I am particularly fond of relativity.
I enjoy understanding how and why things, people, places and experiences relate to one another and how my own experience evolves in the process. More than that, though, understanding the resonance of an experience, whether within one lifetime or among many, is the essence of understanding the journey of the Self.
I said yes to Betty, thinking that it would be one month, giving Laurie time to recuperate and pick up the role she had been in since 2002. Her recovery was slower than anticipated thus giving more time for The INVITATION to develop with the current cast.
A unique opportunity opened up when The INVITATION was chosen to be part of a pre-Parliament event that the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) was hosting in Chicago on December 7th, 2008.
I had heard stories for years about the 1993 Parliament in Chicago. Because it was located in the United States, many SOM students volunteered and hosted a booth. Dr. Daniel Condron and Dr. Barbara Condron gave major presentations and the School of Metaphysics presented a cantata about prayers from different faith traditions. A much smaller delegation made the trip to attend the 1999 Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa and we had missed Barcelona because it was too close to our own building and dedicating of the world’s Peace Dome.
Now activities were revving up so that the 2009 Parliament in Melbourne, Australia would be a success. Attending this pre-Parliament event was my first introduction to any CPWR event. Notably, this was the first time this cast would be performing The INVITATION outside of the Peace Dome. Chicago was turning out to be a resonant moment in more ways than one. Some of the teachers in SOM were talking about traveling to Melbourne, Australia, the city hosting the 2009 Parliament. Dr. Barbara Condron was envisioning presenting The INVITATION at this Parliament. We talked about this each time the cast met to prepare for Chicago. It was a bold idea at the time.
My husband and I drove to Chicago with our then 4-year-old and 2-year-old daughters, along with all the other School of Metaphysics teachers and students involved. We prepared in the morning for the late afternoon performance.
The INVITATION was well received and those in attendance recited the Universal Peace Covenant spontaneously after the cast exited. Nothing like that had transpired at previous performances. Aligning with the Parliament energies was bringing out a new dimension for The INVITATION. Immediately after we finished, dinner was served to the 200 plus people in attendance and evening entertainment got underway.
One of the most remarkable things about that night was how easily our daughters folded into the activities. The room was vast and they spent most of the time in the back, running, dancing and playing. At times they moved amongst the tables, going to people they knew. Everyone they met was warm, gracious and embracing.
Hezekiah Condron, who was 13 at the time, was with us as well. He is Daniel and Barbara’s son, and a true brother to Alexandra and Vivienna. The three of them often experience big events like traveling to Chicago and attending the pre-parliament together. Kie was having a great time, helping with the girls, meeting the featured didgeridu player Warren Clements, and taking a lot of pictures.
I remarked to one of the attendees that it was evident the people there were accepting of the children. All of the kids were happy and joyful, a reflection of the group consciousness. Many, many people made a point of thanking us for bringing the kids. There were a few other youngsters there that night. I remember thinking that there should be more kids at events like these. It is the kind of thing that feeds someone’s soul, regardless of age.
The conclusion of the event was an emotional crescendo of music and dancing. It was uplifting and thrilling.
Time and again I noted the dates for the Melbourne Parliament. They were posted on a bigger-than-life image onstage. The Melbourne event would be held in exactly one year. I allowed my attention to follow the energy into the future and received the vision of presenting The INVITATION in Australia. If a pre-Parliament was this fulfilling, I could only imagine what the real deal might bring.
It is now early 2010 and the story of how 15 School of Metaphysics delegates traveled half way around the world to participate in the 2009 Parliament in Melbourne, is, as they say, history. This book is a testimony that speaks to that inner and outer journey for everyone involved.
On the drive back from Chicago it was cold, dark and quiet. Alexandra and Vivienna were sleeping in the backseat and Paul was deep in his own thoughts while driving. As I gazed out the window at the starry night I felt my heart pounding. I was reflecting on the pre-Parliament event, remembering the people, the joy, indeed the whole energy of the previous evening.
Time and again, I returned to the mental picture memory of looking at the giant screen projection of the Melbourne logo with the dates December 3 9, 2009. As I observed the reaction/response of my body to this memory I noted that the energy was heart centered, not nervous solar plexus energy. It was becoming clearer that perhaps I was supposed to be the one to make sure that the School of Metaphysics would be at the Parliament.
The cast of The INVITATION had started to dream about presenting in Melbourne. No one had stepped up yet to say, “Yes, I will make sure this happens”.
Before that evening, the thought of traveling to Australia with such young children was daunting. I had been privileged to lead an SOM delegation to India nearly a decade earlier. The thought of keeping the home fires burning while others made a trip to Australia was reasonable, acceptable, even practical in my eyes. As my heart continued to talk, my mind began opening to the possibilities of actually going to Melbourne.
Eventually I said out loud to Paul, “I think I am supposed to lead this delegation to Melbourne.”
In his understated way, Paul’s response was, “I do, too.”
Once the words were spoken out loud I knew I would follow through. As the hours and miles sped by I imagined different ways to manifest the dream of giving The INVITATION in Australia.
This is a good time to talk more about The INVITATION and how it was created. The premise is this: what would eight Nobel peace prize laureates say if they were to meet and discuss the Universal Peace Covenant? All of the lines the laureates speak are taken from their actual acceptance speeches and put into a conversational context. This means that every time The INVITATION is presented, history comes to life and things happen that are not possible in the physical realm.
For instance, Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian woman and the 2003 laureate converses with Alva Myrdal, a Swedish woman who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982 and passed away in 1986. These women never did meet, yet in The INVITATION their worlds join. Mother Teresa walks with the Dalai Lama, Betty Williams meets and talks to Dr. Martin Luther King. King was a model and inspiration for the peace marches in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970’s and, as is well known, his life ended abruptly in 1968.
As an audience member, people are required to stretch beyond linear time into the dimensional realm of consciousness known as Universal Mind. Universal Mind is the meeting place for consciousness without the limitations of the physical world. Subconscious memory exists here, as does the present moment. The intention of The INVITATION is to highlight Truth, as it has been brought into the world through the peace laureates.
At the annual meeting of all the directors of School of Metaphysics branches, it was agreed that we would send a delegation to the 2009 Parliament. The vision of the Parliament is to bring people, of all faith traditions, together for ten days of cooperation, peace and harmony. We wanted to present The INVITATION in this venue because it is a living example of people from all faiths, bound together through time, space and the quest for peace. Indeed, the Universal Peace Covenant, created by SOM teachers and students in 1996-97, was inspired by the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Chicago. Giving The INVITATION at a Parliament, convening on another continent was an obvious way we could honor the stimulus for this performance at its source.
As our minds stretched a year into the future, we decided to host a pre-Parliament event on the grounds of the College of Metaphysics. This would ensure that ALL the School of Metaphysics students could partake in the Parliament activities, whether they were traveling to Australia or not. We decided early on to include a special performance of The INVITATION. It turns out this was a pivotal choice.
The day-long “Living Peaceably Begins by Thinking Peacefully” event began to take form. It included speakers from many walks of life, speaking about their perspectives of what it takes to live peaceably and think peacefully. Many different faith traditions were included on the “Perspectives of Peace” panel discussions. The Missouri State poet laureate was willing to create a poem in honor of the event, and the creator of A Complaint Free World grassroots movement, Will Bowen, was chosen as our keynote speaker.
During this time our original hope for presenting The INVITATION at the 2009 Parliament was shifting. We were focusing on other opportunities within the city of Melbourne. As these doors opened in our minds, field director Ivy Norris invited a woman named Gina Pearson to speak at the “Living Peaceably” event. Gina was unable to attend, however, she generously gave suggestions for other speakers. One of those speakers was Dr. Lawrence Carter, dean and head pastor of the Martin Luther King chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Suddenly the resonance with The INVITATION and Parliament was becoming more obvious.
Over the next few months, through connections with Dr. Carter, the School of Metaphysics befriended Rev. John Strickland, a Unity Minister in Atlanta. Rev. Strickland’s intuitive response to the vision of The INVITATION was to fall in love with the idea. It turns out one of his best friends had been the minister of Unity of Melbourne until recently. Rev. Strickland was happy to introduce us to the current minister, Rev. Bill Livingston.
We asked if we could give a special presentation of The INVITATION at their church on the Sunday during the Parliament week. It was to be a day devoted to welcoming Unity church members from around the world into the local church. Rev. Livingston was gracious in extending us the opportunity we wanted. As such, The INVITATION , was given for the first time in Australia on December 6, 2009. It was one day short of the December 7, 2008, anniversary of that pre-Parliament event in Chicago that sparked this evolutionary path.
This time The INVITATION was presented early in the afternoon. The church was filled, and a new element was introduced into the performance. A short film (read the script in Law 2 section), documenting the time period and history of each laureate in the show added depth and an emotional component that rounded out the message of The INVITATION.
Here I was, on the other side of the year living, breathing and experiencing amazing resonance.
The timelessness of Universal Mind was real to many that day. Much had happened in those 364 days. “Living Peaceably” had manifested with great success, children had grown and changed, new students had entered the School of Metaphysics, Spiritual Focus Sessions had been hosted at the College of Metaphysics. The details of daily living was magnified through each person. Yet, standing in the Unity Church it felt like no time had passed, at all. I could have turned left and been in Chicago and turned right to find myself in Melbourne. The connecting link was Betty Williams, a woman I have never met, and a woman who has carried me so far.∞