What are your thoughts on the past year, and on the year ahead?

Personally, in retrospect, while there were several difficult challenges and losses, overall 2013 was not a bad year for me:

1. I wrote two academic papers.
2. Took several significant steps towards establishing the Foundation for Integral Religion and Spirituality and developing our first degree program.
3. Presented a paper at the Integral Theory Conference and won a Best Paper award.
4. Got a promotion at work.
5. Was recruited for an exciting new teaching job, to begin in 2014.
6. Released a new album of flute music.
7. Received an unexpected complimentary trip to the UK with Dr. Steven Greer.
8. Continued to host the IPS forum and to be enriched by conversations with the members there, and established a mirror site here on FB.
9. After much paperwork and expense, succeeded in bringing my mother-in-law to the U.S.
10. As of today, celebrated 16 years of marriage to my wonderful wife.

I'm thankful for the blessings of the past year, and look forward to 2014 as a year of further creativity, generativity, growth, service, and flourishing.  In particular, I hope for the further kindling of the flame of vocation -- the development of new ways of perceiving, acting, and being in the world, in support of right action and right livelihood in the face of the many unique challenges and opportunities of our time.

Blessings and love to all my friends here!

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We are making progress despite the worst obstructionist, do-nothing Congress in ages. Robert Reich lists our successes and encourages us to keep up the good work. We are making a difference.

More progressive success stories from another of my supported orgs:

Check out the Top Ten Highlights of 2013 from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee!

It’s been a great year. Thanks to all of our bold progressive members for being part of it!

PCCC members say: Expand Social Security!

1. “Expand Social Security”

In July, we announced a big strategic shift: Instead of playing defense, we would rally around bills to EXPAND Social Security benefits.

Along with our allies, PCCC members delivered petitions to congressional offices around the nation. We released polls showing this idea was popular by 2 to 1 in Kentucky and 3 to 1 in Texas!

After the Washington Post op-ed page attacked ”bold progressives” for leading the way on this issue, Elizabeth Warren made national news that day by endorsing Social Security expansion on the Senate floor (and in an email to PCCC members).

Nobel economist Paul Krugman writes, “a funny thing has happened in the past year or so. Suddenly, we’re hearing open discussion of the idea that Social Security should be expanded, not cut.”

2. PCCC members heart Elizabeth Warren

When Elizabeth Warren called for students to get the same low interest rates as big banks, over 1000 professors (who are also PCCC members) endorsed the idea.

When Elizabeth Warren demanded bank regulators crack down on Wall Street crimes, PCCC members pressured the SEC to listen!

When Elizabeth Warren was attacked, PCCC members attacked back!

Warren’s hometown Boston Globe profiled us recently. They wrote, “A group called Progressive Change Campaign Committee is waging the most visible of these pro-Warren crusades.”

The Nation writes, “Warren’s voice is amplified by groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which have identified her as their ‘north star’ in the fight to renew the Democratic Party. That scares corporate interests.”

3. Fighting Corporate Democrats, And Winning

Third Way, a corporate think tank that claims to be Democratic, attacked Elizabeth Warren and her populist agenda in the Wall Street Journal.

So PCCC members demanded Third Way come clean about their Wall Street funding. During a petition delivery to their office, we had a huge victory!

Salon reports, “Third Way senior vice president admits majority of think tank’s funding comes from Wall Street…think tank had previously obfuscated when questioned about its financing.”

We also got 4 of Third Way’s own co-chairs to publicly denounce their attacks. And MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called this ”the single-most interesting fight within the Democratic Party.” Victory after victory for the good guys!

4. Targeting Mitch McConnell

Our poll was the first to show Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell losing to his Democratic challenger in 2014.

Thanks to you, we raised over $120,000 to air ads against McConnell, featuring Kirk Gillenwaters and other PCCC members telling their stories. This made national news.

During the gun fight and government shutdown, PCCC members led protests outside McConnell’s office that damaged him in the media.

We also ran two trainings in Kentucky to equip activists with key campaign skills before the next election, and we’re mobilizing thousands of Kentucky PCCC members to defeat Mitch McConnell in 2014!

5. National Political Trainings & Scholarships

Trainees!!This year, we launched our P100 training program to equip hundreds of future campaign staff with the nuts-and-bolts skills they need to run smart, competent, progressive campaigns.

The program is so popular that we already trained 175 people in Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Texas, Maryland, and Wisconsin — and we have all of 2014 yet to go!

Thanks to generous PCCC members, we are funding scholarships for young people who otherwise could not afford to attend.

We’ve already begun to place graduates of our training program on top House and Senate campaigns. We’re building an army!

6. A Leading Voice Against Bombing Syria

When it looked like we were rushing to war with Syria, the public only had a short window to convince Congress to oppose the bombing.

Thousands of PCCC members filled out our detailed survey and explained the public’s opposition to bombing Syria, and we wrote a memo to Congressional Democrats with the results. This PCCC memo made national news over and over and  over again.

“Your progressive base stands firmly against military action in Syria,” we wrote.

Progressive opinion impacted Democrats in Congress, who were set to vote against military action. Fortunately, diplomacy and cooler heads prevailed.

7. Defending An American Hero: Edward Snowden

Snowden. Hero.

Edward Snowden is the whistleblower who revealed that the Director of National Intelligence lied to Congress about the mass spying on our phone calls and emails.

While many stayed silent, we launched the Edward Snowden Legal Defense Fund – and PCCC members chipped in over $38,000, which is being used to pay Snowden’s lawyers.

We also released polling showing Americans want Director of National Intelligence James Clapper prosecuted for perjury.

And PCCC members delivered over 100,000 signatures to Congress calling for reform of the unconstitional surveillance program, making national news.

8. Hosting Our First Congressional Debate!

The PCCC hosted our first congressional debate this year!

It was the first-ever “Open Debate” with questions submitted and voted on by the public. Over 1,600 questions were asked and 79,000 votes cast at OpenDebateQuestions.com.

Questions that rose to the top included campaign finance reform, NSA wiretapping, the environment, holding Wall Street accountable, and expanding Social Security. It was really awesome. All 5 major Democratic candidates in the Massachusetts-5 special election participated.

We’ll spread this Open Debate model in 2014 to give regular people more control of our democracy. Our goal is to make Open Debates the norm in local, state, congressional, and presidential elections.

9. Leading On Campaign Finance Reform!

Our chance of success on Wall Street reform, Medicare for All, the environment, and nearly every other issue goes up if we pass campaign finance reform.

We must take back our democracy from big-money corporate donors, and that’s why the PCCC has a new campaign finance organizer to focus on this issue.

This year, as House Democratic leadership debated internally whether to support a strong or weak reform bill, we led a coalition of eight national groups that made clear we’ll only rally around strong reform. We also worked behind the scenes to improve the bill.

In early 2014, a citizen-funded elections bill will launch. And we’ll make money in politics a populist campaign issue. Stay tuned!

10. Preparing For Progressive Victories in 2014!

Kelly Westlund anouncement video

In 2014, we’ll help bold progressive candidates across the nation run smart, winning campaigns.

Kelly Westlund is an amazing progressive running for Congress in Wisconsin — for a competitive seat that Democrats must win in order to take back the House.

She’s running as a proud economic populist. Our team helped Kelly prepare her campaign launch, which resulted in a whopping 70 local TV news stories! Kelly also hired a graduate from our training program as her finance director, and hundreds of PCCC members donated to Kelly’s campaign.

We’ll help Kelly and hundreds of other federal and state candidates with our hands-on support, unprecedented infrastructure, cutting-edge technology, and a national grassroots army!

Get ready to win in 2014!

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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