The Intersection of Fortitude and Gratitude

Good evening to ALL of you!
A friend of mine and I were chatting the other day discussing the intersection of Fortitude and Gratitude. As some of you know, from my Live stream classes, my anchoring word during COVID has been ‘Fortitude’. I like this word because it sounds, and even looks, like what it means. When I say Fortitude I feel the strength in the word. When I read and write Fortitude I recognize the strength in its meaning through it’s written structure; the tall ‘F’, ‘T’s and ‘D’ combined with softness in the small round ‘o’, ‘r’ and ‘e’ and a request by the ‘u’.to be filled. Fortitude as a written and spoken word reminds me that there is always softness within strength

So my friend and I were discussing this word and its power to help us find endurance as these Shelter in Place days are beginning to feel less like a sprint and more like a marathon. As she and I pulled apart the aspects of fortitude that apply to both sprints and marathons the concept of gratitude inspiring the fortitude came up; the idea of the necessary softness underneath strength. We found ourselves rattling off what we were grateful for and how staying strong through the daily challenges of COVID-19 honors and protects those people and things; the wise elders in our families and community, the planet Earth, our nuclear families and the time sheltering in place has afforded us with them, and the list went on… Since our conversation, I have leaned into this idea, allowing that which I’m grateful for to spur me on through the occasional discomfort found in the endurance needed to ‘Flatten the Curve’ and it has been very helpful. So, ‘Fortitude’, with its soft structure and strong meaning is my word for this pandemic; inspiring gentle resilience.

Blessings for a beautiful, joyous Easter and for the four remaining days of Passover.
Love Light Fortitude, sophie

Say My Name

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Philando Castle, Kendrick Johnson, Samuel Dubose, Sandra Bland, Walter Scott, Terrence Crutcher, Freddie Gray, Ahmaud Aubrey, Christian Cooper, Bothem Sean, Atatiana Jefferson, Johnathan Ferrell, Renisha McBride, Jordan Davis, Aiyana Jones, Alton Sterling and so many more…

One of the offerings this Pandemic has given me is the time to take a long walk almost every morning. Sometimes I walk in silence, sometimes I plug in to find some inspiration, or to tune out. The other day I was plugged in and heard Scott Simon use the phrase ‘Lethal Injustice” He was referring to the brutal murdering of George Floyd and other black men at the hands of police. I immediately unplugged and let those powerful words melt into and swirl around my consciousness. As I walked I realized Lethal Injustice is not only a term that describes murderous hate crimes, but it is also the language that perfectly describes the slow, systematic destruction of lives of color from the time of birth until an, all too often, untimely death. Lethal Injustice describes the cement and the girders that are the foundation and the supports for every aspect of our society; including our systems and institutions of healthcare, justice, economy, public works, banking, housing… absolutely every arm of our society leans up against these lethal girders and is supported by a cracked and unjust foundation. Our institutional systems are guarded by a grim-reaper who is not color blind and is ruthless to black people, indigenous people, and people of color.

It’s with this conviction that I have found myself diving way in to explore how I, personally, can contribute to eroding our broken and inherently biased systems that are designed to allow white people to thrive while, at the same time, killing and causing suffering in people and communities of color. It’s through a highly uncomfortable, personal internal investigation that I have committed to kneeling for 2 minutes each day in solidarity, in action, and with outrage at our current systems. This commitment to action is accompanied by daily internal work as well as uncomfortable external work, such as writing these difficult words. I can only trust & hope that if we all do our own vulnerable and amazingly difficult work both internally and externally, that we, as a collective community (far beyond the scope of the Blue Banyan community) will help create much needed, large scale, systemic anti-racist reform in this country.
I encourage you to dive deep and see what might come up for you, perhaps it’s kneeling with me and my neighbors Perhaps you are drawn to something else. If you are looking for strategies I recommend reading Eleonora Bartoli’s “An Open Letter to White People”, its a 10 minute read with easily accessible language, compassion for the paralysis you might be feeling and tips to move you into your own power.
Be well, be safe. With LOVE,

Announcements for the Week of June 8th
Kneel for 2 minutes at 2 PM every day with Sophie
Against institutionalized racism and in support of our communities of color. Request a virtual link HERE and of course, it’s not all or nothing if you can’t show up each day. you show up with is when you can . Read More

A Call to Action

It is clear to me that the knee that killed George Floyd may as well have been a noose, the same is true of the bullets that killed Ahmaud Arbery, and the list goes on… We can no longer stand for the centries old systemic oppression, brutality, and murder of people of color in this country; the way I see it, the onus for true and deep change is not on the communities of color who are incessantly targeted but rather on people and communities of privilege, like myself. I want to add that our actions need to be so strong that they not only incite change but in their strength and resolve they act as a salve to care for those communities of color who are grieving.
To write about the pain, outrage, and disgust I feel feels indulgent & privileged in itself. so I won’t. Instead, I want to write about a call to action, particularly from our communities of privilege, inspired by the Yoga Sutras,

In the Yoga Sutras (a book of aphorisms to live by in order to reach a greater understanding of oneself and others) There are two precepts that I have been leaning into to try to find some direction for action
Ahimsa – ‘Do no harm’ – this is often interpreted as a passive act but it is not. Ahimsa also translates as the care of others and protection for others, in a nonharmful way. Nonharmful does not mean passive; but rather ‘ do no harm through action’ if that is what is necessary.
Satya -‘Truthfulness’ This again, can be translated as only speaking the truth when its easy, kind, and acceptable; but again, that is not the complete translation; rather it means also speaking the truth when it is difficult, challenging and even controversial.
These precepts are what have guided me in trying to find a way to act out in support of our sisters and brothers of color, and speak out against the ongoing atrocities they have endured for too long.

With inspiration from Colln Kaepernick’s courage, and the humanity displayed in the 7 PM ritual honoring healthcare workers during Covid-19. I am going to begin kneeling every day at 2:00 pm for at least 2 minutes in support of tearing down of institutionalized racisms. I welcome you to join me and to share this action with two other people each day. So 2 minutes at 2:00 with 2 others in solidarity, outrage, and action.

The reason for 2:00 PM is inspired by the Golden Ration. 1.61 which my husband and I morphed into 1 PM plus 60 minutes getting us to 2 PM. It is a mathematical equation found throughout nature which basically states the infinite doubling of a number; it’s also known as the Devine ratio. Our hope is that everyone who takes a knee with us at 2 PM tells at least 2 people and they tell 2 people and on it goes…


Love Light Fortitude, Sophie