Onstage banners at the West Coast memorial for Grace Lee Boggs
On March 20, 2016 a celebration of Grace Lee Boggs’ 100-year life was held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. The memorial speakers offered stories and lessons learned from Grace, who was active in social change work for three quarters of a century. Here is a sampling of what was shared, followed by my full journal notes.
1. We remake ourselves to remake the world.
2. What do I need to change in myself to be more effective in changing the world?
3. What does it mean to “grow our souls”?
4. Praxis is about changing our minds and our perspectives in response to changing conditions.
5. Questions are more important than answers.
6. Go beyond simply complaining and waiting for others to change it or fix it.
The classic songs from “back in the day” bring a touch of familiarity and provide a fun way to interact when memory is on the wane but musicality remains strong.
I have just returned from a delicious dinner with Helen, my 94-year-old friend and music buddy. We both love to sing and are prone to break into song at any time.
This evening Helen is especially lively. At dusk on a cloudless day with spring blooms bursting forth everywhere, just having enjoyed an excursion at our favorite Japanese restaurant, she spontaneously breaks into a song that is new to me:
What a day this has been
What a rare mood I’m in
Why, it’s almost like being in love
Such a sublime articulation of Helen’s joy state! We consult the all-knowing Internet and have a great time watching Gene Kelly singing and dancing to “Almost Like Being In Love” in the movie Brigadoon.
For Helen and many of her contemporaries, it’s all about the Crooner era and hit songs from the big musicals. Being able to search for songs online brings fun improvisational moments of social and musical engagement.
Social change activist, philosopher and visionary Grace Lee Boggs died on Oct. 5, 2015 at age 100. Such a life of meaning she lived! If you didn’t know of Grace, I would like to introduce you to her.
Grace endeavored to better the world in every possible way, right up to her last days. Working for social change wasn’t something that she could ever retire from. It’s who she was, for over 70 years.
Browse the quotes and links below to learn more about Grace’s fascinating life and her unique vantage point on the human condition. For lots more, visit the Boggs Center website.
“The world is waiting for a new dream… We are shaking the world with a new dream. Feel it! Guard it! Treasure it! These opportunities do not come often.”
“These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew.”
Announcing a New Video “Music, Ministry and Spirit”
Recently I led a Sacred Song Circle at The Chaplaincy Institute. One thing led to another, and a video was born: Music, Ministry, and Spirit. Click on the image above to watch.
Singing and Ministry Go Well Together
At my ordination to interfaith ministry I made an out-loud commitment to be a “singing Reverend”, although I didn’t know what that meant at the time. Since then I’ve sung at weddings, memorials, a birth blessing, community singing gatherings, and bedsides.
For me, singing ministry is not so much a role as it is a ministerial capacity—a bandwidth that jumps into play in certain moments when it is exactly what is needed.
Tyson’s accessible narration comes to life alongside Henry Reich’s hand-drawn, time-compressed illustrations. On some level the information is utterly incomprehensible in scope and scale. Yet this short video makes it slightly more possible to imagine how the universe emerged and took shape over 13.7 billion years.
Hindu scholar and teacher Prabha Duneja recently spoke at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on “Meditation and Mantra”. She has a gift for expressing the complexities of Hinduism in a direct, accessible style. Here are 14 pearls from her talk.
1. Mantra meditation creates a connection with the Source. In mantra japam, whisper the mantra, one repetition for each bead. Then continue silent japam with sealed lips. As the silent japam becomes stronger, one becomes aligned with the Source of All.
2. Mantra is the word that liberates the mind and leads to the silence of the soul. The power of mantra is released by constant devoted practice.
3. Mantra and meditation are two sides of the same coin.