A message from the Office of Spiritual Life (June 2020):
The murder of George Floyd along with other recent deaths of African American people at the hands of police have laid bare systemic racism and the stark structural racial inequities within our nation. We find ourselves outraged, heartbroken and discouraged. Like so many others we feel the need to speak, to connect, to reflect, to pray, and to share our grief and pain.
We believe that this is a time of reckoning, and the response of so many in our nation who have taken up the renewed call of Black Lives Matter stands as a source of hope in a time of mourning and despair.
We in the Spiritual Life Office want to acknowledge the need for racial justice and healing in our nation, our city, and our own Lewis & Clark community. While we know that racism and anti-blackness need to be eliminated, we see too many signs that it is thriving in our midst. We also know it should and can be different, and we are committed to restoring love and justice to their rightful place as the pillars of how we treat one another and live together.
We in the Spiritual Life Office are particularly committed to hope and to nurturing the kinds of spiritual wholeness and goodness that combats racism, hatred and violence. This hope lies in shared spiritual truths about love and human dignity, and we seek to join with all people of good will to create communities where decency, honesty, integrity and loving-kindness prevail.
In our own Lewis & Clark community, we uplift the importance of creating campus environments that prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion. As we seek out ways to support one another and challenge injustices, we will constantly strive to foster civility, respect, accountability, and human dignity.
Dear Lewis & Clark Community, Greetings from all of us in Spiritual Life (March 2020):
We want first to acknowledge the deep concern and uncertainty our community is experiencing with regard to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please do know that Lewis & Clark and our Spiritual Life staff are here to support you in any and every way we can. We appreciate each of you and your student groups and activities, and we celebrate the interconnectedness and interdependence of our community.
We wanted to offer these thoughts for caring for self and others in times of trouble, originally shared by Alex Kern at Northeastern University.
Some Spiritual Tools and Tips
1. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more.
Take time in your day, at any moment, to take ten deep even breaths. Carve out 5-10 minutes to meditate or practice mindfulness or contemplative prayer. Start here, now, wherever you are.
2. Ground yourself in the present moment.
Focus your awareness on something real, enduring, or beautiful in your surroundings. Look up often. Discover the wonder and awe that is already here.
3. Acknowledge your fears, anxieties, concerns.
Offer them up in prayer, if you pray. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Feel what you feel, honor it, and know that it is not the final word.
4. Remember you are not alone.
Ever. You are surrounded by care and support. Reach out.
5. Create and sustain community via checking in with a phone call, text, or a Zoom gathering.
Show up for one another. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Even while avoiding “close physical contact,” message the people you care about. Stand with those most vulnerable and those who suffer the brunt of prejudice and fear. Check in on folks. Call your mother, father, guardian, mentor, little sibling, long lost friend.
6. Unplug, judiciously.
While staying aware of developments, do not let the Corona-chaos govern you, but forgive yourself when and if it does.
7. Practice kindness.
There is a temptation in health scares to view others as potential threats. Remember we are in this together. While practicing health guidelines and appropriate caution, remember to engage one another. Smile when you can. Bring good deeds and good energy into our world.
8. Stay healthy through sleep, diet, exercise.
See healing and wellness holistically – mind, body, and spirit.
9. Make art.
Discover, imagine, engage your hopes and fears, the beauty and ugliness of our world. Write, paint, sing, dance, soar.
10. Practice gratitude.
In the face of crises, make note of the things for which you are grateful: your breath, the particular shade of the sky at dusk – or dawn. The color blue, the color green, the gifts and strengths you have, other people in your life, the ability to laugh. A pet.
11. Connect with your spiritual, religious, humanist, cultural, or other
Find strength and solace and power in traditions, texts, rituals, practices, holy times and seasons.
12. Pray as you are able, silently, through song, in readings, through
Remember the long view of history, the rhythms and cycles of nature, the invisible threads that connect us all.
13. Practice hope.
Trust in the future and our power to endure and persist, to live fully into the goodness that awaits.
Peace and blessings to you all,
The Office of Spiritual Life Staff (in alphabetical order)
Hilary Martin Himan
Anne Le Chevallier
The Office of Spiritual Life at Lewis & Clark College supports all spiritual life programs that take place on campus, and has its roots in the Presbyterian heritage of the college. Recognizing the religious and spiritual diversity of the Lewis & Clark community, the Spiritual Life staff seeks to facilitate moral and spiritual dialogue and growth in a context of mutual support.
The Spiritual Initiatives Project began in 2012, and has the core purpose of enhancing our college campus community through 1) interfaith programs, 2) contemplative life and meditation programs, and 3) justice, service and spiritual reflection programs.
An Interfaith Dialogues group encourages dialogue and conversation about a wide variety of spiritual topics.
Spiritual life groups are a vital form of spiritual expression across the campus.
For further information please contact the spiritual life office by phone or request information by emailing the office at email@example.com.