contemplating sunset with …Valerie Brown

Today, I would like to share the words of Valerie Brown, How to Fight Without Hating:  Lessons in Power and Love. Valerie is an ordained Dharma teacher in the Plum Village tradition and a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). 

‘“Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love.’  
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

‘“Get in trouble: good trouble, necessary trouble.’ Congressman John Lewis

“As Black and Brown people, we are in the fight of our lives.  Our lives are constricted by systems and structures that foster discrimination and injustice. The legacy of violence, especially unlawful police violence, perpetrated against Black people, Asian people, indigenous people, people of color, differently abled people, people of various gender identities and expressions and sexual orientation, and others who are marginalized, is our constant reality. This is compounded by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian, Latinx, immigrant, un-housed, and low-income communities, which are among the hardest hit, grossly under-resourced, and devastatingly vulnerable.  

“Our hearts and our supports are broken open by grief, fear, and anger.  How do we fight injustice and not hate?  How do we fight injustice and support ourselves?  How do we deepen our resolve for a more just and equitable world in an unjust and inequitable world?

“Recently, I attended a gathering of more than 600 Black and Brown people hosted by Liberate, an app designed to support mindfulness and mediation for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and BAME Black Asian and Ethnic Minorities).  The speaker was Ruth King, an important figure in mindfulness community especially among BIPOC. She guided us through a powerful meditation, calling us to invite the power of our ancestors and descendents to guide, protect, and support us, and to engage our innate inner resources and resilience toward a strong and calm heart.

“During the hour-long deeply healing and moving Zoom video conference session, an important question emerged from the chat:  

“How do you fight injustice without hating?

“Initially, I was intellectually intrigued by the question, which then settled in my own heart.

“How do you fight injustice without hating?

“In the Plum Village tradition of mindfulness meditation founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, hate is likened to seed that lies dormant in the consciousness of the mind, along with many other kinds of seed-like emotions, including despair, shame, indifference, openheartedness, warmth, delight, and many more. These seed-like emotions become ‘activated’ by thoughts, words, and actions of life’s daily events. For example, someone cuts you off in traffic; the seed of anger gets activated.  You have an uplifting conversation with a friend; the seed of gratitude is touched. We live our daily life this way. 

“In Plum Village mindfulness practice, we learn to notice and become aware when these seed-like emotions are touched within us, to notice what the emotion feels like in the body, and to bring awareness to the feelings and bodily sensations, taking care of these emotions by calming and soothing the body and mind. 

“Taking care of the emotion of hate is an ongoing, daily, and moment to moment practice, especially now at this time when Black and Brown people are under attack from unlawful police violence, unconscious bias, and disparate treatment of Blacks during the COVID-19 health crisis.  As a Black woman, my daily practice is to notice the sensation of hate, which often feels like a flush of fire in my face that spreads across my chest to a dull pain in my heart.  I recognize that this sensation ripples outward in my body, in my words, and in my action. With this recognition and insight, I begin not only gain agency over my feelings, my words, and action, I recognize how I can support myself. 

“So, what is skillful action is required at a time of hate, fear, and violence?

“Congressman John Lewis has said, ‘Get in trouble: good trouble, necessary trouble.’  These are times that call on us to get into ‘good trouble’, which eradicates unlawful police violence and oppression, which dismantles social conditions of health disparities among the most marginalized people, which challenges deeply discriminatory educational systems.   These ‘good troubles’ include taking to the streets in peaceful institutions, exercising our right to vote, and bringing communities or color together to heal and to act.

“As an individual and as a society, we have been given specific instruction from countless people who sacrificed their lives through the Civil Rights Era and other social movements in how to take compassionate action in the face of violence, anger, and fear.  We are instructed to meet police violence with non-violence.  We are instructed to meet racist structures and systems with diligence with inner resilience born out of compassionate action.  We are instructed to meet hatred with an open heart and to cultivate heartfulness because love, compassion, kindness, and peace are bigger than a heart constricted by hate, discrimination and violence.

“This is the skillful action toward radical power and love.”

Valerie Brown, JD, MA, PCC

Skyscape image created with Nikon D750 f/5.6 1/320s 28mm 400 ISO edited with Capture One 20

contemplating a sunset with…w h auden

isolation retreat 74th day

W H Auden: “Refugee Blues”

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew;
Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that.

The consul banged the table and said:
‘If you’ve got no passport, you’re officially dead’;
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go today, my dear, but where shall we go today?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:
‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’;
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying: ‘They must die’;
We were in his mind, my dear, we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors;
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

Moving Poems, Refugee Blues by W H Auden, by Dave Bonta

Set to the verses of W.H. Auden’s 1939 poem, the multi-award winning “Refugee Blues” charts a day in ‘the jungle’, the refugee camp outside Calais. More intimate and unlike much of what has been seen in the mass media, this documentary poem counterpoints the camp’s harsh reality of frequent clashes with the French riot police with its inhabitants’ longing for a better future.

skycape photography: Nikon D750 f/8 1/400s 150mm 400 ISO edited in Capture One and Photoshop

this is because that is

Stay at Home Order … day 30 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

shadow

everything is connected by causality … and if nothing else, Covid-19 is waking us up to the fact that we are all connected

Brian Boucher, CNN These ancient images of the Buddha are more timely than you think

if one comes across a person who has been shot by an arrow, one does not spend time wondering about where the arrow came from, or the caste of the individual who shot it, or analyzing what type of wood the shaft is made of, or the manner in which the arrowhead was fashioned.  Rather, one should focus on immediately pulling out the arrow.

~ The Buddha

spring

Life is short; it must not be spend in endless metaphysical speculations which will not be able to bring us the Truth.

Andres Hedman, Consciousness from a Broad Perspective
sunset april 23, 2020

“The Buddha’s teachings can be read on many levels … at a fundamental level, all the storytelling was a way of conveying ethical values. One of them is the peaceful coexistence of all life forms, which is very germane today. We’ve wandered dangerously far from that principle in the era of climate change. Referring to the seated Buddha sculpture in San Francisco, which is inscribed with the message that all things are connected by causality (in contrast with the deterministic belief that our fate is out of our hands)… What [the Awakened One] saw when he woke up is that things don’t happen by chance, that everything is connected by causality … and if nothing else, Covid-19 is waking us up to the fact that we are all connected.”

Brian Boucher, CNN These ancient images of the Buddha are more timely than you think

All images created with a Nikon D750

sunset april 23, 2020: f/5.6 1/500 42mm 400 ISO

basketball court: f/5.8 1/800 100mm 400 ISO

spring blossoms: f/5.6 1/160s 300mm 400 ISO

the proverbial fence

Stay at Home Order … day 29 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

‘Who and what are you?’

‘I am the Sabbath,’ said the other without moving. ‘I am the peace of God.’

C.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (The Project Gutenberg Ebook)

“‘What can you mean by all this?’ cried Syme. ‘They can’t be running the real world in that way. Surely not many working men are anarchists, and surely if they were, mere mobs could…

Nikon D750 f/5.6 1/320s 90mm 400 ISO

“… ‘Mere mobs!’ repeated his new friend with a snort of scorn. ‘So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question. You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists, as you can see from the barons’ wars.’”

cited: G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (The Project Gutenberg Ebook)

Note: “This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at www.gutenberg.org.”

Wet’suwet’en’s resistance

As the Government refuses to move an inch continuing the resistance is critical! 

facebook
Nikon D750 f/4.5 1/2000s 85mm 800 ISO

“The BC and Federal Governments have abruptly stepped away from talks that were scheduled for this week as the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs justly stated they would not ask other Nations to stand down as a precondition to having Nation to Nation talks. 

“Powerful actions and a widespread will to struggle against injustice have proliferated in response to the raid on Tyendinaga as anger grows at the Government’s use of force and steadfast refusal to negotiate in good faith. 

“The Government’s demand that blockades end for talks to begin illustrate how powerful this movement is and how afraid they are of widespread and sustained Indigenous resistance. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs have asked for people to continue to act in support of their demands.   

“… people have risen up in defiance of colonial injunctions and set up new rail and road blockades across the country: Over 500 people shut down rail traffic in Toronto, The Port of Vancouver was shut down for over 24 hours, Kahnawake Mohawks reinforced their barricades in response to an injunction, Indigenous youth retook the BC Legislature vowing to stay until Nation to Nation talks occur, and new rail blockades went up in Chase, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Hamilton, Gitxsan territory, Lennoxville among many other incredible actions. 

“As police begin to act more aggressively towards new blockades many people have made tactical temporary retreats avoiding arrests and setting themselves up to continue to struggle in a sustained fashion.” 

cited: facebook

this is OUR LAND…

It is time to fight for our land, our lives, our children, our future. 

FB
speaking to the media

Cited from fb

“Canada invades. Invades on behalf of industry. Invades during ceremony. Canada tears us from our land. Tears us from our families, from our homes. Takes our drums away. Takes our women away. Jails us for protecting the land, for being in ceremony, for honouring our ancestors. 

Unist’ot’en Women Arrested in ceremony

On February 10, RCMP invaded unceded Unist’ot’en territory, arresting and forcibly removing Freda Huson (Chief Howilhkat), Brenda Michell (Chief Geltiy), Dr. Karla Tait, and four Indigenous land defenders from our yintah. They were arrested in the middle of a ceremony to honour the ancestors. Police tore down the red dresses that were hung to hold the spirits of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit people. They extinguished our sacred fire. 

We have had enough. Enough dialogue, discussion, negotiation at the barrel of a gun. Canada comes to colonize. Reconciliation is dead.

It is time to fight for our land, our lives, our children, our future. 
Revolution lives.”

lens-artists challenge: capital

Solidarity Action with Unis’tot’en Water Protectors

(Yinka Dini – People of this Earth) Unis’tot’en – People of the Headwaters

The Unis’tot’en (C’ihlts’ehkhyu / Big Frog Clan) are the original Wet’suwet’en Yintah Wewat Zenli distinct to the lands of the Wet’suwet’en. Over time in Wet’suwet’en History, the other clans developed and were included throughout Wet’suwet’en Territories. The Unis’tot’en are known as the toughest of the Wet’suwet’en as their territories were not only abundant, but the terrain was known to be very treacherous. The Unis’tot’en recent history includes taking action to protect their lands from Lions Gate Metals at their Tacetsohlhen Bin Yintah, and building a cabin and resistance camp at Talbits Kwah at Gosnell Creek and Wedzin Kwah (Morice River which is a tributary to the Skeena and Bulkley River) from seven proposed pipelines from Tar Sands Gigaproject and LNG from the Horn River Basin Fracturing Projects in the Peace River Region

The Unist’ot’en Camp is an indigenous re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land in northern “BC, Canada.” The Camp is on high alert in response to the Coastal Gaslink’s application for an injunction, as well as served notice for a civil lawsuit to claim financial damages for “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or denying access” against the Camp on their own unceded territory and denying the collective hereditary leadership of the Wet’suwet’en.

‘Wiggus’, the Wet’suwet’en word for respect. In the landmark Supreme Court Decision of Delgamuukw Gisday’wa Wiggus it was defined as “respect for all living-beings, starting with oneself”.

The Unist’ot’en Camp has been a beacon of resistance for nearly 10 years. It is a healing space for Indigenous people and settlers alike, and an active example of decolonization. The violence, environmental destruction, and disregard for human rights following TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) / Coastal GasLink’s interim injunction has been devastating to bear, but this fight is far from over.

Who is bankrolling the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline

Coastal GasLink is a project of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., the same subsidiary of TransCanada behind the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The 420-mile Coastal GasLink pipeline would carry fracked gas from northeast British Columbia to LNG Canada, a massive proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal that exemplifies the sector’s climate and human rights impacts.

JPMorgan Chase

Bank of Montreal

Deutsche Bank

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Go to Mazaskatalks.org to see if your bank is invested in fossil fuels

Divestment is the opposite of investment. It is removing your funds, benefits, capital and stock from companies and approaching institutions asking them to remove their money out of companies for either ethics and/or financial reasons.

In this era of “reconciliation”, Indigenous land is still being taken at gunpoint. INVASION is a new film about the Unist’ot’en Camp, Gidimt’en checkpoint and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous people. 

Fossil fuels have been utilized as our primary energy source since the industrial revolution in the mid 18th century. Fossil fuels have provided jobs as well as heat and electricity before and during our lifetimes. The problem is that the extraction process and burning of fossils fuels have caused extreme pollution of low income (indigenous, Black and People of color) communities, threatened sensitive ecosystems and is causing green house gases to climb at all-time highs. The world is now heating at an unprecedented rate: storms, hurricanes and other natural disasters are becoming more frequent and powerful than we have ever seen. In the midst of the 6th mass extinction and overall threat of climate change, we need to oppose all future fossil fuel expansion projects, and make a just and fast transition to renewable energy.

This week’s post was made in response to the lens-artist’s challenge by Vivekacapital. It was created to advance global awareness of the Costal Gaslink Project.

opinion

I am puzzled about how life simply seems to go on while there are so many ongoing wars and wars within wars. I ask, “How do I go on with my daily life blinded to the manifestation of so much suffering…so much destruction of lives, hopes, dreams and procreation of anger, trauma, and rejected/negated refugees?” “Do I have an unconscious belief in an impenetrable barrier between those in unknown parts of world and I?” “Does identifying people as those and them serve to further eradicate them from humanity…to lessen a moral imperative?” “What kind of world would it be if humans were forced to silently pause during the duration of pounding missiles? or maybe…during frozen moments of time between bombings?”

multi-tasking: cell gazing while protesting

no war

“The US and Britain have been making war in the Middle East for 18 years without pause. The “conflicts of 9/11” must rank among the cruelest and most costly and senseless of the post-imperial age, says Simon Jenkins.

Unknowable thousands of civilians have died, and billions of pounds’ worth of property been destroyed. Christianity has been all but wiped out in the region, and some the finest cities in the ancient world have been bombed flat. No audit has been made of this. The opportunity cost must be unthinkable. What diseases might have been eradicated, what climate crisis relieved. “

cited: the guardian, 11/15/19