Decenter and Receive

IMG_20200623_131834The question of how to address racial justice with kids is huge in my mind, at all times but especially now as the marathon of justice work continues. It is clear to me that the seven (+ proposed 8th) Unitarian Universalist Principles call us to include children in racial justice work.

(I must note again that the ability to choose whether or not to talk about racial justice — as an idea and not an experience — is a privilege. Many BIPOC families have been addressing racial justice with their kids for years out of necessity.)

We know that racial justice is complex. And huge. And daunting. So too are other questions we expect UU children to consider: What do you believe about God? Why do good/bad things happen? What does Unitarian Universalism call you to do?

UU children explore those questions through stories, reflection, and community, supported by UU Principles. 

Approach racial justice in the same way. As you share stories, reflect, and turn to the Principles together, add the practice of decentering.

The practice of decentering is particularly relevant to White people and IPOC as we affirm loudly and unflinchingly the absolute truth that Black lives matter. This is a practice we are called to by the fourth Principle: “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”

Try this with your kids at home. Pick a story to share together. Before you begin, follow this short meditation.

Get comfortable in your space and take a few deep breaths.
Hold both hands out in front of you, palms up. Imagine that you are holding everything that you know in your two hands. Feel the weight of everything that you know pressing against your palms.
Sit with that weight for a moment.
When you are ready, carefully gather everything that you know into one of your hands, leaving the other empty. Close the fingers of your one hand around everything that you know. Keep it safe there.
Feel the emptiness of your other hand, palm open, ready to receive this new story.

Invite your child to keep their hands in that position — one holding everything they know and the other open to receive — as you share the story together.

When you’re finished taking in the story, take another deep breath together. Invite your child to silently notice their reaction to the story, and to hold that reaction inside for a moment.

Then, answer together: How does this story feel, received in your open hand?

It takes practice to set aside your own thoughts and emotions. It takes practice to listen deeply not as a prerequisite to response but as a means to connect with diverse and beautiful truths. This practice is sacred. Do it together, do it often.


Support this and other anti-racist UU work here.

Garden Meditations

garden meditations

It is this time of year that I suddenly morph into a morning person. As the days begin to allow for daylight in the hours before my children awake, I find myself eager to slip into my most trashed pair of jeans, strap on my rain boots, grab my garden gloves and coffee mug, and head outside to become better acquainted with the dirt (mud!), plants, and creatures that surround the place I call home.

Each morning, I settle into my sacred space outdoors, and I attend to the tasks at hand while I begin my garden meditations:

As I breathe in the fresh morning air,

I feel connected;

Reminding me that I am a part of something so much larger than myself.

As I turn the soil,

I wonder what the sudden disruption of space means for the worms,

the plants,

the air.

As I gently sow the seeds,

I imagine the lifeforms that may have inhabited this space before I,

And I wonder if I am the first to work this land.

As I harvest the vegetables,

I am in awe of the power of the seed, the water, the sun

And I am thankful to our planet and all the gifts it provides.

Earth, I am connected to your beautiful perfections and imperfections;

A gentle reminder that uniformity is not needed in all things;

For it is in variety that we find harmony.

Each breath I take energizes me;

Life is present in every molecule that enters my body.

May this energy flow through my veins and enter back into the earth with every move I make,

With love,

With diligence,

With intention.

Blessed be.