We are being called to a place of courage.  As we contemplate the state of the world at the beginning of 2013, there are so many dimensions that are deeply troubling.  Fear is rampant in our country, our communities and our own hearts.

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers."  As this aphorism suggests, courage is not the absence of fear, but going beyond it.  Chogyam Trungpa talks about this concept in Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior:

In order to experience fearlessness, it is necessary to experience fear.  The essence of cowardice is not acknowledging the reality of fear... Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness.  If we look into our fear, if we look beneath its veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness.  Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating, all the time.  When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle.  Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear... That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship. (pp.47-9)

Let us encourage one another in our dialogue this week.   Let us embrace our fears and rise above them. As Meg Wheatley urges us in So Far from Home, let us:

  • discover our right work and be happy to be engaged in it
  • refrain from adding to the aggression, fear and confusion of this time
  • stay present to the world as it is, with open minds and hearts, knowing this nourishes our gentleness, decency and bravery.

As always, our conversation here in Occupy Cafe takes place on this forum as well as our three Cafe Calls (times and registration links on the right side of this page).  Please join us in any way that you wish.  You are invited to start here by sharing a story about a time when you acknowledged and went beyond your fears.

This week on Occupy Heart, we'll explore shifting our body and mind from fear to Love.  Fear is a signal from our environment that a threat is immanent.  What makes our fear mechanism so complex, is that past fear messages are often mixed and mingled with present fears and subconscious fears are tangled with conscious fears.  The key to powerful living is to understand the difference and know how to dance with and transform them.

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I offer no fiction but the reflection of the commitment of a friend and colleague who died far away from home.

It was prompted by the tragedy af Newtown CT. Courage, that is moral courage, trust and compassion are what is needed to build Love over Violence.



I still like love you, Brother Jerry!

From Cainan Asbury, who will be our "conversation starter" on Monday's Cafe Call:

Can't You See the Mighty Warrior?

How often you ask,

What is my path?

What is my cure?

He has made you a seeker of Unity,

isn't that enough?

All your sorrow exists for one reason-

that you may end sorrow forever.

The desire to know your own soul

will end all other desires.

The smell of bread has reached you-

if that aroma fills you with delight

what need is there for bread?

If you have fallen in love,

that love is proof enough;

If you have not fallen in love,

what good is all your proof?

Can't you see?-

If you are not the King

what meaning is there

in a kingly entourage?

If the beautiful one is not inside you

what is that light

hidden under your cloak?

From a distance you tremble with fear-

Can't you see the mighty warrior

standing ready in your heart?

The fire of his eyes

has burned away every veil,

So why do you remain behind the curtain,

scared of what you cannot see? -

Open your eyes!  The Beloved is staring you right in the face!

If a master has not placed

His light in your heart,

What joy can you find in this world?-

every flower is lifeless,

and sweet wine has no taste.


(A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi, versions by Jonathan Star)

We became partners in Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion. This video is also embedded in my response above.


"Anthem" (by Leonard Cohen)

The birds they sang 
at the break of day 
Start again 
I heard them say 
Don't dwell on what 
has passed away 
or what is yet to be. 
Ah the wars they will 
be fought again 
The holy dove 
She will be caught again 
bought and sold 
and bought again 
the dove is never free. 

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 

We asked for signs 
the signs were sent: 
the birth betrayed 
the marriage spent 
Yeah the widowhood 
of every government -- 
signs for all to see. 

I can't run no more 
with that lawless crowd 
while the killers in high places 
say their prayers out loud. 
But they've summoned, they've summoned up 
a thundercloud 
and they're going to hear from me. 

Ring the bells that still can ring ... 

You can add up the parts 
but you won't have the sum 
You can strike up the march, 
there is no drum 
Every heart, every heart 
to love will come 
but like a refugee. 

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack, a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack, a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in. 
That's how the light gets in. 
That's how the light gets in.

Emotional contradiction re Newtown being center of Universe.  There are injustices and atrocities happening all over the world that are "equal to" or "greater than" what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Expression of concern that "we" didn't get to do an appreciative inquiry around closing Occupy Cafe.

Using pain and fear as pathway to courage.  Began talking about fear and pain and then moved into the challenge of relationships between men and women...wondered which gender was associated with which word.

But by going towards "it", we can heal.

Thanks to Cainan for personal story that embodies the kinds of relationships that distinguish Occupy Cafe call from other calls....that we're able to cover the deep territory...the real stuff.  Maybe it's the kind of people we are?  The stories make the dialogue so genuine.  Is that courage?  Don't know, don't care.  If that's what it takes to make the dialogue authentic.

Reference to M. Scott Peck and book The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace.  Courage is to invite the "other" to one's self  "in".  Go to what is different.  Becoming and being authentic is the courage. 

History is written in maps...and boy/girl  have the maps of history changed over time...written by people who needed a representation of "their" conquered space...we have our internal maps as well.

Tom Brown, Awakening Spirit quote: (Cainan please fill in)

It is from the pure mind that...

And it is pure belief...

Thank you Heather!

Part 2 of final Harvest 1/07/13  (please exercise forgiveness... then correct and embellish with 'reply')

Sam:  Searching for a higher quality of courage, to share with each other... courage comes from community, like from OCafe.  I think its coming.

Heather:  Authenticity & courage... first must show up and be visible.  Common coping strategy is to be invisible to be safe.  Adults needed to be seen so children could be safe (i.e. teachers in Sandy Hook who saved kids by sacrificing themselves).  I don't know how I've been able to show up and be authentic ... but I do,  this and OCafe has helped me so much to do this! 

Ben:  Heather, "...you are such a vital part of the Cafe... you have been the heart and soul of the Cafe."

Jerry:  When my wife & I fight, we don't fight over things that are real.  It's like shadow boxing.  Never hurting anyone, never.  Diverting attention... OCafe is a place of healing, while we delve into deep troubles while never getting hurt.

Ben:  Read the lyrics of Anthem, by Lenard Cohen,  "Ring the Bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There's a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in" (see above).

Jerry: do you want to say something about how you see this relating to our theme of a time for courage?  I could take a stab at it, but since you posted it here, I thought I'd invite your own words first!

Daniel mentioned the fact that we (apparently) never had any Tea Partiers in our midst here in the Cafe.  Just saw this post to the Occupy Everywhere forum on LinkedIn:

We the people of the tea party and occupy movement need to unite in a solidarity movement committed to bringing about systemic change through a non-violent, legal velvet revolution whose time has come

Please visit the Center for Economic and Social Justice at http://www.cesj.org and open your mind to new ideas. We do not have to accept things the way they are. There is a better and just third way.

It takes some courage to choose to engage with folks from the "opposite side" of the political spectrum.  Although I also see some overlap in the beliefs of many Occupiers and many Tea Partiers, around such things as the Fed, NDAA, getting money out of politics, etc.

Here's a story of courageous people in Israel and Iran (h/t Gavin Preis).  Watching this video brought tears of joy to my eyes!



Weekly Cafe Calls

Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

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