Today, I am in Maine with three of my best friends in the whole world. We decided to travel together this summer for a short getaway where we could find peace with each other through deep conversation, time in nature, and lots of laughter. Two days ago, we met in Boston and drove up to Acadia National Park. In the car on the drive up, we spent time reconnecting, catching each other up on all of the things since the last time we talked, and excitedly making plans for our next three days.
As we are all passionate about the connection between our spiritual, professional, and personal lives (and because the drive was 4 hours long!), we made time to listen to and talk about Cory Booker's interview with Krista Tippett on On Being as we made our way up north. In the interview, Booker talks about the difference between tolerance and love. He says that while tolerance sounds good on the surface, when you dig deeper it essentially means that there is still something that we find distasteful about each other that we are putting up with. Booker urges us all to move from tolerance to embracing a daring love for each other. Without love, we won't be able to find the humanity in each other nor the common ground to lead to lasting change. It reminds me of what bell hooks describes in Love As The Practice Of Freedom, although I think hooks takes the need for love even further. hooks says, "Without an ethic of love shaping the direction of our political vision and our radical aspirations, we are often seduced, in one way or there other, into continued allegiance to systems of domination--imperialism, sexism, racism, classism." If we truly love each other, then there is no way that we can or will use domination and oppression of people to inform our policies, laws, and practices; liberation for BIPOC will not be achieved without it.
What would happen to the public parks in this country if we applied a politics of love, that didn't utilize systems of domination? What kind of relationship and healing could we create with the people from whom this land was originally stolen, and how could we all have a different relationship with the land itself? These are questions that will continue to stay with me, long after we leave this place. These are questions in which I'm determined to spend my life exploring for answers.
This morning, we decided to watch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. We spent most of last night singing around a fire, gazing up at the stars, basically howling at the moon. We got very few hours of sleep before we woke up at 3:30 am in order to make it to the top of the mountain in time to greet the sun. Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the United States to see the sun each morning. Bleary eyed but determined, we made the trek.
To our slight surprise but also great joy, there were already lots of people on the mountain when we arrived. We thought, "People who are willing to wake up at this time to watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain are our kind of people." We found a spot on some rocks on the hill, listened to the murmurs of the other conversations around us, and watched the horizon in anticipation of what was to come.
As we waited, one of my dear friends turned to us and asked, "What intention should we set on the sun today?" Setting intentions are a powerful way to live life with purpose. As Deepak Chopra writes, "An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create." As if there were any other intention we could set that morning, we agreed on an intention of fierce love for each other, humanity, and the world. As we watched the sunrise, we pictured that intention following the sun as it shines down on the living beings on this planet.
Tomorrow, we'll leave this beautiful place and take this intention with us. We'll go back to our homes, our jobs, our responsibilities. We'll leave with a new sense of commitment to practice fierce love in ways big and small. We'll remind each other of this moment and ask ourselves, "How did you love today?"