In the words of the 14th Dalai Lama, “My religion is kindness”. I believe that kindness and compassion make up a huge portion of the path to spiritual liberation. The idea that compassion can be cultivated is the foundation of my spiritual practice and life. … Continue reading Rushing Ain’t Worth It
As I type this, I’m sitting in SFO’s decidedly trendy food court. All the food stands selling the normal organic fare are drawn closed. It’s 10:16pm and my flight leaves at midnight. I would normally appreciate the calmness that this lends but I am not present enough in this moment to enjoy it. My mind is still on the ride I took get here sitting in the back seat of a black female Lyft driver’s car. 20 miles, 30 minutes.
Her and I.
I and her.
We fell into an easy familiarity that unacquainted black folks can sometimes cultivate without effort. No doubt, I reminded her of people she knew just as much as she reminded me of some of my sisters, aunts and friends. Our conversation ebbed and flowed naturally. Where our voices trailed off Michael Jackson’s picked up, carrying us with him. Our talk wove between our hometowns, lives and dreams. Later, it would dawn on me that we didn’t have the option to talk about our lives without also having to talk about racism. When I told her I was originally from Florida she told me she always wanted to live there but was afraid about being black there. I wondered if she was thinking about Trayvon or Jordan Davis or Rosewood or Overtown like I was. I had personal stories I could share but I didn’t think she needed them. She was black like me after all. I was sure she has her own. And sure enough, she told me stories of white and Asian passengers she’s picked up in San Francisco. The ones who’d talked down to her and the ones who’d talked crazy to her and the ones who’d left terrible comments in her review section. I wondered if we’ve both have experienced a lifetime of microaggressions, where does that leave us? How do we heal it in ourselves? And how do we heal each other?
As I listened to her speak, the only thing I could think to do was listen. Truly listen and be present with her in that car in hopes of sharing at least a sliver of her burden. I don’t for a second think that this will be enough to heal her or my own wounds but I do believe that it’s a start.
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
I’m exactly one month away from my 25th birthday. Many of the seeds that I planted in my adolescence and early twenties are beginning to bear fruit. Some of these fruits are delicate, delightful and taste like freedom. Others are so bitter I know that they must deadly. With this in mind, I’m being very intentional and deliberate about the five year goals that I set for myself today because I am more or less living the dreams that I had for myself at 20. Or I should say, I’m living those dreams and the limitations of my own imagination about what my life could look like. At 20 my ambitions were entirely focused on my future career. I didn’t give a single thought to crafting long term goals for other areas of my life like relationships or health. I know now that there is so much more to life than work. There’s work to do regarding how I show up to life, how I present myself, when and how I advocate for myself and causes I care about. A recent brush with health complications have also aided in re-shifting of priorities for me.
So here it is, the things I want to accomplish and be when I hit 30:
- I want to be physically and mentally healthy. This means actually using my gym membership, biking, jogging to get 30 minutes of exercise a day. This means restarting therapy again and finally coming to terms with past traumas and healthfully navigate continued bouts of depression and anxiety.
- I want to have a rich an thriving spiritual life. This means continued volunteering and integration into my People of Color sangha at the East Bay Meditation Center. I would live to annually go on retreats, specifically the People of Color Retreat at Spirit Rock. This also means delving more into the Dharma teaching independently and making more sense of the scriptures.
- I want to live and speak my truth. This means to more cowering away from difficult truths and conversations. This means sharing my thoughts and authentic self with others, despite the gut wrenching vulnerability.
- I want at least 5 more stamps in my passport. Right now there’s only 1 stamp from my 2013 trip to Haiti. Japan, South Africa, Ghana, Thailand, England, Cuba and Brazil are all on my list of places to visit.
- I want to be a founder. I have a vision for a non profit that acts as a community building resource for queers and trans people of color all around the world. I want to make it a reality by 30.