COE Spiritual Activism Training in Vermont

October 11, 2013

September 23rd through 26th 2013 – An intimate group of Children of the Earth staff, volunteers, alumni youth and I gathered in the living room of a beautiful lake house on the shore of Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont for the first COE "Train the Trainers" facilitation. While I did not exactly know what to expect or what my "take-away" would be after engaging in this facilitation week; I was honored to spend time with inspired and practical visionary, Dr. Nina Meyerhof. The training unfolded as an experience. Beginning with guided meditation and group check-in, we then identified the goal as being - how to be a "spiritual activist" facilitator. I understood, immediately, that this work is for the bold and insightful who are committed to learning the skills needed to guide our planet toward peace. I was equipped with a "pioneering spiritual activism" handbook and a practical manual. Then I opened my heart to what the Divine had for me to learn through the space created and the people who were intimately connected to one another and the vision for a "united cross-cultural movement for the greater good."

I never want to forget the way I felt as a foreigner in this new land. While I didn’t travel from a continent away, as other participants had, I was a foreigner to this new world. It isn’t a feeling I am expressing, but a reality. The language was new and a welcome challenge to navigate. "Resonate," "Awareness,” "Oneness," "Spiritual Activism," "Space," and "Higher Self" populated the dense esoteric discussions while the group meditations and check-in procedures set stages to do the "work." These were new experiences for me. I did not bring to the training a well exercised set of mind muscles nor a tool bag of study on peace practices. In my belly I felt as though I was deepening my understanding to hear and take in dialogue while my mind multiplied barriers that filtered the lexicon presented. Do I agree with this? Is this true? Is the answer coming through my lens that I see the world through? Is there a deeper wisdom behind the elements presented? Is the answer in the in-between? I was constantly aware that I was correcting my thinking and consciously surrendering to ideas on the fly. Hear, measure, weigh, open. Process and open, but protect. Protect my understanding but hold it outside of myself in the event that it needed to be surrendered to a deeper understanding or a new idea. I was changed because of what I heard and felt and learned.

The training itself danced through the COE model for spiritual activism; Reflect. Connect. Act. In doing so I was awakened to my own journey, inspired to connect with my human family world wide and motivated to take action in a project of service that would serve my own community toward peace. It sparked an interest in me by modeling the vision, "Our is vision is that one by one, young people become spiritually awakened, socially responsible, and active peace builders; inspired and united by our organization."

Part one of the training intrigued me enough that I am looking forward to getting my passport in order to attend part two, in Nepal, next spring.

– Jennifer Thornquest

Want more News from COE? Subscribe to the COE Newsletter: