Barbra Brady

Extremists for Grace, Extremists for Love: A Radical Step for the Occupy Movement

In Today's Practice on October 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm

The energy that is percolating around Occupy Wall Street is magnetic. It is expansive, it pulsates, is alive with a vibrant expression that cannot be contained. Wow. That sounds eerily, spookily like…Love.

What if the most radical thing about Occupy Wall Street is the power of love? Love as passionas a call to rise to take critical care of all we hold dear? It is the power of intention that brews in our very being, erupting into a Nothing can stop meaction. Love was the radical power in St. Francis, that crazy wild man of God, when he invited us to become extremists for grace, extremists for love.

In Occupy Wall Street, (OWS) and the spreading Occupation, action is being taken, alright, from sea to taken-advantage-of sea. If you’ve been reading my posts of late, you know that when it comes to feeling the darts of scarcity, unemployment, no health insurance, and my home up for grabs, I’ve got a beef or twoI’m a veritable carnivore. I have harbored a radical in my soul since the days of hippies, Yippies, and the Chicago Seven (I was way too young to be there, but I was mad for them), and now Occupy looks like my chance to be a part. In San Francisco, no less. Gentle Readers, when I do go to sit, chant, or march, I plan to leave my heart in San Francisco.

You see, in addition to feeling a direct hit from what caused OWS, I recently read a post on Yoga Set Free that inspired another spark in me. In it, author and yoga teacher Anne Jablonski urges:

Occupy your heart

“Anger is exhausting. And depleting. Love is not…When we look into another pair of eyes, if all we’re determined to see is someone who is wrong, whose behavior and actions we abhor, who is ‘other,’ then that’s all we’re going to see.  And that’s all they’re going to see us seeing.  But if we take a little leap of faith to ask, “Is there something else going on? Is there love here?”  Then a whole new paradigm becomes possible.”

Creative Commons License photo credit: ruurmo

I believe it is not through the blind ambition of anger that we find a wide open path to resolution. It is not through gazing through rose-colored glasses at our navels that we see our way to change what no longer works. It is through a courageous merging of the power of love with what spurs our soul. It is through what feminist theologist Sharon D. Welch, calls “sheer holy boldness.

Sheer, holy boldness. I first read those three huge words in grad school, nearly 20 years ago, and their grip has never let me go. In the deepest, darkest night of the soul, Welch’s words cradled me, dried my tears, and reassured me that while I may at times feel “sheer” and fragile, if I relax and let myself feel my inherent holinessI am all bold. 

Eve Ensler writes on Huffington Post: “Occupy Wall Street is a work of art, exploding onto a canvas in search of form, in search of an image, a vision.”  Think about it: a work of art. Action + imagination is the surest way I know to occupy my heart with its most precious residents.

The creative process is infinitely fertile, fecund.  It was a muse when Deepak Chopra  lead a meditation for Occupy Wall Street, posted on Occupy Within: a Movement in Awakening:

“Ask yourself internally, what kind of world do I want to live in? And listen. And now ask yourself, How can I make that happen from a place of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity? Simple anger will only perpetuate what already is out there. It was created by greed and fear. We have to go beyond that and come from a place of compassion, centered equanimity, and creativity.”

It is radically important that we get quiet and listen to the “messengers” that tell us what kind of world we want to live in. There is an amazing power in being still enough to hear the messages. And when we do, we may become a holy vessel. The heart. I can think of nothing else big enough to contain the sum total of shakti (power) that is our potential. And that, is radical.

Our minds will not be still until we take the time to listen, and respond to the pleading, sometimes pounding, messages that beat in our souls. What messages occupy your heart, and what practices do you devote to the messenger?

First published on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: