Spiritual Practices during Rooted & Rising Book Study Sessions

In partnership with:

July 16, 2020

There is so much world. Among the sprawling, spiraling array of day-to-day demands and distractions there is a vast ecology of issues, perspectives, happenings, and experiences that are worthy of our attention. A sustained commitment to activism requires a certain musculature of attention. It requires that we condition our capacity to be honest about where and how we are situated in the world; and to hone our ability to give focus to particular pieces of our environment.

So in week one we practiced the spiral meditation. Watch this video to review it for yourself:

July 23, 2020

Our sustained commitment to repairing a broken world requires that we condition our capacity to hold on to the paradoxes at the heart of faithful activism. It requires that we get comfortable being uncomfortable with the complications and contradictions that we will encounter as we take action. It requires that we be always discerning where we need to lean from moment to moment in our pursuit of justice.

So in week two we practiced holding paradox in our pockets. Watch this video to review it for yourself:

July 30, 2020

The work of tending to the earth in this time of climate crisis often complicates our relationship to our surroundings. To abide in our commitment to the earth we must see ourselves as earthlings. We are earthlings who craft stories that inform us, form relationships that inspire us, and seek vocations that compel us. Practicing intimacy with each of these things will help to deepen our humanity and guide our contribution to the shared project of helping a hurting world.

So in week three we practiced the intimacy of being earthlings with and among other earthlings. Watch this video to review it for yourself:

August 6, 2020

At the end of his essay Peterson Toscano wrote about the ways that climate change multiplies the threats of poverty, war, other human rights violations, and of our tendency to respond with fear and violence. “That may be,” he wrote, "but we also carry within ourselves a capacity for compassion… As threats multiply, so must our humanity, so must our love.” 

As climate activists our sense of humanity has to be rooted in a commitment to physicality. By inviting the motion of our bodies into the movement of our activism we express that commitment and seek a posture of composure and faithful confidence.

So in week four we practiced the body prayer, drawing near to the source of our strength and reaching out with an offering of self. Watch this video to review it:

August 13, 2020

In the presence of seemingly insurmountable obstacles: What is hope? Is hope a promise of success? an assurance of ease? is it wishful thinking? is it a condition best rendered in pastels and glitter?

Or is hope best rendered in earth tones? in the grit and the grime of birth tones? Is hope, paradoxically, a liberating form of surrender? an active acknowledgement of the way things are? Not dismissive of the need to change things, but a kind of bass note of candor and, nevertheless, composure.

A bass note of spiritual composure precedes every steady and lasting commitment to activism. And a regular practice of stillness precedes our capacity for composure.

That’s why this week we sought a relationship with composure with a practice of stillness and an act of imagination. Watch this video to review it:

August 20, 2020

Activism for the sake of justice will sometimes result in failure. If we are to sustain our activism, without numbing the pain or denying the fears we feel as we encounter the overwhelm of our situation, then we need to ground ourselves in something much deeper than any singular strategy or any static definition of success.

That’s why this week we ponder our deep wildness and consider what it takes to tend our wildness. Watch this video to ponder and consider, and then make two lists.

List 1: What fuel are you applying to keep your wildness from burning out? What practices, activities, thoughts, intentions, voices, relationships, beliefs, convictions, expectations are you feeding to the fire that burns in you?

List 2: What efforts or demands are smothering the fire of your wild heart? Are any of the practices, activities, thoughts, intentions, voices, relationships, beliefs, convictions — any of your hopes and expectations — smothering the fire? And what might you need to do to set them aside, not out of neglect, but out of stewardship?

August 27, 2020

We are living, breathing active portions of the earth, who are capable of the complex thinking and spiritual conditioning that is necessary to do the hard work of tending to crisis. To inform our capacity for thought, and to root the muscle of our spirit, we give our hearts to a deep and abiding relationship with wild nature. 

That’s why this week, as we end this season of study and practice, we plan regular rhythms that will sustain a mature friendship with the earth. Watch this video to review: