20202019  ~  2018  ~ 2017

Be sure to check out our Upcoming Events & Ideas for planning celebrations and the Novasutras Calendar.  See the Santa Cruz Events Archive for past local chapter events, and the Santa Cruz area chapter page for upcoming events.

2020 events:

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…

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

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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

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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.

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]

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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.

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

World UNITY Week Events:

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.

By Jan Kaluza via Unsplash

Exploration of Hatha Yoga for Novasutras
Thursday, May 28th

The traditional philosophy of primordial yoga from the ancients of India is simple: you are the power of the cosmos manifesting as utter intelligence and beauty. The practice is the embodied expression of agaya, and will center us into a deeper place from which meditation may arise naturally.
More info on the Calendar listing…

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Grief: Exploring the Human Condition May 9th
Society doesn’t usually prepare us for processing grief—but it’s part of the human condition. We came together to listen, share, and process our grief.

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Full Moon Novasutras Guided Meditation: May 7th, 2020
A 45-minute session with a guided meditation for well-being on Earth, honoring times of change with the ever-changing moon, at each quarter phase of the moon.

MAY CROSS-QUARTER: May 4th We gathered on Zoom for some conversation and our guided meditation through the moment of the Cross-Quarter 5 May 00:49 UTC (May 4, 5:49pm Pacific).

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Waxing Moon Novasutras Guided MeditationThurs. April 30
A 45-minute session with a guided meditation for well-being on Earth, honoring times of change with the ever-changing moon, at the first quarter phase of the moon.

Discussion: ‘What are our gifts?’Sunday, April 26th
Key parts of any organizing work are to tap into the strengths of each team member and to hear every voice. As we prepare to launch discussions, teachings, and rituals under the Novasutras banner, we have gifts to uncover and synergies to enliven. Please join us in this exploration as we work to envision and craft a more beautiful world our hearts know to be possible. Find a role in our movement, and find warmth in collaborative self-discovery!

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Reclaiming Hope: Earth Day Comes Back Home
April 24, 2020, 1:30pm PDT
/ 20:30 UTC
We invite you to join us for focused reflection on the lessons of that first Earth Day. We had a presentation by Paul Schaafsma to get us started, followed by group discussion.

[note – unedited version, please skip ahead to about 6:20 for the start of conversation, to about 27:00 for the introduction, or to about 34:00 for the start of the presentation by Paul Schaafsma]
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New Moon Novasutras Guided Meditation
April 23rd 5:15pm PDT
/ April 24th 00:15 UTC
We welcomed the beauty of the new moon rising as an opportunity to focus on what we would like to be emerging now, and the pull of a better future for all. This Novasutras meditation on agaya and ubuntu emphasized global unity and loving-kindness through the disruptions of these challenging times.

The Future of Novasutras Discussions: Co-Creation as a CommunitySunday, April 19th
We are looking forward to having more Discussions and other Novasutras Events. Moving forward, these events will be community-led — this means you! Here’s the outline of Novasutras Online Events: Uplifter Roles

Earth Week Beginning Online GatheringApril 18th
We reflected on the meaning of Earth Day, both in guided meditation and thoughtful conversation.

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Last-Quarter Moon Novasutras Guided MeditationApr 14, 2020
A 45-minute session with a guided meditation for well-being on Earth, honoring times of change with the ever-changing moon.

Full Moon Novasutras Guided MeditationApril 7th
A 30-minute session with a guided meditation for well-being on Earth, celebrating the beauty of the full moon.

  • Discussions in Difficult Times every day from March 30 to April 14th, 2020 –By participant consent, some portions of sessions are recorded and shared on this YouTube playlist. — Future Discussions and more info coming soon.
    • March 31st Daily Discussion – Participants in the Novasutras Daily Discussion on March 31, 2020 requested that we record this portion, to share ideas about the problems of the current economic system, creating a fair and decentralized Green New Deal that can reduce poverty and GHG emissions, and seeking solutions to change our relationship to consuming so we are “meeting the needs of all, by healing — not harming –planet and people.” — https://youtu.be/Ky2GjduXYSE
  • MARCH 2020 EQUINOX: We gathered on Zoom at 03:00 UTC March 20th / 8:00pm Pacific March 19th for a 90-minute conversation with guided meditation through the moment of the Equinox, which is 20 March 03:50 UTC (March 19th, 8:50pm Pacific).
  • CROSS-QUARTER: We gathered online for our Octal Meditation about 12 hours before actual moment of the Cross-Quarter, 4 Feb 08:55 UTC (12:55am Pacific). This meditation for global well-being and loving-kindness, agaya and ubuntu, followed by conversation was recorded was recorded Monday Feb 3rd, 20:30 UTC / 12:30 pm PST.

2019 events:

Includes news and explanations, then Calling the Corners at 9:24, our guided Octal Meditation at 13:45, and conversation beginning at 33:30.
  • Meditation for the Amazon: Novasutras offered a worldwide, synchronous guided meditation focusing on healing and wellness for the Amazon rainforest and all who live there. We chose to meditate together on #BuyNothingDay (Nov 29th), in support of the #Amazon4Amazon campaign. Sign up FREE to be part of the Novasutras Movement, and we’ll send you a link to the video of this guided meditation.
  • CROSS-QUARTER: Thursday, November 7 The moment of the midpoint between the September Equinox and December Solstice is 17:14 UTC (9:14am Pacific). Online guided meditation and conversation now on our YouTube channel.
  • Intro to Drawdown: Reversing Global Warming, a Pachamama Alliance workshop was Nov 5th – follow-up info
  • Cross-Quarter: synchronous meditation and discussion via Zoom  Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 19:19 UTC
  • Radio KSQD “Good News Santa Cruz” discussing Novasutras, Thursday, August 1, 2019, 3:30pm PDT – learn more
  • Aphelion: Thursday, July 4, 2019 at 22:10 UTC (3:10pm PDT). Aphelion is the point in Earth’s orbit when we are most distant from the Sun. This aphelion, the distance from the heart of the Sun’s to Earth’s heart will be 152,104,285 km (94,513,221 mi). Through the moment of this Aphelion, we were invited to meditate on the complexities of Interdependence – as expressed in ubuntu – and the joyful liberation that is the highest ideal of Independence.
  • SOLSTICE: Friday, June 21, 2019 at 15:54 UTC (8:54 am PDT – check your local time and date). Play this guided meditation recording from 15:30-16:00 UTC (8:30-9:00 am PDT), followed by a conversation via Zoom.

    Join the conversation after the mediation on Zoom – https://zoom.us/j/649619967. Support Novasutras on Patreon or help in other ways.
  • Cross-Quarter: Sunday, May 5, 2019 11:45 AM – 12:15 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada). For this Cross-Quarter, we tested the Zoom meeting platform (instead of livestreaming on YouTube). We had a small but uplifting conversation following our meditation. Please consider joining us for upcoming events and discussions.
  • EQUINOX: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 21:58 UTC  (2:58pm PDT). There was a livestream (now recorded) on our YouTube channel for a meditation from 21:30-22:15 UTC (2:30-3:15pm PDT).

2018 Events

  • SOLSTICE: Astronomical Solstice December 21st, 2018 at 22:22 UTC
  • CROSS-QUARTER The astronomical midpoint between the Equinox and the Solstice, on November 7th, 2018 11:18 UTC. Global synchronous meditation 11:00-11:30 UTC (3:00-3:30 am PST).

2017 Events

Please share your ideas, ask questions, or make suggestions for future events in the comments below!

18 thoughts on “Past Events

  1. RSVP for our Novasutras Solstice celebration and potluck! 7:00 – 9:30pm, Thursday June 21st — Scotts Valley, CA

    We ask that the food you bring to share be vegetarian or vegan (unless you raised/caught it yourself, and you want to tell the story). If you can, please bring your own reusable plates, cutlery, napkins, and cups, thanks!
    Kid-friendly through sunset, BYOB etc. for twilight celebrations.
    We’ll be outside (bring layers in case it gets cool). For anyone that wants to do a sun salutation vinyasa with us, please arrive promptly at 7:00 and bring a beach towel or yoga mat.

    7:00 Greetings and set-up
    7:15-7:30 Sun salutations (optional)
    7:30-8:30 Dinner
    8:30-8:40 Novasutras meditation (optional)
    8:40-9:30 Conviviality & carousing!

    Ubuntu and agaya!

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