Thursday, April 28, 2011

In Search of a Purpose

Are you looking for your purpose for being? Are you hungry to know why you are here at this time of great change on the planet? Do you feel as though regardless of what you do, it may or may not make a big enough difference anyway? Do you ever feel as though humanity is in a downward spiral, so why get all invested in fulfilling a purpose?

Do you tell yourself, I’m here to love, and then leave it at that?

I’ve been privileged to support people in their vision or song quests for 15 years. I’ve also been providing Life Path readings to people looking for answers for the same amount of time. And I’ve made some discoveries.

We are all here to love, and each of us has a unique way in which we long to know and express that love. That longing is the impetus for the emergence of our purposes.

Most of us feel a bit daunted by the amount of greed, lies and abuses we experience on this planet. Many of us are disappointed that humanity, including ourselves, is not further along in the development of its collective consciousness.

Yet, if you have taken the time to read this article, you care deeply about yourself, humanity and the planet. A significant part of you wants to hope.

Now, here is something else I have learned. Hope springs from your willingness to share your gifts and talents, regardless of what is happening around you. Your purpose emerges naturally in the expression of your most profound gifts. Recognize and apply your talents in a dedicated and committed manner (especially when things get tough), and you become hope for yourself and those around you.

Another way in which you can better know and understand your purpose is to give yourself permission to eliminate the distractions in your life and really listen to Spirit, in whatever way you know Spirit.

This is why people decide to do vision quests or song quests. They are choosing to enter into the silence in order to witness themselves within the web of the Divine, and discover their place within it. Choosing to quest is a significant commitment to becoming hope in the world.

In the form of quest that I offer, people that are not questing but want to support are invited to join together to hold space for those that are questing. In holding space for another, you become the very essence of the Sacred Feminine, for it is the nature of the Sacred Feminine that lovingly holds “what is” in the still space of love.

As the community holds this space together, we experience ourselves as a microcosm of the macrocosm. In our loving arms, our collective consciousness is repairing our wounds from the past and embracing the precious nature of our gifts and our very existence.

As community, we agree to become a sacred vessel, through which we heal ourselves, and remember our nature as a joyful vibration of loving family. In becoming a true loving microcosm of humanity, we affect all of humanity. If our consciousness as humanity has any hope of significant evolution, it will certainly take place as each individual evolves, but it is catapulted when communities evolve.

Quest creates a balance between the individual quest for personal purpose and the community’s quest for collective purpose. Both are equally important in conscious awakening. What we have discovered at our quests is that abuses from our families of origin heal. Because we feel more whole, we awaken to a greater sense of our purpose and our desire to share our gifts and our hope with those that cross our paths. For more information about SpiritQuest, visit: http://www.NewDreamFoundation.com

It is true that each person’s purpose is to love. I believe the greater question is this: How will I serve humanity and the planet with the love that I am?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Living a Joyful Life


Before my father died I asked him what he thought his purpose here on earth was about. Thoughtfully he said, "I came here to suffer for the people." He was a devout Catholic, with a deep love for Jesus, but that was not an answer I was expecting.

There was a time when I would have thought my father was crazy, but I understood what he was saying. I didn’t respond out loud, only nodded my head, as I thought about Native brothers and sisters I knew who were sun dancers, dancing for exactly that same reason that my father lived—suffering consciously and transcending suffering, so that others would not have to suffer at all.

With a wife that was ill most of her life, I now wonder how much of my mother’s suffering my father quietly took on in order to reduce her burden. I think about my mother’s Cherokee heritage and our ancestors’ suffering in the forced march we call the Trail of Tears, where nearly one-quarter of the tribe died in freezing winter snows.

Genocide, torture and persecution are rampant in our history and our current human condition. My heart aches for people held in slavery and people around this world who suffer or lose their lives at the hands of others.

At this time of year, I think about the Jewish people that have been persecuted throughout history, and the significance of Passover in the preservation of life and promise of freedom. I consider Jesus’ powerfully loving transformation of suffering, and the women and men burned at the stake that made the final moments of their lives offerings to God. I reflect upon the life of Buddha who made it his life’s work to transcend suffering and teach others how to do the same.

How many times, I wonder, has someone like my father offered their suffering as a gift, so that no one else would ever have to suffer again? And yet, do we allow ourselves to become free from suffering?

Some time after my father’s death, as I was considering how my father’s mission continued to influence my life, I asked myself these questions, “Are you willing to receive his gift? Are you willing to live life without suffering and accept the joy that is yours to know?”

I understand there will be some suffering in my life. When someone I love dies, I cry. When I injure myself physically it hurts. When people are harmed, I ache for them. Suffering is part of being human. But do any of us have to suffer as much as we do?

Shortly after asking myself if I was willing to receive the gift that comes when suffering is transformed, I started making different choices for myself. Receiving the gift honors the lives of those that have already made the sacrifices, and embraces life as we long for it to be—joyful!

I laugh more and judge less. I wake up and go to bed happy. I am grateful for each small gift and the beauty of each day. I discovered that joy is choice, not something that happens when everything is just right.

When there is suffering, I can be in compassion for others and myself, knowing that my compassion opens a doorway to greater peace and joy. I can choose to do what is right, even if it is difficult, and be joyful in the fulfillment of my choice. I can decide to open my heart each day to experience the wonder of the Mystery unfolding before and within me.

I invite you to join me in living a joyful life—to receive the gift that has been intended for us through the prayers and sacrifices of so many loving people. We fulfill their legacies when we allow ourselves to live a fulfilled life—when we choose to live a joyful life.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Quest Can Do for You During a Time of Planetary Unrest


At least in the United States, it has been my observation that we tend to wait for crisis before we fully open our hearts in the stillness and love of the Sacred Feminine, and then embody the Sacred Masculine by making the necessary changes that create peaceful existence for ourselves.

Too many times in my own life, I have waited until I could bear no more pain before I took the difficult steps required to lay down my self-inflicted burden. Finally, after being shown a different way to approach growth, I realized that ceremony was a way to truly meet oneself as an individual and as a member of community and lay down my fears and suffering before they consumed my life.

During this period of great planetary awakening, we can choose to continue waiting for painful catalysts to launch us in our journey of self-awareness or we can choose to enter sacred space and willingly surrender our fears. At SpiritQuest, we stop waiting and consciously open to the truth of our divinity.

We do this by taking our deepest wounds, fears and perceived enemies to the sacred fire that burns 24 hours per day throughout the entire week. Some have been preparing for this past year to quest alone on the Mother in order to awaken their Divine awareness and shed the limits that keep them bound in human reaction.

Those of us that choose to attend in support of our questers ride on the currents of the ceremonies and the questers’ commitments to awakening, so that we might also shed our limited perceptions—opening to our limitless capacity to love—even those people or institutions that challenge our inherent goodness and values.

Whether your challenges are parents that abused you as a child, GMO crops, global warming, IRS abuse, extinction of wildlife, physical illness or disabilities, loss of our forests, wars for political or monetary gain, empathic sensitivity, violation of civil or human rights, genocide, discrimination, critical or abusive family members, polluted water, excessive use of oil, planetary depopulation agendas, government policies that effect your food, health, and freedoms, or cataclysmic earth changes—here at quest we take our challenges to the Sacred Fire to release our burdens. http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/spirit-quest.htm

Our challenges and perceived enemies are resistances to harmony, and at their core are reflections of our individual and collective fears. So during quest, we individually and collectively surrender our fears to the greater wisdom of the Divine. In the surrender, we discover the truth of who we really are—again individually and collectively—and in that truth we are free from the weight of our burdens.

For some years, I believed that surrendering and opening individually was enough, but through the grace of ceremonies themselves, I have discovered that there is another level of awareness that opens to us when we surrender and open with others. Because our collective consciousness creates much of the reality we now experience on earth, our collective consciousness is required to mitigate the damage our fears have created, and ultimately co-create a vision of compassion, truth and peace.

Of course, as many of us already know, our individual work is important, as witnessed at quest by our questers’ choice to sit quietly on the Mother alone, being present to the Divine within and around them. The sacred fire becomes the heartbeat of our community, as each person creates time for quiet contemplation at the fire.

Many of us in our own daily lives have been called to individual awakening through private meditation, various forms of healing therapies, and personal ritual. We instinctively know the importance of the personal journey.

Yet, don’t we also sense that in order for full conscious evolution to occur on this planet, we need to participate in collective awakening? Notice how we receive more e-mails calling us to gather together, focusing our loving and healing attention for explicit purposes on designated dates at specific times. This is the call of the collective.

At SpiritQuest, we acknowledge both forms of conscious awakening—individual and collective. There is a great spiritual doorway that opens when we gather in prayerfulness, honoring the journey of the individual and the community in surrendering to the Divine nature of ourselves, Mother Earth, and the many Mysteries of creation.

This is the doorway we open at quest. We bring our blessed unrest to the sacred fire, holding it in compassion until we are at peace. We live in community with the beautiful people called to be at quest and Mother Earth, changing the dysfunctional patterns we may have adopted. Simultaneously, we awaken to a deeper relationship with the Mother, shedding our fears of the woods, the night, and the animals as we find our natural rhythm with her divinity.
http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/spirit-quest.htm

This is the doorway, we invite you to enter. Bring your loving heart and open mind, and give your unrest to the sacred fire. Then watch as you awaken to yourself, your community, Mother Earth, and the Great Mystery itself.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Volunteering—A Way to Play


While Supporting People Who Care About the Sacred Feminine

I grew up thinking volunteering was where you got to play, so I’ve been volunteering most of my life. My volunteer activities were where I got to do what I loved for something I believed in, while enjoying new experiences with people that shared common interests, and without the pressures that can come with a job. For me, that’s a way to play.

I started volunteering when I was a kid. In fact, my whole family volunteered, primarily for our church. My parents had a strong belief that when a group gives something valuable to you that you enjoy receiving, it is appropriate to give something back. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so we gave what we could afford and then gave even more in time and energy.

My entire family sang and most of us played guitar, so you could find my brothers and sister and I singing in, and eventually leading, the folk group at church. Later that experience turned into paid work as a vocalist at weddings, and those experiences gave me the courage to become a stage actress.

When I became a special education teacher, I volunteered some of my time to help non-profits create education programs. Later I leveraged my teaching skills along with the volunteer experiences to land a job where I created a comprehensive education program for an expanding organization.

The marketing skills I learned while I was creating the education program combined well with volunteer marketing work for theater and dance companies to help me acquire a better paying job a few years later.

More than once in my life, simply volunteering to do something I loved turned into experience that helped me create income later on. I didn’t choose to volunteer just to get job experience, but it always seemed to happen. The skills that I learned volunteering have helped me: 1) acquire jobs; 2) qualify for better paying positions; or provided me with 3) skills for running my own business.

And I all I had to do was play!

When someone talks to me about volunteering at New Dream Foundation, we begin the conversation by discussing what they enjoy and what they hope volunteering might do for them. I know that if someone is going to enjoy their time at New Dream, they need to feel like they are playing, at least most of the time. Then we talk about what we need at New Dream and how that might be a source of fulfillment for you.

One of our volunteers started her business by first volunteering here at New Dream and then used her results to attract clients. That really tickled me because years ago I read about a consultant that started his business by doing volunteer work for major corporations. All he wanted in return were some stellar recommendations from the CEOs if the companies were satisfied with his work. Within months, he had written recommendations from industry leaders that he shared with potential new clients. With those credentials, he had no problem acquiring paying clients in major industries.

Clever eh?

Staff and other volunteers are typically very pleased when a volunteer steps in to help. They know you don’t have to be there, so you and your work are usually met with a lot of praise and gratitude. Now, if you are doing something you really love, you don’t usually need a lot of kudos, but it is nice to know you are appreciated, isn’t it?

I find it very easy to write a strong recommendation about a volunteer’s contributions because if you are giving from your strengths, your work is going to be good. If you are learning something new to help us and yourself, then you are demonstrating tremendous initiative and that is worth gold in today’s job market. Learn more about how this works at:
http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/volunteering.htm

Most of all, there is a tremendous satisfaction in knowing that you played a role in furthering something important to you. New Dream exists because people of various skills came together, each contributing with joy what time and talent we could because we believed in creating together something bigger than we could do alone.

We believe that the world needs the Sacred Feminine if it is going to evolve beautifully into its next level of conscious living. The Sacred Feminine will become a part of planetary consciousness if we allow ourselves to awaken to the divine nature of the feminine within us and then create the circles that hold space for others. New Dream is one of those circles.

Whether your idea of play is dancing, writing music, shooting a film, organizing people or events, developing websites, raising money, planting gardens, or solving problems, there is probably a way in which New Dream can help you realize your passions as you help us realize our mission.

If you have been looking for a place to meet people of like-heart, go deeper into the Sacred Feminine, make a difference in the world, and play…we would love to discover you…and welcome you as a New Dream Volunteer.

I suggest you begin by getting acquainted with some of the areas in which we would love to experience your volunteer assistance. http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/volunteer-opportunities.htm