Richard J Marks

Beloved Community

Rise to the Sun book cover

Rise to the Sun: 7 Footsteps and 7 Prayers for Getting Out of Hell published by New Degree Press is a book about imagination. It is about the magic we need. 

Breaking free and finding freedom are pressing themes at the fore, so it was a surprise when editor Kristy Carter selected “what we need in the world is magic” as one of the main pull-quotes. She caught this line like a shooting star. 

All at once, we have moved into an embodied experience – that is, lived. After living through Coronavirus, it’s not hard to imagine and see that it can be far worse than this. Now, with poignant timing, those lessons are for both inside and out. The magic we need is happening. We can share a cultural purging of self-harm.

A friend of mine in New York City held a virtual Coronavirus cocktail party on Zoom during the pandemic lockdown. “Just goes to show the power of the beloved community and its ability to transcend time, place and creed,” he wrote to me, and he is right: Beloved Community is in action. Coronavirus does for us what we could not do for ourselves, inviting global coordination. That is the magic we need.

Certain footsteps as a whole, or even individual lines, will resonate differently in each of us.  Our purpose is strongly lit against everyone’s understandable, perceivable pessimism. In our imagination, we envision a paramount change in how we see: namely, that being worthy of love is being of service. 

In the fifth footstep of Rise to the Sun (“Worthy of Love”), Col. Nancy Black, MD says “It’s the recognition that we’re all in this together.” That is the magic we need.

Yet, in democratic societies like America, this isn’t yet happening. What we do is compete to win. America’s dimming reputation as a ‘beacon of freedom’ may be obvious, but beacons of freedom are people, not societies. Our exploration of a new future is born inside ourselves. To restore freedom, the moral question is not of ‘compete first, make friends later.’

In us, and around us, are signs of ‘stuckness’ – being unable to move or progress. The conditions for interdependence are not secure or widespread. What we can do is to learn to stabilize, and share, those conditions in our bodies first. 

Reaching India in the journey of the book begins the seventh footstep (“This Thing Called Love”): “This is a very special chapter because I’m arriving somewhere entirely new with you. I never thought I’d be finding out for myself what love is actually supposed to do. As we place our attention on love itself, the desire for freedom begins anew. The footsteps we have taken have progressed toward freedom, so it is time now not to just see, but to do. Lifting up your heart, not just for a moment, but for a lifetime. It all begins in the body.”

I have here on my table a little piece of paper on which it says: “A footstep is a measure of one’s intention to move.” That, too, is the magic we need, and yet, be prescriptive. We can get further by retraining ourselves to find freedom from the emotional burdens of the present. In considering what the book would offer, I started to see that ‘techniques’ are not what we need in the context of finding freedom. We must be free of compromise – to not have half a lunch so to speak – but rather to have what we need.

As Coronavirus changes the nature of our attention (which it should), remembering how to share self-worth with others is a worthy goal. 


To the readers of this book, for taking a leap away from the things that tie us down and for moving in the direction of personal and community transformation, may we gather with greater stability and strength in every conceivable way. 

The making of this book was built on the love, entrepreneurial creativity and limitless confidence of Eric Koester, Founder, Creator Institute and Professor of Practice, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business; this book’s healing purpose was developed and strengthened by the subtle and lyrical hands of Whitney Elaine Jones, Editor, Creator Institute; the central anchor and mainstay to all new creative authors, Brian Bies, Head of Publishing, New Degree Press; the magic guidance of Kristy Carter, Editor, New Degree Press; and everyone at New Degree Press who are hard at work hatching writers and original books. 

With gratitude to Tom Weirich, an unwavering brother and fellow journeyman, this book began almost overnight when he brought me and the Creator Institute together, sheltered me, believed in me, and never once told me to be quiet as I strove to find voice for the stories in the book that essentially say: our hearts are ready for a change. We have been dutiful and done work to be proud of, but it’s what inside that counts; may we now walk lighter and in freedom. 

For the brave women and men interviewed in this book, each of whom have struggled with pain and grief and come through to the other side, you replaced the mantle of the teachers of the past and are now our living teachers. 

From my charming and versatile mother Yonah Louise Marks, a beautiful Romantic artist and beloved Friend in this lifetime whose ancient Hebrew name Yonah יוֹנָה means “dove” and who has endured dissatisfaction, sorrow and loss but shown no weakness in pursuit of adventure, I have learned that “when you stop managing everything, miracles happen — the logs that you placed in your way get lifted, and it’s very pleasant.”

Honoring our ancestors, we do not need to apologize for our damage, but to be worthy ancestors ourselves. 

The people interviewed for this book, whose love is at the core of every battle, I revere your courage: 

Nancy B. Black
Tamara Buchwald
Kathy Eldon 
Tim McHenry 
Winsome McIntosh 
JoAnn Wright Milliken 
Jessica Rockwood 
Marc-Olivier Strauss-Kahn 
The Rev. Eva Suarez 
Tom Vendetti 

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