Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brandon Visits SF (plus more)

Brandon Visits SF

Brandon Faloona, my soul mate from Seattle, visited San Francisco for 48 hours last weekend and slept on my couch. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The most rewarding moments were our quiet times alone, when we engaged in rich dialog. As I’ve said before, he’s the best listener I know. There are many understandable reasons why most people (or so it seems) are so reluctant to speak from the heart and interact openly and mutually. I’m constantly trying to better understand and accept those reasons. Nevertheless, it is refreshing when I experience greater authenticity....

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Meditation Idea: 8/20 Draft

NOTE: Following is a Meditation that I may give at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples.

The sermon that Rev. Yielbonzie Charles Johnson offered on August 3rd was very thought-provoking. He recommended cultivating “intimate direct action” by traveling “Four Roads to Intimacy.” The first road is to move away from self-deception and “know yourself better than anyone else.” The second is to utilize “solitude.” The third is to establish strong “kinship,” or a sense of community. The fourth is to then experience “intimacy,” or “the uncircumscribed engagement in the world,” without fear....

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Comment on MSC Transformative Practice Survey

This fall the Movement Strategy Center (MSC) plans to release a report, tentatively titled “Love with Power,” on organizations that are bringing “transformative practices” into their work. I await this report with great interest.

As described in “Tell Us!! Does Your Organization Do Transformative Practice?,” MSC is inviting individuals to complete a three-question survey about their interest and/or efforts with regard to bringing “individual transformative practices, such as meditation, martial arts, gardening, and spiritual practice” into their organizing.

Particularly encouraging is that the survey explores interest in eventually sharing “peer exchange/case studies on how other organizations are actually doing it.” If MSC discovers and shares user-friendly tools that can be easily replicated (without extensive training), this project could help spread (rapidly) the use of methods that nurture personal and collective development rooted in mutual support among peers.

The survey opens with a very helpful definition: “Collective practice is intentional and continuously repeated action undertaken as a group to cultivate new ways of being and thinking in that group and beyond it.” The phrase “intentional and continuously repeated action” hits the nail on the head.

“New ways” strikes me as too ambiguous, however. Some phrase such as “more compassionate” would work better, it seems. “New” is not necessarily an improvement.

As I discuss in “A Meditation on Deep Community,” I believe that if activists really get in touch with their compassion, they will naturally strive to correct root causes by changing national policies. Then we can turn this nation into a compassionate community.

I applaud MSC for helping us move in that direction.


My Robin Williams Story

Like maybe half of San Francisco, I have my own Robin Williams story. In 1996, after watching the Independence Day movie at the Coronet Theater on Geary Blvd. Steven Shults, Richard Gross, and I went to the Toy Boat Dessert Cafe on Clement Street. The store featured Double Rainbow ice cream and displayed on its walls children’s toys for sale. While waiting to be served, Williams got in line behind us. Steven had seen him at an event the night before and struck up a brief exchange with Williams about it. After Richard, Steven, and I sat down at a table to eat our desserts, Williams joined us and engaged in conversation for several minutes. He often came to the cafe to buy toys for his children. He was remarkably unpretentious and warm. After a few minutes, Richard said, “I’m sorry but I have to ask you this. How much of being famous is great and how much is a drag?” Williams immediately replied, “90% is great and 10% is a drag.” I figure the 10% finally got to him. May one of the greatest San Franciscans ever rest in peace.


Transform Workshop Evaluation

I just offered the following responses to a survey from The Center for Spiritual and Social Transformation concerning their four  Transform: Spirituality and Social Change sessions that were held last month....

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Fellowship Church: “Intimate Direct Action”

Rev. Yielbonzie Charles Johnson, a semi-retired Unitarian Universalist minister currently engaged in doctoral work on “The Transformation of Shame” at the Graduate Theological Union, presented the August 3 sermon at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples. He opened with a quote from Vincent Van Gogh letter to his brother Theo:
…It is better to be high-spirited, even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love, is well done.
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Saturday, August 2, 2014

My 70th Birthday and Fellowship Church

Birthday Reflections 2014

Many thanks to the more than twenty individuals who participated in the July 26 Open House celebration of my 70th birthday and the release of My Search for Deep Community: An Autobiography, as well as the many more who were unable to attend and sent me good wishes....

Late the next night David Marshall, a Berrett-Koehler Publishers (BK) vice-president who participated in the party, offered the following feedback on the book:...

After reflecting on David’s comments, my current inclination is to seek co-authors for another, more focused book. The working title is What We Want: A Commitment to Compassion. The idea is that the co-authors would collectively write the opening chapter, a declaration, and individually write chapters elaborating on why they affirm that declaration. The declaration might invite readers to endorse the declaration, commit to certain initial actions, and pledge to participate in one or more larger projects if and when enough participation is elicited to launch those projects. My current draft of the declaration begins, “Chances are, you want what most people want. We want to:…”

But first I’ll wait for more feedback on My Search for Deep Community.... [Read more.]


Fragmentation: Fellowship Church, July 27

The theme of the July 27 worship service at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples was fragmentation.

Following the opening piano prelude by Dr. Carl Blake, the Gathering of Community began with Expressing a Sense of Awe, during which Dr. Kathryn Benton affirmed, “All that is given us is our life. It is more than enough.”... [Read more.]


No Time to Think
Posted on July 28, 2014 by Wade Lee Hudson
Posted on The New York Times at: