Mirabai Starr |”Saying ‘Yes’ to the Call of Love”
Keynote speaker Mirabai Starr may be the perfect speaker to set the tone for this year’s conference. She is a luminary in the emerging inter-spiritual movement that focuses on the loving spirituality that is common to all the world’s religions. And, she is an activist. During the more than 30 years of her life as a spiritual teacher and contemplative, she has said “Yes” to the call of love over and over again. Her resolve is to integrate the heart, the soul, and the spirit, to the benefit of all three.
As a contemporary mystic, Mirabai teaches and speaks widely on contemplative practice, inter-spiritual experience, inter-spiritual activism, and the transformational power of loss. Her emphasis is on making connections between the perennial teachings found at the heart of all the world’s spiritual paths in an effort to balance action with contemplation and engage in a life of conscious service.
Mirabai’s background is unique. She was born in New York in 1961 to secular Jewish parents who rejected the patriarchy of institutionalized religion. But, Mirabai was drawn to the spirit. As a teenager, she lived at the Lama Foundation, an intentional spiritual community that honors all the world’s faith traditions. It was at Lama that Mirabai encountered the timeless teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, mystical Judaism, Christian mysticism, and Native American wisdom. She was especially influenced by Ram Dass, Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and the teachings of Sufi Master Murshid Samuel Lewis. This ecumenical experience became formative in the universal quality that has always infused Mirabai’s work.
She lives in the mountains of Northern New Mexico with her husband, Jeff Little (Ganga Das). Between them, Mirabai and Jeff have four grown daughters and six grandchildren. Mirabai’s youngest daughter, Jenny, was killed in a car accident in 2001 at the age of 14. On that same day, Mirabai’s first book, a translation of Dark Night of the Soul, was released. She considers this experience, and the connection between profound loss and longing for God, to be the ground of her own spiritual life.
Mirabai Starr writes creative non-fiction and contemporary translations of sacred literature. She has received critical acclaim for her revolutionary new translations of mystical masterpieces by John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Julian of Norwich. She is author of the poetry collection, Mother of God Similar to Fire, a collaboration with iconographer William Hart McNichols, and the award-winning book, God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Her newest book, Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation, received the Spirituality & Practice “Best Books of 2015” award. Renowned spiritual teacher Ram Dass has recently blessed Mirabai as the first dharma teacher in his lineage.
Have you experienced a profound transformation that changed everything? Do you long to share your story, but don’t know how to begin to articulate something so holy and mysterious, so beautiful and sometimes terrible? You are not alone. Whether we experience the death of a loved one, a serious health diagnosis, an abrupt shift in our career, school, community, or way of life, radical change can shatter our foundation and open us to vast new inner landscapes.
Using writing techniques shared in her latest book, Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation, along with deep dialog and meditation, and supported by the contemplative atmosphere of Schoodic, Mirabai will help participants access their authentic voices and find the freedom to speak their deepest truths.