To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true. ~ Bayard Rustin
Namaste Mindful Monday Meditators!
I have re-committed to showing up here on Mondays as each new week begins … at least until our anniversary next month! On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday holiday, I continue to review my commitments, passions, purpose and energies … as well as those of others! In particular, I want to honor an amazing human today, one that stood beside and behind Dr. King. I was educated this morning from my Children’s Music Network email list colleagues about the life of Bayard Rustin. I humbly admit that unfortunately I hadn’t heard of him before and maybe you haven’t either … If you read this blog, you may recall my writing of dramatic scenes for Jr. High Drama last fall, The Reconstructionists, which included a scene with Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks. Colvin was the teenager who refused to give up her seat on the bus and paved the way for Parks and the planned Montgomery bus boycott. When Bayard Rustin was called in to help support and champion the boycott, he brought with him the principles of non-violence ~ to the movement and to Dr. King himself. Reportedly, prior to Rustin’s influence, King had guns at his home as well as armed guards. Bayard Rustin convinced King and other boycott leaders that the Gandhian principles of non-violence were the right course of action. Rustin was raised a Quaker and did not believe in violence or war.
I am a Quaker. And as everyone knows, Quakers, for 300 years, have, on conscientious ground, been against participating in war. I was sentenced to three years in federal prison because I could not religiously and conscientiously accept killing my fellow man. ~ Bayard Rustin
This unsung hero brought his conscientious courage and peaceful teachings to a movement that undoubtedly changed countless lives. He was the man credited with organizing the March On Washington. And when a number of ministers wanted him removed from the staff due to his open homosexuality, King was among the ones who made sure he was retained. Yes this brave man battled segregation on multiple levels. And his response was always peaceful action. My activism did not spring from my being gay, or, for that matter, from being black. Rather, it is rooted fundamentally in my Quaker upbringing and the values that were instilled in me by my grandparents who reared me. ~ Bayard Rustin He was a man of God who followed God, no matter what. No matter what limitations were placed on him by a racist and homophobic society ~ that unfortunately still exists today ~ this beautiful being of peace, light & Love in action spoke and acted with his heart for the highest good of all.
The proof that one truly believes is in action. ~ Bayard Rustin
And so it is that this week’s mindful musings honor a mostly silent one from history. We readily embrace the beauty of Dr. King on this holiday yet what of the boundless beauty of the influences of the untold hero Rustin?! In this mindful moment, it is Bayard Rustin who inspires me to keep showing up for the callings of my heart, to keep seeing with eyes of beauty & Love all that is before me as mine to do ~ and to reach for whatever conscience, courage, dedication, devotion & discipline that my own callings require of me. For my own work might be seen as trivial pursuit juxtaposed to the Civil Rights Movement, I consider to be under the direction of my holy, sacred presence of Love ~ God, by any name. I thereby lay down my own inner battles and embrace my life with deep Love and gratitude ~ war no more! Thank you Bayard Rustin!
War is wrong. Conscription for war is inconsistent with freedom of conscience, which is not merely the right to believe but to act on the degree of truth that one receives, to follow a vocation which is God-inspired and God-directed. ~ Bayard Rustin
Last week’s Mindful Meditation Invitation was to see what we could free up inside us & all around us by embracing it as beauty ~ through seeing the inspiration of others, like Rustin, I am more able to fully embrace my own beauty. What about you? For this week’s Mindful Meditation Invitation then, let’s let our conscience show us beauty ~ even and especially if it requires courage to see it!
My other invitation for you this week is to sign up for a free Leaping Literacy Library Card and explore the Free Shelf of offerings; Laurie StorEBooks with stacks, snakes & birthday cake as well as mindful matters multi-media videos and songs exploring beauty and Vision Boards! I am continuing to dance with the divine as I sort though our offerings and how to present them as the gift they are! I am aligned with Love as my guiding principle and ever grateful for the Love filled presence of you ~ you are a gift! And I am grateful. Namaste, Love!
The principal factors which influenced my life are 1) nonviolent tactics; 2) constitutional means; 3) democratic procedures; 4) respect for human personality; 5) a belief that all people are one. ~ Bayard Rustin