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.
Global / Online Ecospiritual Events
Cross-Quarter ~ Earth’s Three Green Hearts ~ Child Hardship Fact Force ~ Focusing Practice ~ Deep Change Dialogues ~ Calling the Corners ~ Leading Deep Change Learning Community ~ Moon Phase Meditations ~ Reconnection Rituals ~ Surviving the Future ~ Circle of Agaya & Ubuntu ~ Climate Policy ~ Connect & Center ~ Catharsis Conversations ~ Equinox ~ Solstice ~ Discussions in Difficult Times ~ Novasutras Uplifters Meeting
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Novasutras Guided Meditations on the Moon Phases
Ecospiritual meditations for well-being on Earth. Practice together enhances our well-being, strength and resilience as we respond to environmental and social disruptions. We draw inspiration from dynamic balance in the Moon-Sun dance. Together we reciprocate the gifts of ubuntu and agaya.
Earth Emergent in the New Moon
Monday, April 12th, 2:45 pm PDT / 21:45 UTC
Join us on Insight Timer Live (30 min, Presenter: Michelle)
The New Moon invites us to consider what seeds we are sowing, what we would like to emerge soon, and the pull of a better future for all.
Gratitude and Wonder in the Waxing Moon
Tuesday, April 20th, 3:30 pm PDT / 22:30 UTC
Join us on Insight Timer Live (30 min, Presenter: Michelle)
We grow our appreciation, compassion, joy and wonder. We find inspiration in the waxing light of the Moon. Practicing gratitude together enhances our well-being, power and resilience.
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.
You can set a reminder by following the above link ahead of time, or simply click the link at the start time to join the session.
If you are interested in more guided meditations on Zoom, please let us know by taking this poll.
2nd & 4th Wednesdays – 9:00 – 11:00am Pacific
(No need to register if you’ve already registered for previous sessions — you should receive an email with a reminder about the link.)
Before the crumbling façade of normal buries us, we invite you to participate in a novel learning group. Now is our time to dream bigger dreams and have deeper conversations, to take actions and make connections we didn’t think possible a few months ago.
The morning cohort continues as a learning and intention-supporting community. The evening cohort will shift to a different time for monthly conversations – called “Deep Change Dialogues” – about how humans may thrive as better integrated members of the living world (with particular emphases on climate and livelihood) beginning April 1st (more info coming soon). If you’re interested in joining our community of practice, contact us and let us know.
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…
Already registered? Click here to join Zoom directly at the start time for your session.
Reconnection Rituals for managing Climate Grief and Ecoanxiety
2nd Wednesday of the month:
April 14th, 3:00pm PDT / 22:00 UTC
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)
Already a Novasutras Events Announcements email subscriber? No need to register. You will get the email with a direct Zoom link the week before the event.
Novasutras Discussions in Difficult Times
Regular 90-minute sessions every other Thursday:
April 15th, April 29th, May 13th…
alternate Thursdays at 11:30am PDT / 18:30 UTC
We’ve had to reduce the frequency of these open discussions, and move topical discussions into these time slots, until we can get more help.
Are you ready to be an Uplifter?
Online gathering spaces for connection and meaningful conversation in challenging times. Join as many Discussions as you like. These meetings do not usually 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
Circle of Agaya & Ubuntu
3rd Wednesday of the month
Next: April 21st, 1:30pm PDT/ 20:30 UTC (75 min, Facilitator: Michelle)
The Circle of Agaya & Ubuntu monthly gatherings are a chance for Novasutras supporters to congregate, celebrate 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.
Novasutras Uplifters Meeting
Regular sessions every other Thursday:
April 8th, [April 22nd – may be replaced by Earth Day event], May 6th…
Thursday, April 8th, 11:30am PDT/ 18:30 UTC
All are welcome to join the Uplifters, as we come together to nurture and sustain the work of Novasutras. These meetings will include brief check-ins and intentional silence to strengthen the bonds of community. That will be followed by committed time to plan for upcoming events and other tasks to keep our projects thriving, and explore ways to foster agaya and ubuntu in the world.
(60 to 90 minutes – Facilitator: Michelle)
Surviving the Future Book Discussion Group
Thursday, April 22nd, 3:00pm PDT / 22:00 UTC
(90 min, Facilitator: Michelle)
Newcomers are still welcome to join this group discussing David Fleming’s Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy
This meeting we plan to discuss through Chapter 7 of the book. (If you don’t yet have the book, you can get started by reading the Introduction at the Lean Logic website. Please do plan to read all of Chapters 1-7, as well, by the time of the meeting.)
Focusing Practice Community Gathering
4th Tuesday of the month:
Tuesday, April 27th, 11:30am PDT / 18:30 UTC
Facilitator: Dr. Kendon Smith
We hold a monthly 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 will help one another with Focusing Partner questions, and perhaps do some Focusing practice (most likely in pairs or trios – an inclusive “musical chairs” of Focusing Partnership, so you can learn from experiences with new Focusing partners). If some want to, we might also demo Focusing in larger group settings.
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.
Well-Being on Earth: a Cross-Quarter Celebration
To celebrate this Cross-Quarter, Dr. Michelle Merrill will lead guided meditations, celebratory ritual, and conversation. Celebrations feature a message of global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings. We are invited to reconnect with the beauty and wonder of Nature. How do we welcome more love and joy for all our relations? What shall we leave behind, as we move into the next turning of our dance around the Sun? What beautiful possibilities beckon us toward the future?
This Octal Celebration provides an ecospiritual celebration of the Earth-Sun dance. The precise moment of this Cross-Quarter (the midpoint between the Equinox and the Solstice) is May 5th at 06:36 UTC / May 4th, 11:36pm Pacific, when the sun is overhead at 16° 20′ North Latitude. Michelle led a celebration over Zoom 12 hours after the Cross-Quarter, plus a meditation on Insight Timer Live 8 hours before the Cross-Quarter.
Any donation welcome. Can’t afford to donate right now? Register here.
Deep Change Dialogues
Climate and Employment Solutions
Thursday, May 6th, 4:00pm PDT / 23:00 UTC
The Leading Deep Change Learning Community hosts open monthly conversations about how humans may thrive as better integrated members of the living world (with particular emphases on climate solutions and livelihood). If you’re interested in joining our community of practice, contact us and let us know.
Already registered? Click here to join Zoom directly at the start time for your session.
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 19:00 UTC / noon PDT each Sunday. Learn more…
Santa Cruz, California Events
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Join us as we are ‘bathed’ or immersed in the sensory experiences of time in the forest. Shinrin-yoku (a.k.a. forest bathing or forest immersion) involves mostly walking slowly through a wooded area, incorporating plenty of chances for standing still or sitting while you appreciate the details of the beauty around you, taking time to re-connect with the natural world.
We will start with a brief explanation of shinrin-yoku practice, plus calling the corners and a brief meditation to prepare us. Then we’ll spend an hour or more on our own, gently and reverently immersing ourselves in the sensory experience of the redwood grove. At the end, we’ll re-assemble and share insights from our experiences.
MASKS and safe distancing practices required. We will be outdoors for the full two hours – please dress in layers, be ready for cool and damp weather (it’s almost always much cooler in the forest than in town), and wear comfortable clothes and shoes for spending time on this easy and accessible forest trail. If you won’t be able to walk or stand for the full length of time, please bring a portable chair or stool, and we’ll help you settle in somewhere to enjoy the grove.
Novasutras encourages wellness practices like shinrin-yoku to keep us resilient and engaged with earth care, community, and climate justice work. Come join your fellow activists and others who hold the living world in reverence for this restorative practice.
See the Santa Cruz area chapter page for details.
How effective would current climate proposals be for actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions? What would be needed to avoid the most dangerous tipping points?
Paul Schaafsma will review his analysis of the effectiveness of different climate policy options. Some could lead to rapid, positive outcomes for climate. However, others lack mechanisms of enforcement or other specifics and therefore are likely to be profoundly ineffective.
We will talk about the numerous benefits of the Deal for Nature proposal. The Deal for Nature and ecosystem restoration efforts could prove to be our most important tools for addressing the climate crisis, maintaining biodiversity – especially in equatorial rainforests, and providing rewarding employment for people.
After a review of these options, we will have abundant time for structured conversation. Together, we will explore how we can help to promote the most effective climate solutions for averting catastrophic climate disruption.
A conversation about the nationwide tsunami of homelessness and food insecurity, their relation to spikes in COVID cases and deaths, and the disproportionate impacts on families with children and people of color. Paul Schaafsma will review his latest findings, and assess the Covid Relief Bill.
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 coming months. 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 Hardship Fact Force to help get this information into the world.
Novasutras practitioners Call the Corners to amplify agaya – wonder, awe, joy, and reverence for the deep, sacred beauty of the universe – and ubuntu – loving-kindness and gratitude for the profound interconnections between all beings. We send wishes for agaya and ubuntu to the six corners, and then radiating out from our center in ever-larger spaces. This talk will share ideas and answer questions about how to deepen and personalize this practice.
Celebrating the March Equinox
Earth’s Three Green Hearts: an Equinox Rainforest Celebration
Guided meditation for equatorial rainforests, global well-being and loving-kindness (plus celebratory ritual and conversation on Zoom).
To celebrate this Equinox, Dr. Michelle Merrill will lead a guided meditation (plus celebratory ritual and conversation on Zoom). Our guided meditation will feature a message of global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings, with a special emphasis on the world’s equatorial rainforests. We are invited to reconnect with the beauty and wonder of nature. How do we welcome more love and joy for all our relations? What shall we leave behind, as we move into the next turning of our dance around the Sun? What beautiful possibilities beckon us toward the future?
The precise moment of this Equinox is March 20th, 09:37 UTC / 2:37am Pacific, when the sun is directly overhead at the equator – we are celebrating it on Insight Timer about 16 hours early, and on Zoom about 10 hours early. Learn more…
The Zoom event will include some simple, fun shared rituals and opportunity for conversation before and after the guided meditation.
Sacred People, Sacred Earth Day of Climate Action
Thursday, March 11th
Novasutras is planning four events as part of GreenFaith’s multi-faith day of climate action on March 11, 2021 – Sacred People, Sacred Earth . We started with Reconnection Rituals for managing Climate Grief and Ecoanxiety (March 10th in CA, March 11th on the other side of the dateline). Next is an online conversation about Holding and Healing Earth’s Three Green Hearts, then the first meeting of the Surviving the Future Book Discussion Group, and finally a Public Meditation for Climate Healing in Santa Cruz, California.
Holding and Healing Earth’s Three Green Hearts
Thursday, March 11th, 11:30am PST/ 19:30 UTC
(90 min, Presenter: Michelle)
Our beloved Earth has three green hearts — the equatorial rainforests. These are places of unfathomable complexity and diversity, places of beauty and wonder. We recognize that equatorial rainforests are sacred places, and their well-being is vital to maintaining a livable climate on our planet.
In meditation, we will experience a guided visualization of these amazing forests, and amplify our wishes for their continued thriving. Share your insights in conversation with others dedicated to healing the world.
Surviving the Future Book Discussion Group
Thursday, March 11th, 2:00pm PST / 22:00 UTC
An open group to discuss David Fleming’s Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy
March 11th will be our first gathering, to meet one another and discuss our plan for the group (how often we will meet, how much we will cover in each meeting). Even if you don’t yet have the book, you can read the Introduction at the Lean Logic website.
Public Meditation for Climate Healing
Thursday, March 11th, 4:45pm
Mission Plaza, Santa Cruz
We will offer a some words/practices of reverence at the beginning, followed by silent meditation (participants can choose either to remain at the Plaza in stillness, or walking meditation to nearby busy intersections).
Masks & distancing, and signs please!
RSVP for further details and updates.
Nature Reconnection with Novasutras (a meditation)
We sometimes need reminding that we are part of Nature – every cell a dance of matter, energy and love from the living world. Reconnect with wonder, joy, and reverence for that sacred beauty. Share loving-kindness and gratitude for our profound interconnection with all beings as agaya and ubuntu.
Climate Policy Presentation and Conversation
Tuesday March 2nd
Paul’s presentation reviewed the effectiveness of present US climate policy options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, proposed ways to seek better climate policy solutions, and suggested what we as individuals can do to encourage better climate policy. There was time for group conversation following the presentation.
Our beloved Earth has three green hearts — the equatorial rainforests. These are places of unfathomable complexity and diversity, places of beauty and wonder. Visualize these amazing forests and amplify our wishes for their continued thriving, with a guide who has been there and knows the paths.
Equatorial rainforests are sacred places.
Earth’s Three Green Hearts
Friday February 12th
Updates on projects to preserve and protect the world’s equatorial rainforests, including a report from Remy Zahiga, a climate activist in the Congo. Dr. Michelle Merrill shared some of her experiences studying orangutans and witnessing forest destruction in Sundaland (on the island of Sumatra), and led a guided visualization for the well-being of Earth’s Three Green Hearts. Paul Schaafsma shared history and updates on work in Amazonia and Congo. The new earths3greenhearts.org website was premiered.
Reconnecting with Nature through Ecospirtuality
A Conversation with Dr. Michelle Merrill on Sustainability Now!
Sunday, February 7th
Join host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation with anthropologist Dr. Michelle Merrill, whose teaching and counseling experience led her to establish Novasutras, an egalitarian spiritual movement with scientific sensibilities. Novasutras responds to the need for spiritual community centered on the biggest challenge humanity currently faces: how do we help people through the transition from an “Industrial Growth Society” to an “environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling human presence on the planet“?
That’s Sunday, February 7th, 5-6 PM, on KSQD, 90.7 FM on your dial and KSQD.org.
February 21, Amity Sandage, Santa Cruz County of Education, on Environmental Literacy
March 7, Prof. Jim Estes, UC Santa Cruz, on otters
You can hear previous broadcasts of Sustainability Now! at KSQD.org and on Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
Sustainability Now! is underwritten by the Sustainable Systems Research Foundation.
Planetary Well-Being: a Cross-Quarter Celebration
To celebrate this Cross-Quarter, Dr. Michelle Merrill led guided meditations, celebratory ritual, and conversation. Celebrations feature a message of global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings. We are invited to reconnect with the beauty and wonder of Nature. How do we welcome more love and joy for all our relations? What shall we leave behind, as we move into the next turning of our dance around the Sun? What beautiful possibilities beckon us toward the future?
This Octal Celebration provides an ecospiritual celebration of the Earth-Sun dance. The precise moment of this Cross-Quarter (the midpoint between the Equinox and the Solstice) was February 3rd at 14:40 UTC / 6:40am Pacific, when the sun was overhead at 16° 20′ South Latitude. Michelle led a celebration over Zoom 14 hours before the Cross-Quarter, plus a meditation on Insight Timer Live three hours after the Cross-Quarter.
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. On January 15th and 28th, we held work sessions to plan next steps.
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 coming months. 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.
Creating Peace and Ubuntu
Wednesday, January 20th, 8:30am PST / 16:30 UTC
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 was live 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.
Connect & Center: Holding Space for Calm
Tuesday, November 3rd
Wednesday, November 4th
Friday, November 6th
Friday, January 8th
Sunday, January 17th
Wednesday, January 20th
(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.
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 UTC – see 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.
Ideas for planning celebrations:
- Equinox Celebration Suggestions
- Solstice Celebration Suggestions
- 2021 Timings of Equinoxes, Solstices and Cross-Quarters
- Cross-Quarter 3 Feb 14:40 UTC (6:40am Pacific)
- Equinox 20 March 09:37 UTC (2:37am Pacific)
- Cross-Quarter 5 May 06:36 UTC (4 May 11:36pm Pacific)
- Solstice 21 June 03:32 UTC (20 June 8:32pm Pacific)
- Cross-Quarter 7 Aug 06:53 UTC (6 Aug 11:53pm Pacific)
- Equinox 22 Sep 19:21 UTC (12:21pm Pacific)
- Cross-Quarter 7 Nov 04:50 UTC (6 Nov 8:50pm Pacific)
- Solstice 21 Dec 15:59 UTC (7:59am Pacific)
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…