Minister's Post, Fri Jan 20

Dear Ones:

On Jan 22, fifty years ago, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade. Access to abortion became the law of the land -- until last June, when Dobbs v. Jackson overturned Roe.

We know abortion as a "culture war" issue -- which is to say, it's more about the culturally appropriate place of women (primarily child-bearers or independent autonomous agents?) than it is about the status of fetuses.

The Dobbs decision has already altered the life course for many women, taking away their freedom to decide the course of their lives for themselves. I grieve for this loss of choice and well-being. Yet I am hopeful that eventually we will come to a better place. It would always have been better -- more democratic and more reliable -- for abortion access to be established through legislative rather than judicial means. We now have the chance to make that the case.

Yours in the faith we share,

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Jan 15 service, "Only Love":

The Jan 8 service, "Soul":

"The more we are able to keep our hearts open to ourselves, the more we have available to give to others." -Kristin Neff
So this week’s practice pointer is, “Have Compassion for Yourself” – adapted from “Just One Thing,” by clinical psychologist Rick Hanson.

When someone you care about suffers, you naturally have compassion: the wish that a being not suffer, usually with a feeling of sympathetic concern. Compassion is in your nature: it's an important part of the neural and psychological systems we evolved to nurture children, bond with mates, and hold together the group. You can also have compassion for yourself -- which is not self-pity. You're simply recognizing that "this is tough, this hurts," and bringing the same warmhearted wish for suffering to lessen or end that you would bring to any dear friend grappling with the same pain, upset, or challenge as you.

Studies show self-compassion
  • Reduces self-criticism
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Increases resilience
  • Helps heal any shortage of caring your received in childhood.
Self-compassion comes naturally for some of us -- particularly I we had a well-nurtured childhood. But if we are self-critical, driven, or think it's self-indulgent to be caring toward ourselves, then self-compassion will be elusive.

Here’s how to practice compassion for yourself.
Acknowledge your difficulties.
Imagine being with someone you know who cares about you. Imagine his or her facial expression, gestures, stance, and attitude toward you.
Let yourself receive this compassion, taking in its warmth, concern, and goodwill.
Then imagine someone for whom you naturally feel compassion. Imagine how you would feel toward that person if he or she were dealing with whatever is hard for you. Let feelings of compassion fill your mind and body.
Now, extend the same sense of compassion toward yourself.

For important additional details for how to have compassion for yourself, see: "Have Compassion for Yourself."

Here it is, your...
#142: Too Soon

In #11, Brown Bear recommended that Raven "try camping out for a while." In #12 we learn that she took this instruction to heart: "She wandered a long time, from forests to upland meadows to icy lakes." It was a time of pilgrimage and solitary practice -- which life fundamentally always is, in any case.

Woodpecker asked, "When Brown Bear said you should camp out for a while, was there anything underlying his words?"
Raven said, "Woodpecker!"
Woodpecker said, "Yes?"
Raven hung her head and turned away, saying "Ah, too soon."

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