Nosotras Somos / We are the ones

Por June Jordan  [English below] For Audio Click here

Poema para mujeres sudafricanas/ Poem for South African Women

En conmemoración a las 40,000 mujeres y niñ@s quienes en el 9 de agosto de 1956, se presentaron en protesta contra el “dompass*” en la capital de la segregación racial. Presentado en las Naciones Unidas el 9 de agosto de 1978

Nuestras sombras desaparecen a medida que los pies de miles
por decenas de miles pisan la tierra en barbecho
convirtiendo en polvo nuevo que
elevándose como un maravilloso polen
será fértil
incluso como la primera mujer susurrando
a su alrededor  a los árboles
para  brotar fruta virtuosa
deliberadamente defendiendo la vida
como ningún otro todavía
reclamará inferior a cualquier otra seguridad
en el mundo

Los susurros también
íntimo al oído más íntimo de cada espíritu
ahora despertaron
gimiendo en afirmación feroz
de toda amplitud pacífica y amorosa
suena un calor indudablemente ilimitado
de un humo bautismal donde sí
habrá fuego

Y los bebés dejan de alarmarse cuando sus madres
levantando los brazos
Y el corazón tan alto como las estrellas hasta ahora invisibles
aunque arrojadas en el universo
una movimiento constante
irreversible como años luz
viajando a  libremente
a la vista

Y quién se unirá a esto de pie
y l@s que estuvieron sin dulce compañía
cantarán y cantarán
de vuelta a las montañas y
si es necesario
incluso debajo de el mar

Nosotras somos las que hemos estado esperando

*’dompass’ literalmente significa ‘tonta libreta’. Todas las personas de raza negra fuera de los límites de las áreas designadas por el gobierno, tenían la obligación legal de llevar libretas, a veces conocidas como libros de ‘referencia’. La policía podían detener a cualquier persona y demandar ver la libreta.

June Jordan:  Jamaico-americana, nació en Harlem, en 1936. Murió en Berkeley, California, en 2002. Además de poeta, fue ensayista, docente en la Universidad de Berkeley,  y activista por los derechos civiles. June Jordan  fundó Poesía para la Gente

Fué distinguida en Who is Who en Estados Unidos de America desde 1984 hasta su fallecimiento.

Poem for South African Women

In commemoration of the 40,000 women and children who, August 9, 1956, presented themselves in bodily protest against the “dompass” in the capital of apartheid. Presented at The United Nations, August 9, 1978

Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
fertile
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world

The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire

And the babies cease alarm as mothers
raising arms
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open
eye

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea
 
we are the ones we have been waiting for

*’dompass’ which literally means ‘dumb pass’. All black people outside the confines of their government designated areas were legally required to carry passbooks, sometimes known as ‘reference’ books. Police officers could apprehend any black person and ask to see it

June Jordan: Jamaican-American,  born in Harlem in 1936. She died in Berkeley, California, in 2002. In addition to being a poet, she was an essayist, teacher at UC Berkeley, and civil rights activist. June Jordan founded Poetry for the People.

She was included in Who’s Who in America from 1984 until her death

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What If We Fought Back to Reclaim Our Attention

by Rob Hopkins

Imagine, if you will, Vincent van Gogh in Arles, France in August 1888. It is a late summer’s day with the mistral winds blowing through the street outside. He has just got back to his small studio in what he calls the Yellow House which he dreams will one day be home to a community of artists. He is carrying with him a bunch of sunflowers, a gift from his friend, the gardener Patience Escalier, whose portrait he completed a few days earlier. He arranges them loosely in a glazed earthenware pot on the plain wooden table.

And instead of what history tells us happens next, imagine he were to sit down, get out his smartphone and check his Instagram feed for updates. Soon he’s also checking his Facebook and Twitter accounts…his attention is taken firmly away from the possibility of really seeing the sunflowers…. And forever deprive future generations of a panting which have so moved, fascinated and entranced generations ever since.

Matthieu Ricard is a French Buddhist monk, and, according to neuroscientists who submitted him to a battery of tests, the ‘happiest man in the world’. About boredom, he told me, ‘ Boring is people who have not realized the incredible richness of just resting in the mind…My ideal situation is twenty-four hour boredom all year round. Sitting on the balcony of my hermitage, watching the Himalaya. If you call that boredom, it’s fine enough for me.’ At the end of our conversation, he paused, and then added: ‘I think the Buddha might have got rid of twitter with his Palace.’

Maybe the digital revolution, which we thought would liberate us and spark a huge expansion in imagination, is having the opposite effect. As told me, ‘we’ve ended up over the last twenty years disabling the cognitive and collaborative skills that we would have needed to address a collective problem like climate change’. Or in the words of Sherry Turkle: ‘We had a love affair with technology that seemed magical. But like great magic, it worked by commanding our attention and not letting us see anything but what the magician wanted us to see. Now we are ready to claim our attention – for solitude, for friendship, for society.’

Excerpt from the book From What is to What if: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want. Chapter 4, pp 67-82

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Coronavirus

por Jayeshbhai [English below]

Due to our local county’s guidance around Coronavirus risks, this week’s circle has moved to a virtual space! To learn more about the online circle,  just RSVP here, and we’ll send you the details by email.

Queridos Amig@s,

Estamos siendo informad@s de manera continua y muy generosa a través de muchos sitios web, redes sociales, y de los medios de comunicación, sobre las medidas de seguridad y precaución que nosotr@s en colectivo podemos tomar contra el Coronavirus

Si bien este flujo de información ha alimentado una cierta sensación de escasez y miedo, podemos aprovechar esta oportunidad y transformarla para re-equilibrar nuestras vidas en la abundancia. Si bien continuamos temporalmente manteniendo un aislamiento físico, que ésta sea una oportunidad para unir el espíritu de comunidad y el poder de una sociedad resiliente. Y fortalecer las raíces como la de los robles.

En lugar de consumir más de lo que se necesita por temor a agotar los recursos, podemos entender que podemos compartirlo con nuestros hermanos, hermanas y otros seres silenciosos con los que compartimos este planeta y saber que hay suficiente para llevarnos colectivamente a través de “Éstos” tiempos difíciles. Construyamos mejores hábitos alimenticios, mejores opciones de vida, mantengamos nuestro medio ambiente sano y limpio. Sé más consciente, atent@ y amoros@s con nuestr@s seres querid@s, vecin@s y familiares que aún no hemos conocido.

Podemos ver ésto como una oportunidad para superar los límites de la casta, el credo, la raza, el color de piel, o los pensamientos que nos siguen dividiendo. Confiemos en que esta naturaleza nos llama a hacer una pausa para recordar nuestras conexiones humanas.

Que tod@s aceptemos esta invitación para entrar en nuestras más altas aspiraciones y servir, con amor, hacia el bienestar colectivo.

Amar a todos – Servir a todos – Compartir con todos ——–Jayeshbhai

Junto con Virenbhai y Anarbhen, Jayeshbhai es uno de los fundadores de Manav Sadhna en el Ashram de Gandhi. La organización es una incubadora de amor donde l@s voluntari@s de todo el planeta se inspiran para crear cientos de proyectos que sirven a nuestra interconectada comunidad. En los veinte años desde su fundación, Manav Sadhna ha tocado la vida de miles a través de programas de educación, salud y empoderamiento para las mujeres, entre muchos otros.

Codornices Park, Berkeley, California

No nos asustemos … en su lugar, fortalezcamos nuestras virtudes hacia el bienestar colectivo. Verás entonces, que la humanidad extenderá su fragancia a través de la Compasión (Karuna)

Let us not panic … instead, let’s strengthen our Virtues towards collective well being. You will see then, humanity will spread its fragrance through Compassion (Karuna) 

Dear Friends,

We have been continually and very generously informed through many social networking websites as well as media; about the safety and precautionary measures that we as a collective can take against Coronavirus.

While this outpour of information has fueled a certain sense of scarcity and fear, we can turn it around by taking this opportunity as a way to re-balance our lives into abundance. While we continue to maintain a temporary physical isolation, may this be an opportunity to bring together the spirit of community and the power of a resilient society. And strengthen the roots like that of the Oak trees.

Instead of consuming more than one needs out of the fear of depleting resources, may we understand that we can share it with our brothers, sisters another silent beings that we share this planet with – and know that there is enough to collectively take us through at such trying times. Let us build better eating habits, better living choices, keep our environment healthy and clean. Be more aware, mindful and loving towards our dear ones, neighbors, family that we have not yet met.

May we look at this as an opportunity to rise beyond the limits of caste, creed, race, color, or thoughts that continue to divide us. Let us trust this nature’s call for us to pause and remind us of our shared humanity. 

May we all embrace this invitation to step into our highest aspirations and serve, with love, towards the collective well being. 

Love All – Serve All – Share with All ————Jayeshbhai

Along with Virenbhai and Anarbhen, Jayeshbhai is one of the co-founders of Manav Sadhna at the Gandhi Ashram. The organization is an incubator of love where volunteers from around the planet are inspired to create hundreds of projects that serve our interconnected community. In the twenty years since it was founded, Manav Sadhna has touched the lives of thousands through education, health, and women’s empowerment programs among so many others.

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Daily Life of Art

by Nina Wise

Due to our local county’s guidance around Coronavirus risks, this week’s circle has moved to a virtual space! To learn more about the online circle,  just RSVP here, and we’ll send you the details by email.

Since the inception of the human species and until only decades ago, daily life was infused with art making. We crafted our own tools, we sewed our own clothing, we built our own shelters, we cultivated our own food. We sang songs that we made up, songs that were passed down to us, and songs that were given to us by the gods. We danced together matching our steps to the steps of our companions. We built musical instruments out of hides and sinew, twine and bent wood. We painted on walls and on our bodies and our implements. These creative acts enhanced our well-being as individuals, strengthened family bonds, knit communities together, and provided access to states of being that invoked insight and wisdom. We as a species cannot reside in psychological and physical health if we abandon the very activities that maintain well-being.

Everyone is creative. Creativity is our very nature. But for many of us, the creative impulse has gone into hiding. “I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t dance,” we confess to each other, and we plant ourselves in front of the television for the evening. But the creative impulse that is at the core of all being remains robust within us.

Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives–to concoct lovemaking games, cook up a new recipe, paint a kitchen cabinet, build sculptures on the beach, and sing in the shower. Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness.

The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything, or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression. To do this, we must bypass the voice inside of us that says stop. The censoring mind is clever and has an entire litany of reasons we must refrain from expressing ourselves: You are a bad dancer so sit back and watch while the skillful ones dance. And you certainly can’t paint so don’t even try because you will embarrass yourself. You sing off-key and you can’t hold a rhythm–you will disturb everyone within earshot if you open your mouth. And if you happen to disregard this sage advice, you will make a total fool of yourself and no one will ever love you or give you a job. We obey this voice as if being guided by inner wisdom; but when we tune in, we hear a quieter voice calling out to us to express ourselves freely. This is the voice that can liberate us. If we listen and respond, our lives become rich with the pleasure creative freedom provides.

This excerpt was taken from the book A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life  Nina Wise has devoted her career to developing theater and writing stories that address the complex relationship between body, intellect, and spirit.  Her original works, performed in prestigious venues in the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia have won awards for playwriting, innovative design, and new theater including three NEA fellowships and seven Bay Area Theater Critics Awards.   In addition, authorized to teach by Jack Kornfield, Wise teaches Buddhist practice at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and other spiritual centers worldwide.

[Passage from taken from Awakin  Illustration offered as an anonymous gift :-)]

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La dedicación más profunda a la evolución espiritual/ Deeper Dedication to Spiritual Evolution

NOTE: due to Abundance caution, Awakin OAK March 6,2020 is canceled. Please join us on a 1hr Meditation at 7 PM PST from your meditation space. See you in the great silence…Familia Awakin Oakland

AwakinOAK viernes, 6 de Marzo, 2020 ha sido cancelado en Abundancia de precaución. Unete a 1 hora de meditación a las 7 pm PST desde tu propio espacio de meditación. Nos vemos en el gran silencio…Familia Awakin Oakland

por Francesca Ciancimino Howell [English below]

Aunque puedes sentir que ya tienes un compromiso como Curander@ de la Tierra y con un activismo espiritual, formalizar tu compromiso es una herramienta psicológica muy importante. Es en sí mismo un desencadenante para mover tu mente y toda tu conciencia a un proceso cotidiano más actualizado de vivir tu magia y tu ethos. La conciencia y la atención plena son un proceso continuo: no suceden de la noche a la mañana y permanecen con nosotros permanentemente sin practicarlo. La palabra Hindú para la práctica espiritual es Sadhana. En muchas de las religiones primordiales del mundo, Cristian@s, Budist@s, Islámic@s, por ejemplo, alientan a los fieles a vivir su práctica espiritual, su Sadhana. Ram Dass escribe sobre esto en Be Here Now: “Al principio pensarás en tu sadhana como una parte limitada de tu vida. Con el tiempo te darás cuenta de que todo lo que haces es parte de tu Sadhana.”

En el Budismo Zen hay una cuento que he amado durante años y se ha convertido en parte de la vida de mi familia. (Curiosamente, y como funciona la sabiduría universal, no lo aprendí del gran filósofo Alan Watts … o de mis estudios en Teología Comparada, sino de mi muy sabia tía siciliana estadounidense)

Un estudiante visita al Maestr@ Zen y le pregunta: “Maestr@, he estado trabajando muy duro en mi proceso espiritual, intentando todo lo que pueda acercarme a la iluminación. Pero necesito saber cómo crecer más. ¿Que más puedo hacer?”

Maestr@ responde: “Come arroz y lava tu plato”.

El estudiante está muy sorprendid@ y dice: “Pero Maestr@, he meditado durante horas y he ayunado durante semanas. Me he quedado solo en una cueva durante meses. ¿Qué más puedo hacer para acercarme a la iluminación más rápidamente?

“Come tu arroz y lava tu tazón”.

Y así continúa. A cada acto más difícil de sacrificio y cada compromiso espiritual personal que el estudiante menciona, el Maestr@ responde con lo mismo: “Come tu arroz y lava tu tazón”

La moraleja del cuento es que la iluminación y el crecimiento espiritual, lo que es “Sadhana,” se presenta en pequeñas formas cotidianas: lo que importa es cómo comemos nuestro arroz y lavamos nuestro tazón. Traemos lo sagrado con nosotros cada día en todo lo que hacemos. Como Jesús enseñó, El Reino de los Cielos está dentro de nosotr@s. Por lo tanto, a medida que reconocemos formalmente nuestra búsqueda sagrada de ser Ecologistas profundos y Sanadores de la Tierra, crecemos en los actos más pequeños, mundanos y cotidianos. Nuestra composta en la cocina se convierte en una alquimia activa, al igual que todos nuestros actos. Hornear pan a mano, no en una máquina de pan, ¡con harina orgánica, por supuesto! – amasándolo, dejándolo crecer, horneándolo … Ese debe ser uno de los actos más alquímicos y mágicos. A menudo he horneado pan especialmente para rituales, con hierbas e intenciones añadidas para fines específicos. Ahora representaremos un derecho de auto-dedicación para enviar esa energía en resonancia a todos los planos de existencia … Esta es Sadhana

Este pasaje fué extraído del libro Making Magic With Gaia: Practices That Heal Ourselves and Our Planet. pp 120.

Francesca Ciancimino Howell es activista de Greenpeace, Sacerdotisa de Wiccan, y orgullosa mamá de fútbol. Francesca  ha estado involucrada en tradiciones mágicas y en la preservación de la vida silvestre desde su infancia. En este libro único, comparte sus sugerencias cotidianas para la renovación espiritual a través de la conexión con la naturaleza.

Deeper Dedication to Spiritual Evolution

Although you may feel that you already have a commitment to Earth Healing and to spiritually based activism, formalizing your commitment it’s an important psychological tool. It is in itself a trigger to move your mind and whole consciousness into a more actualized everyday process of living your magic and your ethos. Awareness and mindfulness are an ongoing process- they do not happen overnight and stay with us permanently without attention. The Hindu word for spiritual practice is Sadhana. In many of the world’s major religions, Christian, Buddhist, Islam,  for example, the faithful are encouraged to live their spiritual practice, their Sadhana. Ram Dass writes of this in Be Here Now: “At first you will think of your sadhana as a limited part of your life. In time you will come to realize that everything you do is part of your Sadhana.” 

In Zen Buddhism there is a story that I have a loved for years and it has become a part of my family’s life. (Strangely enough, and as universal wisdom works, I didn’t learn it from the great philosopher Alan Watts …or from my studies in Comparative Theology, but from my very wise Sicilian American aunt.)

A student comes to the Zen Master and says, “Master, I have been working very hard on my spiritual process, trying everything that can bring me closer to enlightenment. But I need to know how to grow more. What else can I do?”

The Master answers is, “Eat your rice and wash your bowl.“ 

The student is very surprised and says “But Master, I have meditated for hours in fasted for weeks. I have set alone in a cave for months. What more can I do to approach enlightenment  faster?” 

“Eat your rice and wash your bowl.“ 

And so it goes. To each increasingly difficult act of sacrifice and personal spiritual commitment the student brings up, the Master replace to the same: “ Eat your rice and wash your bowl.“ 

The moral of the story is that enlightenment and spiritual growth, the greatest pursuit of Sadhana, comes in small everyday ways – It is how we eat our rice and wash our bowl that matters. We bring the sacred with us each day in all we do. As Jesus taught, the Kingdom of Heaven is within. Consequently, as we make formal acknowledgment of our sacred pursuit to be Deep Ecologists and Earth Healers, we grow in the smallest , mundane, and everyday acts. Our kitchen composting does indeed become an active alchemy, as do all our acts. Baking bread by hand, not in bread machine – with organic flour, of course! – kneading it, letting it rise, baking it… That must be one of the most alchemical, magical acts. I have often baked bread specially for rituals, with herbs and intentions added for specific purposes.

Now we will act out a right of self – dedication to send that energy in resonance to all the planes of existence…This is Sadhana 

This passage was taken from the book  Making Magic With Gaia: Practices That Heal Ourselves and Our Planet. Page 120.
Francesca Ciancimino Howell  is a Greenpeace activist, Wiccan High Priestess, and proud Soccer Mom. Francesca has been involved in magical traditions and wildlife preservation since childhood. In this one of a kind book, she shares her everyday suggestions for spiritual renewal through connecting with nature.

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Generosity Fills Us With Joy

By Desmond Tutu

I think that almost all of us are surprised how our joy is enhanced when we make someone else happy. You know, you go to town, you’ve gone to do some shopping, and when you get back home you have a bunch of flowers for Rachel. She wasn’t expecting them, and the glow of her face and the joy that comes from having made another person joyful is something that you can’t actually compute. So it is in giving that we receive. So I would hope that people would recognize in themselves that it is when we are closed in on ourselves that we tend to be miserable. It is when we grow in a self-forgetfulness—in a remarkable way I mean we discover that we are filled with joy.

I’ve sometimes joked and said God doesn’t know very much math, because when you give to others, it should be that you are subtracting from yourself. But in this incredible kind of way—I’ve certainly found that to be the case so many times—you gave and it then seems like in fact you are making space for more to be given to you.

And there is a very physical example. The Dead Sea in the Middle East receives fresh water, but it has no outlet, so it doesn’t pass the water out. It receives beautiful water from the rivers, and the water goes dank. I mean, it just goes bad. And that’s why it is the Dead Sea. It receives and does not give. And we are made much that way, too. I mean, we receive and we must give. In the end generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a South African Anglican cleric who in 1984 received the Nobel Prize for Peace for his role in the opposition to apartheid in South Africa. This passage was taken from: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams

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La esperanza es la orientación del corazón / Hope is an Orientation of the Heart

por Václav Havel [English below]

El tipo de esperanza en el que a diario pienso (especialmente en situaciones particularmente desesperadas, como la prisión) la entiendo sobre todo como un estado mental, no como un estado del mundo. O tenemos esperanza dentro de nosotr@s o no la tenemos; es una dimensión del alma; no depende esencialmente de alguna observación particular del mundo o estimación de la situación. La esperanza no es pronóstico. Es una orientación del espíritu, una orientación del corazón; trasciende el mundo que se experimenta de inmediato y está anclada en algún lugar más allá de sus horizontes.

La esperanza, en este sentido profundo y poderoso, no es lo mismo que la alegría de que las cosas vayan bien, o la voluntad de invertir en empresas que obviamente se dirigen al éxito temprano, sino, más bien, la capacidad de trabajar por algo porque es bueno, no solo porque tiene la oportunidad de tener éxito. Cuanto más poco propicia es la situación en la que demostramos esperanza, más profunda es esa esperanza.

La esperanza definitivamente no es lo mismo que el optimismo. No es la convicción de que algo saldrá bien, sino la certeza de que algo tiene sentido, independientemente de cómo resulte. En resumen, creo que la forma de esperanza más profunda e importante, la única que puede ayudarnos a salir adelante y empulzar a realizar buenas obras, y la única fuente verdadera de la dimensión impresionante del espíritu human@ y sus esfuerzos, es algo que obtenemos, por así decirlo, de “otro lugar”. También es esta esperanza, sobre todo, la que nos da la fuerza para vivir y probar continuamente cosas nuevas, incluso en condiciones que parecen tan desesperadas como las nuestras, aquí y ahora.

Václav Havel fué un dramaturgo checoslovaco, poeta y ex disidente político, quien se desempeñó como el último presidente de Checoslovaquia desde 1989 hasta la disolución de Checoslovaquia en 1992 y luego como el primer presidente de la República Checa de 1993 a 2003. La filosofía política de Havel fué de anti-consumerismo, humanitaria, ambientalismo, activismo civil y democracia directa. Apoyó al Partido Verde Checo desde 2004 hasta su muerte.

Hope is an Orientation of the Heart

The kind of hope I often think about (especially in situations that are particularly hopeless, such as prison) I understand above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul; it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.

Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is.

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. In short, I think that the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to good works, and the only true source of the breath taking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from “elsewhere.” It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now.

Václav Havel was a Czech playwright writer, poet, and former political dissident, who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992 and then as the first President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003.  Havel’s political philosophy was one of anti-consumerism, humanitarianism, environmentalism, civil activism, and direct democracy. He supported the Czech Green Party from 2004 until his death

Pasaje extraído de/ Source: Havel, Vaclav, Disturbing the Peace, Alfred A. Knopf, 1990 pp 181-182

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You Stand With the Poor and the Powerless and the Voiceless

by Reverend Gregory Boyle

Thank you very much for this kind and generous honor. President Benton called me some months ago and he said, “Greg, do you believe in free speech?”, and I said yes, and he said, “Good, you’re giving one on April 28th.” If I could, how do the kids call it? Give a shout out to Will Carjoley. He is the sixth of his siblings, the last of the six to graduate from Pepperdine, which is a huge accomplishment, and also a whole lot of tuition.

I’m an expert on nothing, but for 34 years I’ve worked with gang members, and apparently, President Benton thought that made me eminently suited to address the class of 2018.

Homeboy Industries

You know what Martin Luther King says about church could well be said about your time here at Pepperdine. ‘It’s not the place you’ve come to, it’s the place you go from’, and you go from here to create a community of kinship such that, God in fact, might recognize it…

And so, you choose to go from here, and you dismantle the barriers that exclude, and you go out to the margins, because that’s the only way they’ll get erased, if you stand out at them, and you stand with the poor, and the powerless, and the voiceless, and you stand with those whose dignity has been denied, and you stand with those whose burdens are more than they can bear, and every one of the graduates here has had an exquisite mutual experience of knowing what it’s like to stand with the easily despised and the readily left out.

You go from here to stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop, and you stand with the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away. For no kinship, no peace, no kinship, no justice, no kinship, no equality. You go to the margins not to make a difference, because then that’s about you. You go to the margin so that the folks at the margins make you different.

It’s the privilege of my life for 30 years to have been taught everything of value by gang members, and in the last few years they’ve taught me how to text, and so, I’m really grateful to them, because I find it sure beats the heck out of actually talking to people. And I’m pretty dextrous at it, LOL and OMG, and BTW, and the homies have taught me a new one, OHN, which apparently stands for, “Oh hell no,” and I’ve been using that one quite a bit lately.

I know I can’t be alone in being vexed by this autocorrect thing. I had a homegirl, kind of a tough cookie named Bertha, and she texted me on a Sunday, “Where are you at?” And I said, “I’m about to speak to a room full of monjas   [ Spanish for nuns, sisters, religious women]… I pushed send, autocorrect told her I was about to speak to a room full of ninjas, which she thought was pretty darn interesting.

So there I am in a car with two older… Manuel and Poncho and they do a variety of things at Homeboy. They’re going to help me give a talk at a high school, and Manuel’s in the front seat and we’re 15 minutes on the road, when Manuel gets an incoming text, he reads it to himself and he chuckles, and I said, “What is it?” He goes, “Oh, it’s dumb. It’s from Snoopy back at the office.” …Snoopy and Manuel work together in the clock in room, where they clock in hundreds and hundreds of gang members who work there. I would not want this job. This may come as a surprise, gang members can occasionally be attitudinal. So I said, “Well, what’s it say?” And Manuel said, “Oh, it’s dumb. Let me find it. Oh, here it is. Hey dawg, it’s me, Snoops. Yeah, they got my ass locked up in county jail. They’re charging me with being the ugliest vato in America. You have to come down right now, show them they got the wrong guy.” Well, we died laughing, and I nearly drove into oncoming traffic, and then I realized that Manuel and Snoopy are enemies. They’re from rival gangs. They used to shoot bullets at each other, because I remember.

Now they shoot text messages, and there’s a word for that, and the word is kinship.

How do we obliterate once and for all the illusion that we are separate? All of you go from Pepperdine to choose to become enlightened witnesses, people who, through your kindness and tenderness, and focused, attentive love, returned people to themselves. And in the process, we’re all returned to our dignity and to our truth, that we are exactly what God had in mind when God made us.

It occurs to university sometimes to force their students to read my book against their will, and I’m not complaining, but my alma mater at Gonzaga University called me and said they had forced the incoming freshmen class to read Tattoos on the Heart, and so I said sure, and they said, “Can you bring two homies with you?” And I said, sure, and they were going to have a big talk on a Tuesday night with a thousand people. And so, I always invite homies in the same way I pick homies who are enemies, rivals, who work together at Homeboy, just that they have to share a hotel room, just to mess with them. And I always pick homies who have never flown before, just for the thrill of seeing gang members panicked in the sky.

And so, we’re at Burbank Airport, and the big bay windows, and Southwest Airlines, and they don’t have that hermetically sealed chute where you walk onto the plane, you walk out onto the tarmac like you’re the president, and you climb the steps to go to the front of the plane or the back of the plane, they have steps. And so, our plane arrives, it’s early morning and I tell Mario, “There’s our plane,” and [*$%#inaiudible], and I think, “Wow, he may actually die before we climb those steps.” And then our flight crew arrives and I see two flight attendants, females, and they both have very large cups of Starbucks coffee, and they’re schlepping up the front steps and Mario goes, “When are we going to board the plane?” I said, “As soon as they sober up the pilots. There they go now.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that, but I should tell you that Mario, in our 30 year history at Homeboy, is the most tattooed individual who’s ever worked there. His arms are all sleeved out, neck blackened with the name of his gang, head shaved covered in tattoos, forehead, cheeks, chin, eyelids that say “the end,” so that when he’s lying in his coffin, there’s no doubt. And so, I’d never been in public with him and we’re walking and people are like this, and mothers are clutching their kids more closely, and I’m thinking, wow, isn’t that interesting? Because if you were to go to Homeboy on Monday and ask anybody there who’s the kindest, most gentle soul who works there, they won’t say me, they’ll say, Mario. He sells baked goods at the counter at our cafe. He’s proof that only the soul that ventilates the world with tenderness has any chance of changing the world.

So we get to Gonzaga, … they were terrified, but they did a good job. Stories of terror, and torture, and violence, and abuse of every imaginable kind that led the audience to stand in awe at what these two had carried in their lives, rather than in judgment at how they carried it. And honest to God, if their stories had been flames, you’d have to keep your distance, otherwise you’d get scorched.

So the nighttime talk comes and it’s a thousand people, and I invite them up to share their stories in front of all these people for five minutes each, and I do my thing, and then I invite them up for Q and A, and I said, “Yes ma’am,” and a woman stands and she says, “Yeah, I got a question. It’s for Mario.” … [Mario is] terrified, “Yes?” And she says, “Well, you say you’re a father, and you have a son and a daughter who are about to enter their teenage years. What advice do you give them? What wisdom do you impart to them?

And Mario clutches his microphone, and he’s just terrified, and he’s trembling, …when finally he blurts out, “I just…”, and he stops, and he retreats back to his microphone clutching terrified retreat, but he wants to get this whole sentence out. “I just don’t want my kids to turn out to be like me.”

And there’s silence, until the woman who asked the question stands, and now it’s her turn to cry, and she says, “Why wouldn’t you want your kids to turn out to be like you? You are loving, you are kind, you are gentle, you are wise. I hope your kids turn out to be like you.” And a thousand total perfect strangers stand, and they will not stop clapping, and all Mario can do is hold his face in his hands, so overwhelmed with the emotion that this room full of people, strangers, had returned him to himself, and they were returned to themselves, and I think that’s the only praise God has any interest in.

No kinship, no peace, no kinship, no justice, no kinship, no equality. Graduates, you go from here to stand at the margins, because that’s the only way they get erased, and you brace yourselves, because the world will accuse you of wasting your time. But the prophet Jeremiah writes, “In this place of which you say it is a waste, there will be heard again, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voices of those who sing.” Make those voices heard, for you go to the margins, not to make a difference, but so that the folks at the margins make you different…

Reverend Gregory Boyle is the author of The New York Times bestselling book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion and Barking to the Choir ; also Director of Homeboy Industries  the world’s largest gang-intervention and rehabilitation program.

Posted in ARTivism, Awakin Oakland, education, fearlessness, Mindfulness, noncooperation, nonviolence, Peace Army, WednesdaysOnFridays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fuímos hechos para estos tiempos/ We Were Made for These Times

por Clarissa Pinkola Estes  [English below]

Amig@s mí@s, no os desaniméis. Fuimos hech@s para estos tiempos. He escuchado últimamente sobre tantas personas que están profundamente y con toda la razón perplejas. Están preocupadas por el estado de las cosas en nuestro mundo. El nuestro es un tiempo de asombro casi diario y a menudo de rabia justificada contra las últimas degradaciones de lo que más importa a las personas civilizadas e idealistas.

Tienes razón en tus evaluaciones. El brillo y la arrogancia a los que algun@s han aspirado mientras respaldaban actos tan atroces contra niñ@s, ancian@s, gente común, l@s pobres, l@s desprotegidos, y l@s indefens@s, es impresionante. Sin embargo, te ruego, te pido, a ti amig@ gentil, por favor, que no gastes tu espíritu dejándolo seco por lamentar estos tiempos difíciles. Especialmente no pierdas la esperanza. Más particularmente porque, el hecho es que fuimos hechos para estos tiempos. Sí. Durante años, hemos estado aprendiendo, practicando, entrenando y esperando para encontrarnos en este lugar exacto de compromiso.

Crecí en los Grandes Lagos y reconozco una embarcación lista para navegar cuando la veo. En cuanto a las almas despertadas, nunca ha habido más embarcaciones capaces en las aguas que en este momento en todo el mundo. Y están completamente abastecidas y son capaces de enviarse señales unas a otras como nunca antes en la historia de la humanidad.

Mira por la proa; Hay millones de barcas de almas justas en las aguas contigo. A pesar de que tu revestimiento puede temblar con cada ola en esta turbia tempestad, te aseguro que las maderas largas que componen tu proa y timón vienen de un bosque más grande. Es sabido que la madera de grano largo resiste a las tormentas, que se mantienen unidas, que aguantan y que avanzan, en cualquier caso.

En tiempos oscuros, hay una tendencia a desviarse hacia el desmayo sobre tantas cosas que están mal o sin reparar en el mundo. No te concentres en eso. Hay una tendencia, también, a caer en debilitamiento por obsesionarnos con lo que está fuera de nuestro alcance, por lo que todavía no puede ser. No te concentres ahí. Eso es gastar el viento sin levantar las velas.

Somos necesarios, eso es todo lo que podemos saber. Y aunque encontremos resistencia, más nos encontraremos con grandes almas que nos llamarán, nos amarán y nos guiarán, y los conoceremos cuando aparezcan. ¿No dijiste que eras creyente? ¿No dijiste que te empeñaste a escuchar una voz mayor? ¿No pediste gracia? ¿No te acuerdas que estar en gracia significa someterse a la voz mayor?

La nuestra no es la tarea de arreglar el mundo entero de una sola vez, sino de estirarnos para reparar la parte del mundo que está a nuestro alcance. Cualquier cosa pequeña y tranquila que una alma pueda hacer para ayudar a otra alma, para ayudar a alguna porción de este pobre mundo que sufre, ayudará inmensamente. No se nos da a conocer qué actos o de quién, harán que la masa crítica se incline hacia un bien duradero.

Lo que se necesita para un cambio dramático es una acumulación de actos, añadiendo, agregando, agregando más, continuando. Sabemos que no se necesita a todos en la Tierra para traer justicia y paz, sino sólo un grupo pequeño y decidido que no se dará por vencido durante el primer, segundo o centésimo revuelo.

Una de las acciones más tranquilizadoras y poderosas que puedes hacer para intervenir en un mundo tempestuoso es levantarte y mostrar tu alma. El alma en cubierta brilla como el oro en tiempos oscuros. La luz del alma lanza chispas, puede enviar hasta bengalas, sirve como bengala de señalización, hace que las causas justas se enciendan. Para mostrar la antorcha del alma en tiempos sombríos como éstos: para ser feroz y mostrar misericordia hacia los demás; Ambos son actos de inmenso valor y mayor necesidad.

Las almas luchadoras captan la luz de otras almas que están plenamente iluminadas y están dispuestas a mostrarlo. Si ayudas a calmar el tumulto, esta es una de las cosas más fuertes que puedes hacer.

Siempre habrá momentos en los que te sientas desanimad@. Yo también he sentido desesperación muchas veces en mi vida, pero no me quedo en eso. No me regodeo en ello. No se le permite comer de mi plato.

La razón es esta: En mi fuero interno sé algo, como tú. Es que no puede haber desesperación cuando te acuerdas de por qué viniste a la Tierra, a quien sirves, y qué te envió aquí. Las buenas palabras que decimos y las buenas acciones que hacemos no son nuestras. Son las palabras y las obras de Aquel que nos trajo aquí. En ese espíritu, espero que escribas esto en tu muro: Cuando una gran nave está en el puerto y amarrada, este es seguro, no puede haber duda. Pero no es para eso para lo que se construyen los grandes barcos.

La Dra. Clarissa Pinkola es una poeta americana, psicoanalista junguiana, especialista en recuperación post-trauma, autora y artista de *la palabra hablada. Estés creció en la ahora desaparecida tradición oral de sus familias inmigrantes y refugiadas que no sabían leer ni escribir, o lo hacían de manera vacilante, y para quienes el inglés era su tercera lengua que se interpuso a sus antiguas lenguas natales.

[Lectura escogida de Awakin. Ilustración ofrecida como un regalo anónimo :-)]

We Were Made for These Times

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes  

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
 
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
 
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
 
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
 
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
 
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
 
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
 
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
 
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
 
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.


The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

Excerpted fromhere. Dr. Clarissa Pinkola is an American poet, Jungian psychoanalyst, post-trauma recovery specialist, author and spoken word artist. Estés grew up in the now vanished oral tradition of her immigrant, refugee families who could not read nor write, or did so haltingly, and for whom English was their third language overlying their ancient natal languages. 

[Passage from taken from Awakin  Illustration offered as an anonymous gift :-)]

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Overcoming Fear

by Thich Nhat Hanh

The Buddha taught that everything is impermanent; that nothing is an absolute entity that remains the same. When we keep that insight in mind, we can see more deeply into the nature of reality, and we won’t be trapped in the notion that we’re only this body or this life span. 

New cells are born every day and old cells die, but they have neither funerals nor birthdays

Understanding impermanence isn’t a matter of words or concepts. It’s a matter of practice… The object we’re observing might be a flower, a leaf, or a living being. Looking at this object deeply, we can see the change taking place in every instant. 

There’s no independent individual phenomenon because everything is changing all the time. A flower is always receiving non-flower elements such as water, air, and sunshine, and it’s always giving something back to the environment. A flower is always being born and always dying, always connected to the environment around it. The components of the universe depend on one another for their existence. 

The example of a wave and water is often given to help us understand the non-self nature of all that exists. A wave can be high or low, can arise or disappear, but the existence of the wave- water – is neither high nor low, neither arising nor disappearing. All signs- high, low, arising, disappearing – cannot touch the essence of water. We cry and laugh according to the sign, because we haven’t yet seen the essence- that is the very nature of everything that is. And this is the reality of ourselves. If we only see the wave with its manifestations of being born and dying, we will suffer. But if we see the water, which is the basis of the wave, and we see that the waves are returning to water, we have nothing to fear. 

A drop of rain falling on the ground disappears in no time at all. But it is still there somehow, even if it is absorbed into the soil, it’s still there in another form. If it evaporates, it’s still there in the air. It’s become vapor; you don’t see the drop of rain, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer there. A cloud can never die. A cloud can become rain or snow or ice, but a cloud cannot become nothing. to die means from something we become nothing, from being we pass into nothing. That is our idea of death. But meditation helps us to touch our true nature of no-birth and no-death. before the cloud manifests as a cloud, the cloud has been water vapor, has been the ocean. So it has not come from nonbeing into being. Our notion of birth is just a notion. Our notion of death is just a notion

Excerpt from The World We Have: Chapter V  (pg 59) by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

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