From “Me” to “We”

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
 
 This is always an interesting time of year for me. I was raised in the U.S., and like many children made pictures of Puritans and happy Indians and turkeys, and colored them in to hang up in our classroom. I have since learned, of course, that while this particular meal may have been collegial, the next steps in the lives of these two groups was not something to celebrate – especially if you were Native American.  
It seems though, that the meal was a Puritan tradition brought to this country, when gratitude was in fact expressed for a plentiful harvest. This first Thanksgiving occurred at a time when collaboration was important for the Puritans to try as a strategy, as they honestly would have gone hungry without the help of the Native people. Learning how to farm this new and strange land was necessary for their continued survival.  
I read an interesting article about the Mayflower Pact, the agreement made by the Puritan settlers on the Mayflower before they landed at Plymouth Rock. The idealism and high hopes of their new venture led them to create a document which guaranteed that each original settler, no matter how much work they put into it, would be an equal “owner” of the fruits of the labors of the group. This philosophy quickly fell apart as the rigors of life on the new continent became a reality. Private ownership of the fruits of one’s own labors soon replaced the original heady excitement for a Utopian world.
One of the greatest challenges we have as human beings on a spiritual path is integrating our spiritual truth into our daily lives. It is in the living of our ideals that the real tests appear. The Mayan Elders brought us a clear message. We are no longer going to survive or thrive as a world if we do not move from a “Me” to a “We” consciousness. This IS the message of the next phase of history, marked officially by the ending of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21st, 2012.
 This shift is already in motion, and while it is involved with survival as a planet- literally- I would like to think that the choice to become truly collaborative can be based upon more than pure survival.   So, while I am ambivalent about the mixing up of so many metaphors into the official  “Thanksgiving story”, I am NEVER ambivalent about expressing gratitude. And I am utterly excited beyond words about being a part of the shift to a true “New world”.  
I want to encourage you all to take a moment during this Thanksgiving holiday to go inside and examine the nature of your relationships. Everything is a relationship, whether it be our interconnectedness with the trees and living things that convert our carbon dioxide into oxygen for mutual continued life, or with your neighbor who makes too much noise on Saturday night. I think that honestly, we learn the most from our most challenging connections, and those would be with other humans.  
Even as we give thanks for a plentiful “harvest” in the symbolism of this holiday we call Thanksgiving, let’s become intentional about what seeds, bulbs, ideas, visions, images we plant for this next season.
I am grateful for each of you. I am grateful to be alive at this time, with all of the people who have been called forth to be part of this shift to a world of a new way of being.
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday at 2 at West Park.
 
YOU are the gift.
We love to see your face,
Peace/out,
Rev. Jane
 
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It’s A New Season!!

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
 
 Wow!!! What an amazing Sanctuary NYC one year birthday celebration we had the other night!! We are off on a grand adventure, into year two, and full of excitement and gratitude about what has been, what is, and what is coming. 
Jerry White of the U.S. State Department spoke for us.  A likely future minister who was drafted for the State Department out of a Religion program at Oxford, he said a comment that has really stayed in my thoughts. He talked about the community being, or becoming, “the body of Christ consciousness”. I honestly think this was much more the original intention of the early followers of Jesus than the idea of a community becoming the body of any one person. 
 Christ is not a last name, but a title, or more accurately a state of spiritual awareness and enlightenment. Jesus, the Christ, in saying that “if you do these things I do, greater things than these will you do” is teaching about the internalizing of the Presence. In opening to be a vessel of that which breathes us, we become part of this larger reality that Jesus speaks of as the Kingdom. We become the body of Christ consciousness! 
Much of the bible, especially the New Testament, was written with a feeling that the world was ending any day. The writings are apocalyptic, and talk about repenting because, basically, the end of time as they knew it was supposed to be “at hand”. 
After a few hundred years people began to realize that living in this heightened state of anxiety about the imminent end of the world was not only not serving them, but didn’t seem to be accurate. Time just kept on going. Since the time of Christ and before, there has always been a tension about this sense of urgency, warnings about eschatology, or end times, and other teachings that have to do with how to live a more balanced life, to be on a Path. Jerry’s remarks incorporated this idea of a Path into a conversation about how community in Christ consciousness might look.
 We are currently living in another time when people are feeling a sense of accelerated time. This idea of the ancient Mayan calendar coming to an end on December 21, 2012, and the world along with it, really has a lot of people worrying. And yet, we have had the wonderful message right from the Mayan elders in person, that in fact what is coming to an end is ideally a way of being. And what is “coming to pass” is a new age of harmony, cooperation and collaboration. But honestly, time does seem to be moving differently, faster, and it is in times of heightened energy like this that a Path really comes in handy.  
Following a Path of Prayer, Meditation and Sacred Service- in- Community can recalibrate our inner landscape so that we are in tune with the vibration of eternity. When the storms of life begin to rage, if we are connected to a community that is connected to the Divine resonance, to the OM, or the I AM, we have a lot of support for calming down and centering. 
 I am honored to be working with such a deeply creative and committed group of artists, inventors, dreamers and compassionate souls as continues to gather as Sanctuary NYC.  When we allow ourselves to really connect beyond our individuality and to become part of something larger than ourselves, we make the difference that the Elders called us to step into now, not later. 
That “difference” is to truly BE a vibration of Love, to share that love, to be that love. And each of you is essentially, at your core, made from and of that Love. Being Love really just involves returning to our essential nature. This is what I think Jerry was getting at with this idea of the community becoming the body of Christ consciousness. 
 
Can’t wait to see what this next year brings.
We love to see your face,
 
Peace/out,
Rev. Jane
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Hurricane, Snow, Sunshine and Hope

 Well, it has really been quite the weather week! After braving Hurricane Sandy, we have all gone about the work of adjusting to the new normal. For those hardest hit, this is not a simple process. Sandy is such a benign name for this sudden dramatic visitor, the tremendous force that swept into our lives.
I find myself really thinking about the nature of a storm. Whether we like it or not, storms come, and the way they come is usually not gentle. We lose loved ones, our health changes, our best laid plans turn into nothingness. Storms come into our lives and we weather them.  We all have gone through a storm.
There is a phenomenon called Homeostasis, which means essentially that people are always trying to achieve some sense of balance. And so in the midst of shocking revelations or loss, or world events seemingly beyond our control, there is something in us that is trying to make sense of it so that we can stay stable. And sometimes that process is easier than at other times.
This last week I have really had a great experience watching my two cats respond to the dramatic changes in barometric pressure. They are like a living early warning system. For two days before the storm hit, they were running from one end of the apartment to the other, leaping from high places, colliding with one another mid flight. The storm finally came, and the barometric pressure lowered.  While trees were flying through the air right outside, and people were nervous, the cats slept happily. They knew it was coming, they did what cats do when the vibe felt weird, and when the world felt better to them, they chilled out.  As far as they were concerned, the storm was over.
 When words fail us, a song will carry our pain and transmute it into something bearable. Some of the best songs use storms as metaphors.  When the rain and wind of the storm are raging, there is a still center always, where eternity resides. That is where the fluidity of the dance or the stroke of color from an artist’s brush becomes the language that makes sense of the new terrain we experience after the branches are blown away.
What a gift you all gave us last Sunday.
See you this week, 2 pm.
Bring your magic transformer rings, your dancing shoes, your most creative spirit, and a gift to share.
Something new is in the air.
Peace/out,
Rev. Jane
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What A Week!! What A Service!! What A Blessing!

Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,

 

Wow!! What a week so far!  We had a wonderful, unforgettable service last Sunday to celebrate one year as a community and to hear wisdom and inspiration from the Mayan Elders led by Don Tomas Calvo, the highest moral authority in the Mayan community.  I would say that their embodied presence of love and ageless stillness IS the message as we heard it on Sunday, first in the Mayan tongue K’iche, then in Spanish and finally in English.   

“The creator wants us to be happy, that is what the creator envisioned for us.  You can only share what you have in your heart.  If you have only sadness, you can only share sadness.  I would tell you more,” Don Calvo said, “but you would only forget it.”  

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Who you are is yelling so loud I can’t hear what you say to the contrary.”  Another way to say that is that we feel each other’s vibes.  That is where the real transformation happens in the vibratory realm.  We will be forever blessed by our time with these wisdom holders and their message of love among all peoples.  

For those of you who didn’t make it, I will recap some highlights.  Rev. Bob Brashear greeted the Elders and the gathering in Spanish.  The music of Jeremy Mage and The Sounds of Sanctuary was incredibly moving from the moment they processed in singing with their matching green scarves.  Tucker Robbins introduced the Mayan Elders and the work they are doing together.  Sanctuary NYC will be an ongoing partner with Tucker and the Mayan elders in bringing their message of Oneness to the U.S.  More information is available at http://www.mayanow.org.

Jeffrey Lepinske not only managed the logistics, he decorated, provided the food for our feast, opened, closed and directed the day.  Court Stroud wrote a wonderful piece in the Huffington Post about the Mayan’s visit, Luma handled hospitality with grace and good humor, Rev. Carol Napier led a bi-lingual meditation, Rev. Paul Dodenhoff and Greg Stamper both brought us beautiful inspirational words at the end of the ceremony. We also received lovely notes from other ministers and musical directors who planned to be there but had to “batten down the hatches” for the hurricane.

It was just a really great day, a Tri-lingual service in K’iche, Spanish and English on the UWS of Manhattan!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

And then, our world really changed FAST!!  The hurricane started to come in, the subways stopped running at 7 pm.  And then we hit two days of THE STORM: rain, howling winds, and power explosions.  And now, there is so much to absorb and figure out about how to get places, and who has electricity and hot water and…

And honestly, this is how life goes, yes?

Life is sometimes more dramatic and involves trees flying through the air, but change is the nature of the human experience.  More often than not, we need one another to make it through the rough parts.

  As we begin our second year as a community, I see our reason for coming together to be the affirmation of the elements of the spiritual journey that DON’T change, the timeless Truths, the ever Presence; keeping our eyes on things Eternal together.  Toward that end, the themes for the month of November will be Restoration and Prayer.

  We will also have a special section this Sunday for your creative contribution – of two minutes each- on the topic “Through the Storm.”  Share a song, a testimony, a rap, a dance (two minutes remember:) telling your community about your journey through the storm this week.

  The way we remember our blessings is by sharing them.  Tell us what went RIGHT! even in the midst of the chaos.  

  We will be thrilled to see you, and to affirm that along with the psalmist, “Even though we walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death we will fear no evil, for Thou art with us.”

Be safe.

If you need something, please ring in on our Facebook page Sanctuary NYC.org  We have people in most boroughs, and have had offers of places to stay, and other kinds of assistance.  

Even if you don’t need something, let us know you are good.

 

We love to see your face,

 

Peace/out,

Rev. Jane

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