#MarchMindfulness2016: (G)litter Police

This is a parenting joy and a testament to the power of modeling for our children acts of care, connection, and skillful understanding. Without any prompting from me and entirely of his own accord, my Earth Day-born child was compelled to do his part by tending to our home and garden.

Truly, no action nor person is too small to make an impact!

My soon-to-be-6 year old son woke up Wednesday on a mission to get things organized!

Must be the feverish nudgings of spring because he’s actually been on this cleaning kick for a couple of weeks now — packing up old books and toys to give away and meticulously tidying up any surface cluttered with junk the ever-multiplying array of collectibles (his or ours).

It started with rearranging his windowsill full of treasures, the credenza in our dining room, his desk, and a basket of old magazines — which, after stopping him from pitching them all out, we sorted through and recycled.

Later in the day he decided to investigate a stray onion in our garden (his hypothesis: it rolled from the neighboring plot) where he also noticed odd bits of trash that had been scattered around by the winter storms. He launched into action–dashing in for a trash bag then dashing back out to hunt for wind-blown refuse around our communal property.

When I came out to check on his progress, I was tickled to find him singing on the job: I’m the Glitter Police!

Can I say how much I love that he misheard litter as glitter?! If only it were glitter…

#MarchMindfulness2016: The Art of Compassion | Pam Roy

 

Each week, I send my dear friend and colleague an original piece of artwork — a symbol of my solidarity and a reminder that her bravery and patience as her family battles to triumph over recent illnesses matters. This is one way that I commit to shining love and light on the people that have blessed my life, in times of struggle and in moments of happiness. ~ Dr. Pamela Roy

Pamela-Roy-photo

Dr. Roy is a scholar, visionary and creative leader, and artist who has a passion for youth education and enthusiasm for community-building at the local, national, and international levels.

Pamela is the Founder and Lead Consultant for the Consultancy for Global Higher Education. View her gallery: www.pamelaroy.net

embodied practice: alice walker quote

 

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Celebrating the power of sangha and all who commit to the practice of:

Showing up for ourselves so that we may be present and available in heart and mind to show up for others.

Speaking our truth.

Listening with open hearts.

To be in the presence of such companions is fuel + balm for the soul!

May we seek and be blessed with the gift of wise companions!

May we learn to be a good spiritual friend to others!

 

 

 

HEAR HERE [for deep listening]: The Resilient World We’re Building Now | On Being with Krista Tippett

“In the last year and a half, from the black community in and of itself, as we say “black lives matter,”
you see the light that comes inside of people to other communities that are like, I’m going to stand on the side of black lives.
You see people literally transforming. And that’s a different type of work. And for me, that is a spiritual work.
It’s a healing work and we don’t have it codified. There’s no science to it. Really, it’s — we are social creatures.
Human to human, if you take a moment to be with somebody, to understand the pains they’re going through, you get to transform yourself.”
~ Patrisse Cullors, #BlackLivesMatter Co-Founder

Listen to the podcast: The Resilient World We’re Building Now

Winter Immersion: February + March Study Schedule

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To “blow the dust” from each other’s eyes as we walk the path of love and understanding is indeed the suchness of sangha!

Join in the practice of seeing clearly and listening deeply to foster compassion, wholeness, and safety through these important and often difficult explorations into matters of inclusion, freedom, belonging, and healing.

Study Schedule

February 14th ~ Beginning Anew : A Mindfulness Practice in Celebration of the Buddhist Lunar New Year

February 21st ~ Toward Wholeness: Inclusion + Freedom + Belonging [Part I]

February 28th ~ Toward Wholeness: Inclusion + Freedom + Belonging [Part II]

March 6th ~ Toward Wholeness: Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality [Part I]

March 13th ~ Toward Wholenes: Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality [Part II]

March 20th ~ Toward Wholeness: Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality [Part III]

Recommended Group Readings

Check frequently for updates to this list!

Buddhist Peace Fellowship:

Gender Dysphoria and The Dharma

White Privilege + the Mindfulness Movement

 

Everyday Feminism:

9 Ways We Can Make Social Justice Movements Less Elitist + More Accessible

I’m Not a Person with a Disability. I’m a Disabled Person.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel:

I Can Breathe: A Meditation Surviving Acts of Hatred

The Way of Tenderness

Relevant Magazine:

4 Misconceptions About Mental Illness + Faith

How Church Can Lead Racial Reconciliation

Why Are Sunday Mornings Still So Segregated

The Body Is Not An Apology:

Did You Do Any of These 6 Activities Today? Then You Have Class Privilege

Lucky To Be Alive: The Everyday Ways We Tell People with Disabilities They Should Not Be Here

Nobody Bothers To Ask: The Challenges of Being Sexual in disabled/trans/genderqueer/etc..Body

angel Kyodo williams:

Social Justice + Buddhism

Tim Wise:

Fighting the Normalization of Inequality 

Larry Yang: 

Directing The Mind Towards Practices in Diversity

Remembering What It Means To Be Gay

Toward A Multicultural Buddhist Practice

On “Building A Community of Love” – bell hooks + Thich Nhat Hanh | Lion’s Roar

“…from childhood into adulthood we are often taught misguided and false assumptions about the nature of love. Perhaps the most common false assumption about love is that love means we will not be challenged or changed.”

Sixteen years and six days have passed since this conversation between bell hooks and Thich Nhat Hanh was published. It recently resurfaced in my social media network and incredibly — in ways both unfortunate and impressive — the message is so timely, it seems as if it was written today.

Thây and hooks have both figured prominently in my journey of spiritual awakening and self-understanding. Though I only held a cursory knowledge of their connection to one another, I am following the magical-mystical thread that connects us all (and merits its own reflection). This is the interbeing they speak of, what we Buddhists touch through our practice of looking and listen deeply in order to understand, to heal, to embrace, to love.

Read the full conversation on Lion’s Roar: Building A Community of Love

#WholyHappyHour [12/20]: Continuing the Practice of Becoming Our Own Refuge

Throughout this new season, our study and practice will be devoted to learning to hold space for ourselves and others in order to build trust, safety, skillful understanding and compassion in our spiritual community and in all relationships.

Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM
at Heartdance Studio, 1806 E. Michigan Avenue

Taking Refuge in the Island of the Self is a mindfulness practice of self-study that awakens clear comprehension and nurtures self-compassion. We take refuge in breath, relying on the visceral texture and sound of it coursing through body. The breath is here: a tangible, sensate experience. It feeds and cleanses every cell and fiber. It anchors and calms the brain. Resting in the breath, we come home. We remember the self in its wholeness — its nature to change in body, thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions. We touch the heart and mind of love [read more].

Make no mistake, becoming an island unto oneself is not about disconnecting from others. I visualize myself as being anchored in the center of a vast sea, with waves rippling away from me and returning to me, each concentric ring is a sacred circle of love, safety, and support:

The space I hold for myself –> The space being held for me in which I am enveloped by the full embrace of good spiritual friends (my sangha as well as my circle of family and friends) –> The space in which I hold others.

When I tend to myself with the energy of mindfulness and compassion, I remain solid, fresh, fueled and aflame” and continuously expand my capacity to “love from my center” (Romans 12:9-13, MSG). And, just as the Metta Bhavana meditation instructs, those ebbing tidewaters are then able to carry off the compassion, understanding, and loving-kindness I have generated to others. Soon the ripples rush back to flood me with energies that renew and sustain me. In moments of distress, I send out my suffering — in all its heavy, hot, sticky textures — with the practice of Tonglen.  That which no longer serves me is released and dispersed, its potency diminished. I become awash with relief — cool, clear and light. I take refuge in the island of the self so that my heart does not shut down, withhold from, and harden against the world. But stays open and free to experience the interstitial wave of connection to all around me. I am an island with welcoming shores.

Notes + Related Readings:


 

ON THE HORIZON:

Dec 16th | 2:30  – 4:30 PM ~ Presenting “Criteria for Skillful Communication” at the Facilitators Guild.

Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 5 Spiritual Faculties [Part 1]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 17th | 1:00  – 3:00 PM ~ Conscious + Fit: Building Body Awareness at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 24th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 5 Spiritual Faculties [Part 2]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

#WholyHappyHour [12/6]: Taking Refuge in the Island of the Self

Throughout this new season, our study and practice will be devoted to learning to hold space for ourselves and others in order to build trust, safety, skillful understanding and compassion in our spiritual community and in all relationships.

Dec 6th| 11 AM – 12:30 PM
at Heartdance Studio, 1806 E. Michigan Avenue

Taking Refuge in the Island of the Self is a mindfulness practice of self-study that awakens clear comprehension and nurtures self-compassion. We take refuge in breath, relying on the visceral texture and sound of it coursing through body. The breath is here: a tangible, sensate experience. It feeds and cleanses every cell and fiber. It anchors and calms the brain. Resting in the breath, we come home. We remember the self in its wholeness — its nature to change in body, thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions. We touch the heart and mind of love.3jewels.beislands

We do not abandon ourselves to seek outside refuges. We trust in this deeply-felt experience and return time and again, through the ebb and flow of change in external factors (relationships, finances, work, the thousand fleeting conditions we face daily), to our true home. We trust our capacity to be the source of refuge, to be an island unto ourselves. Here we calmly abide with understanding and ease.

Notes + Related Readings:


 

ON THE HORIZON:

Dec 9th | 7  – 9 PM ~ Leading Dharma Talk on Healing the Past at Lansing Area Mindfulness Community – Van Hanh Temple, 3015 S. Washington Ave.

Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: TBD. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

#WholyHappyHour [11/22]: Continuing The Practice of Self-Compassion

Throughout this new season, our study and practice will be devoted to learning to hold space for ourselves and others in order to build trust, safety, skillful understanding and compassion in our spiritual community and in all relationships.

Nov 22nd | 11 AM – 12:30 PM at Heartdance Studio.

Self-Compassion provides the fuel for sustaining our own well-being so that we can be solid, whole, and free when called to serve others. At our practice earlier this month, we looked deeply into the factors of self-compassion and set the intention to gift ourselves with daily doses of kindness in creative and sustainable ways.

What does self-compassion look like in real time? How do we conjure this energy beyond the meditation cushion and the sacred circle of sangha where the conditions for shamatha–stopping, abiding in silence and stillness–seem more attainable and the arising sense of gratitude, calm, and well-being feel more palpable?

It begins with a commitment to develop an intimate relationship with ourselves. To practice taking ourselves as the object of love! If only for 15 minutes, block out time for self-tending throughout each day.

  • Create a personal peace treaty.* Write a note of vows, activities, mantras, or affirmative statements that remind you to be gentle and generous with yourself. 
  • Spend time in solitude enjoying activities that feel nourishing and restore or boost yourself sense of peace and well-being.
  • Whenever you hit a rough patch and feel overwhelmed, frustrated or sad, give yourself the freedom to acknowledge those thoughts and feelings. Shine the light on them. Breathe into them, creating space for them to disperse and dissipate. Release judgment. Do not succumb to the temptation of panic or despair, as dharma teacher Jack Lawlor recently encouraged at our annual Day of Mindfulness)! Take refuge in the wisdom of the breath–the flowing change and steadiness in tempo with life itself–to hold you moment to moment. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to attain, no one to be. No struggling, striving, fixing. Simply abiding where you are. See what changes when you take care of your suffering with tenderness.
  • Relax in the company of good spiritual friends who model healthy self-tending practices and can offer wise counsel and support.

As we practice looking and listening deeply to examine our aspirations, fears, gifts, wounds, misperceptions, and values, we create the conditions for developing clear and skillful understanding. Buddhist practice celebrates curiosity and openness by inviting us to repeatedly and gently ask: “What is this?” and “Are you sure?” By studying ourselves in this waywe can penetrate the causes of our suffering and identify our suchness–all the wondrous, mysterious, and quirky elements that make up our nature.

From this diligent effort grows respect, which holds at its very root the wise instruction to look back at! So we give ourselves the time and space to see ourselves completely: our history, our habits, our humanness. We keep turning back, again and again, to look inward at how we relate to ourselves and engage the world around us. We discern the skillful means to make compassionate actions and transform unskillful thoughts we hold about ourselves and unskillful behaviors that reinforce our suffering.

Notes + Related Readings:

  • In Creating True Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests this exercise for couples in moments of conflict and lists skillful actions for both “one who is angry” and “the one who has made the other angry” such “refrain from saying or doing anything that might cause further damage or escalate the anger” and “respect the other person’s feelings, not ridicule him or her, and allow him or her enough time to calm down.”
  • Awakening The Voice of Self-Love [3 Jewels Yoga].
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh.

 

ON THE HORIZON:

Dec 6th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Dec 9th | 7  – 9 PM ~ Leading Dharma Talk on Healing the Past at Lansing Area Mindfulness Community – Van Hanh Temple, 3015 S. Washington Ave.

Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: TBD. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.