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America is in transition.

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Women who have experienced the full birthing process know the powerful moment of “transition.” Please watch this YouTube testimony to the power of love. Valarie Kaur, January 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCenwgheIBs

 

Valarie Kaur

 

On Sanctuary

With the upheaval we in the United States have experienced in the past weeks, the word “sanctuary” has taken on a deeper meaning for me. We all need places of sanctuary when times and events are ominous and hurtful. How can this blog address the need for sanctuary in our world today? Certainly churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship have traditionally provided sanctuary to people in distress or danger. And “sanctuary cities” are springing up across the United States. Last night I attended a vigil at a local Islamic Center (Hudson, NY) which was held to affirm solidarity with immigrants. It was a warm, candlelit outdoor gathering on a frigid night. The gathering was sponsored by the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement. Sanctuary as a movement is interesting to me.

Hudson Islamic Center vigil for solidarity

Hudson Islamic Center vigil for solidarity

My interest lies in sanctuaries without walls, and spontaneous gatherings, rather than literal sanctuary in buildings. On the day of the Women’s Marches worldwide,  a friend and I gathered together a group of women who for a variety of reasons were not marching. Around a dining room table we spoke our fears and hopes, and pondered actions we could take.

How, in our everyday lives, do we each provide sanctuary to others? How can we, with others, provide sanctuary in ways  “outside the walls?” What does sanctuary mean to you, and how do you create or experience it in your life?

Endings and Beginnings

As I write this, the Elderwomen series described on this blog is coming to an end.  Ten of us met on a monthly basis beginning in September 2010, braving this exceptionally cold, snowy, and ice-coated Northeastern winter. What a hearty, intrepid, and wise group of women! While the gatherings are coming to an end (a beginning!),  there may be green off-shoot groups growing, after we experience our March Initiation. “Initiation,” after all, means beginning. So keep an eye on this blog to see what is offered next.

You may also wish to see the February Elderwoman newsletter published by my friend Marian. In it she describes the Spring flowers which are already appearing near her home in England. Spring carries especially rich symbolism after a hard Winter. Rebirth, resurrection, renewal.

The above photo of emerging snowdrops was taken in my garden on March 7, 2010. Dream on it! What tender green shoots of hope, life, and endeavor are waiting to emerge in your life, or in the wider world?

Finding Sanctuary

• Finding sanctuary.

• Listening to earth-spirit whispers.

• Sharing our stories and experiences.

• Developing the heart-dimensions of who we are.

• Becoming monks in the world, as we take our learning and presence seriously, playfully, compassionately back into the world when we part.

• Living from a deeper place within ourselves in each encounter as we live our daily lives: the passionate, connecting, transforming power that we can bring to the healing of one another and our world.

GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness

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On Sunday afternoon, 2 PM,  September 12th, Marian Van Eyk McCain will be speaking at the Real Food Network Co-op (upstairs in the Community Room, 15 Church Street, Chatham, NY) about her new book GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness. (Please note: the Co-op is not open for business on Sundays.)

Marian and her husband live simply in Devon, England. She limits her air travel for environmental reasons, so we are fortunate to have her with us. Please join us on September 12th!

Published by O Books and launched in London in July 2010, this book brings together the words and ideas of contemporary writers from a wide range of disciplines and wisdom traditions to create a comprehensive manual for eco-spiritual, green and sustainable 21st century living.
In his Foreword , Resurgence editor Satish Kumar says: “I am confident that the book will act like a guide to many who are seeking a right relationship between the human spirit and the natural world.”
Contributors include Marian, along with environmental lawyer Cormac Cullinan, economist David Korten, cosmologist Brian Swimme,  ecologist Stephan Harding, ecopsychologist Sandra White, Episcopalian priest and educator Matthew Fox, wellness expert John  Travis MD,   spokespeople from the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sufi and Pagan traditions and more than a dozen others. The late Thomas Berry gave this book his special blessing when the manuscript was first completed, just six months before he died.

This GreenSpirit event with Marian promises to be very inspiring. There is no fee, but donations will be gratefully accepted. We look forward to seeing you in the Community Room, upstairs at the Real Food Market Co-op on Sunday, September 12, 2 PM.

GreenSpirit Poster – Please help spread the word about this GreenSpirit event.

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Marian is also author of the book Elderwoman: Reap the Wisdom – Feel the Power – Embrace the Joy, which ties in with Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman, a seven-part series beginning in Chatham on September 14th.

Marian Van Eyk McCain

Welcome home!

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Welcome home to Sanctuary Without Walls.  SWW sponsors gatherings and other events in Columbia County, NY  ~   for spiritual sustenance, naturally.  It is a home for

  • those who wish to develop or deepen their spiritual practices and lives, but who may or may not have a religious community in which to do so, or
  • who wish to supplement their experiences with a more diverse group. These gatherings are an experiment, born of my interactions with many people who feel a need for connection, community, and spirituality, grounded in everyday life.

Welcome to Sanctuary Without Walls!