While writing his book ‘Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation’, author Jeff Brown (www.soulshaping.com) found himself looking for a less isolated form of expression, one that would manifest the spiritual activism that had coursed through his veins since his time as a criminal lawyer. With this in heart, he joined with two dear friends- Paul Hemrend and Vanessa Lees- and started the Open Heart Gang, a benevolent gang with a heartfelt intention.
Spiritual activists with their hearts on their sleeves, the OHG endeavours to perform acts of service that enhearten and elevate humanity. They began in 2003 with random acts of giving (Love it forward!)- passing around copies of elevating poems and quotes, putting money into expired meters (often right before the ticket cop wrote the ticket), leaving flyers about the perils of caffeine in coffee houses, random acts of hugging. Imagine a gang of heartfelt gunslingers with love-guns in their soulsters, and you will have some idea.
In 2005, the OHG was inspired to take things to the next level when Jeff’s friend Ronni-Lynn Pustil suggested that he shoot a documentary about his connection to spiritual teacher, Bhagavan Das, who was coming to stay in Jeff’s house while in Toronto to teach a Nada Yoga workshop. With a genuine interest in spiritual inquiry, Jeff and Paul made the spontaneous decision to go for it, despite knowing nothing about film-making. Thus began a seven year long journey that has finally culminated with the completion of Karmageddon. In fact, it will be exactly seven years from the date of their first filming to their first public showing at the Hoboken International Film Festival on June 4, 2012 http://www.hobokeninternationalfilmfestival.com/.
This is only the beginning. At the core of the Open Heart Gang humandate is a vision of human possibility that is loving, relational, inclusive and expansive. We invision a connective and compassionate world where each individual has an opportunity to identify and actualize their sacred purpose, however they choose to define it. We invision a world where people will not be judged because they are different, but, instead, honored for their uniqueness. We invision a world where every individual will be encouraged to live from the open heart, without fear or shame obstructing their experience of the moment. We invision a world where women will feel safe to assert their voice and embody their wholeness, and where men will feel equally safe taking off their warrior armor and speaking from their vulnerability. Instead of seeing each other in linear gender terms, we will see each other as souls, on a karmic quest for wholeness. We invision a world where food on the table will be everyone’s birthright and where our primary daily focus will be spiritual nourishment. We invision a world where individuals will gather in ever-changing soulpods, individuals of resonance that support our efforts to be liberated from the egoic ties that bind. We invision a world where authenticity is worshipped and where we create societal structures that reflect an authentic intentionality – laws that honor the path of the inner, careers that express our callings, family structures that reflect the imaginative network of connectiveness necessary for genuine social expansion. We invision a world that dances with heartfelt abandon.
Our mission begins with REVERENCE- reverence for the courage it takes to open our hearts on the sacred battlegrounds of life (pray to Schmaltz!), reverence for those who do the individual work to clear their emotional debris and befriend their confusion as part of their expansion, reverence for those willing to give from their hearts freely and to vulnerably connect with humanity, reverence for those who live with genuine integrity and character, reverence for those who came before and built the structures necessary for us to move forward, reverence for those who fight for their right to the light, reverence for those who believe that there is sacred dynamite at the heart of every birth, reverence for the Divine Mother, reverence for the children, reverence for the love that courses through the universal vein.
Our mission is relational in nature. Souldiers of a heartfelt order, the OHG never loses sight of the connective quality of the human experience. We inherently understand that the individual soul is inextricably linked to the collective soul. Although the ultimate romance is with your own soul, it is our experiences together that give birth to the essential lessons. We are here to participate together in the sacred dance, stepping on each other’s toes and turning each other toward God one clumsy step after another. When we get off the dance floor, we postpone others’ lessons too. With this in heart, we gift back to others with all the gifts we have been blessed with, sharing in the fruits of our soul’s labor wherever possible. We are in this together. We are THIS, together.
The Open Heart Gang will inspire and support any and all acts that honor this humandate- anything that opens the individual and collective heart, anything that endeavors to create a more unified and heartfelt world. We believe that real change happens when spiritual activists work to close the gap between the world as it is, and the world as it ought to be. Pragmatic dreamers, we hold to our vision of possibility, and simultaneously live in heart-core reality and recognize that real change requires sustainable foundational change. Therefore, we will actively support those gang members who are focused on changing things on a basic needs level- improving economic conditions, protecting basic rights, increasing dietary awareness, shielding others from aggressors in all their forms. We will support heartfelt creativists and anyone in the conscious media who is determined to use their access to elevate rather than to alarm humanity. And we will support those gang members who are focused on mapping out and humanifesting ultimate visions of human possibility. This is the work of all spiritual warriors- to clear the path of debris, to infuse the path with so much light that others can find their way home. There is so much good work to be done- Divine Perspiration!
Welcome to the Open Heart Gang, the activist arm for both the Soulshaping revolution and the TransformNation-a quickly expanding community of truth workers heaven bent on raising the white flag of truth to the rafters of consciousness!