Image by Monica Trinidad, a queer, latinx artist, activist and organizer born and raised on the southeast side of Chicago. Monica is also a co-founder of the For the People Artists Collective.

Birthing the World

This ​week ​we’re ​exploring ​how ​we ​can ​build ​creativity ​and ​generativity ​in ​our ​work. ​This ​is ​a difficult ​time ​for ​many ​of ​us, ​as ​we’re ​confronted ​with ​what ​can ​feel ​like ​the ​darkness ​of ​a ​tomb. How ​can ​we ​reimagine ​that ​darkness? ​And ​find ​ourselves ​powerfully ​within ​this ​moment, ​able to ​respond ​fully ​with ​courage ​and ​moral ​clarity?

Sikh ​activist, ​Valarie ​Kaur, ​invites ​us ​to ​think ​of ​this ​darkness ​not ​as ​the ​darkness ​of ​a ​tomb, ​but as ​the ​darkness ​of ​a ​womb. Click ​here ​to ​watch ​a ​video ​of ​Valerie’s ​full ​message.

Then, ​consider, ​what ​is ​waiting ​to ​be ​birthed ​in ​you, ​in ​us, ​in ​our ​country? ​Knowing ​it ​will ​be painful, ​it ​will ​be ​full ​of ​mystery, ​and ​more ​worthwhile ​than ​we ​can ​even ​fathom. ​What ​can ​we birth ​together ​in ​and ​through ​love?

Below ​you’ll ​find ​poetry, ​prayer, ​and ​more ​around ​this ​theme ​of ​generativity ​as ​birthing ourselves ​and ​the ​world ​anew.

May ​you ​find ​all ​that ​you ​need ​to ​honor ​the ​creative ​source ​within ​you ​today.

An ​Image

By ​Monica ​Trinidad, ​a ​queer, ​latinx ​artist, ​activist ​and ​organizer ​born ​and ​raised ​on ​the southeast ​side ​of ​Chicago. ​Monica ​is ​also ​a ​co-founder ​of ​the For ​the ​People ​Artists ​Collective.

A Blessing

How the Stars Get in Your Bones
A Blessing for Women’s Christmas
Sapphire, diamond, emerald, quartz:
think of every hard thing
that carries its own brilliance,
shining with the luster that comes
only from uncountable ages
in the earth, in the dark,
buried beneath unimaginable weight,
bearing what seemed impossible,
bearing it still.

And you, shouldering the grief
you had thought so solid, so impermeable,
the terrible anguish
you carried as a burden
now become—
who can say what day it happened?—
a beginning.

See how the sorrow in you
slowly makes its own light,
how it conjures its own fire.

See how radiant
even your despair has become
in the grace of that sun.

Did you think this would happen
by holding the weight of the world,
by giving in to the press of sadness
and time?

I tell you, this blazing in you—
it does not come by choosing
the most difficult way, the most daunting;
it does not come by the sheer force
of your will.

It comes from the helpless place in you
that, despite all, cannot help but hope,
the part of you that does not know
how not to keep turning
toward this world,
to keep turning your face
toward this sky,
to keep turning your heart
toward this unendurable earth,
knowing your heart will break
but turning it still.

I tell you,
this is how the stars
get in your bones.

This is how the brightness
makes a home in you,
as you open to the hope that burnishes
every fractured thing it finds
and sets it shimmering,
a generous light that will not cease,
no matter how deep the darkness grows,
no matter how long the night becomes.

Still, still, still
the secret of secrets
keeps turning in you,
becoming beautiful,
becoming blessed,
kindling the luminous way
by which you will emerge,
carrying your shattered heart
like a constellation within you,
singing to the day
that will not fail to come.
—Jan Richardson

A ​Reading

Below ​you’ll ​find ​an ​excerpt ​from ​a ​sermon ​by ​Martin ​Luther ​King ​Jr. ​Here, ​King ​writes ​about our ​call ​to ​be ​Transformed ​Nonconformists ​which ​feels ​particularly ​relevant ​today ​as ​we ​seek ​to build ​resiliency ​in ​the ​face ​of ​the ​normalization ​of ​the ​current ​administration. ​This ​is ​written ​in ​a Christian ​context, ​but ​we ​hope ​you’ll ​find ​it ​useful ​no ​matter ​your ​faith ​tradition.

After ​you ​read ​consider, ​what ​does ​being ​a ​transformed ​non-conformist ​that ​look ​like ​for ​me? What ​does ​it ​mean ​to ​be ​truly ​spiritually ​transformed ​so ​that ​my ​work ​in ​the ​world ​brings reconciliation, ​not ​further ​division?

Transformed ​Non-Conformist, ​Sermon ​by ​Martin ​Luther ​King ​Jr.

Only ​through ​an ​inner ​spiritual ​transformation ​do ​we ​gain ​the ​strength ​to ​fight ​vigorously ​the evils ​of ​the ​world ​in ​a ​humble ​and ​loving ​spirit. ​The ​transformed ​nonconformist, ​moreover, never ​yields ​to ​the ​passive ​sort ​of ​patience ​that ​is ​an ​excuse ​to ​do ​nothing. ​And ​this ​very transformation ​saves ​him ​(or ​her) ​from ​speaking ​irresponsible ​words ​that ​estrange ​without reconciling ​and ​from ​making ​hasty ​judgments ​that ​are ​blind ​to ​the ​necessity ​of ​social ​progress. (They) ​recognize ​that ​social ​change ​will ​not ​come ​overnight, ​yet ​work ​as ​though ​it ​is ​an imminent ​possibility.

This ​hour ​in ​history ​needs ​a ​dedicated ​circle ​of ​transformed ​nonconformists. ​Our ​planet ​teeters on ​the ​brink ​of ​atomic ​annihilation; ​dangerous ​passions ​of ​pride, ​hatred, ​and ​selfishness ​are enthroned ​in ​our ​lives; ​truth ​lies ​prostrate ​on ​the ​rugged ​hills ​of ​nameless ​calvaries; ​and ​men (and ​women) ​do ​reverence ​before ​false ​gods ​of ​nationalism ​and ​materialism. ​The ​saving ​of ​our world ​from ​pending ​doom ​will ​come, ​not ​through ​the ​complacent ​adjustment ​of ​the ​conforming majority, ​but ​through ​the ​creative ​maladjustment ​of ​a ​nonconforming ​minority.

Honesty ​impels ​me ​to ​admit ​that ​transformed ​nonconformity, ​which ​is ​always ​costly ​and ​never altogether ​comfortable, ​may ​mean ​walking ​through ​the ​valley ​of ​the ​shadow ​of ​suffering, ​losing a ​job, ​or ​having ​a ​six-year-old ​daughter ​ask, ​“Daddy, ​why ​do ​you ​have ​to ​go ​to ​jail ​so ​much?” But ​we ​are ​gravely ​mistaken ​to ​think ​that ​Christianity ​protects ​us ​from ​the ​pain ​and ​agony ​of mortal ​existence. ​Christianity ​has ​always ​insisted ​that ​the ​cross ​we ​bear ​precedes ​the ​crown we ​wear. ​To ​be ​a ​Christian, ​one ​must ​take ​up ​(their) ​cross, ​with ​all ​of ​its ​difficulties ​and agonizing ​and ​ tragedy-packed ​content, ​and ​carry ​it ​until ​that ​very ​cross ​leaves ​its ​marks ​upon us ​and ​redeems ​us ​to ​that ​more ​excellent ​way ​that ​comes ​only ​through ​suffering.

In ​these ​days ​of ​worldwide ​confusion, ​there ​is ​a ​dire ​need ​for ​women ​and ​men ​who ​will courageously ​do ​battle ​for ​truth. ​We ​must ​make ​a ​choice. ​Will ​we ​continue ​to ​march ​to ​the drumbeat ​of ​conformity ​and ​respectability, ​or ​will ​we, ​listening ​to ​the ​beat ​of ​a ​more ​distant drum, ​move ​to ​its ​echoing ​sounds? ​Will ​we ​march ​only ​to ​the ​music ​of ​time, ​or ​will ​we, ​risking criticism ​and ​abuse, ​march ​to ​the ​soul ​saving ​music ​of ​eternity? More ​than ​ever ​before, ​we ​are today ​challenged ​by ​the ​words ​of ​yesterday, ​’Be ​not ​conformed to ​this ​world: ​but ​be ​transformed by ​the ​renewing ​of ​your ​mind.’

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