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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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March 7, 2013


Dearest friends,

            My heart swells in gratitude when I think about all of you. I know I haven’t written for a while, but I think of you all often. My days are different since losing sight in my left eye. My vision is slowly returning, and I am focusing on healing with all I’ve got. I can drive again, but only in town, so as you can imagine, my work throughout West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia is on hiatus, except for over phone and cyber space. I have loved the visits from West Virginia friends, and miss all of yall. For the most part, I am at home, throwing pottery on the wheel, and healing myself through a disciplined approach to exercise and a really strict diet.

Doctors are still not sure exactly what is going on with my body, other than an auto-immune disease of some sort, which is enough to know that what I eat, how I eat it, and how I move each day, is the best bet for healing. I seem to go to different doctors every other week or so, and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to all of you to be able to do that without racking up debt. Thank-you!

I live much like I did when I was a monastic in Japan, and as such have had time to meditate on the nature of activist work. Since I cannot join yall out in the world, I wanted to share what I would say if I was at your action camp, classroom, pre-action meeting, etc. as an eco-chaplain:

Please take a moment today, and every day, to find your ground. Make part of your radical work the discernment of your own foundation and the cultivation of big intention. Find out what it is that motivates you beyond all short term efforts of winning or losing. If you cannot find it right away, keep trying. This will give you the staying power we need for true change.

Cultivating long-term intention and self-awareness is what will make movement work thrive. Investigate yourself. When we bring our whole selves to the hollows and the streets, we are stronger in our diversity, which in turn, is our resiliency. Without it, we can have big actions, and occasional wins, but not real transformation. The coalition work going on today is vital. It is way past time for the many intersections of justice work to converge, but there are respectable and historical reasons this has been difficult. Our planet and our communities are worth doing the inner-work required for our outer work to thrive. We are worth it. Life is worth it. You belong in this movement so thoroughly, that the more you can show up, the stronger we all are. We will know when this work is being done because those born into roles traditionally heard will have the courage and stamina to hold up the signs while we listen to voices seldom heard and equally full of wisdom; when all the roles needed in transformation work are valued; and when everyone is welcome. We will know we have this sort of resiliency when it is not challenging for conflict to arise, but treated as an opportunity to build more trust together as we work through it.

Look how far we have come! Imagine what was possible if we were all motivated by a vision so big that this action and then ten next ones were only stepping stones toward a more sustainable society! Without working on intention, foundation and self-awareness, activist work will always be plagued by endless in-fighting, divisiveness and pointless conflict as we emulate and are infiltrated by the systems all around us. The most direct way to real transformation is when it includes an inside out approach. And we all know this; the question I pose to you is: will you make time to do the hard work of getting to know yourself, and cultivating a long-term intention on behalf of life?


I love all of you. Please write or call or visit,


 P.S. I am still asking for donations if you are able, to sustain the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative which can be made online at http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html, or in the mail at PO Box 1114, Black Mountain, NC 28711.