Positivity – day 5, circles of sanctuary

Dear President Trump,

Yesterday morning a heron fly over our house. I think it was going from the urban lake near us (Green Lake) to the much larger lake to the East (Lake Washington), from one sanctuary to another. When I go to Green Lake early in the morning, I’ll often see a heron standing in the water near the inflow pipe and when we walk near Lake Washington we’ll see them in the still water by the shore, but it was a real treat to see one flying overhead. We have lots of crows and fortunately still a good number of robins, chickadees, and hummingbirds in our neighborhood. We also see bald eagles and hawks pretty often. They are all beautiful positives I want to share with you today (though I hope the crows have forgotten their strong dislike of me from last year and will let me walk and run in peace in the mornings).

For the next several weeks (and probably months and years), our congregation is focusing on sanctuary. On the way home from church I was thinking about how the loving-kindness meditation I send you every day speaks to the necessary ingredients for sanctuary in that it invokes intentions for safety, happiness, health, and peace. When sanctuary is fully realized I think it is a space where it is safe to be ourselves and to live out loud, it is a space where we have access to happiness, contentment, silliness, and joy, it is a space where we can take good care of ourselves and each others’ health, it is a space where one can count on peace and love even when there is disagreement. Such spaces take work to create and to maintain, especially when we don’t all see eye to eye. Maybe it is most realistic to think of concentric circles of sanctuary such that the innermost one is with oneself (feeling safe, happy, healthy, and at peace with oneself), then with family and close friends, then with neighbors and acquaintances, strangers near, strangers far, and then those who we might currently see as enemies. The world would be an amazing place if we could radiate safety, happiness, health, and peace through all those layers with each person’s core sense of well-being overlapping and strengthening every other person’s. The Buddha enjoined us to believe this is possible and so did Jesus and both challenged us to live as if it were already true.

In that spirit,

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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