Compassion

Saturday morning.

May 7, 2022

Respite from the tilt toward darkness our planet collectively shares.

Peace.

Compassion.

Love.

Our spiritual compass.

‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’ -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

[My thesis.-dayle ❀]

From poet Pádraig Ó Tuama:

“Friends, there are many things that crowd your attention. And many things deserve your attention. May you find the space to pay attention to what is important, to feel the feel of feelings, and to find ways to respond with action, care, justice, kindness, time, and whatever else is needed. Beir bua.” [Bring Victory]

Sharing a beautiful curation from journalist and author Dan Rather and his writing partner Elliot Kirschner. They title their compilation, ‘Smile for Saturday’ featured on their ‘Steady’ published on the Substack platform. Subscriptions are open. -dayle

https://steady.substack.com

Blackbird

Music has a way of speaking to us, across genres, across performers, and across the years. It is a conversation that builds from what was said before and evolves over time. All these thoughts flooded forth when we discovered a video of the brilliant musician Jon Batiste performing his version of the Beatles song “Blackbird.”

The occasion for the 2016 performance was the 52nd anniversary of the Beatles’ television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and Batiste was appearing on the very same stage as they had. As many of you likely know, the Ed Sullivan Theater is now home to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” where Batiste serves as musical director.

https://youtu.be/H46yXW4qR_M

Batiste plays “Blackbird” on the piano, whereas the song’s co-writer Paul McCartney (John Lennon shared the writing credit) played his version on the guitar. The musical style also differs, and so does the delivery of the lyrics. But there is a kinship of evocative musicality linking this version to McCartney’s that brought a big smile to our faces. Batiste’s Juilliard-honed abilities as performer and arranger are on full display. So, too, is the genius of the original.

At a time when we are fractured, this song made us feel whole. At a time when we are unmoored, this feels rooted. At a time when we see far too many acts of hate, this feels like a tribute of love.

Left in awe of this performance, we decided to dig a little more into the history of “Blackbird.” And things got even more interesting. It turns out the lineage of the song goes back well before the 1968 White Album on which it first appeared — as in centuries back. “Blackbird” was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach — more specifically, his famous “Bourrée in E minor.” We will let Sir Paul himself tell you the story.

Bach’s piece was originally written for the lute but has since become a staple for classical guitar. If you are still with us and want to continue this musical journey, here is a performance of the piece on its original instrument.

Through our research we became a bit obsessed with Batiste, his story, and his music. We encourage you to listen to more from this remarkable talent.


‘Innocent bystander.’ Thomas Merton: I am no longer smiling … for I do not think the question of our innocence can be a matter for jesting, and I am no longer certain that it is honorable to stand by as the helpless witness to a cataclysm, with no other hope than to die innocently and by accident, as a nonparticipant. ♀︎



 

🌷Practicing resurrection.

April 17, 2022

“A rabbi friend taught this prayer to me many years ago. The Jews did not speak God’s name, but breathed it:

Inhale=Yah

Exhale=Weh

“God’s name was the first and last word to pass their lips. By your very breathing, you are praying and participating in God’s grace. You are whoo are are, living God’s presence, in the simplify and persistence of breath.

God creates things that continue to create themselves.”

-Fr Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation


What Did Easter Mean to Early Quakers?

Quakers insisted that the spirit of Christ that was experienced by Jesus’s disciples after the resurrection, by Paul on the road to Damascus, and in gatherings of the early Church, is universally available to everyone in all ages, locations, and cultures.

For early Quakers, Christ was not tied just to Jesus, but, as with the Word in the Gospel of John [Gospel of Mary Magdalene-dayle], was present from the beginning and is manifest in the prophets of Judaism and other religious traditions. One might say today it does not matter if the resurrection of Jesus was physical or spiritual, for, from the beginning, Quakers have insisted that Christ’s spirit can be experienced by any of us anywhere. Hence Mary Fisher, one of Quakerism’s founding Valiant Sixty, felt confident she could minister to the Sultan of Turkey, because he would know the same universal spirit of God or Christ that she did.

Let us then think of the risen Christ  [consciousness] as a transforming experience of the Divine that is available on any day of the year without regard to religion or theology.

What Did Easter Mean to Early Quakers?


 

[The Beloved Companion/The Complete Gospel of Mary Magdalene,

by Jehanne de Quillan]

The Gospel of Mary

In our present age, we stand at a crossroads in our history. No one can deny, as well at our world today, that all about us we see turmoil and suffering, war and economic exploitation, corruption and greed; while torture, rape, and murder have become politically justifiable weapons of war. In our clearest moments, we must recognize that these are the first signs of the collapse of our social and economic forms and institutions. Perhaps, in the midst of this seemingly endless change of chaotic events, we need to look very closely at the value sand beliefs that have brought us to this place. For only be amning our past can we come to understand our present, and perhaps, by learning from our mistakes, begin to change our future.


 

Pink Moon 

‘Focus on the feminine aspects of beauty, forgiveness, compassion and healing.’

-Power Path

‘All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’

-Julian of Norwich

‘History is set on an inherently positive and hopeful tangent.’

-Fr Richard Rohr


R

I

L

K

E

‘Ever again, though we’ve learned the landscape of love

and the lament in the churchyards names

and the terrible, silent abs where the others have fallen;

ever again we walk out, two together,

under the ancient trees, ever again find a place

among wildflowers, under heaven’s gaze.’

The origin of the order can be traced to Mount Carmel in northwestern Israel, where a number of devout men, apparently former pilgrims and Crusaders, established themselves near the traditional fountain of Elijah about 1155; they lived in separate cells or huts and observed vows of silence, seclusion, abstinence, and austerity. Soon, however, the losses of the Crusading armies in Palestine made Mount Carmel unsafe for the Western hermits, and around 1240 they set out for Cyprus, Sicily, France, and England. [Britannica]

Carmelite philosopher Edith Stein:

“I do not exist of myself, and of myself I am nothing. Every moment I stand before nothingness, so that every moment I must be dowered anew with being … This nothing being of mine, this frail received being, is being … It thirsts not only for endless continuation of its being but for full session of being.”

St. Teresa of Ávila

Of all the movements in the Carmelite order, by far the most important and far-reaching in its results was the reform initiated by St. Teresa of Ávila. [Britannica]

Ileo Delio:

“For Stein, the very existence of ‘I’ means the ‘I’ is not alone; the ‘I’ experiences loneliness only when it becomes unconscious of its very existence.”

French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil:

“Whoever says ‘I’ lies.”

[The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, p. 61.]

A final thought in memory of my late sweet friend Marilyn Andrews:

“How do we give thanks and give back to other earth — G A I A ❀ — and the cosmos and all the blessings our species has inherited?”

Rabbi Abraham Heschel teaches that a prophets primary task is to interfere.

Julian of Norwich, by calling us to interfere with patriarchy and heal the wounds that it has wracked upon human history and the human soul and the earth, beckons us from folly to wisdom. Are we listening?” -Matthew Fox

Are we practicing resurrection? -dayle

🥀Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2022

A statue of St.. Julian of Norwich (c.1342 – c. 1416) in the Norwich Cathedral, England.

She that made all things for love.

Revelations of Divine Love, written in the 14th century by an anchoress, Julian of Norwich, is remembered today as the first work in the English language written by a woman. She lived the entirely of her life during a pandemic, the bubonic plague, or Black Death.

S

O

P

H

I

A

Wisdom is the mother of all things.

Compassion is rooted in the word, womb. Julian was the first to address Jesus as mother.

Culture and spirituality author Matthew Fox:

A Pandemic is too important to waste.

This pandemic is here to wake jus up. To What? To a “new normal.” One that honors the sacredness of the earth and of all its life forms. One that honors the divine feminine alongside a sacred masculine. One that honors the human body and its basic needs, a long with those of the earth’s body, and on that basis give birth to a new body politic. One that does not put billionaires and the structures that create them on pedestals. And one that does not elect narcissistic politicians who incarnate the very meaning of fatalistic self-hatred by watching hundreds of thousands die with a shrug of the shoulder. Remember? “It is what is it.” 900,000+ have die. (With compassion and leadership, how many more would still be alive?-dayle)

[…]

Might I suggest this: maybe Julian of Norwich, and the rich tradition of creation spirituality that she carries in her bones, heart, and mind, from Jesus to Benedict, Hildegard, Francis, Aquinas, Mechtild, and Eckhart…maybe she is the vaccine that is truly needed today.

Virtual love

January 26th, 2022

January 26, 2022

‘Now I’m wondering: is there a way to disentangle the story from the information? Yes, we need to take care of ourselves and each other. Yes, we need to stay aware and intentional, particularly considering the most vulnerable among us. But is there a way to do it with less ego and more observing tenderness?

It turns out, the interpretation of life is relentless. The suspension of interpretation, while brief and groundless, can be a sweet relief. I want less ego-building exercises and more compassion experiments in my life moving forward. I want less roller coasters and more clouds. I want less fear and more love’ -Courtney Martin

Courtney E. Martin is an American feminist, author, speaker, and social and political activist.


Thich

Nhat

Hahn

The Four Elements of Right Speech

‘Loving, truthful speech can bring a lot of joy and peace to people. But producing loving speech takes practice because we aren’t used to it. When we hear so much speech that causes craving, insecurity, and anger, we get accustomed to speaking that way. Truthful, loving speech is something we need to train ourselves in.

In Buddhism there’s a practice called the Ten Bodhisattva Trainings. Four of these 10 relate to Right Speech. A bodhisattva is an enlightened being who has dedicated his or her life to alleviating the suffering of all living beings.

A bodhisattva is someone who can speak with gentle, loving speech and who can listen with compassion.

The four bodhisattva guidelines of the Ten Bodhisattva Trainings for Right Speech:

  1. Tell the truth. Don’t lie or turn truth upside down.
  2. Don’t exaggerate.
  3. Be consistent. This means no double-talk: speaking about something in one way to one person and in an opposite way to another for selfish or manipulative reasons.
  4. Use peaceful language. Don’t use insulting or violent words, cruel speech, verbal abuse, or condemnation.

When we don’t, repercussions are brutal and, sometimes, irreparable. -dayle

‘Our suffering has been trying to communicate with us, to let us know it is there, but we have spent a lot of time and energy ignoring it.

We know that the suffering inside us contains the suffering of our fathers, our mothers, and our ancestors. 

Our suffering reflects the suffering of the world. Discrimination, exploitation, poverty, and fear cause a lot of suffering in those around us. Our suffering also reflects the suffering of others. 

If we understand our own suffering it will become much easier for us to understand the suffering of others and the of the world. 

But unless we can listen to and acknowledge our own suffering, we will not really be able to help.’


On Being.

Remembering Thich Nhat Hanh, Brother Thay

‘The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, revered Zen master, teacher, and poet, died on January 22, 2022, in his native Vietnam. Brother Thay, as he was known by his community and students, transmuted what he had experienced of chaos and bloodshed in his country and his life into an ability to speak with equal measures directness and compassion to the many conflicts and bewilderments of contemporary life. Martin Luther King Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was a great teacher of the wonderful practice of “walking meditation.” He taught a way of living to face suffering, fear, and violence inside and beyond ourselves and yet to become “fresh, solid, and free.” Krista sat with him for this rare conversation in the early years of this show, and it has touched many. It is astonishing to re-experience the deep, enduring wisdom this monk leaves for our world now.”

Host Krista Tippett.

Remembering Thich Nhat Hanh, Brother Thay

January 21, 2022

January 21, 2022

Thay.

1926-2022

From his community at Plum Village in France:

With a deep mindful breath, we announce the passing of our beloved teacher, Thay Nhat Hanh, at 00:00hrs on January 22, 2022 at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, at the age of 95.

 

Thay has been the most extraordinary teacher, whose peace, tender compassion, and bright wisdom has touched the lives of millions. Whether we have encountered him on retreats, at public talks, or through his books and online teachings–or simply through the story of his incredible life–we can see that Thay has been a true bodhisattva, an immense force for peace and healing in the world. Thay has been a revolutionary, a renewer of Buddhism, never diluting and always digging deep into the roots of Buddhism to bring out its authentic radiance.

 

Thay has opened up a beautiful path of Engaged and Applied Buddhism for all of us: the path of the Five Mindfulness Trainings and the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing. As Thay would say, “Because we have seen the path, we have nothing more to fear.” We know our direction in life, we know what to do, and what not to do to relieve suffering in ourselves, in others, and in the world; and we know the art of stopping, looking deeply, and generating true joy and happiness.

 

Now is a moment to come back to our mindful breathing and walking, to generate the energy of peace, compassion, and gratitude to offer our beloved Teacher. It is a moment to take refuge in our spiritual friends, our local sanghas and community, and each other.

 

We invite you to join our global community online, as we commemorate Thay’s life and legacy with five days of practice and ceremonies broadcast LIVE from Hue, Vietnam and Plum Village, France, starting on Saturday January 22nd. Please see our website for more details coming shortly: www.plumvillage.org/memorial

 

Let us each resolve to do our best over the coming days to generate the energy of mindfulness, peace, and compassion, to send to our beloved Teacher.

 

Over the coming hours on the Plum Village website, we will publish some inspirational chants, texts, and mindfulness practice resources, to support you to come together with your local sangha to generate a collective energy of mindfulness and compassion, and create your own ceremony or session in tribute to our Teacher. As Thay has always taught, nothing is more important than brotherhood and sisterhood, and we all know the power of collective energy.

We invite you to share your messages of gratitude or personal transformation and healing on our website: plumvillage.org/gratitude-for-thich-nhat-hanh

 

With love, trust, and togetherness,

The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village, France

Thích Nhất Hạnh


 

Gautier Capuçon

Hymne à l’amour

Édith Piaf/Marguerite Monnot – Paris Tour Eiffel

700,000.

October 2, 2021

“We already know this law of compassion, because it is written on our hearts. We contradict our own good common sense when we seek ritual purity or any kind of moral superiority instead of loving who/what is right in front of us.” 

-Father Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation

Managing the Shi(f)t

July 30, 2021

Digital 3D visualization of a fractal structure. 

The main theme for August is “Managing the Shi(f)t”.

The first part of the month requires great flexibility, acceptance, compassion, and resilience to deal with unexpected and sudden changes whether in yourself or in others. It may look grim at the beginning but we are moving forward into calmer waters that will provide more stability, inspiration, rational thought and clarity as we anchor ourselves into a brighter landscape.

Old emotional and habitual patterns are still bubbling to the surface for forgiveness and expulsion. We get to see where we have been wasting our energy on worry, regret and blame. Old habits of judgment, feeling powerless, victimized, and limited in what we can create have eroded our motivation and bred despair, anger, resistance and negative attitudes towards life. If you get stuck there, and are unwilling to let the past go and accept where the tide is moving, you will be miserable.

On the other hand, if you are willing to open to more trust in the positive and optimistic view of the big picture, you can completely turn anything negative and limited in your life around. The clearing of old trauma in any and many ways is a very useful practice this month. (There is a good exercise on the monthly support audio to help with the understanding and clearing of trauma or “susto”.)

This will require an open heart and the discipline of trust even though you may not have instant feedback from your prayers and intentions. There may be a lag time that tests you. You may not see or experience results that you are on the right track and you may need to go deep into your own intuition for confidence and confirmation. And, if you continue to come across obstacles and challenges along the way, look to what is not yet cleared in your field or where you are still holding on to something in your past, rather than how the universe may not be supporting you at this time.

Remember that in order to bring your vibration up and move to that next level, you need to make space. Creating space for the abundance available later in the month demands paying attention to your habitual reactions, habits and judgments so you can clear and change them to a better alignment.

The most important thing is to stay out of blame, especially when you are accommodating a change that you did not initiate. Acceptance and neutrality go a long way to ease the discomfort of this experience.

We are definitely in a transition time and a huge shift in consciousness and vibration.

Curiosity, optimism, creativity and humor should be a major part of the management team you build to navigate this month and the months to come. Take responsibility for your own shi(f)t, and stay in your own lane with regards to where others are in their own navigation. Once we get through the potentially cranky new moon on the 8th, we have our work cut out for us. If we do it well, there are many gifts awaiting us as we move into the last part of the month.

What is the “work”?
Courage to tell the truth. Courage to let go. Courage to forgive. Determination to trust. Discipline to stay out of blame. Compassion for yourself and others. Acceptance and cooperation regarding change not initiated by you. Keeping your vibration high no matter what through beauty, inspiration and strong spiritual practices. Staying in your own lane and out of other people’s drama and negativity. Trusting your intuition, your inner guidance, and having the courage to go for what is right for YOU. Taking full responsibility for your own shi(f)t.


How the rest of the month shows up:

August 2021 Monthly Forecast

John McAfee

June 23, 2021

“In a democracy, power is given not taken. But it is still power. Love, compassion, caring have no use for it. But it is fuel for greed, hostility,  jealousy … All power corrupts. Take care which powers you allow a democracy to wield.”

6.23.21

Mindful, Selfless, and Compassionate

June 5, 2021

Harvard Business Review

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Summary.   

The Dalai Lama shares his observations on leadership and describes how our “strong focus on material development and accumulating wealth has led us to neglect our basic human need for kindness and care.” He offers leaders three recommendations. First, to be mindful: “When we’re under the sway of anger or attachment, we’re limited in our ability to take a full and realistic view of the situation.” Also, to be selfless: “Once you have a genuine sense of concern for others, there’s no room for cheating, bullying, or exploitation; instead you can be honest, truthful, and transparent in your conduct.” And finally, to be compassionate: “When the mind is compassionate, it is calm and we’re able to use our sense of reason practically, realistically, and with determination.”

by the Dalai Lama with Rasmus Hougaard

What can leaders do?

Be mindful

Cultivate peace of mind. As human beings, we have a remarkable intelligence that allows us to analyze and plan for the future. We have language that enables us to communicate what we have understood to others. Since destructive emotions like anger and attachment cloud our ability to use our intelligence clearly, we need to tackle them.

Fear and anxiety easily give way to anger and violence. The opposite of fear is trust, which, related to warmheartedness, boosts our self-confidence. Compassion also reduces fear, reflecting as it does a concern for others’ well-being. This, not money and power, is what really attracts friends. When we’re under the sway of anger or attachment, we’re limited in our ability to take a full and realistic view of the situation. When the mind is compassionate, it is calm and we’re able to use our sense of reason practically, realistically, and with determination.

Be selfless

We are naturally driven by self-interest; it’s necessary to survive. But we need wise self-interest that is generous and cooperative, taking others’ interests into account. Cooperation comes from friendship, friendship comes from trust, and trust comes from kindheartedness. Once you have a genuine sense of concern for others, there’s no room for cheating, bullying, or exploitation; instead, you can be honest, truthful, and transparent in your conduct.

Be compassionate

The ultimate source of a happy life is warmheartedness. Even animals display some sense of compassion. When it comes to human beings, compassion can be combined with intelligence. Through the application of reason, compassion can be extended to all 7 billion human beings. Destructive emotions are related to ignorance, while compassion is a constructive emotion related to intelligence. Consequently, it can be taught and learned.

Buddhist tradition describes three styles of compassionate leadership: the trailblazer, who leads from the front, takes risks, and sets an example; the ferryman, who accompanies those in his care and shapes the ups and downs of the crossing; and the shepherd, who sees every one of his flock into safety before himself. Three styles, three approaches, but what they have in common is an all-encompassing concern for the welfare of those they lead.”

Full piece:

https://hbr.org/2019/02/the-dalai-lama-on-why-leaders-should-be-mindful-selfless-and-compassionate?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=twitter&tpcc=orgsocial_edit

We are re-arranged.

April 1, 2021

The following piece was written by Courtney Martin. She is a brilliant writer. I bought her yellow & blue book for my now young adult kids a number of years ago. Reading her words through our isolation continues to be a balm for my spirit. 

“I was trying to describe the fog of emotions I’ve been feeling about society/school/life re-opening lately to a friend and realized that it was very similar to that study abroad malaise all those years ago. I’ve been through a thing. We’ll all been through a thing.” ~Courntey

How will be changed? Will we honor the change? Our personal paradigm shift? How, through this change, can we, will we, do better, be better, to ourselves, each other, our community, our country, our planet?

WE MUST.

Internally rearranged
A plea for reverence for what we have all endured

“Right before we returned from our study abroad program in South Africa all of the American college students started getting tattoos. We had lived with families in Langa township, grown accustomed to mealie sap for breakfast, learned the click of the Xhosa language, and watched emails to our boyfriends and girlfriends back home build letter by letter in the excruciatingly slow computer lab on the University of Cape Town campus.

We were, in short, not the same people as those who had boarded the airplane in New York City six months earlier. We were different people, maybe not new exactly, but internally rearranged.

On the outside, however, we looked the same. Thus the tattoos. It was a way of telegraphing to the world—but especially our family and friends, who we most needed to know—that we were altered. We had been through a thing. We had come out the other side.

I was trying to describe the fog of emotions I’ve been feeling about society/school/life re-opening lately to a friend and realized that it was very similar to that study abroad malaise all those years ago. I’ve been through a thing. We’ll all been through a thing.

Not the same thing, interestingly. Mine was euphoric mindfulness mixed with unfamiliar rage, little girls’ bodies all over me, all the time, starving for solitude, learning to cook and download audio books, falling in love with a hard hike, grief over losses unexpected and expected, alike. Yours might have been skin hunger and take-out, learning to drive and play the ukulele, losing a job, falling out of love with something core. We were not, as it turned out, all in this together.

But we were all in something. And I don’t know about you, but I want us to mark that moment in some way—maybe not with the unimaginative dolphin and butterfly tats of yesteryear, but something, anything, that might make this liminal space feel seen and acknowledged. That might help us say—with out bodies, with our spirits, with our people—wow, we endured. Through isolation and fear and grief, we endured. We honored birth and death in completely new ways. We stayed put. We stayed together. We stayed. We stayed. Not all of us did, but most of us did. We stayed.

As things open up, part of me wants to shout: “Have some God damn respect! Can you see what’s happened here?”

It’s not about physical safety. It’s about something else—reverence. I’m craving a sort of societal deep breath, a collective song of mourning and resurrection, a deep bow to the fact that we held it the f down.

It’s not that I can’t see the light down there at the end of the tunnel (call it herd immunity, call it 2022, call it whatever you want). Today my kid went to school for the first time in over a year in a real classroom with a teacher with a body and came home bouncing. She said it was “better than the beach.” I want her to run into that future full force, to enjoy every second of the visceral life she deserves.

But even as she crossed over the threshold into the school, part of me wanted to freeze the whole scene, to say something that would help her understand how completely awed I am by how she’s adapted. And that she’ll always have this—this year when she planted the doomed loquat and fell in love with multiplication and was mostly shockingly kind to her sister and the cat. The smokey skies and the talk of germs and the learning to ride a bike—it’s all inside of her now. It can’t be seen from the outside, but it’s hers forever.

I guess this is me saying that to her (hi Maya of the future, call me). I guess this is me saying that to myself. I endured. I was mostly shockingly kind. I learned a lot. And it’s inside of me now.

I guess this is me saying that to you, too. You did it. It’s inconceivable what you braved, what you remade, what you longed for, what you held on for. And it’s not exactly over, but it’s changing, and in this liminal moment, as we ascend into the sky, away from the thing that altered us, I want you to know that I see how you’re internally rearranged. You’re not the same. You’re even more beautiful.

~Courtney


     ♥

\ (•◡•) /

\     /

|   |

“The spiritual journey is the relinquishment…or unlearning…of fear, and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.” -Marianne Williamson

“Behold, what I have seen to be good and to be fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of  life which God has given.” -Ecclesiastes 5:18

‘…under her sky.’

January 16, 2021

Washington National Cathedral is hosting a new art exhibit showcasing thousands of paper doves suspended from the Cathedral’s vaulted, 100-foot-high ceiling through May 2021. The “Les Colombes” exhibit is by German artist Michael Pendry, who has created similar works at Cathedrals around the world, and symbolizes the Biblical theme of hope and optimism heading into the new year after a very challenging 2020.

Every moment and every event of every woman’s life on earth plants something in her soul. -Thomas Merton [changes to gender, mine.]

More from Merton:

Prayer is freedom and affirmation growing out of nothingness into love. It is the elevation of our limited freedom into the infinite freedom of the divine spirit and of the divine love. Prayer is an emergence into this area of infinite freedom.

~

Keep your eyes clean your ears quiet and your mind serene. Breathe Gaia’s air. Work, if you can, under her sky.


Dear Friends,

I’ve always called myself a lover of language and of the limits of language. But this week I take no pleasure in how tongue-tied I feel, standing before the disarray and fragility of our life together. It’s hard to put words out into the world right now for so many reasons. That they’re not big enough. That they never tell the whole truth. That we live in a moment so on edge and reactive that someone will take offense, or be wounded by my words, and that feels harder than ever before to risk and to bear.

There is an insanity to our life together right now that is directly related to the tenuous hold on sanity so many of us feel after surviving this past year.  

That does not justify hatred or violence.

It does mean that we’re called to be as gentle with ourselves and others as we can possibly, reasonably muster. That sounds like such a modest contribution to the tumult all around and on our screens, but it is not.

I keep coming back in memory, and feeling in my body, to my experience of election night 2020. I observed it as someone who sees our political life together as a reflection of the human condition in all its complexity, contradiction, and mess. But I was also watching as a person who grew up in one of the “reddest” states, who now lives in one of the “bluest.” I felt a panicked sadness — this has remained my primary emotion through everything that has followed — as the cameras zoomed in and out on those maps of our country.

I saw visually what I know in life as it is lived: those maps marked up with definitive reds and blues don’t tell the truth of our alienation and its unsustainable intimacy. The fractures that actually define our nation right now do not run state to state or county to county, but neighborhood to neighborhood, family to family. They run through our dreams for our children on every side. They run through our hearts, and through our lives.

I am so grateful to have received, as I was struggling to write this, an email from Whitney Kimball Coe of the Rural Assembly and the Center for Rural Strategies. There is a whole epic story of our time in what is being gathered and created in the world she’s part of. It is in no way described or contained in a red-blue demographic lens of the “urban-rural divide.” She gave me permission to share this part of her email with you:

“I’m at home nursing my youngest, Susannah, who had a scary fall on Monday night and is now recuperating from surgery. She’s going to be fine, but my goodness, 2021 came in hard. Stream of consciousness moment:You know, our hospital experience put us directly in the path of so many wonderful East Tennesseans. Nurses and technicians and doctors, the other parents waiting in the ER, the parking attendant, the security guard. I’m sure many of them didn’t vote as I did in the last election and probably believe the events of Jan 6 were mere protests, but they responded to our trauma with their full humanity. I’d forgotten what it feels like to really see people beyond their tribe/ideology. It broke something open in me. I’ve been living in a castle of isolation these many months and it’s rotted and blotted my insides. I’m aware of contempt, anger, and maybe even paranoia coursing through my veins, and I wonder if that’s just a snippet of where we are as a nation.

Why is our righteous indignation and disgust so much easier to flame than our compassion?

It makes me realize that there is no substitute for coming into the presence of one another. No meme nor Twitter post nor op-ed nor breaking news nor TED talk can soften and strengthen our hearts like actually tending to one another. We don’t have to ignore/excuse the darkness we all carry, but we have to keep showing up so we don’t lose ourselves to bitterness.”

We cannot conjure up something so aspirational as “unity” by wishing it, and we are in fact impoverished when it comes to “common ground” between our societal trenches. 

But if I’ve heard one thing most insistently, with an infinite variety of circumstance and struggle, from absolutely every beautiful and wise human I’ve ever met, it is this: We are creatures made, again and again, by what would break us. Yet only if we open to the fullness of the reality of what goes wrong for us, and walk ourselves with and through it, are we able to integrate it into a new kind of wholeness on the other side.

Our collective need for a new kind of wholeness might be the only aspiration we can share across all of our chasms right now.

Longings, too, can be common ground. A shared desire not to be lost to bitterness. A clear-eyed commitment that what divides us now does not have to define what can become possible between us. Questions, honestly asked, about how to make that real.

-Krista

[Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, a National Humanities Medalist, a New York Times bestselling author, and founder of On Being.]

Krista Tippett

As a nation…

January 14, 2021

…perhaps truth is no longer a direct possibility. In the United States, two distinct and separate platforms of truth hold form. Beyond ‘truth’,

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C O M P A S S I O N

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’

-Martin Luther King Jr.

King was a visionary, just as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were visionaries.  What each of them had in common was common sense, an understanding of history and a conviction of love and hope.  This same spirit today is reflected in the leadership of Jacinda Ardern, Angela Merkel and Greta Thunberg. King left us a legacy that we must not ignore.  There are many thousands who are carrying his mantle of resistance to oppression and path to justice. Most of us understand that love and compassion are the best antidotes to violence and hatred. May we all refocus and double down on being lights that drive out darkness, showing love that drowns out hatred, and spreading compassion that all make our world a better place for everyone. Let’s allow those common-sense chapters of On Tyranny be our points of reflection and action.

Why Martin Luther King Day is Celebrated in Hiroshima, Japan

We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody, that is far superior to the discords of war.  –Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Hiroshima, Japan is one of the only cities that celebrates Martin Luther King Day outside of the United States. This connection may seem surprising but a closer examination reveals Hiroshima, known as the “City of Peace” is the living embodiment of many of Dr. King’s core beliefs including non-violence, peace, resilience, forgiveness and optimism. It would be expected that the people of Hiroshima were consumed by sorrow, hate and thoughts of revenge following the atomic bombing of their city. Instead, the survivors of the irradiated city consciously and deliberately rebuilt their city to ensure that every facet of their society – governmental policies, educational system, city landmarks, and holidays, including Martin Luther King Day – contributed to the promotion of world peace. As a result, a city that was described as a “burned scar” in 1945 is now known as the “City of Peace” that aggressively exports reconciliation, harmony and inspires millions around the world every year. Please join the conversation with Steve Leeper of Peace Culture Village and Ray Matsumiya of the Oleander Initiative as they discuss the devastating humanitarian impact of the atomic bombing AND the process of healing and rebuilding that resulted in Hiroshima’s extraordinary culture of peace.

[Please visit this link for the full article: https://charterforcompassion.org/component/acymailing/mailid-418?tmpl=component

Thank you to Dr. Andrea Montgomery Di Marco, CEO of the Flourishing Foundation/Global Women Seeking Change, for sharing this information, https://flourishingfoundation.org 

Our first response, foundation, must be compassion for other, ahimsa, non-violence, and peace for all beings, regardless of your, or my,  ‘truth.’


‘The reward for uncovering the truth is the experience of honest knowing. The reward for understanding is the peace of knowing. The reward for loving is being the carrier of love. It all becomes elusively simple. The river’s sole purpose is to carry water, and as the force of the water depends and widens the riverbed, the river fulfills its purpose more. Likewise, the river bed of the heart is worn open over time to carry what is living.

Even the deepest pain will pass.’

-Mark Nepo


 

 

Ahimsa.

January 12, 2021

[A 10-year-old girl’s letter to the police officer seen being crushed in the insurrection riot at the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021.]

“Sorrow is my meditation.” -Dr. Jan Peppler

‘Our suffering has been trying to communicate with us, to let us know it is there, but we have spent a lot of time and energy ignoring it.

The suffering inside us contains the suffering of our fathers, our mothers, and our ancestors.

Our suffering reflects the suffering of the world.

Understanding suffering always brings compassion.’

-Thich Nhat Hanh

We are beaten and blown by the wind, blown the wind, oh when I go there, I go there with you, it’s all I can do.

-U2

‘Despite the terrific beating we were experiencing at the hands of fate, each of us still living out his faith. Even in the presence of extraordinary pain, we were taking right action, we were attending to our practice, each in her own way.

As I listened to the lyrics of this song, the depth of my commitment to my own spiritual path became clear to me.

Marianne Williamson, in her spiritual guidebook a Return to Love, “If you want to end darkness, you cannot beat it with a baseball bat, you have to turn on the light.”

We do not need to enter a showdown with our self-destructive behavior, nor can we deny its existence. We must simply come to now it, and move on. We learn to focus wholeheartedly on positive behavior.’

-Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison

Additionally, ahimsa/non-violence practiced not only in behavior and thought, but also a vow to disrupt violence.

From Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, lawyer, author, and professor: “We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation.”

From yoga teacher, practitioner, author and activist Seane Corn.

Dearest friends, 

I intended this letter to be about the New Year, wishing you all the brightest and the best for 2021. 

Sadly, so quickly into the year, the Capitol building in the US was assaulted by domestic terrorists, and, once again, this nation is in trauma and turmoil. 

I am devastated by the events in DC and horrified by the people who caused so much suffering to democracy in the US. It’s tragic but not surprising. It felt like it was moving in this direction for a very long time.

Although this moment in history is sad and discouraging, I continue to commit to re-imagining a future that is happy, healthy, and peaceful for ALL and holding on to hope that justice will prevail and healing will occur for us in the US and throughout the world.

I hope you are doing okay. That you are breathing, staying in communication with your friends, family, and support system, and doing your yoga, meditation, and healing work. 

I am sending you so much love to you and your family.

God bless,

Alternate text

The world cries out for compassion.

Yes. And compassion. Feel it. Share it. Grow it. Live it.

December 27, 2020

I think of empathy as a series of concentric circles. Some people can feel empathy only for their immediate circle: family and friends. Some go out to the next circle: neighbors. Others go to more advanced levels. But couldn’t we all benefit from leaping to the next circle out?

-Walter Shaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics

 

As we are loved.

December 25, 2020

“A new commandment I give to you, the you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

-Jesus of Nazareth, John 13:34

~

‘I know why I celebrate the Christian message. It is because I am grateful for what I have learned from Jesus: to be courageous and dare to question the established ways of thinking;

to speak up about unjust laws;

to be fearlessly compassionate;

to reach out to those who are sick and suffering; to attend to my short-comings before judging others for theirs; to be empathetic and reach across tribal boundaries to embrace people of all kinds, even those who are traditionally thought of as enemies; to have personal dignity under stress and

not buckle under the weight of popular opinion;

to be true to myself when the masses disapprove; to be charitable and stand for forgiveness and help those who are disproportionately disadvantaged; to be down to Earth about my spirituality and to practice it; and above all, to have a direct and personal relationship with the Divine.’

-Rev. Dr. Edward Viljoen

~

I, the father of this universe, the Mother, {GAIA, Sofia, Bafflement}, the Supporter, the Grandsire, the Holy One to be know, the Wood of Power.’ -The Bhagavad Gita

The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things. -Tao Te Ching

In a moment of realness, the clouds in our mind clear and our passion is restored, and our walls crumble when no one is looking. It all continues and refreshes, if we let it. It all renews so subtly. -Mark Nepo


“Behold, I make all things new.”

☆☆•*¨*•.¸¸

 

Heal. And unite.

November 8, 2020

 

🤎 I love this image, especially because not only does he embody hate, I am reminded hate is born of fear and fragmentation, threading in and out of our existence on this plane. Somehow, we, this country, allowed him to be celebrated after decades of his darkness…his evil energy. May he always be a reminder for what we don’t want to be and stay diligent against these dark forces. May he be dissolved, and fade from our public platforms and consciousness. May those who supported him be awakened to his destructive energies and dark heart. May their eyes be opened. And may they want to unite with all of us to be one people, to know what is true, justified, equal…for all beings…especially the oppressed and marginalized. Let us, together, be reminded of what it means to reside in the heart of democracy and fix what has been broken since this country was born.

And then, may we heal. 

-dayle

From Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States:

“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again. And to make progress we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.”

Alluding to scripture, he added: “This is the time to heal in America.”

From the Vice-President Elect, Kamala Harris, the first woman, a woman of color, Black and Southern Asian woman, to be elected to this office.

“Protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice. But there is joy in it. And there is progress. Because we, the people, have the power to build a better future.”

We The People

For those who voted, again, for the current president, please answer, ‘Why’? What did he do for you? During a pandemic? Employment? Opportunity? Fairness? Equality? Or, is it deeper? Fear? Nationalism? Culture? Bias? Concerns over race? Majorities? Disinformation? Social media platforms?

  • Truth.
  • Faith.
  • Clarity.
  • Compassion.
  • Empathy.

May we heal. And unite. Not half of us…all of us. We. The. People.

W.E.B. Du Bois:

Strive for that greatness of spirit that measure life not by its disappointments, but by its possibilities.

Desmond Tutu:

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

The collective heart of humankind’s suffering.

Thomas Merton:

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another and all involved in one another.

Friends,

Today, we celebrate our democracy, our common humanity, and a glass ceiling shattered once and for all.

With nearly 160 million votes cast, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won a decisive victory. They received more than 75 million votes, a greater number than any ticket in history, with a remarkable breadth of support from across the nation.

And they shattered several glass ceilings—it will be a joy to watch Vice President-elect Kamala inspire generations of future leaders and active citizens!

Across the Collective, we have seen so many give so much over these past four years, using a range of tools to fight for justice, equality, and our democracy. I am thankful and full of admiration.

We now have the opportunity to work for the systemic solutions we know we need—solutions that can remake the calcified systems in our country, from immigration and education to race and reconciliation, criminal justice and climate. And it will require each of us to bring spirit of ingenuity and hard work to support and accelerate America’s rebuilding and renewal.

We will let out the breath we have been holding in for so long. As celebratory as we feel, we also know that much work lies ahead—the work of healing the wounds and repairing the breaches.

So, we will get to work, and usher in the America we know is possible.

With relief and gratitude,
Laurene, Emerson Collective

Empathy + Sympahty = Compassion

We are a progressive being.

There is nothing at a standstill in nature.

Only God is motionless for (S)He was, is and will be the same yesterday,

today and tomorrow,

and yet, is ever moving.

-Mahatma Gandhi

I will never understand how 70,000,000+ people could vote for him again. Never. Perhaps, maybe, hopefully, some will evolve to understand his destructive and immoral behaviors. He has shown us who he is for decades. Some of us (me) gave him no mind. And then, he was elected to serve. He did not serve. He lied. He divided. And he hated. Hate is born of fear. What was feared?

Perhaps, we have always been this divided, but the ugly part was given platform and verbalized. Democracy, we have learned, is not passive, but active. We can not simply turn out the vote every two, or four years.

We must edify and protect the marginalized and oppressed. The government serves us, we don’t serve it.

A true democracy is messy and necessary. And it requires ‘good trouble.’

Now, let’s work to balance the scales and bring Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate in Georgia. The shadow president, Senator Mitch McConnell, will continue to strangle democracy and refuse to move policy forward if we do not achieve balance. Please donate or volunteer:   

electjon.com  warnockforgeorgia.com

James Martin, SJ:

It is, and always has been, possible to speak respectfully about someone with whom you disagree. Here’s how: “Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”

Krista Tippett, journalist and author:

What is the story of “us”? How do we learn it, how do we tell it, and how to shift it, across dehumanizing divides, in enduring ways?

Padraig O’ Tuama, poet:

In all the waiting of your week — for results from elections, for different news, for finality, for certitude — the work of the past is calling for attention. A new future will only be built on courageous moments, and those are happening now, and now and now. In the waiting, we are with you, considering history, paradise and conflict, considering how these patterns of time are inviting us to new actions. 

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On Being:

What do you notice about how you behave in times of conflict? Do you tend toward avoidance? Or compromise? Or collaboration? Or competition? Or accommodation?

This poem describes a conflict between neighbors: a tree hangs over a fence. The owners love this tree; their neighbors don’t. Somebody responds directly, somebody else avoids, a chainsaw appears. Suddenly this conflict becomes a parable for all conflicts, illustrating how deep they can go and how often they cannot be resolved with a question about what to do.

Philip Metres — One Tree

‘Conflict is not two sides, but many sides.

What is the definition of love between conflict?’

Will we learn how to listen to each other again; we are not enemies–we are merely opponents. We have more in common than we know, or perhaps, are willing to admit. .d

October 27, 2020

Finding a little bit of compassion where ever we can.

‘I think we’re supposed to help each other.’

April 7, 2020

‘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.

Life Lessons:

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:

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:

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/brene-brown-cope-coronavirus-pandemic-covid-19-60-minutes-2020-03-29/

 

And still we rise.

April 2, 2020

 

Hala Alyan.

EMERGENCE MAGAZINE

‘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.’

This Is Not a Rehearsal

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