We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
Tied in a single thread of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.
Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
Each day I rise, waking to a world of possibilities.
I breathe and smile, happy and ready to learn, grow and share.
I see the sky, sun, clouds above me.
I see the earth, plants, water below me.
I feel the air around me.
I breathe and smile, knowing that I am in the world and the world is in me.
I choose to see beauty in myself, my family, my friends, my neighbors, my teachers, my community, and all living creatures.
I choose to speak words from my heart that are true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind.
I choose to act from my heart in ways that are helpful, healthy, inspiring, and kind.
Even when I do not feel or act my best (whether I am sad, scared, confused or angry), I remember to place my hands on my heart and breathe.
I smile, knowing I can begin anew.
I can ask for help and comfort from those I trust and love.
Each night, I rest, thankful for all that I learned and shared.
I see the sky, moon, stars above me.
I see the beauty all around me. I breathe and smile, knowing that I am in the world and the world is in me.
[originally written Fall 2012 + published on dhamma4mama* 2013]
This writing has multiple sources of inspiration:
- My experiences as an aunt, mother, and substitute teaching assistant for a preschool program;
- My experiences as a practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation, which is rooted in my practice of Zen Buddhism in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh;
- My dear friend TaNesha Barnes, who asked me some time last year to create an affirmation for Beyond The Surface, the critical thinking and social justice academy she literally built in her own backyard! A 21st-century embodiment of Wonder Woman, TaNesha is a mother, entrepreneur (t. barnes beauty), educator and social justice advocate with a clear heart-driven mission to empower students to become “global thinkers for equitable living.” When she recently posted the draft version of this piece (typed one late-night and stored as a memo on my BlackBerry) on Facebook, I was not only honored that she announced it would be recited daily in her upcoming program, Breathing Beauty Rites of Passages for Black Girls, but also compelled to add some long-awaited finishing touches! I am so deeply grateful to have lived, learned and grown up with TaNesha over the last 19 years and, on this 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (#MOW50), am excited to continue collaborating with her on programs that merge spirituality and wellness with social justice.