AND WITH A TINY FLAME...

We'll be back January 6th with information about our upcoming WAYkids' program and winter adult WAYfinding round. If you'd like to save-the-dates, our WAYkids' program will begin Sunday, January 13th and meet every 2nd and 4th Sunday afternoon (4:00 - 5:30p) of the month (January - June). Our WAYfinding winter round will begin the week of January 21st.

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| Anne C. Williamson |

A couple weeks ago, good friends invited us over to celebrate Hanukkah. After listening to the story behind this Jewish ritual and tradition, the candles were lite, prayers recited and songs sung. Then, as the menorah was carried to the window and placed there, we learned this piece of the tradition is about being open, publicly sharing one's beliefs, as well as bringing a little more light to the world.

I loved the whole thing. I think my girls did too; but, of course, there was the typical young children drama around who got to light which candles as well as ecstatic focus on the chocolate gelt soon to come. So, I didn't know how much had been understood and appreciated.

The next day, at our own home, as the light outside had nearly gone, I heard my 5 year old suddenly exclaim, "The Christmas tree! We need to light it so we can bring light to the world." My eyes still tear up. Something about that moment encompasses so much of what I hope for my children.... That when the darkness surrounds them, they would hold on to the magic, mystery and beauty ever present in this world too. That they would find joy and meaning in their own tradition while understanding, deeply, that all traditions share a loving s/Source and thus can reflect and enrich one another. That they would believe they are part of bringing light to the world, that their daily actions and loving being matter.

Depending on the stage of life and context in which we find ourselves, the holidays can look so different from year-to-year and person-to-person. I don't know the sadness you may be carrying now, or the joy. But, in my own Christian Advent tradition, each Sunday I light a candle for you. I hold the light in my heart, give it physical form with a match, wick and wax, and pray for my own, for my girls' and husband's, for our community's and for the whole world's well-being. I pray for peace on earth, and with a tiny flame, that it would begin (again and again) with me.

WHAT KIND OF COMMUNITY IS NEEDED NOW?

We're spending the next two weeks in groups talking about community. Specifically, what kind of community is needed now in our society and how do we create it? We're going to be discussing "fitting in," common enemy intimacy, loneliness, social media and the trickiness of in-person community too, vulnerability and boundaries, empathy, forgiveness, and our inextricable human connection.

The below video, though focused on addiction, speaks so beautifully to our need for connection that I wanted to share it with you here. My favorite excerpt:

“Human beings have an innate need to bond and connect. When we are happy and healthy we will bond with the people around us. But when we can’t because we’re traumatized, isolated or beaten down by life, we will bond with something that gives us some sense of relief. It might be checking our smartphones constantly. It might be pornography. It might be gambling, etc. but we will bond with something because that is our human nature. The path out of unhealthy bonding is to form healthy bonds – to be connected to people who you want to be present with. Addiction is just one symptom of the crisis of disconnection that’s happening all around us. We all feel it....

For too long, we’ve talked only about individual recovery from addiction, but we need now to talk about social recovery. Because something has gone wrong with us as a group.... We are going to have to change the unnatural way we live and rediscover each other. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.”

I hope you'll watch the whole video. It's worth it!

- Anne

SIGN-UPS ARE OPEN FOR THE FALL 2018 ROUND!

SCHEDULE & DESCRIPTION

The fall round begins the week of September 10th and ends the week of November 5th. It's 8 weeks with a one-week break at the halfway point (groups will not meet the week of October 8th). This round will include a community week in late October.

SIGN-UP

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Why gather in spiritual groups like these? Why gather for spiritual or religious reasons on Sundays or Fridays or whenever? What is the point? Does it do anything for us? For the world? What do we, as humans, need now, at this specific time in history, from these spaces? Can they deliver?

Join WAYfinding this fall as we explore these questions. Each week will begin with a possible answer, falling under one of three “macro” reasons for gathering: We gather because it helps. We gather to h/Hear s/Something deep and true. We gather to b/Be s/Something deep and true. Authors (and, for many, spiritual guides) Sue Monk Kidd, Parker Palmer, Brene Brown and Shawn Achor, among others, will be our teachers.

As always with WAYfinding, you will be encouraged and led to question, challenge, wonder, discuss and dive deep into your own experience. If you’ve ever been simultaneously drawn to and resistant to spiritual or religious gatherings, this will be a great round for you, helping you discover what is true for you and resting easier in it.

Hope to have your voice in the conversation this fall!

GROUPS

Mondays, 7:30 – 9:00p – Mom’s Group (Meridian-Kessler) (Facilitator & Host: Anne)
Tuesdays, 12:00 - 1:45p (Meridian-Kessler) (Facilitators & Hosts: Rotating**)
Wednesdays, 10:30a - 12:00p (Meridian-Kessler) (Facilitators: Carolyn & Rick; Host: Anne) (Childcare available; cost split between parents.)
Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:00p (Irvington) (Facilitators & Hosts: Rotating**)
Wednesdays, 7:00 - 9:00p (Downtown) (Facilitator: Julie; Host: Stew)
Thursdays, 7:00 - 9:00p (Meridian Hills) (Facilitator & Host: Bob)

** Newcomers are not asked to facilitate or host. Of course, you’re welcome to, if you’d like. 

SIGN UP

COST

For those who can afford it, there is a cost with the WAYfinding experience. Each round we ask you make an investment in yourself of $50 - $150. It's a sliding scale; you pay what you can. And, if you can't pay, simply select our Scholarship Fund when signing up - that's all there is to it. Invest online here.

Or, you may become a sustaining member of WAYfinding by making a recurring donation of at least $30 per month. This option is not just an investment in yourself - all rounds are included - but in others. Your recurring donation (or quarterly/yearly, if you prefer) helps us sponsor new and existing participants, "get the word out," invest in public speakers and new programs, etc. You can learn more about our different investment levels here.

ORPHAN HEROES

Thank you to everyone who participated in the spring round with us, or any round this year, or WAYkids. Your unique voice is essential to what we're creating. Thank you!

WAYfinding takes the summers off from groups. However, you'll still be hearing from us through the writings of fellow WAYfinders. Every week or two, a new post will be shared through the newsletter. Giving voice to a diversity of perspectives is a core value of WAYfinding's. Our summer community blog posts are one of the ways we practice this value.

We look forward to gathering again in September!

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| Jon Cracraft |

A major problem in the world is the dilemma of moral authoritarianism vs. moral relativism, or religious fundamentalism vs. religious relativism, or ethnocentrism vs cultural relativism, or what is it OK to be tolerant of and what is it not OK to be tolerant of and why, or when does it become OK to judge the behavior of different groups of people?

Was Andrew Jackson morally better than Adolf Hitler? Was Thomas Jefferson morally better than Joseph Stalin? How could anyone claim to make such moral judgements?

And yet, how can we refuse to make such moral judgements?

We should not tolerate sex trafficking or sweat shop labor or hate crimes or murder or robbery.

But should we tolerate vandalism? Should we tolerate public nudity? Should we tolerate political corruption? Should we tolerate sexist jokes? If we are going to allow ourselves to judge others, how do we know where to stop?

Is there an objective way to answer such questions? Is there a moral compass inside of us that tells us where to draw the line?

This is the dilemma of moral authoritarianism vs. moral relativism.

If there is a moral compass inside of us, it seems it is easily masked or broken by our own cultural bias.

How do we see our own bias? How do we remove it?

I don’t know.

But I’ve been thinking about these questions in the context of another question I’ve had about orphans and heroes and why so many heroes are orphans in folklore from around the world.

Perhaps people around the world tell stories about orphan heroes because they believe that orphans are more likely to accept heroic quests – because they have nothing holding them back, nothing to give up, nothing to lose. They also have no culture of their own – parents are universally recognized as the primary transmitters of culture to their children. Without cultural indoctrination from their parents, orphan heroes have no cultural bias – hence they have nothing to obscure or break their moral compass which is, in part, what helps them to succeed on their heroic quests.

So if we want to learn to see our cultural bias and to remove it, perhaps we can learn from the heroic orphans of folklore. Perhaps that which prevents us from seeing our own bias is the comfort of the home and our families and our fear of losing these things. Perhaps this is also what prevents us from taking leaps of faith, from embarking upon heroic quests and from following our dreams.

Maybe. Or maybe not. :)

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Jon has often felt caught searching for compromises between opposing forces and identities: mainstream vs counter-culture; materialism vs anti-materialism; commerciality vs spirituality; establishment vs revolution. After dropping out of graduate school, he wandered, lived on communes - eventually becoming a teacher at an alternative school. Upon moving back to Indianapolis, he was unexpectedly offered a management position by the regional agency for MassMutual, where he eventually became the director of financial planning. He is currently the director of client services for a local wealth management firm, C.H. Douglas & Gray. He lives with his wife and young daughter and son.