Resistance is generally meant as an act of survival or utilized for radical social change. To make a statement, in whatever form.
Reflection is paramount for me to ascertain the right move, the right approach, the right action - or non-action, toward Compassionate Action.
Resilience is my desire.
I am soul-searching a lot these days, particularly around racial issues. Living in Atlanta, GA a city with approximately 50/50 black/white diversity, the focus and opportunity for engagement and radical healing is ripe. Oppression has persisted nationwide for centuries. Globally, cultures are challenged by this in some form, but this is the one in my own backyard. It is here where I must begin my work.
Two years ago, the Presiding Bishop of the National Episcopal Church, Michael B. Curry, spoke at Emory University’s Cannon Chapel on “Racial Realities and the Beloved Community.” Cannon Chapel’s architecture reflects a railroad station, this crossroads, Terminus, that is Atlanta. Eager eyes and ears crowded the chapel with a palpable presence, in search for wisdom or inspiration. Bishop Curry charged Atlantans to take up the reins of justice. Atlanta, the capital of the South, with Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy - what better place to start. Peering side to side, I thought to myself, am I in some secret society meeting? What year is this? Where am I? It seems we are certainly at a crossroads for change.
The National Center for Racial Healing is housed in Atlanta smack in the center of the Atlanta HBC campuses with Dr. Catherine Meeks, Director. It was here that Rev. Kimberly Jackson invited me to sing “Strange Fruit,” the iconic Billie Holiday tune, in a service dedicated to heal our nation’s lynching history. As a white woman, I never deemed it appropriate for me to sing this tune. Now I wonder why? Why not me? If not me, then who? Deeply honored, my own life feels transformed when voicing this painful past.
Civil and human rights have taken greater focus in my singing. There is no time to waste. No tiptoeing around it. Time to take a stand, make a difference, where and when I can.
This ever-swirling cycle of Resistance - Reflection - Resilience (the 3 R’s), is where I’m living. When I meet Resistance, I choose how to respond. When I consciously act with Resistance, I choose how to take my stand, make a difference. It’s another form of Voicing myself. Or not Voicing myself. Taking a stand, or standing for a cause. Expressing that through my music is Compassionate Action.
In December, I am leading a Winter Solstice Singing/Listening Journey Retreat in New York city to provide the opportunity of increasing light and greater awareness by way of the 3 R’s. For I believe it is with fresh perspective, conversation, and community, where we most grow.
The unparalleled Rubin Museum of Himalayan and Buddhist art will be our home base. Spending time in the museum exhibits such as Clapping With Stones: Art and Acts of Resistance, performance venue, and retreat space, immersing ourselves in sound and art, learning to listen with our whole body, and listening for our own inner light and truth, will be our format. Civil rights legend and musician, Toshi Reagon, will grace us with a concert.
On the Winter Solstice, a special day of Listening will begin with an intimate group Awakening Practice: Morning Mindfulness session in the Rubin Shrine Room. In the evening we will celebrate with Paul Winter and his Consort the 40th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration at St. John the Divine, the largest cathedral in the world.
Consider how what you Hear supports your engagement in Compassionate Action.
Resistance - Reflection - Resilience.
Meet me at the crossroads?