Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009 NPYM Annual Sessions: John Calvi

Notes from John Calvi's plenary talk

Our theme for Annual Sessions was, "Experiencing Light in Hard Times: How Do We Stay Faithful in Times of Trouble?"

italics = my thoughts as I was taking notes

  • "maybe faith is an aspect of our response to trouble" (when experiencing injustice, danger)
  • "[trust Allah] but tie your camel" --> practical work, practical support
  • how maintain cxn to Divine?
  • "when trouble comes, can we still be working in the love?"
  • "can we be creative when trouble comes?"
  • my responses to crisis/trouble:
  • when trouble comes from w/out my community, can stand w/community support
  • from w/in my community: that isolation replicates the isolation of early trauma
  • --> trauma separates and isolates us from community
  • MFW as soaking in the silence and stillness ("like a bathtub"), "asking to be washed in Light," "ground opening beneath us"
  • "Quakerism, as one of the mystic religions, is a somatic experience, is something we feel in our bodies"
  • "is is a burden to dislike someone"
  • sometimes we enjoy it, and "that's pathology"
  • "sometimes we can hug someone and say, 'when i am angry at you, i miss you' "
  • "now there are some people who have been very wounded by christianity... b/c there are some aspects of christianity which are very mean"
  • "we cannot blame christianity on jesus"
  • encourages folks who have been wounded by christianity to become familiar with the teachings of jesus
  • and folks who experience jesus need to share that in ways that "don't bump up against those wounds"
  • "now these look like opposites, but these are Friends dancing together"
  • difference between knowing and believing
  • is "your respect for other people spiralling upward or spiralling downward?"
  • if you know how things are constructed and someone shares other experience, increased disrespect for them
  • if you believe: open to continuing revelation; can listen w/respect
  • i know my experience, but not others' --> different kind of knowing
  • what is your response to pain? how is that different from that of people around you?
  • "i find that if i cry about 2 hours a week, i can keep even"
  • "what are the circumstances under which you allow yourself to cry?"
  • how has that changed, is changing, changes with different kinds of pain?
  • it's okay to cry for the pain of others which you experience (remember this)
  • "what brings you back" to your deepest wisdom, experiencing guidance, etc?
  • --> ask for that
  • trouble and pain have a function, "and that function is learning"
  • understanding it moves it to wisdom
  • --> lessens the intensity
  • --> break the pieces down so there can be some learning
  • no learning, it remains pain, trouble, conflict
  • as Friends, we have a duty to come to that pinnacle where we are in awe of creation
  • where we can look at the most wonderful and horrible
  • "we can't always see where our love goes and what it accomplishes"
  • --> "no love is ever wasted"
  • "feeling that anger is very important"
  • "anger needs to be given its place and respected"
  • "i have to balance the anger so it doesn't obstruct my love or the Light that's been given me"

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