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Open the Channel To celebrate the release of my third solo album, I played a big concert (of course). This was in 2016. I remember the nearly sold-out crowd gathering in the swanky Portland club and me, sitting in the back stairwell behind the stage, trying desperately not to barf, trying to ground back into my shaking-with-adrenaline body. Part of my difficulty lay in knowing that the people buying cocktails and chatting with their friends were there for a little Saturday night entertainment, while I was there to do battle – a spiritual warrior, fighting my way through self-doubt, fear, and a broken culture’s demands that I be small and obedient and perfect.

On Control (July 2019)

Individual and Collective Anti-Racism I was in my twenties when I came to Quaker faith and practice, and learned a new normal. It was the first time I saw social justice concerns centered by a faith community. Spiritual development was nurtured and encouraged for all ages and was treated as a personal responsibility, something one did for oneself and for the community. Although I had been raised in a religious home, this was my first exposure to faith as a way of life, not just individually, but communally. Quakers didn’t just “go to church together,” we shared the world and made sense of it as best we could together.

On Normality (July 2022)

Two Hands of Nonviolence Dear Editor: I am writing to thank David Albert for his article, “Gandhi’s Smile,” in the July/August 2022 issue of Western Friend. I have been studying the life and work of Barbara Deming, and Albert’s article resonated with those studies. Like Gandhi, Deming addressed ways we can make use of the positive energy that anger brings, while not allowing ourselves to become overcome by its force. She used a “two hands” metaphor to help describe the tension that many of us feel in moments like the one we are living in now.

On Cooperation (September 2022)

International Friends School The International Friends School (IFS) has a guiding spirit. This spirt teaches us, ultimately, that consistent renewals of joyfulness and love provide the sturdiest framework for everything we will experience in life. The smallest acts of love and joy – pulling beets, helping someone after a bike scrape, hanging towels to dry in the sun with a friend – are meaningful. Together with other gestures, behaviors, and practices, these have the power to change the world, as they multiply and create a generation of people who are world-wise and heart-strong. This spirit is evident every day at IFS, a dynamic new school that is intentional in design, molded by Quaker testimonies and practices, and braided gently together by love and joy.

On Teachers (September 2020)

Quaker Composer When the English composer Solomon Eccles became a Quaker around 1665, he sold or gave away all his musical instruments and all his printed music. Then, fearful that by doing so he had led the recipients morally astray, he bought everything back, carried it to the top of London’s Temple Hill, stomped it to pieces, and set it all on fire.

On Music (March 2018)

Gun Buy-Back Dear Editor:  I thought your readers might be interested in this timely article. I've written a lot about this issue on my blog ever since we started our "turning swords into plowshares" campaign three months ago.

On Superiority (July 2013)

Talking the Walk of Peace We know a lot about war talk. We speak of fighting crime, obesity, drugs, and climate change. I am currently “fighting” depression. But if Quakers seek alternatives to violence, we need to develop a practical language for building peace. It’s not enough to “smite the enemies” of the problems in our lives. [pullquote]We need to develop tools that will let us “peace together” all that we’ve broken in war.[/pullquote] I have found the framework of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) provides me with everyday language and practices that can help me increase my compassion towards myself and towards others.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Moving Forward Together – In A Good Way Quaker Oaks Farm is a place where we, Darlene and Melissa, children of families from very different backgrounds, are creating new stories together. We are characters in the stories, and we are authors. The stories are about what happens when non-Native and Native people risk engaging with the uncomfortable conundrum of how to go forward together, In A Good Way, given all the injustices delivered to Native people over the centuries and which continue today. The stories are about ways that Native peoples, settlers’ descendants, and newer immigrants might co-exist in true harmony.

On Difference (July 2015)

Embedded in Two Cultures with AFSC My first job at the American Friends Service Committee was in 1965, when Self-Help Enterprises was being created. This was also my first real experience working with white people, as opposed to working for them, although at the tender age of nineteen, I still did not realize that. I have gone through many emotions – some even tearful – as I recalled my youth and my work while writing this article. As the daughter of a farmworker, I have been confronted with the typical things around racism, feminism, classism, etc., during my youth and into my adult life. It was, in fact, not too many years ago when I decided not to let those things rule my life.

On Balance (May 2017)