JUC CUUPS Aun Year
Jefferson Unitarian Church In Partnership With Covenant Of Unitarian Universalist Pagans Present Aun Year, An Opportunity To Understand, Heal And Move Out As Bridge Builders In The World
We as Euro-descendants are bad ancestors and we want become better ones.
We will be creating healing rituals using the Unitarian Universalist themes of the month to help people reconnect to themselves, each other and the Earth. We work with the goal to widen our circle to our BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, elderly and other marginalized groups.
These will be pagan rituals and will be open to anyone who wants to participate. Contact: Piper Perry
Aun Year Covenant
One of the best things about working in the Unitarian Universalist tradition is that UUs practice a tradition of covenants. We agree to treat each other in certain ways while we are together so that understanding is stripped of shame, healing is the stated goal and reach out to others supported by how we have vowed to be with each other.
I will speak more about our covenant in ritual space, and make changes for people who request them.
Our Beginning Covenant
This covenant is taken from Jefferson Unitarian Church’s Reflections on Race and Colorado UU for Racial Justice.
What we commit to as an individual:
-Choose curiosity over defensiveness. Be welcoming and inclusive
-Own and work on what is mine
-Offer and receive feedback as a gift.
-Monitor my needs and practice self-care/caring for OURSELVES and
allowing others to care for themselves
-Express my authentic views even if they differ from the group
-Let all voices be heard – take space / make space
-Choose authenticity over discomfort.
What we commit to as a group:
-Return to right relations with one another, understanding that failure to do
so will compromise our ability to continue racial justice work
-Be honest about our history and clear about our context.
-Understand the impact over the intention. Remember that intent and impact are not the same thing
-Honor individual privacy and collective learning: share others’ stories only
with explicit consent
-Listen to one another with open minds and open hearts & give and accept
feedback in the same way
-Hold one another as we center OTHERS in our social justice work and
learn how to de-center ourselves
-Honor different cultures, styles, paces, and needs
-Welcome all of our unenlightened selves. Mistakes and misunderstandings
are welcome here.
-Acknowledge the intersectionality of identities. The systems of power and
oppression are interconnected.
Content Warning: many of the words and stories we use re stimulate trauma. We strongly suggest participants access the level of mental health care that you have access to and/or can afford. There is a list of mental health and/or grief professionals here, and questioning sessions/peer discussions/collective problem solving will be available on both Discord and Zoom.
There is no shame in pausing the work due to too many traumas triggered. We hope that you will return when you are in a healthier space.
This is the most important part of your work, the work you do outside of ritual space.
We will have questions to answer every month, with resources and meditations and thought experiments.
If you do not do the homework, you will get much less out of the rituals themselves.
January Finding Our Center What is my story?
February Love Who has influenced my story?
March Vulnerability Where is my story outdated/no longer serves me?
April Resistance Where does my story need updating to reflect change?
May Rest Month catch up on any questions you missed, sit with what you understand
June Pride how do LGBTQIA+ people challenge my story?
July Patriotism how do veterans/police challenge my story?
Try to at least twice between rituals to practice this meditation, especially when you are doing the energy work exercises listed below.
I have found that the lovingkindness meditation feeds the soul and it breaks down some of the unspoken barriers between the seen and the unseen.
“We’re all a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.
Now that we have a better grasp of who we are, we are moving into why we are.
This month’s exercises are very much about how did love change your story? How do you love? Why is love important?
Spirits of Place Exercise
There is something you love within reach. Is it a cat? Dog? Fish? Snake? Stuffty? Plant? Piece of Art? Tree in the Park? Anything embued with inherent worth and dignity?
Choose one creature and over the next month and bond with it
I’m going to use cats for an example, because they are what I use.
Touching the cat, I send my attention to her fur, the softness of it, the slight electricity on a dry winter night, the delicate joints and muscles, the viscera, the bones. The more completely I can visualize it, the easier it is to feel like I am building a connection to my creature. Use that awareness to detect when she is overstimulated or in pain or cold or tired. Use that awareness to interpret her curious mix of body and vocalizations that sound like she’s been smoking behind the bleachers.
The key is to connect your awareness to a larger world of awareness
Whoever they are and whether they were blood relatives or not, we all have ancestors we love. Who is your favorite ancestor? Mom or Dad? Granma or Granpa? Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru?
Choose one ancestor’s story and try to understand why it speaks to you
What virtues and values did you learn from this story?
What cautions did you learn from this story?
What dysfunctions did you learn from this story?
The key is to connect your story to a larger family of stories
While we live in a culturally Christian country, we have studied the mythologies of other cultures, whether in high school World History class or in college or in libraries and on computers.
When you look at your story and the story of your ancestors, what values have come down to your from their faiths?
Choose one worldview/pantheon/philosopher and try to understand why you love
Study the mythology, compare it to your personal mythology and how that intersects with American mythology and our cultural Christian mythology.
What do you love about the worldview? What stories in those mythologies do you love? Are there particular deities you are drawn to? Why?
Is this a European worldview? Why did you choose it?
What’s Your Metaphor?
In writing about love, many have turned to metaphors to tell the tale. The list is long: Love is an ocean, a pearl, a burning flame, a battlefield, a beggar, a disease, a rose, a fine wine, a slippery slope, an archer, an outlaw, a fever, a jewel, even an exploding cigar!
There’s something important in this effort. Love, as we know, is elusive. Every version of it has a complexity that can’t be captured with precise and concrete language. We turn to metaphors because, just like love, they aren’t
easily pinned down. They tell a story more than offer a definition. They evoke a feeling rather than attempt to satisfy our logical mind. And so, in that elusiveness and expansiveness, they actually get closer to the truth. Our truth actually.
So, here’s your assignment: spend the month finding your favorite metaphor for love!
Don’t rush it. Noodle on it a number of times before settling on the one. You, of course, need to start by figuring out what “favorite” means to you. And, from there, how it might capture your unique experience with love.
A Love Letter to the Underappreciated
Cats, friends, lovers, books, movies. They get our love all the time. We go on and on about our affection for them in a whole host of ways. But what about the underappreciated loves? Those favorite things in our lives
that we fail to mention as often because love for them is less widely shared. This month write a love letter to one of those!
Here are some suggestions: Your favorite… letter of the alphabet, article of clothing, comfort food, time of day, season, or even your favorite condiment! Or what about your first car, first baseball glove, or first guitar?
Here’s our suggestions about what to include in the letter: All the ways you love them, your memory of how they first came into your life, how your life would be without them in it, how they changed you for the better,
what they taught you. And it’s not just about how you loved/ love them; it’s also about naming and acknowledging how they loved/love you back.
Ask Them About Love
One of the best ways to explore our monthly themes is to bring them into the conversations you have with those closest to you. It’s a powerful way to deepen our conversations and our relationships.
Below is a list of “love questions” to help you on your way.
Keep a lookout for how your inner voice is trying to send you a word of comfort or challenge through these conversions with others.
1. What did love mean to you as a child?
2. How have you changed your mind about love?
3. How has love changed as you’ve gotten older? Is it softer? Quieter? Larger? Tougher? Smaller?
Sneakier? More central?
4. Whose love has been with you the longest?
5. When did love scare you the most?
6. When did love invite you to play?
7. What most helped put you back together after love broke you to bits?
8. What is society’s biggest misunderstanding about love?
9. It’s been argued that “If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.” Does that ring true for you?
10. What promise might love be wanting you to make?
11. What do you know of “a love that will not let us go”?
12. What has been your greatest act of love?
January: Finding Our Center
Breathe in clarity and breathe out confusion 5min/day
I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages – the delayed adolescent, the childish adult – but that they are in me to be drawn on… If I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.
Understanding Your Story
We are supposing that the main character (MC) is you. So let’s describe/depict/collage/draft/craft/video/audio who you are as a character in your story.
The way you want to express yourself is the important part
Don’t treat these questions like “homework” or try to answer every one. Instead, make time to meditate on the list and then pick the one question that speaks to you most. The goal is to figure out which questions are“yours.” Which questions capture ? Which one contains “your work”? And what is that question trying to get you to notice or acknowledge?
- Describe/depict how you perceive your body
- Describe how you perceive your mind
- Describe/depict how you perceive your emotional center
- Describe/depict how you perceive your health
- Describe/depict your favorite family story What comfort do you draw from it?
- Describe/depict your worst family story What did you learn from it?
- Describe/depict your understanding of your ancestors’ journey to the New World. If you don’t know, what mass media portrayal of European ethnic groups do you identify with?
- Describe/depict the values you learned from your parents
- Describe/depict the values you learned from your friends/peers
- Describe/depict the values you learned from other people in authority
- Describe/depict your current values, what is important to you
- Describe/depict the values the deity/deities/sages/philosophers of your childhood
- Describe/depict the values the deity/deities/sages/philosophers of your young adulthood
- Describe/depict the values your current spiritual practice brings you
- Who first helped you find your true self?
- Who first helped you find “the fire in your belly”?
- What do you do to stay in touch with the fire in your belly?What if you find your center when remembering the nicest thing someone ever said to you?
- When was the last time someone asked you about that which lies at the deepest center of who you are
- Is it possible that the discovery of your deepest self lies in paying attention to the person that annoys you the most?
- Who were you before others told you “You’re too much!” or “You’re not good enough!”?
- Does the idea of “following your bliss” play a role in your life right now?
- What three things most moved you toward your center this past year? Have you ever felt like you “are finally catching up to who you are”?
- It’s said that we are every age that we have been. What younger self do you most want to tap into right now?
- What would enable you to tell your white friends about how their behaviors keep you from or knock you off your center?
- What happens inside you in the silent moments? What do you hear? What do you feel?
- What have you learned about navigating those times in life when we lose track of our center?
- What’s your question? Your question may not be listed above.
If the above questions don’t include what life is asking from you, spend the month listening to your days to find it.