For the better part of Monday and Tuesday, I engaged in circular conversations/debates with some individuals from my family and circle of friends.

frankly, it was exhausting and jaw-dropping. And holding the tension of the knowledge I have of them being generous and kind people, and also knowing their full fledged, unbending support of the horror we are seeing played out before us, is challenging.

I learned a bit from the past two days of conversations. These individuals are convinced that separating families is the law, and that the immigrant families who are seeking asylum have broken the law and should be prosecuted. There is a devotion within these individuals to their view of law and order at all costs, even it seems the lives and welfare of these children.

For many of us what we are seeing is what we were so deeply concerned with during the campaign as a possibility if there were a Trump Presidency. Many of us spoke out, made posts, wrote essays, to warn of what we are seeing. But it occurred to me in my conversations with these individuals, that this is what they want. This is deeply unfortunate, disconcerting, and disappointing.

I have hope though, because I believe that at everyone’s core they are good and have the potential to wake up. But I also know that there is a reality of delusion as thick as a night sky where the moon and the stars have gone missing.

with such darkness closing in, it is increasingly imperative that we shine light on what we see, that we offer ourselves, our thoughts, our words, actions, our art, as instruments of light to bring some benefit and hope. It is increasingly imperative that we find balance and strength within ourselves so we are available for the work that is ahead. My recipe is my practice – alternating meditation and action. Both are needed.

here is some art that I created on Monday night.

Here also below, is a call to action from seasoned activist, Buddhist leader and thinker, Roshi Joanne Halifax:

“What happens when a government appears to totally lose its moral footing? What happens when elected officials are operating way out of the bounds of integrity? What does it mean for our country when we see that politicians and prison guards lack any semblance of compassion?

I believe that as citizens, as we face the crisis at our border, we also are facing a moral crisis that is unprecedented. I believe that we need to manifest moral nerve and compassion, now, for the sake of all.

Being compassionate upholds our moral principles. According to the psychology researchers, when we restrain compassion we will feel that our moral identity is compromised.

I keep asking myself, what happens when there is such an extreme deficit of compassion in certain quarters of our country. I am convinced that harm results for all.

I believe that we are facing a moral crisis that is unprecedented as our democracy is being deconstructed and there is an increasing deficit of compassion and integrity in our society.

I believe that tolerating the human rights violations we are seeing on our southern border will cause near-term profound suffering for the victims and longterm moral suffering for our country.

I believe that we cannot be apathetic in relation these rights’ violations, and we have to send our voice, bear witness, show up, sign petitions, educate ourselves, get the vote out, and not turn away from the first noble truth of suffering.

We have to manifest integrity and moral nerve as we deal with the current authoritarianism.”


Roshi Joan Halifax

Buddhist Teacher, Zen Priest, Anthropologist, Activist, Author, Abbot of Upaya Zen Center

#FamiliesBelongTogether #EngagedBuddhism #MindfulResistance #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #Shine #ShineYourLight #Zen #Buddhism #enso #JMWart

may we rise…

hearts open with

backs strong and straight

our breath steady

awake and brave

with moral compass set

our compassion fierce

grounded in groundlessness

we do not cave

now is not the time to fold

now is the time to be wise

living by vow

may we rise

may we rise


#Rise #RiseUp #OpenHeart #MindfulResistance #EngagedBuddhism #meditation #courage #compassion #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #Zen #enso #JMWart

look listen care…




…all three seem especially needed at this time.

#BearWitness #OpenHeart #WiseMind #meditation #practice #MindfulResistance #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #CompassionWins #EmpathyWins #Zen #Calligraphy #Buddhism #JMWart

drive all blames into one…

there is a Tibetan Buddhist practice called “lojong” (mind-training) that utilizes little slogans for training in loving-kindness and compassion, in opening the heart.

i have found the one featured in this art, “Drive all blames into one”, to be particularly powerful to work with. the practice isn’t dismissing responsibility or recognition of fault. what is addressing is our tendency to hold on to the blame, to not let go. it can be difficult when we are wounded and hurting, to know what to do with that energy. the energy is uncomfortable and unsettling, so we tend to transmit it by blaming. sometimes the blame is towards the actual individual(s) who’s actions were the catalyst, but often the blame falls on individuals, or actions, or situations that have nothing to do with our wounds. it’s just an attempt to get rid of the uncomfortable energy. however, blaming repeatedly doesn’t actually help to heal, and the process can cause new wounds in others, thereby continuing the cycle – the pattern of suffering. as the saying goes, “hurt people hurt people.”

Pema Chödrön says in her commentary on this slogan, “Everyone is looking for someone to blame and therefore aggression and neurosis keep expanding. Instead, pause and look at what’s happening with you. When you hold on so tightly to your view or what they did, you get hooked. Your own self righteousness causes you to get all worked up and to suffer. So work on cooling that reactivity rather than escalating it. This approach reduce suffering – yours and everyone else’s.”

what we come to find in our practice is that there is really only one blame and that blame is suffering itself, in all of its myriad manifestations, and our inability to let go which keeps the cycle hot and ongoing. rather than clinging to the storyline, we can see our story as a reflection of the story of suffering in everyone, in the world itself. we can take that opportunity when we are suffering, to wish that no one suffers in the same way, and then we can put that motivation into action within our lives to benefit and reduce the suffering in the world. ~j

#lojong #lovingkindness #compassion #meditation #TibetanBuddhism #enso #Zen #JMWart

parable of the monk, the tiger, and the strawberry…

A monk was traveling across a field and he encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger chasing after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed and snarled at him from above. Trembling and hanging there, the monk looked down to where, far below, a second tiger was waiting for him to fall, to eat him.

Then out of a crevice in the cliff two mice, one white and one black, appeared and little by little they started to gnaw away at the vine. The monk noticed a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. Delicious! How sweet it tasted!

~ Zen Buddhist parable

#parable #life #living #death #fear #presence #joy #buddhism #zen #JMWphotography

healing and helping begins “here”…



not in our past. not in the future.

here, is where we have the opportunity to bear witness, to offer our attention and awareness, to offer our healing, our compassion and love.

there is so much power in the ability to be present with life as it is – all of it – the suffering and healing, the messiness and beauty.

and we all have this ability. in our innate goodness. it is written within the fabric of our hearts, each tender thread. each one alight with life, with love.

it is from this place of presence we can offer skillful words and action to stand up to cruelty and injustice, to offer healing to the wounded, light for the path, and bring benefit to the world around us.


#HereAndNow #presence #OpenHeart #suffering #healing #compassion #love #life #light #buddhanature #bodhicitta #bodhisattvas #enso #zen #buddhism #JMWart

our humanity is at stake…

thousands dead in Puerto Rico (estimates range but even the lowest estimate is 12 times the official death toll of 64) where multitudes are still without power or clean water or easy access to food.

infants and toddlers separated from parents at the border. people (children!) being held in cages-like dog runs, sleeping on concrete with space blankets.

i implore each of us to face this. do not turn away. look deep in your heart, put yourself in the life of these people – of a parent, of a child. don’t allow this to normalize.

this is an attack on our conscience, on empathy itself. this is how the soul dies.



#suffering #empathy #humanity #MeditateAndResist #MindfulResistance #StandUp #SpeakOut #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #enso #Zen #EngagedBuddhism #JMWart