Jul/Aug 2021 Newsletter

This newsletter is a publication of Creation Spirituality Communities and is funded by its members and supporters. If you are enjoying this newsletter and appreciate keeping up with the Creation Spirituality community, please consider becoming a member or renewing your membership.


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What is the World Asking of Us?
by Ellen Smith
Healing Harp’s song calls us to...
Caring for those within reach with...
Generosity oozing from the Spirit.
Kindness toward Nature reflects our...
Love of neighbor...
Which keeps the world going!
Upcoming Events
Ongoing Events
Longing for spiritual connection in these troubling times?

We invite you to join us every Sunday for this online, interfaith Worship Experience. We are growing a strong, nurturing community and want you to be part!

In case you are unable to attend in person, all who register will receive a link to be able to view the CSIWE after the event happens. So be sure to Register!

Every Sunday 7:00p/6:00p/5:00p/4:00p
Eastern/Central/Mountain/Pacific

Please register in advance for this meeting

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The NEXT Creation in Crisis Webinar will be on September 2, 2021. Register below to receive the Zoom link.
Monthly Enneagram Gathering on Zoom

3rd Thursdays from 4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Pacific

Donation: Love Offering

During these 75-minute sessions, there will be a brief teaching on one aspect of the Enneagram, drawing on the work of leading experts, as well as time for private reflection, small group interaction, and large group sharing. 

  • All levels of Enneagram knowledge are welcome, as diversity enhances our learning
  • Learn more about the Enneagram here
  • Sessions are open—join us regularly or when your schedule permits
  • Share this invitation with those you know who may be interested 

Upcoming dates and topics for 2021:
     Sept 16: Spiritual practices and the Enneagram
 
To receive a Zoom link for a session or learn more, email Joanne at joanne@joannedeck.com.
Workshops & Courses
Shamanism in Buddhism and Christianity
Teach-in with Matthew Fox and Isa Gucciardi

August 13-14, 2021

In this Teach-In, Matthew Fox and Isa Gucciardi discuss the roots of shamanic practice in Christian and Buddhist thought through the lens of the visionary experiences that are essential to shamanic practice. 

Saturday morning will be highly experiential. Students will have the opportunity to engage in the shamanic journey, an ancient practice used to establish contact with the unseen forces of nature, and will also participate in a practice that brings the Cosmic Christ alive in one’s Self.

We will explore the parallels of Christian mysticism and the development of the oracle tradition in Himalayan Buddhism through the commonality of their shamanic origins. Reverend Dr. Fox will explore how shamanism is reflected in John the Baptist, the historical Jesus, and Paul and in the encounter with the divine in Christian mystics such as Hildegaard von Bingen, Meister Eckhart, and Julian of Norwich. Reverend Dr. Gucciardi will demonstrate how oracle traditions have informed and inspired Buddhist thinkers such as Tsonkhapa and Asanga.
 
Schedule for the Teach-In
  • August 13, 2021, 7-9PM ET
  • August 14, 2021, 12-3pm ET
  • August 14, 2021, 3:30-5:30pm ET

* If you can’t be present on these dates for the live online event, you will still have access to the recordings.
UPCOMING EVENTS WITH MATTHEW FOX

October 6, 2021 (Wed) Virtual Event 
Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace 
11:30am-1:30pm PT ~~6:30pm-8:30pm (UK) – Lecture, Q&A. 

October 14, 2021 (Thu) Virtual Event 
St. James Piccadilly Church, London 
11am-12:45pm PT~~7:00pm-8:45pm (UK) 
Events inspiring heart, mind and soul https://www.alternatives.org.uk/

Matthew's website, calendar and bookstore: https://www.matthewfox.org/
Live Your Dreams | Good&Sharp

Live Your Dreams Are you feeling overwhelmed and stuck in life? Do you feel lost and just drifting through your days? Are you getting by with no purpose or passion in your life? ​ It doesn't have to be that way! With the tools we are going to...

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www.goodandsharpstudios.com
Virtual Pilgrimage with Saint Hildegard von Bingen
September 6-18, 2021

In September 2020, over a hundred virtual pilgrims joined us on the Hildegard von Bingen Pilgerwanderweg in Germany, where Saint Hildegard speaks! This virtual pilgrimage to the Unruly Mystic concluded on Saint Hildegard’s Feast Day, September 17th. 

This special ecumenical online pilgrimage was created by pilgrim-filmmaker Michael M. ContiThe Unruly Mystic: Saint Hildegard (2014), who took the 85-mile “Hildegard Way” through the Nahe river region in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany in 2019. Hildegard Way was an inspiration from Dr. Annette Esser, the founder of the Scivias Institute for Art and Spirituality in Germany. Dr. Esser speaks in character as “Hildegard” at 10 stations along the trail and gives a small glimpse into the many teachings of Saint Hildegard.  

In 2021, besides making the 12-day recordings available starting each day on September 6, we are offering two days of new virtual events, on Friday and Saturday, September 17 and 18, 2021. The focus this year is spirituality and creativity as seen through Hildegard's medicine, art, and music. This year's presenters are Dr. Annette Esser, Dr. Rev. Shanon Sterringer, Rev. Matthew Fox, Rev. Susan Springer, and renowned herbalist Brigitte Mars, etc.  

Join us on this live virtual pilgrimage on September 17th with the ringing of the bells from Dr. Rev. Shanon Sterringer's  Hildegard Haus in Ohio. Recordings will be made available for 30 days after the event ends. Sign-up today at SaintHildegard.com
Deeptime Leadership 9-month Course
Starts September 22, 2021

An invitation from Penny Andrews:

Gail Ransom and I are planning on stepping into this—
We did their last course and it was quite wonderful. Spirit, Science, and the Arts—

If we can gather at least 5 people for a CSC contingent, it is much more affordable (the non-certificate price would be $85.50 per month) and with the 2 of us, we are on our way.

Please take a look and consider joining our CSC pod with the Deep Time Network. My bet is you will be very glad you did -- there is inspiration & allurement everywhere!
Deeptime Leadership & Personal Empowerment - Deeptime...

When we understand our deeptime context, radical relationality, subjectivity of the whole and everything, and action as participating in evolution . . . everything changes. We are empowered to work with larger forces to make DEI a reality for...

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dtnetwork.org
Appreciating Evolutionary Dancer
by Penny Moulis

This summer I've been twirling and growing with Carol Kilby in her journey as Evolutionary Dancer in her book by the same name. If you find yourself seeking an engaged whole-Earth spirituality she will show you her path "out, in, and on the fringe of the church." I learned about her wisdom teachers, her founding of the Gaia Center for Eco-Spirituality and Sustainable Work, and the allurement that drew her back into relationship with a congregation in a "circle of mutual inspiration." She offers new rituals that move beyond ceremonial forms to engage groups to be active co-creators in planetary well being. I encourage you to treat yourself to this blessing of a book.
News
John Robinson book listed among 100 Best Resilience Books of All Time

Bookauthority.org just announced their 100 Best Resilience Books of All Time and CSC Member John Robinson's recent book, Aging with Vision, Hope and Courage in a Time of Crisis: Finding Our Way Together, came in at #34. Congratulations, John!

Check it out at https://bookauthority.org/books/best-resilience-books or order through popular online booksellers.
Aging with Vision, Hope and Courage in a Time of Crisis: ...

Aging with Vision, Hope and Courage in a Time of Crisis: Finding Our Way Together (Resilience) [Robinson, John C.] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Aging with Vision, Hope and Courage in a Time of Crisis: Finding Our Way...

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www.amazon.com
For the month of July at Spiritwind we have been exploring, "The History of Philosophy," and for the month of August, I will be leading a class entitled, "Understanding the Tarot."
 
Spiritwind is a Creation Spirituality Community in the tradition of ONE RIVER, MANY WELLS led by Rev. Dr. Rick Reich-Kuykendall (530) 823-8610
Templeton Foundation Grant Opportunity

Psychological Science Cross-Training for Christian Theology

The John Templeton Foundation invites Online Funding Inquiry (OFI) submissions for proposals aimed at giving theologians, philosophers of religion, and scholars in religious studies who work in Christian theology (broadly construed) the...

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www.templeton.org
Creative Offerings
Replacement Statues
New Work by Virginia Easterday
What a year it has been! Difficult and challenging to say the least, but my creativity was given a big boost of free time. Last June was the beginning and it continued for a full year. As I watched millions of people come out worldwide to protest the murder of George Floyd in the middle of a life threatening pandemic, I was so incredibly moved! The fallout continued as many monuments and statues were removed or torn down. I found myself imagining what could replace them and this series began churning out slowly, but surely. 

Virginia says, "I am happy to provide the photos to anyone who wants to use them for worship or workshop etc, free of charge. They can contact me at vreasterday@gmail.com I believe these sculptures need to be seen since they have important work to do."

For more information, go to https://www.virginiaeasterday.com
A Mystical Approach to the Climate Crisis

A Mystical Approach to the Climate Crisis - Braided Way...

In its fullness, mystical consciousness unveils the exquisitely beautiful, infinitely precious, luminous, and timeless reality known as Creation. Everything is perceived as sacred, including us, for the Beloved has become the world and everything ...

Read more
braidedway.org
The New Universe Story
by Judith McWalter-Sante

And so I begin where all good stories begin…..
Once upon a time, billions of years ago
Through creative forces, the Universe came to be
And me
I was somehow floating in all that dust
The Universe zoomed and burst and pulled and joined and
Boom…stars and galaxies, suns and moons and planets
And everything dark and light zipped and blipped and connected
Birthed Earth
And I, I was somehow there along for the ride the whole time
Magical, Awesome, Wondrous, Radiant
My soul beat with the soul of the stars and all that was

Now fast forward a couple of million years and soul takes body form
And somehow, gradually, I see myself as separate
Taught that I have “dominion” over Earth and all her creatures

“Listen,” cries Sophia, goddess of wisdom
“You’ve just forgotten who you are and your right relationship with all around
Listen,” she says, “Remember that you live in the Earth not simply on it
Remember the clover and the rain and the winds and the animals and the heavens
Remember you are a community, interlaced, interconnected
Remember to align yourself with the great creativity of the Universe
Remember, you are of the stars.”
The Steadfastness of Courage of Conviction
by Tracey Wyatt
[Disclaimer: I present this essay as a white woman with the intent to challenge white people in their experience of active courage. When I define courage of conviction in this essay, know that black, brown, and all oppressed and marginalized people have learned and acted upon their courage of conviction from a standpoint in this world that I kneel before in reverence. This essay is for white people who have their own set of privileges related to opportunities for action.]
 
I would not say I am an exceptionally courageous person. For instance, when it comes to going out in water above my chest, I still feel rushes of panic. In all fairness, I almost drowned when I was five years old. I have, however, scuba dived once. I pushed myself through it, but it was an intense amount of inner work. When my fight or flight kicks in, my digestive system cleans itself out. I don’t know if you have ever had to peel a wetsuit off in a hurry over and over again, but it is miserable and memorable. As you can imagine, I do not want to make scuba diving a hobby. I will stick with occasional snorkeling. But, all in all, I am still proud of myself for exhibiting the courage to scuba dive.
 
That kind of courage is not what I want to talk about in this essay. We can call that physical courage. That seems to be the type most celebrated. I’ve had that type, too, though not in the fun kind of ways. Many of my experiences of physical courage were prompted by traumatic events, such as the terror of hearing the abuse of my mother in the next room at the age of 3 or full-on adult rage coming at me at age 7. Other experiences of fighting off the grown man sexually assaulting me at age 16, or standing toe to toe with grown men screaming violently at me while still not backing down from my truth. Though I have had the fun kinds of physical courage that were notable to me, I would say I am in the shallow end in the scheme of fun-time physical courage. That is okay with me, because I know I am still a work in progress in this area. What I want to focus on more than physical courage is reflected in the phrase above, not backing down from my truth, and what I will call from here forward, courage of conviction.
 
I have done this a lot in my life, stood in my courage of conviction, but I did not realize as I was moving through it that it was exceptional. I missed this exceptionalism because acts of courage of conviction are often small and private. There is no audience clapping. There is no immediate reward system in place for it. In fact, it frequently comes with some weighty emotions you have to work through on the other side of it. Perhaps that is one of the many reasons it is not on the top of the ‘to-do’ list for most people. I grew up watching the movies and reading the books with all the great plots leading the protagonist toward a dramatic exhibition of their courage of conviction. I now understand that people are so fascinated by it because they cannot do it or, more importantly, they choose not to do it. In many of these scripted plots, I also see that courage of conviction often ends in a physical fight, wounding, or death, for which none of these actions promote real change. I do not want to say I am some sort of anomaly or superior above others in my actions of courage. The truth is, I cannot stop myself in those moments. This internal drive is not because I am out of control, but because I am very steady, immovable from my path, in a poignant, matter-of-fact way. Steadfastness feels like the most accurate description. When I am in a situation where courage of conviction comes into play for me, it must be acted upon decisively. It is a force that is clear as a bell for me, like a ting on a crystal glass. My focus gets laser-beam sharp. My words become entirely on point about where my boundaries lie, and I feel wholly embodied in whatever that conviction may be.
 
Many might liken this to anger or stubbornness, but having lived a bit of life now (meaning, I’ve got some age to add to my experience), I am aware of the difference. It does not have the messiness of anger or the one-sidedness of stubbornness. It presents itself as though it is a truth tied to my very soul, for whatever that word may mean to you, and to not speak that truth would damage my soul. That sounds dramatic, but I do not know how else to bring to light these moments of steadfastness. I am confident that description is not just mine, and I speculate others can see their moments in that description as well. However, I know that many people do not have that forceful, energetic experience, and certainly not as frequently as I have had it. As you can probably conclude from the few experiences noted above, I have had some intensity in life to be fair. I have had to see the full spectrum of courage and cowardice, and conviction and self-betrayal. There is no doubt some combination of personal traits and experiences have shaped this attribute in me. I am grateful for it, because, whereas it does not always make you the most well-liked person in the room, I do not ever regret a single one of those moments in my life. Not one of those moments would I negate.
 
When this fierceness arises in me, I do not derail and say hateful things. I do not mince words and leave ambiguity in my statements. I do not leave confusion about the resolution. Nor do I sever the relationship, at least not immediately, as I have handed the consequences back to their rightful owner. My courage of conviction is always about consequences. Those consequences that belong to someone else for their poor choices, but they are handing them to you or someone else unfairly. Perhaps they are not giving the consequences to you, but they expect you to clean up the fallout from them. Whereas we can have many types of conviction in this world, my conviction takes the form of I will not take on your consequences. That seems like a simple concept, but apparently, many people do not have the clarity, or perhaps the self-worth, to know when consequences may not belong to them. Nor do they see that the fallout from those consequences is changing them and even harming them somehow. There are only two choices when someone hands you consequences that do not belong to you; either give them fully back to them or betray yourself and take them on as your own. That self-betrayal seems to be the cue for this force in me that rises with ferocity. I am certain that to carry self-betrayal can cause more harm to me than any severed relationship could ever do. I have learned this the hard way in my journey, so please do not think I speak as an infallible expert on courage or someone who has not failed at it as well. Failure begets expertise through correction.
 
This kind of courage, the courage of conviction, does not always look like it would take courage. Some people may find it very easy to speak for their conviction in one area of life and completely falter in another area. Someone may be tenacious at work with their convictions while continually giving themselves away in their personal relationships, or vice versa. But for anyone who is called to do it, at that moment, it feels immense! It can often feel nothing short of terrifying to take action. That terror comes from this one, non-negotiable truth - to stand in courage of conviction also implies the potentiality for loss, always. These two cannot be separated. For this reason, courage of conviction is not something you figure out and master. It is a growth point for every leveling up you will do as a human being. I will give a few examples through simple but true stories of events in my life. They may not seem monumental or plot-worthy, but they are real.
 
When I was 23 years old, I worked for a mortgage company.  It was the early 1990s and the height of the subprime market. I did not understand what was happening with the subprime market, as I had started this job at age 19, moving from a small town to the big city. I often joke that I rode my horse into the city, tied it up outside, and went into that big, tall building exclaiming, ‘Hey, ya’ll! I need a job!’ Yes, I am from Texas, which should help with that scene, and truthfully, I was shaking in my shoes when I arrived in the big city. However, I knew it was where I wanted to be. Perhaps that is a small example of courage of conviction? Continuing, my point of that joke was to highlight just how naive I was about what was happening on the global scale. I had worked for this company for five years at the point of this story, and during that time, the company had grown from a little acorn to a small oak tree. I had, as well. On this given day, my boss included me on a conference call with a larger, more important, and very powerful organization. During this call, he had prompted me with some questions to support his discussion points. As he talked, I started hearing holes in his statements that did not match what I was seeing transpire in our office. He then commented about items that were being noted as missing in which I was certain I had seen tucked away in a drawer. They were very large checks. I do mean very large, as we were dealing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments and interest income at this company’s growth point. When the call ended, I rummaged through the file cabinets and the desk drawers and found exactly what I was looking for there, neatly paper-clipped and ready to be mailed. He was lying to them, and he had just used me to support his lies. My laser beam kicked in, as though I could hear the hum of it inside of me powering on and powering up. I was filled in the entirety of my body with that incredulous feeling of ‘how dare you!’
 
As a quick side note, a little commentary on my boss then, because I think it will make you enjoy the next scene even more. Maybe not, but it makes me enjoy it more! He was one of those 90’s dudes, no other noun than dudes will capture it as well. The kind of dude that drove a Porsche and flipped the collar of his shirts up behind his neck. He also would throw tantrums like a pubescent teen, and once threw a typewriter across the room. He could have been the poster child for the greedy, slimy white dudes of the subprime market. The same type that fueled the scandal of the now-defunct Enron Corporation, for those who remember.
 
Back to the story, I stormed into my bosses office, enraged in my righteousness, and dropped the checks and the supporting documentation onto his desk. Wiith a locked gaze, in between grit teeth, and a tone of clear, fierce, matter-of-factness, I sneered, ‘Don’t you ever stick me on a phone call like that again! I will not get looped into this lie! And I will not cover your ass!’
 
Now, should I have turned him in by filing a complaint with appropriate authorities? Yes, I should have. I was 23 years old, so I didn’t quite know all the ways of the world yet. I did not understand the magnitude of what was happening in the world and how far-reaching this type of greed had become. I had no concept of what was ahead for our country. I sincerely wish I had turned him in. This would ring true for other moments of conviction as well. The courage it takes to stand up to someone has to have follow-through as far as that follow-through can go. We will come back to that point later.
 
This boss was a passive-aggressive, petulant brat for the next six months. He was consistently quipping snide and condescending remarks, as though I even remotely cared what he thought about me. As far as I was concerned, he was the one that needed to be uncomfortable, so all he would get from me was one eyebrow raised and a look of steel. I was steadfast in my moral fortitude, but not in the uncontrolled, attacking way, but in the ‘I did not do anything wrong, you did, so do not dare test me’ way. The look on my face must have clearly translated that because he did not push it further than his pettiness. He did not have the courage to fire me no matter how uncomfortable he was in his shame, which was likely the shame of being caught rather than any shame in his lack of integrity. I left the company within six months, not because he was creating a hostile environment, as I did not know back then what the definition of hostile environment encompassed. Frankly, my stance was, ‘Screw him! Let him sit in his discomfort aware that someone in his office knows the truth and disapproves!’ No, his attitude did not bother me, but my conviction did bother me. I could not work there and continue to fortify this company. I started looking and quickly found another job. Again, these were the subprime market days, so jobs were like fish in a barrel. I say fish in a barrel because 1) jobs were so abundant that you could just grab one, and 2) because they would all be dead soon.
 
Another example of a moment in my life that I had to stand in my conviction is hard for me to write about because I am so angry at myself for not following-through. I apologize ahead of time for not going a step or several steps further, and I will apologize again later. It eats at me still today. Fast forward in years to about age 27, I am still in the mortgage industry, and while working as a broker, I also managed the office staff. We needed a receptionist. We had gone through several over that previous year, and it was very frustrating. That position required a lot of the nuts-and-bolts work that assisted and impacted every other staff member. We needed a good receptionist, capable and intent to stay because the repetitive loss of this office support had created chaos.
 
I negotiated a higher pay for the position with upper management to support looking for someone with the skills we truly needed. I had spent weeks going through stacks of resumes, really combing through skill sets, looking for learners and enthusiasts! I set up interviews and spent even more weeks interviewing these hopeful candidates. I got it narrowed down to my favorite. A young female, with the experience, the skills, and the enthusiasm….who also happened to be black. That had never occurred to me as an issue. I did not once think that my boss or the upper-level investors cared about race at all. It had never come up before so I was ridiculously naive. I am ashamed to admit that. It wasn’t just because I was white and clueless, but also because I had grown up poor and lived in a mixed neighborhood. Many of my childhood friends and neighbors were black or brown. In addition, we had a diverse extended family, and eventually, the extensions to our family of origin would also be mixed race. In my childhood home, we were all there together. While I now recognize the privilege of being raised poor had given me the opportunity of knowing and caring about so many different people which had made me a much better human than many others, the downside of this early life experience was it had also made me colorblind in the way that kept me from recognizing racism when it is was right in front of me. I am sorry for that oversight in my life. I am deeply sorry for other moments of racism I now know I missed, and some I may even still not know I missed.
 
I presented the candidate for the job to my boss, who interviewed her. Her race had never come up in our conversations, so he did not learn about it until her interview. I do not think he would ever have debated me on my choice as he trusted me, but he had to take her application to upper-level management for approval. They said no. My boss, who was a young, white, gay man, and in many ways like an older brother to me as we had a strong work relationship and fondness of each other, did not think to hide the reason from me and told me the truth of why they said no. I was beyond fury. There was a real rage in this moment, and I did not mince words, loudly, and again, with poignant, vehement, matter-of-factness. That immediate rush through my body of outrage, and the incredulous ‘how dare you,’ took root in me. I screeched in disbelief, ‘You are being racist! You cannot do that! She is the most qualified! I know she will do a fantastic job here! She deserves this job position! It is my job to make this choice as it is my staff!’ When he said his hands were tied, it made me even more offended at the sheer cowardice in front of me. The act of my boss and friend refusing to stand in the courage of conviction was appalling to me.
 
I proceeded to my office and grabbed the stack of submitted resumes sitting on my desk. It was a minimum of two inches thick, as there was no shortage of job applicants in these days. I made my way back to my boss’ office and dropped the stack of resumes in the middle of his desk, messily and dramatically, watching them through steely eyes as they scattered everywhere. I leaned in, and despite my friendship with him, I embraced my conviction as I had no other choice. Wide-eyed, teeth grit, I sneered, ‘Guess who won’t be finding the next receptionist. You have fun with that.’ I stormed out of that office feeling the gaze of all the staff following me down the long hall. No office walls were insulated enough for that discussion to have gone unheard. I left them all in their uncomfortable silence and drove home fighting back the sting of tears. The tears were not out of fear or sadness, but because I did not get to kick anyone’s ass, literally. And that moment surely deserved some ass-kicking. 
 
Some might argue here that I was not in charge of my anger to behave that way in the workplace. I fully own that I was angry. It was a tangible, unflinching, kind of anger that was entirely and utterly rooted in the courage of conviction and moral fortitude. It was not ‘let me throw the typewriter across the room because it isn’t working’ anger. It is precisely what anger is called to do. Anger, when in its rightful place and aligned with its correct intention, is a statement of ‘you have crossed a boundary, you are causing harm, I am angry about it, and I am taking action.’ When that aligns with courage of conviction, and conviction is rooted in integrity, anger is in its home base. I wonder who made the rules that you were not supposed to get angry at vile behaviors in the workplace? Who does that benefit?
 
I didn’t quit that day, and they did hire a receptionist, a young Latina female. She was competent, but often in my office crying because of the sexual innuendos she would endure from the upper-level investors. I, too, had those experiences as it was rampant in the ’90s. One of these investors blatantly crossed the line one day and made a sexually loaded comment that was undeniable. I tackled this slight as well, of course. This instance was a march into the office of the next boss higher up on the pay grade, in which I unequivocally stated, ‘You better get your cronies in check. They are not to speak to my receptionist. They are not to hover around her desk. They check-in and move through. If you do not tell them, I will, and I can promise you, they will like your delivery a whole lot more than mine!’ He knew he didn’t have a leg to stand on. Sexual harassment in the workplace was rampant, but these were the years of the burgeoning of sexual harassment exposure in the media. Certainly not what it is in today’s climate, but women had some leverage thanks to Anita Hill. Not to mention all of Bill Clinton’s accusers, though the big scandal had not happened yet. This upper-level investor also knew I did not like him. He did not like me either. Probably my conviction, but, perhaps, my smart mouth and direct approach to matters. But I was smart, and straightforward, and these were likely the same reasons they did not fire me though I am sure my boss went to bat for me more times than I know. I wish with every cell in my body that I had turned them in for discrimination over refusing to hire the young black candidate. I am so very, very sorry that I did not. I am certain they intentionally hired a Latina to fill that position to cover themselves if I did file a discrimination complaint. I do not say that to downplay her need for equality as well, nor her competency. This is undoubtedly how an ‘equality competition’ gets forced on marginalized communities, by oppressors choosing who they will allow and who they will not. It is disgusting. Looking back at that point in history, my complaint would not have gotten the outcome I would have wanted, but it would have added to the awareness-of-systemic-racism file. I messed up and dropped the ball with that follow-through as well. I am very ashamed of that lack of awareness in me.
 
Effective courage of conviction takes a lot of awareness of what is happening around you. I am increasingly grateful that my personal experience of this action-oriented process gives me a head start by promoting clarity through this innate forceful energy. But even with that intensity propelling me, I have not always followed it through to the full action needed, meaning beyond taking on the individual but taking on the whole institution. Life experience has taught me much, and I now always double-check my follow-through. I do not, however, see in this world enough people that are willing to take on even the individual, much less the departments above them. If you do not dare to take on a person, how do we break down these institutions made up of all those persons? Why are people so lacking in courage to stand up to other people? I have thought about this question a great deal because of my experiences and because of other people’s responses to my experiences or actions. Here are a few of the adjectives for which people have described me over the years: firecracker, hard-headed, strong-willed, bitch, and, this one descriptive phrase still infuriates me, ‘you think like a man’ (said by a man I was standing up to, of course). I know that there are many answers to why people do not stand up to others that vary across a landscape that is heavily influenced by gender stereotypes, religious tropes, mutated definitions of civility and manners, and ever-present, flagrant manipulation of marketing tactics. However, the one cause I see at the root, even below all these other influences, is capitalism. People are scared to lose their money source, and for many, that is a genuine fear. Make no mistake, standing in the courage of your conviction will result in a loss, a loss of something, and that something often manifests in a subsequent loss of a money source. I did not have that paralyzing fear in my twenties. I was raised poor, so I knew what it was like to have less than others. Throughout those early adult years, I knew that I may not have anyone I could fall back on for assistance. In all seriousness, I once in those early years asked my mother for $50 to help cover the electric bill, and she started crying because she did not have it. I never asked for money again. My electricity got cut off for three days while I waited for my next paycheck. I was terrified the maintenance man for the apartment complex would see the tag, report me, and I would get evicted because you are not allowed to let any of your utilities lapse (when you’re poor, you know these things). I did not get evicted, though I did other times in early adulthood because I could not pay rent. I understand not having a money source.
 
With that in mind, many would say I was reckless with these moments in my life, especially those who are bound up in capitalistic views, and especially because I did not have any additional support. I do not see it that way. The guilt I feel for not going even further with those moments would be so much greater had I done nothing at all. Who would I even be right now if I had walked into my office and said nothing in just these few instances? If I sat there day in and day out, watching the vileness of it all and never speaking up? I would likely be in a tumultuous internal struggle with myself. I would likely have many unwanted behaviors in my life being propelled by my deep-rooted self-betrayal. I understand that, too, not only from my own experiences but also because I am now a counselor. I was never going to make it in the mortgage industry and maintain my self-respect. That is not to say many people can be very respectable in that industry, but this was more a reflection of what this industry looked like then. At night, I went to school all those years I worked in mortgage because I wanted to be a counselor. No one had ever explained student loans to me, so I did not know you could apply for those, so I paid for it out of pocket a little at a time. I love being a counselor, and I understand self-betrayal because I work with it in clients consistently.
 
At my current personal and professional maturity level, I have a whole lot of capitalism binds in my life! It is not because counselors make a lot of money, but because I am older, and to grow older in this society means learning how to play the game of capitalism or struggle incessantly. I now have a family, mortgage, my own business, and all those things that give pause to the willingness to lose a money source, which gives capitalism its claws. I consider myself very lucky to be my own boss and do a type of work rooted in honesty, which moves me at least one degree away from that very money-driven world. That is not the case for most people who find themselves helpless beneath the claws. Can we begin to look at the damage this fear of loss of money is causing us? Can we begin to look at how the claws of this big monster have people so strapped that the threats hinged to capitalism is completely overriding courage of conviction? You see it in the news every day. People not standing up to others, or for others, for fear of what they will lose: their jobs, their status, their constituents, their marriage, and then the second layer of those losses, their reputation, their food, their friends, their imaginary power. Many of these losses are wrapped up in that made-up construct of power because power has become entangled, haphazardly and without warrant, to money. I mean, honestly, is it not more powerful to stand in your convictions than go along with others and get money for doing it? Yes, of course it is! That is also why it takes exponentially more courage. It is also why it is discouraged in the workplace. Big business financially benefits from your lack of courage, and there is no way to state that kindly or gently. The claws of capitalism benefit from your lack of courage of conviction, and it is that lack of courage that allowed capitalism to gain its claws in the first place. I am not against capitalism, but it must be declawed and removed from its ill-gotten status.
 
I still have many more stories of courage of conviction in my personal and professional life. Some are big and some are small. Some would be significant to me and a shrug of the shoulders to others. I have spoken up a great deal in my life, and I do not regret any of it. Yes, I have changed my landscape many times in life, and I do not regret that either. Courage of conviction and willingness to change must go hand in hand. I may be the anomaly in that I often cannot stop myself from speaking up because that force of conviction is so strong and so clear, but I believe all people can develop this attribute. I know this because I help people develop it now. As a counselor, I work with people marinating in the pain of keeping their convictions hidden. I find it deeply touching, a privilege to be allowed to witness it in others, and an honor to help facilitate the growth for others into their courage of conviction. I also find it reaffirming that I could never have changed my course in life. Even when it meant I was not well-liked, or ‘not eligible for rehire’ (yes, that happened along the way too), or that I had to leave relationships, personal and professional, or lose some ground in my imaginary capitalistic security. The loss hurts, but the loss of myself would hurt much more. I know this to be true, and it is my greatest motivation.
 
I do not have a simple recipe for learning how to develop courage of conviction. I know in my work with clients, it is often that unique and subjective journey inward of learning more about your truth so that standing in it is not only necessary, but it becomes its own reward. A greater reward than most can imagine. Many people are in pain, many are in denial, many have a feeling of dissatisfaction and cannot put their finger on it. Whether you do this work with the help of a counselor, or true friends, or trial and error (life is full of that and supposed to be), whatever path you take, please begin to check in with yourself. Begin to dig up your own conviction, making sure the convictions you have been living by are truly your own. Open your options far beyond the walls of the capitalism box that you have been shaped to believe has you contained. In fact, question any box that you have come to believe has you contained! I promise on the other side of those walls are resources you cannot yet see. If you will not do it for yourself, then do it for all those out there that are genuinely trapped by capitalism. Who did not make it out of its grips or were never allowed to even entertain that possibility because of some made-up reason attached to them without their permission. Like the young black candidate that deserved that job in 1997. (I truly hope she was given the opportunity to carve her path, and again, I wish I could have been a stepping stone for her.)
 
The empowerment of courage of conviction is a much more wholly gratifying experience than the imaginary capitalistic power status this society has built itself on. It is also what creates a worthy, collaborative, and genuinely successful society. I recommend you start with the small scale in your life, one small courageous move, and let it move through you from the spark of fear to the pilot light of empowerment. Observe it also moving through its trajectory into the world around you, beginning by disarming that which is harmful in the present moment to igniting the potential for real cultural shifts on a grand scale. Watch that ripple from your one small courageous act and see what happens next. To foster courage in conviction is to raise the love of humanity back to its highest position of significance, far above capitalism. It is especially important that more of us do this important, courageous work for the right reasons. Not to gain power or money, but for the only real reason courage exists, the love and protection of all living things.
Toxic Masculinity Is Not a Male Problem

I recently commented on an article suggesting what had been described as toxic femininity was actually women playing their role in toxic masculinity. It was met with exuberance from women and disdain by some men.

Read more
traceykwyatt.medium.com
A New Imagining: Earth's Flowering and The Place of Humanity
by Peter Adair
 
Do we know that we are born from a miraculous planet, and are held in the nourishing embrace of a living Earth whose magnificence and mystery surrounds us at every turn and in every moment? And we are not mere onlookers: Earth is our home and garden, and the development of humanity is entwined with the marvel of Earth’s continual unveiling. Our human journey is an expression of the planet’s unfolding, a part of the flowering through which Earth has shaped itself.
 
Our understanding of Earth’s story has been told in a variety of ways. Traditionally, many cultures have named the primary elements of Earth as earth (land), water, air and fire. The intuition of these as essential properties of our living planet is reflected in the fuller story of Earth’s development.
  
Earth
 
In the modern telling, the origin story of Earth and humanity begins with the climactic burst of a supernova. The vital energy and elements of this spectacular event fertilized and stimulated a wafting cloud of dust and gases, and a solar field, our solar system, stirred into form. The known planets were broadcast within this field, each with the potential of blossoming into a thriving world. However, with a single exception, these sibling planets found themselves in situations unfavorable for growth. Their blessing was given to Earth.

Earth’s remarkable journey commenced 4.5 billion years ago, when our planet coalesced within the Sun’s gravitational womb. Earth is in a molten condition, suffused with unformed dreams and hidden potential; it is a planetary stem cell. Stimulated by the heat of a star at its center, and composed of a fluid body of magma, Earth brims with unknown creativity.
 
Water
 
Earth’s first flowering and initial transformation is the inundation of its surface. Like soil wetted in anticipation of receiving a seed for planting, seventy percent of Earth is drenched with ocean. An essential condition for the future sprouting and maintaining of life is met.
 
The presence of surface oceans immediately renders Earth distinctive within the planetary community. One outcome of active oceans is the constant eroding of coastline and the subsequent dissolving of mineral nutrients into the sea. The oceans provide Earth with a planet-wide circulatory system.
 
How does water appear on Earth? For many decades, scientists suggested stray asteroids and comets delivered the precious liquid to Earth. However, careful analysis revealed an incomplete match between the water of those sources and the chemical make-up of Earth’s water. Only very recently, in 2020, after examining rare 4.6 billion-year-old meteorites from the inner solar system, from which Earth was formed, was it discovered that water within those meteorites matched exactly the composition of Earth’s water. We now know Earth’s water is indigenous, born out of her own rocks, her own body.
 
The release of Earth’s waters is a native outflowing, a confirmation of the vitality of the Earth-seed. The blessed planet began to germinate.

Intriguingly, Earth’s initial germination required the assistance of another heavenly body: our Moon. 4.4 billion years ago, a large body strikes our planet, and the spewed material of planet and striker combine to form the Moon. Following this impact, water formerly encased within Earth’s rocks now takes form as the planet’s vast oceans. The Moon, our mistress of tides, performed the service of midwife. Earth’s waters broke, and four billion years ago Earth’s second blossoming occurred: sentience – life – was born from the seas.
 
Sentience
 
Just as water reconstituted the planet, so also does sentience – life’s capacity for sensing, feeling, responding. For almost two billion years, sentient life existed solely as single-celled organisms scavenging food from Earth’s oceans – until a particular group of these organisms began cultivating a unique responsiveness to the energy of the Sun. Within those cells, the Sun’s energy and Earth’s sensitivity united, birthing the wondrous process of photosynthesis.
 
It is impossible to overstate the significance of this event. Earth’s life formed an intimate bond with our central star. Using abundant light from the Sun, single-celled organisms in the sea captured and processed carbon dioxide to create sugar for food: early life had found a way to sustainably feed itself. With this innovation, Earth’s sentience brings forth the sumptuous display of vitality and diversity that comprises our living world.

Air
 
Of profounder consequence than providing their own sustenance by means of photosynthesis, these single-celled organisms introduce into the planet a potent elemental presence: oxygen.
 
Oxygen-rich Air composes an original atmosphere and a further flowering of Earth. In addition to its manifestation as Air, ubiquitous oxygen permeates other domains, including Earth’s waters and rocks. Prior to the advent of oxygen, the planet held 1500 mineral species, a legacy from the planet’s original formation.  The presence and activity of sentient-produced oxygen increased the diversity and distribution of Earth’s minerals to more than 4500. 
 
In the sea, the effect of the transformative gas is equally considerable. Dissolved oxygen became the catalyst for the arising of multicellular organisms – the first animals. Cells develop the capacity to use the increased energy afforded from metabolizing oxygen to build and coordinate physical bodies. And within the atmosphere itself, in the stratosphere, oxygen morphs into ozone, functioning as a protective global shield allowing life to safely establish itself and flourish on land. The creation of oxygen-rich Air facilitates a metamorphosis of the planet and life.
 
Eons elapse and Earth grows and blossoms: the molten planet becomes a watery abode, the ocean planet brings forth sentience, and a sentient Earth creates a breathing planet of single-celled and multicellular life.
 
And the marvelous unfolding continues. Four hundred million years ago, with land plants and trees now populating the continents, and with the globe embraced by an oxygen-steeped atmosphere, a prodigious new entity arises: Fire.
 
Fire
 
Within the container of an oxygen-filled atmosphere, Fire begins its reign as a forceful influence on terrestrial life. Sentient organisms that live, or have lived, are the fuel of fire. Fire asserts itself upon land life on a planet that evolves to burn, and with this fascinating power Earth reshapes itself.
 
For hundreds of millions of years when fire burned, plants succumbed and animals fled. Fire carved out landscapes and remade ecosystems. This wild and unique capacity belonged exclusively to fire until a million and a half years ago, when a particular animal, a hominid called homo erectus, encountered fire and unlike other creatures, did not flee. Homo erectus was instead fascinated by fire: fascinated by its power and its possibilities. In that early human, Fire evoked Imagination.
 
Imagination
 
We can recapitulate the arc of Earth’s growth:
 
                                                       Earth releases Water
                                                      Water births Sentience
                                                       Sentience creates Air
                                                       Air unveils Fire
 
And now, Fire sparks the wonder of Imagination.
 
Imagination is the capacity of daring and visionary perception. The power and possibility of this new Earth energy becomes embodied within humans. Intriguingly, among the earliest uses of imagination was the harnessing of fire itself for human purposes.
 
Upon domestication by homo erectus, fire enabled humans to disperse from their African homeland. With fire providing light and warmth and protection from predators, homo erectus expanded into Western Europe, the Near East, India, Indonesia and China. Fire facilitated cooking, enlarging the variety of foods that could be digested, thereby revolutionizing food gathering. More significantly, campfires extended waking hours for social gathering and bonding. With fire as center, these interactions enabled story-sharing that in turn fed imagination.
 
Directly or indirectly, no aspect of human existence was untouched by fire. Hunting-and-gathering societies applied fire directly to landscapes, endowing whole ecosystems. Later humans employed fire to inspire new technologies of pottery and metallurgy. The dominion of humanity began and is maintained with the innovative use of fire.
 
The richest dimension of imagination is the shaping of the imagery of inner vision. This essential facet ignites within homo erectus, and peaks among cave painting hunter-gatherer groups tens of thousands of years ago. In the deepest and darkest of underground recesses, the inner vision of primeval painters transmutes into the vivid rendering of animals along cave walls. Momentously and astonishingly, a heretofore imagined inner world is vibrantly re-presented in an external physical dimension. 
 
With this startling and potent capacity, the essential movement of Earth’s unfolding is now expressed through the world-imagining ability of humanity. 
 
Just as planetary life expresses major rhythms such as waking and sleeping or inhaling and exhaling, so also does the manifestation of human cultural life. Like a diastole and systole, the world-imagining of humans displays a vital developmental pulse of separation/expansion and connection/enhancement.

Out of Africa
 
With imagination lit by fire, homo erectus becomes the earliest human ancestor to venture en masse out of Africa. Later hominids will follow this groundbreaking pattern: departing from the homeland in waves, eventually expanding over the globe until all habitable environments are populated.
 
Many of the foundational aspects of early human culture emanate from these peregrinations. The world-imagining of homo erectus inaugurates campfires and cooking, banding in hunter-gathering groups, use of pigment, and a sophisticated stone technology. Fire stoked imagination, and over a two-million-year span, humans, like a continually blazing wildfire, swept over the globe. In this embodiment of world-imagining, separation and expansion reached a zenith.

Indigenous
 
As global expansion peaked, a new world-imaging ensued. Fifty thousand years ago, perpetually wandering humans began merging with their landscapes. An intuitive bonding with locales of river and mountain, forest and plain, plant and animal, gave rise to indigenous societies. 
 
Reversing an enduring template of wandering, humans cultivated a sense of place and communities of belonging. In every aspect, the weaving among human and local environment is reciprocal, a cross-fertilizing mode of relating. A deep and intuitive knowledge of the use of plants for medicine and food, the movements and locations of animals, the employment of fire to shape ecosystems, the raising of healthy children and the maintaining of harmonious societies, are characteristic of settled and nomadic indigenous cultures.
 
With indigenous cultures the exchanges of physical and subtle energies between humans and their environs form webs of interbeing. From these shared ways, nourishing and sustaining cultures are formed. Connection and enhancement permeate indigenous living.
 
Civilization
 
Beginning eight thousand years ago, a unique system of crop-raising, class structure, and economic inequality arises. By means of its economic and martial power, the juggernaut called civilization expands world-wide, overshadowing and undermining indigenous cultures.
 
Civilized society, a highly inventive and deeply exploitative configuration of humanity, gradually sunders the connections and relations nurtured by indigenous peoples. In the West, this development is spearheaded by the sciences that now comprise the basis of our global industrial civilization.

Science and Separation
 
In the ‘cradle of civilization’ – Mesopotamia circa 2000 BCE – both astronomy and astrology develop in ancient Babylonia. Astrology, with its focus on individual relations and Earthly events, echoed the connection of human and cosmos prevalent in indigenous culture. Although astrology as a formal discipline continued into the 18th century, its influence and efficacy were entirely superseded by astronomy by the 16th century. Through astronomy, civilization expanded its knowledge of the universe while simultaneously divorcing the human from any personal relation to it.
 
During early Greek civilization (600-400 BCE) an understanding of Earth and universe was grounded in metaphysics: describing reality as guided by a single unifying principle. Thales asserted Water as the fundamental element, Heraclitus maintained Fire as the first principle, Anaximenes postulated Air was the basis of all, and Anaxagoras held Nous (cosmic mind) was the originating force.

Common to each of these interpretations is the orientation of humans arising from and related to primary Earth and universe processes. Subsequently, the Greeks will distance their thinking from these ponderings, and develop physics – the study of natural events based on experiment and quantification – commencing with the works of Archimedes (c.250 BCE). Physics will come to fruition in the 16th century, contributing significantly to the advent of the Scientific Revolution. Our empirical knowledge grows, as our relation to the phenomena described shrinks, and eventually vanishes.
 
Alchemy’s beginnings in the West date from the third century. However, it is in Moslem civilization of the 8th and 9th centuries that the study of alchemy matures. Arab alchemical practitioners explore the relation between altering matter, and personal transmutation and purification. In the 17th century alchemy is overshadowed by its successor, chemistry, and the connection of Earth and human aspiration is severed.
 
A final instance is the study of vitalism, with roots in ancient Egypt, but reaching a culmination in European civilization of the 17th and 18th centuries. Vitalism proposed that living beings are distinguished from non-living entities because they possess a ‘vital spark’ or soul. During the 20th century vitalism as an explanation of life dynamics was replaced by the emerging science of biology. Biology subsequently conjoined with evolutionary theory, undermining any fundamental connection of life with soul.
 
We can summarize these outcomes:
 
                                                     Babylonian:     astrology         >     astronomy
                                                     Greek:               metaphysics   >     physics
                                                     Moslem:           alchemy           >     chemistry
                                                      European:       vitalism           >      biology
 
At every turn, the advance of civilization and science served to sunder the connection of humanity to the energies and processes of Earth that we are embedded within. And so, our technology and science have served as underpinnings for a culture responsible for the destruction of much animal, plant and human life. The ability and determination to exploit the planet’s treasures has resulted in the continuing despoilation of air, soil and water.

We have gained a plethora of knowledge about the world and lost any essential relation to it. The world-imagining that gave rise to civilization has left us powerful and bereft orphans. Our knowledge and economic expansion, and our conceptual and social separation from Earth, have reached a zenith.

A New Imagining
 
We are now witness to the decline of global industrial civilization. Social, political, economic and environmental conditions present themselves as unstable and unsustainable. The unfolding Earth requires and elicits a new world-imagining, founded within the cycle of connection and enhancement.
 
This is evident in those very sciences that once supported a stance of separation from Earth and heavens. Scientific investigations have opened onto realms rendering perspectives of separation untenable.
    
In the examination of the cosmos, astronomy reveals that the contents and transformations of the universe emanate from a single multi-faceted energy event beginning 14 billion years ago. All of the stars, planets and living beings populating the universe have formed from a shared Cosmic Birth.

Physics, through the exposition of quantum physics, shows that reality manifests by means of relationship. The particles comprising all matter are not isolated definite things, but are energy fields that become actual objects only in situations of intermingling. Quantum physics asserts relationship is reality.

In a careful exploration of essential substances, chemistry discovers that the fundamental elements of matter are created in the cauldrons of stars. The composition of Earth, our bodies, the air, and oceans – all of it was derived from the primordial work of the heavens.

In the realm of biology, by means of DNA analysis, we now know all animals, plants, fungi and single-celled life are our relatives and ancestors. We arise as humans from a shared lineage with all the life of the planet. We are a portion of life’s matrix, a particular species gifted with the power of imagination.

These fields and many others reflect a burgeoning reorientation of humanity, a new world-imagining of enhancement and connection, beyond the separative and exploitative impetus of civilization. Earth calls forth a global renewal as profound as previous transitions from wanderer to indigenous to civilized.
 
Where once we were indigenous to place, we are now compelled to become indigenous to planet – that is, to become co-creators and co-nurturers with the living Earth in a mutually enhancing partnership. Our human imagination is ultimately not primarily for ourselves, but for Earth’s continual and wondrous flowering.
 
The gifts of humanity are invited to become offerings of well-being to Earth’s human and other-than-human denizens, and to her natural eco-communities. As a new world-imagining comprised of seeds of caring, connection and beauty begins to blossom, the planet uncovers and discovers itself afresh.

And the astonishing Earth miracle continues.
What is Creation Spirituality Communities?
Creation Spirituality Communities, Inc. (CSC) is a network of individuals and communities who are grounded in the sacredness of all creation and seek to connect to the spirituality of creation through mysticism, creativity, and cultural transformation.

CSC includes people from many spiritual traditions, cultures, races, sexual identities, and ages. They come to Creation Spirituality through the writing and speeches of Matthew Fox, through articles and videos, through conversations with friends, and through study at one of the Creation Spirituality universities – now the Fox Institute of Creation Spirituality.

Creation Spirituality Communities provides avenues for gathering together, being inspired, and embodying the CS message of compassion, co-creation, and transformation. We are led by a nine member board of directors and supported by our members.
Below are the Creation Spirituality Communities that we are aware are meeting on a regular basis. If you are participating in a community or CS circle that is not included on this list, please let us know by writing to contact@cscommunities.org.

LIST OF CREATION SPIRITUALITY COMMUNITIES:

Creation Spirituality Communities
contact@cscommunities.org | www.cscommunities.org