This message comes from a place of love.

*edited to add more context…..I am writing this blog post because next week we will release our 2017 Symposium schedule and open registration. Just like last year, our speakers come from very diverse backgrounds and different ways of living….which means, different politics. One of our greatest goals is to bring all sorts of different ways of thinking into one room and ask the question….”how can we be good sisters to each other?” This is not a political event, but a soul deep sisterhood event. We don’t talk about politics…we talk about soul deep stuff that helps us to understand each other and want the best for each other. We invite everyone to tell a story about what love can do…and to talk about ideas for how to be a good sister to each other. Last year before Symposium, we were called out by some of our sisters for our lack of racial diversity in our speaker line-up….this was a great blessing and realization as it brought something to our attention that needed to be brought to our attention, and we ended up with 3 more incredible speakers, 3 more sisters whose stories changed us, moved us and made us and made us see that our mission of bringing sisters together to tell their stories can be a life changing catalyst. Our event would not have been so rich and powerful without these voices. So….I guess our way of getting political is to not get political but just to get everyone in the same room telling stories from their life and talking about how we can be together well in this world. We ask everyone who comes to our events to come with the intention of hearing each other out and remembering that we’ve got to help each other along the way….understanding that we may be sitting next to someone that you thought you might disagree with so much that you could never find any common ground. We have found that life stories=understanding=love. When we learn to love someone….we want to stand up for them.

So…when I say politics..I mean it in this way…

    • relating to, affecting, or acting according to the interests of status or authority within an organization rather than matters of principle.

We will always be people before politics. So many times we have no control over what happens in politics…but we always have control of how we behave with each other in the world.

In this ever changing world, it is more important than ever to hone in on what you can do to show up and make things better. Something I know deep in my heart is that nearly everyone alive wants the world to be a kinder, gentler place where everyone feels safe and where everyone is able to create a life that provides for their needs and the needs of their family. It’s a messy endeavor to fix things when they are broken and to meet up with our fellow humans to do what needs to be done when there is so much disagreement about what needs to be done and how it needs to be done.

My intention in writing this is to clarify where we stand, what we are doing over here, and why we do things a little bit differently. I especially want to state the reasons that clarify why we do not get political in our company…and why we probably won’t ever get political.

We are very intentional about our role in this process of making the world a better place. I want you to know that over time, this role has become more and more clear…and everyone here is deeply committed to it. We are honing in on it tighter and tighter and tighter and we intend to continue to keep our focus clear and centered. We also have intentions to nurture and grow this mission.

Before I begin, I also want to state clearly and emphatically that this is in no way any kind of judgement about human beings and organizations who are political activists, in fact, our hats are off to you for honing in on YOUR role to show up and do what you feel called to do to make the world a better place for everyone. We have deep respect for all human beings who are focused on the greater good and who show up and put their hands and hearts to work to fulfill the objectives that their conscience feels most aligned with.

This is also what we are doing.

I will say it in a few sentences here in case you don’t have time to read this whole document…my plea to you however, before you make a judgement or even make a ranting statement about our methods is that you will continue to read the entire document.

We do not focus on politics here. We do focus on the people that politics are made of. We focus on soul work, on creating tools for helping others to connect to themselves and to connect to each other so that we can all learn about each other and truly know each other on a soul deep level. Our intention will always be to make the world a better place by helping each other to BE TOGETHER and DO LIFE TOGETHER….not just to be together, but to be together well. This can rarely be done when any labels are attached that communicate anything but “I am a soul who is learning”. When we truly know ourselves, then we can finally find the courage to truly know others. When we truly know ourselves and others, we cannot in good conscience make decisions that will hurt others on a soul deep level…no matter how much we may disagree with them. This is the work we do in the world.

Our mission is to create sanctuaries for people to figure things out for themselves…all people. Our mission is to create tools that help people to connect to themselves and connect to others on a soul deep level. We believe that connection is the cure for what is ailing our hurting world.

I will never forget the early days of holding women’s retreats, nearly a decade ago…and having talked to the participants many weeks before they arrived, we found out many personal details of their lives and the reason they wanted to come and work through things at our retreat. I would watch with panic those early days, as most of them arrived alone and I would see two of them connecting deeply, only me and our staff knowing that they were very different from each other and wondering what was going to happen when they each found out that they were on completely different sides of the political spectrum.

I saw it happen with two women of different and “opposing” religions, with different economic backgrounds. I often saw women connecting whose deepest hurts were absolutely opposite. For example, one woman may have come because her husband had left her for another woman…and one woman came because she was trying to heal and make sense of how she had found herself in love with another woman’s husband…and they had gone away together to make a life of their own. I have seen these women together at the same table, somehow falling madly in love with each other’s souls before knowing why they each were there.

Time after time, in the first few years this would happen…and I would panic every time inside because I was afraid that once they learned the details about each other….their friendship would be over. Isn’t that what happens?

Well, something completely different happened, every single time. This has turned out to be the very thing that we have honed in on as our most important mission. Our mission is to bring people together on a soul level, and it started out with the intention of doing personal soul work…we wanted each person to not see themselves as anything but a soul over the course of our retreats….so we actually incorporated rules that we do not attach labels to ourselves or others. We simply see each other and ourselves as souls who are learning, growing and becoming. So naturally, no one ever talked about politics, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. because we dove straight into matters of the soul. We talked about healing from lies about our worth and capability…we talked about our goals and dreams….we talked about loss and grief and pain and trauma…we talked about how hard it is to be a human when what we really are is just a bunch of souls. It is just really really really hard to be a human being.

As it almost always happens, toward the end of our gatherings, people start casually talking about their life back at home…and suddenly the lights go on…you can almost see the dots being connected…”wait…she’s a republican?” you can see one thinking …and “wait, she’s a democrat?” you can see the other thinking……and then almost simultaneously…you can see both on their faces and with their actions…”I don’t care, I am already madly in love with her soul.”…..and a beautiful relationship continues.

I have seen this happen hundreds of times with any fill-in-the-blank dividing category. These things could not happen if we and our business had shown up in the world as anything but a fellow soul who is learning, growing and becoming.

So…here’s the deal. We do our best to create a sanctuary that is free of labels that divide. We bring people together soul-to-soul to connect deeply with themselves and figure things out for themselves. We believe deeply that every human needs to find and remember their connection to Truth. Our courses are always centered around questions…which means each person answers for themselves and each outcome is different. We do not tell anyone how we think they should answer the questions for their own life. This freedom to BE and to figure things out for yourself naturally leads to wanting the same for others….freedom for everyone to be and figure things out for themselves.

Our mission is centered around stories. We gather and tell soul-to-soul stories and we learn about why we not only need to tell our stories, but we need to listen to the stories of others. Our mission is centered around learning how capable we each are of taking personal responsibility for how we spend the minutes and hours and days of our lives. Our mission is centered in love, kindness, vulnerability, compassion and courage. Our mission is centered around forgiveness. Our mission is centered around taking action. Our mission is centered around believing the best in others and seeing the best in others…because if you sit with someone for long enough and hear their stories….you will see the very best in them. The same is true for yourself.

We will continue to spread messages, create tools and organize gatherings that are in alignment with this mission. Our goal is for human beings to dig deep and really learn to know themselves, to not only take responsibility for themselves but to cheer themselves on….and the next part of that mission is for human beings to want that for each other and to know how to help each other to do that.

In our company, we have people of all different political views (as far as I can tell because we do not ask). I do know that we all vote, and that we all take our right to vote very seriously. We each show up in our world to help in the places where we feel called to help. I know that we all believe passionately that there are no human beings who are more valuable than others…every one is so valuable. Most importantly, I know that everyone who is a part of our company is very much in line with the mission that I just explained. Everyone here is cheering for you as a fellow soul, to figure things out for yourself.

At our retreats…people have all sorts of different political views. At our Symposium, people have all sorts of different political views. We all show up there together and ask “what can love do?” and we meet up as souls, we never talk about politics and most of the time we don’t even have to try not to because we are so busy talking about soul things…and it has always been a beautiful experience. What we do talk about is how we can join together to make things better for everyone.

There are millions of places that you can go that discuss things like politics and religion…this just isn’t one of them. Those kinds of places are important, and those kinds of conversations and questions are important. We hope you will continue to work to make sure that all human beings are treated with dignity and love, we will continue to do the same. We hope that in the times when you need rest and clarity for your soul…that this will be a safe place for you to come and rest and figure things out for yourself….and also learn about what it’s like for all of the other souls who are working through life alongside you, in ways that are different to you, as they tell their soul-to-soul stories. We want this to be a safe place for you to sit beside someone who you might have thought you could never love or find any common ground…..and we want you to see that you can.

We are cheering you on as you figure out your life purpose…and we ask that you do the same for us. We are very clear about ours…and we will continue to find new ways to add seats around our campfire so that everyone can fit. There is always going to be a place for you to come and let your soul rest.

Soon we will be adding offerings not only for women and girls, but for men and boys and all human beings. We are deeply committed to all of us being together well.

Keep going, benevolent souls….life is hard sometimes, but we were made for this.

You are loved,

melody ross

I hope you’ll watch this video of a talk I did at 2016 Symposium that explains this concept more clearly….as well as a time when a friend and I had to make a choice about whether or not we were going to continue to love each other and be friends…or let our differences divide us….