choosing life over mass shootings…

Besides sharing an initial post and some friends’ posts, I haven’t shared much since the most recent mass shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’ve just been at a loss for words. The expected debate on media and in social media has been the same as the previous times with lame comparisons to death by motor vehicles, the assertions that if a killer wants to kill they will kill, calling the perpetrator evil, scapegoating the mentally ill, blaming media, etc. all the while claiming with clenched fist that having horrific weapons is a right that supersedes life. It’s insanity. Of course the issue of gun violence is a complex one including issues of mental illness (and it is clear that this young perpetrator was failed in this regard), a culture that at times glorifies violence for entertainment, and at times encourages cynicism. These should have our attention as should other issues that have been brought up recently, issues of toxic masculinity, toxic individualism, and white nationalism. Yes, we need better health care for all that includes mental health services. All of this should be looked at, but much of this isn’t unique to the United States, but mass shootings at the level we are seeing are.

The elephant in the room is the AR-15 and weapons like it, created for one thing only – killing as many people possible in as short a time as possible. They are meant for war. But we aren’t allowed to have a debate about it even though the reality is most American and even most gun owners are in line with banning such weapons (not all guns! Just mass killing machines) and having sensible gun regulation. Yet, the NRA and some in political leadership won’t have the discussion and refuse to give up the “right” to have a killing machine, valuing that right over the lives of children, and life in general.

Seeing all of this come up again and again is enough to bring on despair and cynicism, but something changed this time. Like a soldier who has seen the unspeakable horror of war and speaks out against such atrocity, these children, these young citizens having seen the horror of gun violence first hand are not backing down. They are the future and their message is clear: Life is what is to be valued. There is a path being cleared within all of the usual insanity, with cutting clarity by these young people. I’m inspired by them, I want to reignite my voice to join with their strong voices, supporting them, standing with them.

There is hope.

~j

“We serve life not because it is broken, but because it is holy.” ~ Mother Teresa

#GunViolence #EndGunViolenceNow #GunRegulation #MassShootings #FloridaShooting #Life #Hope #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveWins #enso #JMWart

bodhisattva…

“Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

~Jalaludin Rumi

“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”

~St. Francis of Assisi

#bodhisattva #healing #service #kindness #compassion #wisdom #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #OpenHeart #LoveWins

love the moment…

there is so much pain, so much fear and anger. we can get lost in the suffering of it all. we can lose sight of the miracle of the moment, the love in the moment.

i have a practice i do (if i can step out of my suffering long enough to remember to do so!) that i would like to share with you.

when the suffering of the world, wars, poverty, discrimination, violence, corruption, indifference seem too overwhelming, i practice this. i bring my focus down to small stuff, the stuff we generally overlook. nature is a great aid in this. take a few moments to sit and breathe while observing nature, listening to birds’ song, the swaying of branches with the breeze dancing through, watching some insects (ants and bees are great!). even taking some time to observe your own body. have you ever stopped and looked at your skin for a while? fascinating! an appreciation arises naturally when we slow down, when we open and observe smaller, overlooked things.

when your personal suffering seems a burden too great to bear, go big. pull your focus out to a wider view, not centered on your smaller arena of life that can seem overwhelming. stand outside at night, be still, breathe, and observe the night sky as your eyes adjust and the stars begin to reveal themselves – spoiler alert, you can do this during the day as well, it is incredible how nuanced the blue sky can be and how magnificent clouds shapes can be. reflect on the good you see in the world, people opening their hearts, being kind, how history has a way of moving forward and improving even in the face of sometimes grave darkness and opposition. reflect on how the cycle of nature continues regardless – day into night into day, summer into fall and winter, into spring and summer. reflect even on your own life as a whole – observing all that has changed in your life from as a little kid until now. be aware of the rollercoaster of highs and lows, of drops and climbs. you have suffered before and have gotten through it. accept, forgive and love the journey thus far. everything changes. life persists.

love the moment.

~j

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #LoveTheMoment #life #journey #suffering #meditation #zen #enso #JMWart

The Metta Sutta

This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness and who knows the path of peace. Let them be able and upright, straightforward and gentle of speech, humble and not conceited, contented and easily satisfied, unburdened by duties and frugal in their ways, calm and wise and skillful, not proud or demanding in nature. Let them not do the slightest thing that the wise would later reprove. Wishing in gladness and in safety, may all beings be at ease, whatever living beings there may be. Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none: — the great or the mighty, medium or short or small, the seen and the unseen, those living near or far away, those born and to be born. May all beings be at ease.

Let none deceive another or despise any being in any state that none through anger or ill will wish harm upon another. Even as a mother protects the life of her child — her only child, so with a boundless heart should we cherish all living beings. Radiating kindness over the entire world, spreading upward to the skies, downward to the depths, outward and unbounded, free from hatred and ill will. Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down, free from drowsiness one should sustain this recollection. This is said to be the sublime abiding. By not holding to fixed views the pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision, being freed from all sense desires, is not born again into this world.

~

The Buddha

from “The Metta Sutta”

#TheMettaSutta #LovingKindness #Metta #wisdom #life #bodhisattvas #Buddhism #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #MindfulResistance #JMWart