If you have half an hour to kill (yeah, it’s kind of long), here’s the talk I had the pleasure of giving at Unity of the Blue Ridge on July 31, 2016. This was week nine of a 12-week series on The Twelve Powers, in case you’d like to learn more. Enjoy.
I first began to blog after reading an article by a woman who called herself The Velveteen Rabbi. At the time she was a poet beginning her rabbinic studies. I read the article in Bitch Magazine (of all places). I’ve followed her through the years as she became a Real Rabbi and now a national leader of the Jewish Renewal movement. This morning I share one of her poems. (The poem stands alone, but for her beautiful explanation, click through to the link.) I will be meditating on these words today:
only thing I know is, the universe
is expanding and my heart with it. …
All the mitzvot
add up to this: every sinew in the body and
every day of the year, hear the command
Day 7 of the Omer by Rachel Barenblat
Happy 2015. Next Sunday in West Asheville I’ll be holding my first “micro-retreat” of the year. You can find more details here.
You can email me with any questions.
Or check out the facebook page.
Suggested donation of $20. Everyone is welcome, but I do need to know if you are coming because space is limited and materials will be provided.
Hope to see you there.
It’s December 23 and we in the Northern Hemisphere have now endured the longest night of the year and emerged on the other side, anticipating a little more light each day. And, oh, how we need the light. It’s true every year. There is no year when violence and poverty and fear disappear. Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of light during a period of revolt against those who had defiled and profaned the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Christmas emerged under the Roman occupation of Judea and the forced taxation of the poor to fund their oppressors. And this year, the longest night of the year follows an uprising against the deep-seated racism that has shaped this nation and continues to devalue black lives.
Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
And to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh’s Present Moment, Wonderful Moment
As I began this blog, a beloved Buddhist teacher appeared to be lying in that tender place between life and death. Thich Nhat Hanh became a Buddhist monk in Vietnam when he was still a teen. When war came to Vietnam, monks and nuns were confronted with the question of whether to stay meditating in the monasteries or to help those around them suffering under the bombings and turmoil of war. Thich Nhat Hanh chose to do both, and in doing so founded the Engaged Buddhism movement.
I didn’t learn about his peace activism or his mindfulness teaching until I was in my 30s, a Presbyterian minister living in Rochester, NY. The first book I read was his little book of “Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living” quoted above. Simple and beautiful, a few of the verses slipped easily into my own spiritual vocabulary. “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.” Years later, I would use this verse each time I led a meditation day or retreat. Continue Reading →