Director's Message - July, 2015

July, 2015

Greetings Sacred Path Community,

Rev. Clementa Pinckney

On this Independence Day weekend we reflect on the often hard-fought battles to ensure the rights and innate liberties of all who reside in the land of the free and brave.  With the recent Supreme Court rulings to ensure that 6 million people will continue to benefit from their health insurance, and that the sanctity of marriage is now available to everyone in all 50 states no matter their gender or orientation, this 4th of July brings new reason for celebration.

On Friday, June 26th, President Obama delivered a very moving eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney in which he mentioned the other eight parishioners who were slain during the Charleston AME Church massacre.   During the 37-minute eulogy, Mr. Obama referred to Grace several times, Grace in the face of adversity, Grace in lieu of hatred, Grace that flowed through the surviving family members who forgave the killer instead of condemning him.  I recommend that you watch the whole eulogy but certainly, if you missed the closing moments when the President sang "Amazing Grace," have a look.

I wish to acknowledge one of our Wisdom Council members, Bill Arena, the editor of our newsletter.  Bill has attended an annual Lakota Sundance ritual in South Dakota every summer for the past 12 years, 4 of which as a fire tender and the last 8 as a dancer.  Having just returned from his most recent Sundance in the Black Hills, I asked Bill if he would write about his experience for this newsletter and he gladly accepted the invitation.

Dan Franklin & Rob Bruce

Two of our other Wisdom Council brothers, Rob Bruce and Dan Franklin, have produced a remarkable documentary titled As I Am:  The Life and Times of DJ AM.  I have watched the film and found it to be a riveting account of a truly gifted man, Adam Goldstein, who innovated the modern day dance music scene and made his mark in the field of addiction and recovery, unfortunately to be felled by fame and a return to addiction following a fateful plane crash.  This is a compelling documentary that explains and teaches at a gut level.

And, new Wisdom Council nominee, Derek Zimmerman, has just put up the link to our 4th in a series of Mindful Man podcasts featuring renaissance man Roland Mousaa who flew out from New York to participate in the April Sacred Path Retreat.  Roland, tribal Apache on his Mother's side, grew up in St. Vincent's Orphanage and made his way to Woodstock where he met and associated with some luminaries like Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, Marlon Brando and many other colorful characters.  Roland is an activist, musician, painter, inventor and lover of life with a very intriguing life story.  I invite you to take a brief period of time to listen to the interview revealing the details of Roland's fascinating life and hear him sing one of the songs that he, Richie Havens and Pete Seeger arranged.

It's with immense gratitude that I thank all of you who have contributed thus far to Artwan Green's GoFundMe campaign.  12 people have contributed a total of $1,100 in 15 days toward Artwan's goal of attaining $5,000 by August 1st, the deadline for being able to register for the fall semester.  This young man, who stepped onto the Sacred Path when he was 11 years old, is now 23.  Not allowing adversity to stop him from his mission to become a spiritual warrior, he has actively worked hard to improve his life and to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  If you haven't yet read my endorsement of his campaign and Artwan's request for financial support so that he can remain in school and register for the fall semester at NMSU, please take a few minutes to do so and, it would be so kind if you would consider making a contribution of any amount to his fund.  He only has a little over 20 units remaining to graduate.

We are gearing up for the 28th Annual Fall Sacred Path Men's Retreat at Gindling Hilltop camp, north of Malibu, commencing on Thursday, October 15th through Sunday, October 18th.  If you haven't done so, mark the dates in your calendar and set your sights for another extraordinary time with your brothers on The Sacred Path.

With the addition of 4 new Wisdom Council members, who are bringing their passion and commitment in participation with the Elders, those of us who have shepherded MCLA and the Sacred Path Community for years, we are enthused about the possibilities in store for all of us atop "the hill" in October.  We will open enrollment later this month. 

In the interim, I invite and request that you consider and inform us of what you gain most from our retreats and what you'd like to have more of and especially partake in for this upcoming retreat?  We're considering the theme of it.  Do you have a suggestion?  Please feel free to email Steve Branker at: stevebranker@hotmail.com who will forward your comments to our communications team.  We're holding our next Wisdom Council staff meeting on Saturday, July 11th.  It would be great to hear from you before then. Many thanks!

May you and your family have a safe and fun 4th of July weekend!

Namaste,

Stephen

 

Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
Executive Director

 

o - o - o - O - o - o - o

Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director of the Men's Center Los Angeles. He is also the author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for men who want to become better men. . .  AND for the women who care about them.
Click here for additional info.