Members of the NSP chapter in Mystic, Connecticut, gather for their monthly meeting. Credit: Glenn Hardy.

I’ve just renewed my Network of Spiritual Progressives membership, and I’d like to tell you a little about myself. Five years ago a friend and I started an NSP chapter in Mystic, CT. At first, we were a group of women, but gradually men joined us, and we now have an average attendance of twelve, and sometimes as many as fifteen people at our meetings. We meet once a month, and each meeting is facilitated by either a member of our group or an invited outside member of our community. Some of the topics we have discussed include Meditation East and West; Israel and Palestine; Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Non-violence, Domestic Violence; Are the Spiritual Paths of Men and Women Different? and The Changing Concept of a Supreme Being.

I am, I suppose, an old Berkeley activist, but I am also a wife and mother and member of the Mystic community. I worked professionally in arts and education. I was director of a program called Creative Arts and Education at the Eugene O’Neill Theater center, which sent artists of all types (visual artists, dancers, writers, musicians, etc.) into public school classrooms. I have taught in classrooms myself — from 2nd grade through high school — and led creative writing workshops in a variety of venues, including senior centers.

I consider myself a writer, and I do write, both poetry and prose, although I have not really made an effort to get my work published. That might be changing now. I was arrested in the FSM sit-in, and as December, 2014 is going to be — believe it or not — the 50th anniversary of that event, I have thought about writing a series of articles on that experience, and perhaps submitting them to Tikkun. (I was arrested under my maiden name, Margaret Irving. My father’s family name was Israel, but at a time of greater anti-Semitism, he and his siblings changed it to Irving. When I got married I changed it back.)

I always have, and continue to be, interested in the intersection of spirituality, politics, and in my case, the arts. I’m grateful that there is an organization and a publication which shares that interest. I feel at home in NSP, probably more than I have ever felt at home in any organization. Thank you for what you’re doing.

Maggie Israel Hardy

To learn more about the Network of Spiritual Progressives, explore the NSP website, and read our Core Vision and Spiritual Covenant With America. If you like what you see, please do become a member of the Network of Spiritual Progressives or, if you’ve already joined, consider giving someone an NSP membership!

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