What is Ours to Do to Bring Change

Vaishali Mamgain

Vaishali Mamgain

Vaishali Mamgain shares with us how paying attention to our physical responses to events like the Capitol attack can help white people better understand the experiences of Black-, brown- and queer-bodied folks.

Vaishali received her PhD. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Southern Maine and the Director of the Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We are just three days away from the Spring Equinox and the official beginning of Spring. It has been a long winter… it has been a long year! I am looking with great anticipation to the time when we can be together again. Join us on March 28 at our Community Meeting and your Board of Trustees will share our plans for moving forward.

On Sunday we were blessed with the wisdom shared by our speaker, Vaishali Mamgain. We experienced some technical difficulties in the beginning; however, we worked them out and the technology gods were with us as Vaishali didn’t experience any internet disruptions.

The talk title was “What Is Ours to Change.” She begins by telling a story of Fr. Daniel Berrigan, a Catholic priest who along with others called the Catonsville Nine burned files of young men who were going to be drafted for the Vietnam War. They justified doing this by saying “better the files than bodies of children.” This action was not just for the Vietnam people but was directed at Catholics as well as all Americans.

Coming back to the question “what is ours to change,” Vaishali invites us as spiritual people to ponder this question in this historical moment of time. She highlights the racial, social, environmental justice and the serenity of indigenous people. She gives us some important information on these issues; however, she then quotes Fr. Berrigan again. He said: “Don’t just do something stand there.” In other words, don’t run out to fix things but develop a spiritual practice. A practice of prayer and meditation. A practice that allows us to tune in, to become self-aware and know what our motivation is to act. Am I ready to go out into the world in this way? This requires deep listening, which only comes through our practice.

She shared three Zen peacemaker precepts from her teacher roshi Joan Halifax. They are 1) not knowing 2) bearing witness 3) compassionate action.

I look forward to working closely with Vaishali on issues that affect all of us. And as Lilla Watson says, “If you have come to help us you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound with ours, then let us work together.”

Join us next week when we host Bukeka Blakemore as our guest musician. Bukeka was cited in Kansas City Business Magazine as Most Influential Women Class of 2013. She is an award-winning singer/songwriter, and she will be with us next Sunday.

The message from the book Living Originally by Unity writer Rev. Robert Brumet is titled Radical Self-Awareness.

The Nonviolent Practice this week: Week 3-Dreaming, Mission

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a great dream. What is your dream for peace? Write it down. What is one thing you can do to honor your dreams? Do it each day this week.

“My life is my message,” says Gandhi. Write down what you want to stand for in your life. Note at least one way you can show, through action, that you stand for your beliefs. Take action each day this week.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey


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