Commit2Respond: Week 2 Reflection
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
From March 22 - April 22, the UUMA Staff is joining with UUs across the country for Climate Justice Month, sponsored by Commit2Respond. Each week, one of our staff members will post their reflections on one of the suggested practices from the week. Intersted in joining us for Climate Justice Month? Click here for more information.
Week Two comes from Executive Director, Don Southworth
This week Commit2Respond has invited us to “journey into grieving and reckoning with the losses we are facing as an Earth community.” The them of the week has brought me back to one of the first classes I took in seminary. The class was titled “Spiritual Ground, World Engagement” and was led by one of our wise voices that have been held up this week, Joanna Macy.
The year was 1996. I was relatively new to Unitarian Universalism, wondering if I could make the transition from corporate America to ministry and unsure how/if I would fit into seminary and my new life. One day during orientation week we met the faculty who told us about the classes they were teaching. I had never heard of Joanna Macy but in the five minutes she spoke I was transfixed. Her presence, her power, her message about healing the planet was so compelling I did everything I could to get in her class.
I had long been ambivalent about my relationship to saving the planet. My wife and I had gotten active in the late 80’s in environmental activities but our efforts seemed to be like throwing the proverbial single star fish back in the ocean in the midst of millions despairing and dying. I had become cynical and overwhelmed and wondered what, if anything, I could do to make a difference.
Joanna’s first step was both simple and seemingly impossible. We were to begin with daily meditation in the hopes that we could open our hearts and minds to the suffering and pain - the grief - of our hurting planet. It was amazing how the process began to work.
Meditation has been a constant companion on my spiritual journey ever since. But the seductive whispers and shouts of the world we live in are difficult to resist. There are so many distractions from experiencing our feelings about the pain, despair and loss of life and our planet. Which is why we need reminders and communities to support us on the journey.
Committing to respond is one of those reminders, one of those communities. This week I have brought new attention to meditation. I am saying a prayer for the healing of the earth again each day. I dug through the garage to find my papers from that class almost 20 years ago. And as I look out my window at the beauty and colors that are spring in the south, I’m doing my best to see the beauty and imagine the destruction that will come if we don’t do something. Intentionally journeying into grief and loss is a spiritual act, one that we must do with others’ love and support. I’m grateful to be part of such a community which reminds me of what is required and possible.