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Patience

Today is Friday, November 6, 2020. The Word of these past 48 hours has been patience. The etymology of patience is from the Latin word for suffering. How appropriate.

American culture is not known for its patience because we are a culture obsessed with avoidance & denial of suffering. Perhaps these days of waiting are an invitation to turn patience into a practice.

What does patience look like for you? What are ways to acknowledge our individual and collective suffering, as humans and as Americans?

In the coming days, I will practice patience, when I’m driving. Maybe I’ll not get so angry when I get behind a slow driver or when a fast driver is on my tail. Or I can practice patience, wearing my mask, while waiting in line at the grocery store, post office, doctor’s office. Or I will practice more patience at home, with myself and with Chris. Remembering to breathe. Slow down. Do one thing at a time.

We never know the depths of human suffering our neighbors, colleagues, fellow citizens endure. Our patience might just be the act of kindness required for healing. May it be so.

Present Moment

Today is Election Day, November 3, 2020. It is 3pmEST in Asheville, NC. We are having glorious sunshine, in the high 50’s. A cursory look at cities across the U.S., sunshine prevails. Perhaps a sign that Mother Earth is ready to turn, in a big way!

I share the hymn: The Canticle of the Turning, based on Mary’s Magnificat:

Tuesdays are one of my sabbath days. On this historic Election Day, I am lucky to practice slowing down, reconnecting with the flow of my inner rhythms. I ate a healthy, tasty breakfast and lunch. I used my new Rad balls, while lying on the floor, to release trigger point stressors in my muscles. I trimmed the orchid plants. I am laundering towels. I’ve edited Chris’ weekly ACT column. I’ve been listening to NPR’s Here & Now, and 1A.

With gusto, I sang, cried & danced to The Canticle of the Turning.

And now I’m writing this blog post.

I am not feeling anxious. Instead, I am feeling hope-filled as historic numbers of US citizens have already voted, and are voting today. I trust and believe this unprecedented turnout of millions of Americans during a deadly pandemic exemplifies the best of human perseverance and steely determination. So, right now, in this present moment, on this beautiful fall day in the Blue Ridge mountains, I am feeling inspired, open-hearted, and ready to face what lies ahead tonight, tomorrow and in the coming days.

Grief & Rebirth

On this last day of October, the night of a blue moon, it is also the Wiccan celebration of Samhain, the Celtic New Year, which commemorates the dying God who returns to the womb of the Goddess preparing for rebirth at the Yule. 
Thanks to http://www.multifaithcalendar.org 

What an appropriate time to honor the souls of all who’ve died this past year, as well as the deaths of our own dreams and hopes.

Trusting the wisdom of Creation in these challenging days of human frailty and failings, what is dying within you, preparing for rebirth?  

Preparing for 2020 Election 

Born in Washington, DC, and raised in the Maryland suburbs, we used to say that our local news was national & international news.  58 years later, it’s hard for me to shake my fascination and addiction to national & international politics.  I’m thankful for the ways the DC metropolitan area formed me as a world citizen.

Nevertheless, as we approach November 3, 2020, it’s clear to me that my power and greatest impact, along with voting, is how I act and respond in these coming days of increasing stress, uncertainty and anxious waiting.

My daily practice throughout the rest of October, November and December will be to notice when I’m “othering” those with whom I disagree, sometimes vehemently, and figure out how to speak & act without using venom and rage.

I truly believe there is always a third, fourth, fifth way forward in these polarized, fractured times.  For example, as we anticipate the Senate confirmation of Judge Barrett, I sense and trust there are multiple ways forward, including state legislatures passing good, strong laws that protect a woman’s privacy regarding reproductive rights, power over her own body and her right to choose what is best for her body, her psyche and her family.

Such efforts will require time, sacrifice and much struggle.  When I feel despondent, I remember Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass, none of whom were alive when the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified or the Voting Rights Act was passed.  Yet they never relented in their struggle for justice.

Dear White siblings, be not fooled.

When the President of the U.S. and his entourage, (it’s important to learn their names and positions of power) impulsively decided to walk across the street from the White House to a House of God, their instincts reveal White Supremacy & Christian Nationalism.  The videos and photos portray it pure and simple.

If any of the 5-7 White people who walked the hundred plus yards had stopped to acknowledge the humanity, the dignity, the presence of the protestors, the clergy, the media, the police, their actions would have illustrated common decency.

Instead, they were blindly focused on their goal, which was to cross the street, stand in front of a church none of them attend, hold up a Bible as if it were the Flag, (both idolatrous) and blaspheme religious institutions while disgracing the executive branch of the U.S. government.

White siblings, it’s time to stand down.  To acknowledge and disrupt our practices of power hoarding & paternalism.  It’s been killing Brown & Black bodies since 1619 and it’s killing us.  Credit due Tema Okun and her work on white supremacy culture, changework.  

Today is the last day of May 2020

The U.S. convulses from 400 years of White people not naming, facing, repairing two truths:  White people stole this land from the Native peoples and White people built unjust and racist economic, political & legal systems upon the necks, backs and bodies of Black peoples, through slavery, segregation, redlining, mass incarceration and militarized police.

Genocides of Native & Black peoples.  These are the dual pandemics which have infected our nation for over 4 centuries.  COVID 19 lays bare what Black and Brown peoples have always known.  White Supremacy is the underlying sickness which must be named.  It starts with me.