From the Minister, Sun May 3

Various versions of these lines have been circulating around the internet. My thanks to Karen Schatzel for emailing me one version and prompting me to see what could be tracked down about the origin and perhaps context of the piece. (Not much, is the answer. Some sources attribute it to Paul Williams, and others say, no, it wasn't Williams, and that its origin is unknown.)
When you go out and see the empty streets,
the empty stadiums,
the empty train platforms,
don’t say to yourself,
“It looks like the end of the world.”

What you’re seeing is love in action.
What you’re seeing, in that negative space,
is how much we do care for each other,
for our grandparents,
for our immunocompromised brothers and sisters,
for people we will never meet.

People will lose jobs over this.
Some will lose their businesses.
And some will lose their lives.

All the more reason to take a moment,
when you’re out on your walk,
or on your way to the store,
or just watching the news,
to look into the emptiness,
and marvel at all of that love.

Let it fill you and sustain you.
It isn’t the end of the world.

It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.
Yours in solidarity,

The Liberal Pulpit

Recent past services:
Apr 5: "Taking Care, Giving Care." TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 12: "Traditions of Liberation." TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 19: "What's Your Great Vow?" TEXT. VIDEO.
Apr 26. "Attending to the Indigenous Voice" TEXT. VIDEO.

Find videos of these and many past services at our Youtube channel: HERE

Adult/Youth Religious Education

Sundays, 4:00 - 5:15, in zoom room ending 7899.
Click here:

Or telephone: 646-876-9923, and use meeting ID: 289 850 7899
The UUA Common Read

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States and the adaptation for young people.
Get ready for our upcoming Zoom class: Four sessions, led by Rev. Meredith Garmon and Jeff Tomlinson
May 3, 10, 17, and 24 -- 4:00-5:15.
Order your copy from uuabookstore.org (or any major online bookseller), and start reading now!

More info about the UUA Common Read at uua.org/read

Practice of the Week: Take Pleasure
"Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one's voice." (Joseph B. Wirthlin)

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
(Laura Ingalls Wilder)

When you find pleasure in life, you are not pushing away things that are hard or painful. You are simply opening up to the sweet stuff that's already around you -- and basking, luxuriating, and delighting in it.

This activates the calming and soothing parasympathetic wing of your autonomic nervous system, and quiets the fight-or-flight sympathetic wing and its stress-response hormones. Besides lifting your mood, settling your fears, and brightening your outlook, the stress relief of taking pleasure offers physical health benefits, too: strengthening your immune system, improving digestion, and balancing hormones.


Relish the pleasures of daily life, starting with your senses:
  • What smells good? The skin of an orange, wood smoke on the air, dinner on the stove, a young child's hair ... 
  • Tastes delicious? Strong coffee, delicate tea, French toast—chocolate!—tossed salad, goat cheese ... 
  • Looks beautiful? Sunrise, sunset, full moon, a baby sleeping, red leaves in autumn, images of galaxies, fresh fallen snow ...
  • Sounds wonderful? Waves on the seashore, wind through pine trees, a dear friend laughing, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, silence itself ...
  • Feels good on your skin? Newly washed sheets, a good back scratch, warm water, a fresh breeze on a muggy day ...
Next, include the mind: What do you like to think about or remember. For example, bring to mind a favorite setting -- a mountain meadow, a tropical beach, a cozy living room chair -- and imagine yourself there.

Last, savor these pleasures. Sink into them, take your time with them, and let them fill your body and mind. Marinate in pleasure! Notice any resistance to feeling really good, any thought that it is foolish or wrong . .. and then see if you can let that go. And fall back into pleasure.

Enjoy yourself!

* * *
Also on the web (click on title):
"8 Simple Pleasures You're Forgetting to Enjoy" (Huffington Post)
"75 Simple Pleasures to Brighten Your Day" (zenhabits.net)
"10 Ways to Find More Pleasure Every Day" (CNN)
"The 30 Most Satisfying Simple Pleasures Life Has to Offer" (Marc Chernoff)
"Are You Taking Time to Enjoy Life's Simple Pleasures?" (Live Rich Live Well)

* * *
For Journaling

Describe five ordinary things that you took pleasure in today.

* * *

Moment of Zen: Where Are They?
Sixty-one episodes ago, in #59, Gray Wolf asked Brown Bear about dedicating sutras to the enlightenment of bushes and grasses.

It is not difficult to mouth the words, "all things are myself." But do you remember it when asked where the trees are?

Saying it is one thing, showing it is another, knowing that you are showing it regardless is another.

One evening Owl said, "When Brown Bear visited us, Gray Wolf asked her about the dedication of our sutras to the enlightenment of bushes and grasses. Brown Bear said, 'They are very patient.' I've been musing about this for a long time, and I still don't know what to make of it."Raven asked, "Where are they?"
Owl said, "Bushes and grasses? All around."
Raven said, "Like the moon and birds."
Owl said, "Stones and clouds."
Raven said, "Very good. Now, where are they?"
Owl hooted.
Raven said, "Yes! Yes! On that path."
The old man in the forest hut,
A dozen kilometers from the nearest road, which is dirt,
And about the same to a power line, or another building,
Lives on nuts and berries, which he cans,
And the occasional package sent by a religious order
To a P.O. box, which he visits when the post office is closed.
Six years without seeing up close a face,
or hearing a voice, of another human.
Beneath the hackberry whose bloom petals mottle his roof
There are no hermits.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

Zen at CUUC News

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