by Rachel Carey-Harper
Who are We?
Beyond our titles or what we do for a living;
Beyond the kinship of parents,
Beyond all names for our various identities,
race, genders, religions, social status,
Beyond our politics, disabilities
(that everyone has in one way or another);
Beyond oppression of racism and others
Beyond our talents, accolades, successes
Who are human beings?
Spiritual beings having a human experience?
Here and now we are living flesh,
blood and bone
No better or worse,
than other animals on the planet
or the plants —from the mighty oak
to the lowly dandelion.
But all life is finite.
We are here a very short time then dust,
No better or worse than rock.
Then who are we?
We are a story.
Stories are also told by
woodlands and meadows,
mountains, bogs and beaches.
Stories are told of climbers who come and go,
like the rain
and the comings and goings of the glaciers
The structures; stone walls, weirs, jetties
and grave stones
The hunters and the hunted
Stories are told by the wind
moving through branches
of the Maple tree sleeping its winter nap.
Story told as the wind whisperings
trees unpronounceable name
Tree’s stories teach;
How to be beautiful and bend around objects
How to grow from rotten stumps or rocks
They teach of a time to rest, a time to grow,
the cycle of life.
Stories are told by water
the stream’s songs moving over rocks,
part of God’s laughter.
the water falls, then rises in mist
Water’s story in stillness reflecting the sky
up close each drop
A reflection of reflection of reflection
all part of this whole
contains everything, the flower, the rock
those living and those called inanimate.
all a fractal of Oneness.
Stories are told by rocks.
Stories that intertwines with every other
stone walls, jetties and streams
What is IS.
from life to life, from atom to atom
Bound by electromagnetic and nuclear force
a strong attraction
A love story
It is all Love; Soul Love,
Story of truth,
real and immutable,
surrounding each and every cell,
animate or inanimate,
like a mountain sparkling with mica.
Stories of fellow travelers; companions,
some for a short time,
the chipmunk and the squirrel,
the woodpecker, or owl,
even the gnat, tick or biting fly,
They all have worth.
connection to connection
moment to moment, the story advances
One step follows the next
a journey, an adventure
a path of mystery
The story teaches;
pay attention lest the trip
is over an unseen root
or stuck in muckyness.
Challenges develop muscle
our lessons give strength and courage.
A story of healing, of growth
And deep gratitude.
The story continues
Beyond pitfalls and lies,
Beyond fair-weather friends.
Beyond disappointments, painful revelations
betrayer and the treacherous.
Beyond trauma, fear, disrespect,
exploitation, the horror of racism.
Beyond even the stories themselves.
Beyond the Beyond
A bigger story.
A story that isn’t unique to this telling.
From the beginning through to the end
moving in a beautiful circle,
within and to that which is Eternal.
What are we?
Who are we?
We are a story
One story about everything
Beings of Love,
A love story of Light,
Walk the heart maze in prayer for racial justice. As John Lewis said, “You are the Light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant…”
God’s Call for Racial Justice — From Discernment to Bold Action: The Biblical Role of Fear and Courage
“At the first conference on religion and race, the main participants were Pharaoh and Moses… The outcome of that summit meeting has not come to an end. Pharaoh is not ready to capitulate. The exodus began, but is far from having been completed” Rabbi Heschel. For Moses, like for many of us, the thought of walking the path of racial justice seemed scary. Fear was part of the process.
No spiritual people with a devotion to the work of justice will want to be seen as in favor of racism. Therefore: We acknowledge these aspects and commit to taking specific actions. Who better? — WE can do better. That of God within connected each of us soul to soul. Unexamined oppression keeps us apart, interrupts our union, our integration with each other and with our Creator. Diversity is the Divine. Nurture the Light within. Love is the song.
There is a lurking problem happening within “spiritual” thought and dialogue. Many people who view themselves as healers, “starseeds,” or spiritual teachers, are doing something dangerous: — spreading violence and aggression under the guise of love and light. … But racism is tricky. Racism is not a simple matter of “being racist” or “not being racist.” It is a complex, endemic, historical issue that lives within our collective psyche.
Audre Lorde wrote a letter in May 1977 to white feminist Mary Daly, the author of the book Gyn/Ecology. “Four months later, having received no reply, I open it to the community of women… I wondered, why doesn’t Mary deal with Afrekete as an example? Why are her goddess-images only white, western-european, judeo-christian? Where was afrekete, Yemaya, Oyo and Mawulisa?” —Audre Lorde
I am a black man.
I was planted in deep, loamy, black soil by my black father.
Cradled, cultured and coaxed out like a tuber of yam by my black mother.
Though I came from one womb, I am birthed by many mothers – some of skin like bark and timber, some of eyes of yellow like cassava.
I have a scandalous affinity with shadows in this here regime of light.
Fundamentally, racism is a spiritual disease akin to an addiction.
Addressing it is a matter of spiritual development as well as the other elements in this Toolkit. Our goal needs to be to allow Spirit to move freely within and between us all, which is impossible if all the permutations of racism, from white supremacy to an unjust “justice” system, white hoarding of leadership and resources, etc., remain intact. See links to a 12 Step program and website devoted to Racists Anonymous.
From the early 1800s until the 1920s, there were at least three influential Quaker female ministers named Douglass. Two were African American (mother and daughter) and one was the Imperial Empress of the Queens of the Golden Mask, the women’s auxiliary of the powerful Indiana Ku Klux Klan.
What if reading this is the catalyst
to wake you to your potential
latent responsibility as the One?
to hatch or birth a new way of being
Our soul’s purpose
beauty, joy, the Word
no racism, no power over, no “other”
To engage each other only in Love and Respect
Today, here and now
Queries, a practice in the Society of Friends, refers to a series of questions used for reflection and in spiritual evolution.
“Queries are questions that guide personal and group reflection on how our lives and actions are shaped by Love and Truth. The emphasis is on how to live a life more completely aligned with the life of the spirit.
Quakers often find Queries a powerful spiritual discipline. Returning again and again to the same prompt for deep reflection can set the stage for new understandings, changes of heart, and a rising sense of loving action that needs to be taken. If you can answer a Query with a “yes” or “no,” try to grapple a bit more by adding “why,” “how,” and “when” to the original query.” (from FGC: “A word about Quaker Queries”)
- How do we change to fully manifest the pure Light and answer that of G-d in everyone?
- What is white privilege?
- What were the times, places, situations where we had privilege?
- How does it manifest inside each person without color and what can we do about it?
- What are its spiritual ramifications?
- Where does it come from and why?
- When and how does it show itself in the wider culture?
- What does “a color-blind society” imply within this context?
- How does it hurt those of us without color?
- Why and what does understanding white privilege threaten?
- What is the downside of this understanding and how do we cope with this
- When did you interrupt racism, what happened?
- When did you see racism and not respond? Why? how did you feel?
- Could Friends adopt a Testimony for Racial Justice with the same conviction and commitment that we accept and profess the Peace Testimony?
- Considering that many of our Quaker institutions were originally supported from funds gained through the slave trade (e.g., Moses Brown School) what might Quaker reparations toward African –Americans look like?
- Considering that we are ALL living on land that was originally stolen from Indians/Native Americans, what might Quaker reparations toward them look like?
- How can we figure out how we might be acting in unconsciously racist ways and then educate ourselves about what we might do about it?
- How can we identify institutional racism/white privilege within our meeting, town governments, places of employment, local businesses, etc., and how might we begin to address that racism/white privilege?
- What are its spiritual consequences?
- How does racism affect white faith-based people?
- To what extent do white people benefit from their color?
- To what extent have white faith-based people involved themselves intimately in communities of color?
- Do you read black news and opinion such as the Root, the Grio, or others ? If not, why not?
- What are the important resources that the Quaker community has to offer blacks and other people of color?
- What does “justice” mean to Friends?
- How does our Meeting respond to the need for justice?
- If we disregard justice, what impact does it have on our spiritual lives and on our connection with the Divine?
- What is the relationship between love and justice? Between living in the spirit and seeking justice?
- If compassion is love in action, what is justice in action?
- How does oppression dehumanize and dim the Light, both in oppressor and oppressed?
- How do we exercise our respect for balance?
- Do you uphold the right of all persons to justice and human dignity?
- Do we regard our time, talents, energy, money, material possessions, and other resources as gifts from God, to be held in trust and shared according to the Light we are given?
- How do we avoid misusing people and the world’s resources with care and consideration for future generations and with respect for all life?
- In what other ways do we carry out our commitment to stewardship?
- Do you revere all life and the splendor of God’s continuing creation?
- Do you regard your possessions as given to you in trust, and do you part with them freely to meet the needs of others?
- Are you frugal in your personal life and committed to the just distribution of the world’s resources?
- Do you endeavor to create political, social, and economic institutions that will sustain and enrich the lives of all?
— who we are and where we came from
This website is produced by Eden which is an arts organization best known for its jewelry and pottery design and production but also includes other ways that art unfolds, from gardens to graphics, from creating beauty with brushwork and ball pein hammers to building a better world. It was begun by Eve and John Carey and carried forward by their daughter Rachel who produced this website. Their primary career was as art teachers. John said:
Life should be a search for Truth and Beauty, all else is mere existence.
He passed away peacefully in his sleep Friday, May 4. He was 91. He was a tall man in more ways than his 6’6” frame. He embraced life with great exuberance, charm, quick wit, and a quirky awkwardness. Best known for designing the Cape Cod Screwball bracelet he wrote the following:
Designing is the act of arranging things to create an effect, therefore YOU are a designer every time you make a decision about the way you assemble materials; around you or about you.
For 35 years, Mr. Carey taught at St. Mark’s School in Southboro MA. Generations of St. Markers will always remember that joy, and Mr. Carey’s positive, nurturing approach to life and its lessons.
The search for a good life —
The successful search for the subtleties of pleasurable experience is not easy — like trying to catch a falling leaf”
(Each Autumn day on his walk to school he would catch a falling leaf and instead of the usual handkerchief put the leaf in his jacket pocket.)
Before he died John said:
“faith in past, courage in present
faith in future
and do not sit out the dance”