By Anne Wilson Schaef
As I write this, I am in Europe embarrassingly watching the “reality show” of unreality that is the election of a new President for the United States of America. I have always found it good to be out of the country during election time. And, this time, more than any other, I feel embarrassed to be an American.
My roots go very deep in this land of my ancestors and I keep hoping for more spiritually-based maturity than I am seeing. Coming from a line of women healers, I naturally ask the question “How can I help?” and I want to help this nation heal and become what it can be.
I have been trying for years to understand the Republican party – to little or no avail. I have been completely confounded as to why any woman or person of color would have anything to do with it and I am sure that even old “Honest Abe” would cringe at what it has become. (Our family always liked “Old Abe.”)
When I see women, black people, or Hispanics stand up and speak pro Republican, I feel a bit sick at my stomach and fuzzy in my head. The only psychological theory I can come up with to explain this behavior is the Stockholm Syndrome “identifying with the oppressor.”
As I have watched from afar and sought to imagine how true communication and understanding can evolve out of the mess that is politics, a couple of ideas that have been meaningful to me have floated to the surface.
I have spent many of my earlier years working in mental hospitals and now, more than ever, I feel like I am living in one. I remember when I was doing my psychological internship at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, there were times at grand rounds (about 350 professionals – you could always tell who “we” were because we carried a big ward key in plain sight) when I felt the patient who was being interviewed was saner than those doing the interviewing!
I remember at some point how much my work with people in hospitals changed when I shifted from a “disease” model (where I was a warrior fighting the patient and the disease) to a model that said something like – “The natural state for the human organism is to heal, learn, and grow. Everyone wants these three things. When these three processes are interfered with DIS-EASE ensues.” From that perspective I was not fighting the disease in the person, I was a colleague joining forces to assist that person do what they really wanted to do anyway which was to heal, learn and grow. It was amazing how quickly the people on the “back wards” changed with just a shift in MY attitude. From that point on, I began to see that psychosis is a choice our inner beings make when we feel we have no other.
– I now believe in and have strong evidence to support that we all want to heal, grow and learn and disease emerges when that process is stopped for whatever reason.
Why has America come to the point where it feels that “it can do no other” and is looking very psychotic?
– Secondly, I am aware of another concept that I have developed that applies here. I call it levels of truth.
As we heal, learn, and grow and “deepen,” we, as beings, go through different levels of truth. These levels of truth look something like a sine curve. Each level looks like an exact opposite of the one before and after it and every other level is similar.
– I have experienced and believe that the natural state for the human organism is that each person has a spiritual base or some kind of base greater than her/his self. And the agenda of that base is to heal, grow and learn.
– We heal when we learn from our experiences. No matter what we have experienced, or how bad they were, we only lose when we do not learn from them.
– When we learn from them, we grow from them.
– Our major defeats occur only when we do not heal, learn, and grow.
As we heal, learn and grow from experiences (even those of our ancestors!) we go through different levels of truth. Our awareness of levels of truth can help us learn to communicate more effectively. These levels of truth, as I have said, are such that each level of truth looks like the opposite of the one before and after it. And so it goes.
I like to use racism as an example.
1. The first level of truth on the racism spectrum is being racist and being bigoted and not even recognizing it. This person would use such words as nigger and operate out of fear and hatred using these emotions to feel “superior.”
2. The next level of truth is being aware of the hurtfulness of these terms and attitudes and being “politically correct” not to use them. Probably no attitude change has occurred here and there is some movement.
3. The next level of truth is having ferreted out some awareness that being accepted as “white” means by definition, we are racist, have white privilege, and, of course, we are racist and need to do a lot of soul searching and “cleaning out” to learn and grow. Often, at this stage we feel overwhelmed. And, we are becoming more truthful and humble. We may even be able to joke with our black brothers and sisters about these issues because they experience our growing and changing.
4. At level four, we may be even more careful in what we say and do because we have developed some humility about how far we have to go. And so it goes.
– Every issue in our lives has “levels of truth.”
– People on the earlier levels of truth have less information than those in the later stages and certainly less humility and forgiveness.
– As we heal, grow and learn, we have been through some painful learning about ourselves and hopefully, have developed some acceptance, humility and vision. We can be aware of and grateful for our learning and growing.
– It is very easy to get dragged back into lower levels when we do not stop to remember what we have slowly and painfully learned and that we had to go through several levels of truth to become who we can become as human beings. We are developing compassion for the journeys all have to take to become fully human and transcend the earlier, less enlightened and aware stages of growth.
– Every important issue we have for learning as humans has a level of truth spectrum.
Communication breaks down when those who have or have not healed, grown and learned are trying to force their levels of truth on others.
Those who are not on their path to heal, learn and grow can cause a lot of trouble and frustration for themselves, others and a society. Those who have chosen to heal, learn and grow need to be grateful and develop compassion. It is quite simple. The issue is to keep healing, learning and growing.
Some people have never stepped on the levels of truth path or are stuck on the early stages. These people usually believe that they KNOW that their level is THE truth because it is all they know. Those who have moved through several levels have a better understanding that they are growing and learning and that there always will be more and different levels of truth.
To stay stuck in the earlier levels on any issue usually results in some mental health problem.
About the Author
Anne Wilson Schaef is a New York Times bestseller with several million books in print. Her writings have always focused on healing, recovery, transformation and spirituality for individuals, organizations, societies and the planet. She is just returning from a 20-year personal retreat in which she explored her native roots. For more than 40 years, she has worked with an international community called the Living in Process network where individuals and groups focus on recovery from addiction, deep process work and a cultural paradigm shift. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology and an honorary doctorate in Human Letters. Her latest book titled, “There Will Be a Thousand Years of Peace and Prosperity, and They Will Be Ushered in by the Women – Version 1 & Version 2,” is available online at , and .
New organization to combine power of digital technology to end poverty with robust networks of women’s self-help groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America
Under the banner of Grameen Foundation the combined organization will be able to reach more people across the spectrum of poverty, while deepening the focus on the very poor, especially women, its leaders say.
“Our integration comes at an incredibly exciting time,” said Grameen Foundation President and CEO Steve Hollingworth. “Over the past twenty odd years, one billion people have been able to exit extreme poverty. As a combined organization, we have unprecedented opportunity to accelerate such changes, especially for the 800 million people still living in dire poverty and highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”
The mission of the combined organization is to “Enable the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger.” Its programs expand financial inclusion, enhance health, strengthen resilience and improve livelihoods for people in poor, rural communities around the world.
“There is a natural synergy between Freedom from Hunger’s focus on providing the world’s poorest women with self-help tools and Grameen Foundation’s expertise in digital innovation to end poverty,” said Kathleen Stack, the new Executive Vice President, Global Programs, of Grameen Foundation, and previously Interim President and CEO of Freedom from Hunger. “And we are committed to leveraging our combined strengths to make a big difference for the world’s poor.”
The union has the support of Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, whose microloans serve 8.6 million poor families. Although Grameen Bank and Grameen Foundation are independent entities, Professor Yunus was a founding member of Grameen Foundation’s Board of Directors and continues to serve as director emeritus.
“I congratulate Grameen Foundation as it continues to strengthen its impact against poverty and hunger. The integration of Freedom from Hunger, which has deep roots in microfinance and women’s empowerment, with Grameen opens new opportunities to empower women’s self-help groups and to build social businesses that benefit the poor,” Professor Yunus said.
Jane Pauley, noted television personality and co–Chair of Freedom from Hunger’s Ambassadors Council, said, “I am proud to congratulate Freedom from Hunger and Grameen Foundation on their union into one organization. We can look forward to more women and children living healthy lives that are rich with opportunity.”
Both organizations have roots in the earliest movements for microfinance, and today conduct programs that tackle poverty and hunger from multiple directions.
Grameen Foundation is a leader in digital innovation to end poverty. Its work in microfinance has enabled 23 million people to gain better access to microloans, savings accounts and other financial services, and its mobile agriculture tools have benefitted 470,000 smallholder farmers in countries of Africa and Latin America.
Freedom from Hunger is widely known for its innovative work with village-based women’s groups, delivering integrated health and financial services that include health education, financing and micro-insurance, linkages to health providers and access to health products. Today these programs reach five million women.
As part of the integrated Grameen Foundation, the new Board of Trustees draws half of its members from each organization. The combined organization will continue to strategically align its programs over the coming months.
Robert Eichfeld, co-Chair of the new board, points to an added significance of the organizations’ integration: “During this pivotal time in global development, the joining of our organizations highlights the opportunities for well-conceived partnerships to accelerate the fight against poverty and hunger.”
Learn more about the Power of We.
About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit organization that brings innovative and sustainable solutions to the fight against poverty and hunger. Together with local partners, it equips families, women, and smallholder farmers with resources and services that expand financial inclusion, strengthen resilience, enhance health and improve livelihoods. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Grameen Foundation, USA is a 501(c)(3) organization with offices in the U.S., Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It works in the Middle East and North Africa through Grameen-Jameel Microfinance Limited, a joint venture, and in India t hrough Grameen Foundation India, a wholly-owned subsidiary. For more information visit: http://www.grameenfoundation.org
About Freedom from Hunger
Established in 1946, Freedom from Hunger is recognized for fighting hunger with innovative self-help programs. In the 1970s, it began implementing Applied Nutrition Programs, focusing almost exclusively on the health and nutrition of mothers and children. In 1989, Freedom from Hunger developed the world’s first integrated microcredit/health and nutrition education program. Freedom from Hunger is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and will continue to function as a charitable organization that exclusively supports the newly combined Grameen Foundation. For more information visit http://www.freedomfromhunger.org
According to statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, one in eight people suffer from chronic undernourishment worldwide. Of these, nearly all live in developing countries, with the least progress made toward a reliable source of nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest rates of mal- and undernourishment in the world, with one out of every four people regularly unable to obtain enough food to eat. Those afflicted by hunger and malnutrition have traditionally had few choices in improving their diets, but now, thanks to the efforts of a visionary nutritionist and those dedicated to improving the lives of those living in poverty, there is a solution, and its name is “superflour.”
Dickson and Florence, a couple living in Zambia, worried about the health of their young son, Richard. At three years old – an age when most toddlers are up and running – Richard was still unable to walk, a symptom of malnutrition. The family was introduced to a feeding program sponsored by nonprofit Outreach International that uses a mixture called “superflour” to combat malnutrition. The results were positive and immediate for young Richard. “After feeding him [superflour] four times a week for three months, to our surprise, Richard started to walk,” stated Richard’s father, Dickson.
Outreach International, a nonprofit organization focused on community development and sustainable solutions to global poverty, has spent decades working to integrate the use of superflour, a low-cost, high-protein “miracle mixture,” in impoverished communities where resources are scarce. Years of evangelism on superflour’s efficacy have led to a moment in which superflour could very well become a permanent solution to malnutrition and hunger, worldwide.
The Birth of a Revolution
The origins of superflour as a feeding solution began in the early ‘80s. Outreach International’s Chief Field Officer, Dennis Labayen met American expat Miriam Krantz while traveling through Nepal. Krantz was a veteran of the medical field and a former nutritionist before moving into work in community development with the residents of her adopted home. In her efforts to address the growing number of under- and malnourished children living in poor regions of Nepal, Krantz, along with a local partner, developed a recipe for what is now commonly referred to as “superflour,” using low-cost, widely available local ingredients to create a high-protein porridge.
Preparation is simple and flexible enough to accommodate local ingredients: Take two parts protein, such as dried beans of any variety, and one part grain, such as rice or corn, roast proteins separately to enhance digestibility, then grind or mill the grains, mix in correct proportions, add water to desired consistency, and enjoy.
Superflour justified its boastful name, meeting nearly all daily nutritional needs for everyone from adults to children as young as six months old, requiring only slight modifications to its preparation to suit recipients’ respective dietary requirements. Fifty grams (or roughly two fistfuls) of uncooked superflour supplies 366 calories and a host of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals when supplemented with green, leafy vegetables and a drop of oil.
A Thought Revolution
Rather than try to position superflour as a staple prepared or purchased by individuals, members of the Outreach field staff in DR Congo and Zambia have suggested it to those with whom they work as a community-managed feeding program. The results have been so successful, they could often legitimately be considered miraculous, as in the case of young Richard.
Richard’s father, Dickson, admitted, “Sometimes, I was reluctant to take him to the [superflour] feeding in our community, because I did not believe the porridge would do wonders for the malnourished children.” After seeing the results firsthand, Dickson realized the importance of proper nutrition and now has a viable solution for his family and community. “We were completely ignorant on how best we can feed our children and ourselves. We thought that ‘eating well’ meant eating beef, chicken, and sausage. We are so happy that, from the grains we grow locally, we can come up with a food like superflour.”
This success has not been limited to those living in Outreach-affiliated communities. The field staff have had remarkable results in their own homes after introducing superflour. Trust, a staff member of Outreach Zambia, began feeding superflour to his 4-month-old son, Emmanuel, once his wife returned to work after maternity leave. Months later, not only had Emmanuel responded well to the introduction of superflour as a nutritional supplement in his diet, his progress was such that Trust’s pediatrician suggested Emmanuel’s superflour intake be curtailed to maintain a healthy weight. At six months old, he was crawling, standing, and grasping objects, and had not experienced any serious illnesses or health issues beyond those of the average child. “It really is a superfood,” said Trust.
An Economic Revolution
Applied correctly as a meal, superflour is an incredible means for healthy development. Applied correctly as a product, its impact as a means for economic development is equally incredible. Bridget Kalumba, a resident of the Kapisha community in Zambia, found herself looking for a way to feed her seven children after her husband was forced to retire from his mining job due to medical issues. After six years trying to make ends meet working as a maid in the distant town of Chingola, Bridget decided to strike out on her own as an entrepreneur. Having participated in a month-long superflour-based trial feeding program, Bridget began selling superflour by the Kapisha roadside as a means of generating income.
She sold out of her entire stock in four days, and by the end of her first month had restocked and sold out again four times over. Revenue from her superflour sales exceeded the combined income from the days when she and her husband both worked for others. But her motivation is hardly based on her bottom line.
“I don’t see myself as a woman just selling superflour. I see myself as a doctor, saving the lives of children in Kapisha,” said Bridget. “I do not consider it [superflour] a porridge or food. To me, it is more than that: It is medicine. Ninety percent of my customers are mothers of children who are sick, under- or malnourished children who have lost their appetites, and even children who are not growing fast. I’ve seen them regaining their appetites and putting on weight. No child will refuse superflour. It is the best of the best!”
For more information on Outreach International’s efforts to establish sustainable solutions to global poverty, visit their website at: outreach-international.org
About Outreach International:
Outreach International has provided sustainable solutions to end poverty around the world for almost 40 years. We believe giving a gift without educating a community to use, repair, or nurture it is no gift at all. Projects don’t end poverty, people do. That’s why our key investment is in the people themselves— women, men, and children with stunning resilience, untapped intelligence, inherent creativity, and undeniable dignity. Together, we work to give our partners a voice to express their concerns, a means to access the materials they need, and the skills to bring themselves, and their communities, to sustainable levels of income.
A magical weekend came to a close on the captivating grounds of historic Black Oak Ranch in Mendocino County as the 6th annual Enchanted Forest Gathering wrapped another wondrous festival experience within the lush embrace of the majestic oak forest and refreshing Tenmile Creek. Attracting attendees from all walks of life; millennials, bass heads, yogis, families, dancers and everyone in between, Enchanted Forest Gathering has cemented its spot as Northern California’s premier boutique music, movement, and conscious living camping festival. The event garnered national attention and participant adoration for several of its defining characteristics; being an alcohol-free event, enabling guests a safe container for all forms of expression (including #FreeTheNipple) as well as hosting an on-site medical cannabis dispensary — all while taking place in an incredibly comfortable family-friendly environment.
Extraordinary and unconventional, Enchanted Forest Gathering radiated sublime vibes that dazzled participants with a weekend chock-full of educational and inspiring workshops, wonky bass and eclectic live music, and an unrivaled offering of flow and movement classes of all forms including hooping, yoga, dance and even juggling. Distancing itself from its contemporaries in numerous ways, Enchanted Forest Gathering first and foremost fostered an alcohol-free environment, where attendees found themselves elevated to a state of higher presence, perfectly in line with the festival’s pillar of “cultivating clear and conscious connection.” Healthier (and tastier!) alternatives to alcohol were provided at each stage’s neighboring elixir bar, serving up an array of beverages from Americanos and hot chocolate to coconut water, Yerba Mate, Kombucha and cacao boosts. For those with a medicinal marijuana recommendation, local medical cannabis dispensary Emerald Pharms hosted a booth on site further displaying the festival’s forward thinking.
Beautifully constructed etched-wood stages, adorned with fresh greenery, flowers, crystals and vibrant colors were the aesthetic of the Mighty Oak main stage and the wet and wild River Stage, while velvet curtains and Greek-style columns dressed up the Live Lounge, all under the rich, green oak trees towering above them. With a focus on attendee comfort, each stage included shade structures to watch the show, foam dance floors, and lounge areas. A mix of incredible live bands and bass heavy artists united at the gathering with stand out sets from Shpongle, Clozee, Thriftworks, PANTYRAID, Love and Light, Nominus, Reid Speed, Soohan, KRNE, The Polish Ambassador, Autograf, Fanna Fi Allah, Ayla Nereo, and more.
Thoughtfully placed among the music stages were magical interactive micro-environments and art installations fit for revelers of all ages. Activities were plentiful for those who wanted to share special moments alone or with the whole tribe which included everything from the meandering Tenmile Creek Swimmin’ Hole that bordered one side of the grounds, the playful Kidslandia children’s area complete with free play and Montessori daycare services, the Namastage Yoga area and Dance Temple for amazing classes in movement with teachers such as Suzanne Sterling, Darin McFayden & Claire Thompson (of Yoga and Bass), and Saqi, the Nectar Temple and Wisdom Share University & Community Center for life-changing educational health & nutritional workshops, and of course the Saucy Spa stage with a one-of-a-kind foam bath party and ecstatic dance area.
The legendary venue became the sacred grounds for workshops covering four main topics: Relationships and Sexuality,Science and Spirituality, Health and Wellness and Nourishment and Nutrition with classes such as Opening Vulnerability, Women in Music Industry, Make Love like a Goddess, Healing Hugs, Rhythm Drum Circle, Clearing Relationship Karma, Next Level Nut Milks, a Cacao Ceremony and much, much more.
With spellbinding sensations emanating throughout the grounds, festival attendees had a deep appreciation for the historical location they were blessed to encounter and enjoy. The history at Black Oak Ranch dates back to 1987 when Wavy Gravy asked Jerry Garcia to help settle an overdue mortgage by staging a concert at French’s camp in Piercy, CA. Garcia agreed and then enlisted Bill Graham to produce the event and thus “Electric on the Eel” was born. The venue has further played host to the adored Earthdance Global Dance Party for Peace and Kate Wolf Music Festival, making Black Oak Ranch’s deep community history a desired and idyllic home for any modern music festival.
The unparalleled feel-good vibes that echoed through the the 6th annual Enchanted Forest Gathering were felt by all who attended. While the festival may be intimate in size, it’s big in heart, production value, and opportunities for personal growth. Opening its arms to lovers of music, healthy and holistic living, conscious movement, performance art, nature, multi-generational community and self-actualization, the festival stayed true to its mission and balanced the “sacred, sexy, silly and saucy” elements of life.