The cactus at work is in full bloom and it’s gorgeous. I took a regular photo of it but I think this watercolor version is even better.
Happy Wednesday, friends. It’s almost the weekend!
Hello and welcome to the 3rd week of our book discussion of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The coverage for this week is for chapters 12 through 16 and the epilogue. As Kym and Bonny have both explained, please join the discussion by leaving a comment here on the blog. I’ll be responding to your comments directly IN the comments, so please do check back once in a while to see how the discussion is going. Please feel free to respond to other commenters as well. We realize that this is not the most ideal discussion format and that it’s somewhat cumbersome and a little awkward but it’s the most reasonable way we could think of for our beta test and it has worked out okay the last two weeks.
So. Welcome! Let’s pretend that it’s Friday night and you’re all gathered in my living room enjoying Friday Night Snacks as we begin to discuss . . .
The book focuses primarily on the case of Walter McMillian but there are other cases presented as well, most dealing with women and juveniles. Which of those other cases were memorable for you and why? What emotions did they bring up for you? Were there any moments of satisfaction?
The title of Chapter 15 is Broken and Stevenson writes quite a bit about how we are all broken by something. The things that break us and hurt us may be different but our shared brokenness connects us. He further theorizes that hiding the most broken among us by locking them away in prison only serves to reinforce the cycle and that perhaps instead we should acknowledge our brokenness: if we owned up to our weaknesses, our deficits, our biases, our fears . . . maybe we would look harder for solutions to caring for the disabled, the abused, the neglected, and the traumatized. I had a notion that if we acknowledged our brokenness we could no longer take pride in mass incarceration, in executing people, in our deliberate indifference to the most vulnerable. If you’re comfortable, share the ways that you or those around you are broken and discuss how being vulnerable about the things that have hurt us can make the world better for everyone.
This final question is my big bold question, the one that might make some people really uncomfortable but I’m going to put it out there anyway. Stevenson concludes that there are four periods in American history that have shaped our approach to race relations and justice: slavery, the period following the collapse of Reconstruction until World War II, Jim Crow, and now mass incarceration which shows us statistically that while people of color make up 30% of the population of our country, they account for 60% of those imprisoned. What do you think about the statement that mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow? Can you think of ways that we can work against this and bring about change?
I went to bed last night without prepping a blog post for today. I was tired and, while it had been a great weekend, it hadn’t been one that included a lot of photos or stuff to tell you about. I figured I’d think of something when I got up this morning.
I woke in the middle of the night and as I was lying there I tried to think of something to blog about. I thought to myself, just two words . . . you just need two words and you know a whole post will follow from there. And for a beat nothing came to me. And then the two words came:
Yep. The two words I thought of when trying to come up with something for y’all to read today were you loser. It devolved from there.
You loser. You can’t even come up with a simple post for a Monday. You were too lazy to take pictures so you can’t share about your weekend. You’ve been doing this too long and you’re just retelling the same stale stories. Your knitting isn’t that great and yet you call this a knitting blog. And really, who cares anyway? No one blogs anymore, you’re just holding on for your own ego, no one would even notice if you stopped . . .
I could continue but you get the idea. And here’s the thing: if one of you came to me and said, ugh, I can’t think of anything to blog about, I wouldn’t call you a name. I wouldn’t suggest that you not bother because no one cares about your blog. Nope. What I would do is I would start coming up with suggestions for you. Just sit down and write, I would say. The words will come. Think about something you cooked or read, tell the story of your weekend, post a pretty picture you took and talk about why you are sharing it . . . oh, I could go on and on if I wasn’t talking to myself.
If it was you that needed help I would be kind. And that’s really my point . . . we need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others. We need to talk to ourselves the way we talk to others, with love and encouragement and compassion.
So. My post for this Monday? The lesson I need to take to heart and maybe you might to?
Talk to yourself the way you talk to the person you love most in the world.
I’m going to say right up front that I am a Reiki novice. I’ve taken Reiki I and Reiki II classes but I do not consider myself to be a Reiki practitioner – even though technically I have the training and skills to be one.
I know that Reiki is a confusing concept for people and I’ll admit that when I first heard about it – probably almost 20 years ago – I was very skeptical. It just seemed a little . . . out there. But now that I have experienced being treated with Reiki by a Reiki master and now that I have also practiced Reiki on myself and Dale, I can say that I know it works.
So, what is Reiki? The word Reiki means Universal Life Force and it’s a Japanese technique that essentially calls on the healing energy of the entire universe, and when this healing energy enters your body it stimulates your body’s innate healing capability and encourages a return to wellness. It can be used for so many things: to facilitate deep relaxation, to relieve pain, to promote healing and to enhance personal growth and more.
My experiences with Reiki are sort of personal but I can tell you that I tend to pair Reiki with my meditation practice. I don’t always do Reiki when I meditate . . . I meditate much more frequently than I practice Reiki . . . but the two definitely go hand in hand for me. I have a mantra that I say when I want to call on Reiki energy and the moment I start thinking about it my hands start to tingle and they get hot and then I go through the process. This is – and should be – unique for everyone. There’s no script or perfect way to do Reiki, the energy goes where it’s needed and it heals where it can. Sometimes when I’m finished I feel a release or a lightness of being and sometimes I don’t feel anything much at all. I think there’s a tendency, on my part at least, to over analyze the experience and I try hard to not do that, to just be open and relaxed.
Reiki has been around for a very long time but the awareness of it has grown in recent years. You can read about how Reiki is used in medicine here. Pamela Miles is very well known and has pioneered the use of Reiki in hospitals. Libby Barnett is another well known Reiki master who teaches and practices throughout New England, working with hospitals, nurses, yoga centers and more. Finally, Reiki.org is a good resource for articles on Reiki and for finding a practitioner or classes in your area.
Do you have experiences with Reiki? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.