Something to Inspire

Photo by Tessa K on

“Curiosity involves being gentle, precise, and open—actually being able to let go and open. Gentleness is a sense of goodheartedness toward ourselves. Precision is being able to see clearly, not being afraid to see what’s really there. Openness is being able to let go and to open. When you come to have this kind of honesty, gentleness, and good-heartedness, combined with clarity about yourself, there’s no obstacle to feeling loving-kindness for others as well.”

Excerpted from: Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion by Pema Chödrön

Listen List: Anna Sum, “Different Than Before”

Amanda Sum’s ‘Different Than Before’ takes home the 2023 Music Video Jury Award at SXSW. Directed/Written by Mayumi Yoshida, the music video stars Tzi Ma and Olivia Cheng. It was selected as Vimeo Staff Pick and won Best Music Video at the 45th annual Asian American International Film Festival in New York City, among selections at HollyShorts Film Festival and Aesthetica Short Film Festival (a BAFTA qualifying festival).

Something to Inspire

Photo by Pixabay on

“If right now our emotional reaction to seeing a certain person or hearing certain news is to fly into a rage or to get despondent or something equally extreme, it’s because we have been cultivating that particular habit for a very long time. But as my teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, we can approach our lives as an experiment. In the next moment, in the next hour, we could choose to stop, to slow down, to be still for a few seconds. We could experiment with interrupting the usual chain reaction and not spin off in the usual way. We don’t need to blame someone else, and we don’t need to blame ourselves. When we’re in a tight spot, we can experiment with not strengthening the aggression habit and see what happens.

Excerpted from: Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chödrön,

Assume Nothing

Photo by Ivy Son on

I create stories. I create stories about peoples’ intentions. I create stories about why things happen. I assume that I know the truth. This is a very human trait. It is the way our brains are wired: to make meaning out of chaos and confusion. But the reality is this is not ‘the truth.’ It is a perspective. It is a story. A concept knit together from fragments of information and weak assumptions. Rather than being helpful, it creates issues and causes harm.

I recently began to pay attention to this habit. I became an observer of the pattern. I started to ask myself some questions. What if I stop making assumptions and start allowing the discomfort of the unknown? What if I lean into curiosity and ask more questions? What if I invite difficult conversations and listen intently? What if I speak truthfully and allow for vulnerability? What if I refrain from analysis until I possess facts instead of guesses? What could that look like? I believe it could be absolutely transformative.

Heart Centered Learning: Cobalt Red

Cobalt Red is the first-ever exposé of the immense toll taken on the people and environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by cobalt mining: as told through the testimonies of the Congolese people themselves. Activist and researcher Siddharth Kara has traveled deep into cobalt territory to document the testimonies of the people living, working, and dying for cobalt. To uncover the truth about brutal mining practices, Kara investigated militia-controlled mining areas, traced the supply chain of child-mined cobalt from toxic pit to consumer-facing tech giants, and gathered shocking testimonies of people who endure immense suffering and even die mining cobalt.

Cobalt is an essential component to every lithium-ion rechargeable battery made today: the batteries that power our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and electric vehicles. Roughly 75 percent of the world’s supply of cobalt is mined in the Congo, often by peasants and children in sub-human conditions. Billions of people in the world cannot conduct their daily lives without participating in a human rights and environmental catastrophe in the Congo. In this stark and crucial book, Kara argues that we must all care about what is happening in the Congo–because we are all implicated.

Something to Inspire

Photo by Connor Danylenko on

A Franciscan Blessing

May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships
So that we may live
Deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that we may work for
Justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer from pain,
Injustice, starvation and war,
So that we may reach out our hands
To comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness
To believe we can
Make a difference in the world,
So that we can do
What others claim cannot be done.