Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 2 - Women's Leadership, Gratitude for Nature & Emerging Leaders

This day was filled with feminine inspiration, the power of the great outdoors for healing the soul and the empowerment of young adult leaders. Needless to say Wes and I were very inspired! Needless to say we did not shoot many photos today. Being in the moment was way more fun!

Every issue globally is a woman's issue! Women live spiritually. They live from their hearts, their soul, their womb. They learn from a young age that their live is one of service to others. Learning to be caretakers, nurturers, facilitators of grow, birthing children or ideas into the world. It deeply rooted in our hearts.

A vast majority of work done in the planet every day is done by women. It is the work of service. There is a sense of loss when we cannot be in service. We are strong. We are empowerment.

Service is saturated by our faith in a divine presence not only in us but around us. It lives in women's lives. It breathes in every cell. Look at what women do every day all around the world. This kind of commitment does not exist in doctrines or beliefs, it is larger than that.

Violence to women is not just done by men. It is also done by other women and when it comes from another woman damage is deep. Courage can be lost. Identity can be shattered. Then it is very hard to become a political actor on the stage of life. Not politics as in governmental systems but in any system. We need to work together to create a movement. We need to welcome women into the priestesshood. We need to welcome the mothers in homes, women who want to lead, women who are healers, women who have dreams, welcome them into becoming priestesses in charting the path for healing this world and planet.

Why is it difficult for women to attain leadership in religion? We need to believe. All is takes is to empower one another, work with the men who are empowering and allow our dreams to take us over such that we are an instrument of the dream taking form.

From the is place I went to a workshop on women's ceremonies with Karenna Gore and members of the indigenous community. We had a coming of age ceremony for women who never did a rite of passage in their youth. Indigenous belief is that if you do not do ceremony for these transitions you will be stuck at that age.

I thought about the Wisdom Course I participate with. Wow! What if instead of collages we had ceremonies to create each phase of life to be complete. That could be amazing.

Wesley has been participating with Emerging Leaders. These are the youth who see themselves are change agents. Who want to take that one. Who are empowered to say I am the one.

He chose to participate with the group committed to environmental issues. He is loving it and learning so much. Very inspiring to watch him transform.

I see when more empowerment like this is important for us. Lots of reflection.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Day 1 of Parliament of the World Religions

I remember a song from my youth and the line went something like..."people all over the world just got to be free." Yesterday I saw glimmers of this as people from 80 countries and about 50 spiritual and religious communities convene the Inaugural Women's Assembly and the sixth official opening of the Parliament of the World Religions.

This photo is what we see when we walk into the hall everyday reminding us of our purpose.

Just walking around is a treat and so colorful. The day opened for me by attending the lighting of the Sacred Fire outside of the Salt Palace Convention Center. This fire was lit by people from the First Nations of our own country and indigenous people from other nations. The men build the fire in a large drum with seven slits in it as a reminder that our actions today impact seven generations in to the future. I was awe struck at that notion with I realized...I am the seventh generation in my family. It is in my hands to craft things not just for my son but for grandchildren way into the future.

Below one images from the dark hours we arrived to the building, lighting, offerings and prayers sung. Photos © J. Hildebrand.

At the Women's Assembly I was struck by a statement one of the speakers made...."Women have an obligation to raise the a hand to the divine and a fist to the sky for justice and dignity for one another." The room just kept swelling with the difference women can and must make to not just raise our children, but to be stewards of empowerment, communication, the environment, justice and peace for our world. We cannot stand by and be victims. We must find the courage to stand together....Christian, Pagan, Muslim, Sikh, Jew, and so on arm in arm, heart to heart to create a world that works for everyone. We are the water keepers, the earth keepers, the life bringers, and as one of the Native Grandmothers said..."Allow ourselves to feel and surrender to our ancient calling. There is an ancient memory that stirs deep within us. When the Earth Mother feels pain, we feel her pain. Women are sharing the pain of the great mother and we can transform it."

What presenced itself was all of the coursework in transformation I have done over 31 years. Here was a room of 3000+ women and men standing in this notion. So inspiring.
Photo by PWR Photographers.

Wesley joined me in the afternoon. He has already been drawing those in environmentalism towards him who are key speakers and more starting the moment he got on the shuttle from the airport! He has also earned himself a press pass to shot for Circle Magazine and their website.

We went to the Opening Plenary in the evening. What struck me after a full day focusing on equality and women being a strong part in the Parliament was that the entire stage was filled with only male politicians and moderators for the event except for the singer and her musicians and three women offering prayers and translating. It was a tad disappointing to not see more inclusiveness. The processional in by the First Nations and Indigenous Peoples was beautiful. Girl Scouts from many religions traditions carried flags in of many of the countries present. As a former Girl Scout leader it was inspiring to see brownie through senior scouts posting colors of many places and the joy in the faces. Leaders from the indigenous tribes posted flags and staffs of their people on the stage also.

Photo © J. Hildebrand
Needless to say there is so much more to share. Seeing old friends, making new ones. Watching my son take his place in the world on his terms. My cup is so full and today we begin day two!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Up, Up and Away We Go!

I left this morning to head to Salt Lake City for the Parliament of the World Religions. My son and I registered over a year ago and now the journey begins.

In many of the training and development programs I do they say you can have anything you want for yourself out of participating. For me I have this dream of human beings listening so profoundly to one another that the need for hate is not longer. That we are ready to build together and not destroy based on silly differences, labels or beliefs. For my son, saving the planet we live on is front and center. I often wonder if the two are not dependent on each other.....if we love ourselves, honor how we treat others them maybe we can link arms and get to work together for the environment.

What a treat to go this week to this event and spend time with thousands of people from around the planet committed to working together. Interfaith dialogue is an interesting place to take this kind of thinking on. I love the dialogues at this event. Sikhs, Muslims, Pagans, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, the First Nations, and so on gathered together, connecting, listening deeply to one another. 

This weekend another Ambassador at the event was looking for support on her workshop on storytelling. I said I would be interested. She was raised Pentacostal and is now a seeker as she puts it. She uses storytelling to work with people in Kenya and Uganda creating possibilities. Gangs in LA. and  much more. I am excited to step up next to her taking this on. 

I will write a little bit here each day as will Wesley. We will post pictures and share experiences.

So for now, I will sit back, enjoy the plane ride and get ready to rock n roll! Spend time reflecting! What have you harvested that you can share with those around you? What did you let go of to encourage your grow? Celebrate one another and the difference we all make each day!. Be sunshine for those around you! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Stepping Out to Learn, Network and Take a Stand!

Have you ever dared to dream so big that sometimes you did not know if you were thinking straight or just out of the box of the norm? In our family we invite big dreams to be spoken and this coming October my son Wes and I are going to take a step towards standing with others for our dreams for humanity and the planet. We will be attending the Parliament of the World Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah with thousands of others from countries around the globe and people of faiths of many kinds!

What would be possible if everyone in the world listened, and saw one another as simply wonderful, sacred creations named human being? A creation that is sacred, divine, whole and complete just as they are? I not only stand in this, I envision it a reality. I see it as our future. It is my stand to the world that all human beings are be present to the sacred and divine essence of one another and working together in joy!

As a result of this, I was invited and encouraged to participate in the event as an Ambassador. An Ambassador stands in the possibility that together we can accomplish many things working together and we share about this. We invite people to attend the event. We engage in what it takes to bring people together from our communities to dialogue about the issues we are facing. We operate inside of a set of promises that allow us work together.

Have you ever stood looking in wonder of the Earth around you? Have you looked out across mountains, swam in a crystal clear lake, stared at the vastness of an ocean or smelled incredibly clean, crisp air and realized that this is your home, a creation for us to care for and cherish with love and respect? My son stands here boldly training himself to be someone who leads us into the future of being stewards of this beautiful planet of ours.

Wes is someone who has big visions and fears about the direction the health of our planet is taking. As a student he studies photography as a tool to capture this and educate others about building a sustainable environment. He majors in the environmental sustainability in the geography department of his university and minors in photography to learn to capture it. He has attended a high school where his entire course of study was environmental science. I know very few young adults who have dug into studying this since they were thirteen years old. At this conference he hopes to connect with world leaders working in their communities to shift things like climate change, creating clean water sources and engaging in the difficult dialogue that pushes at what needs to happen now! Not decades from now. He is inspiring to listen to and is so passionate about it all!

Sometimes thought, when these dreams are shared, the conversation can be exciting and then it is so easy to get hooked into only seeing that we may be reaching for pie in the sky. At this gathering however, people are putting into action projects that are achieving and making an impact in these areas. That is what we want to go hear and be in the middle of! To be inspired. To continue standing that this is all possible!

So over the next few weeks we will be using this space to post our experiences and photos from the event.

We hope you will enjoy the posts, photos and so on. We do ask that you remember that the photos and posts are ours, copyrighted and not to be shared without permission.

We look forward to sharing with you all!