right relations

credit: Lisa Mackie

I’ve been having lots of conversations lately about what being in right relationship looks like: what accountability is and isn’t, what being in community means. I believe we all must be responsible for for our actions as well as our inactions, answering not only to ourselves, and others, but to all our relations, the earth, other living beings we share the earth with, ancestors, and future generations. One of the guidelines I use in my workshops carries over into the rest of my life: honor the intention, own the impact.

Good intentions aren’t enough. Good intentions have never been enough, not in terms of interpersonal relationships, not in terms of political action. Recognizing how those intentions translate into action and what the consequences of those actions (or inactions) are, is essential to creating relationships of balance, care and trust. It’s painful, difficult work acknowledging harm we’ve caused and ways we’ve failed, but we all have been harmed and we all cause harm, why pretend otherwise? Naming this not as an opportunity for judgement or blame, but in an effort to turn toward the difficult. Being present with the many varieties of suffering without turning away.

Acknowledging the widespread suffering in the world in this time, I endeavor to alleviate what suffering I can by cultivating my own practices of mindfulness, compassion and equanimity and living my own commitment to be of service when and where I am able. I find that action is a practical remedy for overwhelm and despair. I hope that my choices and actions are impactful in beneficial ways for all involved.

Sharing here some resources from Buddhist Action Coalition (adapted from Upaya Zen Center) that offer opportunities to demonstrate care and compassion, make efforts to restore balance, bring us back into harmony. Knowing that all of our struggles are connected, here are some things we can do right now around immigration:

1. Educate ourselves and our communities
Learn about the root causes of migration and displacement from Central America and Southern Mexico (hint: 90% crop failure in parts of Central America due to climate change, destabilized governments). Learn about the US immigration system: DHS, ICE, CBP, and how the mismanagement of these organizations is causing chaos. Here’s a great article to begin: “Just Keep Going North

2. Donate to community bail funds
Reunite detained parents with their children by helping post their bail: Fronterizx Fianza Fund and National Bail Fund Network.

3. Volunteer and support immigrant organizations and organizations advocating for and/or providing legal services to asylum seekers
New Sanctuary Coalition
New York Immigration Coalition
Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center
Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services
Immigrant Families Together
Al Otro Lado

4. Call your Congressperson!
Call your Congressperson and tell them to defund, to not vote for additional funding for DHS and ICE (or ask them to abolish DHS). This ACLU page will route you directly to your congressperson and includes a script.

5. Donate to organizations providing emergency aid (food and water!) to refugees
South Texas Human Rights Center
Team Brownsville: Humanitarian Assistance for Asylum Seekers (Texas)
Colores United-Refugee Shelter (Deming, New Mexico)
No Más Muertes (Arizona)
International Rescue Committee

6. Know your rights
Everyone in the US, regardless of immigration status, has certain rights and protections under the US Constitution. These ready-to-print cards (in different languages) help people assert their rights and defend themselves in many situations, such as when ICE agents go to a home. Please share these cards widely.

POC healing circle 9/21

Please join members of the NYC POC Healing Circle for an opportunity to share meditation, mindful movement and compassion practices in community.

Ashleigh, Maui & I will be there sharing from our practices.

Join us on Friday September 21st from 7-9 pm at Shambhala Meditation Center located at 118 W. 22nd Street, 6th Floor, New York City.

Suggested donation $5-10, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

half-day meditation retreat 5/6/18

Leslie Joren Wagner & I will be co-leading a Half-day Meditation Retreat at The Interdependence Project on Sunday May 6th from 9 am – 1 pm.

Designed for new meditators, people who want to sit for a longer period of time without attending a full retreat, and more experienced meditators who want an opportunity to cultivate their practice, the day will alternate between periods of sitting and walking meditation. All are welcome.

The Interdependence Project is located at 28 W. 27th Street, Suite 704, New York City.
The venue is accessible by elevator, but the bathrooms are not accessible by wheelchair.

Details and registration available here: http://theidproject.org/events/2018/05/06/half-day-meditation-retreat

sit

Half-Day Meditation Retreat
with Betsy Fagin & Leslie Joren Wagner

The Interdependence Project
28 West 27th Street, Suite 704 NYC

Sunday February 4,  9:00 am – 1:00 pm

I’m super-excited to meet up with Joren today to talk about the sit this weekend. I couldn’t be more grateful & excited about helping guide this retreat together on Sunday.

Let me hype Joren here by sharing her bio:

Leslie Joren Wagner is an artist who has been practicing meditation for 28 years. She took Buddhist precepts in 2009, studying for 16 years in the Soto Zen tradition of Maezumi Roshi. Leslie Joren is also a certified Reiki Master Teacher and has acted as a representative to the Buddhist Council of NY, developing community education and outreach programs such as Meditate NYC and the Buddhist Forum. She received a BFA from Parsons School of Design, receiving a 2017 Hemera Tending Spaces Fellowship. She continues to explore the connection between Art and Dharma, and considers art-making a meditative practice. To that end, she creates workshops which encourage people to blossom and share their own unique wisdom in the world. Leslie Joren is a graduate of the IDP Meditation Teacher Training and is most grateful to all of her teachers.

I can’t wait to sit with this amazing woman! The Interdependence Project has additional details (including info on registration) at their site here. Facebook’s got event details too.

 

Half-day meditation retreat 2/4/18

Happy New Year!

I’ll be co-leading a half-day meditation retreat Sunday February 4th, 2018 at The Interdependence Project 28 West 27th Street, NYC.

From 9 am – 1 pm we’ll share a silent retreat in the heart of the city, alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation. Suitable for both new meditators and long-time practitioners. Join us!

Additional details (including registration & scholarship info) available here: http://theidproject.org/events/2018/02/04/half-day-meditation-retreat

lifting rocks

Is there a better advertisement for the cultivation of mindfulness practices than the latest Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi? Luke’s final showdown!!?! Brilliant.

I haven’t found a clip to share of the part where Rey articulates the truth of interconnection / interdependence and realizes that the Force is about more than just lifting rocks, but if I find it I’ll post it here. It was lovely, and true.

Here in this galaxy, if you have an interest in cultivating your own practices of meditation and mindful awareness, I’m happy to recommend The Interdependence Project’s Meditation Teacher Training program in NYC. They’re accepting applications until January 5, 2018. I’m grateful to have been part of the 2017 cohort and am happy to talk about my experiences in the program if anyone has questions.

How will we build a rebellion? We have everything we need.

sanctuary

I’m very excited to be leading a workshop as part of The Millay Colony’s Sanctuary Series in June.

DISENTANGLING– Disaster Has Come from the Outside. Don’t Give Up Hope.
June 3, 1 – 4 pm  at The Neighborhood Preservation Center
232 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003

How do we stay grounded and reduce anxiety in the face of overwhelm? Join us as we disentangle ourselves from disorder and gain the capacity to welcome the unexpected. Through guided meditations and writing exercises we will explore the present moment in order to gain focus and effectiveness. We will develop (resistance) strategies of self-care and cultivate awareness of our interdependence using writing as our vehicle. We will explore the nexus between acceptance and resistance, complacency and direct action: the places where opposing impulses connect, investigating ways to successfully integrate these forces through our writing and in our bodies.

The Sanctuary Series of workshops brings together artists, healers and educators in collaborative sessions that ask participants to creatively imagine desired cultural and community outcomes as well as their role within those outcomes. Held in New York City, Hudson and other locations, these are 2-3 hour workshops centered on writing or visual art-making.

To Apply: Send a letter of introduction including a brief biography with a $25 deposit. Send materials requested to Caroline Crumpacker at director@millaycolony.org. Send deposit via PayPal using our DONATE Button. Or hard copy can go to The Millay Colony for the Arts, 454 East Hill Road, Austerlitz, NY. Attention: Workshops. Make checks payable to The Millay Colony for the Arts. 

Fee: Each workshop in The Sanctuary Series costs $60 or $125 for all three. Millay Colony Alumni receive a 15% discount.

Further details available here: http://www.millaycolony.org/betsy-fagin-workshop/

Millay Colony shares some post-workshop reflections from participant Carol Mirakove.