A Mindful Presence in Justice Work: A Lenten Reflection by Laura Wagner of UU Mass Action

My spiritual practice centers on maintaining a mindful presence.  When I maintain a feeling of balance and focus, I’m able to engage in the world around me in a way that does not exhaust me, but rather, energizes me.  The analogy that best describes this feeling is being able to move with the flow of the water rather than working against it.

As a Unitarian Universalist, I am called to live our seven principles and put our faith into action.  My calling to bring my values and principles to life resides in all manner of my being; intellectual curiosity, raw emotion that spans from crushing heartbreak to pure joy, and my connection to that which binds us all.

Without my engagement in justice work I know I would be lost.  The despair I struggle with would cause me to see only the worst of humanity and drive me to isolation.  By working to confront oppression and injustice, I receive the gift of also seeing the best of humanity.  I enjoy being in relationship with others who are courageous, creative, loving, joyful and resilient.  Being connected to this energy calls me to my best self and  to know that I am not alone.

It is through my practice of mindfulness that I’m able to engage in work that is often challenging and frustrating.  In each moment there is an opportunity, to breath deeply, observe the beauty, feel comfort, taste sweetness and listen to the life that surrounds us all.  

Years ago, a friend helped me see that the divine is in every moment.  I have a small tattoo on each wrist to remind me of this.  They help call me back to the present and see the beauty in each moment.  What I enjoy most about this practice is that, rather than feeling the need be a certain way,  I know I am always in a state of becoming.  This feels much more in harmony with the rhythm of life and brings me great comfort.


Laura Wagner joined UU Mass Action in 2014 as the Executive Director.  She was an active volunteer with the organization prior to accepting this position.

Laura is a social worker, earning her Masters from BU in 2006.  She worked as a clinical social worker but closed her practice when her position at UU Mass Action transitioned to full time in 2017.  As the granddaughter of Armenian genocide survivors, immigrant rights has long been a passion of hers.  She became a Unitarian Universalist in 1993 and has enjoys living her values through engagement in social justice work.  Contact her at LWagner@uumassaction.org