I had the great honor and joy to spend a beautiful weekend holding space for my Quaker friends to discern how we skillfully engage in practices of justice, liberation, and healing.
Leading with Spirit + Faith, practitioners were guided to focus on “discernment over data” in order to:
GET GROUNDED — Cutting through the noise in order to get clear about one’s intentions and to honestly assess what one feels compelled and equipped to do.
BUILD CAPACITY — Cultivating an intimate understanding of one’s self and one’s values; examining the ways we each embody privilege and risk as well as each individual’s unique relationship to injustice, power and oppression; fortifying one’s self through transformative practices of deep listening and skillful communication. Discerning how each of us shows up, lends our presence and privilege, and can learn to apply our skills without creating more harm.
CENTER OUR WELLNESS + PRACTICE ACCOUNTABILITY — Using sacred tools and skillful strategies to restore, nourish and sustain healing, well-being, and wholeness; and establishing the circles of trust to support our learning and growing toward compassion, connection, and reconciliation.
Open ya eyes wide and see the truth of the skin I’m in. #TakeItAllIn
As a Dharma practitioner, I have cultivated Sangha on the sacred grounds of the Satipatthana Sutta (the Four Establishments of Mindfulness) and, in our gatherings, turn us again and again and again back to this foundational practice that teaches us to listen deeply,
and “remain established in the observation of the body in the body, diligent, with clear understanding, mindful, having abandoned every craving and every distaste for this life” [Majjhima Nikaya 10, as translated in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Transformation + Healing]. So too with the observation of feelings, thoughts/mental states and perceptions of whatever is in our field of awareness as we engage the world around us.
It is a spiritual discipline to help us acknowledge, take care of, and free ourselves from our attachments (what we cling to) and aversions (what we avoid). It is a spiritual practice that fosters discernment, accountability, transformation and healing.
Our skillful understanding of how connected we all are — the principle of interdependence — does not negate or override the commitment we make to:
Show Up, Notice, Pay Attention, Be Present, Hold Space, Cultivate Silence, Listen Deeply, Bear Witness.
We own our actions (thoughts, words + deeds). We are responsible for seeing and perceiving ourselves and one another clearly and in our wholeness. Skillful Understanding supports Skillful Thinking and Skillful Action.
To avoid seeing race/ethnicity is to cling to delusion. It is neither an act of compassion or generosity and not only hinders authentic connection but flat-out undermines our capacity for justice, liberation and transformative healing.
When I took the test for the 5 love languages years ago, it came as no surprise that my primary love language is acts of service (followed by quality time).
Last Wednesday, I was invited to give a dharma talk on social justice at my root sangha and opened with Dr. Cornel West’s oft-quoted observation that:
“to be human, you must bear witness to justice.
justice is what love looks like in public —
to be human is to love and be loved.”
It is a powerful reminder that love and justice are seeded in the heart.
As often as I have revisited this quote, it was only in that moment — in the quiet, sacred space of the Temple and in the presence of fellow dharma practitioners who offered their full awareness and open hearts to bear witness to my insights about the dharma and its threads to justice — that I realized that I feel most embraced, understood, and cared for by those who speak to me from a heart centered in justice, liberation, and healing.
I receive and express love in the form of justice, liberation, and transformative healing. This is how I embody the call to serve and how I put my faith into action: by turning toward and lifting up that which helps us to reclaim and prioritize our joy, wellness, and wholeness over and above the madness of hate, violence, and oppression.
radical bodhicitta is the new digital home for my expanding work in healing justice.
Anti-Oppressive Communication Webinar
with Autumn Brown + Maryse Mitchell-Brody
It’s astonishing that people are actually coming out of their faces to say that voters didn’t intend to cause harm or to condone violence when they elected a demagogue.
Please tell me what multiverse are you living in?
That man’s racist, homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-disabled, anti-poor, anti-everybody-who-has-a-heart-for-what-is-just-and-equitable rants were not whispered behind closed doors and later leaked into the public sphere after folks were good-and-bamboozled by his charisma and hope-filled messages.
He was loud, boisterous and unapologetic about his oppressive views. He attracted and continues to be endorsed, lauded, now flaunted and paraded by white supremacists with confederate flags, swastikas, and full KKK regalia.
The hate and violence that fueled the campaign has escalated since Tuesday.
His “win” has become a “license to lynch” — with numerous accounts of children, women, LGBTQ persons being physically attacked, taunted, harassed and threatened.
(I will not link those articles here. Instead, I encourage you to take good care of your mental/emotional well-being with your consumption of these images and stories. You can be informed without overexposing yourself to the toxicity).
The terror is real. The breech of trust is real. It is happening in your neighborhoods and schools and was, in fact, sanctioned by decent, well-intentioned folk who just wanted to “Make America Great Again”…nevermind the true cost.
I’m intelligent enough to get it. I’m committed to skillful understanding and have the capacity to see through my outrage and fear to look into theirs.
I know they felt seen, heard, and understood for the first time by, unfortunately, a “pulls-no-punches,” plain (and vulgar) language-talking reality-tv tycoon who, unlike the career politicians we’re accustomed to, doesn’t fit neatly into the shiny 4-cornered presidential candidate box.
Yes, our system is broken. Yes, it often feels like two steps forward, 10 back.
But you can’t set my house on fire just because you think it’s a raggedy eyesore blocking your view, then say “whoopsie!” when you realize I was still inside.
(By the way, the flames are raging because you keep adding more accelerant.)
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
–Matthew 16:26 NIV
Now here comes the cultural gaslighting — from the passive-aggressive (“We’ve survived 44 other presidents. It’s not the end of the world.”) to the outright manipulative dismissals and trivializations (“You’re exaggerating. It’s not that bad.”). In. The. Face. Of. Facts!
Beyond the undeniable evidence of these egregious acts of violence, there remain personal truths. And, I refuse to let you tell me what my experience is or should be.
Own your actions. Own the consequences of your vote.
If you voted for hate, just look me in the eye and say: Fuck you, Tara, and every breath that you take! so I know where we stand.
Understand that with your vote, you were willing to risk not just relationships with people you know and love, but to also risk the safety and very basic human rights to millions of people who, like you, simply want to live.
You cannot be surprised or offended that relationships have been lost or compromised.
You wanted more for yourself? You got it!
Look across the table to the empty seat.
Feast on what remains when your friends, neighbors, and family decline your invitation to break bread. They deserve to protect themselves from being exposed to the consequences of your self-interest.
And if you’re in any way moved by their absence, it’s time to examine your discomfort.
If not, well, then enjoy the extra elbow room.
He who argues for his limitations
gets to keep them.
— Richard Bach
suprised? curious? confused?
more on gaslighting
Behold the radiance that filled up “Our Space” at All of the Above in REO Town on Wednesday!
It was a beautiful night to share an embodied meditation for restoration and self-compassion with beautiful souls who are invested in self-care, equity, and healing justice. Afterward, the space was blessed with laughter, connection, dance and poetry during the open mic/open floor segment.
I was honored to be invited to help plant and water the seeds of this inaugural community healing event, which was dreamed up by a small group of friends who felt bereft at the lack of safe space to unpack and process the brutalities against Asian, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim and LGBTQ communities that wrenched our hearts, ratcheting vice grip-tight in quick succession without pause after every vicious assault this summer. Charged with the call to fill this void, they recognized the power that sharing our arts — the multitude of creative and embodied expressions — has to burn off rage and despair, to soothe aching hearts and wounded minds, to inspire new ways of hearing-seeing-understanding, to illuminate the unfathomable, and to transform all manner of things.
How do we heal? We make space for sorrows to be shared not silenced. We make space for joy to move through our bodies and be released in song, smiles, word, embraces, applause, call, response, dance, muscles melting into the earth and a deep-slow sigh of relief.
I’m excited to keep planting, watering, and nourishing this community with (my three jewels) the energy of compassion, skillful understanding and connection so that we can harvest love.
“For a number of years, I believed God would
finally and dramatically intervene on earth,
initiating a worldwide reign of peace and justice.
I no longer believe that.
My Quaker morality will not permit me to assign to God
the work of peace that rightly belongs to us…
Jesus and other great spiritual teachers
provide signposts pointing the way to peace,
but they do not magically speak it into being.”
~ Philip Gulley, Living the Quaker Way
FOR A LIST OF COMMUNITY EVENTS
TOWARD HEALING IN #LOVELANSING,
VIEW the 3 Jewels Yoga Facebook page.
We have not forgotten nor begun to recover from the massacre in Charleston on June 17, 2015. And here we are once again, nearly a year to the very day in a month that has become bloodied by another act of terror against people who were simply being themselves in what was thought to be a safe haven to celebrate, dance, laugh, connect with others.
With hearts heavy with sorrow, let us turn toward and abide in light to cast away this looming darkness. I bow deeply to dharma teacher Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel for the healing wisdom she offers in this relentless cycle of violence and recent loss of 49 precious lives in Orlando.
For All Beings
excerpts from the chant written by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
May all beings be cared for and loved,
Be listened to, understood and acknowledged despite different views,
Be accepted for who they are in this moment…
Be allowed to live without fear of having their lives taken away or their bodies violated.
…Be treated as if their life is precious,
Be held in the eyes of each other as family.
…Feel welcomed anywhere on the planet,
Be freed from acts of hatred and desperation including war, poverty, slavery, and street crimes,
Live on the planet, housed and protected from harm…
Read and share Zenju’s Chants Against Hatred.