Lord make me an instrument

In the last week or so, I have received three compliments that have knocked my socks off.  Two of them were very touching and one kind of hilarious – but  so synchronistic that it also really got my attention.

On the Martin Luther King march on January 15, my friend Joelle introduced me to a young woman friend of hers who she thought I must know but who I didn’t recognize.  The new woman said, “I know you from your poetry at Jubilee.  I’m the one who nominated you as one of the heroes of Asheville.”  It came back to me: I had received an email about this, wanting some kind of input from me, that totally slid under the radar until after the deadline.  I remember being touched by the thought, sad that I had missed it – and confused about what it could possibly mean.  Why would someone I didn’t know hold me this way.  My poetry can be insightful, self-disclosing, sometimes very funny – but hero?  What in all that would add up to hero?

After church at Jubilee this last Sunday, I was handing out information about my Activism with Heart coaching.  One 40ish guy – good looking, with a big black beard and a fresh, funny, friendly way about him – took my handout with a lot of enthusiasm.  He gave me a couple of affirmations that I get frequently enough that I unfortunately don’t pay attention to them and don’t remember what they were.  Then he said one that was so fresh that it stopped me in my tracks.  “You’re the voice.”  Now what does that mean?  I wish I had had the presence of mind to ask, but he was all the time moving past me  – just outside of church – and towards his car, and he was basically gone.  The best I can figure is that he meant “You are the voice for me….You are saying things that I would want to say or that I feel or believe.”

The third affirmation, just a little earlier that morning, was silly but also stopped me in my tracks.  I had that morning pulled out of my sock drawer the Superman socks that my friend Kate had sent me for Christmas.  That she really does in some ways regard me as a kind of Superman – or at least a super man – really means a lot to me, even as we tease about it, and these socks were a kind of extension of that teasing. This morning, on my way to make a presentation on Releasing the Force at Jubilee, I wanted the extra oomph I might get from wearing Superman socks.

As far as I can remember, never in my life has anyone but Kate called me Superman.  When I arrived at church, the first person who greeted me was my good friend Timbo, who piped up “Superman!”  I was totally floored.  My pants weren’t so short that Tim could see my socks.  I don”t think that he is actually Superman, with x-ray vision.  As far as I know, he’s never seen me do anything that would position me as any kind of Superman.  When I showed him my socks, he was totally knocked out too.  “I don’t know why I said that – it just popped out.”

So what does all this mean? Am I a hero?  The Voice? Superman?

I think that, at my best, I surrender to the Force, to the Voice of God within me, to Life.  I don’t actually even do the surrendering – it wells up from some deep place that sometimes I somehow connect with. I am being well-used.  I am an instrument.

And never more than now.  I am on to something in this Releasing the Force work.  It has been given to me.  Unbidden, it came to me.  And it has given me tremendous energy, motivation and enthusiasm.  In the throes of birthing this work, I am plugged into Source and am way bigger than the usual Majo is.

None of it is about me.  I am absolutely not up to this task, yet for some reason I have been chosen to do it.  I’m attempting to get out of the way so it can pour through me.  I am doing that which is mine to do.St. Francis

St. Francis – if indeed he wrote this – said it better than anything I have said above.  And whoever created the music – which my 8th grade class sang at our graduation from a Catholic elementary school and which touched me even then – was also plugged into something bigger than themselves.

And the Superman business was life teasing me about the whole thing, in much the same way as Kate does.  Neither of them wants me to take myself too seriously.

 

Lord Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace

 

Creation Spirituality Conference at Jubilee 4/26-29

CSC BIENNIAL GATHERING, APRIL 26-29

Join Creation Spirituality Communities for a weekend of inspiration, growth, and celebration of  our sacred work on our sacred earth. Whether you are an activist, a poet, a practitioner, a mystic, or a scientist….. If you are seeking to connect your purpose and pursuits to the spirituality of creation, this gathering is for you.

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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
April 28:  Dr. Mathew Fox
April 27: Dr. Marcia McFee

CONCERT
April 26: Abraham Jam  A Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian walk into a concert hall…a trio of internationally-renowned musicians who have teamed up to create art strengthened by diversity. 

COSMIC MASS
A total immersion celebration to connect your heart, mind, and spirit with your sacred work.

WORKSHOPS
A host of offerings led by community leaders and practitioners to inspire and inform your daily connection to the sacredness of creation. 

CREATIVE ARTISTS
A gallery of creative works exploring our sacred tasks through the arts.

                                           SCHEDULE
A variety of activities to involve your whole self –  through body prayer, 
interactive presentations, conversation, the arts, ritual,  workshops, and much more.

 

Early registration discount until February 4.

Creation Spirituality is all about love of the earth and the body – the Original Blessing of Matt Fox. Last time the Cosmic Mass was a blast. I’m offering a workshop on “Customer Service as Sacred Work”.  Should be a great conference with cool, interesting attendees.
Majo

Releasing the Force story at Jubilee 1/21

Last Sunday  I used one of the four-minute gift slots at the two Jubilee services to tell the evolving story of Releasing the Force: Activism with Heart.  People responded really well to the talk and took lots of fliers for Activism with Heart coaching (the flier is identical with the Coaching page above).

Here’s the video. (For some reason, for me, the video started with the volume off.  If that happens for you, you will need to go to the bottom right of the picture and click on the volume icon.)

Don’t normalize Trump’s extremism.

This is a good petition from Credo Action, a very reputable group – asking the media to not roll over if Trump gives a reasonable State of the Union speech next week.  Signing a petition is such an easy way to take a step – to get a little more involved.  Giving Credo your email may get you on their email list, but that might be a good thing.  They don’t send out too much stuff, and in my experience it’s all interesting and informative.

Tell the mainstream corporate media: Don’t normalize Trump’s extremism.

Give yourself to love.

“”But I only want to love.  I don’t want to feel or radiate or express anger. I’m willing to come to the Women’s March, but I’ll do it in a loving way.  For me it is not a protest march.”  My friend Julie was taking the risk to tell me what was in her heart about “the Resistance”.

I really believe in bringing as much love as possible to our Resistance work.  I for many months wrote a blog focused on exactly this: Resistance, Peace and Love.  My signature peace poem, “Sweet Peace” wrestles with the place of resistance and love.  The last verse of that poem says,

And so yes, even more than resistance
Our work is to love
Our work is to create peace within ourselves
And then radiate peace to each other.”

And even to those on the other side, even to their leaders

“Who are so wrong-headed
Sometimes so full of hate
That they get very dangerous and must be stopped.”

My friends who regard “not getting angry” as a cardinal value are, to me, like the monks in their monasteries keeping the planet from blowing up by the force of peace that they radiate – and I really believe they are doing that.

“Angry energy doesn’t serve us.” When maybe 15 twenty-something folks dressed all in black came out to one of our rallies and yelled “Kill the pigs” at the cops, that didn’t serve us and I wished they weren’t there.

womens march avl 3
How do we stay in a loving place when we are protesting bad things?

If Trump fires Mueller and we take to the streets (MoveOn has a lot of people like me already committed to do this), it’s going to be an angry energy – we’re going to need a lot of people angry enough to do this.  My coaching to myself around situations like this is to “Go with as much love in your heart as you can muster – but don’t wait until you are completely peaceful.  Go and ask Spirit to guide you.”

I believe that when Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple, he was angry.  If I see someone hurting one of my grandchildren (or my big, strapping 41 year old son), my intervention will probably be driven by anger – and that anger may give me the force I need for my intervention to succeed.  Afterwards I can bless the perpetrator.

Thay and MLK
I want to learn from Thich Nhat Hanh – and Martin Luther King – how to be peace in every step. But it’s a process – I’m not fully there yet.

Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my  spiritual heroes and perhaps our foremost modern teacher of mindfulness, belongs to the order of Vietnamese Zen monks that got famous for their attempts to intervene in the Vietnam war.  I saw him speak in Chicago just days after the U.S. had invaded Iraq.  The first 45 minutes of his talk were pretty much his standard message about “Being peace”.  But then he energetically, almost visibly shifted gears as he said, basically, “People, it’s time to take to the streets. If we are committed to peace, we’ve got to do anything we reasonably can to stop this killing.”

I will continue to have conversations with my friends like Julie.  I will listen as deeply as I can. I will try to find the questions that will invite them to bring me into their thought and feeling process.  I will try to walk in their shoes.  I will try to develop processes and experiences that anchor peace deeper in myself.  I will write this blog and make my speeches and have coaching conversations with people.

And hopefully all of us together, with our differing interventions, can throw the bums out and start over.

Here’s Kate Wolf, who in her 44 years both sang about and emanated love.  Listening to her now has got me hopefully integrating what I have written above and, blessedly, crying. 

If you weren’t at the march…

womens march avl 1If you weren’t at the march, what can it mean to you? If you don’t know what to do, where can you start? What might all these marches have to show or teach you?
power to the polls
Great turnout today – many were estimating that it matched last year’s 10K.   A big focus, in this march and the Women’s March organization, on getting out the vote.
super callousHave you seen the pictures? Do you know how many people were out here? So many – in so many places. This can be encouraging. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t here. We were all here for you. Sense it. Feel it. Something is happening. People are rising up. Rise up. People are standing up. They’re standing up for their rights. Standing up for what is right. Standing up to Trump.
I do not like you
In Our AmericaYou sit in a context of something happening. There is something happening. We are shifting this whole terrible episode with Trump.  He is going to leave our house, unwanted guest that he is. Society is in a different place. People are taking responsibility for their society.

Pierce and Toni
You see the greatest people at a march.  My old co-worker Pierce carried my little Toni for a while.  Toni loved it and just nestled in against Pierce’s chest.
And so you can do something.  You may not know yet what you’re going to do. You might go to a march (today was not your last chance). You might go to a meeting. You might write a letter. You may still not know what you’re going to do, but if you hold this imagery – if you remember that you are part of this – things will change.  Whether you stayed at home or not, this is your movement. You belong to it. It belongs to you. And what happened with these marches created an energy that will support you in your next step.
Listen to (and see!) Eva Cassidy – she might make you feel good.

The Artist’s Way comes to Jubilee

Jackie Dobrinska, the wonderful Jubilee Community Life Coordinator, is offering The Artist’s Way class at Jubilee for 12 Monday nights, 6:30-8:30, starting January 29, on a donation basis.

Artists Way book cover

Jackie is a wonder – I’m taking the class partly just to be around her great energy.

jackie D and horse
Jackie D and horse friend

This class can feed the heart-centered activist in you in several ways:

  1. It can provide a nurturing, supportive home base as you begin to venture forth in new ways.
  2. By feeding the artist – the creative person – in you, it can help you find what in the world of activism is really “yours to do”.
  3. One common fear around activism is that it will gobble up all of your time, will not allow you to have a life.  The two primary ongoing activities in The Artist’s Way are daily “morning pages” journaling (very helpful) and the “artist’s date” – spending two hours a week doing something that feeds the artist in you.  One positive impact of both practices is that they explode the myth that you have no time – you see yourself every day and then every week making some time for yourself.  (One week I fed the music-starved workaholic in me by spending two hours at the listening station – where you could play lots of CD’s into your headphones – at Border’s Books.  My friend Sue would go to the beach and make sand sculptures.)
artists way art
Thousands of people have tagged their Artist’s Way–inspired works on Instagram.

I tried once to work myself through the book on my own, but it just didn’t work very well. When I took it in a class 13 years ago, powerful things happened for me and basically everyone in the class (besides the fact that taking the risk of sharing our creativity with each other got us very connected with each other).  The class played a big part in me getting ready and willing to leave my home base in Chicago and come to Asheville.

julia c
Julia Cameron

Come play with us!

If you are interested, contact Jackie at jldobrinska@gmail.com.