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love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.
“I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending that haunts our sleep so much as the fear... that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived.” —Rabbi Harold KushnerIn this past month, two things became clear: any commitment to writing about transformation calls for addressing the greatest transformation any of us will make at least once. The second thing is that we live in a culture that celebrates eternal youth, never-ending life, and an insatiable thirst for immortality. Conversely, we avoid that greatest of transformations, known as Death, as a natural and inevitable rite of passage. Death happens daily, yet most of us are largely removed from it, safely positioned on the passive side of our computer and television screens or the printed page. Thus, when faced with it or its pending probability directly, we are woefully under-equipped to negotiate it. Here a sampling of reflections, learnings & resources for the journey all of us will eventually take: LOSING GENIUS Two deaths in particular have impacted me greatly this month. One was that of my naturopath, Dr. Cecilia Hart. The other, was of course, Michael Jackson. Both were unexpected, felt too sudden, too soon and riddled with questions of “how can this be?” They were both young. Both Virgoes. Both committed to Heal the World...and both so clearly in need of their own healing. One has become intimate and full of personal responsibility in a way that i would not have expected. The other has been far away and collectively held in a way that I would have hoped for. In losing Michael Jackson, who without a doubt embodied the most complex relationship we, the people have with celebrity and celebrity has with itself, my soul brother Greg Tate captures it best: “What Black American culture—musical and otherwise—lacks for now isn't talent or ambition, but the unmistakable presence of some kind of spiritual genius: the sense that something other than or even more than human is speaking through whatever fragile mortal vessel is burdened with repping for the divine, the magical, the supernatural, the ancestral...” a moving and prescient poem by Alice Walker written in 1991... from Natural Star - for Michael Jackson I am in mourning For your face The one I used to love To see Leaping, glowing Upon the The stage The mike Eager... Thrusting In your Fist. I am in mourning... http://www.alicewalkersblog.com/2009/06/natural-star-for-michael-jackson.html In losing Cecilia, who helped guide my health back into balance after discovering dis-ease, I’ve lost, for now, my health insurance: insurance against a system more concerned with medicating then healing even as it denies access to the basic right of health to millions. She belonged to the growing legions of naturopathic doctors, alternative healers, complementary health practitioners, chiropractors and more that stand up to legitimize healing practices that affirm wholeness and well-being, rather than dividing our wholebodies into separate problematic parts to be conquered one office visit and co-pay at a time. After she died, the mystery of her notable slowness was unraveled. Unbeknownst to her clients that read untold pages of books waiting for her, Cecilia literally prayed over each herb, pill and powder to activate the healing energy of that vehicle. She called forth the power of those potions to be in right relationship with the body they would be in. She helped myself and many others reclaim our health and restore confidence in our innate ability to heal ourselves through better relationships with our body-minds. A lifelong teaching every one of us can practice today. WRITE IT DOWN Both Michael and Cecilia's Deaths were also painful reminders that we live in an increasingly litigious society wherein the dispensation of our property, our children, even our very bodies is governed not by obvious relationships and moral right but by strangers behind desks and in robes wielding a legally ordered bullet list that divvies out dominion in a way that may defy the truth of our life choices of family, partnership and love, so:
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In the face of today’s political and social unrest, is it possible to create a wise, kind, and strong human society? Rev. angel Kyodo williams speaks about how the collective process of waking up is closely related to the truth of interdependence.
On Being's Krista Tippett says: “(angel Kyodo williams) is one of our wisest voices on social evolution and the spiritual aspect of social healing. angel Kyodo williams is an esteemed Zen priest and the second black woman ever recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage. To sink into conversation with her is to imagine and nourish a transformative potential of this moment towards human wholeness.”
“We are exploring a citizenship of solidarity in how we show up for each other. We're joined today by Reverend angel Kyodo williams, acclaimed author and Zen master, as we talk about holding the complexity of who we are in America and why meditation is not enough.”
angel Kyodo williams, the "change angel," is Founder of the national Transformative Change, for which she now serves as a Senior Fellow and Director of Vision, and Founder Emeritus of Berkeley-based Center for Transformative Change. Both bridge inner and outer change for social justice activists towards wholeness, wellbeing and effective action. A social visionary and leading voice for transformative social change, she is the author of the critically-acclaimed Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace and co-author of the latest Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love & Liberation.
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