Last night’s dream…
As a student.
Of us pupils
Sitting at her desk,
I was tremendously
I see myself:
I write the
Comes through me,
The bell rings,
I am unable to spell that word; I must always surrender to spellcheck to do my bidding.
The students in my dream were mostly people of color. Were they my former students? The ones who taught me so much about my privilege as a white woman, coming into their neighborhood, clenching the role book close to me, my own personal protective gear, trying so hard to “connect”, getting stoned at lunchtime with the gym teacher, while zooming outta there at 2:33 p.m., after the 2:32 bell?
I did my best there, at Webster Junior High and Malcolm X Shabazz High School, in Newark, New Jersey, for almost two decades. I did my best.
But/and…..it wasn’t until the past year’s upheaval, the exploding of every system, every institution in our culture, did my understanding of privilege deepened.
I shriveled up and died a thousand deaths during this past pandemic year, and I thrived.
I shriveled up and crumbled into a thousand deaths, and I grew and learned and ate and participated as best I could, in this, my lockdown world.
How many people lost family—jobs—income—food—hope—health—possibilities—play—schooling—socializing—kissing—holding—hugging—faces—smiles—and on and on.
And I was terrified while I thrived.
Only about 2% of the world has been vaccinated.
I am of that 2%.
How do I utilize my privilege, not sentimentally, not motivated by guilt, but TO BE USEFUL?
How do I take the next steps, to be USEFUL IN THE WORLD, not with the people who think like me, or look like me, but the people who don’t, not with the people who have the things I have, but with the people who do not?
Not with the people who share my privilege (and I do not mean to minimize our suffering, it is real), but with all the others who are hungry and unsheltered and frightened and hopeless?
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
My Socially Engaged Buddhism training is opening me up
To my own not-knowing.
Where do I put that energy?
I do trust
And I know,
Not a fancy leap,
You must. You must. YOU MUST LISTEN. Five minutes for your heart.
Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder, by Playing for Change/Sound around the World
Roshi Joan Halifax is my teacher and mentor at the Upaya Zen Center. Although this Ted Talk is pre-pandemic, from a conference 100 years in 2010, Roshi, in 14 minutes, tells us so much about compassion; not sympathetic compassion, not compassion motivated by guilt, but the Higher Ground of empathy and service. Check it out—she is wonderous.
Please consider coming to our Share Circle—
It is a time to share, to listen, to be heard, to hear.
Mindful listening is a gift for the heart. Please join us.
- Thursday, April 22, @ 2:00.
- Your payment will indicate your registration.
- Suggested payment is $12/session or $40/month.
- PayPal link is here
Keep on trying
Till we reach