In talking about Psalm 23, Cole Arthur Riley states in her book, This Here Flesh:
“I find it beautiful that in the face of terror, G-d doesn’t bid us toward courage as we might pereive it. Instead, [G-d] draws us toward fear’s essential sister, rest – a sister who is not meant to replace fear but to exist together in tension and harmony with it (for Fear’s origin is not evil though evil certain wields it against our souls daily).” Page 86, This Here Flesh
“finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.” ~Bell Hooks
You Are Dust – Be Dust
1st Question (harsh) – “You are dust” – If I said that to you like that, what would you think or feel? Why?
2nd Question (gentle) – “You are but dust” What about that? What would you think or feel then? Why?
Human life is made up of particles. We call these particles many things. With scientific words, we use atoms, molecules, ions, quarks, etc. Religious scripture speaks of humanity as creatures created by a Divine being and Christianity, in particular, reminds us we are fading like flowers or dust. Many scriptures talk about humanity as being born from G-d’s own hand out of dust or as a creature of dust brought to life by divine breath. Let’s talk today about what this means for us in this challenging time when it seems we ARE only dust to be wiped away when the world is through with us.
Y’all, I got something to to tell you! WE ARE STARDUST! We are made of the dust that dreams are made of; songs and poems sing of us. Poets and lovers ask for our blessings. Angels, fairies, godmothers sprinkle the magic of our lives across the universe. Think of the new Webb telescope images being sent to earth now and shared with all of us. Our eyes have seen something no other century, decade, or eon of humanity has ever seen. Now, we are seeing this with our own eyes. To those galaxies, our planet most likely appears like a speck of dust, invisible to the human eye.
What in the world does this have to do with every day you and me? Most of all, what does this talk about dust have to do with a talk on “The Power of Being You”?
1st – Be like the dust in my house.
- Just hang out
- Don’t worry about the big people because they want to ignore you because acknowledging you might mean more work for them!
2nd – Dust has no wish to be something else or be a different someone else.
- Has anyone ever heard of useful dust?
- Is a doctor’s dust smarter than an idiot’s dust?
- Is a billionaire’s dust richer than a poor woman’s dust?
Joking aside, Just BE.
It is good, right, and healthy to do nothing sometime. Rest is healing, empowering, and restorative. It’s also one of the hardest things to do for most of us in this busy world that values “busy-ness”. One of the blessings of my disability is that disability is teaching me the true POWER of rest. Though rest can make us feel vulnerable, rest is actually for empowerment.
We can parse the title of today’s talk in several ways but what I want to focus on is how Being you is an act of Social Justice.
Be – Look for ways to embrace self-acceptance as a person who is loved
Being – Live within that self-confidence. Move with your bubble of gifts or shield of light through a dark and hurting world knowing that by BEING, you bring value to the universe.
Act – Act kindly and lovingly even when those around you make other choices.
Act – on behalf of others, act from your resting self-acceptance
Act – because of your self-acceptance.
Being love in all that you do and all that you are activates:
- Social engagement (community)
- Connections (relationships)
- And CAN MOVE us toward or become justice.
LOVE is the catalyst for change.
Being is the cocoon for forming us and re-forming us.
Be in that moment, that struggle where the caterpillar is formed so that you are given wings.
My challenge offered to you (if you’re willing to accept this mission) is an unusual one because it may go against so many natural tendencies and societal norms. This is actually a harder challenge than you will realize but I hope you will at least consider it as you go forth. Stop doing so much. Take time. Breathe. You are enough. Breathe. You are a gift. Dance a bit or sing if that helps. Sleep and nap. Write down your dreams or draw them. Be you. Look at yourself reflectively, honestly, and with gentle compassion. Then say, “Hm. Interesting.” Just observe your thoughts. BE some more by writing, meditating, walking, and journaling. Go sit in the woods or at one of our beautiful outlooks. Think on the world and send that world LOVE because it is a screaming, raging, hurting world that is terrified and trembling. Then, remind yourself of this humbling thing – you are not in control of others. The only one you can control is yourself. Now, a harder thing. Let it go. Let go. Let go of as much fear, worry, angst, and anger as you can. Scream if you must, but not at living creatures. Scream to God or the gods or no god. Then go back and BE YOU. Love you. Love one another. G-d loves you so much that you are a speck of stardust brought to life by the very breath of G-d. Cry whenever you can. Laugh often. Sit in the woods or on a beach.
Do whatever “being” gets you back to that place place where you know what it feels like
– to be loved and rested
- To love and accept love in return
Below is a poem I wrote as an art gift. This poem is just one in the new poetry collection from Napping Dog Press called “For the Brokenhearted”.
Gold in the Darkness
Once the night was darker
Holding my hands before my eyes,
there was nothing.
I was invisible…
“There is gold in the darkness,” the wise ones said.
Instead, there was only dark
Wandering with disappeared hands.
Yet, the hands felt the trees,
Found sticks to build fire…
Until one day, there was light again.
My hands, transformed with pain & grief
Painted words on paper
Paint on canvas
Music on instruments
And flowers on land.
“There is gold in the darkness,” they say.
Now I hand it to you.
For when we love with ALL of our beingness, we will change the world. In those loving places of being – social justice then comes to its own birth. The work is love and the place to start is with you.
“Rest, in its simplest form, becomes an act of resistance and a reclaiming of power because it asserts our most basic humanity. We are enough. The systems cannot have us.” ~Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey