Scottish mountaineer and author, W.H. Murray, wrote “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
This has been true for me at various times in my life, but the most powerful example of the Divine rushing in occurred this past fall. During the weekend of September 8th-10th, I went to the Rowe Center in Massachusetts for a workshop with Joanna Macy. I had studied her writings and framework for The Work That Reconnects for the last six years, and was so grateful to have the opportunity to learn directly from her.
When I arrived, I found out that I was staying in the same house as Joanna, along with three of her close friends. I literally stood in the threshold of my room stepping in and then back out a few times, before mustering the courage to go out into the common room with everyone. I didn’t want to be intrusive or embarrass myself, but I also didn’t want to squander this incredible opportunity. As I contemplated the significance of this fortuitous placement, the message I received was that I am worthy and a vibrational match for this work.
During the workshop, there was an opportunity to share our intentions for going forth. There was not time to hear from everyone, but I was one of the lucky few who was selected to share how I planned to “commit myself.” I declared that I wanted to teach The Work That Reconnects in faith communities. I was on the Education Committee at Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and the Unity Worldwide Ministries EarthCare Team, so it seemed that this was an accessible and powerful audience.
At the end of the weekend, I had a moment with Joanna before I left our house. With tears in my eyes, I thanked her for all that she has taught me and asked for her blessing to teach this work. Fortunately, she kindly gave it to me and I felt like my path in life was more clear than it had been in a long time.
Within two weeks of arriving back in Georgia, I met an amazing woman who helped me on the next step of this journey.
My good friend, and gifted healer, yoga teacher, and all around extraordinary person, Elizabeth Devereux intuitively knew that she had to introduce me and her dear friend, Sara Lindkrantz. Sara was reading many of the same books that I was, and taking similar classes on-line, so our paths were destined to cross and Elizabeth made that happen on September 23.
I think that we all had a sense that this was not any introduction, but rather it was going to generate what Joanna Macy, and systems theorists call “emergent properties.” Meaning that we were going to create something that was more significant than what we could build on our own as individuals.
We were very intentional about our meeting, as we sent some questions and ideas around ahead of time. Since it was right after the autumnal equinox, we wanted to start our gathering by giving thanks for all of our blessings and what we have thus far harvested in our lives. From there we talked about what was in our hearts and our vision for where we thought we could best be of service in the world.
As Elizabeth predicted, Sara and I shared many of the same interests and vision for creating curriculum and empowering people to realize that their actions make a difference in this world, and encourage them to make positive choices. I was completely humbled and awe struck when Sara offered to help support this mission financially or with “green energy” as I like to say.
I wanted to be a good steward of this incredible offer and it immediately came to me that I should partner with Georgia Interfaith Power and Light.
In the spring of 2016, I had met with Carol Bartlett, the co-founder of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light. Early in our conversation, we realized that we both admired Joanna Macy’s work, and it was like a whole other layer of communication opened up and we knew that we were going to work well together and be great friends!
I called Carol soon after our meeting and told her about Sara’s generous offer. Over the next month, the e-mails flew back and forth as we crafted documents and Carol and I made plans to drive up to Big Canoe at the end of October to meet Sara and Elizabeth.
After a heartfelt and enlivening conversation, the four of us went to lunch and sat at a table overlooking the lake and mountains and we talked about what we should call this fund. Sara looked at us and said, “What do you think about the Four Directions?” It was perfect! Our new venture was born!
This whole “stream of events” including “meetings and material assistance” came together within seven weeks of definitely committing myself and I truly could not have dreamt it would come my way, but am very grateful that it did.
The Four Directions Fund allows me to teach the Active Hope Workshop, based on Joanna Macy’s framework, in congregations without requiring a set fee. Any love offerings collected at the workshops go back into fund. As an added bonus, attending the workshop qualifies attendees to apply for seed money for an environmental/community project, which if approved, is then awarded by the Four Directions Fund.
If you are interested in attending an Active Hope Workshop, the next two events are:
Sunday, April 23rd, 1-4 at Unity Atlanta
Sunday, May 7th, 12:30-5:30 at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Congregants, friends, and visitors are welcome at these events.