Dear Beloved Community,
Love is not just the intention to love, but the capacity to reduce suffering, and offer peace and happiness. The practice of love increases our forbearance, our capacity to be patient and embrace difficulties and pain. Forbearance does not mean that we try to suppress pain.
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
In this time of crisis, sickness, and isolation, we from ARISE wish to share a message of love with the Mahasangha – love for oneself, for our beloveds, our communities and the whole world.
We know that we cannot practice real love without deep understanding. In this email you’ll find a reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic from the Core Group of ARISE, pointing to the need to acknowledge the disproportionate impact of this pandemic on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and impoverished communities, and also the importance of cultivating joy and delight.
Then we’ve gathered links to practices and resources for self-care, relational care, community care, and world care as manifestations of metta in action because we know that inner and outer practices of love and justice interare. Even in this time of distancing, we need to do the inner and outer work of healing and transformation together.
With a deep bow of resilience
Metta Towards Oneself – Take Care of Your Body and Mind
May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.
Valerie Brown guides us in a loving-kindness meditation. (text included at the bottom of this message)
Generate Joy for your well-being and the well-being of the world. Try one of these easy actions that can help move your mind from evaluating the moment as neutral or negative to seeing the present moment as a wonderful moment:
- Call an old or dear friend
- Make a gratitude list (even 1-2 things you are grateful for is enough to shift habitual negativity).
- Draw a picture of your quarantine space (only pencil needed)
- Listen to a song that makes you want to get up and dance
- Do a 10-minute walking meditation outdoors and notice small beautiful things like a tree, a sidewalk drawing, or a noisy bird. To do walking meditation, you can take one step as you breathe in, one breath as you breathe out. Or move more quickly with 3-4 steps as you breathe in, and 3-4 steps as you breathe out.
- Get exercise, enough rest, and eat well if at all possible. Notice if you’re getting overwhelmed and take care of it.
Self-Love in the Time of Coronavirus – from ColorLines
Social Justice Resources for COVID-19 Response – from irresistible.orgIf you need access to mental health support and cannot afford a therapist:
- Peer Collective: Mental Health for All (created by OI member Tim Desmond)
- Black Therapists Rock (Black and POC therapists for BIPOC)
Metta Towards Each Other: Care for Your Loved Ones
May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.
Connect with loved ones in ways that are safe, according to your energy levels and capacity. This may mean connecting on line more often, or less often. Many families and Sanghas are meeting online. If you’re caring for your children at home, give yourself permission to ask for emotional support if physical support is not possible.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by Zoom, take care of your loved ones by writing a simple message to say, “I love you and I’m taking a break from the internet for a few days.” Be kind to yourself as you care for your loved ones.
- Emotional support like talking over the phone with someone who’s anxious
- Making meals to drop off for those unable to cook themselves
- Handling medical needs over the telephone like scheduling appointments and getting referrals
- Running errands for essentials like groceries and medications
- Tracking and sharing emergency support that’s becoming available in your local area
- Coordinating virtual social activities like watching the same tv show while on the telephone or group text
- Giving updates on important coronavirus news so other people can not anxiously check the news and still feel informed
Metta Towards the Groups: Caring for your Local Community
May we be happy. May we be well. May we be safe. May we be peaceful and at ease.
Include your local community and those who are most in need in your metta practice.
Create an email list for your building or your neighborhood and find out who has needs that others can meet. Organize together to support a rent holiday, if that’s appropriate, or create a fund to help those who cannot afford to pay for rent. Check to see what the local food pantry, health care providers, and refugees need in your area and see what you can offer including advocacy, tech support, and money. Be honest about your capacities and limits, and keep checking in with yourself as capacities change often.
Speak out about the disparities that you face. Learn about the health disparities that others face in your area and share what you learn with your loved ones.
Support Undocumented people to get information and support like this initiative in California: Coivd-19 Resources for Undocumented Californians
If your own health allows it, join a mutual aid group to help neighbors who are elderly and/or immunocompromised by buying groceries, etc.
Metta Towards All: Turning to the World Beyond our Communities
May all be happy. May all be well. May all be safe. May all be peaceful and at ease.
Of course, our communities are part of the whole world. Support organizations who are helping people with food insecurity because of lack of work, like in the DC-area, Nueva Vida (helping Latina women with cancer who now are out of work on top of their health issues), or a national organization like www.dharmarelief.org raising funds for masks for health care workers.Indigenous communities have been denied ‘the fundamental needs to live’ – MSNBC video with Congresswoman Rep. Deb Haaland
Extended Metta Meditation
translated from the Vissudhi Magga by Thich Nhat Hanh,
asrecorded by Valerie Brown
May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.May I be safe and free from injury.May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.May I be able to live fresh, solid, and free.May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not indifferent.
May you… May we… May all…
Songs to Further the Practice:
Nina Simone: “I Wish I Knew How It would Feel To Be Free”
Lyla June: “Time Traveler” (Indigenous artist/politician who works with youth)
Marvin Gaye: “What’s Going On”