassionate traits insist boundaries are respected. Blanket compassion is predicated by boundaries.
Brené Brown wants to help people.
Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s the only path to courage. Give me a single example of courage that does not require uncertainty, risk, or emotional exposure. No one, in 50,000 people, not a person has been able to give me an example of courage that did not include those things. There is no courage without vulnerability.
Through her bestselling books, Netflix special, new podcast, and speaking engagements that range from corporations to the military, Brown guides people in ways of understanding and improving themselves—and one another.
Her work became widely known in popular culture through her 2010 speech at a Houston TEDx, now one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time. Today in these days of anxiety and social distancing, her message seems to resonate even more deeply.
“I think we’re supposed to help each other. I mean, I don’t think we’re supposed to do it alone. We all want to be better.”
60 Minutes Interview:
‘Can we make room for grief, empathy, and hope?
We are all suddenly sleeper cells. Nobody is impervious. Nobody can buy their way out of it. (Though certainly those without resources will suffer more.) We are all in an elaborate, complicated ballet with everyone else, and the only thing more astonishing than this new reality is that it isn’t new at all. Only our awareness of it is.
want to talk to my great-grandparents, to the generations who lived through genocide and immigration. Never before have I been more acutely aware of the role of elders, a population that capitalism—and, by extension, our culture—tends to overlook and undervalue. Nowhere does our history exist more vibrantly than in those who lived it. I want to line up my ancestors. I want to know how they survived.
Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.
Empathy is a powerful potion, not for the faint of heart. Empathy requires opening yourself to suffering. I wonder what muscles of empathy will be built through this experience—towards those who struggle with their health, those who are imprisoned, those who get detained fleeing calamity. Those living under occupation.
The pandemic isn’t necessarily creating fears for people. It’s instead serving as a flashlight—illuminating people’s unsteadiest, half-finished parts. It’s showing us where our work remains.’
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,” Carl Jung wrote, “but by making the darkness conscious.” Reading this, I realize that in a whole lifetime spent with seekers of enlightenment, I have never once heard anyone speak in hushed tones about the value of endarkenment. -Barbara Taylor Brown, author & Episcopal priest
And so even now, as light gives way to darkness, I know that once again light is born from darkness. Those who read out to help strangers are living out the oneness that is part of our spiritual DNA. -Science of Mind
What are we only now coming “to know” through this time of not-knowing?
Either we will love and help one another or we will hate and attack one another, in which latter case we will all be one another’s hell. Perhaps Sartre was not far wrong in saying that where freedom is abused, society itself turns into heel.. (L’enfer c’est les autres.”) -Thomas Merton
Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus
This storm will pass. But the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come.
Humankind is now facing a global crisis. Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture. We must act quickly and decisively. We should also take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. When choosing between alternatives, we should ask ourselves not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes. Yes, the storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive — but we will inhabit a different world.
Many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes. Decisions that in normal times could take years of deliberation are passed in a matter of hours. Immature and even dangerous technologies are pressed into service, because the risks of doing nothing are bigger. Entire countries serve as guinea-pigs in large-scale social experiments. What happens when everybody works from home and communicates only at a distance? What happens when entire schools and universities go online? In normal times, governments, businesses and educational boards would never agree to conduct such experiments. But these aren’t normal times.
The coronavirus epidemic is thus a major test of citizenship. In the days ahead, each one of us should choose to trust scientific data and healthcare experts over unfounded conspiracy theories and self-serving politicians. If we fail to make the right choice, we might find ourselves signing away our most precious freedoms, thinking that this is the only way to safeguard our health.
How the Pandemic Will End
The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.
Story by Ed Yong
The testing fiasco was the original sin of America’s pandemic failure, the single flaw that undermined every other countermeasure. If the country could have accurately tracked the spread of the virus, hospitals could have executed their pandemic plans, girding themselves by allocating treatment rooms, ordering extra supplies, tagging in personnel, or assigning specific facilities to deal with COVID-19 cases. None of that happened. Instead, a health-care system that already runs close to full capacity, and that was already challenged by a severe flu season, was suddenly faced with a virus that had been left to spread, untracked, through communities around the country. Overstretched hospitals became overwhelmed. Basic protective equipment, such as masks, gowns, and gloves, began to run out. Beds will soon follow, as will the ventilators that provide oxygen to patients whose lungs are besieged by the virus.
The White House is a ghost town of scientific expertise. A pandemic-preparedness office that was part of the National Security Council was dissolved in 2018. On January 28, Luciana Borio, who was part of that team, urged the government to “act now to prevent an American epidemic,” and specifically to work with the private sector to develop fast, easy diagnostic tests. But with the office shuttered, those warnings were published in The Wall Street Journal, rather than spoken into the president’s ear. Instead of springing into action, America sat idle.
After 9/11, the world focused on counterterrorism. After COVID-19, attention may shift to public health. Expect to see a spike in funding for virology and vaccinology, a surge in students applying to public-health programs, and more domestic production of medical supplies. Expect pandemics to top the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. Anthony Fauci is now a household name. “Regular people who think easily about what a policewoman or firefighter does finally get what an epidemiologist does,” says Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
The lessons that America draws from this experience are hard to predict, especially at a time when online algorithms and partisan broadcasters only serve news that aligns with their audience’s preconceptions. Such dynamics will be pivotal in the coming months, says Ilan Goldenberg, a foreign-policy expert at the Center for a New American Security. “The transitions after World War II or 9/11 were not about a bunch of new ideas,” he says. “The ideas are out there, but the debates will be more acute over the next few months because of the fluidity of the moment and willingness of the American public to accept big, massive changes.”
7 Resources for Reliable Information About Coronavirus
1. The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is publishing rolling updates on the coronavirus situation as well as useful infographics and explainers, and should be your first port of call for new assessments of what is going on.
The WHO has also got a really handy page on common coronavirus myths — covering everything from whether eating garlic or taking a bath can help prevent you catching it (they can’t), to discussion about what age people are most susceptible.
2. The National Health Service
The UK’s NHS is another excellent resource. It includes easy to understand advice about symptoms, and what to do if you think you have them.
It also gives details of how and under which circumstances you need to self-isolate, and for how long, and on how to get a self-isolation medical advice note to get to your employer.
3. The BBC Coronavirus Podcast
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched a Coronavirus Global Update podcast, which includes a daily round-up on the spread of coronavirus.
It also includes reports from affected areas, details of the latest medical information, and the impact on health, business, and travel.
4. COVID-19 Facts
The COVID-19 Facts website works to collate information from sources including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Health Organization, and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
It also features a series covering myths around coronavirus, including analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit of where the myth came from, and what experts say about it.
5. The New Scientist Podcast
The New Scientist podcast is becoming increasingly focused on COVID-19 — including episodes and pandemic preparations; the spread of COVID-19 and the importance of hand washing; the coronavirus vaccine; and a coronavirus special on disaster preparation and environmental change.
6. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The content platform of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Optimist, is sharing stories, research, and news stories about coronavirus from the Foundation.
The platform works to convene expert voices from across the global health sector, including sharing expert perspectives and updates on the response to COVID-19 — and you can also sign up for the Optimist’s news digest.
7. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
The LSHTM launched its new podcastLSHTM Viral in January 2020, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, and is releasing a new episode every week. It specifically focuses on the science behind outbreaks and how we respond to them.
Meanwhile, the LSHTM is also launching an online short course, for those who want to better understand the emergence of COVID-19, and how we respond to it moving forward.
The free-of-charge course launches on March 23, and will cover topics like: how COVID-19 emerged and was identified; public health measures worldwide; and what’s needed to address COVID-19 in the future.
Given that everything is going to be the way it’s going to be, we’re left with an actually useful and productive question instead: “What are you going to do about it?”
Stocking up on compassion.
That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief
Harvard Business Review
Anticipatory grief is the mind going to the future and imagining the worst. To calm yourself, you want to come into the present.
Finally, it’s a good time to stock up on compassion. Everyone will have different levels of fear and grief and it manifests in different ways. A coworker got very snippy with me the other day and I thought, That’s not like this person; that’s how they’re dealing with this. I’m seeing their fear and anxiety. So be patient. Think about who someone usually is and not who they seem to be in this moment.
When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you. Emotions need motion. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through.
It’s absurd to think we shouldn’t feel grief right now. Let yourself feel the grief and keep going.
Dorothy Day [1997-1980], journalist and social activist, was 8 years old on the night of April 18th, 1906, living in Oakland, during the San Francisco earthquake.
‘There were broken dishes all over the floor, along with books, chandeliers, and pieces of the ceiling and chimney. The city was in ruins, too, temporarily reduced to poverty and need. But in the days after, Bay Area residents pulled together. “While the crisis lasted, people loved each other,” she wrote in her memoir decades later. “It was as though they were united in [compassionate] solidarity. It makes one think of how people could, if they would, care for each other in times of stress, unjudgingly in pity and love” [David Brooks, The Road to Character, 2015, pp. 74-75.].’
‘Writer and editor Paul Elie has said, “A whole life is prefigured in that episode”…the crisis, the tense of God’s nearness, the awareness of poverty, the feeling of loneliness and abandonment, but also the sense that that loneliness can be filled by love and community, especially through solidarity with those in the deepest need [Brooks, p. 75].’
The most startling thing about disasters, according to award-winning author Rebecca Solnit, is not merely that so many people rise to the occasion, but that they do so with joy. That joy reveals an ordinarily unmet yearning for community, purposefulness, and meaningful work that disaster often provides.
A Paradise Built in Hell is an investigation of the moments of altruism, resourcefulness, and generosity that arise amid disaster’s grief and disruption and considers their implications for everyday life. It points to a new vision of what society could become-one that is less authoritarian and fearful, more collaborative and local.
“What is this feeling that crops up during so many disasters?” Ms. Solnit asks. She describes it as “an emotion graver than happiness but deeply positive,” worth studying because it provides “an extraordinary window into social desire and possibility.” Our response to disaster gives us nothing less than “a glimpse of who else we ourselves may be and what else our society could become.” Her overarching thesis can probably be boiled down to this sentence: “The recovery of this purpose and closeness without crisis or pressure” without disaster, that is “is the great contemporary task of being human.”
In “A Paradise Built in Hell” Ms. Solnit probes five disasters in depth: the 1906 earthquake and fires in San Francisco, the Halifax munitions cargo ship explosion of 1917, the Mexico City earthquake of 1985, the events of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. She also writes about the London blitz, Chernobyl and many other upheavals and examines the growing field of disaster studies .
New Year’s Eve 2019.
Hi friends. This is my final post on fb. 2.2 billion people, a third of humanity, log on across the planet every hour, I don’t think Zuck will miss me much. Nonetheless, 17 million Americans have left FB in the last two years because of disinformation and political manipulation. Mark Zuckerberg made an additional $27 billion last year alone; he won’t be changing his behaviors any time soon. He throws all that he does under the free speech/innovation bus. His modus operandi has always been to act first, apologize later. Literal early company motto: ‘Move fast and break things.’ Based on past behaviors and weak rhetoric, I don’t think he has the moral compass to steer a moral path. He doesn’t have the emotional or compassionate intelligence to consider the meaning of truth, the limits of free speech, and the origins of violence. Peter Thiel, a billionaire who sits on his board, is the guy who once wrote democracy was weakened when women received the right to vote. Good guy. Zuckerberg is now at the center of a full-fledged debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders.
In their opinion piece for January 1st, 2020, Idaho Mountain Express offered their New Year’s resolution for fb and Zuckerberg: “To take legal responsibility for what his platform has wrought by making it a publisher instead of a filthy rich exploiter of unsuspecting Americans.” Right on.
In 1915, Louis Brandeis, the reformer and future Supreme Court Justice, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of corporations large enough that they could achieve a level of near-sovereignty “so powerful that the ordinary social and industrial forces existing are insufficient to cope with it.” He called this the “curse of bigness.” Tim Wu, a Columbia law-school professor and the author of a forthcoming book inspired by Brandeis’s phrase, said “Today, no sector exemplifies more clearly the threat of bigness to democracy than Big Tech.” He added, “When a concentrated private power has such control over what we see and hear, it has a power that rivals or exceeds that of elected government.”
A healthy market should produce competitors to Facebook that position themselves as ethical alternatives, collecting less data and seeking a smaller share of user attention. Like it or not, Zuckerberg is a gatekeeper. The era when Facebook could learn by doing, and fix the mistakes later, is over. The costs are too high, and idealism is not a defense against negligence.
I’ll miss my connections on this platform, my ol’ radio buds, sorority sisters, our community…I even reconnected with a dear junior high school friend from San Diego. We were 14 years old when we met. I will miss the ease in posting and sharing information. I remain hopeful someone will create a new social media site that will allow us to have a nonaddictive, advertising-free space that guards against foreign influence and disinformation, honoring privacy and our personal data. From Free Press: ‘We must have control over how our personal information is used, and prohibit its use to build systems that oppress, discriminate, disenfranchise and exacerbate segregation.’
I don’t Instagram or engage on WhatsApp…all Zuckerberg. I stay with twitter, where I follow various news organizations and journalists, because owner Jack Dorsey has committed to eliminating political ads and just recently launched a research project called Bluesky, researching decentralized technical standards for social media platforms making it easier to enforce rules against hate speech and other abuses.
The early hope for internet democracy has evaporated into a dystopian space that has weakened our democracy with dangerous disinformation, false political ads and foreign algorithms. We haven’t even begun to deal with ‘deep fake’ video yet, given media in general, the press specifically, have not found a way to authenticate what’s real and what isn’t. This virtual mess is only going to get worse.
In India, the largest market for Facebook’s WhatsApp service, hoaxes have triggered riots, lynchings, and fatal beatings. Local officials resorted to shutting down the Internet sixty-five times last year. In Libya, people took to Facebook to trade weapons, and armed groups relayed the locations of targets for artillery strikes. In Sri Lanka, after a Buddhist mob attacked Muslims this spring over a false rumor, a Presidential adviser said, “The germs are ours, but Facebook is the wind.”
Nowhere has the damage been starker than in Myanmar, where the Rohingya Muslim minority has been subject to brutal killings, gang rapes, and torture. In 2012, around one per cent of the country’s population had access to the Internet. Three years later, that figure had reached twenty-five per cent. Phones often came preloaded with the Facebook app, and Buddhist extremists seeking to inflame ethnic tensions with the Rohingya mastered the art of misinformation.
Beginning in 2013, a series of experts on Myanmar met with Facebook officials to warn them that it was fueling attacks on the genocide. David Madden, an entrepreneur based in Myanmar, delivered a presentation to officials at the Menlo Park headquarters, pointing out that the company was playing a role akin to that of the radio broadcasts that spread hatred during the
In 2011, the company asked the FEC [Federal Election Commission] for an exemption to rules requiring the source of funding for political ads to be disclosed. In filings, a Facebook lawyer argued that the agency “should not stand in the way of innovation.” Another default argument. It became a running joke among employees that Facebook could tilt an election just by choosing where to deploy its “I Voted” button.
The 2016 election was <supposed> to be good for Facebook. That January, fb COO and billionaire Sheryl Sandberg told investors that the election would be “a big deal in terms of ad spend,” comparable to the Super Bowl and the World Cup. According to Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm, candidates and other political groups were on track to spend $1.4 billion online in the election, up ninefold from four years earlier.
During the campaign, Trump used Facebook to raise two hundred and eighty million dollars. Just days before the election, his team paid for a voter-suppression effort on the platform. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, it targeted three Democratic constituencies—“idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans”—sending them videos precisely tailored to discourage them from turning out for Clinton.
***Theresa Hong, the Trump campaign’s digital-content director, later told an interviewer, “Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won.”***
Facebook admits a pro-Trump media outlet used artificial intelligence to create fake people and push conspiracies.
In September of 2017, after Robert Mueller obtained a search warrant, Facebook agreed to give his office an inventory of ads linked to Russia and the details of who had paid for them. In October, Facebook disclosed that Russian operatives had published about eighty thousand posts, reaching a hundred and twenty-six million Americans.
Last year, Facebook spent $11.5 million on lobbying in Washington, ranking it between the American Bankers Association and General Dynamics among top spenders. Money…I mean, power and greed…along with behavior modification technology… pretty much defines how we landed here. FB is the epicenter of persuasive technology.
#2020 is going to be a ride. Buckle up. Stay vigilant. Be proactive consumers of news and information. Take the Pro-Truth pledge. And V O T E. It is imperative we remember our democracy is fragile and it fails without ‘we the people.’ Activist Greta Thunberg wrote today, “This coming decade humanity will decide it’s future. Let’s make it the best one we can. We have to do the impossible. So let’s get started.”
I’ll miss you, my fb friends. Happy New Year. Be safe. Only peace.
[In context of fb’s persuasive behavior modification techniques, my pages will stay active for about 30 days and then evaporate. If I log on anytime during those 30 days post depletion, the pages will re-activate, so I won’t be able to read any comments to my final fb post. Just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter, @DayleOhlau, or my website, daylescommunitycafe.com. ♡]
April 6, 1931~December 22, 2019
“We’re fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
“Compassion refers to the arising in the heart of the desire to relieve the suffering of all beings.”
Unconditional Love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not ‘I love you’ for this or that reason, not ‘I love you if you love me.’ It’s love for no reason, love without an object.
‘One of my first rules of politics is: people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.’
-Sean McElwee, founder of Data for Progress
May our prayers and our altars come together to calm the spirits of the fire in the Amazon – Sacred Temple of mystery and native jungle, lung of mother earth, place of power, home of ancestral tribes!
May our songs call the sacred water of rain, which are heard by the guardians of this place!!
Let human beings open the heart, to wake up and not sleep, to honor mother earth with each of our acts and not allow this to happen more times. Let’s send love, strength and peace to the peoples, to the animals, to the ancient trees…
Let us know in every way possible to listen to us, we need to echo the order of so many indigenous peoples who have already been giving alarm signs on the atrocities that are committed in the name of development.
How many more places have to be devastated for the ” good of humanity “, for the ” well being ” misunderstood of societies? Shattered by the policies of incapable governments! Let’s ask our authorities to act in favor of life and not against it!!
Let us act to the extent of our possibilities!! from our prayer, from our altar, from our sacred matrices that give life..
Let us remember that we are one being… that we are the extension of mother earth and what happens in it, anywhere happens in our body!
Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation:
Nonviolence is the universal ethic at the heart of creation.
‘The Golden Rule is so basic, so logical, so easy to agree with, yet so utterly difficult to practice! One way to start is to simply put ourselves in the other’s shoes, to practice empathy and sympathy. Practice is really the operative word, for empathy does require practice. It takes many intentional efforts before we can make it a habit.’
Day by Day with St. Francis, by Peter A. Giersch 
If we just keep hold of each other, you grasping the young one and I the old, we could revolve together like ´*.¸.• .¸. ¸.☆¨ .¸.¸¸.☆’s.
New Poems, by Rainer Maria Rilke
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.
It is the tending of our own souls that invites the natural process of love to begin. I remember my very first tumble into love. I found such comfort there that, like Narcissus, I became lost in how everything other than my pain was reflected in his beauty. All the while, I was addicting my own worth, empowering him as the key to my sense of joy.
If I have learned anything through the years, it is that, though we discover and experience joy with others, our capacity for joy is carried like a pod of nectar into our very own being. I now believe that our deepest vocation is to root ourselves enough in this life that we can open our hearts to attract others. In other words, in being so thoroughly who we are, an inner essence is released that calls others to experience our personal light.
It seems the very job of being is to ready us for such love.
In this way, the Universe continues through the unexpected coming together of blossomed souls.
So if you can, give up the want of another and be who you are, and more than not, love will come at the precise moment you are simply in love with you. [Nepo]
Identify one trait makes you feel good about who are are: your laugh, your simile, your ability to listen, or the sound of your voice.
Notice how this effects others.
These small moments are the beginnings of love. They do not yet have definition.
Take a moment. Give thanks for your small goodness and for the potential love of others.
A hunger drives us.
We want to contain it all in our naked hands,
our bribing sense, our speechless hearts.
We want to become it, or offer it-but to whom?
We could hold it forever-but, after all,
what can we keep?
Not the beholding, so slow to learn.
Not anything that has happened here.
There are hurts. And, always, the hardships.
And there’s the long knowing of love-all of it
amidst the stars,
we will see: these are better unsaid.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Duino Elegy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
Science of Mind/Ernest Holmes:
This was the Christ speaking, the son begotten of the only Father-the Son of God. Humble in his humanity, compassionate in his tenderness, understand the frailties of the human mind, he let the Great Spirit speak through him, in words of love and sympathy. He proclaimed his divinity through his humanity and taught that all men are brothers.
Rev. Dr. David Goldberg:
The Sanskrit word karuna is translated as compassion, which means active sympathy or the willingness to bear the pain of others. Closely related to karuna is metta, loving kindness.
It’s important to remember also that genuine compassion is rooted in prajna or wisdom. Prajna is the realization that the separate self is an illusion. This takes us back to not attaching our egos to what we do, expecting to be thanked or rewarded.
In Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes, “According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive-it’s not empty alone-but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and loving kindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is loving kindness). [Right Action and Compassion, Barbara O’Brien, April 2018]
“Many of us are longing to experience a season of joy, but we feel winter’s darkness spreading in the midst of relentless violence, cruelty, and dehumanization. Here at the Revolutionary Love Project, we believe that if we pause to breathe together, we can find wisdom, even joy, inside the struggle.
This holiday season, we are excited to offer you a short series of video conversations with thought leaders in our movement who offer deep wisdom — Parker Palmer, America Ferrera, Sharon Brous, Traci Blackmon and more.
Here is your first gem! A conversation with author, activist, teacher and luminary Parker Palmer and our founder Valarie Kaur at Middle Church’s 2018 Revolutionary Love Conference. Parker and Valarie have developed a remarkable intergenerational friendship: He offers her insights drawn from decades of experience; she inspires him with a next-generation vision of fighting for justice. In the course of their friendship, Parker has come to call Valarie’s framework for Revolutionary Love “the new non-violence.”
Watch their conversation before a live audience as they reflect on life and death and love.”
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. [One] experiences [oneself] . . . as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of [one’s] consciousness. . . . Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. —Albert Einstein
“If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light” (Luke 11:34). That’s why the Buddha and Jesus say with one voice, “Be awake.” Jesus talks about “staying watchful”, and “Buddha” means “I am awake” in Sanskrit. —Richard Rohr
I began to discover that human maturity comes as we begin to bring out heads and hearts together.
-Humanitarian Jean Vanier
I have just three things to teach:
These three are your greatest treasures.
“It is incumbent on all of us to constantly protect it and the only way to do that is to exercise it. We can always choose to love rather than hate, support rather than withdraw, speak out rather than stay silent, and stand up for what we believe rather than lay down to a collective pressure that does not reflect our belief. Every time we choose not to do this we give it away.” Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon
“If we see a person who is being crushed by a rock, the goal is not to get under the rock and feel what they are feeling; it is to help remove the rock.” Dalai Lama/The Book of Joy/p. 259
“I know that when I speak this word for myself, there is a direct reaction toward me. I know that when I speak it for others, there is a direct reaction toward them. There is no doubt or uncertainty in my consciousness.” Rev. Dr. Marilyn Leo
‘When all you have is the truth, if you degrade that truth, then you have nothing. […] Either be forthright or be silent. Proffer examples, testimony of things that have happened. […] Boldness, bravery and intellectual fearlessness – these are the qualities (we) need if we are to storm heaven.’ Mitch Horowitz/Science of Mind-July, p. 16
“‘Oh, no,’ we exclaim as we stand directly in the path of Source.’ ‘I’m too old, too young, too inexperienced, not the right size, shape or color, not educated enough, not lovable enough.’ Only when we let go of this nonsense and get out of our own way can our blessings come.” -Anne Bock
I am because you are, you are because I am.
It is something that I have always believed in that in the ignited space of our deepest suffering, in the release of our deepest fears, in the familiar peace of our deepest joys, we are each other. I have been finding it in every path, in every way … in Martin Buber’s sense of I-Thou, where only in keeping what-is-between-us real can God appear … in the gift of Jesus, where two or more of you come together, there I am … in the one compassion of Buddha … in the numinous love that ancient stones manage if we are still enough to bow to them. Ubuntu … I am because you are, even in how we live off the breath of plants, you are because I am, even in how plants live off our exhalations.
We need each other to be complete.
-Mark Nepo’s, The Book of Awakening
‘It’s a true story about caring and compassion, which we need more of today. [….] We’re all in uncharted territory right now.’
Yes, it’s about saving a bird’s life. But it’s about so much more, as depicted so beautifully in this video. ‘To care for one another is the reason we are here’ is the lyric that sums it up for me. The world has gone mad, and the simple things like love, compassion and caring have been overshadowed by hate and greed. This video shows how important we are to each other whilst showing how much worse things could get if we are not careful of each other and the planet where we live.”
-Rocker Peter Frampton
His “Frampton Comes Alive’ album sold over 8-million copies in 1976, considered one of the best live LP’s recorded.
It is Gandhi who eases my heart and reminds me (again) how we give love to the one who gives face to the greatest pain.
‘There is a story of Gandhi that reveals how profound and daring his sense of compassion was. It occurred during one of his famous hunger strikes. A man whose daughter was killed came in anguish, saying to Gandhi that he would stop fighting if the great soul would eat. But Gandhi knew the healing was deeper than just stopping the violence, and so he told the man he would eat only when the tormented father embraced the man who killed his daughter.
It is said that the man collapsed in tears, but did as Gandhi asked, and the larger conflict ended. This is an enormous thing to ask of someone in grief, of someone who has been violated. But beyond the vast courage needed to incorporate this kind of love into our daily lives, Gandhi’s request reveals the irrefutable wisdom that only when the broken are healed, no mater what they have done, will we as people heal.’
[Mark Nepo, The book of Awakening, p. 179]
Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, was my son’s friend at Reed College in Portland. Taliesin was a year older than my son, William; my son graduated just a few weeks ago. Taliesin’s girlfriend, Ellie, is a friend of our family’s. When my son first learned one of the victim’s in the Portland massacre was his friend he cried, “No. Not Taliesin.” He is crushed. And Ellie, broken.
When the the hate-filled and mis-guided man was arraigned in a Portland court and his outbursts recorded, I felt my heart harden. ‘Hate’ is a word that was not allowed to be spoken in our little family. My son and daughter were encouraged to find a different word, or express their thoughts in another way. The hate I was feeling surprised and confused me. When I first looked upon the face that could cause so much pain and alter so many lives for false ideology, I tried at that moment to understand what could have happened in his life to cause him to violently take the lives of two beautiful beings, gravely injure a third, and force two young girls to process this horrific event over the course of their lives. My son could not look upon his face.
Then, the hatred I felt for him, and for all in our country who have been given a fast lane to expose their bigoted and racist vitriol, began to manifest. This event, for me, is the final culmination of a depleting and damaging presidential campaign, and the subsequent reality of living in a country so divided and angry that I do not see a path forward under any peripheral leadership.
Guided by Universal grace I was reminded of Gandhi’s story, and my heart began to release the awful hate.
Taliesen, Rick Best, and Micah Fletcher stood up to hate and violence. They were brave and altruistic in motive and heart. They are true patriots, and what I believe America to be, or has the potential to be. We, too, as a nation, are broken. To heal, we must help and embrace, show kindness and compassion, interpersonally, and in our communities, every day. Every. Single. Day.
Taliesin and Ellie spent their last hours together working in their garden and sharing dinner in Taliesin’s new home. He created a community space for Ellie and their friends. He wanted to marry and have children. Together they hoped to plant a ‘Bleeding Heart’ bush, the one with the tiny heart-shaped flowers.
The fall-out from this tragedy has altered my own personal trajectory. I will not permit these deaths to be senseless, only a constant reminder of, as favorite professor Dr. David Peat reminded me, Infinite Potential. The potential of one love, one mind, one body, one spirit.
Thank you, Taliesin. For being a tender friend to my son, for reminding me in your transition the tremendous infinite possibility of kindness, compassion, and love.
My son and I toasted you the evening before he left for his own life’s potential.Here’s to you, sweet Taliesin. We will always feel your light, your grace, your gift, and your love.
“I see more clearly than ever before that my Divine birthright is freedom, peace, joy, and eternal goodness. I perceive that this same birthright is bequeathed to all people. This power I use for my own and every other person’s good.”
[Science of Mind]