activism, prayer, Purpose, race, Take Action

The Spirit Calls Us to Liberation

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Vigil for Safe & Sane Gun Laws at the NRA in Fairfax Virginia on the 5-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting

Maybe you, like me, are trying to figure out what “spiritual practice” is all about. My Unitarian Universalist congregation and faith strive to be homes for spiritual sustenance; yet I’m often at a loss for how to nourish the spirit outside of Sunday services. I show up to the Women’s Ritual Council full moon circles when I can, light a candle before bed, write gratitudes in my journal. These seem worshipful. So too do yoga, meditation, singing, gardening. But not every stretch or song turns the heart toward Beloved Community.

What makes an activity a form of prayer? And when is it simply self-care?

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Letting Go, memory, Poetry, prayer

Charming

chirag-shenoy-neck-jewelsjpg

An angel, a puppy, a music note.
She was not wearing these when she left.
Neither the black and copper choker,
the latticework of wire,
the abalone cuff.
She had not strapped on even one of the five Wonder Woman watches
to keep track of the time
it would take.
If she had clasped the anklet with its tiny bells falling against her foot,
we may have heard her go.
She didn’t want anyone to stop her,
we tell ourselves.
She waited until the house was quiet
after all.

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community, Friends, Letting Go, memory, Music, Relationships

Eric Panegyric: No Outer Limits

Page Heart

In the story we tell of our family, the Fall 2019 chapter will be entitled “Haunted by Tragedy.” Three people close to us died unexpectedly in the span of four weeks. The past few months have been consumed with sorting belongings, planning memorials, and dealing with the aftermath of loss.

This weekend, we held a joyous and moving celebration for my friend Eric Dixon at one of the pubs where he played many winning games of trivia. This marks the last of the tangible tasks left to the living. The heart carries on with the intangibles. Here is what I shared at Eric’s service.


It is the music that finally does it. Sylvan Esso, “Funeral Singers.” It’s not the song’s particular connection that splits me open. It’s the fact of the music. That I can hear so much better, that I have learned to taste, appreciate and eventually love music that would have never existed for me if not for Eric. I’m guessing this is true for many of us here. How many of us can say — show of hands — that it’s because of Eric that we know King Crimson? I bet we all have lists of things we call our own now because Eric’s enthusiasm infected us. For me? It’s Galactic. Janelle Monáe. The author Katherine Dunn. The mathematician Martin Gardner… and that’s just the start of my list.

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Brain, Children, Determination, Learning, Parenting

How to Grow a World

mossy-tree-bark-texture

Old shortcuts lead to dead ends. Minor annoyances to major road blocks. Drifting off during the boring parts of class, crumpled papers forgotten in the bottom of the backpack, goofing off in the hallway. D grades. Closed doors.

As he fails, his world shrinks.

Only the first quarter of his first year of middle school, and hard lessons are giving my boy’s psyche a good scraping.

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Brain, Career, Learning

Outgrowing Grades: The Mindset of an Emerging Scholar

dariusz-sankowski-map

It happens several times a year. A student is struggling in her graduate program. A grade on an assignment or exam has tipped the balance so she comes to my office. She describes difficulty connecting with a professor, failing to engage committee members, or unwelcome feedback on writing projects. Not too far into the conversation, the student discloses what she perceives as the true insult at the heart of the matter.

“But I’m an A student!”

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Friends, Letting Go, Love, Relationships

Fragmentary

rocky shore onolan

In 2017, my workplace started offering us bereavement leave. Two days per year. I’ve barely noticed it in my benefit package, let alone taken it. With an active tween and a couple of fit and overscheduled parents, it didn’t cross my mind that I would need to use those two days.

Or that those two days wouldn’t come close to covering the need.

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Art, Learning, Letting Go, prayer, spirit

Say What?

Alice Donovan Rouse - Reykjavík, Iceland

 

I believe in living a poetic life, an art full life. Everything we do from the way we raise our children to the way we welcome our friends is part of a large canvas we are creating.
– Maya Angelou
In college, I filled a general ed requirement with intro 3-D design. As a lifelong lover of poetry and dance, I had appreciated visual art only from a distance. I was itching to get in closer. This queer, feminist, antiracist, tree-hugging campus agitator had Things to Say, and my art was going to say them.

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Letting Go, memory, Poetry, prayer, spirit

The Weight of Prayer

Prayer Flag Suspension Bridge

Sometimes your prayer weighs as much as a dump truck
filled with all the lost things
you dredged from the place you are trying to rebuild a home.
Sometimes it weighs as much as an ember at the center of the pit,
mostly ash but still burning.
Sometimes your prayer presses against your throat
you don’t know if you’re supposed to spit it out or swallow.
Sometimes your prayer hides inside the lines of your shadow.

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