Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Interiors







Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Marianne Williamson: In the Midst of This “Heartbreaking” Pandemic, It's Okay to Be Heartbroken

Author and former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson is, like many of us at this time, hunkering down at home (or in her case, at a friend's home) as she sits out the current coronavirus pandemic.

True to form, Marianne is not just being mindful of her own heart and spirit during this time but also the hearts and spirits of others. This compassionate mindfulness is being manifested in an ongoing series of videos and audios that she's releasing on her various social media platforms on pretty much a daily basis. I haven't tuned into all of them but I did watch last Friday's video, and it very much resonated with me. In it Marianne talks about why it's okay to be sad and heartbroken at this time. She also says the following.

We can't look at this [crisis] as something other people will handle because clearly they didn't and clearly they're not. So if we want an America on the other side of this where we can feel secure in the knowledge that even when bad things happen, we are prepared as a nation to weather the storm in a stronger boat than we have now, we're going to have to make some changes; and those changes are only going to be made if we ourselves become much more active in that decision-making. What we have now is a product of who we've been and how we've operated. And if we want something different, we're going to have to change and we're going to have to change our operating systems.

Martin Luther King said, “Your life begins to end on the day you stop talking about things that matter.” We've stopped even thinking about some things that matter. . . . So it's not too early to think about the changes that we want on the other side of this, because this will be over. Let's think about what we want to be different on the other side of this. We want a country that is far more conscious of investing in the long term good of all of its citizens; a healthcare system that would support us in a moment like this – all of those outer things. But there are some other changes too. Let's pray to be better men and women – more conscious, more responsible, less self-centered.

. . . I cried today. My mother used to say, “You need a good cry; sometimes you just need a good cry.” I was holding it together until I heard Bob Dylan's new song. It's okay that we all have a good cry. Some tears can be very purifying. Just know you're sad and that  everybody else is too. . . . [This crisis is like] a storm . . . but we will make it through.






See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Hope and Beauty in the Midst of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic
Quote of the Day – March 17, 2020
In the Midst of Crisis, Learning Resistance and Vision-Seeking from the Indigenous and African-American Experience
An Infectious Disease Specialist Weighs-in on Covid-19
A Prayer for the Present Moment

For more of Marianne Williamson at The Wild Reed, see:
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love
The Relevance and Vitality of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
Marianne Williamson On What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
“It's Time to Take a Stand”: Marianne Williamson Endorses Bernie Sanders for President
“A Beautiful Message, So Full of Greatness”
“I Learned So Much From the Experience”: Marianne Williamson on Her Presidential Bid

Related Off-site Links:
COVID-19: It’s OK to Feel Overwhelmed and Be Unproductive – Susan Biali Haas (Psychology Today, March 25, 2020).
Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure – Aisha S. Ahmad (The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2020).
Coronavirus Has Upended Our World. It's OK To Grieve – Stephanie O'Neill (NPR News, March 26, 2020).
We Shouldn’t Go Back to the Way Things Were – Kandist Mallett (Teen Vogue, March 24, 2020).


Sunday, March 29, 2020

In the Midst of Crisis, Learning Resistance and Vision-Seeking from the Indigenous and African-American Experience



There is a social demand in this [coronavirus] crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand. The two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning. . . . Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis, have the aspect of the eagle, which from above, sees the whole, sees more widely.

You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you. Learn about resistance of the Indigenous and African peoples: we have always been and continue to be exterminated. But we still haven't stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire and having fun. . . . You do not help at all being [constantly] sad and without energy. You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world.

. . . In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties.

This is what is asked of you: allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your vision seeking rituals. What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do: serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day.

Good things emanate; what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith and love.

– White Eagle
Excerpted from a Facebook post
March 16, 2020


Related Off-site Links:
Indigenous Arizonans Dance With Thousands Around the World in Online "Social Distance' Powwow – Chelsea Curtis (Arizona Republic, March 27, 2019).
What The Spread of the Coronavirus Means for Black Communities – Tanya A. Christian (Essence, March 2, 2020).
Rethinking Resilience From Indigenous Perspectives – Laurence J Kirmayer, Stéphane Dandeneau, Elizabeth Marshall, Morgan Kahentonni Phillips, and Karla Jessen Williamson (The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry via Journals.com, February 2011).
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Story of Smallpox and Other Deadly Eurasian GermsPBS.org (2005).
How European Brought Sickness to the New World – Heather Pringle (Science, June 4, 2015).
Smallpox in the Blankets – John Koster (History, March 9, 2020).
Out of Africa: The Slave Trade and the Transmission of Smallpox to Brazil, 1560-1831 – Dauril Alden and Joseph C. Miller (The Journal of Interdisciplinary History via MIT Press, 1987).
From Slavery to Smallpox to Freedom – Jim Downs (National Museum of Civil War Medicine (February 2, 2017).
African American Resistance – Charter for Compassion (2020).
How An African Slave Helped Boston Fight Smallpox – Ted Widmer (The Boston Globe, October 17, 2014).
Sydney's Smallpox Outbreak of 1789 – Biological Warfare Against Australian Aboriginal TribesNationalUnityGovernment.org (2019).
Buffy Sainte-Marie on Creative Decolonization in a Global Village – Ayana Young (Unlearn and Re-Wild, November 14, 2015).
The Art of Resistance: Maya Angelou’s Poems Speak of the Universal Fight Against Oppression – Dakshayani Kumaramangalam (Scroll, January 1, 2020).
Then and Now, James Baldwin Is the Voice of The Resistance – Daniel Reynolds (The Advocate, February 3, 2017).
8 Historically Terrifying Viruses – Jessica Bloustein Marshall (Mental Floss, May 16, 2013).
Humanity's Long History of Making Epidemics Worse – Elise A. Mitchell (The Atlantic, March 11, 2020).
Andrew Harvey on Confronting Crisis with Divine Dignity – Ayana Young (Unlearn and Re-Wild, January 27, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Hope and Beauty in the Midst of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic
Quote of the Day – March 17, 2020
An Infectious Disease Specialist Weighs-in on Covid-19
A Prayer for the Present Moment
The End of the World as We Know It . . . . . . the Beginning As We Live It
As the Last Walls Dissolve . . . Everything is Possible
Michael Greyeyes on Temperance as a Philosophy for Surviving
For Acclaimed Songwriter, Activist and Humanitarian Buffy Sainte-Marie, the World Is Always Ripening
Buffy Sainte-Marie and That “Human-Being Magic”
The Way of the Wounded Healer

Image: Artist unknown.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Celtic Spirituality: “A Fluid, Transmutable Affair”

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I share this evening an excerpt from Loren Cruden's 1998 book, Walking the Maze: The Enduring Presence of Celtic Spirituality. This sharing reflects my growing interest in Celtic spirituality (including Celtic Christianity), which I'm discovering shares many characteristics with other indigenous (i.e., Earth-oriented) spiritual traditions from around the world, most fundamentally the experience of a deep, abiding, and transforming connection with nature.

As with the writings of Frank MacEowen (which I've shared previously at The Wild Reed), Loren Cruden's insights resonate with me as they remind me of – and connect me to – the spirituality of my Celtic ancestors, in particular those on my father's side of the family who hailed from the county of Staffordshire in England.

With all this in heart and mind, here is that part of Walking the Maze in which Cruden shares her thoughts on “the most enduring cornerstone of Celtic spirituality.”


“Have not all races had their unity from a polytheism that marries them to rock and hill?” asked Willie Yeats, quoted by Maud Gonne in “Yeats and Ireland.”

Marriage to rock and hill is perhaps the most enduring cornerstone of Celtic spirituality, despite overlays of Catholicism or Protestantism. Land sense remains primary, in both subtle and concrete forms. Thus, Celtic spirituality is most easily understood if considered within the environmental context of Celtic lands: Ireland, Britain, Scotland, Brittany, Wales, the Isle of Man.

These are places of mists and standing stones, of vivid green luminosity, of wind-haunted moors, treacherous bogs, and sea-battered islands. In this environment it is clear why Celtic reality is a fluid, transmutable affair. The Otherworld is not only an afterlife domain; it is an alternative reality coexistent with the mundane world, ever present. Burial mounds, the ocean, sacred wells, and sidhe mounds are portals to Otherworld reality. In Anne Ross’s words, “The everyday life of the Celts included the supernatural equally with the natural, the divine with the mundane; for them the Otherworld was as real as the tangible physical world and as ever present.” John O’Donohue says, “The Celts had an intuitive spirituality informed by mindful and reverent attention to landscape. It was an outdoor spirituality impassioned by the erotic charge of the earth.”

Fluidity was expressed through many avenues of Celtic consciousness. Knot-work designs – indeed, much of Celtic art – flowed, figures rising out of abstraction, transforming into other shapes, then back into abstraction: strange and complex. Many Celts deities were triple-aspected, the number three and its multiples being considered mystically significant. The soul was seen as a triple spiral, or as a butterfly, moth, or ball of light. Its name in Gaelic, anan, related to anal (breath), signifying a mobile life force having no predestination but reliant on integrity of heart, mind, and soul. Anan abided in the head and hair but moved in blood and breath and could travel into animal or other shape. Also triple were the “releases” of grief, joy, and repose that restored the soul; these were often embodied in Celtic stories by three harp notes or three bird songs.

. . . Ritual and daily life merged for the ancient Celts, with no segregation of place of worship from the land. Both spirituality and life were naturalistic. The priests – Druids – were not peasantry but were nonetheless oriented to the land, not to cities or ostentatious cathedrals. Celts worshiped in groves and at holy lakes, wells, and springs, and what shrines they built were simple, transitory structures or banked earthen enclosures. . . . There is an old Celtic saying that translates thus: “The land of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within itself. The Gaelic phrase fighte fuaighte, which means “woven into and through each other,” describes this fusion of ordinary and Otherworld realities.

– Loren Cruden
Excerpted from Walking the Maze:
The Enduring Presence of the Celtic Spirit

pp. 81-85




See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Mistwalking
Holy Encounters Where Two Worlds Meet
The Mysticism of Trees
The Prayer Tree
Thomas Moore on the Circling of Nature as the Best Way to Find Our Substance
“Radical Returnings” – Mayday 2016
Balancing the Fire
“I Caught a Glimpse of a God”
At Hallowtide, Pagan Thoughts on Restoring Our World and Our Souls
In This In-Between Time
Cernunnos
Beloved and Antlered
Integrating Cernunnos, “Archetype of Sensuality and the Instinctual World”
Prayer of the Week – November 14, 2012
Magician Among the Spirits

Image 1: Kerry Darlington.
Image 2: Book cover design by Tim Jones with photography by Adam Woolfitt and artwork by Michael Macliamoir.
Image 3: George H. Hayes III.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Something to Think About . . .




Related Off-site Links:

The 2020 Democratic Presidential Race
Can Bernie Sanders Still Win? Here’s What the Delegate Math Says – Michael Grothaus (Fast Company, March 11, 2019).
Who Wants a Revolution? No One Who Owns a Major Media Outlet – Julie Hollar (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, March 16, 2020).
CNN’s Coverage of Sanders Was 3x More Negative Than Biden Following Their Big Primary Wins – Juan Caicedo and Sarah Lazare (In These Times, March 9, 2020).
Is the DNC Once Again Orchestrating the Defeat of a Socialist Candidate? – Marjorie Cohn (TruthOut, March 16, 2020).
New Analysis Proves Attacks on Sanders Supporters Are Part of Establishment Smear Campaign – Ed Sykes (The Canary, March 11, 2020).
Democrats Debate: Neoliberal “Pragmatists” Vs. People Pushing for Systemic Change – The Real News Network (March 16, 2020).


Joe Biden
Democrats, You Really Do Not Want To Nominate Joe Biden – Nathan J. Robinson (Current Affairs, March 7, 2020).
Joe Biden, The “Impulse Buy” Candidate – Sonali Kolhatkar (TruthDig, March 6, 2020).
Joe Biden Is “Completely Unelectable,” Says “Bond King” Jeffrey Gundlach – Kevin Stankiewicz (CNBC News, March 5, 2020).
Joe Biden Has Built a Career on Betraying Black Voters – Branko Marcetic (Jacobin, March 5, 2020).
Joe Biden Didn't Just Compromise With Segregationists. He Fought for Their Cause in Schools, Experts Say – Janell Ross (NBC News, June 25, 2019).
Ta-Nehisi Coates: “Joe Biden Shouldn’t Be President”Democracy Now! (June 20, 2019).
Socialists for Biden? – The Power of Corporate Media – Jeff Cohen (BillMoyers.com, March 16, 2020).
Joe Biden's “Woman Pledge” Is a Red Herring – Bridget Read (The Cut, March 16, 2020).
Joe Biden Is Still Lying About His Positions on Social Security Cuts, the Bankruptcy Bill, and More – Akela Lacy (The Intercept, March 17, 2020).
Six Times Biden Described Major Events in His Life That Never Happened – Alana Goodman (Washington Examiner, August 19, 2019).
The Americans Joe Biden Left Behind on the Bankruptcy Bill – Adam Levitin (The American Prospect, January 9, 2020).
House of Cards: How Joe Biden Helped Build a Financial System That’s Great for Delaware Banks and Terrible for the Rest of Us – Tim Murphy (Mother Jones, November/December, 2019).
A Biden-Trump Election Is a Win-Win for Wall Street and a Loss for Our Democracy – Kenneth Peres (Common Dreams, March 18, 2020).
“Zionist” Biden in His Own Words: “Name is Joe Biden, and Everybody Knows I Love Israel” – Ramy Baroud (CounterPunch, March 19, 2020).
Why Did Joe Biden Disappear Right as the Coronavirus Pandemic Exploded? – Branko Marcetic (Jacobin, March 21, 2020).
Millennials Are the Most Indebted Generation. They Can Thank Joe Biden – Carl Beijer (Jacobin, March 21, 2020).
Joe Biden Will Lose a General Election to Donald Trump – Carl Beijer (Jacobin, March 21, 2020).
Joe Biden, the Cipher Presidential Candidate – Rich Lowry (Politico, March 26, 2020).
Joe Biden Said He Believes All Women. Does He Believe Tara Reade? – Robby Soave (Reason, March 26, 2020).
The Slow-Motion Disaster That Is Joe Biden – Jeremy Riddle (Extra Newsfeed, March 26, 2020).
A Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden Has Ignited a Firestorm of Controversy – Anna North (Vox, March 27, 2020).


Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders: We're Trying to Transform This Country, Not Just Beat Trump – MSNBC (March 4, 2020).
As the Economy Weakens, the Case for Bernie Grows Stronger – Eric Levit (New York Magazine, March 9, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Isn’t Like Most Candidates – That’s Why He’s Not Quitting – Joe Garofoli (San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Has No Reason to Drop Out. Here's Why – Saib Bilaval (Films for Action, March 12, 2020).
Bernie Sanders: We Are Winning “Ideological” & “Generational” Debate, Now Need to Win “Electability”Democracy Now!, March 12, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Is Not ‘Biden’ TimeDemocracy Now! (March 12, 2020).
The Christian Case for Bernie Sanders – Nyle Fort (Essence, March 12, 2020).
Ironically Enough, Bernie Sanders' Policies Could Have Saved Us From Coronavirus – Bonny Brooks (The Independent, March 11, 2020).
“Now Is the Time for Solidarity”: Bernie Sanders Addresses Health and Economic Crisis Facing US as Coronavirus Spreads – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, March 12, 2020).
Bernie Goes Full FDR in National Address on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Suddenly, All Too Briefly, He’s the President We Need – Dave Lindorff (Nation of Change, March 13, 2020).
The Uncharted Territory of Bernie Sanders and the Movement Behind Him – Steve Fraser (Jacobin, March 17, 2019).
Stop Blaming Young Voters for Not Turning Out for Sanders – Ibram X. Kendi (The Atlantic, March 17, 2020).
Biden Is Winning, But Sanders’s Ideas May End Up Salvaging the Country – William Rivers Pitt (TruthOut, March 18, 2020).
The Sanders Worldview Wins Even as Bernie Loses – Janan Ganesh (The Financial Times, March 18, 2020).
While Mainstream Democrats Fumble, Bernie Sanders Is Modeling a Serious Response to Coronavirus – Natalie Shure (In These Times, March 19, 2019).
Bernie Sanders Is Trying to Rescue America’s Frail Democracy – Thomas Piketty (Jacobin, March 19, 2019).
Bernie 2020: What Went Wrong? – Anis Shivani (Common Dreams, March 21, 2019).
Too Late, Coronavirus Proved Bernie Sanders Was Right. Now We Have to Settle for a Recession Led by Biden – Carli Pierson (The Independent, March 24, 2019).
Why Bernie Sanders Is Still Running for President – Chris Cillizza (CNN, March 25, 2019).
Why Everyone Is Thanking Bernie Sanders Right Now – Even His Critics – Britni de la Cretaz (Yahoo! News, March 26, 2019).


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
“Let Us All Unite!”
Progressive Perspectives on Big Tuesday and Beyond
Marianne Williamson on the Contest Being Played Out by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
Something to Think About – March 5, 2020
Bernie Sanders’ “Revolution” is Ultimately One of Values – the Values of Justice, Hope, and Love
Thoughts on the “Sanders Surge”
Thoughts on the Eve of the Iowa Caucuses
The Case for Bernie Sanders
Progressive Perspectives on Joe Biden's Presidential Run
Beto, Biden and Buttigieg: “Empty Suits and Poll-Tested Brands”
Quote of the Day – September 7, 2017
Quote of the Day – January 21, 2017
Quote of the Day – November 9, 2016
Progressive Perspectives on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump
Carrying It On
Hope, History, and Bernie Sanders


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Out and About – Winter 2019-2020


Well, the spring equinox has been and gone. . . . High time, then, to take a look back over the recently ended winter in Minnesota. . . . And what a winter it was!

But first, regular readers will be familiar with my "Out and About" series, one that I began in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the world. I've continued the series in one form or another for the last 11 years – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 . . . and now into 2020.

So let's get started with this latest installment . . .

A definite highlight for me this past winter was seeing and hearing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speak at a campaign event in downtown St. Paul on Monday, March 2, 2020 (opening image).

Before she suspended her campaign, author Marianne Williamson was another presidential candidate I supported. I wore my "Marianne 2020 – Department of Peace" jacket to Bernie's rally as the establishment of such a department is something I hope he'd consider if elected president. Marianne officially endorsed Bernie on February 23.

Something like 8,000 people attended Bernie's March 2 event in St. Paul. I was with several hundred in the overflow space of the venue, and before he delivered his speech in the main auditorium, Bernie, accompanied by his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders, came and spoke to us for about fifteen minutes. I'm sure there's no way I would have been as close to Bernie as I was if I had been part of the main crowd inside!

For more images and commentary on Bernie Sanders' March 2 event in St. Paul, click here.





Above: Sitting at right with friends at a Christmas Day 2019 celebration. From left: John, George, Ian, Joan, Matt, and Zach.



Right: With my friend Deandre – Christmas Eve 2019.







Above: I do love me some Christmas baubles!



Above: My friends Matt and Joan.



Above: A Christmas portrait of my friend Deandre.



Above: Celebrating my friend Adnan's birthday – December 27, 2019.



Above and left: On Sunday, January 5, 2020 I joined with around 200 other people in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis to rally and march against U.S. military intervention in Iraq and the growing danger of a U.S. war on Iran.

For more images and commentary on this rally and the events that precipitated it,click here.

For the January 7 statement from Veterans for Peace condemning any and all U.S. aggression towards Iran, click here.



Above: With friends (from left) Mary, Brigid, Kathleen, Darlene, and (at far right) Tom – January 10, 2020.




Right: With my buddy Raul – January 7, 2020.



Above: With friends Rick and Brian – January 10, 2020.



My friends Joan and Matt hosted the tenth Queer Movie Night on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

Pictured above (from left): me, Joan, Jim, Brent, Omar, and Daniel.

The film that Joan and Matt chose for us to watch and discuss was Between the Shades, a 2017 documentary by filmmaker Jill Salvino. In this film, Salvino interviews a diverse group of individuals in a quest to put faces to the letters that make up the LGBTQI community. The film also explores how these letters have evolved.

For more about our Queer Movie Night series, click here.



Above: Friends (from left) Pete, Jeffrey, John, and Jim – January 26, 2020.



Above: At left with (from left) Pete, Jeffrey, and Brent – Puerto Vallarta, Sunday, February 2, 2020.

My friend Brent and I flew down to the beautiful resort town of Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico's Pacific coast, early Sunday morning, February 2. Here we stayed for four days with our mutual friends Pete and Jeffrey, and Pete's parents Gary and Ruth, in a condominium in the Molina Del Agua complex, located in the Old Town of Puerto Vallarta. Throughout the duration of our stay the weather was unseasonable crappy – overcast, rainy and cool. But we definitely made the most of our time in this beautiful place.





Above: I call this my Puerto Vallarta portrait! (With thanks to my friend Pete.)

For more images and commentary on my time in Puerto Vallarta, click here, here and here.



Above: Back in Minneapolis, where my mate Deandre helped me set up my new smart TV on the evening of February 11, 2020.



Above: A visit to the Prayer Tree – Saturday, March 7, 2020.



Above: The winter view from my skylight – January 22, 2020. For more images of winter, click here.



Above: In the last weeks of winter 2020, events began unfolded across the globe that I think it's fair to say, are unprecedented in living memory. As I write, the coronavirus pandemic continues, as does panic buying by some of certain goods and products.

It's a strange and stressful time, to be sure, as whole cities and even countries impose lockdowns in an effort to slow the spread of infection and spare health care systems from being overwhelmed.

Yes, these are bleak and troubling days in many ways.

But there is also a lot of inspiring and hopeful energy and action being generated in response to this crisis. To see what I mean, click here and here.

And in the challenging weeks and months ahead, may we all stay safe, hopeful, and lovingly-connected with one another!


Winter 2019-2020 Wild Reed posts of note:
Winter Solstice Blessing
The Joy of Christmas
Finn and Poe Revisited
Ben Ehrenreich on the Global Uprisings Against Neoliberalism
Let Us Be the Wise Ones They're Waiting For
In Australia, “the Land As We Know It Is No More”
Saying Farewell to 2019 in a Spirit of Gratitude
A Blessing for the New Year
Saying “No” to War on Iran
The Case for Bernie Sanders
“A Beautiful Message, So Full of Greatness”
Mistwalking
Remembering Patrice Lumumba
Moderates, Radicals, and MLK
Holy Encounters Where Two Worlds Meet
Winter . . . Within and Beyond
D’Angelo’s Voodoo, 20 Years On
A Prayer for the Present Moment
Quotes of Note Regarding the Senate’s Impeachment Trial of President Trump
Thoughts on the Eve of the Iowa Caucuses
Winter Round-Up
Puerto Vallarta – Part I | Part II | Part III
Thoughts on the “Sanders Surge”
George Yancy on the “Unspoken Reality of Death”
Carl Anderson: On and On
Bernie Sanders and the Corporate Media
Carl Anderson and The Black Pearl
“I Learned So Much From the Experience”: Marianne Williamson on Her Presidential Bid
Happy Birthday, Buffy!
Carl Anderson in The Color Purple
“It's Time to Take a Stand”: Marianne Williamson Endorses Bernie Sanders for President
Carl Anderson: “Let the Music Play!”
The Mysticism of Trees
Interiors
Bernie Sanders’ “Revolution” is Ultimately One of Values – the Values of Justice, Hope, and Love
Marianne Williamson on the Contest Being Played Out by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
An Infectious Disease Specialist Weighs-in on Covid-19
Progressive Perspectives on Big Tuesday and Beyond
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic
Hope and Beauty in the Midst of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
“Let Us All Unite!”

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Autumn 2019
Out and About – Spring & Summer 2019
Out and About – Winter 2018-2019

Images: Michael J. Bayly.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

When Spring Returns . . .



. . . a festival of life abounds


This past Thursday (March 19) saw the spring equinox take place in that part of the world where I live. Also called the March equinox or vernal equinox, this event marks the astronomical first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere.

Given all that's going on in the world, especially in terms of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems all the more vital to be reminded of and celebrate the return of spring and all the hopeful things it signifies, both in nature and in our hearts.

For as my friend Andrea so beautifully writes: “When it seems as if nothing is the same, that everything is changing, as if there is no solid ground beneath you, take a deeper look. The birds are coming back to their summer homes, the lake ice is melting, the sun continues to rise and set in a predicable rhythm of grace. Regular life is still happening. Look beyond your (very normal) fear into the depths of your own heart. There you find stability. In that place, find peace. See grace. And out of THAT heart space of stability, peace and grace . . . live.”

And so in this spirit of invitation to live from the heart space of stability, peace and grace, I celebrate the return of spring today by sharing an excerpt from Joyce Rupp and Marcrina Wiederkehr's wonderful book, The Circle of Life: The Heart's Journey Through the Seasons. Accompanying this excerpt are images of dancer Calvin Royal III, photographed by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory. Enjoy!


When the season of spring returns to the land, a festival of life and light abounds. Suddenly, there are longer days of sunlight, earlier dawns, later sunsets. Earth sails along in her faithful rotation. With each cycle, she leans in closer to the light and heat of the life-giving sun. What once appeared dead begins to stir. Each wintered thing wakes up, raises its drowsy head, and stiffs the air to confirm the truth of spring's arrival. The slow pace of winter is left behind and there is a surge of invigorating activity for humans, creatures, and vegetation. . . . Vibrancy and fresh beginnings of growth are what dominate spring. These lively energies awaken and move through the heart of creation.

The human spirit also experiences seasons of springtime. The periods of depression and discouragement that visit our inner landscape do not last forever. Like walls of sunlight breaking through storm clouds, currents of hope flow through the dark walls of despondency. Blessings arise as new growth takes place.

. . . In the heart's springtime, the inner self awakens. Seeds of growth, hidden in the midst of winter's bleakness, germinate and sprout. That which has been longed for and greatly desired is gradually brought forth and heralded with gladness. Visions, dreams, and yearnings for the future unfold. The gray moods, the frozen love, the sorrow and grief, the overwhelming angst, the dread and depression, all this slowly slips away as trust and enthusiasm rejuvenate the wintered spirit. Like the springtime land, so the inner land is thawed and re-energized. A sense of loving and being loved warms the interior places that were cold and dormant in wintertime.

The emotional clutter and the old debris that prevented clear thinking are cleansed. Spaciousness and openness expand like the wings of a great swan. Inner freedom is discovered. Confidence returns. Creative endeavors begin to emerge. Like the songbirds chirping as they return from the south, the heart begins to sing again.

. . . In this season of the soul, there is awe and wonder at the changes taking place. Spring generates surprise, delight, unmitigated joy, and newly found optimism. Now is the time to enjoy what is emerging from within, to savor the taste of hope, and to trust in what the future promises. It is the time to believe in growth and to give oneself to it wholeheartedly.

– Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr
From The Circle of Life: The Heart's Journey Through the Seasons
Sorin Books, 2005
pp. 65-67





See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Day Both Holy and Magical
Following the Footprints of Spring
O Dancer of Creation
Spring: Truly the Season for Joy and Hope
Welcoming the Return of Spring (2018)
Spring's Snowy Start
The Spring Blizzard of 2018
Celebrating the Return of Spring (2017)
A New Day
Dreaming of Spring
Waiting in Repose for Spring's Awakening Kiss
Let the Greening Begin
Green Destiny
In the Footsteps of Spring

Images: Calvin Royal III, photographed by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

“Let Us All Unite!”





Voice Over: Charlie Chaplin from The Great Dictator.
Music: “The Real Hero” from Avengers Endgame.
Editing: Legacy Zero (with footage from around the Youtubes).



Related Off-site Links:
Bernie Sanders Is Trying to Rescue America’s Frail Democracy – Thomas Piketty (Jacobin, March 19, 2019).
Bernie Sanders: We Are Winning “Ideological” & “Generational” Debate, Now Need to Win “Electability”Democracy Now!, March 12, 2020).
The Uncharted Territory of Bernie Sanders and the Movement Behind Him – Steve Fraser (Jacobin, March 17, 2019).
Rich Will Keep Getting Richer and “Nothing Will Change,” Says Bernie Sanders, Unless U.S. Leaders Have Guts to Take on Powerful Corporations – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, June 28, 2019).
The Christian Case for Bernie Sanders – Nyle Fort (Essence, March 12, 2020).
Bernie Goes Full FDR in National Address on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Suddenly, All Too Briefly, He’s the President We Need – Dave Lindorff (Nation of Change, March 13, 2020).
“Now Is the Time for Solidarity”: Bernie Sanders Addresses Health and Economic Crisis Facing US as Coronavirus Spreads – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, March 12, 2020).
Ironically Enough, Bernie Sanders' Policies Could Have Saved Us From Coronavirus – Bonny Brooks (The Independent, March 11, 2020).
As the Economy Weakens, the Case for Bernie Grows Stronger – Eric Levit (New York Magazine, March 9, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Isn’t Like Most Candidates – That’s Why He’s Not Quitting – Joe Garofoli (San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Has No Reason to Drop Out. Here's Why – Saib Bilaval (Films for Action, March 12, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Is Not ‘Biden’ TimeDemocracy Now! (March 12, 2020).
Who Wants a Revolution? No One Who Owns a Major Media Outlet – Julie Hollar (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, March 16, 2020).
Is the DNC Once Again Orchestrating the Defeat of a Socialist Candidate? – Marjorie Cohn (TruthOut, March 16, 2020).
New Analysis Proves Attacks on Sanders Supporters Are Part of Establishment Smear Campaign – Ed Sykes (The Canary, March 11, 2020).
Study Showing Bernie Needs Huge Youth Turnout Is Nonsense – Seth Ackerman (People's Policy Project, March 5, 2020).
Stop Blaming Young Voters for Not Turning Out for Sanders – Ibram X. Kendi (The Atlantic, March 17, 2020).
Bernie Sanders: We're Trying to Transform This Country, Not Just Beat Trump – MSNBC (March 4, 2020).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Progressive Perspectives on Big Tuesday and Beyond
Marianne Williamson on the Contest Being Played Out by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
Something to Think About – March 5, 2020
Bernie Sanders’ “Revolution” is Ultimately One of Values – the Values of Justice, Hope, and Love
Thoughts on the “Sanders Surge”
Thoughts on the Eve of the Iowa Caucuses
The Case for Bernie Sanders
Quote of the Day – September 7, 2017
Quote of the Day – January 21, 2017
Quote of the Day – November 9, 2016
Progressive Perspectives on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump
Carrying It On
Hope, History, and Bernie Sanders


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Quote of the Day

[The coronavirus] crisis is so global, so encompassing, so pervasively universal – touching virtually every person on the planet – that it not only begs for an immediate and comprehensive response, it cracks open the possibility for a long-term cultural and planetary shift toward a more just, peaceful and sustainable order.

It is the magnitude of this cataclysmic predicament that directly confronts us, willingly or not, with the choice Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. specified for humanity half a century ago – nonviolence or nonexistence – and prompts us urgently to discover a way forward drawing on nonviolent methods toward a more nonviolent world.

While combating this pandemic with xenophobia and “us versus them” nationalism has been the reaction of some, the reality is that, if we are to survive this crisis effectively, it will require comprehensively nonviolent cooperation and approaches. We are already seeing these in action. When the people of Wuhan and Italy – and now Spain – join in the radical social-distancing of staying home for weeks, they are not only protecting themselves, they are engaging in a powerful, nonviolent action of social responsibility and solidarity. When societies take rapid, extraordinary steps to mitigate the shock of job loss or the expense of testing, they are pursuing nonviolent strategies – nonviolent because they resist the violence of exclusion or indifference while fostering healing and unity. Even as we find ourselves in the midst of this disorienting and surreal disaster, we are often responding instinctively with empathy and compassion. No doubt, this nonviolent energy, extended to the entire world, will be increasingly needed as the scale of this catastrophe becomes clearer over the next weeks and months.

Nonviolence is organized love. A constructive force, an active method, and a powerful way of life, active nonviolence is the power of creative love unleashed to relieve suffering, to struggle for justice, and to nurture a world where everyone counts. . . . Let us use these coming days and weeks to take steps toward a liberation from the domination system and toward a culture of peace and nonviolence.

– Ken Butigan
Excerpted from “Love and Nonviolence in the Time of Coronavirus
Common Dreams
March 17, 2020


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Hope and Beauty in the Midst of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic
An Infectious Disease Specialist Weighs-in on Covid-19
A Prayer for the Present Moment
Move Us, Loving God
You, O Comforter, Are Ever Near
The End of the World as We Know It . . . . . . the Beginning As We Live It
As the Last Walls Dissolve . . . Everything is Possible

Related Off-site Links:
Coronavirus Offers a “Blank Page for a New Beginning” Says Li Edelkoort – Courtney Mares (De Zeen, March 9, 2020).
We Can Waste Another Crisis, or We Can Transform the Economy – Kate Aronoff, Alyssa Battistoni, Daniel Aldana Cohen, and Thea Riofrancos (Jacobin, March 13, 2020).
People Are Fighting the Coronavirus With Mutual Aid Efforts to Help Each Other – Lucy Diavolo (Teen Vogue, March 16, 2020).
Facing COVID-19 With Community Instead of Fear – Lornet Turnbull (Yes! Magazine, March 10, 2020).
A Pandemic of Love: Deeply Adapting to Corona – Jem Bendell (JemBendell.com, March 18, 2020).
Why Coronavirus Is Humanity’s Wake-Up Call – David Korten (Yes! Magazine, March 18, 2020).
What the Coronavirus Emergency Has to Do with Biden vs. Sanders – Norman Solomon (Common Dreams, March 19, 2020).
A Pandemic in Retrospect – Looking Back on the Coronavirus From 2050 – Hazel Henderson and Fritjof Capra (Common Dreams, March 19, 2020).

Image: Kristen Solberg.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Hope and Beauty in the Midst of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic


I went shopping today with my friend Deandre and saw for the first time what I'd only heard about or seen pictures of on social media: large areas of empty shelving in grocery stores and signage from store owners announcing to customers limitations of quantity of certain goods – namely toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

It was all very surreal.

And I couldn't help but think of Doris Lessing's novel, The Memoirs of a Survivor, about a woman's experience of a society crumbling as the result of an unspecified disaster, referred to as “The Crisis.”

In film director David Gladwell's 1981 adaptation of Lessing's novel (described by critic Albert Johnson as “a cinema journey full of discovery”), the main (and nameless) character/narrator is luminously portrayed by Julie Christie. (For my reflections on this film, click here.)

Of course, the event that is causing growing unease and panic around the world is not, as in Lessing's novel, "unspecified." No, for us in 2020 the event is the coronavirus pandemic, one which, globally, is unprecedented, and which here in the U.S. is about to get much worse because of the incompetence of the Trump administration and the lack of any real public health system.









Doris Lessing's The Memoirs of a Survivor is generally considered a dystopian novel, a story of end times.

Yet it can also be read as an allegorical tale of new beginnings. This is most resolutely symbolized in the salvific appearance of the mythic “Cosmic Egg” toward the end of both the novel and its film adaptation.

Writes Sharon R. Wilson about the significance of this symbol:

In Lessing’s revisioned creation myth, the Cosmic Egg requires human co-construction: the narrator mirrors her creator. Without the narrator’s journey through the wall and without her work to clean and order the chaos – work that matches that of the painter and gardener – presumably this egg could not open. As well as being a witness to the death and rebirth of the world, Lessing’s unnamed narrator is an active participant in its recreation.


I find this analysis of Lessing's novel, one that reflects the mystic path, to be both beautiful and hopeful.

And in recent days I've come across a number of writings by people who, in responding to the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, also offer beauty and hope.

Some of these writings are by people I know – friends and/or colleagues. Others are by well-known thinkers and authors. All reflect the beauty and wisdom of the heart, the seedbed of hope.

__________________________


[N]othing feels stable. One month ago rumors rumbled, this week everything is shutting down. Within these last few days it has felt as if we were dropped into the plot of a sci-fi movie, where the viewer can see more broadly the entire scope of the problem and knows it is going to be bad. On screen characters are only beginning to sense the severity and react in fear. I hear the word, “surreal” quite a lot these days.

This morning I walked out of a bakery and into the familiar sound of honking just above my head. I looked up to see two geese preparing to land on a nearby pond. As I hopped into my car and headed down the highway, I was immediately gifted by a spectacular sunrise. It evolved from velvet purple, to azure blue to a popping bright yellow. As quickly as it arrived, it morphed to a calming lavender and ducked behind a bank of clouds.

When it seems as if nothing is the same, that everything is changing, as if there is no solid ground beneath you, take a deeper look. The birds are coming back to their summer homes, the lake ice is melting, the sun continues to rise and set in a predicable rhythm of grace. Regular life is still happening. Look beyond your (very normal) fear into the depths of your own heart. There you find stability. In that place, find peace. See grace.

And out of THAT heart space of stability, peace and grace . . . live.

Over this season you will find more posts than is normal for this space. I invite you to come, check in and breath. Take good care of yourself and those whom you love. And, be kind to each other.

– Andrea Wichhart-Tatley
Within
AndreaTatley.com
March 13, 2020



If we imagine we live on some isolated little island, we are living in a fool's paradise. What happens over there affects me here.

My own well-being depends on whether I let you fall to the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, telling myself that your life is none of my responsibility. If I let you be sick and without medical treatment, I myself will end up paying a price – as I will if I let you go without education, without food, without a job.

The butterfly beats its wings on the other side of the globe and the weather on my side of the planet feels the effects.

A global pandemic shows us that we are all connected to each other, all related, all kin, all in it together. And that we will not have lives worth living on this planet until we begin to recognize our interconnectedness.

William D. Lindsey
via Facebook
March 14, 2020





If we view ourselves as besieged victims who need to go into hiding, then we will cultivate fear and hoarding. If we view ourselves as a community working hard to protect the most vulnerable among us, then we will cultivate courage and helping. Mindset matters.

Len Niehoff
via Facebook
March 13, 2020



I was thinking this morning about how rapidly things can change. A week ago, I bought a new mattress at Macy’s. The sales person stood to shake my hand at the end of the transaction and I said, “Ah, no. We are supposed to be training ourselves not to shake hands now that the coronavirus has arrived in the U.S.” At that time, there had been five confirmed cases. We sort of laughed as we awkwardly attempted the elbow bump and he said, “Well, you are my first elbow bump of these new times.”

I left the furniture store and went to Trader Joe’s, where I leisurely shopped, overhearing the few other folks also shopping casually discussing things like what to purchase for dinner or what cheese to serve to guests gathering later that night. It was calm, the shelves were well stocked. I even bought a few hyacinth bulbs. And I probably touched my face 14 times without giving it another thought. It almost seems inconceivable that that was only a week ago in light of how much has changed in our world since then. That salesman might not even have a job this weekend as the stock market tanks, businesses voluntarily close for a few weeks in an attempt to “flatten the curve,” and people’s priorities shift from purchasing furniture to stockpiling toilet paper and disinfecting wipes.

By week’s end, my Facebook feed was full of photos of completely empty shelves at Trader Joe’s as the urge to hoard food and essentials became harder and harder to resist as the numbers of confirmed cases rose exponentially and the inevitability of self imposed isolation came into sharper and sharper focus.

As I was preparing the bedroom for the delivery of the new mattress later this afternoon, I was actually thinking how risky it feels to have strangers come into my “clean space” and what I would do if they arrive coughing and appearing unwell. I was pondering all this, and marveling at how long 24 hours can feel in a time of such uncertainty, when I flipped on the light in the dining room and discovered my hyacinth bulbs had bloomed. It sort of felt like the Universe was challenging my conclusion that everything that changed so quickly this week was in the negative column.

Alright Universe, you win. Sometimes rapidly changing things can surprise us with amazingly beautiful results. I hope you are surprised by beauty sometime this weekend as well.

– Amy Gabriel
via Facebook
March 14, 2020



As the world has slowed down in almost every experience of what the marvelous Sister Jenna calls “a global pause,” I’m having my most precious experience: a couple of days with my daughter India. . . . The coronavirus is reminding all of us to savor what we have, to go deep at a moment when we’re not as free to go wide. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal said that “Every problem in the world stems from [humanity’s] inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

We are being forced to be quieter than usual, and hopefully even in our sadness we will discover deeper wisdom. God knows there’s a lot of it to discover, about ourselves, about our country, and about our world.

What are we doing with our lives? Not how long will they be, but how meaningful will they be?

And who that we love can we love a little better, a little deeper?

These are the questions which emerge in the quiet, that remind me of this line from Rilke: “Let me not squander the hour of my pain.”

Marianne Williamson
via Facebook
March 13, 2020



Italians are beating the social isolation imposed by the country's coronavirus lockdown by taking to their windows and singing in unison, with videos of the phenomenon racking up thousands of views online.

Since Monday, a series of decrees from the Italian government have drastically limited citizens' movements, with vast swathes of the economy shut down and people instructed to leave the house only when strictly necessary.

All cultural events have also been suspended, prompting some celebrities to start organising online performances and museums to put virtual tours online.

Another attempt to boost morale has now come in the form of impromptu music at people's windows. One recording in the Tuscan city of Siena has been viewed over 600,000 times on Twitter.

. . . Another social media initiative has seen Italians put up signs outside their homes saying "andra tutto bene" or "everything will be OK". The slogan is accompanied by a picture of a rainbow – often drawn by children at home as school is cancelled.

Italy has been struck by the worst European outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, with more than 17,000 cases and 1,266 deaths.

– AFP News Agency
March 13, 2020







Video of quarantined Italians singing to each other across deserted streets from their windows, balconies and doorways during the coronavirus lockdown is as beautiful as it is haunting.

David Allegranti, a writer for Il Foglio newspaper, shared footage of residents’ stirring rendition of a local folk song in the northern city of Siena on Twitter Thursday night.

“This video is touching,” Rome-based Allegranti told HuffPost via email on Friday. “The first time I saw it I started to cry.”

Allegranti said a friend sent him the footage, although it wasn’t clear who actually took the video that has now spread across social media. Twitter users were equally moved by what appeared to be an impromptu communal singsong.

. . . There were reportedly similar scenes of neighbors spontaneously singing together in Wuhan, China, in the initial days of the outbreak there.

– Lee Moran
Excerpted from “Quarantined Italians Sing Together
Across Empty Streets In Hauntingly Beautiful Video

The Huffington Post
March 13, 2020



Surviving this crisis will take a shift in mindset, and that’s tougher than we think – especially when we’re afraid.

Fear and anxiety can drive us to become very self-focused. This global pandemic is a real case of “getting sick together” or “staying well together.”

Our choices affect everyone around us. There is no such thing as “individual risk” or “individual wellness.”

This is the ultimate reminder that we are inextricably connected to each other. Turning away from collective action right now – as tempting as it is – will only generate more pain.

Owning and embracing our global interconnectedness (from a safe distance) and thinking about others as we make choices is, ironically, our only path to safety for ourselves and the people we love.

We can all get really shitty really fast when we’re afraid. I get it. I’m using deep breaths along with my personal mantra: ” Try to be scared without being scary.” Feel free to borrow both – they can help.

It’s also really normal for everyone to be on our nerves: The people who aren’t following the rules, the 10-second hand washers, etc. I get that too. TRUST ME.

But, like it or not, we just can’t give up on people. We’re all we have.

Stay awkward, brave, and kind. Love each other. Spread calm.

Brené Brown
via Facebook
March 13, 2020






For the vast majority of people nationwide and worldwide, this virus is not about you. This is one of those times in life, in history, when your actions are about something bigger. They are about someone else. They are about something greater, a greater good that you may not ever witness. A person you will save who you will never meet.

You may be healthy, and your kids may be healthy. Your parents may be healthy. Everyone around you seems fine. And all the things you planned and the 2020 spring you thought you were going to have has been completely undone. You have to work from home. Your conference is cancelled. Your semester is over. Your work is cancelled. It all seems fast, and out-of-proportion and disorienting. You look at each action and think – but it would be okay if I did that. It’s not so big. We worked so hard. They would be so disappointed.

Your losses are real. Your disappointments are real. Your hardships are real. I don’t mean to make light or to minimize the difficulty ahead for you, your family or community.

But this isn’t like other illnesses and we don’t get to act like it is. It’s more contagious, it’s more fatal – and most importantly, even if it can be managed. It can’t be managed at a massive scale – anywhere. We need this thing to move slowly enough for our collective national and worldwide medical systems to hold the very ill so that all of the very ill can get taken care of.

Because at this time of severe virus there are also all of the other things that require care. There is still cancer, there are still heart attacks, there are still car accidents, there are still complicated births. And we need our medical systems to be able to hold us. And we need to be responsible because our medical systems are made up of people and these amazing healthcare workers are a precious and limited resource. They will rise to this occasion. They will work to help you heal. They will work to save your mother or father or sister or baby. But in order for that to happen we have very important work to do. ALL OF US.

So what is our work? Yes, you need to wash your hands and stay home if you are sick. But the biggest work you can do is expand your heart and your mind to see yourself and see your family as part of a much bigger community that can have a massive – hugely massive – impact on the lives of other people.

I remember the feeling of helplessness after 9/11 and after Hurricane Sandy. I remember how much people wanted to help. I remember how much generosity of spirit there was about wanting to give, wanting to be helpful, wanting to save lives. And many of you have had experiences since then – whether it was a mass shooting, or the wildfires, or floods. There have been times you have looked on and wondered how you could help. And now we ALL have that chance.

You can help by canceling anything that requires a group gathering. You can help by not using the medical system unless it is urgent. You can help by staying home if you are sick. You can help by cooking or shopping or doing errands for a friend who needs to stay home. You can help by watching someone’s kid if they need to cover for someone else at work. You can help by ordering take-out from your local restaurants. Eat the food yourself or find someone who needs it. You can help by offering to help bring someone’s college student home or house out-of-town students if you have extra rooms. You can help by asking yourself, “What can I and my family do to help?” “What can we offer?” You can help by seeing yourself as part of something bigger than yourself.

When the Apollo 13 oxygen tank failed and the lunar module was in danger of not returning to earth, Gene Kranz, the lead flight director overheard people saying that this could be the worst disaster NASA had ever experienced – to which he is rumored to have responded, “With all due respect, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”

Imagine if we could make our response to this crisis our finest hour. Imagine if a year or two from now we looked back on this and told the stories of how we came together as a team in our community, in our state, in our nation and across the world.

Your contribution to the finest hour may seem small, invisible, inconsequential – but every small act of ‘not doing’ what you were going to do, and ‘doing’ an act of kindness or support will add up exponentially. These acts can and will save lives. The Apollo 13 crew made it their finest hour by letting go of the word “I” and embracing the word “we.” And that’s the task required of us. It can only be our finest hour if we work together. You are all on the team. And we need all of you to shine in whatever way you can.

– Gretchen Schmelzer
This Can Be Our Finest Hour – But We Need All of You
GretchenSchmelzer.com
March 10, 2020



Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.

May we lean into the good things that remain.

Jamie Tworkowski
via Facebook
March 13, 2020



And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.

And in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

– Kitty O'Meara
via Facebook
March 16, 2020



UPDATES . . .

It is shocking to think how much the world has changed in such a brief time. Each of us has had our lives and communities disrupted. Of course, I am here in this with you. I feel that I’m in no position to tell you how to feel or how to think, but there are a few things that come to mind I will share.

A few days ago I was encouraged by the Franciscans and by the leadership team here at the Center for Action and Contemplation to self-quarantine, so I’ve been in my little hermitage now for three or four days. I’ve had years of practice, literally, how to do what we are calling “social distancing.” I have a nice, large yard behind me where there are four huge, beautiful cottonwood trees, and so I walk my dog Opie every few hours.

Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say? When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way. We all have access to this suffering, and it bypasses race, gender, religion, and nation.

We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we’re in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love.

But for God to reach us, we have to allow suffering to wound us. Now is no time for an academic solidarity with the world. Real solidarity needs to be felt and suffered. That’s the real meaning of the word “suffer” – to allow someone else’s pain to influence us in a real way. We need to move beyond our own personal feelings and take in the whole. This, I must say, is one of the gifts of television: we can turn it on and see how people in countries other than our own are hurting. What is going to happen to those living in isolated places or for those who don’t have health care? Imagine the fragility of the most marginalized, of people in prisons, the homeless, or even the people performing necessary services, such as ambulance drivers, nurses, and doctors, risking their lives to keep society together? Our feelings of urgency and devastation are not exaggeration: they are responding to the real human situation. We’re not pushing the panic button; we are the panic button. And we have to allow these feelings, and invite God’s presence to hold and sustain us in a time of collective prayer and lament.

I hope this experience will force our attention outwards to the suffering of the most vulnerable. Love always means going beyond yourself to otherness. It takes two. There has to be the lover and the beloved. We must be stretched to an encounter with otherness, and only then do we know it’s love. This is what we call the subject-subject relationship. Love alone overcomes fear and is the true foundation that lasts (1 Corinthians 13:13).

– Richard Rohr, OFM
Love Alone Overcomes Fear
Center for Action and Contemplation
March 19, 2020



[T]his will change us. It must. All plagues change society and culture, reversing some trends while accelerating others, shifting consciousness far and wide, with consequences we won’t discover for years or decades. The one thing we know about epidemics is that at some point they will end. The one thing we don’t know is who we will be then.

I know that I was a different man at the end of the plague of AIDS than I was at the beginning, just as so many gay men and many others were. You come face-to-face with mortality and the randomness of fate, and you are changed. You have a choice: to submit to fear and go under, or to live with the virus and do what you can. And the living with it, while fighting it, is what changes you over time; it requires more than a little nerve and more than a little steel. Plague living dispenses with the unnecessary, lays bare whom you can trust and whom you can’t, and also reveals what matters.

. . . Plagues destroy so much – but through the devastation, they can also rebuild and renew.

– Andrew Sullivan
How to Survive a Plague
New York Magazine
March 20, 2020




See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic
An Infectious Disease Specialist Weighs-in on Covid-19
A Prayer for the Present Moment
Move Us, Loving God
You, O Comforter, Are Ever Near
The End of the World as We Know It . . . . . . the Beginning As We Live It
As the Last Walls Dissolve . . . Everything is Possible

Related Off-site Links:
The Shape of Love in a Time of Contagion – David R. Weiss (Full Frontal Theology, March 12, 2020).
Psychologist Offers Tips to Calm COVID-19 AnxietyKARE 11 News via Allina Health (March 11, 2020).
Managing Stress During Coronavirus Outbreak – Shai Plonski (via YouTube, March 13, 2020).
Lizzo Leads a Mass Meditation Amidst Growing Coronavirus Concerns – Sandra Song (Paper Magazine, March 13, 2020).
Coronavirus Offers a “Blank Page for a New Beginning” Says Li Edelkoort – Courtney Mares (De Zeen, March 9, 2020).
We Can Waste Another Crisis, or We Can Transform the Economy – Kate Aronoff, Alyssa Battistoni, Daniel Aldana Cohen, and Thea Riofrancos (Jacobin, March 13, 2020).
Late-stage Capitalism Primed Us for This Pandemic – Bob Hennelly (Salon, March 15, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Can Lead the Fight Against Coronavirus. Joe Biden Can’t – Branko Marcetic and Meagan Day (Jacobin, March 13, 2020).
People Are Fighting the Coronavirus With Mutual Aid Efforts to Help Each Other – Lucy Diavolo (Teen Vogue, March 16, 2020).
Facing COVID-19 With Community Instead of Fear – Lornet Turnbull (Yes! Magazine, March 10, 2020).
A Pandemic of Love: Deeply Adapting to Corona – Jem Bendell (JemBendell.com, March 18, 2020).
Why Coronavirus Is Humanity’s Wake-Up Call – David Korten (Yes! Magazine, March 18, 2020).

BREAKING: God Tests Positive – David R. Weiss (Full Frontal Theology, March 16, 2020).

First and last image: Amy Gabriel.
Image 2: Julie Christie in Memoirs of a Survivor (1981).
Image 3: Deandre Dwyer.
Images 4-6: Michael J. Bayly.
Images 7-8: Screen caps from Memoirs of a Survivor.