by John Pavlovitz
Some people tell me that I’ve changed, that I’ve become more confrontational and irritable, that I am less tolerant of disagreement now. They say that I seem angrier, that I’m more political. They tell me that I’m not the gentle, loving soul I once was and they regularly click their tongues against the roof of their mouths in judgment, lamenting the person they say I used to be.
Bessel van der Kolk— How Trauma Lodges in the Body
Human memory is a sensory experience, says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he’s learning about how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. What he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events — which, after all, make up the drama of culture, of news, and of life.
WELCOME FIFTH WORLD WOMEN. It is good to find you here. This is our time, our great joy, our canvas, our challenge, our sacred work, and our sacred trust. We are born for these times. What we each are, the world needs, every last woman of us. Every good impulse we have, every calling, instinct, stirring, essence, skill, ability, intuition, guidance, and dose of common sense, from the biggest big to the smallest small … all of this adds to the wealth and well-being of this world. We are a holy food for these times, the prasad of these times … you and I, exactly as we are, right now. Each of us is an activated blessing for this earth and this life. We make the Divine visible in the world through recognizing and remembering our essential natures.
Prasad for Women: Talks for Fifth World Women have been updated on my Fifth World Women website and the first three talks, always the ones that have been of the most service, are now available for free on the home page. Please , feel free to pass this link on to anyone you think might benefit. Just click to go to Fifth World Women Homepage
Blessed be. Blessed bees. Blessed Women.
Debra Roberts has lived and breathed the arts and spirituality all her life. Her work as an artist and educator has taken her to England (where she lived for eleven years), Northern Ireland, Europe, Turkey, and various cities around the United States. In New Mexico, she worked with Coyote Gathers His People, a Native American performing troupe, and was Director of the New Mexico Literacy Theater, a company that toured pueblos, schools, prisons and rehabilitation centers around the Southwest, promoting the value of literacy in people’s lives.
These and many other experiences of the arts in service to multicultural communities deeply impacted her, as does her friendship with elders from many traditions. A meeting with Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya, a messenger of Hopi prophecy who spoke about the vital importance of women stepping forward into the world, also profoundly touched her.
Enrich Your Life by Living Gratefully!
By Rabbi Rami
What are you grateful for? Try not to cough up the usual suspects: sunsets, daisies, puppies, babies, and babies playing with puppies among the daisies at sunset. True, I’m grateful that the earth orbits the sun, and I love dogs and babies, but being grateful for these things is too easy. Being grateful requires more than warm fuzzy feelings; it requires clear seeing and right action.
Not long ago a woman shared with me her experience as a lung transplant recipient. She was grateful to the organ donor, and the doctors and nurses who performed the operation. What about the drunk driver who killed the woman whose lung saved her life, I asked; was she grateful to him as well?
She just stared at me. No one had asked her that before. To her credit, she closed her eyes, took a moment to see what was true for her, and said, yes she was grateful to the man who killed her donor and thus saved her life. Then her eyes filled with tears, and said, “And I hate myself for that.”
As we talked she realized that it wasn’t self-hate she was feeling but extreme humility. After all, she neither wished the death of her donor nor did anything to cause it; she simply benefited from this tragedy. But that realization was huge. What if the deceased woman had a family, she mused. What if she had little children who would grow up without a mom? What if she was caring for her parents? A single death can have so many ramifications. How do I live with this, she sobbed.
Your situation may not be this extreme, but the question she asked is your question as well. You are being gifted by people and things all the time. How do you live with this? This is what gratitude is really all about: not feeling grateful, but living gratefully.
Chances are you too have lungs, and don’t need a transplant to be grateful for them. But what about the Brazilian rainforest? Are you grateful for that? After all, your lungs are useless without oxygen, yet neither they nor any other organ in your body produces oxygen. Trees and plants in partnership with the sun do that, and the Brazilian rainforest processes 28% of the world’s oxygen, so the forest is a vital part of your body as well. If you are grateful to your lungs, you must be grateful to trees and plants as well. How do you express your gratitude? What do you do to help secure clean air for your lungs to breathe?
Despite clichés to the contrary, it isn’t the thought that counts; it is the deed that counts. Gratitude that is merely attitude is cheap and meaningless. If you are grateful to your lungs, don’t poison them with carcinogens. If you are grateful for oxygen, protect the living system that produces it. Or, if you don’t, at least have the courage to stop claiming you are grateful for lungs and oxygen.
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I wear Rockport shoes and return them to the company for resoling. The first time I did this the shoes came back in near mint condition accompanied by a hand-written note from the person who restored them. He explained how very disappointed he was that I disrespected the shoes he works so hard to make: the leather was scuffed and unpolished; the shoe backs were broken; and the toe box was misshapen because I didn’t keep my shoes on a shoetree. He concluded by asking me to treat his work with more respect.
That was 30 years ago, and I have never treated my shoes the same since. What about you? You would be lost without your shoes. They support your arches, protect your feet from hot pavements and dangerous debris, and (along with your shirt) allow you to eat in restaurants. So how do you show your gratitude? Look at your shoes and see.
What about the rest of your clothes? Do you keep them clean, neatly folded or hanging properly? When you no longer need them, do you toss them out or do you donate them where someone else can benefit from them?
What is true of shoes and clothes is true of everything. It is easy to assess the quality of gratitude in your life by examining how well you treat the people and things in your life. You are being gifted by people and things—seen and unseen, known and unknown—all day, every day. That should make you feel grateful, but more importantly it should cause you to live gratefully.
Living gratefully means taking nothing and no one for granted. It means treating salespeople, stock clerks, bank tellers, and cashiers kindly. It means not polluting your body with excess sugar, fat, and salt. It means not polluting your community with bigotry, fear, anger, gossip, and ill-will. It means saying thank you to everyone and everything by treating them all with utmost respect.
Be grateful for babies and puppies, just don’t stop there. Join with others to offer a scholarship at a local daycare center, adopt or rescue an animal companion, or support a local animal shelter. Gratitude is not a way of feeling, it is a way of doing. If you aren’t living gratefully, feeling grateful means nothing at all.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, PhD teaches religious studies at Middle Tennessee State University and is the director of Wisdom House Center for Interfaith Studies in Nashville. He has written over two dozen books and a new series, Rabbi Rami Guides: Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler, available at Spirituality & Health Books and Amazon.com; see www.rabbirami.com. SMITH PUBLICITY, INC. 856-489-8654 x326
A description and overview of six most prominent world religions
Documentary Film, Spirituality, Biography, GOD IN HUMAN FORM: The life and work of Avatar Meher Baba
by filmmaker, Peter Nordeen of Asheville, North Carolina USA
God in Human Form is a comprehensive yet concise biographical documentary of the renowned spiritual personality, Avatar Meher Baba (1894-1969).
IWPR’s new The Status of Women in the South is the first report to provide a comprehensive portrait of the status of women, particularly the status of women of color, in the southern states, grading each state on six different topic areas related to women’s economic, political, health, and social status.
Uniting for a Sustainable Future
Humanity faces unprecedented challenges to sustainable life on the planet. We all share a common purpose. Based in Jerusalem, The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) unites faith communities, teachers and leaders to promote co-existence, peace, and sustainability through advocacy, education and action-oriented projects. Read more about the Channels of Action here or to see our Theory of Change diagram, please click here. Working with numerous foundations, private donors, and clients, ICSD has successfully implemented a range of projects from hosting interfaith environmental conferences to facilitating eco tourism in the Holy Land to conducting faith and ecology workshops for students of religion. Continue Reading
Every woman in this story is confoundingly non-descript. Short hair, often grey. Conservative dress. Unmarried; soft-spoken. Most are well into their seventies, and all will tell you that their way of life is dying out. They will also tell you, with surprising conviction, that the world is in peril.
They are Roman Catholic sisters, from a variety of orders—Dominican, Mercy, Passionist—but don’t think Whoopie Goldberg or a young Sally Field. While many of their aged peers are living out their days in quiet convents, these women are digging gardens and offsetting carbon. They’re as well-versed in solar and geothermal technology as they are in the Gospels of Luke and John, and some wear Carhartts and work boots like they’re habits. At the heart of the women’s action is a belief that the changing climate and world demand a new kind of vocation – that Ave Marias won’t cut it anymore, but maybe clean energy will. Continue reading
Author and WMC Co-founder Robin Morgan struggles to understand the faith-based madness that seems to surround us.
Sociologist Diana Russell has organized for decades to end violence against women. Here she argues that labeling the most extreme form of such violence is essential to combating it.
Public awareness about violence against women has increased dramatically over the last four decades in the United States, thanks to women’s multi-faceted activism. Click here to read the entire article
Inspired by the women she met at the Omega Women and Power Conference, WMC’s Jamia Wilson explains why their visions of spirituality belong at the heart of feminism.
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