By Debbie Ellison
What is a HOPE-HOWSE Gathering?
I enter with a subtle anticipation, knowing that whatever happens here will be a welcome surprise wrapped in a safe and loving environment. This physical space, which is just one tier in the many levels that represent HOPE-HOWSE, is alive with the tremendous spiritual and human energy that hugs my soul as I blend into the warm surroundings. I soak up the peaceful, loving energy like a grateful sponge as my deepest spirit entwines with the other gentle spirits in the room.
Candles light the house, their flames reflecting in the eyes and hearts of each person present. The world is illuminated with the radiance of their brilliant flickering light, symbolizing the higher consciousness and hope that comprises HOPE-HOWSE. The aroma of incense unites with the soothing, peaceful music as the many individuals unite as one soul, one beating heart, individual flames harmonizing into a candelabra of human light and oneness.
Within these walls, there is no judgment, no prejudice, no hatred. Black or white, young or old, rich or poor, ex-con or CEO, Muslim or Jew or Atheist, inside this sacred space, all are equal, all are accepted, all are stripped to their human cores. The only walls are the ones that support the building; there are no walls that separate, imprison, or hide. All are free to be, all are welcome, without exclusion, without division. At HOPE-HOWSE, there is no them and us - there is only "us." What comforting bliss to be accepted just as you are, to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to be many bodies, but one heart. What glory to bathe in unconditional love, to jump unafraid into unknown emotional territory, to bask in the glow of candles and the warmth of human compassion.
A HOPE-HOWSE gathering is a microcosm of the unconditional love and human dignity that HOPE-HOWSE extends to the universe. It is a place where people share their intimate secrets in a non-threatening, supportive setting. A HOPE-HOWSE gathering may be a lively discussion, an intimate sharing, a deep meditation, a teaching of a peace worker or lightweaver, or a program of peace. It may be twenty-five people or two. It is whatever the universe determines it will be at any given moment. It is, as is the work of HOPE-HOWSE, an energy of its own guided by unconditional love, human dignity, and total commitment to be fully present with other human beings. It may happen inside or under a canopy of stars in the glow of moonlight. It may be a mellow experience or an exciting one. There may be silence, meditation, and chanting, or joyous singing, dancing, and playing tambourines, drums, and other primitive instruments gathered around the world. But there is always joy, enlightenment, and hope. A HOPE-HOWSE gathering reflects the uniqueness and compassion that is the greater work of HOPE-HOWSE, the work of simply being fully present for other human beings, listening deeply, speaking and sharing honestly, loving unconditionally, loving thy neighbor as thyself. At a HOPE-HOWSE event, as in the energy of HOPE-HOWSE itself, there are no issues, only humans. And that spark in the heart that connects us as human beings is also the spark that ignites the universe with the hope and love that is HOPE-HOWSE.
Upon leaving the physical HOPE-HOWSE where this gathering has occurred, part of the energy of HOPE-HOWSE leaves with every participant, to be disbursed into the universe to carry on the work and love of HOPE-HOWSE. I leave, as I entered, with a subtle anticipation, knowing that, with faith and love, whatever happens in the universe will be a welcome surprise wrapped in a safe and loving environment.