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On Being: Pro-Life, Pro-Choice

 

This podcast will be used in our upcoming workshop on Aug. 20th. Please listen ahead of time if you are able.

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Emotional Agility & Resilience

This Sunday, June 25th, we will discuss the important of being aware of our emotions, especially in the context of having difficult conversations. We will examine some tools that help us to calm our emotional state in order to hold productive and civil conversation.

This is something I have truly been working on in my personal life, through yoga and meditation. Just the other day I was leading a program of students who had parents in active duty in a particular branch of our military. It was a wonderful program with amazing students. At lunch the conversation turned to the election and politics, and I noticed I started getting a knot in my stomach, similar to nausea. I noticed my breathing had increased and my palms started to sweat. My first instinct was to get up and leave the table. Instead, I took a few deep breaths, told myself that my assumptions about the person speaking or the direction of the conversation might by incorrect, and that even if I disagreed I could simply listen and ask questions. This was particularly difficult because I was in a professional situation where my role was not to enter in to a debate, in fact it was the opposite; my goal for the program was to foster a sense of community among peers. Prior to having this group in my life, I would have wanted to debate and prove my point, so much as to change the other person’s mind. The last year or so of my life has truly allowed me to come at these types of conversations with a different approach. Mindfulness helps me to do this better.

There are some resources we will use this week, one of them being some of the ideas behind emotional awareness and agility. Check out this link to The Good Life Project Podcast focusing on this topic.

You can also visit the 6 Seconds Organization’s website for more tools relating to emotional intelligence.

If you are someone who is interested in learning more about how our brain processes physical pain, real and perceived threats, as well as how our body deals with stress and trauma check this blog post out from Erin Holt, a local Bikram Yoga teacher. There is so much overlap in all of the brain science behind these topics and how we can rewire our though process to hold more civil and caring conversations with those with whom we disagree.

Come join us this Sunday at 11:30 AM to be a part of the mindfulness workshop!

Are We Not of Interest to Each Other?

Poetry is what you find

in the dirt in the corner,

 

overhear on the bus, God

in the details, the only way

 

to get from here to there.

Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

 

is not all love, love, love,

and I’m sorry the dog died.

 

Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)

is the human voice,

 

and are we not of interest to each other?

 

— ELIZABETH ALEXANDER

A Sikh Prayer for America

A SIKH PRAYER FOR AMERICA ON NOV 9, 2016

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

In our tears and agony, we hold our children close and confront the truth: The future is dark.

But my faith dares me to ask:

What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?

What if our America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?

What if all the mothers who came before us, who survived genocide and occupation, slavery and Jim Crow, racism and xenophobia and Islamophobia, political oppression and sexual assault, are standing behind us now, whispering in our ear: You are brave? What if this is our Great Contraction before we birth a new future?

Remember the wisdom of the midwife: “Breathe,” she says. Then: “Push.”

Now it is time to breathe. But soon it will be time to push; soon it will be time to fight — for those we love — Muslim father, Sikh son, trans daughter, indigenous brother, immigrant sister, white worker, the poor and forgotten, and the ones who cast their vote out of resentment and fear.

Let us make an oath to fight for the soul of America — “The land that never has been yet— And yet must be” (Langston Hughes) — with Revolutionary Love and relentless optimism. And so I pray this Sikh prayer:

Nanak Naam Chardi Kala,
Tere Bane Sarbat Da Bhalla

“In the name of the Divine within us and around us, we find everlasting optimism.
Within your will, may there be grace for all of humanity.”

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

 

 

 

Valarie Kaur is a civil rights activist, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, media commentator, educator, entrepreneur, author, and Sikh American justice leader. Her new venture, the Revolutionary Love Project at the University of Southern California, champions the ethic of love in an era of rage. Latest at @valariekaur.

Kaur believes: “The way we make change is just as important as the change we make.”

I have copied the text from her prose titled, “A Sikh Prayer for America, and you can view the full version on here website by clicking here.

The Good in the Other

“Are we not of interest to each other?” Elizabeth Alexander

This short episode of Krista Tippett’s “Becoming Wise” podcast is only about ten minutes long and is full of wisdom and insight on an alternative response to those with whom we disagree. It invites contemplation rather than an argument searching for an answer.

Catholic Pro-Choice activist Frances Kissling asks us, “What is it in your own position that gives you trouble? What is it in the position of the other that you are attracted to? Where do you have doubts?” and calls us to realize that “to approach others positively and with enthusiasm for difference is absolutely critical to any change”.

Click the link below to listen.

The Good in the Other, The Doubt in Ourselves

 

 

“You don’t have a diverse democracy, you don’t have America unless people are willing to say, ‘I am able to disagree with you on this set of things and you will see me on the other side of the picket line on those things and I will try to defeat your candidate at the polls, AND we will find other things to do together.” – Eboo Patel

The purpose of coming together for Curious Conversations small group series and workshops is to cultivate the tools needed to become generous listeners and curious conversationalists with those with whom we fiercely disagree.

Check out this link to listen to the full episode of Krista Tippett’s “On Being”.