The political situation that we find ourselves in has been filled with spiritual peril for me and for many of my colleagues and friends. My deepest intention is to love everyone, to know the whole world as my extended family. And yet, I find myself seething in outrage, and sometimes despairing. My reactivity reveals some pretty shadowy places, places in me that are yearning to be healed.
Since what I do well is lead fellow seekers in the process of transformative retreat, I decided to create the next SOULIFT especially for activists and seekers who struggle with these issues and aspire to heal the world through a journey that is also self-healing, awakening compassion and power through spiritual practices that are grounded in Jewish Wisdom.
The retreat is called SOULIFT: Healing into Action. I have called on a great teacher of activists to collaborate with me on this. Cherie Brown is someone whom I’ve long admired. She is the founder and executive director of NCBI The National Coalition Building Institute, and is expert at healing the grief, fear, and shame that get in the way of powerful, courageous leadership.
In order to come to clarity about what needs to be done and what our role is in response to the dysfunctions of government, the poisons of public discourse, the calamities of climate change, the lack of compassion for those in need, and the policies based on fear and hatred; we each need to engage in a process of moving from reactivity to wise and loving response.
I see this process as a spiral dance that keeps sending us towards connection, collaboration and energizing hopefulness. These are the steps that I take on this journey from Healing into Action:
1. Receiving Blessing and Coming into Gratefulness
2. Facing the Challenges and Honoring our Pain
3. Transforming our Perception and Embracing Paradox
We begin by opening to blessing, relaxing the tension and constriction that impedes the flow of breath and simple goodness. We enter into a state of gratefulness for the process itself, for the opportunity to rise to the challenge before us.
From that place of strength and fullness, we can turn and face what is difficult, grieve what has been lost, come out of numbness and begin feeling the pain that we share. We can honor that pain by knowing that it is tied to our love and to the truth of our connection that has been shattered and shadowed over by layers of illusion. When we stop resisting that pain, we can move through it, with support.
In the process we find our love again, and step into a wider view. As our perception shifts, we see the bigger picture and begin to know ourselves as integral to the cosmos. We expand. We embrace the paradox that this is a difficult and dangerous journey and yet, in this moment we have already arrived.
And then the spark happens. Imagine your every expression, action or gesture of Generosity as Overflow.
In that place of connection and fullness, we leave the struggle behind and open as channels of the Divine flow, trusting that flow more and more, dedicating ourselves to refining and purifying the channels that we are. We release our attachments to the outcome of our actions and begin to trust that when we are connected to Source, all that we give is the overflow. We are nurtured by the flow that moves through us. We don’t have to worry about burning out. In that realization, the spiral dance leads us back to gratefulness.
We can walk through that door of gratitude and be empowered. We can receive the blessing of Life as an amazing adventure, and we can become a blessing as we each shine with our unique refraction of Divine light.
-Rabbi Shefa Gold
SOULIFT: Healing Into Action
Led by Rabbi Shefa Gold and Cherie Brown
January 20 – 26, 2020
The Franciscan Retreat Center | Tampa, Florida