The NYC Transformative Justice Hub’s upcoming event, How to Communicate Your Boundaries has been postponed to April 11th. It will be held at 60 Washington Square South NYU Kimmel Center Room 802 from 12-2pm, wheelchair accessible. Details are available on the NYCTJ Hub website.
On Saturday March 28th, the NYC Transformative Justice Hub will be offering a workshop on How to Communicate Your Boundaries from 12-2 pm. I’m excited to be holding space again with friends to support the event: meditation & mindful movement will be on offer as well as supportive teas and space to chill, process or whatever is most needed.
From the NYCTJhub website: “This political education workshop will offer space to reflect on our habits and practice boundary-setting with peers. Participants will be invited to engage in reflective and interactive activities and bring examples or experiences from their own lives into the space. You can RSVP here. If there are not tickets available and you are from New York or are BIPOC, please contact our Hub Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
I’m posting this toward the beginning of the month, right now lots of events and gatherings are being cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. Change is happening rapidly, so please check in with the TJ hub website closer to the time for the most current event information.
There are so many beautiful lines from Mary Oliver that are quoted regularly in mindfulness and yoga circles, probably because they’re beautiful and they’re also very true. One of them is “attention is the beginning of devotion” from her essay “Upstream.” (An article in the Atlantic, reflecting on that essay is here.) I could spend ages diving into Oliver’s work and I’m incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to do just that.
I’ve been living closely with her work for the past few months and will continue to do so through the summer when I’ll be guiding a workshop at Poets House on her work.
In this practical workshop, we’ll dive into Oliver’s work and make use of Poets House’s waterfront location to cultivate attention as we listen to the world and explore our “place in the family of things.” We will create new poems and investigate earnestness, accessibility, and darkness in Oliver’s work, focusing on Dream Work and Devotions.
The course runs from June 11-July 16, 2020 and registration is open until May 22nd.
Poets House is wheelchair accessible & located at 10 River Terrace in New York City.
Thrilled to get my hands on the latest copy of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. There are five of my recent poems in issue 45.1 along with fantastic work by some of my favorites, Cynthia Manick and Douglas Kearney as well as voices that are new to me. Thank you to the editors for putting together another wonderful issue!
Subscribe to Obsidian & support the work here: https://obsidianlit.org/subscribe/
It is said that all the Buddha ever talked about was suffering and the end of suffering. In the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha laid out the diagnosis, the prognosis & the prescription to end suffering: there is a path. I don’t want to leave folks hanging, let’s get right into it – that path is the Noble Eightfold Path (ariya-magga in Pali, the language spoken in the Buddha’s time) & it can be explored in three different sections.
Discussing the Eightfold Path, folks often use term RIGHT (“right view,” “right speech,” “right livelihood”); I find myself using WISE instead. Right can imply wrong. Wise works just as well and allows for a little more subtlety.
The first grouping deals with the cultivation of wisdom or discernment (pañña) and is made up of wise view and wise intention. The second group is concerned with the cultivation of virtue (sila) and is made of wise speech, wise action and wise livelihood. The third is all about concentration and meditation (samadhi) – wise effort and wise mindfulness. Let’s check out wisdom.
1: Wise View: knowledge of the Four Noble Truths
(crying emoji!) If a clip of a half-naked Seth Rogan singing the “Age of Aquarius” is enough to lure anyone into learning more about Right View, then my work here is done. This is time well spent.
2: Wise Intention: motivation to resolve suffering – resolve, renunciation, loving-kindness
I’m not much of an Aziz Ansari fan anymore, but it’s a good clip. Apologies if that kicks anything up for anyone. I haven’t gotten around to writing up notes on supporting last weekend’s API Chaya / Project NIA training to address gender-based violence, support people experiencing harm, and support people causing harm to change. That’s a post for another time.
Right now is a chance to learn more about about the Eightfold Path! Here are a few places to start:
- Eightfold Path basics at Lion’s Roar: https://www.lionsroar.com/what-is-eightfold-path/
- Practical instructions to end suffering at Tricycle: https://tricycle.org/magazine/noble-eightfold-path/
- Gina Sharpe speaking on Right Understanding at New York Insight PoC Sangha available at Dharma seed: https://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/75/14111.html
- Joseph Goldstein‘s got a whole series of talks on the Satipatthana Sutta that are brilliant & available for download at Dharma seed. The first of two talks in the series about Right View is available to listen to or download here.
- The Noble Eightfold Path, The Way to the End of Suffering by Bhikkhu Bodhi at Access to Insight (suttas, commentary, analysis)
I’ve been sitting with the intention to write up a dharma talk. It’s my homework. For weeks now I’ve been talking ideas over with friends, listening to other people’s dharma talks and writing unending notes, getting nowhere.
Not nowhere exactly. I got nowhere writing the kind of talk I thought I should be writing, but I’m getting everywhere looking at clips of little videos, which I LOVE. I could do this all day. I have actually. I present the fruits of my labor: The Four Noble Truths in video clips.
part one: there is dukkha (suffering), it is to be understood
part two: the origin of dukkha is craving (thirst, clinging) it is to be recognized
part three: dukkha ceases with the relinquishment of craving, this is to be known
part four: there is a path leading to the cessation of dukkha (=eightfold path) it is to be cultivated
Read/hear more about it:
There’s so much to learn and study about the Four noble/ennobling truths. Here are a few links to start with:
- Lion’s Roar has a nice overview & links: https://www.lionsroar.com/what-are-the-four-noble-truths/
- Sylvia Boorstein elaborates: https://www.lionsroar.com/pay-attention-for-goodness-sake/
- A talk about the Four Noble Truths by Larry Yang on Dharma seed: https://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/107/talk/9323/
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains what’s noble about the Four Noble Truths: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/four-noble-truths-thanissaro-bhikkhu/
- Access to Insight has texts from the Pali Cannon: https://accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/index.html
- Bhikkhu Bodhi breaks texts down here: https://accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_20.html
Apology Lab was deep. It was moving to be with so many folks ready & willing to explore vulnerability and undertake the process of accountability with themselves & their communities.
From lab notes, “Accountability is a practice not an end and it is a continuous process rather than an individual act.”
The work in the Apology Lab was based on Mia Mingus‘ framework of accountability.
She separates the accountability process into four parts: self-reflection, apologizing, repair and behavior change.
I’m honored to support the NYC Transformative Justice Hub by offering guided meditation and holding space at their event Saturday January 25th (noon to 5 pm) at Judson Memorial Church, Assembly Room (239 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012). Wheelchair accessible, childcare available. Although it is currently *sold out*, if you are a BIQTPOC (Black, Indigenous, Queer, Trans Person of Color) who would like to attend this event, please email NYCTJHub at email@example.com to learn more about community tickets.
Description from the NYC TJHub website: “This political education workshop will consider the opportunities and challenges of offering a sincere and meaningful apology.
Drawing on decades of work done by Just Practice and the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective, this workshop will offer tools and practices for addressing harm we’ve inflicted and cultivating space for healing by making a good apology. For those of us working towards liberation, taking responsibility for harm that we cause is an opportunity to practice accountability and community nurturance. Instead of avoiding conflict and the wounds we’ve caused within our communities and movement spaces, we can learn to sit with our own complicated emotions, discern what responsibility is ours to take, and offer an apology without any expectations of others.
Light refreshments, vibe checkers + healing justice practice guides will be available.”
More information about NYC Transformative Justice Hub is available here: https://nyctjhub.com/public_events.html
While I was off meditating in the California hills, the good folks at The Poetry Project put together a feature of some of the writing that was produced in our Meditation in an emergency workshop this Fall.
New work from Janae Brux, Anna Gurton-Wachter, E.C. Kane, Peter Bogart Johnson, Susana Malo, Ryan Nowlin, Victoria Ordway and Serge Rodriguez is now online at https://www.poetryproject.org/publications/work-from-meditations-in-an-emergency/.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share some writing & meditation practices with this group. It’s wonderful to see some of what grew out of our time together. Join us next week for a free reading from workshop participants: Thursday December 12th at 8pm. The Poetry Project is located at 131 E. 10th St. NYC. Facebook event details here.
Accessibility: St. Mark’s Church is wheelchair accessible. Please call The Poetry Project at 212-674-0910 in advance of events to arrange accessibility. Please note on Fridays between 8-9:30pm the wheelchair accessible all gender bathrooms on the ground floor are unavailable because another arts project has performances in the sanctuary. There are All-Gender bathrooms on the second floor of the church. To access Parish Hall, attendees must pass through the main sanctuary and a corridor. There are 2 sets of double doors and two single doors to go through. The smallest of these doors at the end of the corridor is 28.5 inches wide. The Poetry Project will arrange for an ASL interpreter for any event with one week’s advance notice.