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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

giving up disbelief ~

I usually try to keep Lent in some fashion. It’s a wonderful practice, to offer up a piece of your everyday life for good. To think of your everyday life as a kind of, well, prayer.

As a Buddhist, I don’t know that I ‘pray,’ in the Christian definition of prayer. I don’t believe in a personal deity who pays attention to my individual pleas, although I certainly make them :). (The old pagan in me, however, does believe that there are spirits who can be…propitiated :))

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What I do believe is what the Quakers say: I will hold you in the light. It’s a lovely thought: that when you need my prayers, my strength, I have two strategies I can offer: tonglen — where I use my own pain to help assuage yours, and healing light. No definition of divinity, or the who/what/where of that light — just its warmth and healing. Very Quaker — like silence that wraps us and helps us hear that inner voice…

A friend does a prison ministry in Oklahoma. She’s an amazing person, about as big as a minute, unless you look at her heart, which may well be bigger than Texas… So when Charissa sent out a request for people to pray for prisoners during Lent, because I love Charissa, I asked if non-Christians could do this. If there were non-Christians who might even be glad to have a non-Christian ally. She sent me a dozen names — all women. And acted glad I’d offered.

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Oklahoma has the highest per capita incarceration of women in the world. Yup — the WORLD. The US, w/ 743 PEOPLE per 100,000, (male & female, ranked tops (bottom?) internationally in 2009. Oklahoma’s female incarceration rate went up 832% between 1997 & 2007, compared to half that rate of ‘growth’ for male prisoners. There’s obviously something very wrong in Oklahoma.

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I mention these stats to point out that holding that many women in the light is no small thing. And Charissa’s project is badly needed. I don’t know if prayer — or the Buddhist & Quaker equivalent — works. But for this next month, I’m giving up disbelief. I’m going to do all I can to hold these 12 women in love & light. I’m going to try to hold their children and families in the light. I am going to s-t-r-e-t-c-h my belief and my heart and fill it w/ 12 names and light.

And I’m going to pray like hell one person can make a difference.

Previous Posts

#myAmtrakWritingRetreat reprised
I am now an official, seasoned Amtrak traveller: I have taken a coffin-shower bath. This is it: big enough to stand up   in, and w/ surprisingly good pressure. Considering I on this next leg from Chicago to Fort Worth for 24 hours, I'm just ...

posted 4:28:24pm May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

chocolate, and my own #AmtrakWritingRetreat
The first leg of my 2+ days on the train. Despite getting up at 4 in the morning (& not sleeping well before that!), I couldn't sleep on this first ...

posted 2:25:47pm May. 27, 2015 | read full post »

more on the home front ~
Today was 'look at houses' day. Funny how pictures bear so little resemblance to the real thing. When I taught, I used to give my students postcards from ...

posted 2:36:27pm May. 26, 2015 | read full post »

hunting for home
Looking for a house is hard. Looking while recognising that this will be your long-term home -- not a rental, not a summer vacation -- is ...

posted 5:40:03pm May. 25, 2015 | read full post »

living through the unexpected (with equanimity?)
 This is how we spent two hours Friday: lined up to cross the French Broad River bridge. TWICE. (I've been calling it the French Bread River Basin since then; ...

posted 10:32:07pm May. 24, 2015 | read full post »

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