Disciples of wisdom who tend to appear when we’re ready.
Try the unrelenting work of one American lady.
Through the ages, in every corner of the world, people have paused to put tools aside, stand with others, celebrate the cycles of the earth and skies, contend with the mystery, and humbly honor the Creator with elegantly structured expressions of what we could not otherwise ever hope to express.
Then, not long ago, we moved by the billions, from ancient rhythms in farming, survival, and awareness, to modern life, where so many of these sacred rites have faded into faint distorted memories of elders’ memories, and out of the weave of everyday life.
But here among us in this tool-busy world is someone who did not forget.
For over 30 years, Amshatar Ololodi Monroe has been bringing people of highly diverse cultures very much together—in retreats, conferences, rituals, seminars, ceremony, workshops, coachings, great conversation, and other events—and empowering them to excavate, understand, restore, preserve, participate in, and celebrate universal traditions of our elders and ancestors.
Her work is about the earth-based spirituality found in indigenous cultures. It reveals, among many other things, that the ancient ways still run deeply through all modern spiritual paths, and that universal points of connection include (to name a few) invocation, prayer, song, honoring of elders, drumming and rhythmic sound, music, circle-gathering, and recognition of One God in a myriad of forms. And it speaks to the awakened and awakening among us, stewards of our blessed planet, from prominent leaders and wealthy business owners to quiet laborers and silenced prisoners, as we hammer out the patterns of human life in every possible way.
Amshatar (pronounced “am-sha-TAIR”) brings to our communities not just immense knowledge, a lifetime of motivating experience, and a sort of grandmotherly love, affection, and understanding, but also a lightness of spirit that is so comforting, participants say they find themselves able to imagine living possibilities with fresh insights and to dialogue with other people from new perspectives. Beginnings are often created that can be profoundly life-altering.
It was, in fact, during a ceremony based on ancient African tradition that Amshatar herself experienced one of her own first awakenings. Afterward, conscious of it for the first time, she accepted the spiritual charge that’s been given to her—of bringing together diverse people, on diverse paths, to embrace, in ancient traditional ways, our seeming differences and honor, connect, and celebrate “the One-ness of Common-Unity.”
Among other love-leading deeds, Amshatar embraces every path to and sincere interpretation of what might be called divine essence or “the Word.” She has practiced the spiritual practices of the modern and pre-European Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Middle-East; discipled under such Sanskrit-sourced disciplines as transcendental meditation, yoga, and breath mastery; cultivated and inspired traditional African and Native American spiritual culture and spirituality; and internalized the soul-full teachings of both traditional and non-denominational Christian ministries—starting with the sounds, wisdom, and spirit of the Baptist church she and her brothers grew up in in Washington, D.C.
Her musician parents grew up in that church too, became deacons of its music program, and filled the loving, worshipful Monroe home with an endless stream of musical guests. And that’s when the daughter of this large loving family started “wondering what I could actually do so the Circle might be Unbroken.” Tapping her foot, clapping her hands, and singing along in her Sunday dresses, this little girl was already consciously thinking about how to build bridges across canyons that sometimes appear to divide people. Classmates remember her as “the ‘mender’” who would bring everyone together on one “team”—at the rec center or playground, in clubs and cliques in high school, and especially with the kids who might have been least likely to get along.
Which was a perfect foundation for later earning a B.A. in Business Management and an M.A. in Arts Management from The American University, training and experience she applied for years as a cultural and events specialist in Washington, D.C. and Georgia. For over 20 years after that, she was producer/manager of arts and special events, and providing professional services in non-profit and academic executive management positions.
The mid 1990’s is when the scope of her work expanded. She started researching the primary and indigenous origins of humanity’s spiritual history. That led, inevitably perhaps, to a deep relationship with the eight-thousand-year-old, now-international Yoruba religion. In West Africa, the United States, and elsewhere, Amshatar learned much about the origin and substance of the many variations of Yoruba around the world, became one of its 100-million members, and was initiated as a Yoruba priest. She says, “I’m deeply grateful for these shoulders I’m so blessed to stand on.”
In 1997, Amshatar founded a company called SACRED SPACE: Where Indigenous Paths Meet, to educate and bring people together at the four cardinal times of the year—the solstices and equinoxes—and at other cyclical points. The events and activities of SACRED SPACE were the primary result of her efforts at that time to fulfill her spiritual charge.
“I remember my mother often saying: ‘Small minds talk about people. Mediocre minds talk about things. Great minds talk about ideas.’
I would add: Enlightened minds envision, strategize, and co-create evolutionary shifts in consciousness!”
In 1998, she was awarded a fellowship from the Fetzer Institute, a research organization in Michigan that “advances love and forgiveness as powerful forces that can transform the human condition.” This opportunity (she has called it “an unquestionable gift from God”) allowed her to further her inner work of spirit and her outer work of service, and required that she undertake what sages of all times know is the most challenging human undertaking of all: authentic introspection. With an open and humble heart, she stepped into this very demanding inquiry. The unexpected magic she encountered and the greater expansion of her already masterfully diverse lessons and teachers became a pivotal point in her growth and development. It transformed her view of the magnitude, significance, and interrelatedness of the work she is called to do—for others, and for the endless journey of self-inquiry and understanding that true leaders never stop pursuing.
In the 1970s, she founded a community-based non-profit organization in Atlanta, Georgia, called L.O.V.E., Inc. (Light, Oneness, Vitality, and Energy) through which she led a number of retreats and community gatherings that fostered health, healing, and spiritual cultivation. One of the members of her Board of Directors, Rev. Randolph Wilkinson (now an honored ancestor), told her, “Someday, this work you’re doing will especially be for women!”
No one knew at that technologically-dawning time how that might come to be, but in 2008, she launched Women of Spirit Online. This refreshingly unique “online sanctuary” is a foundation by which its founder extends and will be further extending her vision of Common-Unity by means of sound healing, video, inspirational products, a forum, educational articles, a network for youth, and sacred invocation. It includes exceptionally beautiful original music and downloadable audio recordings that are superb.
And she is blessed to have created a bridge to the future as a proud woman, mother, and grandmother of a beautiful daughter and “four precious angel-baby girls.” This bridge just might be the one that gives her the most pride and gratitude of all.
Today, Amshatar is teacher, speaker, scholar, author, panel-member, priest, producer, and humble off-stage community leader. But what happens at the personally-designed events she’s been known to call “gatherings” can’t always be delivered in the form of lesson, lecture, book, presentation, sermon, performance, or speech. They have to be experienced, just as they’ve been experienced by indigenous communities all over the world for thousands of years. Miraculously, and in-person.
As was, perhaps, the way you came upon this invitation to step into the now steadily growing Circle.
From someone who did not forget.
Self-Enquiry: The Direct Path to Self-Realization
26 Minutes To A Powerful Tool
In an ingenious distillation of ancient and modern wisdom (including that of Sri Ramana Maharshi), Duart Maclean gifts us with articulate insights that lead to a very powerful tool for spiritual discipline.
To listen to it, go to http://www.rebirthing.ca/conferencecalls.html and click on ‘Self-Enquiry: An Introduction.‘ Be prepared to wait a minute or so for the MP3 to download.
Duart is a genuine yogi, highly respected spiritual teacher, and accomplished master of enlightened living. He and his wife Lyse LeBeau are Canadians who journey to various parts of the world learning, discovering, and humbly sharing their awakened state.
Two of their books are available here: http://www.rebirthing.ca/
“This awakening to the Self is not something conceptual. It comes with a letting go of our limited and erroneous notions of what we are and a complete surrender of our egoistic tendencies. Such a transformation is a complete internal revolution, which touches every fiber of our being; it cannot be obtained by reading books, although books can be useful allies on the path. It also cannot be reached by changing the external circumstances of our life. Abandoning our families or quitting our jobs to lead a monastic life is unnecessary, because the real work is entirely internal. ” -Duart Maclean on Self-Enquiry
AN EXCERPT FROM ROB’S BOOK, Pronoia Is The Antidote To Paranoia: HOW THE UNIVERSE IS CONSPIRING TO SHOWER YOU WITH BLESSINGS
Have you ever been loved? I bet you have been loved so much and so deeply that you have become jaded about the enormity of the grace it confers. So let me remind you: To be loved is a privilege and prize equivalent to being born. If you’re smart, you pause regularly to bask in the astonishing knowledge that there are many people out there who care for you and want you to thrive and hold you in their thoughts with fondness.
Animals, too: You have been the recipient of their boundless affection. The spirits of allies who’ve left this world continue to send their tender regards, as well. Do you “believe” in angels and other divine beings? Whether or not you do, I can assure you that there are hordes of them beaming their uncanny consecrations your way. You are awash in torrents of love.
As tremendous a gift it is to get love, giving love is an equal boon. Many scientific studies demonstrate that whenever you bestow blessings on other people, you bless yourself. Expressing practical compassion not only strengthens your immune system and bolsters your health, but also promotes self-esteem, enhances longevity, and stimulates tranquility and even euphoria. As the scientists say, we humans are hardwired to benefit from altruism.
What’s your position on making love? Do you regard it as one of the nicer fringe benefits of being alive? Or are you more inclined to see it as a central proof of the primal magnanimity of the universe? I’m more aligned with the latter view.
Imagine yourself in the fluidic blaze of that intimate spectacle right now. Savor the fantasy of entwining bodies and hearts and minds with an appealing partner who has the power to enchant you. What better way do you know of to dwell in sacred space while immersed in your body’s delight? To commune with the Divine Wow while having fun? To tap into your own deeper knowing while at the same time gazing into the mysterious light of a fellow creature?
A lot of us are lucky enough to get hit with occasional strokes of genius. Not too many of us follow through and put a brilliant idea into form. And almost nobody:
- ceaselessly sees truths that habit and culture make most of us wholly blind to,
- leads revolutions in thought and lifestyle that (if we’re lucky) actually have the credible potential to transform us all into a species of happy beings,
- magnetizes an entire community of like-minded truth- (and beauty-) (and joy-) seekers who, like little lost lambs from a scattered herd, have been wandering, nameless and leaderless, for years,
- commands superior talent not just in literature but also in music,
- and prolifically — every single day — churns out art and philosophy of the highest quality.
But Rob Brezsny does.
It’s true, too, that genuinely unique beams of original light have been known to be overlooked by most of their contemporaries, praised by some, and scorned by others (maybe people who have either never attempted to do anything difficult, or have tried, given up, and, whining all the way, settled for the mediocrity Brezsny’s genius inspires us all to free ourselves from).
Rob Brezsny is one of the most talented, far-sighted, creative people of our day, and we wouldn’t be surprised if what he’s doing proves him to be one of the most creative, admirable, joy-inspiring people ever.
More power to you!
Strong Qi, Gentle Flowers
Kayoko Yoshikai is one of those people who’s always running into her pals when she’s out and about. Even in big cities like San Diego.
And not only is she a friend to many, she’s also a business owner, an athlete (judo expert), a mother, a daughter of zen-master flower arrangers, a descendant of Samurai, uncommonly wise, and extremely busy.
Grownups used to tell her she was a “strong-qi” child. Surrounded by flowers, she’d transform her parents’ garden and the living creatures she met there into adventurous companions and playmates. (Some things really don’t ever change.)
In the same way still waters run deep, she’s quiet. So when you pause to listen to Kayoko, delightful stories about her remarkable life start to unravel. Conversation with her will probably be enhanced by some excellent, gently-imparted suggestions from her knowledge of health, wealth-building, and spiritual teachings.
To network with her is to increase your community by big numbers. One of her current projects is helping to pioneer a large, extensive, international on- and off-line business/charity/social network, which is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2009. (I’d ask her about it if I were you.)
This just in: THE WILD SIDE OF KAYOKO YOSHIKAI!!!
After a very successful career as a veterinarian with charisma and intuition his four-legged clients couldn’t resist, Herb Tanzer was tapped by major TV networks in New York to host a show about animal care. Instead, he became a life coach. Herb wants, and actually creates, a world that works for everybody. Now he lives for doing whatever he can to let you, help you, and show you how to be the cause of a life your unique brilliance deserves. Like no other coach, Herb Tanzer brings a broad understanding of spirtuality to the mundane task of everyday success strategy. Herb’s web site.
Herb dares you to dream: