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Spirituality Beyond Religion

August 18

Ian Bittle

“From Morning Star to Morning Star”

Ian Bittle is a lifelong Oklahoman, born in Norman to University parents. He first came to Morning Star ten years ago at the urging of his wife Sheila, who had been church shopping and was drawn here. “They’re kinda woo-woo but the music is great!” They started as lurkers, then got on a setup team and finally he joined the band six years ago and has enjoyed playing and composing with our amazing group of musicians.

Ian will talk about his experience with Morning Star and the many other Morning Stars that have crossed his path over the years.

Meditator: Sara McFall

August 25

Zena Amer

“I Left my Heart in Santa Cruz Bolivia”

It’s become a common and very familiar question almost everyone asks me: Where are you going next? Or where you been lately?  (the story of my life). It’s always a pleasure to speak about one of my favorite places in the world to dare to make a difference! Aldeas De Niños Padre Alfredo in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Zena Amer was born and raised in Egypt and has lived on 3 continents. For the past 36 years she has been a single mom, worked full time and followed her passion of volunteerism! Zena may set the record for serving on nonprofit boards in Norman and, as a result, has received many awards including the Journal Record Woman of the Year 2015.  She is the proud Mom and Grandma of a son and 3 grandchildren who currently live in Kazakhstan. Zena doesn’t let finances stop her from volunteering all over the world and more importantly in our community here in Norman.

Meditator: Cielja Kieft

September 1

Becca Black

“The Power of Empathy”

Becca Black and her husband Shannon are Horse Sense Natural Horsemanship trainers. They help people understand that horses are not tools, but complex, emotional animals who deserve to have a say in how they’re trained. They are the only natural riding trainers in the nation which means all of their riding is done bitless and on bareback pads to free the horse’s body so that the mind is fully connected. Their approach as horse trainers is based on forming an absolutely solid foundation of mutual trust and respect; using fair treatment, flexible methods, clear/consistent communication and firm correction – all coming from a loving heart.

For her presentation at Morning Star, Ms. Black will help us expand our understanding and compassionate actions in the world by connecting what she has learned about empathy.  Becca explains, “Empathy is a lost art – although doubtfully one many humans have ever practiced faithfully. Most humans aren’t naturally empathetic and need to be taught what empathy looks like and how to apply it to each other and the animals around us.”

Meditator: Janice Blakely

September 8

Gwen Ranbir Agiapal Ingram

“Kundalini Energy and Consciousness”

Gwen Ranbir Agiapal Ingram has been doing yoga, art and singing all her life and only knew it made her feel better. She practiced Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self Realization Fellowship’s yoga program from 1976 and it carried her through the raising of her daughter and creation of her art business.

From 1996 to 2000 Gwen studied Ashtanga Yoga with Andrew Eppler in Norman. Traveling and doing art shows took their toll and it was Kundalini Yoga and the rhythms of mantra music that healed her soul. She started practicing Kundalini Yoga in 1999 and became a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher in 2005. Super Health training in addictive behavior was completed in 2013. Now she is a Level 3 Kundalini Teacher and a Sat Nam Rasayan energy healer. Her classes include ancient chants and modern music with the patterns of naad that include asana, rhythm, sound, concentration, and breath. These chanted patterns, contain atoms of information in the smallest sound units.

The sound current from chanted meditations help us activate the energy of awareness needed to guide us through the sea of change we are going through at this time.   In her talk at Morning Star, Gwen will help us connect this Eastern wisdom to our Western ways of knowing so we can be more effective in creating a kind and peaceful world.

Meditator: Sacra Nicholas

September 15

Christine Spretnjak    

“Soul Love”

Christine Spretnjak serves as a teacher, area director and President on the Board of Directors of the School of Metaphysics, headquartered in Windyville, MO.  Christine chose this role as President because of her commitment to Universal Truth and living in harmony with Truth.  She is a lifelong spiritual explorer and her quest to know more intensified over the past 13 years in the areas of mind, visualization, concentration, meditation, etc.   It is her greatest fulfillment to engage with others in ways that are both healing and wholesome, and it is through this avenue of service that she finds deep satisfaction.

Soul Love aims to bring light to another perspective of Self-Care and Self-Love.  Through storytelling, Christine will attempt to communicate the deeper needs of the soul, and what it means to be an individual.  As one learns to connect with one’s own soul, and allows that in another, peace and contentment flourish.

Meditator: Karen Marx

September 22

Andy Horton

“Laughter Without Borders”

Andrew Horton was a professor of Film & Media Studies at the University of Oklahoma for 18 years and has lived for many years in Greece. He is the Jeanne H Smith Professor of Film and Video Studies, Emeritus, of the University of Oklahoma, an award- winning screenwriter, and the author of thirty books on film, screenwriting and cultural studies including, Screenwriting for a Global Market (U. of California Press 2004) and Writing the Character Centered Screenplay (U. of California Press, 2000, 2nd edition). The Library Journal wrote about his Character Centered Screenplay, “Horton walks away with an Oscar in the valuable books for the prospective scripter category with his latest rendering.”

Laughter Without Borders is Dr. Horton’s documentary shot in the refugee camps of Thessaloniki, Greece, during the summer of 2016 following four Swedish clowns who spent several weeks traveling to each of the camps to help the Syrian refugee children laugh, play and find pleasure despite the troubled world they and so many millions live in. For his presentation at Morning Star, Andy will show his documentary film (about 30 minutes) and share special insights he gained by creating this film.

Meditator: Cielja Kieft

September 29

Aboubacar Camara

“Communication between Humans and the Drum”

Aboubacar Sidick Camara is a Master Drummer and Dancer born in West Africa with family roots in Dakar, Senegal and Conakry, Guinea. He trained for seven years as a professional dancer with the Troupe D’Enfants of the Republique of Guinea (Children’s Troupe of the Republic of Guinea). From 1997-2002 he was the lead dancer and professional head of the performance group Bougarabou in Dakar, Senegal. Under his leadership they toured and performed in Japan, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Australia, and Switzerland.

Since living in the USA, Mr. Camara has led and participated in numerous performances. From 2004-2006 he worked at Walt Disney’s Universal Studios as the leader of his own group Africa Sanke (Root of Africa). He has taught West African drum and dance classes and workshops at the elementary, high school, and college level. He has also conducted workshops for community organizations.

Aboubacar speaks French and English as well as several West African languages. His repertoire includes a wide variety of traditional African dances as well as the accompanying songs, stories and rhythms. He relocated to Oklahoma in 2012 where he resides with his wife, OU professor Catherine John. He and his wife are employees of the University of Oklahoma and are also Faculty-in-Residence at Adams Center. In this talk and drum demonstration at Morning Star, Aboubacar will address the relationship to the drum and drumming as one that is similar to yoga in terms of the connection between the body, feelings and emotions. He sees it as a healing form of communication.

Meditator: Joyce Palomar

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