Previous events and stories of Novasutras Santa Cruz

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Novasutras Santa Cruz Launch Party a soggy success!

We had a drizzly yet festive meeting on Sunday August 18th at Harvey West Park, gathering people from the Santa Cruz area with an interest in Novasutras. The event included a potluck, a guided meditation under a redwood tree, a little singing and chanting, an exchange of blessings, and some deep discussion of ways that we experience and promote agaya.

Santa Cruz Global Climate Strike week of action — Sept. 20-27

Global Climate Strike Kick-Off
Louden Nelson Community Center, Friday Sept. 20

Novasutras was among the organizations on the panel from 5:30-6:30 in room 3. Michelle explained that the Novasutras movement serves the growing need for spiritual community as activists respond to the vast challenges of environmental disruption and social injustice threatening global and personal well-being. Our perspective is that the deepest root cause of the climate crisis is the loss of reverence for the living world. Michelle also lead a Novasutras guided meditation and discussion in room 5 at 7pm.

Faith in Our Future
Peace United Church, Tuesday Sept. 24th

Novasutras was among the participants in the Faith in Our Future interfaith conversation. Michelle provided an overview of the climate emergency as a moral and existential crisis. She also described some of her rainforest experiences and how these shaped her spiritual calling on behalf of living systems.

September Equinox Gathering
Sunday September 22nd

Our gathering at City Hall on Sunday, Sept. 22nd

We held an in-person gathering with meditation and reflection to welcome in the Equinox from 12:30 to 1:30 on Sunday, September 22nd (about 12 hours ahead of the actual time the sun crossed the equator).

Novasutras hosts meditations on the Equinoxes, Solstices and Cross-Quarters (8 times per year). These Octal Meditations revitalize our connection with and reverence for Nature and promote global unity.

Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium
Saturday October 12th

Attend a free workshop created by the Pachamama Alliance—the community that’s committed to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet. See what’s possible for the planet and for life itself.

  • Learn where we are as a human family and how we got here.
  • Discover your role in creating a sustainable future.
  • Connect with like-minded, openhearted people and move into action.

Date: Saturday, October 12, 2019
Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Resource Center for Non-Violence
612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz CA 95060

The Awakening the Dreamer Symposium is a half-day, interactive workshop that is the first offering in the Pachamama Alliance Up to Us engagement pathway—a pathway that provides training and inspiration for participants via live in-person and online courses, local community groups, and game changing movements. Learn more at

Michelle Merrill will be one of the presenters at this Awakening the Dreamer Symposium. The work of the Pachamama Alliance has been a major inspiration for Novasutras.

Intro to Drawdown: Reversing Global Warming

Tuesday Nov. 5, 7-9pm, Resource Center for Nonviolence

Reversing Global Warming: Introduction to Drawdown is a free, 2-hour workshop that invites us to see both the possibility of reversing global warming and that we have an important role to play in that process. Through videos and group activities, we will learn about a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming from Project Drawdown—a scientific study that identified 100 solutions that, implemented together, can begin to roll back global warming by 2050. 

· Learn about a comprehensive scientific study of 100 solutions that, together, could actually begin to reverse global warming by 2050

· Connect with people in our community to find inspiration and discover new possibilities for addressing global warming

· Learn how we can change the conversation about global warming from “game over” to “game on!”

Hosted by: Pachamama South Bay Facilitators Community – Michelle was one of the presenters

Gathering for Meditation in support of Climate Fast December 27, 2019

We were given an opportunity to help out on an action for awareness of climate consequences. Keith Runyan invited Michelle to lead a public Novasutras guided meditation in support of his 12-day fast to raise awareness of increasing global food insecurity. We chose the lawn of the Santa Cruz Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive to gather on Friday, December 27th, at noon. Others were fasting with Keith for shorter time periods — you could choose to fast for just a day or two, skip just one meal, or not fast at all. Everyone was welcomed to participate in the meditation and discussion, to help raise awareness of the connection between the climate crisis and global food insecurity.


Start 2020 with Shinrin-Yoku

Forest Immersion

On January 1st (with an encore Jan 6th) we gathered to bask in the beauty of the main grove at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, for a 2-hour, non-strenuous stroll (or sit) in the quiet company of Sequoia sempervirens and friends.

The early days of the new year were an ideal time for us to reconnect with our local redwoods. Cooler and wetter weather makes our forests truly vibrant with lush, green abundance.

We started with a brief explanation of shinrin-yoku practice, plus calling the corners and a brief meditation to prepare us. Then we spent some time on our own, gently and reverently immersing ourselves in the sensory experience of the redwood grove. At the end, we re-assembled to share insights from our experiences.

We gathered for Shinrin-Yoku again on January 27th. The plan right now is to have Shinrin-Yoku gatherings toward the end of each month, alternating weekends and weekdays. We will plan for a weekend shinrin-yoku gathering late February. Take this quick poll to let us know what times would work for you, and suggest alternate venues.

Sunday March 8th, 2020:
first Climate and Habitat meditation

Lighthouse Field park, West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

We gathered in the park across West Cliff Drive from the Lighthouse, with inspiring positive messaging about the climate and environmental crises (such as “we are all in this together” and “envision solutions for the climate crisis”).

Each week we will plan to hold a public meditation, to raise our spirits, raise public awareness, and raise the vibration in these troubled times. We will begin by calling the corners, followed by a brief guided visualization and then silent meditation. All are welcome!

We are testing locations and times for weekly gatherings in Santa Cruz this month. Contact us or take this survey to share your thoughts and suggestions.

Silent Vigil on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Please join us, in solidarity with friends and supporters of the Amah Mutsun and Juristac, for a silent vigil on Indigenous People’s Day, Monday, October 12, 2020, to take place at Mission Plaza, 103 Emmet St, off Mission St. and  in front of Holy Cross Catholic Church in downtown Santa Cruz from 6:00 to 6:30 pm.

We are gathering to express our individual and collective sadness, grief, and anger at the genocide of the Indigenous People, mourning and acknowledging the devastating impact of the missions on the California native population and the brutal treatment and death of the people of the Amah Mutsun and other Tribes brought to the Santa Cruz Mission.

Please come a bit early if possible to get situated and socially distance (masks required). We will either sit in silent meditation or do a slow walking meditation. Signs are welcome, as well as offerings of flowers or candles / lights.

Hope you can come, and feel free to pass this onto those in soildarity with this vigil. 

Learn more about the history of oppression of indigenous people at the Santa Cruz Mission.


Sacred People, Sacred EarthMarch 11, 2021

Novasutras participated in GreenFaith’s multi-faith day of climate action.

Some of us in the Santa Cruz, California area gathered for a Public Meditation for Climate Healing, including Calling the Corners and walking meditation. We held signs to bring awareness and seek support for the climate activist in Congo whom we are helping get to safety.


Forest Immersion Practice
Main Grove at Henry Cowell Redwoods S.P.
Friday, March 26th, 2021

Celebrate Earth Day at the Commons

2021 Santa Cruz Earth Day Celebration

Join Santa Cruz Climate Action Network and Downtown Commons Advocates for a “COVID Safe” Earth Day Celebration

Saturday April 24th, 1-5pm

Location: Corner of Cedar and Cathcart section of lot 4 – without the parked cars!!

Come say “hello” at the Novasutras table!

SPEAKERS: Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, and more to be announced 
MUSIC: Anthony Arya • Russell Brutsché • Michael Levy • Elie Mabanza • Gina René 
ART: Prints from the Earth Day Photo Contest • Hands-on chalk art to transform pavement with thousands of leaves • Paintings by Russell Brutsché • and more 
FUN FOR ALL: Activities, tables, and information

Bring your own water bottle!  Bring your own chair!  Bring your celebration!
Social distancing and masks required.
This event is FREE.

Event featuring music, art, kid activities

Masks required. Hand sanitizer available.


Please bring you own folding chair (if desired), and your own water bottle.

Oil Pipelines Are No Picnic

Water defenders link arms to block construction of Enbridge's Line 3 in Minnesota

Monday, June 21st, 6:00pm PDT
Amphitheater behind Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
1305 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA  

Batya Kagan, Michael Levy, Michelle Merrill and Lisa Swartz just came back from Minnesota, working to stop the Line 3 oil pipeline on Anishinaabe treaty lands.Thought you’d like to picnic with us and hear personal stories from the FRONTLINES.

Bring:  Picnic dinner for yourself, layers of clothes, a pillow or chair to sit on, a writing pen, bathing suit if you want to dunk in the ocean afterwards (Solstice dunk)
Children:  Welcome (they can run around on the grass)

This event is free, it is NOT a museum event, just a gathering spot close to the beach.  There will be pictures and some juicy stories.  A chance to TAKE ACTION will be offered. 
For more info: Contact Batya at (831) 419-6574.

Learn more about the actions to #StopLine3 in our blog posts from June 3rd and June 17th.

Summer 2021 #StopLine3 Demonstrations in Santa Cruz

Friday July 30th: We rallied at the corner of River St and Water St, downtown Santa Cruz (at Bank of America – one of the main fossil-fuel funders). After demonstrating there for a while, we walked down River St (to oilyWells Fargo – another major fossil-fuel funder), then down and up Pacific Avenue.

Tuesday July 27th: We rallied at the corner of River St and Water St, downtown Santa Cruz (at Bank of America – one of the main fossil-fuel funders). After demonstrating there for a while, we walked along Water St to the corner at Ocean St (Chase Bank – another main fossil-fuel funder).

Friday August 13th: Stop Greenwashing & Stop the Money Pipeline to Stop Line 3

We rallied at the corner of River St and Water St, downtown Santa Cruz (at Bank of America – one of the main fossil-fuel funders). After demonstrating there for a while, we continued into town, stopping for some street theater at Wells Fargo and on Pacific Avenue. Novasutras planned this event with the help of Santa Cruz Climate Action Network and Citizens’ Climate Lobby (we’re happy to bring other groups on board for our next event – contact Michelle for more info).

We had chants and songs ready to go, plus plenty of signs and banners. We offered handouts to share information. We made this a parade that people wanted to join! 

Are you ready to join our next chance to have some (masked, socially distanced, outdoor) FUN, make some fossil-fuel-funders uncomfortable, and stand up for climate justice!

Be COVID aware.*

Fire Calming Ceremony

Tuesday, August 24th, Seabright Beach

CZU lightning complex fire 2020
CZU lightning complex fire, late August 2020

Join us at Seabright Beach for a ceremony in which we will encourage raging fires all across Earth to become calm. Together we will work to create a better relationship with fire as we acknowledge the harmful impact that climate change has on fire seasons in a local and global context. Gathering around our very own flame, we will reflect on the varied and volatile nature of this force. Towards the end of this event we will invite gentle rain to keep destructive fires at bay and work as a balancing power that provides us with time to adapt.

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