Global / Online Events ~ Santa Cruz, CA Events ~ Recent Events ~ Planning Novasutras Celebrations ~ Calendar

At Novasutras, we offer a variety of ecospiritual events, learning workshops, and engaged conversations. Our gatherings help us to uplift one another and support our development as agents for positive change in the world.

Want to help us keep putting on events? Please support Novasutras by donating with your registration, provide ongoing support via Patreon, or volunteer as a Novasutras Uplifter.

Global / Online Ecospiritual Events

Cross-Quarter ~ Connect & Center ~ Child Eviction Fact Force ~ Focusing Practice ~ Leading Deep Change Learning Community ~ Earth’s Three Green Hearts ~ Moon Phase Meditations ~ Circle of Agaya & Ubuntu ~ Reconnection Rituals ~ Catharsis Conversations ~ Discussions in Difficult Times

Don’t miss chances to join Novasutras Global or Online Events. By subscribing, you can get Online Event updates emailed about once a week.


Connect & Center: Holding Space for Calm

Sunday, January 17th, 3:00pm PST / 23:00 UTC
Wednesday, January 20th, 3:30pm PST / 23:30 UTC
(30-45 min, Faciliator: Michelle)

Brief check-ins, then a short guided meditation and silence together, to ground us in ubuntu and agaya through turbulent times. Opportunities to share resources and updates. Whatever the day holds, connecting in community will keep us compassionate, powerful, and resilient.

Already registered? Can’t donate right now? Join us directly via Zoom.


Novasutras Discussions in Difficult Times

Regular 90-minute sessions two times per week:

Mondays at 11:30am PST / 19:30 UTC
Thursdays at 11:30am PST / 19:30 UTC

Many recent conversations have centered on the work of the Child Eviction Fact Forcesign up to learn more and help out.

Online gathering spaces for connection and meaningful conversation in challenging times. Join as many Discussions as you like. These meetings do not have predetermined topics, recordings or other follow-up. Topics range from personal concerns to global transformation, always with a holistic approach to social, scientific and spiritual perspectives. We will gather for about 90 minutes, supporting and uplifting one another in agaya and ubuntu through open, compassionate, confidential exchange. Facilitator: Derek or Michelle


Creating Peace and Ubuntu

Wednesday, January 20th, 8:30am PST / 16:30 UTC
Join us on Insight Timer Live (15 min, Presenter: Michelle)

Evidence indicates that large numbers of practitioners meditating together can reduce or prevent violence in distant cities. We will focus our intention and the power of loving-kindness to calm conflicts and build peace in this meditation on ubuntu, deep connection and interbeing. Together we reciprocate the gifts of ubuntu and agaya.

This meditation session will be on Insight Timer: a free app with tools, social circles, and recordings (guided meditations, music, and talks) to support your meditation practice. Please also join the Novasutras circle and group on the app.

If you are interested in more guided meditations on Zoom, please let us know by taking this poll.


Novasutras Guided Meditations on the Moon Phases

Waxing Moon Meditation
Wednesday, January 20th, 12:45pm PST / 22:45 UTC (30 min, Presenter: Michelle)
Join us on Insight Timer Live

An ecospiritual meditation for well-being on Earth. Practice together enhances our well-being, strength and resilience as we respond to environmental and social disruptions. We build appreciation, gratitude, compassion and wonder, inspired by what may emerge in the waxing light of the Moon. Together we reciprocate the gifts of ubuntu and agaya.

These Moon Meditations are available only on Insight Timer: a free app with tools, social circles, and recordings (guided meditations, music, and talks) to support your meditation practice. Please also join the Novasutras circle and group on the app.

We offer these meditations for well-being on Earth, as ecospiritual events at or near the phases of the moon (about one per week, times vary). Celebrations of the ever-changing moon are a reminder of the dynamic change that is essential to life. Our meditations emphasize global unity and loving-kindness to all beings.
Learn more…

If you are interested in more guided meditations on Zoom, please let us know by taking this poll.


Circle of Agaya & Ubuntu

3rd Wednesday of the month
Next: January 20th, 1:30pm PST/ 21:30 UTC (75 min, Facilitator: Michelle)

The Circle of Agaya & Ubuntu monthly gatherings are a chance for Novasutras supporters to come together and co-create the future of the Novasutras Movement.  These calls are limited to those who support us on Patreon for at least $5 per month, those who have made major one-time donations in a recent month, or those who are active Novasutras Uplifter volunteers.  (Special thanks to those who do all three – you are amazing!!!)

If you are one of these wonderful people (or if you become one today), you will be getting an email reminder and the Zoom link for this conversation.


Focusing Practice “Town Meeting”

background beautiful blossom calm waters

4th Tuesday of the month:
Tuesday, January 26th, 11:30am PST / 19:30 UTC
Facilitator: Dr. Kendon Smith

A gathering for conversation on Focusing Practice. This session (of one to one-and-a-half hours) will offer support for Focusing partnerships and other aspects of Focusing Practice. We may actively practice Focusing in pairs or groups.

You are welcome to join, whatever your level of experience with Focusing Practice (even none). If you are new to Focusing Practice, you may wish to review “Safe Focusing with (Almost) Any Partner” & “The Power of Listening“, and videos from our Oct 7th, Oct 29th and Nov 10th events.
Learn more…


Leading Deep Change Learning Community

Session I: January 27th, 9 – 11 am Pacific and February 3rd, 7 – 9 pm Pacific  

Session II: February 10th, 9 – 11 am Pacific and February 17th, 7 – 9 pm Pacific

In December, we came together around the vision of a learning community for people to co-create deep change (learn more). Our next step will be a two-part conversation to build trust and seek guidance from everyone about how we will proceed. In Session I (Jan 27th and Feb 3rd), we will focus on our passions, touchstones, and what matters in the world today. In Session II (Feb 10th and 17th), our focus will shift to resources, both what we have and what we need, self-care, and actions that may result from our individual and collective conditions.

We will hold two cohorts, one in the morning and one in the evening on alternate Wednesdays. You are welcome to participate in either or both (regardless of whether you were part of the December conversations).

Session I: January 27th, 9 – 11 am Pacific and February 3rd, 7 – 9 pm Pacific  

Session II: February 10th, 9 – 11 am Pacific and February 17th, 7 – 9 pm Pacific

If you can’t make these times, but you’re interested in joining a community of practice, contact us and let us know.

We seek to manifest a community of practice; to cherish our diversity of experiences, age, wealth, culture, gifts, talents and focus. What tools and rituals might we learn, so we can craft ceremonies and paths that lead us all to a just and sane world? What calls to you: a self-care group, a research group, a justice group or an action group? How can we improve our leadership and relationship skills? How do we rebuild trust and bond around our shared values, needs, intentions, and visions?

This is the time we have been waiting for. Show up, speak up, step up. Be truly human, and being that, be well.

We invite you to share your thoughts and feelings on this adventure. Learn more…


Cross-Quarter Celebration

Save the Dates

Tuesday, February 2nd, 4:00pm PST / 23:59 UTC
Celebration on Zoom (90 min, Facilitator: Michelle)

Wednesday, February 3rd, 9:30am PST / 17:30 UTC
Meditation on Insight Timer (45 min, Presenter: Michelle)

Registration links coming soon

The precise moment of this Cross-Quarter (the midpoint between the Equinox and the Solstice) is February 3rd at 14:40 UTC / 6:40am Pacific, when the sun is overhead at 16° 20′ South Latitude. Michelle will lead a celebration over Zoom 14 hours before the Cross-Quarter, plus a meditation on Insight Timer Live three hours after the Cross-Quarter.

This Octal Celebration provides an ecospiritual celebration of the Cross-Quarter, with a guided meditation, celebratory ritual, and conversation. Our guided meditations will feature wishes for global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings. After the Zoom meditation, we offer celebratory ritual and opportunity for conversation.


Reconnection Rituals for managing Climate Grief and Ecoanxiety

2nd Wednesday of the month:
February 10th, 3:00pm PST / 23:00 UTC
We learn.
We grieve together.
And then we must act, together.

We will engage practices to help us increase our resilience and effectiveness in our work to defend and restore the living world.

This ecospiritual event is a time for gathering to reconnect with one another and with more-than-human Nature through rituals and community practices, mostly inspired by the Work That Reconnects (Joanna Macy et al.). We will go through a spiral of gratitude, honoring our pain for the world, seeing with new/ancient eyes, and going forth.
(90 minutes – Facilitator: Michelle)

Can’t donate right now? Don’t want to register? Join directly here at the event start time.

Photo by Robert Norton via Unsplash
POSTPONEDpreempted for an urgent conversation on Eviction, Hunger and COVID

Earth’s Three Green Hearts

Tuesday December 15th, 11:30am PST / 19:30 UTC Date and Time TBD

Updates on projects to preserve and protect the world’s equatorial rainforests. More details and registration links coming soon.
Learn more…


Weekly Climate Action Meditations

Carol proposes that each of us (on our own, but simultaneously) could meditate on a visualization of “our glorious planet with a clean, healthy atmosphere & ecosystems” for a half-hour at 20:00 UTC / noon PST each Sunday. Learn more…

Imagine our power as we meditate together for global ubuntu and agaya!



Santa Cruz, California Events

Want to keep up-to-date with all of Novasutras Santa Cruz ecospiritual events? Check our Calendar.

Climate and Habitat meditations & Shinrin-Yoku

Our pre-COVID plan had been to test locations and times for regular gatherings in Santa Cruz. Contact us or take this poll to let us know how you feel about resuming Santa Cruz area in-person gatherings.

California’s 4 stage reopening roadmap


See the Santa Cruz area chapter page for details.


Recent Events

Girl crying in doorway. Photo by Pixabay.

Child Eviction Fact Force
working session

Friday, January 15th 11:30am PST / 19:30 UTC (90 minutes)

We’ll get the latest updates from Paul, and discuss how to get the information out to where it can do the most good.

What can we expect? How can we minimize the harm, and help the most vulnerable? Let’s talk about effective strategies for reaching out to organizations confronting the urgent needs emerging now and in the next few weeks. What are the best ways for the Novasutras community to engage? How can we mobilize our extended networks for immediate action? We are gathering a Child Eviction Fact Force to help get this information into the world.

For more information on the work we are doing, see the Child Eviction Fact Force website, and sign up for the email list. We welcome your help or suggestions.


background beautiful blossom calm waters

Focusing and the Sacred

Tuesday, January 5th, 11:30am / 19:30 UTC (90 – 120 minutes, Presenter: Dr. Kendon Smith)

Knowing the neural substrate for spiritual experience identifies what best enhances further unfolding.

A gathering for further conversation on Focusing Practice and its connection to spirituality. Dr. Smith’s work suggests that our experiences of awe, revelation and oneness emerge from the holistic, “implicit knowing” and emotional processing of the Bodymind. Our spiritual feelings may be situated in allocortical awarenesses, unlike the analytical processes of the neocortex and conscious thinking.

The Gendlin body model of the unconscious leads to simpler, more effective interventions for “emotional disorders” as well as for resolving obstacles to the holistic experience of reality which permits panoramic awareness of Self and the Universe. McMahon and Campbell explored the spiritual aspects of Focusing from a Jesuit tradition. Rome developed a synthesis of Focusing with mindfulness practices from a Buddhist tradition. Focusing may facilitate spiritual experience, enhancing awareness of the beauty and wonder of All.
Learn more about Focusing and the Sacred…

Also: Focusing Practice “Town Meeting” – 4th Tuesday of the month:
Tuesday, January 26th, 11:30am PST / 19:30 UTCsee below

Catharsis and Celebration: Exploring the Human Condition

Last session: December 30th
(90 min, Facilitator: Derek)

We are suspending these sessions indefinitely, due to lack of turnout. If you’re interested in resuming these sessions, please complete this poll and let us know.

Our society doesn’t usually prepare us for processing grief, anxiety and other strong emotions—but they are part of the human condition. Shared ritual and deep conversation with compassionate community are how humans have always coped. We come together to listen, share, and process our feelings in these challenging times. 


Solstice Celebration

Whole Earth image and Novasutras logo

The precise moment of this Solstice was December 21st at 10:02 UTC / 2:02am Pacific, when the sun was overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn. Learn more about what makes this Solstice special… Michelle led a celebration over Zoom (that livestreamed on YouTube) and a Solstice Meditation for Planetary Well-Being on Insight Timer Live.

This Octal Celebration provided an ecospiritual celebration of the Solstice, with a guided meditation, celebratory ritual, and conversation. Our guided meditations for the Solstice focused on ubuntu, featuring wishes for global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings. After the Zoom meditation, we offered celebratory ritual and opportunity for conversation.

Learn more about Novasutras Solstice celebrations…


URGENT
Eviction, Hunger and COVID: converging crises for America’s children

December 15th & 17th (Presenter: Paul)

Engaging the Novasutras community in the newly-forming Child Eviction Fact Force

A conversation about the impending tsunami of homelessness and food insecurity, and their relation to spikes in COVID cases and deaths. On Tues, Dec 15th, Paul shared his research and detailed analysis, highlighting the risk and rates of suffering experienced in households with children, and the disproportionate effect in communities of color around the United States. Thursday we continued the conversation. We helped one another process our emotions around this.

What can we expect? How can we minimize the harm, and help the most vulnerable? Let’s talk about effective strategies for reaching out to organizations confronting the urgent needs emerging now and in the next few weeks. What are the best ways for the Novasutras community to engage? How can we mobilize our extended networks for immediate action? We are gathering a Child Eviction Fact Force to help get this information into the world.


Leading Deep Change Learning Community

December 8th & 9th

If you missed these calls, but you’re interested in joining a community of practice, take this poll to indicate your availability for next time, or contact us and let us know.

We seek to manifest a community of practice; to cherish our diversity of experiences, age, wealth, culture, gifts, talents and focus. What tools and rituals might we learn, so we can craft ceremonies and paths that lead us all to a just and sane world? What calls to you: a self-care group, a research group, a justice group or an action group? How can we improve our leadership and relationship skills? How do we rebuild trust and bond around our shared values, needs, intentions, and visions?

This is the time we have been waiting for. Show up, speak up, step up. Be truly human, and being that, be well.

We invite you to share your thoughts and feelings on this adventure. Take this poll to indicate your availability for next time, or contact us and let us know. Learn more…


Focusing and the Sacred

background beautiful blossom calm waters

Tuesday, December 1st, Presenter: Dr. Kendon Smith

Knowing the neural substrate for spiritual experience identifies what best enhances further unfolding.

A gathering for conversation on Focusing Practice and its connection to spirituality. Dr. Smith’s work suggests that our experiences of awe, revelation and oneness emerge from the holistic, “implicit knowing” and emotional processing of the Bodymind. Our spiritual feelings may be situated in allocortical awarenesses, unlike the analytical processes of the neocortex and conscious thinking.

The Gendlin body model of the unconscious leads to simpler, more effective interventions for “emotional disorders” as well as for resolving obstacles to the holistic experience of reality which permits panoramic awareness of Self and the Universe. McMahon and Campbell explored the spiritual aspects of Focusing from a Jesuit tradition. Rome developed a synthesis of Focusing with mindfulness practices from a Buddhist tradition. Focusing may facilitate spiritual experience, enhancing awareness of the beauty and wonder of All.
Learn more about Focusing and the Sacred…

You are welcome to join this presentation, whatever your level of experience with Focusing Practice (even none). If you are new to Focusing Practice, you may wish to review videos from our Oct 7th, Oct 29th and Nov 10th events.
Learn more about Focusing…


Introduction to Focusing Partnerships

background beautiful blossom calm waters

Tuesday, Nov. 10th
Facilitator: Dr. Kendon Smith

A conversation to introduce the fundamentals of Focusing Practice. This session (of one to one-and-a-half hours) will center around Focusing partnerships.  You may wish to review “Safe Focusing with (Almost) Any Partner” & “The Power of Listening“, and videos from our Oct 7th and Oct 29th events. Learn more…


Cross-Quarter Celebration

Whole Earth image and Novasutras logo

Saturday, November 7th
2:30pm PST / 22:30 UTC
(90 min, Presenter: Michelle)

This Octal Meditation was an ecospiritual celebration of the Cross-Quarter (the midpoint between the Equinox and the Solstice), with a guided meditation and conversation.

Our guided meditation for the Cross-Quarter featured a message of global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings. We celebrate agaya – the deep, sacred beauty and complexity of the universe – and ubuntu – the connections between all things, binding us all together in the more-than-human world with reverence, joy, generosity, gratitude, and loving-kindness.

To celebrate the Cross-Quarter moment, we all focused our attention toward the place where the sun was directly overhead, and allowed our wishes for joy and interconnection to shine forth from that point out into the world. After the meditation, there was a playful further offering of blessings and an opportunity for conversation.


Connect & Center: Holding Space for Calm

Tuesday, November 3rd
Wednesday, November 4th
Friday, November 6th

Friday, January 8th
11:30am PST / 19:30 UTC
(30-45 min, Faciliator: Michelle)

Brief check-ins, then a short guided meditation and silence together, to ground us in ubuntu and agaya through turbulent times. Opportunities to share resources and updates. Whatever this week holds, connecting in community will keep us compassionate, powerful, and resilient.

Introduction to Focusing Practice

background beautiful blossom calm waters

October 29th, Facilitator: Dr. Kendon Smith
This conversation introduced the fundamentals of Focusing Practice. Our session gave us time to review what we already know, and ask questions. As co-learners, we explored the effectiveness of Focusing Practice and its relevance to how we work in the world as change-agents for increasing ubuntu and agaya.


How We Win online workshop

October 17th

A workshop to help activists understand and develop effective strategies for nonviolent direct action campaigns.

Learn how to start and conduct a nonviolent direct action campaign, including addressing racism, sexism, environmental destruction and other oppressions. The goals of the workshop are to help activists:

  • Identify your power
  • Understand polarization
  • See the uses of Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigns

Facilitators were trained by George Lakey to deliver this workshop based on his book, How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning. “If you want to be a soldier, you can go to West Point. If you want to be a nonviolent change-maker, George Lakey has both remarkable stories and remarkable insights–not to mention some remarkable colleagues who add their perspective to this necessary manual.” — Bill McKibben, co-founder 350.org

Co-organized by Novasutras and the Resource Center for Nonviolence

Facilitated by Michelle Merrill & Kaki Rusmore


Your Truest Self – How BodyMind Supports Heart-Knowing And Spirit

October 7th
Dr. Kendon Smith introduced his work on connecting with felt sense and knowing from oneness, including a demonstration of Focusing partnership practice. He also discussed the neuroanatomy and its functional consequences in our lives.

Raw video

Reconnection Rituals

New growth on ferns in unfurling spirals.

September 29th
This ecospiritual event is a time for gathering to reconnect with one another and with more-than-human Nature through rituals and community practices, mostly inspired by the Work That Reconnects (Joanna Macy et al.). We will go through a spiral of gratitude, honoring our pain for the world, seeing with new/ancient eyes, and going forth.
(90 minutes – Facilitator: Michelle)


Equinox Celebration

Tuesday, September 22nd
90-minute event was an ecospiritual celebration of the Equinox, with a guided meditation and conversation. Presenter: Michelle

Learn more…


Novasutras was a supporting organization for an amazing series of events from September 11th to 21st, 2020. We offered a New Moon Meditation on September 17th.


Healing Earth’s Three Green Hearts: a conversation on equatorial rainforests

Tuesday, August 25th (Presenters: Paul & Michelle)
A dialogue about existing projects for Earth’s Three Green Hearts (especially Amazon4Amazon & ClimateJustice4Africa), possible projects for Sundaland, and how the Novasutras community can best support these efforts. Learn more…

Ecological and Climate Grief: a conversation, August 12th
Society doesn’t usually acknowledge our experiences of grief for the loss of healthy nature, our grief for species going extinct, our grief for all who will suffer as a result of the climate emergency. We will come together to listen, share, and process our grief and pain for the world. Learn more…


Healing Earth’s Three Green Hearts: a conversation, Friday August 7th
A dialogue about existing projects for Earth’s Three Green Hearts (especially Amazon4Amazon & ClimateJustice4Africa), possible projects for Sundaland, and how the Novasutras community can best support these efforts. (video)

Cross-Quarter Meditation

August 6th/7th
1-hour celebration of the Cross-Quarter, with a meditation through the minute of the Cross-Quarter, and conversation. Details


Breathing in the Full Moon: Gentle Yoga and Guided Meditation
Monday, August 3rd, 6:30pm PDT / Tuesday, August 4th, 01:30 UTC
A simple yoga practice enjoyable for all bodies of any age and health, followed by a guided meditation for global well-being, loving-kindness, ubuntu and agaya.


Earth’s Three Green Hearts: a guided meditation on equatorial rainforests
July 31st
This guided meditation is appropriate for people with any level of meditation experience.

This meditation helps practitioners appreciate their connection with Earth’s Three Green Hearts: the equatorial rainforests of the Amazon, the Congo, and Southeast Asia. By sensing into the beauty and wonder of these vital forests, we awaken our capacity to love and protect them ever-more courageously.

[note: raw video with some glitches, but sound is okay]

Panarchy: A model of dynamic systems change
July 29th
A brief presentation based on Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems, L.H. Gunderson & C.S. Holling (eds), 2002  and “Through the Panarchy Lens” presentation by K. McCandless, J. Holley & L. Kimball, 2005, followed by conversation.


Radical Land Reform in the USA

July 21, 2020

An idea to solve all the problems at once 
What if we could address: the need for reparations for American Descendants of Slavery; the need for restoration of indigenous lands to the native peoples of North America; the need for housing, employment and food security for millions of people; the need for a better system of growing our food; the need people have to spend more time in connection with the living world; the need for civic engagement and building skills in community decision-making and local politics; and the need for less toxic and more nutritious food? Join us to discuss and develop the idea of reclaiming land from corporations and helping people learn to care for that land in regenerative communities. Learn more…


Work That Reconnects the Past and Future: Being Good Descendants And Better Ancestors

July 1st
This workshop will help us connect with the people of past generations and future generations, allowing us to honor the hopes and concerns of our ancestors as we consider the wishes and fears of our descendants. Facilitators will guide participants through practices based in The Work That Reconnects (from Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown). These simple rituals allow us to draw on inner wisdom and guidance from all beings as we move through gratitude and an honoring of the world’s pain, so we can see from ancient and future perspectives.

Who came before us, and how would they feel about the way the people, the lands, the air, and the waters have been treated since they were here? Who will come after us, and how might they feel about what we are doing to each other as humans and the other beings with whom we share this Earth? Small groups and paired conversations will prepare us to go forth and build a more united, just and sustainable world for our descendants, a world that would represent the best aspirations of our ancestors.

Facilitators: 
Hannah Tamezoujt, Somatic Psychotherapist A.M.F.T.
Michelle Y. Merrill, Ph.D.


World UNITY Week Events:

Starting the evening of June 19th, there has been a non-stop series of events on the World UNITY Week website. Novasutras offered many presentations, meditations, and Open Space conversations throughout the week. Learn more

Listening for Nature’s Harmony – Mon, June 22nd
How might listening for and partnering with Nature’s harmony help us to resolve human conflicts and build peace? – Details

Listening for our Power – Mon, June 22nd
Where and how do we feel power for change emerging? How are we being invited to embrace our interdependence? How can we use our shared power to promote compassion, equity and justice globally? – Details

Listening for Healing — Tues, June 23rd
For our human family, which approaches and practices show promise to meet the challenge of healing our global and cultural traumas? –Details


Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma with Francesca Raphael, June 8th
In this discussion, we explored the ways that traumas transmitted across generations shape us and influence our relationships. By bringing to consciousness the beliefs we have inherited which do not serve us, we can begin to undo destructive inner and interpersonal patterns.

Politics as Rebirth: The Wisdom of Hannah Arendt with Paul Schaafsma, June 3rd
The politics of the US and much of the world has been dominated by an extractive view of the world, essentially a culture that dismisses life, as if placing gravestones on top of something alive that has been buried.  We will review and discuss Hannah Arendt’s vision of politics as rebirth, seeking directions for a path toward a politics that honors life.

Past Events


Ideas for planning celebrations:

Celestial events are an excellent opportunity for synchronous global meditations, and other celebrations. We particularly encourage participation in our Octal Meditations. Our online Octal Meditation sessions are usually scheduled to coincide with the timing of the celestial event (starting at least 15 minutes before it and ending after it). Learn more…

Calendar

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