Meeting Others

You're probably wondering: who is this new name?!

Well let me introduce myself...my name is Lauren Spahn and I am a writer and facilitator with the Still Harbor team. I was behind the Where's the Spirit? newsletters while Perry was on maternity leave and simply love to spark inspiration and dialogue around social justice, leadership, and spirituality.

Which is why I'm excited to share my voice and perspective with you in this new format this week! So here goes it... 


A r t i c l e :   'Where do you live?' by Prahbjot Singh

W h y   y o u   s h o u l d   r e a d   i t ?
Has a series of seemingly irrelevant questions ever led you to learn pertinent information and/or a deeper understanding? 

This article hits poignantly on that idea by exploring the connection between housing and health care. In sharing his first hand experience as a physician in East Harlem, Singh explains both the challenges and importance of meeting others exactly where they are in the present moment (which, in my opinion, is the foundation of service). 

W h e r e ' s   t h e   S p i r i t   i n   t h i s   a r t i c l e ?
How exactly do we meet others where they are? 

The Buddhist practice of bearing witness, as highlighted in "When Silence is Action" (last week's newsletter), is one powerful approach.

From the lens of Liberation Theology, we are invited to consider that the transformation of oppressive structures begins with honoring the knowledge and experience of those who are oppressed by said structures. (To dive deeper into this concept, check out Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire.) 

Reading Singh's article also reminded me of the words of our favorite Rev. C. Perry Dougherty in her recent blog post "Discerning a Life Committed to Health Equity & Social Justice" in which she writes:

Being a mother has reinforced my understand that offering unconditional witness to the pain and suffering of others matters. It matters whether or not I understand the experience of the other. Witness is the foundation of accompaniment. And accompaniment - the relational building of trust, companionship, and connection - is the foundation of social medicine.


Perhaps witness is to accompaniment as service is to social change...


If this email has ignited something for you, please let me know! We are all worthy of a witness, so don't hesitate to share: lauren@stillharbor.org. 

Thanks for reading!

Warmly,