Friday, May 22, 2009

"Searching for the Truth:" John Legend at U Penn

What makes you tick? What inspires your heart? What triggers that deepest "uhhuh" and "yes" resonance with your soul that maybe makes you want to sing? (Does this happen to you?)

I had such an experience just yesterday watching and listening to grammy-award winning soul musician John Legend as he addressed the 2009 graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania. My friend Sr. Jill Underdahl showed this video clip to a group of 8 women known as the "Irentic Studies Cohert" at the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet Center. For the past two years, we've been gathering bi-monthly to journey with Sr. Jill in her graduate coursework in Peace Studies. We talk about non-violent communication and leadership and ways of being and thinking in the world. We talk about how all these topics permeate Catholicism and Global Citizenship. On this particular Thursday, we watched this video of John Legend giving a commencement address at his alma mater, and we reflected on how this speech connects numerous essential themes that inspire transformation and peace in the world.

Taking in Legend's words, I was moved, I was challenged, I felt the deepest resonance with his queries and analogies that made me laugh. His words made me cry. Most importantly, they made me want to act.

I invite you all to take 10 minutes of your day, and listen in. This man is preaching. He is modeling leadership. He is exemplifying a critical-inquiry based approach to life, seeking Truth and Soul, and as he states so beautifully: “A commitment to Truth requires a commitment to social justice." He elaborates during the speech: "Searching for the truth is a process, it requires listening..... a politics of empathy.” In the course of his commencement address, he invites us all to dialogue, and move outside of our comfort zones.

I close with these questions: "What is truth? What does your soul ask of you?"

Again, I invite you to all to tune in and reflect on these thoughts.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

In Blackwater Woods - by Mary Oliver

Thank you Writer's Almanac.

In Blackwater Woods

by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

"In Blackwater Woods" by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)