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Previous Comments By 'mariettefourmeaux'

Moved by Love, by Sri M

FaceBook  On Mar 2, 2017 Mariette wrote:

I literally just clicked "post" on a story from this week's visit to prison, during which the men expressed the love they felt from watching a video of a classical music piece.  As they watched the 9-minute piece, their hardness, their facades, their stories visibly melted away.  They softened and settled into their chairs.  When it was done, I asked them what they felt.  "I felt joy."  "Yes, and I also felt sorrow."  "I felt love"  "He played from his heart."  Amazing to visually see these men connect to the deeper humanness that is transported and transformed by classical music.  It's a reminder of our common humanness and that love liquifies all fear.  Prison actually abounds of stories of love overcoming violence.  For example, unbeknownst to anyone, a man had decided to commit suicide by going on a killing rampage of the officers.  Four days before his selected date, he experienced unconditional love for the very first time in his life.  This man is now one I see almost weekly.  There are more...  And each brings a huge smile in my heart

 

Taking a Stand, by Lynne Twist

FaceBook  On Aug 26, 2016 Mariette wrote:

I deeply resonated with Lynne Twist's differentiation between taking a stand and taking a position.  So many of us believe that if there is a winner, there must be a loser, that uplifting a truth means making others wrong.  I've loved learning that this does not have to be the case.  By taking a stand, I speak my authentic truth and honor that others speak their authentic truth as well.  It's creates so much space for all to be heard.  And it is actually in speaking my truth that I create that safe space for others to speak theirs; that's the deep irony here.

 

Reflections on Life from Death Row, by Moyo

FaceBook  On Aug 5, 2016 Mariette wrote:

Many of the men I see every week spent years - and several over a decade - in solitary confinement.  The impact to the human soul is astounding.  In their brokenness grows either deeper fuller hate or they find the nourishment for the seeds of positivity and grace we all carry in our hearts.  I spend time with the men who have found and then nourished those seeds and they speak of the moment they realized that they are responsible for their lives.  When that kicks in, the solitary environment becomes a welcome space to explore the unknown world within.  They learn to embrace their alone time and use it to grow and transform.  What lessons I receive from these men!  Just last night, one of them shared deeply about his discovery of listening, how all the answers show up if he just slows down to listen.

 

Giving Up is Different From Letting Someone Down, by Brother David Steindl-Rast

FaceBook  On Jul 6, 2016 Mariette wrote:

 This one deeply resonates right now.  So many aspects of my life are shifting right now:  personal, professional, relationships, health, meaning, etc.  It's been a practice to give up - or let go - without putting down.  It goes for others.  And it deeply goes for myself as well.  How can I love myself, care for myself, support myself during this time of major shift?  How can I give up on the patterns that no longer serve me without beating myself up for having held on to them for so long?  I come back to love.  Love and kindness.  In thought, in words and in actions.

 

How Is Your Heart Doing?, by Omid Safi

FaceBook  On Jun 16, 2016 Mariette wrote:

 In learning how to authentically ask the question to another, there is also the step of learning to ask ourselves that same question.  Can I pause several times a day, connect to my own heart and compassionately ask the question:  How are you doing dear heart in this moment?  There exists the challenge of pausing our busyness to take the time to ask the question.  The greater challenge may be to create the space to truly hear the answer.  Just like we expect a simple "fine" when asked "how are you?", it's easy to fall into allowing ourselves to provide a shallow answer when inquiring about the wellbeing of our hearts.  And if creating the space to allow an authentic answer to surface was not challenging enough, then comes the challenge of having the courage to acknowledge and respond to its answer.

 

The Oppressor and the Oppressed Must Both be Liberated, by Nelson Mandela

FaceBook  On Mar 30, 2016 Mariette wrote:

This reading is near and dear to my heart since I head to Donovan State Prison two to three times a week.  The men at Donovan - many of lifers with 20 or 30 years of prison already behind them - have been told for the vast majority of their time in the judicial system that (1) they are societal scum and (2) by virtue of the crimes they committed, they are evil people.  They have been dehumanized and pushed down into pits of despair and darkness so deep that many of them have thought of or attempted to take their own lives.  Just as much as Nelson Mandela says that both the oppressed and oppressor are not free, the men at Donovan have proven to me that they can be free while behind bars.  They have freed themselves from the prisons of their minds.  They have found their light and their purpose.  They now know that they have their contribution to give to the world and they provide it, behind bars, until the day they are able to share their gifts to us "on the streets" as they call the free world.   One example comes to mind.  In his own words:  He was "so deeply tormented by guilt, shame and lonliness" that he had decided to "commit suicide by killing as many correctional officers as he could before being taken out."  A few days before his planned rampage, he was transformed by a bag of 120 letters of love and prayers written by complete strangers from the outside.  Today, this man is one of my deepest examples of loving compassion and selfless service.  His service actions are constant.  He arrives early to the different programs to set up the chairs for the 50 men coming behind him.  At the first class of a new program, a new inmate said that he needed paper and, without missing a beat, this man ripped the page on which he was writing from his pad and gave the rest of the pad to the new inmate.  He picks up the litter in the Yard...  See full.

This reading is near and dear to my heart since I head to Donovan State Prison two to three times a week.  The men at Donovan - many of lifers with 20 or 30 years of prison already behind them - have been told for the vast majority of their time in the judicial system that (1) they are societal scum and (2) by virtue of the crimes they committed, they are evil people.  They have been dehumanized and pushed down into pits of despair and darkness so deep that many of them have thought of or attempted to take their own lives.  Just as much as Nelson Mandela says that both the oppressed and oppressor are not free, the men at Donovan have proven to me that they can be free while behind bars.  They have freed themselves from the prisons of their minds.  They have found their light and their purpose.  They now know that they have their contribution to give to the world and they provide it, behind bars, until the day they are able to share their gifts to us "on the streets" as they call the free world.

 
One example comes to mind.  In his own words:  He was "so deeply tormented by guilt, shame and lonliness" that he had decided to "commit suicide by killing as many correctional officers as he could before being taken out."  A few days before his planned rampage, he was transformed by a bag of 120 letters of love and prayers written by complete strangers from the outside.  Today, this man is one of my deepest examples of loving compassion and selfless service.  His service actions are constant.  He arrives early to the different programs to set up the chairs for the 50 men coming behind him.  At the first class of a new program, a new inmate said that he needed paper and, without missing a beat, this man ripped the page on which he was writing from his pad and gave the rest of the pad to the new inmate.  He picks up the litter in the Yard...

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Nothing Left to Fight Against, by Zenkei Blanche Hartman

FaceBook  On Mar 13, 2012 Mira wrote:
This reading reminds me of a transformative moment of my own a few months ago.  My relations with my mother had been strained to almost absent for the 7 years before that.  Every time I interacted with her, I found myself building a protective wall around myself, protection from the anger, hurt and pain I felt from her.  One day, at her mom's home for her birthday, she started screaming at me, literally four inches from my face.  My wall threw that emotion back at her, until, in a moment's notice, the wall melted and I met her anger with compassion.  Instead of resisting and reflecting the anger, I allowed it to flow through me while sending back as much love and compassion I could must in that moment.  Allowing it to flow past me, her anger did not touch me.  Filling myself with love removed the sting of the experience.  It changed everything for me.  And coincidence or not, today, my mother and I are on speaking terms, slowing giving space to build a new relationship.
 

Freedom Manifests in Action, by Rabindranath Tagore

FaceBook  On Mar 11, 2011 Mariette wrote:

Last night, I read a passage from Byron Katie's Loving What Is that also touches upon the interplay of freedom and action.  It also goes on to describe the loving source of action.  I transcribe it here: [Context:  Katie has developed a 4 question 'inquiry' she calls "The Work" to question one's thoughts and finds one's truth in them.  Also, she calls 'story' the countless thoughts that we create in our mind that often judge, justify or explain.] "A question I often hear is 'If I do The Work and I'm no longer fearful for the planet's welfare, why would I get involved in social action?  If I felt completely peaceful, why would I bother taking action at all?'  My answer is 'Because that's what love does.' The fear of not being fearful is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for people beginning inquiry.  They believe that without stress, without anger, they wouldn't act, they would just sit around with drool running down their chins.  Whoever left the impression that peace isn't active has never known peace the way I know it.  I am entirely motivated without anger.  The truth sets us free, and freedom acts. When I take people to the desert, they may see a tin can lying under a cactus and say, 'How can anyone do that to this beautiful desert?'  But that tin can is the desert.  It's what is.  How can it be out of place?  The cactus, the snakes, the scorpions, the sand, the can and us - all of it.  This is nature, not a mental image of the desert without the can.  Without any stress or judgment, I notice that I just pick up the can.  Or I could tell the story that people are polluting the earth, and that there is no end to human selfishness and greed, and then pick up the can with all the sadness and anger I'd be feeling.  Either way, when it's time for the can to move, I notice that I'm there, as nature, picking up the can.  Who would  See full.

Last night, I read a passage from Byron Katie's Loving What Is that also touches upon the interplay of freedom and action.  It also goes on to describe the loving source of action.  I transcribe it here:

[Context:  Katie has developed a 4 question 'inquiry' she calls "The Work" to question one's thoughts and finds one's truth in them.  Also, she calls 'story' the countless thoughts that we create in our mind that often judge, justify or explain.]

"A question I often hear is 'If I do The Work and I'm no longer fearful for the planet's welfare, why would I get involved in social action?  If I felt completely peaceful, why would I bother taking action at all?'  My answer is 'Because that's what love does.'

The fear of not being fearful is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for people beginning inquiry.  They believe that without stress, without anger, they wouldn't act, they would just sit around with drool running down their chins.  Whoever left the impression that peace isn't active has never known peace the way I know it.  I am entirely motivated without anger.  The truth sets us free, and freedom acts.

When I take people to the desert, they may see a tin can lying under a cactus and say, 'How can anyone do that to this beautiful desert?'  But that tin can is the desert.  It's what is.  How can it be out of place?  The cactus, the snakes, the scorpions, the sand, the can and us - all of it.  This is nature, not a mental image of the desert without the can.  Without any stress or judgment, I notice that I just pick up the can.  Or I could tell the story that people are polluting the earth, and that there is no end to human selfishness and greed, and then pick up the can with all the sadness and anger I'd be feeling.  Either way, when it's time for the can to move, I notice that I'm there, as nature, picking up the can.  Who would I be without my investigated story?  Just happily picking up the can.  And if someone notices me picking it up, and my action seems right, they may pick up another can.  We're already acting as a community, beyond anything that we've planned.  Without a story, without an enemy, action is spontaneous, clear and infinitely kind."

(This link took me to that part of the book if you wish to read the greater context.  Hopefully it works for you too.)

 

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