Sujatha Baliga found herself sitting in a room with a murderer and his victim’s parents, who had come seeking something more than punishment for their child’s killer. Sujatha, and the process of Restorative Justice, was uniquely positioned to help. In this interview, Sujatha teaches us about the practice of Restorative Justice and her personal experience.
There is a profound spiritual crisis at play in our society. It is a crisis of disconnection. As two women who have been young single mothers, our stories and experiences inform our understanding of and commitment to the work of bringing spiritual resources to bear on the current, ubiquitous crisis of disconnection in our world. Our lives have taught us the power of connecting with and across difference and not in spite of it.
Human beings, we know, require water. It lubricates joints, cushions the brain and spinal cord, delivers oxygen, helps feed cells, regulates body temperature, and moves digestion forward. There is nothing like it.
Water leaves our bodies through urine, sweat, and breath. It mostly enters through the mouth.
The part of the brain that senses thirst is the hypothalamus. This is also the part that maintains homeostasis, or that beautiful, delicate balance that counters external with internal. It responds to temperature and sleep, hunger, and moods. It constantly checks the body’s here with the world out there.
We arrived at Standing Rock on that chilly morning, the day that happened to be when most Americans would celebrate Thanksgiving. Though I felt certain of my calling to join the Water Protectors, I was still a bit nervous.
The following essay on historical memory as an embodied concept comes from a forthcoming book by Becky Thompson, Teaching with Tenderness: Toward an Embodied Practice. In the tradition of bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Thompson invites us to draw upon contemplative practices (yoga, meditation, free writing, mindfulness, ritual) to keep our hearts open as we reckon with multiple injustices.
Even though she’s been coming to this place three days a week for the past year, it never fails to catch her by surprise, making her breath stop in her throat and her heart beat a little faster. For the moment, she imagines she’s not in the City anymore. And it certainly feels like she isn’t. She’s been transported to the Garden.
Verena’s words struck home like a dagger in the hearts of the others in the room. Verena is a Member of Parliament in South Africa, and she was sharing her personal story on the fourth day of a unique workshop entitled “Gender Equity and Reconciliation” for Members of Parliament and other South African leaders.
I was six years old when I fell in love with feeding people. I had only recently discovered that there were people in the world who didn’t have enough to eat—children who went to bed without dinner. It seemed to me that all of God’s children had the right to eat. Because my refrigerator was full, I couldn’t understand why any of the grown-ups allowed this to continue. How could anyone live with themselves in a world where kids are hungry?
Her short, black hair curled into rivulets. They bounced when she moved her head or nodded. Her green eyeshadow highlighted her brown eyes. Her mascara curled her eyelashes up and out; these eyelashes left a whisper of black on her upper eyelids. Her mouth formed a flat line, neither a smile nor a frown. She sat sandwiched between the bookends of her grandparents, slouching in her chair with her hands folded in her lap.
As a poet and teacher of poetry to those in recovery, I wonder whether that “certain Slant of light” Dickinson describes in her poem might somehow be borne through poetry to those in recovery. Might such a light help the recovering individual make the hard choice of sobriety and somehow mediate between pain and deadness?
I thought I had a higher calling to support my community and to bless love wherever I found it. I could not rationalize saying that one couple’s love is worthy of God’s blessing because their genitals are different and another couple’s love is not worthy of God’s blessing because their genitals are the same.
The first step in shadow healing is acknowledging that there’s a real issue going on that we can’t control or fix by ourselves with our own wills. Whether it’s a personal crisis or a collective crisis, we first acknowledge the seriousness of the problem. In terms of the larger picture and the planet, we are in a global crisis.
It’s Christmas Eve. Leo and I leave the house around 7 pm. It’s an unseasonably warm evening, muggy and gray. As we walk past the gigantic storage facilities and warehouse grocery stores in our Brooklyn neighborhood, this urban setting seems particularly harsh for a night that’s supposed to be festive and magical.
In September 2014, in my sixteenth year of parish ministry, I had an idea about how to mobilize people of faith across religious boundaries as a public force for environmental and climate justice. The idea was to move religious environmentalism beyond personal lifestyle choices, beyond a green sanctuary, into the voting booth and into the corridors of political power.