Trifecta of Black Teaching

I’ve stayed home. I’ve stayed quiet, mostly…while following friends on social media whom I greatly admire, out on the front lines protesting, activists, dedicated to social justice and changing the world. I choose to offer quiet contemplation and soul companioning. We all contribute in our own ways to this uprising, this awakening of consciousness, our own and others. I’ve turned inward to look at my white privilege, a term I first heard while in seminary 5 years ago, and still grapple with understanding. I’m reading, listening, watching, to unlearn and re-learn from resources listed by Black Lives Matter and other organizations. I have a long way to go.

I grew up in the 60s–– the civil rights movement, Vietnam war, protests, riots, Woodstock… I was 7 when John F Kennedy was assassinated, 12 when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. I’ve been noticing how the energy of this time feels familiar–– the anger, shock, grief, fear, and disbelief feels familiar. And I’m noticing how the little girl and the elder within are processing the daily events psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Every day I walk in silent meditation searching for beauty in the world because if I don’t, I fear I’ll fall apart.

Last night, in my internet search for truth and justice, I hit a trifecta that was new and unfamiliar…and I totally lost my shit… doubled over sick to my stomach, sobbing, the tears burned like fire in my eyes, and my heart beat furiously, angrily in my chest. I felt responsible, negligent, appalled.

Notice the Rage and the Silence  If you’re curious about some of that internet truth and justice that hit me like a ton of bricks, give a listen to this 30 – 40 minute interview by Krista Trippett with Resmaa Menakem, the author of My Grandmother’s Hands. It’s a recipe for healing wounds that are centuries old.  https://onbeing.org/programs/resmaa-menakem-notice-the-rage-notice-the-silence/

How can we win?  Then watch Kimberly Latrice Jones 6 ½ minute video – “How can we win?” And you’ll learn a few things about black economics and history that I’m pretty sure white folks never learned in school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dey7R-6_c2E

Another George  Shortly after listening to and watching those pieces, a post came up on my feed about the execution of a 14 year old black boy, George Stinney on June 16, 1944. I couldn’t find that exact post, but I found this on Snopes.  Check it out here  https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/george-stinney-execution-exoneration/

How can we be so cruel to one another? Part of the answer is that it’s in our bones, literally in our DNA, passed down through the ages. (Listen to Notice the Rage and the Silence) How can we become allies with people of color and support their resiliency, equality and prosperity? Whether we protest, pray, donate, or vote, the change must come from within, at a cellular level. May the healing and reparations not take centuries.

Peace and blessings, Rev. Lisa

Part 8 – From Spirit to Matter

Grace and Divine Presence

Coming Home

What a surprise it was to end my year of ashram life and enter into a year of residency as a hospital chaplain. Resistance is futile when you’re lead by Grace. I came full circle in my material and spiritual worlds; from almost dying while a hospital patient, to being a hospital chaplain ministering to those suffering various stages of trauma, illness, grief and the dying process. Divine Grace was asking, “You glimpsed the threshold of death, can you be fully present with others as they approach their own mortality?”  The answer was yes, and… as a hospital chaplain I found my experience to be some of the most holy, life-affirming, bittersweet and exhausting work one can do. It required stillness in the midst of chaos, both internally and externally, and mountains of self-care.

Zen seeing too requires stillness and a deep appreciation of every breath. My contemplative spiritual practices offered regenerative energy during that time and kept me grounded. I practiced walking meditation and mantras between patient visits, and I spent my days off in my photoshop/darkroom creating books to help teach others “how to see.” It was during that time that I gave birth to two more photo books, 108 Explorations of Zen Seeing and a collection of B&W Zen Contemplative images.

My spiritual and creative evolution, and the integration of my NDE has felt like an upward spiral, both my heart and mind opening wider as I come home to more of who I am.  Discerning that my path lay beyond the confines of hospital chaplaincy, I now weave spiritual direction into my creative, sacred, healing arts experience, offering individual and group companioning for those seeking deeper connection with their inner and outer worlds during challenging times.

I continue to show up with beginner’s mind, curious and in awe of the possibilities that can unfold. That’s not to say that I don’t experience fear, doubt, anxiety and worry. I absolutely do, and when they require attention, I practice  maintaining stillness amidst chaos, allowing me to return to trusting my Self and the Grace of Divine Presence.

Thank you for reading and witnessing these glimpses into my story. I end this blog series with the following questions for you to contemplate:  “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” ― Rachel Carson