Kwanzaa day of Nia: Purpose

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As I prepare for birth, I haven’t been blogging much. Which is ironic, since this blog is called “blog from the belly.” My ‘belly’, a euphemism for my womb, has been expanding over the last 9 months. I’ve kept a private journal, but haven’t published about it. Perhaps that will change.

One thing that has happened is that I’ve cried every time I’ve had to set aside something that I LOVE doing in order to make room in my life for the baby. Overall I am happy that I will bring a child earthside. However, it has been a necessary practice to take time to grieve the loss of the rhythm and life that I know well at this time. For example, I was so crunched for time in early November that I could not present at the Rich Earth Institute‘s awesome annual conference. I really wanted to, the panel invitation was around meaning-making in the relationship of people to their excreta, and how to promote nutrient cycling and safe reuse of excreta. Really it was the heart of what I work on–and I couldn’t meet the growing demands of (pre)motherhood, finish up my speaking engagements, complete my teaching assignment, and prepare a presentation + attend the conference. So I opted out.

Right before I sent the email stating my regrets I was really cranky… I realized what I needed was a good cry. I had so much sadness and shame built up around letting my amazing colleagues down, as well as feeling the loss of not being in those life-giving conversations for the next while. So I sat by one of my home altars and just let loose. I let myself feel it all directly. And afterwards I was able to do what I needed to do, and release in peace. Since that time, with everything else that I’ve had to lay down, I’ve felt the build-up of the angst, made room for it, and then took a deep breath, and moved on.

One of the beloved activities from which I am taking a maternity break is Buddhist Peace Fellowship. I have deeply enjoyed learning and growing together with members of that organization. Our shared intention is to serve collective liberation through “connecting Dharma to the current moment through convening spiritually and politically engaged individuals from Buddhist and other lineages. Our programs are led by and lift up the voices and priorities of our QTBIPOC and Heritage Buddhist community who share commitments to ecological anti-capitalism, queer feminism, and racial justice within the USA.”

It was an organization started by white western Buddhists, who were visionary and committed. They saw that the NIA (purpose) of Buddhism was not (only) individual enlightenment, but deep enlightenment of the whole, since none of us are truly individuals but completely interdependently with one another in the web of entangled life/death/suffering/non-suffering cycles. One of my colleagues has written about one of the co-founders, Robert Aiken. I invite you to click here to learn about him and other amazing teachers who are so committed to the purpose of their life earthside this time around. I’m excited for our child to learn from leaders such as these!

May your purpose become and remain clear for you as you live out your days.

About SEN

Born on United Nations Day, I am actively involved in the process of figuring out how we can live together well on this planet, given our similar and different truth claims. Thanks for joining me on the journey!

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