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.

January readings

Reaching the Cliffs of Moher was a visceral experience of the end of the line, the edge of the world. Beautiful and terrifying. This photo does no justice to the drama of the experience, but it illustrates an end.

Ending one year, beginning the next, I’ll be starting my 2019 by reading at the Poetry Project’s 45th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading.

This year’s lineup includes: Andrea Abi-Karam, Ammiel Alcalay, Ashna Ali, Justin Allen, Julie Alsop, Jonathan Aprea, Penny Arcade, Ed Askew Band, Daisy Atterbury, James Barickman, J. Mae Barizo, Peter BD, Jim Behrle, Anselm Berrigan, Edmund Berrigan, Fabrienne Bottero, Michael Broder, Lee Ann Brown & Janice Lowe, Marie Buck, Phong Bui, Steve Cannon, Wo Chan, Yoshiko Chuma with Dane Terry, Lauren Clark, Todd Colby, John Coletti, CA Conrad, Lydia Cortes, Brenda Coultas, Alex Cuff, Matty D’Angelo, Kyle Dacuyan, Jordan Davis, Ted Dodson, r erica doyle, Ry Dunn, Anaïs Duplan, Marcella Durand, Steve Earle, Mel Elberg, Betsy Fagin, Will Farris, Farnoosh Fathi, Avram Fefer, Camonghne Felix, Jack Ferver, Jennifer Firestone, Jen Fisher, Jameson Fitzpatrick, Dorothy Friedman August, Kay Gabriel, John Godfrey, Suzanne Goldenberg, Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves, Phoebe Greer & Arthur Cañedo, Diana Hamilton, Odetta Hartman, David Henderson, Barbara Henning, Laura Henriksen, Erika Hodges, Bob Holman, Erica Hunt, Cori Hutchinson, Omotara James, Rachel James, Paolo Javier, Cyree Jarelle Johnson, Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte, Millie Kapp & Matt Shalzi, Vincent Katz, erica kaufman, Amy King, Anna Kreienberg, M Lamar, Yaz Lancaster, Sue Landers, Denizé Lauture, Paul Legault, Rachel Levitsky, Matt Longabucco, Brendan Lorber, Jimena Lucero, Filip Marinovich, Erin Markey, Douglas A. Martin, Eline Marx with Devin Brahja Waldman as teknikal issues, Greg Masters, Andriniki Mattis, Jillian McManemin, Yvonne Meier, Carley Moore, Tracie Morris, Dave Morse, Stephen Motika, Gala Mukomolova, Sahar Muradi, Uche Nduka, Peter Neeley, Precious Okoyomon, Edgar Oliver, Laura Ortman, Nicky Paraiso, Trace Peterson, Matt Proctor & Sarah Safaie, Lorelei Ramirez, El Roy Red, Batya Rosenblum, Bob Rosenthal, Douglas Rothschild, Judah Rubin, John Rufo, George Emilio Sanchez, Tina Satter, Tom Savage, Simon Schuchat, Purvi Shah, Frank Sherlock, Jayson Smith, Sean D. Henry Smith, Pamela Sneed, Patricia Spears Jones, Tammy Faye Starlite, Max Steele, Jim Stewart, Sara Jane Stoner, Bridget Talone, Susie Timmons, Edwin Torres, Tony Towle, Cat Tyc, Aldrin Valdez, Cecilia Vicuna, Anna Vitale, Morgan Vo, Asiya Wadud, Anne Waldman with Fast Speaking Music, Nicole Wallace, Lewis Warsh, Jacqueline Waters, Rachael Wilson, Chavisa Woods, Matvei Yankelevich, John Yau, The Double Yews , Don Yorty, Spoke and Feather, Sparrow / Foamola, The Blow, and St. Mark’s Choir.

Support poetry on New Year’s Day from 2pm on at The Poetry Project 131 E. 10th St, NYC $20 tickets available at  https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3906011, $25 at the door.

On January 11th, Laura Henriksen & I will be kicking off the first THERETHEN reading at 7pm at The Footlight 465 Seneca Avenue Brooklyn, NY.

Organized by Dustin Williamson, THERETHEN is an occasional chapbook reading series. Handmade, letterpress chapbooks of work by the readers will be on offer– only available at the reading.

All the best to everyone in 2019. May there be peace. May there be peace.
May there be love, justice and peace for all beings.