Vanessa Valdéz is the radio host for the show Transforming Consciousness on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern Cali & nationwide on kpfk.org. She holds a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and is currently a PhD student in Depth Psychology with a specialization in Integrative Therapy and Healing. Her interest and dissertation research is focused on transforming consciousness through the integration of the masculine and feminine in partnership. As an Intuitive Life Coach, Vanessa is known for guiding her clients at a deeper level physically, mentally and emotionally in ways that are healing.
Ann Smith loves to teach circle facilitation and the New Leadership and Organization based on Circle Principles. She is teacher/learner, mentor, coach, illuminator of Divine Feminine, advocate for women’s equality and empowerment, author and community organizer. She speaks from forty-years of experiences where she has listened, observed and learned from women around the world. She is co-founder and director of Circle Connections, Millionth Circle Convener, Regional Coordinator of Gather The Women Global Matrix, Co-Associate Companion of Happehatchee Chapter of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross and SARAH Advisor. She is married with two daughters, three grandsons and one cat. She lives next to Everglades nature preserve in Naples, Florida.
Looking for ways to be strong yet tender, independent yet intimate, women today strive toward ever greater understanding of themselves, their relationships with family and friends, and their place in the world. Written by clergy and lay women from all around the country, this compilation of prayers and poems is the collective wisdom of contemporary women who base their search for such understanding on the belief that all of life must be seen against the backdrop of a vital faith. Offered in a spirit of sharing and encouragement, these prayers and poems are as rich, intricate, and complex as the women’s lives they represent. Women’s Uncommon Prayers covers the full spectrum of emotions from desperate pleas for compassion in times of despair to quiet gratitude for the simple blessings of everyday living, to raucous praise during moments of celebration. These prayers touch on an amazing array of topics organized under the categories of identity, daily life, stages of life, spirituality, and ministry. Also included are comprehensive sections of seasonal and corporate prayers.
Clay Boykin is In Search of the New Compassionate Male. Since the fall of 2018, Clay has been on a quest to connect with men all over the world in the belief that a New Compassionate Male is emerging as the new archetype; and this quest has taken him across the U.S., Canada and into Africa.
Clay founded the Men’s Fellowship Network in 2012 which has grown into a global constellation of men and women. Clay’s podcast, In Search of the New Compassionate Male, has recently been ranked #4 out of over 300 podcasts related to men and men’s health.
Clay has over forty-years’ experience as a change agent transforming cultures within organizations. He is a former officer in the United States Marine Corps and, throughout his career, has been described as a servant leader.
In 2007, at age 53, a mystical experience and heart attack led Clay to leave the business world and begin pursuing his spiritual path towards inner healing.
Clay is the author of the book, Circles of Men: A Counter-Intuitive Approach to Creating Men’s Groups, published in August 2018. In addition to founding the Circles of Men Project, Clay is developing the global Men & Boys Initiative for Charter for Compassion. As well, Clay is working with International Peace Initiatives-Kenya and United Religions Initiative (URI) to bring his counter-intuitive approach to men’s circle-work to Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and elsewhere along the Nile River Basin.
He is also in close collaboration with Gender Equity & Reconciliation International in the area of deep healing between women and men which addresses many of the issues raised as a result of the #MeToo Movement.
Clay is an international speaker and conducts workshops on the topic of The New Compassionate Male, which is the subject of his next book. As well, he is a strategy consultant for organizations and mentors individuals applying a uniquely counterintuitive approach to finding clarity, direction and purpose.
The New Compassionate Male and the Myth of Liminality
By: Clay Boykin
During the 12th century the myth of the Holy Grail surfaced. Since then, countless stories and legends have been written about it including, stories about King Arthur and his knights and, in more recent times, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Holy Grail is said to be an artifact from the Bible and to have supernatural powers to heal, and to grant immortality to anyone who drinks water from it.
In the Grail Myth, the Fisher King has a grave wound that will not heal. As a result, his kingdom is also very ill. The people are sick. Crops will not grow. Cows will not give milk. And commerce is at a standstill. The only thing that will cure the king is for a happy fool, Parsifal, which means happy fool, to come and ask him the right question.
Parsifal comes to the castle and visits the king. By his bedside he asks the king, “What ails you?” The king replies that his throat is dry and that he is thirsty. Parsifal takes a cup of water from the table and hands it to the king. As the king drinks his body begins to heal, and the cup turns to gold and becomes the Holy Grail.
Parsifal’s act of asking and giving is an act of compassion, and from this I believe compassion “is” the Holy Grail.
In his book, Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas points to three great myths that are playing out today. These are, (1) the myth of Human Progress, (2) the myth of the Fall, and (3) the myth of No Pattern.
The myth of Human Progress represents man’s desire for more but does not know to what end; and is rooted in patriarchy. The myth of the Fall is represented by the thought that humanity is losing its intelligence and wisdom, and as a result, is destroying mankind and the planet. The myth of No Pattern, suggests that everything is totally random and man has no say in the matter.
I submit that there is a fourth myth. It is not spelled out on the internet. It is the Myth of Liminality. Liminality is a state of transition between one stage and the next, especially between major stages in one’s life or during a rite of passage. More and more people talk about the world being on the verge of a great transition to a new stage, a new era, and say that we are in the liminal space. – At times I have referred to it as, the pause of change.
Like the knights searching for the Holy Grail, which we now know is Compassion, I am In Search of the New Compassionate Male. The New Compassionate Male has integrated head and heart, and carries the metaphoric-sword in one hand, and Compassion in the other.
Compassion is the Holy Grail and in it is the water of life. The water that cured the Fisher King. It is the water that will cure us of all the pain we now suffer, the ache and void within, the burn of shame and anger; the fear, greed and hate that is destroying humanity and the planet.
We have been living out the Liminality Myth for decades, but have not named it as such. Now is the time for the New Compassionate Male to step up into the liminal space and do his part to heal the world.
Mandalas take on countless sizes, shapes and forms and are a tool for gaining perspective, expanding thought and relaxing the mind. This excerpt from The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell provides an excellent description of how a mandala works.
Excerpt from the Power of Myth:
CAMPBELL: “Mandala” is the Sanskrit word for “circle,” but a circle that is coordinated or symbolically designed so that it has the meaning of a cosmic order. When composing mandalas, you are trying to coordinate your personal circle with the universal circle. In a very elaborate Buddhist mandala, for example, you have the deity in the center as the power source, the illumination source. The peripheral images would be manifestations or aspects of the deity’s radiance.
In working out a mandala for yourself, you draw a circle and then think of the different impulse systems and value systems in your life. Then you compose them and try to find out where your center is. Making a mandala is a discipline for pulling all those scattered aspects of your life together, for finding a center and ordering yourself to it. You try to coordinate your circle with the universal circle.
MOYERS: To be at the center?
CAMPBELL: At the center, yes….
My personal mandala has been evolving over the past few years. It is the place I can go at any time to pause and reflect, to pray, to meditate, or just sit in quiet contemplation in an empty space between the lines for a while. – Clay Boykin
Jeff Bullion is a modern day Trailblazer who has set the intention to change how we view fitness and ourselves. Jeff combines his Spiritual life coaching and personal training certifications with neuroscience backed tools to help others reach their ultimate goals. As a spiritual fitness coach, Jeff helps others find self-acceptance through personal insights & intentional behavior.
In addition to Spiritual Fitness Coaching, Jeff operates the website TurningLifeAround.com, which serves as a platform for blogging and providing educational materials. Jeff’s blog reflects his personal experiences and the accumulation of his lifelong learning. The blogs range in subject from “understanding why he gets disappointed” to “how he learned to make the right choice every time”. Common threads in all of his blogs are awareness, consciousness and self-empowerment. These elements along with “authenticity” are the cornerstone of his coaching practice.