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Heart That Breaks Open.
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Seeing the world move from one crisis to another invariably breaks our hearts. Yet, a heart can break apart or break open. As Parker Palmer writes, “The brittle heart breaks apart into a thousand shards, and takes us down as it explodes. But the supple heart breaks open and grows into greater capacity for the many forms of love. Only the supple heart can hold suffering in a way that opens to new life.”
Expanding on that theme, this month’s Sanctuary of the Heart will explore “Gifts of Grief”. Grief registers the many ways that the depth of our interconnection is exposed daily; and thus becomes a powerful practice to remember the mutuality of our sorrows and the possibility of compassion.

To join, RSVP here. We are honored to host Lily Yeh as our guest speaker, alongside a meditation by Rhonda Magee, poetry of Charles Gibbs, music of Radhika Sood Nayak, and much more!

large.jpg Lily Yeh, once described as the “Mother Teresa of community arts,” is an artist whose work aims “to spark transformation, healing and social change in places plagued by poverty, crime and despair.” On a 1989 trip to showcase her art in China, she witnessed the tragic events of Tiananmen Square and found her calling of “bringing colors” and beauty to communities plagued by a dearth of hope. That put her on a journey to initiate various organizations, write a pioneering book, receive numerous awards, and most importantly, transform many communities — from rundown areas of Philadelphia to the slums of Nairobi to a genocide site in Rwanda to the West Bank of Palestine and impoverished communities in Taiwan. Of her stunning work, she says, “It is like making fire in the frozen darkness of the winter’s night. Through the collaborative action of creating beauty we empower ourselves and others to crack open the hell gates so fresh air and sunlight can pour in.”

We invite you to join us, and help co-create this sanctuary of the heart!

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  • In a moving interview last month, Molly Jane Sturges spoke about how she learned love from serving the dying. (A beautiful song she sang: “Don’t you stop singing … don’t you stop dancing, for this whole world is healing now.”)
  • “When you can see God in all life, you will be among the happiest humans.” —Jen Trapenier‘s grandpa, as she remembered her earliest memory of compassion.
  • “I’ve remembered May 31st every single day, for the past 41 years.” —Eric Elnes, on an unsuspecting teenage day when he experienced “waves and waves of unbounded love.”
  • Okay, this isn’t one of our videos, but it totally helped us remember how people are awesome: On a Busy Street Intersection (+ Bharati’s story from Compassion Pod: Collective Rescue)
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In Shanghai, Yidan engaged in Kindergarten Kindness. It reminded us of one teacher’s brilliant strategy to address gun violence:

giphy.gif Every Friday, Chase’s fifth grade teacher asks students to write down four classmates’ names next to whom they’d like to sit the following week. They know their selections may or may not be honored. Each student also nominates one classmate, who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are submitted privately. After the 10 and 11 year-olds go home, Chase’s teacher goes through the ballots: “Who is not getting requested by anyone else? Who can’t think of anyone to request? Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated? Who had a million friends last week and none this week?”

Instead of seating chart ideas or model classmates, what this educator looks for are isolated and lonely students. “Whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers? Who is being bullied, and who is doing the bullying?” Ever since the 1999 Columbine school shooting in Colorado, U.S., Chase’s teacher has practiced this weekly exercise. From a simple weekly vote, she leans into her class’s patterns of disconnection, and finds ways to redirect them towards understanding and love.

Thank you, all, for co-creating sanctuaries of deep connection.
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