Minister's Post, Fri May 21

In prayer, we take a moment to solemnly remind ourselves of our purposes and our gratitude, that they may guide and affirm our actions and our being. Will you, then, pray with me?

This Week's Prayer

Dear Breathe of life flowing through us,

Recognizing the aspiration we have to abide with reality just as it is, undistorted by what we want more of or what we want less of --
recognizing the compassion we have, our desire that suffering, wherever it may arise, be eased --
recognizing the great wisdom of our bodies – circulating blood, taking in oxygen and releasing our excess carbon dioxide, healing our scratches and bruises and sores, keeping us balanced and alive everyday without need of our conscious attention --
we breathe in all the suffering of the world, and breathe out the salve of care.

We are bodies miraculously born into this world. Our infant brains had no idea how to be born, but our little bodies, and our mothers’ bodies, together knew how to do it. We forget what a sacred miracle our life is, but our bodies do not forget. Our bodies never fail us. They wear out, or will. They break down. But that is not failing us. That is reliably carrying us through our cycle from birth to death precisely as they should. Our bodies never fail us.

These amazing bodies have the capacity to breathe in suffering and transform it. Inhaling, we say yes to another moment of life with all its pain, sorrow, and loss. Exhaling we release all of this. Compassion doesn’t require major effort. We only have to allow it.

The pain and difficulty in our life, and the pain and difficult of others, is a gateway to the path of love.

Breathing in the ongoing suffering of this pandemic; breathing out recovery, recuperation, healing.

Breathing in the unrest and violence in Gaza and Israel; breathing out peace.

Breathing in the anger and hate; breathing out concern and respect, dignity and care.

Breathing in all the pollution of air and ocean; breathing out cleansing and restoration.

Breathing in all that is broken and hurts; breathing out healing, health, and wholeness.

We ask of ourselves the mindful intention to delight in what is good, to confront what is cruel, to heal what is broken.

Blessed be, and Amen

Covid Review

The Worldwide numbers are not reliable, and likely are greatly underestimating the actual prevalence of Covid-19. These numbers may nevertheless give us an indication of trends.

The 7DMA (7-Day Moving Average) of new cases per day:
After sharply declining from Jan 11 to Feb 20, and then increasing dramatically from Feb 20 to Apr 29, new cases have been coming down -- though still well above Feb 20.

Worldwide 7DMA of new cases per day as of:
Peak of new cases per day, Jan 11: 745,294
Feb 20: 360,949
Apr 29: 830,185
May 13: 733,226. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -7.6%
May 20: 624,668. One-week change, May 13 to May 20: -14.9%

The 7DMA of deaths per day, worldwide:
Deaths peaked on Jan 26, and fell steadily until Mar 12 -- a decline of 43 percent over 45 days.
From Mar 12 to Apr 30, however, deaths increased 62%. Since then, reported deaths have been coming down, though more slowly than new cases.

Worldwide 7DMA of deaths per day as of:
Peak of deaths per day, Jan 26: 14,452
Mar 12: 8,293
Apr 30: 13.478
May 13: 12,660. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -2.1%
May 20: 12,319. One-week change, May 13 to May 20: -2.9%

United States.
In the US, the 7DMA of new cases per day peaked on Jan 11. New cases then fell sharply for six weeks until Feb 21. From Feb 21 to Apr 28, the rate of new cases stayed pretty flat, wavering up and down between 73,000 and 55,000 new cases a day. Apr 29 broke through to less than 55,000, and new cases per day have continued to decline since then. New cases per day are now lower than at any time since last Jun 21.

U.S. 7DMA of new cases per day as of:
Peak of new cases per day, Jan 11: 255,657
Feb 21: 69,119
May 13: 36,595. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -21%
May 20: 28,832. One-week change, May 13 to May 20: -21%

Deaths continue to slowly decline. The 7DMA of Covid deaths per day as of May 20 is 573 -- the lowest since last Jul 7.

U.S. 7DMA of deaths per day as of:
Peak: Jan 16: 3,470
May 13: 634. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -8.3%
May 20: 592. One-week change, May 13 to May 20: -9.5%

We seem to be headed out of the woods, but do remember that people are still dying from this.

ICYMI ("In Case You Missed It")

Here's the May 16 service, "Repairing"

Practice of the Week

Aspire Without Attachment. Here’s a slogan to remember, to repeat to yourself every morning: "Aspire without attachment."

We do have preferences and intentions: for security, comfort, enjoyment, creative expression, physical and mental health, connection, respect, love, self-actualization, spiritual development. But is your pursuit driven and stressed? Or characterized by outer effort and inner peacefulness?

If it’s driven and stressed, then you are attached to an outcome – there’s craving, and thus suffering. On the other hand, aspiration -- working hard toward your goals without getting hung up on the results -- feels good, and it helps you stretch and grow without worry. Failure – except for what you might learn from it – is beside the point. The victory is in the doing – not the outcome. Aspiration is about liking, while attachment is about wanting -- and these involve separate systems in your brain. Liking what is pleasant and disliking what is unpleasant – that’s life. Trouble comes when we tip into the craving and strain inherent in wanting, wanting, wanting what's pleasant to continue and what's unpleasant to end.

This slogan – "aspire without attachment" – will help attune you to the differences between liking and wanting. The difference shows up in your body, emotions, attitudes, and thoughts. Liking feels open, relaxed, and flexible while wanting feels tight, pressed, contracted, and fixated.

For tips on how better to aspire without attachment, see the post, "Aspire Without Attachment."


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