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Rise in Peace. With our gratitude.

This week I’ve been reflecting on how grateful I am that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw so clearly a world that didn’t exist yet but that he knew deep in his body and soul was possible. I am feeling profoundly grateful for those who have the stamina and ability to see a vision and give their lives towards it coming true. He modeled that to bring a vision to life, we have to see the truth of what is happening in the world around us. He gave us powerful and moving words to help others see as well. He showed that we have to strategize action that has an impact and ripples to create change. He continuously calls our hearts and souls and bodies to the mat to do better, to be better…

So today, I am feeling a blend of courage, truth-telling, facing the horrors of history and this present moment, the potential and pull of beloved community, along with the soft, tender, fierce and wise wisdom of the earth and the unique calling of each of us as individuals to live our purpose. I’m feeling animated by Holy and spiritual impulses. I’m feeling reverence, gratitude, and the heavy hands of ancestors at my back, both letting me know that I am supported, they are with me, and also firmly pushing me forward, there is no turning back.

I feel called to share these words below from Kai Coggin written about Mary Oliver, as they moved me and I also feel how we could shift this same sentiment to be focused on Dr. King’s legacy that he has left us… that still lives in us…

May we strive to be more like these people who have walked a path so that we may be walking our paths today.

“Look how much we all love her. Look how we mourn her here on our cyber altars. Let’s all strive to be more like her, to live the wisdom we all garnered from her words. Let’s learn the lessons she taught us in her poetry. Let’s love what we love, each of us announcing our place “in the family of things.” Let’s walk softly through the world “married to amazement.” Let’s be OF the earth, not on the earth. Let’s fly, let’s swim, let’s sit in silence, lets walk through grass wet with morning dew, let’s name each morning new, let’s kiss sunrises, let’s shake our wild wings open and soar in reverence to all the beauty that pulses around us.

Rest in Poetry. Rise in Peace.

Thank you, Mary Oliver. Thank you.”

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Solutions: Listen to the Stories. Invest.

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.42.53 AMSolutions: Listen to the stories of those who are most impacted by inequity. Invest in organizations that are informed by and lead by those who are most impacted.

In Asheville: Word on the Street/La Voz de los Jovenes is one of those organizations.

“I’ve been wanting a place where youth can just be themselves,” said 14-year-old Serenity Lewis

“It’s kinda helping youth of color get their voice out within the community. We’ve all noticed there’s a problem, and we want to go at it and fix it, or try to.” – Quantasia Williams, 18 years old

Listen to this segment about them on public radio.

 

 

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I know, I know
If you could go back you
would walk with Jesus
You would march with King
Maybe assassinate Hitler
At least hide Jews in your basement
It would all be clear to you
But people then, just like you
were baffled, had bills
to pay and children they didn’t
understand and they too
were so desperate for normalcy
they made anything normal
Even turning everything inside out
Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy
for turning the other cheek
to be looking the other way, for walking
to be talking, and they hid
in their houses
and watched it on television, when they had television,
and wrung their hands
or didn’t, and your hands
are just like theirs. Lined, permeable,
small, and you
would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover,
and you would want
to make Germany great again
Because you are afraid, and your
parents are sick, and your
job pays shit and where’s your
dignity? Just a little dignity
and those kids sitting down in the highway,
and chaining themselves to
buildings, what’s their fucking problem? And that kid
That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem.
And now
is when they need you to be brave.
Now
is when we need you to go back
and forget everything you know
and give up the things you’re chained to
and make it look so easy in your
grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora)
Now
is when it will all be clear to them.
—Danny Bryck

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Comfort

Oh, the comfort—
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person—
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

—Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887)

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What Aisle Did You Find Your Serenity In

I went for a walk with a beautiful 4 year old yesterday. She had amazing skills for approaching strangers and inviting engagement. She quickly got to where her heart wanted to be… holding a woman’s hand crossing the street, petting a dog, offering a flower.

The poem below invites me to step up my efforts and attention, becoming more skilled at getting to the heart of what my being wants to communicate to another… to go right there with stranger, friend, family or self? The poem inspires me to get creative and be real. Just like this little boy who asked Obama if he could touch his hair to see if it felt like his own. What a genuine way to relate with the world. Do you want to join me in this challenge?

I Confess
by Alison Luterman

I stalked her

in the grocery store: her crown

of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,

her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
watching

the way she placed yogurt and avocados in her basket,

beaming peace like the North Star.

I wanted to ask, “What aisle did you find

your serenity in, do you know

how to be married for fifty years or how to live alone,

excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess

some knowledge that makes the earth turn and burn on its axis—“

But we don’t request such things from strangers

nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”

Thank you 37days for the poem and The Official WhiteHouse Photostream for the photo.

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We Are All Truly Miraculous

An Evening of Poetry, Music and The Spoken Word at The White House May 12, 2009.

I’m incredibly moved and inspired. Beautiful opening performance by ELEW and Esperanza Spalding, soulful spoken word by Mayda del Valle and a powerful performance by ELEW.

“We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty and also to understand pain. To inspire us to action and to spur us on when we start to lose hope.” President Obama tells the crowd as he opens the evening.

“It is one thing for people to tell their stories in their own spaces and quite another for those stories to be welcomed in this space. Barack is president today because many people who thought their voices didn’t matter or wouldn’t be heard decided to show up on election day and vote anyway.” Michelle Obama

“Abuela, how did you pray before someone told you who your god should be? How did you hold the earth in your hands and thank her for it’s fecundity? Did the sea wash away your sadness? How did you humble yourself before your architect? Did you lower yourself to your knees or rock to the rhythm of ocean waves like I do?

“To be able to go in the White House and to represent my grandmother and my ancestors, it really means a lot. It’s a generation of women that don’t often get heard, you know, these old Puerto Rican women that no one ever really thinks about. To be able to use my voice to represent them on this kind of platform is really powerful.” Mayda del Valle

ELEW

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A Radiant Feeling Pounces

The Poem in my Pocket:

Walking in the Forest

Walking in the forest
a radiant feeling pounces
on my misty
heart, clearing
my bad thoughts.
Good memories leap,
alert, brought to my mind
by a cool breeze.
Then they sleep.
Relaxed.
Magic flows through me
like a child running on cool summer grass.

by Tevon Dubois in A Child on The Island: The Ageless Wisdom of a Ten-Year-Old


p.s. I will return to actually writing posts here some day. It feels like it will be soon, but we shall see!

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