Well, it appears that I am just recovering from a whirlwind week in Times Square at the TANK NY culminating in a really wonderful evening on November 16th. If you missed it, you missed a lot. Rather than try to recap, we will be posting photos on the website and photos are already on our Facebook page.
THANK YOU to every person who had a part in making that evening a truly wonderful one.
And thank you all for accompanying me on this journey into what it is that makes us alive. The heart of the artist in each of us is the place where we and Spirit Co-create. This is your gift to the world, and only you can be you. The core of the work I am committed to doing is to create a context for each person to listen to their own unique gift...cultivate and share it to make our world a better, more loving, more humane place for all people.
Every person needs a tribe, where they can contribute, receive, teach, learn, inspire and be inspired. My attempt to find the place where I can be of maximum service led me to each of you, and I am immeasurably grateful for that. As the year of 2014 winds down, I am going to be making some changes to the newsletter, and to the idea of T.R.I.B.E. Stay tuned:)
Sending you love and blessings from the left coast, Jane
Dear T.R.I.B.E. Friends,
On the evening of November 16th some of the most talented spiritual journeyers/artists I know will be joining me at The TANK NYC from 7-9 pm. And yes that includes YOU!
The TANK is located right off Times Square at 151 W. 46th St.
I went into ministry at a time when the entire thought form of "church" was shifting, and after almost fifteen years of pastoral ministry, I needed a break to get some distance about my own Call, to assimilate the many lessons and to listen. The idea of a sabbatical- taking a year off every seven years to study and assimilate, to write, travel and reflect - really makes sense. I was due two sabbaticals! There is also a biblical tradition of choosing a desert experience, (or recognizing that you are in one), and letting it pull the toxins out, inviting the stillness to attune your inner ear to the subtle life all around, and to see the astonishing desert flowers popping up in brilliant red or purple.
Out of the desert comes simplicity and clarity. Out of the desert, a path emerges. Red flowers, purple blooms, Kirtan, conversation, catching up, sharing a meal. Can't wait!! See you on the 16th! Come with questions, with hopes and dreams. And if you want to make a sweet potato pie that would be great too!!
Suggested donation $20.
See you soon, With love, Jane www.tribealive.org
Three years ago on October 23, 2011, I stepped into the unknown with a group of new friends in NYC, to launch a new spiritual community out of the ashes of a short lived earlier adventure. We called it Sanctuary NYC- We added the NYC because my cousin Henry told us we would get lost among the bird and various other sanctuaries on Google search if we didn't add something...like NYC:).
It was kind of a crazy thing to call ourselves as the initials of our new venture turned out to be the same as the previous community. This would prove to be one of many confusions about who we were and what we were trying to be, BUT in spite of the way we launched, we managed to have an AMAZING two years...meeting at West-Park Presbyterian Church, hosting weekly Sunday services, Mayan Elders from Guatemala in Oct 2012, a fabulous documentary film series, music programs, new play readings, classes, Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, beautiful seasonal rituals and observances and more.
Today, October 23, is the third anniversary of that launch, and I am thinking of so many great people as I feel the resonance of that wonderful work. It was imperative that we allow the community to evolve naturally and it did. We had an elegant and meaningful two years together and for this I am so so grateful. Happy Anniversary!!
Here is some of what I have learned over 15 years of pastoral ministry.
1. Organized "churches" of all kinds are falling away as a form. As that happens, many people are scrambling to hold onto "what was" and crazy stuff is going on as a result. 2. People still need to gather. "Where two or three are gathered" is still the teaching that resonates. Collaboration and synergy are the energies of the new. 3. Inter-spirituality is a wonderful emerging philosophical movement. It is a great way to talk about the Wisdom Path, and it is a bit too slippery a concept upon which to try to build a community. 4. Our higher selves are calling.
It is from this awareness that T.R.I.B.E. was born I look forward to being part of the next level of conversation with you all.
Our next gathering of T.R.I.B.E. will be on Sunday evening, November 16th, from 7-9 pm at the TANK NYC, at 151 W. 46th St.
The theme of the evening will be "In Her Voice- The Female Voice of God", and we have some really wonderful people working with us. Deborah Singletary, Sandra Bargman, Emma McMullin will share their art with us. The Seven Sisters Kirtan and Brooklyn Bhajan Band will lead us in chants and song, I will share some thoughts about what is emerging as a planetary voice and how we might get in alignment with that. We will talk, share, eat, collaborate and evolve!
Look forward to seeing you there. Happy Anniversary!!
With love, Jane www.tribealive.org
Dear T.R.I.B.E. Friends, Ram Dass wrote a wonderful, simple book for helping professionals entitled "How Can I Help?" in which he addresses the desire of the "helper" to sometimes help too much, or in the way they think to be best, but not a way that actually serves the greater good.The simple question "How Can I Help?" speaks to discerning the felt need of the person or situation.
Interestingly, an article in Forbes Magazine says this can be the worst question to ask, and maybe in business, where hidden agendas are rife, it opens more questions than those it answers. But in this matter of spiritual leadership, I think it really is a good place to start.
One thing I know for sure is that I am fortunate. I have been a sober person in AA for many years now, and I simply cannot guarantee my continued sanity or sobriety if I become entangled for long with things that do not work for me ethically. I MUST listen to my gut... I would suggest we all actually must.
Daniel Golemen, PhD, who coined the concept of Emotional Intelligence, suggests, in his new book," Focus" that we each engage three areas when we enter a situation: 1) What we are good at doing 2) Personal emotional engagement 3) Our own inner ethical sense. We attempt to ignore any of these at our peril. I actually learned this the hard way... Hence- a Sabbatical
I am not sure what works. That is part of what a sabbatical is about. Fortunately, I don't have to know. I am listening right now.
How can I help?
With love, Jane
SAVE THE DATE- We will be taking reservations for our next NYC Gathering Topic: "In Her Voice- The Female Voice of God" to be held at TANK, just off Times Square on Sunday evening, October 19th at 9 pm.
Hey T.R.I.B.E. Friends,
I am spending the early Fall in Southern California again...for the first time in four years. One of the things I love about this part of the world is that the advent of the seasons is more subtle here. When I used to come out here from NYC to work or visit over the years, I was like a lot of New Yorkers in my situation. I would wear shorts and tank tops in December and spend every free second at the pool.
But Southern Californians don't do that! It took me years of living here to begin to feel the subtle shift in the air, to see the slightly different angle of the light as what we know as summer began to evolve into Fall. When visiting New Yorkers were hanging at the pool, Southern Californians have the good sense to know it is winter in December!
But now I can feel it in the air! Yes, there are still lemons and figs and bananas growing on the trees, Yes, people are still playing volleyball on the beach, but there is an unmistakable shift in the air.
The cultivation of the artist in each of us has to do with this kind of incremental observation of every moment. Being fully present to the moment can be painful at times, but that pain is honestly balanced by unbelievable bliss at other times. And the process of managing the shifts may be what "technique" is all about. Through the discipline of daily practicing the scales, or drawing the figure, or writing the pages, or doing the exercises, we develop an artist self- a self that can serve as a strong channel for the Muse/Ru'ach/Spirit to use.
We develop the ability to observe and be present in the subtle shifts of life, of season, of mood, of loss and gain and the rhythm of life. This is our gift.
Happy September :)
See you in NYC soon!
Robin Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Virginia Wolff, Sylvia Plath, Vincent Van Gogh...The list goes on. Artists by nature travel into the Deep, with the mission of transforming their discoveries there, through the alchemy of their craft, from straw into gold. There simply has got to be a place to deliver the gift, and the insanely commodified art markets increasingly are not that place.
I have been aware of the blessing and responsibility of being an artist for most of my life. Both of my parents were exceptionally gifted professional singers, and beyond their gift, they each understood art as vocation. It was their spiritual path, even though neither of them would have stated it in those exact words. Everything in each of their lives, and subsequently in their raising of me, was engineered to guard the path for the Muse to emerge.
The way they each lived- and they did not stay married long- was one in which the seeming madness of the creative process was tough for a child to manage at times, but the lesson was clear. It was this: whatever you have to go through to free the summoning of the eventual disciplined expression of that gift, is part of it. It is not just free formed madness. It is part of it.
I was aware of the dance between creativity and depression as early as age nine, when I told my mother I was depressed. I think it scared her. Her response was that I was too young to be depressed, but I remember the look in her eyes when she said it. She was afraid for me, and didn't know how to help. I learned, and am still learning, over a lifetime of struggle with these deeper demons, that creativity is the cure for that depression. It is critical for me to keep creating and sharing my gifts, in order to stay whole.
The journey into the abyss to retrieve the gift is one fraught with peril. Some do not make it back, but it is my passionate belief that by killing our seers, we are losing our deep wisdom. And our world is in dire need of that wisdom.
The mission of T.R,I.B.E. is to connect and support the artist in each of us back to the sacred expression of that gift, so that we might be a transformational force for good...and not get lost along the way.
I have worked with some master comics over the years, including Rodney Dangerfield, Milton Berle, Tom Poston, Marlo Thomas, Jean Smart, Mary Steenburgen and many others, and my own gifts are comedic,Tragedy is easy to act. Comedy is hard. I have never met a comic who is not deeply intelligent, and dead serious about their work. And I am perplexed by anyone who does not realize that the cost of freeing the ironic, the liminal, the deeply insightful through laughter is immense. Some of us do not make it back.
Artists are truth tellers, but our world increasingly does not want to hear that truth unless it is packaged in a commercial wrapper. I, like many of you, wish Robin Williams had found a way to stay with us. But I think we have a limit to how much we can suffer. I pray that he has found relief for his pain.
We look forward to seeing some of you at our next gathering when we will look at the shamanistic role of the actor. Stay tuned for dates. This event will be an invitation gathering in person, but will be accessible through live stream.
Be kind to one another. stop competing. Your gift is yours alone, and if you are true to it, the avenues for your uniques expression will open.
I share with you, this work from Brian Bates,
About "The Way of the Actor" ...
"For thousands of years, in traditional societies around the world, actors were seen as the guardians of intuitive wisdom, and the way of the actor was a path to knowledge and power. Brian Bates believes that this is still the case today - that actors and actresses fulfill an important function in our culture as modern-day seers and shamans. He portrays the actor as a creator of visions who transports spectators out of their habitual ways of being and leads them on a journey of self-discovery. Personal magnetism and charisma, intense body awareness, and psychic sensitivity are among the special powers that contribute to the actor's mystique. Citing the observations and experiences of over thirty famous performers - including Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, Glenda Jackson, Liv Ullmann, Jack Nicholson, and Shirley MacLaine - the author also draws on extensive research in science, psychology, parapsychology, and Eastern and Western mysticism to explore the significance of the dramatic art. He not only shows how the magical world of stage and screen mirrors our lives, but also reveals how actors and actresses point the way to self-transformation for everyone. For, as he writes, "the way of the actor is not an esoteric discipline divorced from everyday life. It is everyday life, heightened and lived to the full, with an awareness of powers beyond understanding"
Hope you are having a great summer! I celebrated the Summer Solstice this year with hundreds of other New Yorkers at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Paul Winter Consort - a group that has been around since 1967, leads the welcoming of the solstice at the Cathedral twice a year. Paul Winter plays the saxophone, and his group's music is a combination of jazz, classical music, world music and the sounds of animals and nature. Their genre is sometimes classified as 'ecological jazz', or Earth Music.
We arrived at the Cathedral in total darkness, at four a.m., and collectively felt the earth open to the new season. Japanese Taiko drums, and a bassoon were part of the ensemble, and as the summer dawned, the stained glass windows began to come alive, like magical jewels emerging.
Two gigantic male and female Phoenix sculptures are on exhibit in the nave of the cathedral. Created by Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing, over a two year period of time, the construction is simple: the Chinese lantern coupled with modern assemblage techniques, but the scale is monumental.
As the dawn began to break through, lights flickered in both of the birds. The Phoenix is a the perfect metaphor for any re-emergence from a season of hibernation. The mythological phoenix is a bird that emerges out of the ashes of its predecessor. What a way to start a summer!
For many years I have been looking for a Universal language to connect people spiritually. So much of the world's strife becomes entrenched in religions that separate us from our common humanity, and yet all of the great teachers teach Oneness.
TRIBE will be partnering with a wonderful experimental theatre company in NYC beginning in September, to see how we might develop a depth expression through the ARTS and Wisdom Teachings in community. I will let you know more as we firm up the dates and locations. I can tell you that our first gathering will be on Sundayevening, September 21st at 6 pm stay tuned for more.
I can still feel the strange power of the collective observance of the summer solstice. This holding of a sacred vigil predates most formal religions, and connects us to a place where we are in fact...One.
As we hold our human family in the Middle East in the Truth of this Oneness, I would like to ask you to join with me in intoning the prayer of the World Peace Society..."May Peace Prevail on Earth", in whatever is your native tongue.
See you in September!!