friends on the path: weeding and tending the labyrinth. walking in awareness, aligning with intention, praying with our feet, moving into clarity and wisdom. nourishing ourselves and one another with laughter and good eats.
We begin this historic week with the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the National Day of Racial Healing as we trudge toward the final day that our country’s first Black president, Barack Obama, will stand as head of state. Fueled and aflame, with our hearts and minds resting on justice, liberation and healing, we take refuge in the good works, legacy, and words of wisdom from emissaries of light.
In intimate circles, we draw closer, lean into, speak truths and listen deeply to one another — resisting the temptation to be pulled under by despair, fear, hate, and hopeless. En masse, we gather, convene, rally, and march — using our voices and bodies to resist the normalization of this new swell of injustice and violence that seeks to impoverish, divide, and oppress us. Wherever we are, we reclaim the integrity of King’s vision: to stand firmly in our commitment to serve, liberate, heal, love and cultivate, demand, and protect justice and equity in order to restore ourselves and our communities to wholeness.
“You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?”
You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.”
I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.
The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. “
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail
March on Lansing ~
What We Stand For
Mashable ~ 8 Quotes
i move along a rain-soaked path
pink tubular bodies stretch out
in full prostration across my trail, beckoning:
feel your heart into those feet,
so every step blesses the earth.
a few, once desiccated, now rehydrated, leave coiled graffiti-like impressions:
life wuz here!
keep it movin’!
gravity relinquishes its pull on my body, offering it up
into the ever-ready hands of spirit
briefly i levitate…
soles soar over a smattering of broken branches + wrinkled leaves…
i see nature’s clues
(autumn’s stand-in for rose petals, i joke)
and picture a young wood nymph pointing me to the altar
trees line the sanctuary aisle
as holy witnesses to my prayer
and as lofty pews
for curious squirrels who ring around the trunks to peek over at me
while jays, perched on high, trumpet my procession
i glide faster,
sweat and breath awaken
memories of land ancestors
i sense the hearts and spirits of
and stolen black bodies
thrumming life — once desiccated — nourished now by over-saturated clouds replenishing the soil
my waltzing cadence drums out the beat of their sacrifices:
tilled, toiled, kept.
loved, honored, bled.
harvested, shared, fed.
song penetrates deeply —
a systolic pressure burrowing
from head to ears, heart to toes
rhythm from beyond yonder
touching me touching the earth
because of them
i continue solid, whole, and free
We’re so thrilled to have launched the pilot session of our new walk-to-run program TrailBlazers last Monday!
The day began stormily with hourly forecasts that nerve-wrackingly shifted bouts of rain to land before, during or after our scheduled meetup time.
Alas, finger-crossing and fervent hoping prevailed (despite the afternoon flash flooding around town)! The skies calmed, the sun burst through, and the streets dried up so that we could blaze a new trail with this great crew of women.
This Sunday, we will walk in freedom and dedicate the merit of our practice to those who relentlessly pursue, speak out, and fight for the RIGHTS of all to LIVE + LOVE FREELY. #LoveWins
Join us at Moores Park Labyrinth | 11 am – 12 pm.
When a fellow member of my running group shared this image and quote with us all, I was “AUM-ing” and “AMEN-ing” at the simple truth of this message. The 8 miles I logged this morning in the company of friends made every step easier. Laughter, insights, wise counsel and encouragement filled every moment of our two-and-half hour excursion.
It did not matter that everyone could not go the full distance.
Showing up, being committed to ourselves, and supporting others in the commitments they make to themselves is the stuff that running buddies and good spiritual friends are made of!
It is a treasure to have partners who help keep us accountable, on the pavement and on our chosen life paths, as we make bold proclamations for our self-care and aspirations. In my twenties, I longed for this type of loving support and was grateful to find it when I needed it most. Just as crucial — I learned through those relationships (and continue to refine through my dharma practice) to be the same kind of friend I value.
Becoming a good spiritual friend (kalyanamitra or kalyanamitta in Sanskrit/Pali) takes time, experience, maturity, skillfullness, discernment, the willingness to be vulnerable and, in turn, to bear witness to vulnerability in others. It demands that we learn not to “co-sign crazy” (a mantra and rule that I lovingly and frequently remind friends, old and new, will be upheld)! Rather than join in on a rant-and-rage session or hold our tongue when a friend is out of order, we invite these dear ones to pause and look deeply when they are caught in harmful/unskillful patterns. We shine the light — helping them wade through the muck toward clear intentions and possible resolutions. We ask what they think they need or, when they’re uncertain, simply step back while offering to be there whenever they are ready to work through it. But other situations require that we share our direct observations because our friend’s perspective may be the source of the difficulty.
For those who lament the lack of sleep or time to relax, we support them in finding moments of peace. If they say they’d like to exercise more often, we invite them out on a walk. For the friend who has difficulty asking for help, we remember to reach out first. We learn better than to give the workaholic or the people-pleaser, who can’t say “No,” one more task to juggle.
The good spiritual friend learns to see clearly and to respond wisely to the need or challenge in the moment. No dictating, judging, or chiding. They deliver the appropriate support with compassion and understanding. They help us to go deep in our self-inquiry, to acknowledge our true desires and quiet fears, and to live authentically and wholeheartedly.
They sweeten the journey and cheer us on as we come back, again and again, to our true selves.
More on Spiritual Friendship
we meet to walk in silent contemplation
of earth, cooling our feet
of air, tickling our skin
of water, rushing as sound + current to dampen our ears
of sun, blazing warm on head + hearts
we spiral in + quietly in
centering our awareness on new beginnings, grace, gratitude, friendship
we spiral out, expanding once more
greeting one another on the path
a momentary pause
a deep bow
a gaze into eyes of compassion
we sit then, steady of heart + mind
soaking in the suchness
of the four elements
of dear companions
of movement that awakens understanding