April 2021 WATERritual

Finding Healing and Renewing Resilience

By Diann L. Neu and Anali N. Martin

Listen to the audio of our April 2021 WATERritual here.

Preparation: Have with you a candle, matches/lighter, and a length of red thread. 

Call to Gather

Welcome to this WATERritual, “Finding Healing and Renewing Resilience.” Our world desperately needs healing. We are in a time of world pandemonium: people with guns out of control, governmental and cultural fracturing, apocalyptic climate events, and a global pandemic. We need Resilience: a survival skill; everyone stretching their resilience muscles, oftentimes working them to an exhausting degree. We are tired, we are worn down, and yet we remain resilient.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month, and while we gather today in grief to remember all victims and survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence, we also gather to call forth the power of resilience and healing. We gather because we are a community that can heal and build resilience together.

We remember Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and Paul Andre Michels and their loved ones today. We recognize the white supremacy and hatred that caused their deaths, and the violence that occurs daily against people of color.

We gather to affirm that those who have been victims of violence and abuse are worthy of love and healing. We are each created worthy; we are created in love. We are each worthy of love.

To be resilient is to hold many truths simultaneously—to keep fighting and to allow yourself to rest, to be courageous and to be humble, to be strong-willed and to be flexible, to be reflective and to not stay silent in the face of patterns of violence. We are here to hold these dualities carefully; to remember strength, perseverance, vulnerability, and to call on our community and Wisdom Sophia to hold us up when we weaken.

Song: “Listen to the Voices” by Holly Near with Emma’s Revolution from We Came to Sing!

Listen to the voices of the first nations (x2)
Calling out the messages of the Earth and sky
Telling us what we need to know in order to survive
Listen to the voices of the first nations

Listen to the voices of the old women (x2)
Calling out the messages of the moon and sea
Telling us what we need to know in order to be free
Listen to the voices of the old women

Listen to the voices of the young children (x2)
Calling out the messages of the heart and soul
Telling us what we used to know before the lies were told
Listen to the voices of the young children

Listen to the voices of young children
Listen to the voices of the old women
Listen to the voices of the first nations
Listen to the voices of the living

Prayer for Healing: Adapted from and inspired by “Healing More or Less” by Jim Cotter in ONE for Christian Renewal, No. 1: 1998; and Working Together Vol. 17 No. 3 from the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence

We come broken—looking for mending—and tired—looking for relief.
From wearisome pain,
 Healing Spirit, set us free.

We are angry at the violation of our cores. We look for answers and for justice.
From the sharp sword of violation,
 Healing Spirit, set us free.

We want to be heard, to be accepted, despite the hurt we hold in our hearts.
From burdens too great to bear,
 Healing Spirit, set us free.

We are wary, our trust shattered, our walls built high around ourselves.
From pride, greed, and bitterness,
 Healing Spirit, set us free.

We find ourselves in a world of immeasurable loss and countless unknowns.
From fearful memories, anxiety, and dread about the future,
 Healing Spirit, set us free.

We are alienated from our souls, from who we were, from our bodies, from each other. We long for integration
From places of loneliness and isolation,
 Healing Spirit, set us free.

We long for hope and faith in better things. Remind us of our strength of being.
From the depths of despair,
 Healing Spirit, set us free.

Solo Refrain: Listen to the voices of suffering women.

Reading: “Optimism” by Jane Hirshfield from Each Happiness Ringed by Lions: Selected Poems

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs—all this resinous, unretractable Earth.

Solo Refrain: Listen to the voices of the young children.

Reading: “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers – (314)” by Emily Dickinson from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, The Belknap Press

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Solo Refrain: Listen to the voices of the old women.

Reading: “Don’t Hesitate” by Mary Oliver from Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case.
Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Solo Refrain: Listen to the voices of the living.

A Red Thread adapted from Ecumenical Decade, Churches in Solidarity with Women, 1988-1998, World Council of Churches

If available to you, tie a red thread around your wrist or spool it around your finger.

This red thread (show it) connects us to

The Blood of Women
 Raped, beaten, sexually abused, imprisoned, molested as children, wounded from self-harm, run dry from starvation, victims of war, punished for speaking out and defending themselves and others’ rights

The Blood of Earth
 Who suffers when anyone suffers, who bears the brunt of our consumption and greed

The Blood of Birthing and Life
 For all who hope in creation and transformation

The Blood in Our Veins
 The power of our hearts pumping life through our bodies

A Red Thread Connecting Us All
 To insist that the suffering must cease in our homes, in our workplaces, in our streets, in our communities and places of worship, in our world

Song: “Song of the Soul” by Cris Williamson, paintings by Gilbert Williams

Open mine eyes
That I may see
Glimpses of truth
Thou hast for me
Open mine eyes
Illumine me
Spirit Divine

Love of my life
I am crying
I am not dying
I am dancing
Dancing along in the madness
There is no sadness
Only a song of the soul

Chorus: And we’ll sing this song
  Why don’t you sing along?
  And we can sing for a long, long time
  Why don’t you sing this song?
  Why don’t you sing along?
  And we can sing for a long, long time

What do you do for your living?
Are you forgiving, giving shelter?
Follow your heart
Love will find you
Truth will unbind you
Seek out a song of the soul

Chorus

Come to your life like a warrior
Nothing will bore you
You can be happy
Let in the light
It will heal you
And you can feel you
And sing out a song of the soul

Chorus

Love of my life
I am crying
I am not dying
I am dancing
Dancing along in the madness
There is no sadness
Only a song of the soul

Chorus


Reflection Questions

To be resilient is to keep fighting and to allow yourself to rest, to be courageous and to be humble, to be strong-willed and to be flexible, to be reflective and to not stay silent in the face of patterns of violence. How are you cultivating resilience? How are you healing?


Candle Lighting Prayer

Let us each light a candle as a way of inviting the Spirit, Wisdom Sophia, to be with us now. Lighting.

Safeguarding One, you feel our pain from inner wounds. Keep protection near and danger afar.
 Be with us now and always.

Compassionate One, you see us working hard speaking truth to power. Keep strength near and injustice afar.
 Be with us now and always.

Healing One, you know we are growing tired. Keep hope within, keep doubt without.
 Be with us now and always.

Loving One, you remind us we are not alone. Keep peace within, keep violence out.
 Be with us now and always.


Take Action towards Healing and Resilience

  • As we work against white supremacy, let’s stand in solidarity with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders communities against both the broadcasted acts of physical violence and the increase of hate during the pandemic.
    • “The scourge of racism in the US against BIPOC can’t be ignored. Its tentacles have been embedded in the fabric of this country for over 450 years. We must demand accountability from those institutions whose racist policies continue to hold us in their grip. Together we will lead the movement and push for the changes we need to live in peace without the threat of racist violence.” –The Resilient Sisterhood Project
  • Take a self-care day; listen to your body, mind, and soul, and give yourself a chance to recharge. Self-care looks different for everyone; whatever your method, show yourself and your body compassion, kindness, and gratitude.
  • Practice the building blocks of resilience: Mindfulness, Courage, Perseverance, Flexibility, Reframing, Creativity, Realistic Optimism and Hope, Physical activity, Spirituality. From Building Resilience: When There’s No Going Back to the Way Things Were by Alice Updike Scannell
  • Find a way to process and express your thoughts and emotions: Keep a journal, write a letter to a trusted friend, create an artistic piece, talk with a therapist/counselor/spiritual director.

Sending Forth – Protecting and Recovering our Light adapted from Surviving Assault: Words that Rock & Quiet & Tell the Truth by Diana Tokaji

Let us go forth from this place
Grounded in our forces of strength, courage, positive rage, passion, and power;
Strengthened in our belief in our wisdom and in our belief in our ability to prevail;
Committed to breaking the silence and cycles of violence,
And united in claiming our healing power.
As we walk through shadows, we draw on our awareness of
 the presence of beauty,
 the gift of one another,
 the timelessness of wisdom,
 and the tenderness of fond memories.


Song: “Blessing Song” by Miriam Therese Winter, art by Luz Frye

May the blessing of God go before you.

May Her grace and peace abound.

May Her Spirit live within you.

May Her love wrap you ’round.

May Her blessing remain with you always.

May you walk on holy ground.


Other Resources:

  • RAIN: A Practice of Radical Compassion by Tara Brach —Recognize what is going on; Allow the experience to be there, just as it is; Investigate with interest and care; Nurture with self-compassion.
  • Surviving Assault: Words that Rock & Quiet & Tell the Truth by Diana Tokaji (Root to Rise, 2019, available here on Amazon)
  • Building Resilience: When There’s No Going Back to the Way Things Were by Alice Updike Scannell (Morehouse Publishing, 2020, available here on Amazon)

ⓒ 2021 WATER, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, planned by Anali N. Martin and Diann L. Neu