News

  • 12 Aug 2019 9:21 PM | Kristen Gibbs (Administrator)

    PEACHTREE BATTLE Living

    Why did you start this organization? How has it grown or changed over time? 

    RTV started as a non-denominational spiritual book club in February 2018 with about 8 members. Led by Rebecca Becker, the group soon grew to over 20 members and began a closed group Facebook page named Raising the Vibe. Through a network of friends, RTV invited the Atlanta-based author of one of the clubs books to speak at the meeting in January 2019. Thus the RTV Speaker Series” was born. Soon thereafter, the monthly book club meetings morphed into the RTV Small Groups,” which are more intimate gatherings with lively discussions. By the spring of 2019, the group leaders felt inspired to go a step further and create a non-profit organization with the goal of developing mindful leaders in our community. RTVs 501c3 status was finalized in April 2019. On May 6, 2019, RaisingTheVibe.org was launched. 

    Can you tell me about the work your organization does and the program or programs you run?

    The RTV Speaker Series hosts five to six speakers each year. Past speaker topics have included Non-Violent Communication, Mindful Parenting, Facing Death with Love, Releasing Past Trauma to Find Your True Self, and the Principles of the Enneagram. The RTV Small Groups select four books to read each year. When the groups are not discussing a book, they still meet every month to explore various topics of interest. We tend to choose topics and books that reinforce the themes of mindfulness, self-awareness and our inherent connection to all that inhabit the earth. Both the Small Group meetings and the larger Speaker Series events foster the development of a meaningful community and help individuals uncover their unique gifts and purpose in life. Additionally, a weekly intention group was formed by some of our RTV members. The group is based on the model put forth by Lynn McTaggart in her best-selling book, The Power of Eight.

    What is the organizations overall goal?  

    We are a non-denominational group of seekers who study, explore and experience what brings peace, joy and fulfillment to the human spirit. We strive to create, support and sustain mindful communities. Our goal is to be part of the global dialogue happening now, that encourages mindfulness in our world, our countries, our neighborhoods, as well as within our families, our closest relationships and our own hearts. 

    Is the organization open to residents outside of the Peachtree Battle Neighborhood?

    Yes, we welcome anyone who resonates with our mission and would like to be part of our RTV community. 

    Is there anything that you wish more people knew about your organization or the issues you are trying to solve? 

    We would like to develop and support mindful communities that recognize the interconnectivity of all of life and the importance of a win-win mentality versus a win-lose model.  We believe that there can be no outer peace without inner peace. To state this another way, the only way to change the world is to start with yourself, or be the change you want to see in the world.” To quote Margaret Mead, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

    Where does most of your funding come from? What percentage of your budget comes from private donations, and what do private donations help you to do that your other sources of funding dont cover?

    We are a brand new 501 C3 organization with minimal expenses, run by volunteers. At this point we are solely reliant on donations from the people who attend our speaker events or who donate through the website. We hope to raise money to cover the ongoing costs associated with building and maintaining a robust RTV community.

    How can people join Raising the Vibe if they are interested? 

    We would be very pleased and grateful to welcome new RTV members and supporters! Just go to raisingthevibe.org and click the JOIN US button, or click the DONATE NOW button to support our mission. For inquiries about getting involved with our Speaker Series, Small Group Book Clubs, Power of Eight Intention Groups, or any other information about RTV, please email us at info@raisingthevibe.org.


  • 1 Aug 2019 9:11 AM | Kristen Gibbs (Administrator)
    Fantastic evening with a sold out crowd!


  • 11 Apr 2019 5:09 PM | Kristen Gibbs (Administrator)

    Click below to hear the RTV speaker presentation from March 22, 2019, by Rebecca Wineka, "Releasing Past Trauma to Find Your True Self."

    Becca.m4a

  • 5 Apr 2019 10:48 PM | Kristen Gibbs (Administrator)

    Written by Maia Duerr:

    Do you remember a time before the word ‘mindfulness’ showed up in what seems like every other news story?

    I do. Back in 2002, mindfulness and meditation were on the back burner of public awareness, usually thought of as something reserved for old hippies and bald Buddhists.

    I fell into neither of those categories and yet I was very drawn to a contemplative life. But I also wasn’t ready to check myself into a monastery. My particular path seemed to cut right through the middle of secular life, out of financial necessity and also because that is simply my temperament. For me, a life of the spirit is one lived in the flow of daily life and everything that goes with it – beautiful yet complicated relationships, the search for right livelihood, and even engagement with social issues like raising the minimum wage.

    For that reason, my job at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society(based in Northampton, MA) fit me like a glove. The mission of the Center, founded in 1997, by Mirabai Bush and others is to integrate contemplative awareness into contemporary life in order to help create a more just, compassionate, and reflective society.

    In the winter of 2002, I was hired to direct one of the Center’s initiatives, the “Contemplative Net” – a research project intended to map the emerging field of contemplative practice and identify people who were pioneering the use of those practices outside of traditional religious contexts. Some of the sectors they served included healthcare, education, business, government, and social justice.

    It was a dream job for me. I came with a background as a qualitative researcher who was passionate about Buddhism and meditation (and still am). My job was to read each interview transcript and look for common themes as well as divergence. It was a joy to digest the words of these people, many of whom I had long admired. The 84 interviewees encompassed a diverse range of spiritual traditions: Buddhist, Christian, Islam, Judaism, and more. Some of them included Angeles Arrien, Bernie Glassman, Joan Halifax, Father Thomas Keating, Fleet Maull, Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, Peter Senge, and Margaret Wheatley.

    As I sat in my office overlooking Northampton’s quaint Main Street and sifted through the reams of data, I began to see a pattern. The interviewees spoke about bringing mindfulness practice into prisons, schools, corporations, and many other settings but across the board one thing was clear – they all agreed that it was essential to “meet people where they’re at” and find ways to make these practices accessible to diverse audiences.

    I particularly loved this story that Soren Gordhamer (who later went on to found Wisdom 2.0) shared about his work with a young incarcerated man:

    “A guy named Michael was in for a gang-related murder and used to come to the classes. But during the yoga, he would never really do the yoga very much. During the meditation, he would just kind of look around. He wasn’t very involved. But afterwards he gave me a big hug and always thanked me. Over the weeks I started to get frustrated with him. Like, ‘Why do you show up to class if you’re not interested in practicing?’ And then one day it hit me: he didn’t come for the meditation or the yoga. He came for the hug….

    If you never formally sit and close your eyes and meditate, but [if] you’re creating a space that supports people where compassion can come forward and where they feel accepted, that is actually more the central issue, and really maybe the heart of contemplative practice.”

    Part of my job was to figure out how to communicate the findings of this research in a meaningful way. While pondering this insight about creative adaptations of practice, an image of a tree came to me. Each branch took the form of a grouping of contemplative practices, as the interviewees had described them. For example, “Stillness Practices” focused on quieting the mind and body in order to develop calmness and focus. “Generative Practices” came in many different forms but shared the common intention of generating certain qualities such as devotion or compassion.

    Other branches – Creative, Activist, Relational, Movement, and Ritual – also took form based on stories and examples from the interviewees.

    Most importantly, two roots at the base of the tree represented what all these diverse practices had in common: Connection (whether that be with the divine, nature, oneself, or other people) and Awareness.

    When I shared this idea with my research team at the Center, they gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Another staff person, Carrie Bergman, was a gifted artist and gave the tree a beautiful visual form. We dubbed it the Tree of Contemplative Practices and included it in the final report on the project, “A Powerful Silence: The Role of Meditation and Other Contemplative Practices in American Life and Work.”

    I finished my work at the Center in 2004 and put the Tree in the back of my mind. I didn’t think about it for a long time until recently when I started offering programs about how to bring mindfulness into everyday life and work. As I was in the middle of designing a workshop for a group of pastoral care providers at a children’s hospital, I remembered the Tree and thought it might be a helpful tool. When I shared the idea with one of the planners, she lit up and said they had already been using it with their staff. She was delighted to find out I had created it. I felt honored and surprised, as I had no idea that the Tree would extend out into the world in this way.

    Now when I look at the Tree after all these years, I realize that what it does so well is to prioritize intention rather than form. It can be easy for us to get caught up in the idea that we aren’t good at sitting meditation and then give up on the whole activity. The Tree has allowed people to see beyond sitting meditation and to understand that a practice can take many different forms, depending on our personality and what’s going on in our lives. As one woman said, “It was a revelation to me that meditation wasn’t the only way. Choosing a different branch enabled me to finally find a practice that worked for me.”

    Another said, “The Tree has opened up my understanding of how to view contemplative practices, how engaging in my life mindfully makes whatever I am doing a practice of contemplation. Following my breath is still my touchstone but I love this greater view.”

    The Tree also allows room for creativity. Whenever I present it, I emphasize that it’s a living document, one that people can add onto or change in a way that speaks to them. In workshops, I give participants a blank version so they can create their own.

    The Tree was never meant to be a definitive taxonomy but rather an invitation to explore what practice means to each of us. One woman shared that during a personal retreat day, she added a branch for “Food Meditation” which she described as “engaging in awareness with each step in my meal preparation.” She told me that this form of practice helped her to shift away from an old habit of rushing to eat when she worked on chaotic film sets.

    And it taught me something about my own practice as well. It’s helped me to understand that while zazen (sitting meditation in the Zen tradition) is fundamental in my life, practice shows up in other ways that resonate with my personality. I’ve learned that if I don’t mix in some walking and writing practice in the course of a day, I can get a little wonky.

    That’s always been my biggest hope for the Tree – that it can liberate us from narrow ideas of what contemplative practice is and help us to find one (or more) that truly works for us. And with this discovery, rather than bemoaning that meditation is something we’ll never be good at, we can actually embrace a practice and find ways to integrate it into our lives. The Tree offers a way to democratize contemplative practice so that we can take back our power to wake ourselves up and cultivate a greater sense of equanimity, joy, resilience, and compassion.

    Come to think of it, maybe it’s time to add “Hugging” to the Relational branch of the Tree…. 

     

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