||We are living in perilous times.
Many activists and social change leaders are struggling to find a source deep enough to sustain them in the face of the violence and despair so prevalent in our nation and our world, and to create new models of living and acting even while engaging directly with the impact of a society deeply out of balance. Thousands of people are developing and implementing transformative practices to support and sustain the social change movement, and to help our efforts to be more effective, unified and healthy.
These practices aim to bring transformative principles ("inner work", authentic communication, spiritual/contemplative or mindfulness practice, community building, etc.) into progressive organizations and movements. A large subset of this movement is using experiential group work to awaken, explore and demonstrate the power of these transformative principles.
We are beginning to recognize each other, to see similar hopes and challenges. And as we find ways to gather, we find we stand on firmer ground, and we can stretch further.
Please join us.
1. Build Peer Relationships
We have a strong desire to convene a community of peers who are doing experiential leadership work. We are interested in creating a deeply authentic community among people taking leadership to bring transformative principles into activism. We will strive to create an environment in which people can truly see and hear one another.
2. Share the Specifics of Our Work
As we gain a greater understanding of who we are, we can begin to understand how our different pieces of the puzzle might fit together for expanded effectiveness and synergy. "Our work" can be described in a multitude of ways: a set of skills, an understanding of large-scale and small-scale systems, reflective and spiritual practices, technologies, frameworks, healing and medicine work. We'll be asking the questions like:
What in particular is needed for effectiveness?
What is already working?
What is challenging?
What language are we using?
Who are we reaching in which movements?
This gathering will be very experiential, with time for specifics. Pre-event communication will help us cluster folks together in areas of mutual interest to maximize the opportunity for mutual learning. The design of the agenda and the atmosphere of the gathering will be guided by sense of sacred, authenticity and compassion. We will ground our time in the results and history of previous gatherings.
3. Lay Strong Groundwork for Working Together
Impact the collective consciousness in the United States. We believe that collaborations on various levels will contribute to this nascent, emerging field of spirituality and social change. To till the soil for effective partnerships, we will spend time: naming our shared values and principles; identifying concrete opportunities for collaboration; and consciously weaving a network of support amongst the practitioners and innovators in our field. We also want to explore what gets in the way of working together.
WHO IS THIS GATHERING FOR?
The gathering is for an intergenerational, cross-cultural network of people who are playing a leadership role with groups and organizations, and/or who are facilitating experiential group work or practices as a tool to transform the consciousness of social change work and movements.
Approximately one hundred leaders will attend. We welcome you to nominate others you think would contribute to, and benefit from, this gathering. Please send a paragraph about the work they do, why they should be included, and basic contact info: Kaliya Young Hamlim, Creating Our Future 421 Sybil Avenue, San Leandro CA, 94577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HISTORY: HOW THIS CAME TO BE
In December of 2002, a group of six individuals organized, "Spirit and Social Change," a gathering for leaders engaged in bringing spiritual and transformative practice to progressive social change movements. This gathering, convened at the Quaker Center outside of Santa Cruz, CA provided a unique opportunity for heart-centered relationship building, laid the groundwork for ongoing support, and sparked a series of working groups. One of those working groups became the organizing circle for this gathering at Omega.
In the year that followed, additional gatherings (each organized by a different group or organization) have taken place:
- January 2003: the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society hosted "Inviting the World to Transform" in Essex, MA. This gathering focused on people bringing contemplative practice into social justice work. Some attendees were invited to present their work to the group.
- May 2003: a few months later, stone circles convened a gathering on spiritual activism for twenty young people at the Rigmor Retreat Center in North Carolina. Participants wrestled with questions, dynamic tensions, and core principles of the work, and began charting possible directions for the emerging field.
- September 2003: Vallecitos Mountain Refuge hosted a contemplative retreat, "Spiritual and Contemplative Awareness and Social Change." The retreat offered a contemplative environment and a facilitated dialogue each morning to explore particular questions.
WHO ARE WE? THE CONVENERS
We are a group of six people, all working with different organizations committed to transform the consciousness of social change work and movements:
Kaliya Young Hamlin, Integrative Activism
Integrative Activism was recently founded to weave a network of spiritual activist by creating opportunities for leaders to connect with peers, share information or collaborate together. We aim to do this by systematically growing a peer-network of spiritual activists using social networking technology rooted in face-to-face gatherings, cultivating communities of practice within the network, and supporting access to knowledge, by the founding of a digital and physical resource archive.
Claudia Horwitz, stone circles
stone circles works to sustain activists and strengthen the work for justice through spiritual practice and principles. stone circles has worked with thousands of activists, leaders, and social change organizations to create greater sustainability and impact in the quest for justice. We support leadership in the field of spiritual activism; provide training, retreats and workshops; offer resource material, and convene gatherings for learning, relationship-building, and celebration.
Taj James, Movement Strategy Center
Movement Strategy Center is a national movement-building intermediary that engages youth and adults from diverse communities across issues and regions. Through a collective visioning and mapping process, MSC encourages collaboration and joint strategizing to develop stronger movements for democracy, equity, and social change.
Michele Robbins, YES!
YES! connects, supports and empowers young changemakers globally to join forces for a thriving, just and sustainable way of life for all. Through week long transformative community building events for leading young activists, YES! is helping to deepen the root system of youth movements for social change.
Sat Santokh, Creating Our Future
Creating Our Future (COF) is a learning organization that advances the critical fusion of spiritual engagement and social action. COF contributes to systemic change by convening local groups, hosting larger regional activist gatherings, networking with aligned organizations, setting the tone for “mass” public events, designing campaigns to build models for effective social change, and promoting the development of vision and strategy in the social change movement overall.
Angel Kyodo Williams, urbanPEACE
urbanPEACE bridges the practice of spirit and the promise of social transformation by infusing meaningful meditation and awareness practices adapted from traditional wisdom teachings into a range of under-served, transcultural, widely diversified, and sometimes chaotic, or "urban" settings. Through practical training, community-building and leadership empowerment, we invite the authentic human spirit into our efforts to bring about greater compassion, personal healing, social change, and urban peace
LOGISTICS FOR THE GATHERING
A detailed application form is available here
We also request that you let us know ASAP via e-mail about your interest in attending to: email@example.com
This gathering is being-self funded by those attending.
Omega Institute has offered to host the event at a special rate of $50/day per person (double occupancy) or $75/day (single occupancy) for their full service facilities. An additional $75 will be charged to cover volunteer-run organizing expenses. Registration including room and board is $225 for double occupancy. For single occupancy the total registration is $300.
If you or your organization are unable to afford the registration fee, lodging and/or travel costs associated with attending the conference, please tell us your estimated travel costs and what level of contribution you can make. We cannot promise scholarships unless funds are raised, but we can try.
If you or your organization can afford to help cover costs for others, please let us know!
Participants will be responsible for there own travel. We are working on arranging shuttles from major New York Airports details will follow by March 18th
By air, the best connections to Omega are from Stewart Airport in Newburgh, N.Y.; or JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark airports in the New York City area.
If flying into either JFK or Newark, the most economical and comfortable way to get to Omega is via train. One would need to take an Air Train from either airport, to Penn Station, and then a train to “Rhinecliff - Kingston, NY.” If you advise us of your arrival time at that station, we can arrange for Omega to pick you up.
The trains that run from Penn Station are:
Empire Service - New York, NY - Niagara Falls, NY
Maple Leaf - New York, NY - Toronto, Ontario
Adirondack -New York, NY - Montreal, Quebec
Almost all travel information into and out of New York City can be found at the Port Authority web site. You will find easy to follow information on the home page.
From Albany, it is recommended that you take a cab to the Albany-Rensselaer train station, and take the train to Rhineclff, where we can arrange for Omega to pick you up.
Omega charges $5 for the shuttle from Rhinecliff.
Omega has a shuttle that goes to the Newburgh (Stewart Int’l) Airport, which costs around $40, and which would be less for each person if there was more than one.
Newburgh Airport Information
Omega Travel Info
If you send us your travel info, we will do what we can to coordinate