Tuesday, January 31, 2017

gate A-4 :: naomi shihab nye

Thank you to my friend Bruce Hake for this one.
Not everything is lost.
❤ Molly

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.”
Well—one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help," said the flight agent. “Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”
I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, Shu-bid-uck Habibti? Stani schway, Min fadlick, Shu-bit- se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just later, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”
We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and ride next to her. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling of her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—from her bag—and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.
And then the airline broke out free apple juice from huge coolers and two
little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands—had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and I thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate—once the crying of confusion stopped—seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too.
This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.
 - Naomi Shihab Nye

Monday, January 30, 2017

Naomi Shihab Nye: Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken 
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness, 
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho 
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans 
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, 
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.  
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
- Naomi Shihab Nye

From Living Earth: We Can Work With Love, For Love, Toward Love

We are all being inundated with calls to action and crisis response. Please do consider them, act if you choose, and then breathe. We can't turn away, we need to be aware of the scope and density of the ignorance that has commandeered our collective boat. AND. . . we all need to breathe. 

Wherever you engage, whatever issues pull your heart most tearfully or often, thank you. Thank you. Find your place there. We can't all do everything, but when we know we can count on each other to be wholehearted in our actions, we grow stronger in trust and shared intention. Let's find our stride in this new terrain, so we can move, unfatigued, strong, graceful, powerful, and beautiful. 

Panic and fear are the winning tools of despotism and tyranny. Do not let them in, do not let them win. We need each other, we can keep each other whole. We can work with love, for love, toward love. With love and courage, focus and energy, clarity and beauty. 

This we can do. This is what we were born for. Thank you for being who you are in this moment. Thank you.


James O'Dea: The Death of Complacency and the Birth of Conscious Activism

The death of complacency…the birth of conscious activism
What does it mean to be complacent? Well, you know it will all turn out fine. Let’s not get all hot and bothered: a wrinkle here a wrinkle there doth not the great unraveling make. Right? 
Wrong. Dead wrong. On a day when refugees from majority Muslim countries who had visas and undergone full screening were taken off planes and detained at airports we can't be complacent. Christians were not affected by the ban.
No more shrugs about cutting funding for climate change research; deportations , refugee bans, reviving fossil fuels, supporting torture, coddling dictators etc. If you have been shaken from complacency frenzy is not the answer.
Have a little burial ceremony for our collective complacency then celebrate the birth of truly conscious, visionary and inspired activism.

- James O'Dea

Author of the Conscious Activist

from  James O'Dea

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rabbi Michael Lerner: Nothing Is More Contagious Than Genuine Love and Genuine Care

What a beautiful, beautiful soul. 
May we deepen our connections with beautiful souls,
beginning with our own.

Quotes by Rabbi Michael Lerner

Ultimately, one of the best ways to take care of our souls is to build a society that supports rather than undermines our highest moral and spiritual intuitions and inclinations. Yet, building that society can never be divided from the daily practices through which we live out our ethical and spiritual lives, both in the way we treat others around us, and in the way we nourish the God within us.

Whoever you are—whether you are a postal worker, autoworker, lawyer, doctor, high-tech expert—there are multiple ways you can advance the cause of love, kindness, and generosity.

The new world will be created by people who know better than to be realistic. Realism is crumbling all around us. We will learn what is possible by struggling for the world we desire.

In a dog-eat-dog world it makes sense to bite before bitten. But in a cooperative world gone awry, it makes sense to extend empathy and a hand of friendship, and seek healing.

The environmental crisis is the no. 1 spiritual challenge facing the human race in the 21st century. Spiritual Progressives should provide leadership in this struggle.

The prophets’ clear message is that those who do not care for the poor and the oppressed are defiling God’s name.

What is particularly striking is that the American people were able to rally to the values of what we in the Network of Spiritual Progressives call “The Caring Society — Caring for Each Other and Caring for the Earth” despite the fact that neither Obama nor the Democratic Party articulated these values clearly.

Reality is much more complex than any judgment of right and wrong encourages you to believe. When you really understand the ethical, spiritual, social, economic, and psychological forces that shape individuals, you will see that people’s choices are not based on a desire to hurt. Instead, they are in accord with what they know and what world views are available to them. Most are doing the best they can, given what information they’ve received and what problems they are facing.

We need to build millions of little moments of caring on an individual level. Indeed, as talk of a politics of meaning becomes more widespread, many people will feel it easier to publicly acknowledge their own spiritual and ethical aspirations and will allow themselves to give more space to their highest vision in their personal interactions with others. A politics of meaning is as much about these millions of small acts as it is about any larger change. The two necessarily go hand in hand.

In place of the Old Bottom Line of money and power, a New Bottom Line of Love and Generosity is possible. People of all faiths need to shape a political and social movement that reaffirms the most generous, peace-oriented, social justice-committed, and loving truths of the spiritual heritage of the human race.

Nothing is more contagious than genuine love and genuine care. Nothing is more exhilarating than authentic awe and wonder. Nothing is more exciting than to witness people having the courage to fight for their highest vision.

Angela Davis: Walls Turned Sideways Are Bridges

Bless all the courageous awakened women everywhere!
May we join them!
I believe profoundly in the possibilities of democracy, but democracy needs to be emancipated from capitalism. As long as we inhabit a capitalist democracy, a future of racial equality, gender equality, economic equality will elude us...

I'm no longer accepting the things I cannot change...I'm changing the things I cannot accept...

You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time...

Walls turned sideways are bridges.

- Angela Davis

Howard Zinn: Our Problem Is Civil Obedience

 I miss Howard Zinn. I love Howard Zinn.
And he lives on in my heart and soul and those of 
millions of others. Bless the courageous ones
who come here to teach us so much!

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.

- Howard Zinn

Cornell West: We Need Courage

So important to listen to and learn from the wise ones,
the ones who love with all their being.
They are the most courageous.
May that courage be contagious.

The country is in deep trouble. We've forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that's the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.

- Cornell West

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mary Oliver: Wild Geese

 Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.
- Mary Oliver