It’s been quite the week.
A week I could (and did) summarize by the title of this post: Words matter.
At the start of the week on Monday, we had an especially lovely evening at our local sangha, Be Here Now. It was one of those nights where the sharing was really genuine and heartfelt, we had a large group (over 30 people), and we had someone join us who’d just moved to town and was so grateful for having found our group and to feel so welcomed and right at home with us.
On Tuesday, I attended a forum on hate crimes on the UM campus (see previous post).
On Thursday, I attended a public talk on campus given by Christian Picciolini, founder of the Free Radicals Project and author of White American Youth: My Descent Into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement – and How I Got Out.
Unlike the Hate Crimes Forum I attended on Tuesday night, the seats were well-packed. While there were a mixture of ages in the audience, UM students occupied the largest demographic and I took great pleasure in being surrounded by 7 others in my close proximity who donned notebooks on their laps in lieu of cell phones.
And last night, I helped organize an event called Word of Mouth at our local Roxy theater here in Missoula. An evening which celebrated the art of creative self-expression through wordsmithing. We had 3 spoken word poets (myself included), 3 storytellers, and 3 standup comics take the stage, each with 10-minutes, for a 2-hour show that was simply fantastic. The show started at 7:00 and by 6:30 all 119 seats were sold out. Dozens of folks were turned away at the door – which speaks to me of the great need for continuing to offer these types of events.
On top of all that, I am taking a class on Sundays at our local mindfulness center, taught by a good friend of mine on the topic of racial literacy and white awareness, for which we’re assigned chapters each week from the book: What Does It Mean To Be White: Developing White Racial Literacy. So I’m reading that, too. Making my slow way through this book is an incredibly eye-opening, perspective-widening experience – and deeply heart-wrenching.
The breadth of the human experience is unbelievably vast. In the span of one week – or one day, or one hour, or even sometimes one minute – we can move through a wealth of feelings and emotions and thoughts, ranging from sorrow to laughter and from gratitude to fear. Like the complexity and limitlessness of cosmic space, so very much goes on within our internal landscape.
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out
Breathing in, I feel the vastness of my human potential swell within me
Breathing out, I smile
If you’re interested in checking out my spoken word set from the Word of Mouth show last night, I uploaded it this morning on YouTube in 2-parts: