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4th of July.

Dear ones,

I hope in the midst of your 4th of July weekend celebrations that you have taken some time to reflect on what freedom really means to you. I recognize that I am not free if a part of the collective body I am but a piece of is not free. If you have not had a chance to listen to "Frederick Douglass' Descendants Delivers His 'Fourth of July' Speech," I would encourage you to watch it here. I want to keep allowing these words to break my heart open and mobilize me to make changes now. As I continue to face implicit and explicit race, privilege, and bias; as I lean into the pain, grief, and remorse, it is important to remember that this is all about love. I invite you to do this alongside me. We can lean into and pour out a more expansive love for those who have been hurt, oppressed, and neglected. We can lean into and receive love for ourselves in the process of awakening more fully and we can allow that love to melt away any toxic shame and guilt. Healthy shame and guilt are meant to help us see when we are out of alignment with our own inner integrity which is connected to the good of the collective. It is meant to move us into true remorse, to make amends to those whom we have harmed, and to make changes moving forward. Shame and guilt become toxic when they move us into feeling less than human or cause us to collapse into self-judgment. Toxic shame and guilt actually become energy leaks because the focus is in the wrong place. Our energy is better served for love. Love of others and love of self are interconnected. We can continue to choose love and to do the practices that support staying present to this love in ever more deeper ways so that we can remain inwardly steady, learn to see, and be moved to act from a different place inside. Here are some words on love from Ibram X. Kendi's instagram post to meditate on: "I love. And because I love I resist. There have been many theories on what’s fueling the growing demonstrations against racism in public (and in private). Let me offer another one: Love. We love. We know the lives of our loved ones, especially our Black loved ones, are endangered under the violence of racism. People ask me all the time. What fuels me? It is the same: Love. Love of this little girl. Love of all the little and big people who I want to live full lives in the fullness of their humanity. Not barred by racist policies. Not degraded by racist ideas. Not terrorized by racist violence. Let us be antiracist. Let us defend life. Let us defend our human rights to live and live fully. Because we love. . . I wanted to emphasize that at the heart of being anti-racist is love. Is loving one’s country, loving one’s humanity, loving one’s relatives and family, and friends, and certainly loving one’s self. And I consider love to be a verb. I consider love to be “I’m helping another and even myself to constantly grow in to a better form of myself, of themselves, as they’ve expressed who they want to be. And so, to love this country, and to love humanity is to push humanity constructively to be a better form of itself. And there’s no way we’re going to be a better form, there’s no way we can build a better humanity, while we still have on the shackles of racism.” Here are two quotes from our pauses this past week:

“Language is weak in explaining the fullness of the mystery. That is why the absolute silence of meditation is so supremely important. We do not try to think of God, talk to God or imagine God. We stay in that awesome silence open to the eternal silence of God. We discover in meditation, through practice and taught daily by experience, that this is the natural ambiance for all of us. We are created for this and our being flourishes in that eternal silence. The eternal silence is not deprived of anything nor does it deprive us of anything. It is the silence of love, of unqualified and unconditional acceptance. We rest there with our [Creator] who invites us to be there, who loves us to be there and who has created us to be there.” ― John Main "It is time to awaken to self, society, and the cosmos, for none of us has the luxury of sleepwalking through impending cultural and scientific revolutions. In the last sermon that he preached before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. urged us to “remain awake through a great revolution.” . . .

Awareness is the moment when we rise with eyes crusted from self-induced dreams of control, domination, victimization, and self-hatred to catch a glimpse of the divine in the face of “the other.” Then God’s self-identification, “I am that I am / I will be who I will be” (Exodus 3:14) becomes a liberating example of awareness, mutuality, and self-revelation." ― Barbara Holmes Below you will find the schedule for the pauses this week. Thank you for those of you who are present both on zoom and beyond. Our collective meditation practice is one of the many ways we can tend to the cosmos and to help keep us grounded and rooted in love. With Love, Heather


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