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Cat Zavis
Cat J. Zavis
Cat J. Zavis is the Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and a collaborative divorce attorney, mediator, coach, and conflict resolution, Empathic Communication trainer.



Love Wins! Lessons from the Movement for Marriage Equality

Jun29

by: on June 29th, 2015 | Comments Off

An artistic rendering of The Statue of Liberty kissing a golden women of justice.Wow. For a brief moment I am feeling such gratitude for our Supreme Court—well, at least for five justices of the court! This is a time to celebrate. Gay and lesbian couples are finally recognized for their commitment to love their partners just as any heterosexual couple does. What an amazing moment of honoring and respecting people who choose love and commitment. What an amazing moment of honoring the sanctity of marriage.  I am overcome with joy and celebration.

With this decision, the Supreme Court made it clear once and for all that anyone who loves another person can marry that person in any state in this country regardless of their partner’s sex. No longer will gay rights advocates have to waste time and money litigating the right to marriage on a state-by-state basis. No longer will they have to waste time and money fighting for partner benefits from their spouse’s employer. No longer will they have to argue with hospitals to be at the bedside of their loved ones when they are sick and dying. (I realize that some of these battles will persist but they will be resolved much more quickly than if they had been challenged on a piecemeal basis.)

The impact on the families is enormous—as one of the plaintiff’s from the case in California said after hearing the decision, his children will no longer have to explain to kids at school why they have two daddies. Gay and lesbian youth who suffer a sense of loneliness, separation, and bullying will now know they are not alone, they are not crazy and that their love of someone of the same sex is not only natural but even recognized and held in equal regard as heterosexual love. What a beautiful day it is. 

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Channeling Our Passions Into Effective Action

May28

by: on May 28th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

I recently had the honor, with Rabbi Michael Lerner, of speaking with over 20 amazing leaders, activists, authors and others about how we can build a politics of love and justice and a world based on these values.

As the executive director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP), members often tell me they can imagine what a better world would look like – one that judges the efficacy and rationality of our institutions, not on how much profit they earn, but that they treat living creatures and the earth with the dignity and respect that we all deserve. Yet, many folks feel disheartened that this notion is not often discussed in popular media or that there isn’t a successful political party championing our shared values. These individuals have turned to the NSP because they want to be a part of a movement that holds that realizing this world is not simply naïve idealism, but, in fact, is realistic if we work towards making it so.

As with any movement, it’s important to glean wisdom and turn to those who are leaders in their own right for inspiration. The speakers in this series offered a profound sense of hope as well as real-world steps for action, which deeply resonated with the summit’s attendees. One of the participants told me that the calls had instilled in her a sense of inspiration and excitement she had not felt for years and did not expect to feel again.

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Revolution: The Network of Spiritual Progressives Newsletter, May 2015

May19

by: on May 19th, 2015 | Comments Off

Revolution: The Network of Spiritual Progressives Newsletter, May 2015

Politics of Love and Justice Summit

It all begins tomorrow! If you haven’t yet registered for the NSP’s upcoming virtual summit called The Politics of Love and Justice: Integrating Spirituality and Activism to Build a Sustainable and Caring World, then please make sure to do so now! It’s FREE for all to tune in live during the event or to listen for 48 hours after the broadcast. Plus, if you’re a paid member of the NSP, we’re gifting you a complimentary downloadable upgrade of the entire event so you can listen at your leisure. Not yet a member but want to take advantage of this amazing gift, you can join here.

We’re so thrilled to be able to share with you 15 different conversations with over 25 different people, including Marianne Williamson, David Korten, Charles Eisenstein, Rev. angel Kyodo Williams and so many more amazing change makers, thinkers and community leaders. Click here to learn more about our presenters.

I truly hope you’ll participate in this summit. We know that you’re already interested in how we focus the values and energies we have as spiritual progressives into real world activism and these talks are designed to do just that. So if you’re looking for something that’s interesting, informative, and filled with a lot of heart then please join us!

Register for free!

Happenings from Chapters

We are so excited by the outpouring of enthusiasm and support we’ve received as of late and the interest in building chapters and connections with others who share our vision. If you would like to start a chapter or project where you live, please click here to read our Starter Guide and then join our monthly calls — see below for details.

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Integrating Spirituality and Activism – How to Change the World

May13

by: on May 13th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?- Rabbi Hillel, Pirke Avot 1:14

Our world is riddled with tragedies: the epidemic of killings by police in the U.S. of African Americans, boats capsizing with hundreds of The Politics of Love and Justice Summitpeople fleeing war-torn countries in search of security, safety and well-being, children dying from illnesses stemming from malnutrition at alarming rates, women and girls being raped as victims of wars, and the list goes on. As spiritual seekers we desperately yearn for a day when peace and nonviolence, love and care, kindness and generosity as well as a deep connection with the sacred in one another and with the creative force of the universe reign.

Many of us, in our despair, turn to spiritual guidance and practices to soothe our pain and find solace. Feeling powerless to impact the enormity of the problem and recognizing that social change efforts often lack deep spiritual integration and wisdom, we instead decide to focus our energies on our inner work rather than align ourselves with larger social change movements. We find comfort in the belief that personal transformation alone can and will result in societal transformation.


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rEVOLution: NSP News and Happenings in April

Apr9

by: on April 9th, 2015 | Comments Off

Revolution: The NSP Newsletter, April 2015

What is inspiring about the NSP is its call to ground activism in moral and spiritual values. In this time where justice remains elusive, it’s easy to feel despair at the enormous task at hand.

In the spirit of Passover, I found myself reflecting upon the story of Moses’s life and the tremendous burning angst within him that he heard as a call to action. This is a call that we all hear and like Moses, do not believe we are up to the task.To read more about my interpretation of this epic story, please click here.Continue below to learn more about how you can join us in our own efforts to transform the world.

Cat Zavis, Executive Director of the NSP


 

Mark Your Calendars! We are excited to share with you that from May 19th – 21st we are hosting (with the Shift Network) a series of calls with activists, leaders, theologians, historians, authors and others who are working to create a world based on a New Bottom Line of love and justice in fields such as: Conscious Politics, Global Capitalism, Structural Injustice, the Environment, and Youth Activism. We will explore how the values of love and justice infuse their work and how we can build a movement of love and justice. The series is called:The Politics of Love and Justice: Integrating Spirituality and Activism to Build a Sustainable and Caring World. Keep your eyes open for an email in the next few weeks with information to register for the telesummit.


Happenings from Chapters
We are so excited by the outpouring of enthusiasm and support we’ve received as of late and the interest in building chapters and connections with others who share our vision. If you are interested in starting a chapter or project where you live, please click here to read our Starter Guide and then join our monthly calls – see below for details.

To join a local chapter or learn more, please contact the person listed below if you if you live in their neck of the woods. Click here to read more information from chapters throughout the country.

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Transformation Lessons from Moses and Passover

Apr8

by: on April 8th, 2015 | 5 Comments »

A black figure kneeling in front of illuminated stained glass.

Credit: WikimediaCommons / Richard Simon.

There are many ways to interpret the epic story of Moses hearing God’s voice at the Burning Bush. For this Passover season, I share one way that I understand this story and its meaning to our lives in the present time.

Moses, who grew up as a prince of Egypt, had witnessed violence and abuse of the Israelite slaves and was horrified by it – as any person who has not hardened his/her heart would understandably be. Out of rage, horror and grief, Moses reacted by killing an Egyptian who was abusing the slaves. He is then forced to flee the palace (his life of privilege, the only life he has known). Though he was able to create a new and somewhat comfortable life for himself married to the daughter of one of the chief priests of Midian, he could not forget what he had experienced in Egypt. So while tending the sheep of his father-in-law’s house, one lamb wanders off and he chases it as it wanders up a mountain (that tradition later identifies as Sinai). There he experiences most fully the burning message in his heart that simply refuses to burn out. Moses envisions it as a burning bush that is not consumed, and from that fire within he hears a voice that tells him he is to return to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh let his people go.

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Vandana Shiva is the new co-chair of the NSP! And a request from her…

Jan8

by: on January 8th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives are delighted to announce that Vandana Shiva, the internationally acclaimed environmental activist from India has become the international co-chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives along with Rabbi Michael Lerner. Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Her books The Violence of the Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind pose essential challenges to the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, industrial agriculture. Through her books Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest and Water Wars, Dr. Shiva has made visible the social, economic and ecological costs of corporate-led globalization.

In her letter to us accepting the position of NSP co-chair, Vandana Shiva requested that we send out to you her request that you read the information below, and then sign and send the letter included below to President Obama and President Modi. You can copy and send the letter below to President Obama at the White House website. President Modi will receive messages mailed to the Embassy of India, 2107 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Washington, DC 20008 or by calling (202) 939-7000 or by faxing (202) 265-4351.

In her letter to us accepting this position, Dr. Shiva also enthusiastically endorsed the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution proposed by the Network of Spiritual Progressives. She had previously told us that she was particularly enthusiastic about the section of the ESRA which eliminates all private and corporate money from elections and the part which requires corporations to prove a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a panel of ordinary citizens in order to get or renew (every five years) their corporate charter. Please read it at www.tikkun.org/esra and help us get your local city council, state legislature, Congressional representatives and U.S. Senators, your local branches of whatever political party you belong to, your church, synagogue, mosque or ashram, your college of university, your union or professional organization, and your local civic and social change oriented organizations to publicly endorse it.

If you have not yet joined the NSP, please do so now by clicking here. Warm wishes for a wonderful New Year. We face immense challenges with a new Congress determined to undo environmental protections and defund social welfare programs for the poor and powerless. Don’t face those challenges alone! JOIN THE NSP!

With gratitude for your support,

Cat J. Zavis

Executive Director

Cat@spiritualprogressives.org

A Last Word for 2014

Dec27

by: on December 27th, 2014 | 4 Comments »

As 2014 draws to a close, I’m happy to offer some upbeat news about developments in the Network of Spiritual Progressives, the activist and supporter network associated with Tikkun and Tikkun Daily.

conference photoOn Sunday, December 14, the Network of Spiritual Progressives hosted a meeting to re-imagine our political future. Three hundred and fifty people attended, and heard from Rabbi Lerner and distinguished guests including Marianne Williamson, George Lakoff, Reginald Lyles, and Matthew Fox, inspiring a practical vision for change.

The success of the conference was followed by some more amazing news: Dr. Vandana Shiva, the famed environmentalist from India working for seed integrity against international corporations that are seeking control over every inch of the agricultural process, is enthusiastic about our ESRA (the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) and has just become the international chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, co-chairing with national chair Rabbi Michael Lerner.

2015 has the potential to be our best year yet, as we build a renewed movement at the intersection of spirituality, social justice, and the common good. We’re revitalizing our communication — look for our newsletter and a new website soon, breathing new life into the national network of NSP and local chapters.

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The Right keeps winning America, but here’s what we’re doing about it.

Dec4

by: on December 4th, 2014 | Comments Off

We’ve reached the eighth week of our Fall Fundraising Campaign and we’re nearing our goal. Help us reach even further today!
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As a reader of Tikkun Daily, we know you appreciate our unique voice and unflinching commentary, but did you know that your donations help create something even greater than just words on a page? For instance, Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives will be hosting a town hall meeting to strategize what our next steps are following the takeover of the Congress by the Right.

Help us work with you to manifest the positive transformation that we believe our society so desperately needs. We need your commitment to join us in making this vision a reality. Despite what the Right might want us to believe, this vision is not utopic, it’s possible as long as we join forces together, to uplift one another in our shared goal. You donations truly allow Tikkun and the NSP to serve as the connector between ourselves and our perception for a better future. Please support us in reaching our collective goal.


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Why the Network of Spiritual Progressives?

Sep4

by: on September 4th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

heal the world

Join us to create a new society based on love, justice, and peace. Credit: Creative Commons/Pixabay

Just two months ago, I was living in Bellingham, Washington working as a collaborative divorce attorney, mediator, coach and trainer. I had a successful business contributing in a meaningful way to my local community. And I was engaged in local activism in various ways.  Then I was offered an opportunity of a lifetime — to be executive director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. When offered an opportunity to try to build a spiritually progressive social change movement for one-third the salary I was earning as an attorney, mediator and trainer, I jumped at the opportunity.  So why would I walk away from a successful and enjoyable business contributing in a way I enjoy to take on a rather herculean task?

More about that in a minute. First let me explain the political landscape as I see it.

Here in the United States, there are thousands of wonderful local organizations focusing on either local issues or fighting against one or another form of injustice. And often they make contributions and progress to better the lives of some. But ultimately as activists spend hours and hours on end struggling to take out a right-wing bill or policy or win a lasting but limited victory (such as our gains in women’s rights and gay rights), global capitalists and the U.S. government emerge unscathed and continue to pound us with attacks that undermine all our efforts. Our government and the transnational corporate forces with which it is allied launch their attacks on social change struggles without any provocation at all or any care for the casualties of human suffering here and abroad. Meanwhile the tireless efforts of thousands upon thousands of people around the world continue to try to poke holes in the defenses of global capitalism—ultimately to no meaningful effect. Even when we win a few battles or a few rights, we do not change the larger context in which corporate power and right-wing ideology are becoming more abusive to the powerless, the middle class, and the earth that sustains and nurtures us.


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