RSS Feed

Category Archives: Social Justice

dig in.

“find your place on the planet. dig in, and take responsibility from there.” ― gary snyder

Source: dig in.

I enjoy Gary Snyder‘s poetry and essays, which has a Zen-like view of humans and their relationship with the world. It does not exist out there as if some mysterious wilderness we travel to. Instead, the objective and subjective worlds speak to each other through our senses.

In arguing we do not live outside of the objective world, John Dewey contended humans “live in community in virtue of the things they have in common.” My view is the community includes all sentient and non-sentient beings.

When we think of ourselves as living in community with all beings, animate and inanimate, we find our place in the world, dig in, and assume responsiblity for that piece of the world and our actions.

When we think, speak, and act responsibly, we become leaders who act as stewards, serving future generations in concrete and ethical ways. We grow mindful and attentive to a world we inhabit intimately and communicate with it on a moment-to-moment basis. It is real, existing inside and outside of us simultaneously.

Imperatives

What imperatives do we set for ourselves in living? I find this question reading this poem. When we take in the world and as Kathleen Norris suggests drink of it, we elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.

With a Zen-like quality, Gary Snyder reminds us that “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” Nature is a place we belong and share with others, living and non-living. We do not despoil nature and it remains sacred.

When we experienced sharing the world, we discover ways to reach out, love, forgive, and ask forgiveness. When we mind and care for the world, perhaps we share wealth and pass through the eye of a needle into Heaven.

Look at the birds
Consider the lilies
Drink ye all of it
Ask
Seek
Knock
Enter by the narrow gate
Do not be anxious
Judge not; do not give dogs what is holy
Go: be it done for you
Do not be afraid
Maiden, arise
Young man, I say, arise
Stretch out your hand
Stand up, be still
Rise, let us be going…
Love
Forgive
Remember me

April 15, 1947 – The Day Jackie Robinson Came to Bat

Sixty nine years ago today the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the color line at Ebbets Field when Jackie Robinson took the field, playing first base.  The door was opened and it was the beginning of the en…

Source: April 15, 1947 – The Day Jackie Robinson Came to Bat

When I taught, I used a social justice activity. Most of the junior high students knew about Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, but few had heard about Jackie Robinson. He was important for some students who did not connect until they understood athletes were part of social change.

Jackie Robinson had a Canadian connection. He played his AAA baseball for the Montreal Royals. This point led to talking about Willie O’Ree who broke the colour barrier in hockey. He may not have seemed as impactful Jackie Robinson, but many black NHL players refer to Willie O’Ree as a role model and he remains an ambassador for the game.

Furthermore, it is not enough that those who want to break through a barrier do so alone. For Jackie Robinson and Willie O’Ree, white players gradually (perhaps it was glacial) realized how good these guys were. In Montreal, fans cheered Jackie Robinson because he was a great ball player. Colour seemed overlooked in that environment. I admire Jackie Robinson, Willie O’Ree, Rosa Parks, etc. for their contributions, but community becomes important in sustaining real change and seeing beyond colour, gender, religious, etc.  If we could do that, what a difference it would make in the world.

We dance for…

Photo post by @jamesscarberry.

Source: We dance for…

Albert Einstein is one of my favorite sources for quotes. What do we dance for today? Dancing is a creative movement that signals powerful human emotions are at play in a particular event.

Natalie shared a quote that reminds us humans dance in sad moments, as well. On a day, when a few attacked, killed, and injured their fellow humans, our dance should dance away the fears and tears and create dreams filled with hope. It is important to remember hateful words and actions against others is wrong.

Dancing is an integral part of human life. Even Friedrich Nietzsche,who was not considered a happy person and religious person, reminded us that “we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” In fact, he argued he “would only believe in a god who could dance.”

I believe that a God we all believe in is one who joins the human community in dance in moments such as today. Thich Nhat Hanh suggested “the pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind.”

 

 

The Invitation

I am not familiar with Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s poetry, but, when I found this poem, it reached out and called me.

What questions do I ask myself, that I cannot answer. There is an eloquence in those questions that leads me to new questions, without knowing the answers. When I sense the world in one way or another, I am unable to sense it in any other way.

What if I live the wildness of life and I allow myself some abandon, not carelessness? I can dance with that wildness and not care about what others may think, hopefully making the world a better place.

When we open our hearts to the other, their standing in life is about who they are as a person rather than what identifies them: their job, their age, where they live, etc. When we open our hears to the other, it is an invitation to be human and humane with them.

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day.

And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

 

 

The Methodology for Happy

“It is not possible to live happily if one does not lead a beautiful, righteous and wise life, or to lead a beautiful, righteous and wise life if one is not happy.”  Epicurus (341-270 B…

Source: The Methodology for Happy

The linked post is a wonderful, concise description of happiness beginning when we help others without expectation of something in return. Aristotle spoke about doing good for one’s self and others as the greatest Good. We each have ethical responsiblity for all sentient beings, non-sentient things, and the world we co-inhabit.

Harlon provided a short list which help me understand what it takes to be happy. It is not a recipe, as I need to be mindful and attentive, always asking questions. What are the necessary and unnecessary desires in my life?

Today Is Your Day

Today is your day! Don’t let anything or anyone get in your way!

Source: Today Is Your Day

I love Dr. Seuss. I bought several of his books to take out next time and read to Jackson. We still have some at home for when he comes to visit us.

The words and how he used them always gave me pause to stop and think. Someone told me that he wrote these books to help children learn kindness to others. He was a social justice advocate who believed we had a role in helping others. That is a wonderful message for children to learn early in life.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,560 other followers

%d bloggers like this: