Posts tagged Article
Spirituality & Community Organizing

In this moment of disruptive change in our political environment I see both hope and real possibility to integrate traditional community organizing, social movement theory, and spiritual practices in order to bring our whole selves to the work of transforming systems and structures that oppress people and prevent them from realizing and sharing their gifts. 

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Social Responsibility & Becoming Mindful of Race

One way I have come to understand interdependence, compassion, and harmlessness, particularly in relationship to race, is to see that we all coexist in a vast, skinless body held together by the gravitational pull of Mother Earth’s love, shaped in a unique cell suit that we call “self.”

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From Silence to Speaking

I discovered silence for the first time on our frozen pond in Upstate New York in the winter, when my breath turned into clouds. Twigs snapped in the woods, but under that was a quiet that laced through the spaces between trees. It was a gentle quiet that held everything. I didn’t fully register it then, so focused on the scritch-scritch of my skates as I ankle-skated across the ice. 

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How We Get Free

There is a profound spiritual crisis at play in our society. It is a crisis of disconnection. As two women who have been young single mothers, our stories and experiences inform our understanding of and commitment to the work of bringing spiritual resources to bear on the current, ubiquitous crisis of disconnection in our world. Our lives have taught us the power of connecting with and across difference and not in spite of it.

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Will You Buy Me Flowers? A Moment of Shared Humanity

Connection has the remarkable capacity to transform our perception of ourselves, of others, and of the greater web of humanity in which we all share a part. In the truest sense of the word, connection shows up in many different shapes, sizes, and forms. Yet when we conceive of connection in our culture, we tend to focus the discourse around deeply woven, long-term relationships grounded in history and loyalty. In my experience, however, it is often the many moments of connection that have been just that—moments, fleeting in nature—that truly illuminate and, therefore, hold the capacity to transform our perception. 

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Moving Beyond Fear Together

Concern and anger overcame us when we heard that a mother and daughter had been punched in the face in the subway in Queens, New York. Seeing the Orthodox Jewish woman’s head covering, the assailant mistook the pair as Muslim, assaulted them and yelled “get out of my country.” The New York Daily News reports that hate crimes are up by 33% in New York and Muslims have seen a 48% increase in hate incidents since 2016. Nation-wide, the Anti Defamation League reports that “anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. jumped 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to same period last year.” With the rise in hateful sentiments toward both Muslim and Jewish communities and the lack of differentiation between both communities, it is clear that Muslims and Jews are seen as “the other, together.” Indeed, we know women of both faiths have chosen to no longer wear their head coverings in public. Some families choose not to display their religious attire in public spaces. 

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The Dining Room

It is quiet in the dining room of the nursing home at 5:15. No one speaks. The residents eat carefully and intentionally. This is the dining room for those who are able to feed themselves, and that is what they do. Each one looks straight-ahead, lifting fork, spoon, and cup from the table to their mouth. They are focused on eating, chewing and swallowing. They are focused on drinking, sipping and swallowing. There is no chatter, no conversation, no dawdling. Time is limited and nourishment is necessary. They eat with purpose, not with joy or pleasure, not with humor or social engagement. There is no mistaking this for a middle school cafeteria. There will not be a food fight. 

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My Personal Session with Thomas Moore

Age in these times—perhaps in every time—becomes, for Moore, the opportunity to counter empty busyness, acquisition, and the domineering ego (the cornerstones of materialist philosophy), and instead embrace a deeper spirituality. If we accept this challenge, and its attending renunciations, age can serve as the threshold into one of the great transformational archetypes, that of elder and sage.

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Bodies of Water

Human beings, we know, require water. It lubricates joints, cushions the brain and spinal cord, delivers oxygen, helps feed cells, regulates body temperature, and moves digestion forward. There is nothing like it. 

Water leaves our bodies through urine, sweat, and breath. It mostly enters through the mouth.

The part of the brain that senses thirst is the hypothalamus. This is also the part that maintains homeostasis, or that beautiful, delicate balance that counters external with internal. It responds to temperature and sleep, hunger, and moods. It constantly checks the body’s here with the world out there.

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The Art and Discipline of Seeing Compassionately

As I am making an imaginative leap into someone else’s situation, I notice my tendency to make judgments pauses almost automatically. Curiosity and wonder are fundamentally non-judgmental approaches to the world. I find that I simply cannot hold a judgment in my mind and be truly curious about another person at the same time.

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Into the Shadow

Jim sweeps off his hat scattering snow to the ground and uses it to fan the embers. This time flames rise up to consume the softwood kindling which flares enough to catch. Jim stands, and we hold the silence. Snow again accumulates on his hat and our eyes are captivated by the fire. All of us are men. 

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