What are the qualities that you want to cultivate in yourself these next several months? At East Shore, we believe that how we do anything is how we do everything. Now, we’re not always consistent, routine people, though some of may be, and some of us may be less so. What that means is we are what we do, we become what we are practicing. It’s kind of like the whole “fake it till you make it” expression. If we practice doing something from a feeling of appreciation, we might, slowly and more and more, feel that appreciation within ourselves. If we practice being angry and picking fights, we might just end up feeling that way more than we hoped.
So, what is all this saying? How do we “fake it till we make it”, so that the qualities we really want to show up with in the world fill us up so much that they spill over, into our lives and our relationships, with ourselves, our kids, and our families? What are the qualities that you want, and need, to cultivate in yourself these next several months? For me, I just checked out the library book, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, by renowned Vietnamese expat, Thich Naht Hahn. I’m a firey spirit, and in a world filled with injustices, it’s all too easy to practice upheaval over foundation laying.
In our RE classes and programs at East Shore, we incorporate UU values, and not even just the 7 principles. Those principles came about by people organizing and collecting top ideas, and then voting on what should and shouldn’t be included. But, you know what? There were voices and priorities left out. And for the last couple of years, there’s been a movement within Unitarian Universalism to create an 8th Principle: Build the beloved community, free from racism and oppression. And this week in RE, we’re going to focus on learning and understanding what that principles really means. For the next 7 weeks, we’ll look at contemporary and historical stories, we’ll sign songs, practice meditation, journal and draw, and do imaginative journey’s into a world where the 8th Principle is what we practice, day in and day out, because that will be what we need to do to make it.
In our RE classes, we don’t just want the kids to listen to the stories we tell, for example, without reflecting on the good and bad qualities of the content and characters: who was (or wasn’t) depicted, what were they struggling with, how it relates to our lives today, and what golden nugget can we learn. We put on our inquisitive lenses, we cultivate curious minds and loving, courageous hearts. We know that understanding Unitarian Universalism isn’t easy, and that we’re not dogmatic or evangelical people. And yet, I know we care deeply about the work we are doing in our homes and our congregation to raise ethical and unique kids. How we show up for ourselves will in turn, be reflected in how we show up for the world around us. How we do something, is how we do everything.
With Love and Open Arms,
amanda alice, Director of Religious Education