I created Unabashedly Female because I could see the need for women to remember their true nature. I could see that women are different from men, yet we’ve been trained to be like men and even to distrust our female nature. And I could see that the remembering of what we are is absolutely crucial in these times.
As I began to deepen my own spiritual work, I met Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, listened to what he was sharing, and read some of his many books. I began to understand, and then experience, the sacredness of my own female body.
This talk, Honoring the Sacred Substance in Creation by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, is a fundamentally important talk for women and the whole of creation. What he shares is a vital key to restoring women’s understanding of the offering we can, and must, live for the sacred light in creation to be strengthened and sustained.
From the video:
“What the Patriarchy has done so effectively – the level of disempowerment has been so fundamental because they have actually stopped women from being even aware they have this sacred substance in their own bodies. So, because they are not even aware of it, they can’t use it. A certain feminine magic has been denied life. The depth of the censorship, once you look at it, is so fundamental to be terrifying.”
“If you were treated just an object, something in you would start to die. Many women complain now about being treated just like an object, but they don’t take the next step, which is to reclaim the light in them that belongs to the sacred and honor it in creation.”
One of the reasons so many of us women are questioning who we are is because we are needed right now. As Vaughan-Lee goes on to say, “Women carry the seeds of healing and rebirth.”
Please watch and listen, not from your head or rational mind, but listen with your whole self, heart, body and soul.
He is a Sufi Spiritual Teacher. From my understanding, Sufism existed before the other religions. It is a path…a path of loveVaughan-Lee was recently interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, and shared these words about Sufism:
“Sufism is a path of love. The Sufi is a traveler on the path of love, a wayfarer journeying back to God through the mysteries of the heart. For the Sufi the relationship to God is that of lover and Beloved, and Sufis are also known as lovers of God. The journey to God takes place within the heart, and for centuries Sufis have been traveling deep within themselves, into the secret chamber of the heart where lover and Beloved share the ecstasy of union.”
Today, a friend sent me a link to this video by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and his article, Praying for the Earth. In it, Vaughan-Lee speaks of our need and about how our need is a way into prayer. It is truly beautiful. Watch it full screen, if you can.
During my time in Hana, I could feel the land, the ocean, the air and the fire that lies at the heart of the earth. The elements are strong there.
As I slept at night, the breezes blew across my face and the smell of rain filled my dreams. In the daytime, the fragrance of Frangiapani and the sight of dolphins playing just across the street from where I was writing awakened the pain in my heart, the pain that comes when one sees so many faces of beauty and feels its immediacy.
To remember the earth, is to know her soul, to know her aliveness and our connection to her.
To wake up to our bodies and the wisdom and aliveness within them is to awaken to the same aliveness and wisdom of the earth.
As I communed with the land of Hana, I became painfully aware of how much I need the earth, of how much I long to feel connected to her, to know her, to witness her, to hold her and to be held by her. Just writing these words causes the tears of love and longing to flow.
At home here in the city, it is harder to feel the land. I find places in which to do so when I can. Yet, I feel this need to go back to Hana and I know I can’t. I must be here where I live. So I ask myself, “What is this longing?” What is this great need I feel in my body and heart to be in communion with the earth and the elements, with the rhythm and feel of Hana?”
In Hana, the earth fed me with her fresh pineapple and mango. She held me as I swam in her waters and walked in her mud, mud sprinkled with delicate beauty. I found a joy and peace, a sensuality that is born from life touching me directly, in so many simple yet profound ways. I felt an organic connection with her. Gratitude flowed up and out of me toward her. Not the kind of gratitude that is a thought, or something I should do. I didn’t do it. It just came in response to her beauty and all she gives.
Perhaps my longing for the earth, for the land is an organic recognition of the connection of woman with the earth, and an understanding that she needs us as much as we need her. To honor her is to awaken her to her beauty, to her wildness and grandeur. And perhaps, it is a way to awaken women to what we have forgotten about womanhood.
“Those of us who have been given a knowing of the sacred within ourselves and within the world have a responsibility at this time. We may ask ourselves, “What can I do?” but the inner world primarily requires consciousness rather than action.” ~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Sometimes, I forget what a gift it is to be aware of the sacredness within oneself, and within the world at large.
It is a gift, and with this gift comes responsibility, because at this time what is necessary is remembrance. Remembrance of the sacredness in all of life. Remembrance of the sacredness of the earth. Remembrance of the Source.
As I wrote to a friend today:
There is something far greater than either of us, all of us, or everything that has ever been created, and it is here, right now, in every cell of existence. When I remember this, I trust once again. So, my task has been, and continues to be, remembrance. I know you know of what I speak.
I can get caught up in the beauty of the manifest world: the beautiful skies, the prolific spring flowers, the sweetness of my grandchildren’s faces. In all of these I enjoy the radiance of life, yet, the inner world is where I consciously connect with the sacredness that is at the heart of all the lives.
To allow it to be so profoundly simple, to approach life with this single focus of consciousness can be difficult for me, until I remember to remember the Source. Then, in the moments of remembering, all else falls away and all that remains is what is real and true.
Spring is here. At least it feels like Spring is here, even if it is February 8th. St. Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, is thought to be the beginning of Spring in Ireland…and maybe here, too, judging by our weather.
The beginning of Spring does something to me. The lovely bits and pieces that I’ve kept warming by the fire during the cold and wet winter months come alive with the first warm rays of the sun.
It was a beautiful 72 degrees here, yesterday. We took a walk out at Lands End, the line of coast that wraps around San Francisco’s northwestern outermost tip. The light was amazing, as evidenced by the colors and shadows on these trees, above, just prior to sunset.
We had dinner out at a wonderful Thai restaurant, finishing it out with Hot Coconut Cake, a specialty recipe from the owner’s Mother-in-law in Thailand. The owner told us this cake is not sold in restaurants in Thailand, but is only available as street food.
Yesterday, was a day filled with so much life. And,
This past week, so much of my focus has been on dying, on being with, along with many others, someone I loved and respected deeply as he let go into death. Sitting in his room at the hospital, I could smell the blossoms just outside the window. The warm temperatures invited the trees to blossom, and blossom they did. The moments were a bit surreal.
In today’s walk, I could see signs of life springing up again.
I came home to find this very important video by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a Sufi Sheik I quote quite often. He is a mystic who sees what is coming, and shares profound guidance as to how to be of service during these times.
I can’t share the video here; but, you can watch it here. Please do. In fact, watch it a few times. He is sharing such important information for us all to know.
In the video, he asks,
“Do you work with what is dying, or do you work with what is coming into being?”
A powerful question, indeed.
In Llewellyn’s video, he shares that the note of love that hits the bell of creation has changed, and with that change, “life will begin to manifest in a different way.”
As I sat with Emmett, last week, it was so important to me to love him, deeply. In those moments, it felt so totally clear that what I could offer was love and letting go. I could be with, in the state of love, without trying to save, fix or change things. For if it is really time to die, then the greatest gift is to not interfere, but to let go.
Life is standing at the edge of an abyss of forgetfulness waiting for the light of the world to be born. This birth needs the wisdom of the feminine, and women must take their place in this time of great potential. ~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
My dear friend Megan shared this video with me today. It is a stunning combination of eloquent words of wisdom and evocative pieces of sacred art. Created by Sandy Wolk, it will move you at the cellular level.
Sit back, watch, listen and take it all in. Deeply.
She nurtures in silence, loves with such a love, that the world is changed through her softly, in a way that seems invisible, yet shakes life in the world to its very core. ~ Sandy Wolk
Reverb10 Day 05
Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
This is a rambling post, and I’m rambling, trusting that where I end up will bring us full circle…in some way.
Today I read Tia Singh’s post for reverb10, wherein she wrote these words:
…write as if I had a million in the bank, and nothing to gain from my writing.
Bammo. These words hit me hard. They zinged me, I mean ZINGED me!
I have learned to allow myself to write deeply here. I still sometimes get the occasional stomach tightening when I hit ‘Publish’, a good thing because it means I’m uncomfortable with something being seen, but for the most part, I realize I’m now a little too comfortable…most of the time.
I’ve pushed myself this year. I’ve shared things I thought I wouldn’t share. It didn’t kill me. In fact, it was freeing. Freeing to unveil myself here, to the women and men that read me on a regular basis.
I still have a ‘thing’ about writing about my personal life. About sharing my stories. I’ve told myself for a long time that others don’t want to know stories of my life, that telling things about my daily life is a little too narcissistic. And yet, I know how important it is for women to share their stories.
I’ve been swimming in the shallow end with a book I’m writing. I’ve dived in the deep end a number of times, only to climb out of the water and sit by the side of the pool, to grab air, to sun myself, to feel the comfort of the ground beneath me. The deep end seems to be where the juice of the book is. Yet, I resist. I come up for air before big chunks of work get done. The scramble and chaos of writing something about these parts of my life, these parts of me, churn me around, so I surface for long periods on end.
Like Tia’s words, Patti’s image spoke to me the moment I saw it. Recognition. Half the face light and beautiful, full of color and life, sort of like the shallow end where the light pierces more readily. The other half dark, chaotic, unknown. She’s veiled. I’m veiled.
What’s inside here? inside of me?
Veils can be beautiful. They can create an aura of mystery, of exotic sensuality. But, perhaps that’s mainly in the movies. The veils I see in the real world seem to hide women. I don’t know what it is like to have to wear a veil…a burka. I don’t know that experience.
I do know what it is to be veiled in my own way, for I fear exposure.
I fear exposure, and yet, I have a choice. No one is veiling me, except myself.
Somewhere, the dark holds promise for me. I’ve been told often enough in spiritual circles that shadow work brings light.
I’ve been in the dark enough times to know it can be a fruitful trip. But then there I go again, expecting a gain. Can I dive into the deep end without expectation of gain? Can I unveil myself, not only to me, but to you, without expectation of gain…or expectation that you’ll like what you see…that I’ll like what I see?
This book that’s been lurching around inside me now for far too long feels very deep and raw. Now I know that’s a good thing. And, it scares the crap out of me.
But it has to come out. Tia’s words, especially ‘nothing to gain’, spell freedom to write. When I read her words, I realized I’ve been holding on to the idea that there will be something to gain if I get it right. Not just personally, but also collectively. I’ve put a shitload of pressure on myself to ‘get it right’. And in the pressure to get it right, nothing comes out, nothing gets written.
If I am true to the writing, if I write what wants to be written, then I must give up my expectations of gain for me, of being understood, of being liked. What wants to be written isn’t about me. It’s the me that holds back, not what wants to be born.
I’ve had a vision for some time now. I see something that feels hard to explain to people. I see a land where women come out of the dark, out of the shadow of men, out into the light so they can see themselves as they are, as beautiful sacred beings. We are different than men. We have been told we are less than, second-class. Women all over the world are being treated in ways unimaginable, right now.
Women, whom these atrocities are being acted upon, are sacred beings. We bring life into life. We are sacred beings because the soul of a newborn life enters the world within a woman’s body. I’ve experienced this. I’ve given birth. I’ve witnessed my daughters both give birth. I’ve watched death come and take those I love. I’ve experienced the love that is present at both moments of birth and moments of death.
“The light of the soul of the world needs the participation of all who are open to this work. But part of our redemption of the feminine is to acknowledge that certain work can only be done by women. The interconnections of life belong to the wisdom of the feminine and a woman’s body holds the knowledge of how the worlds interrelate. Masculine consciousness imaged a transcendent divinity—the feminine knows how the divine is present in every cell of creation. Women know this not as abstract knowledge, but part of their instinctual nature—in the womb the light of a soul can come into physical form. Life is standing at the edge of an abyss of forgetfulness waiting for the light of the world to be born. This birth needs the wisdom of the feminine, and women must take their place in this time of great potential.”
Life is standing at the edge of an abyss of forgetfulness waiting for the light of the world to be born. This birth needs the wisdom of the feminine, and women must take their place in this time of great potential.
An abyss of forgetfulness.
Am I willing to remember? Am I willing to take my place? I KNOW, from my own experiences, that the divine is present in every cell of creation. I KNOW this. I FEEL this. I’ve seen many deaths and births, and know how the worlds relate.
I know these things of which Llewellyn speaks, because I’ve lived them. We women all know these things. They are in the stories of our lives.
We’re waiting for the light of the world to be born. We are in darkness already. There is destruction, war, greed, torture, passivity, unwillingness to feel. And it’s all right here in my unwillingness to stay in the deep end, until something new emerges.
I can’t know what will emerge from my own dive. It is mine to take. Exposure. Chaos. Nothing to be gained. Everything to be gained.
How can I know what I am capable of unless I let go and see?
How can I know what women can offer, if I’m not willing to see what I have to offer?
I’d be foolish to believe I have let go of this. It’s a process of letting go. And letting go. And letting go.
Marianne Williamson says we no longer have time to preach or sing to anyone but the choir. I know you beautiful women and men know all of this. What I know I now am asking for is a community of women and men to walk with, side by side, as we do whatever is being asked of us by that which wants to move through us, by that which wants our freedom, by that which is dying to be born.
Will you join me? Can I join you?
Veiled is by Patti Agapi. You can see more of Patti’s work on Flickr. Thank you, Patti, for permission to share your work here.
He is a brilliant Sufi teacher. His words cut me open. Words of longing for God. Words of crying out for God. Words of wisdom about how our western world has forgotten about God, has forgotten to kneel in awe at the profound mystery that the Divine is.
He spoke of how, when things can’t get darker, or more full of despair, a person instinctively calls out to something greater, knowing the situation is beyond anything she can fix or figure out. This calling out, this crying out instinctively, comes from somewhere inside, someplace where she has not forgotten that there is divinity within her.
I’ve had these times in my life. Times of complete blackness and despair. In these times, I KNEW there was NOTHING I could do. And in these times I dropped to my knees in anguish, despair and prayer. And in these times I was held. Answered. Loved. And in this love, I could finally be with what was. And in being with what was, I could begin to move forward again.
I wasn’t raised religious. Wouldn’t say that I am. I have no context for God, other than my own life experience. And, I know God is here. Not a him. Not a her. Simply is.
Llewellyn. When someone asked him about the state of affairs in the world, he spoke of how the West no longer has a context to drop to its knees, as a collective. When things are to the point of despair, which I believe they are, there is no context for God in our collective culture. We’ve forgotten that there is something greater than us.
I remember how I felt when I returned home from India. My travels there fed me in a way I had never experienced. I realized God is remembered by the culture all through the day. I could feel God in the air. I could feel the Divine in every bit of teeming life. God was in the healthy, the sick, the living, the dying. God was in the awareness. The spark of divinity in me was mirrored by the divinity in the collective. When I returned home, I no longer saw my divinity mirrored by the collective. It felt as if our world here has been washed clean. Oh, yes, thank God it is in everything else… the trees, the animals, the mountains…but, not in our man made world. Not in our culture.
Perhaps this is when despair dropped in.
I have felt, and feel, so helpless because there seems to be no avenue to express my despair, except of course on my own knees to God. But out there it feels as if we, and I include me in this, go on about our day. I have three beautiful grandchildren, and I weep at what the world will be like for them. Sometimes, when I write about my despair, others respond saying they feel it, too. But then our culture continues on, dropping to knees to the Gods we’ve anointed with power: Money, Technology, Media, Pornography, Consumption, War.
I can’t get Llewellyn’s words out of my mind. We as a culture don’t seem to be able to come together at all. We are divided as a culture. Republican vs. Democrat. Christina vs. Muslim. Men vs. Women. Haves vs. Have-Nots. Believers vs. Non-Believers. Those who believe we are hurtling towards a dangerous end, those who don’t. Granted nothing is this black and white, nothing. But we tend to take sides, as if one side or the other is our tribe. There is a palpable push-pull happening, only keeping us stuck in the muck of our own making. There seem to be few valid, concrete solutions to the growing state of affairs. Heck, we can’t even agree that we face problems.
What I do know is that we must feel everything here, all the emotions that the current state of affairs brings up. Despair, grief, sadness, anger are feelings we don’t usually acknowledge until they beome so great we can’t not acknowldege them. We must feel the depths of the darkness that we push away. I know I can no longer not feel despair. I know I can no longer remain silent about the depths of turmoil and grief I feel.
There is a plus-side to feeling these dark emotions. Healing comes through them. And clarity comes, too. These feelings cloud clarity, they cloud the inner strength to act, the creativity that can bubble up to serve us in these times. Qualities like clarity, inner strength, creativity, compassion all come from our essential nature, our divinity. That God-spark within each of us.
Dropping to our knees and feeling the depths of what lies in our hearts helps us to remember there is something greater than us, something that holds us. Call it God, the Divine, Greater Intelligence, Life, or whatever works for you. No Matter. The name is just for us anyway.
When I feel as if my heart will just break, I know it will break open. A heart breaking open is a good thing. Then there is love. Only love. For all of life. Even for the false Gods I’ve created. An open heart doesn’t keep anything out. And it invites grace in. The grace that just might be the only passage to a new kind of world.
Despair has taught me well. It has shared its gift.
This is a love message. To you.
I think of what Mother Teresa said, “If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” I’m sending it out. Don’t know how it will touch you, or if it will. I just keep putting oil in the lamp.
When an idea reaches critical mass there is no stopping the shift its presence will induce.
What if the Internet, itself, was spiritual in nature? This is a question I wondered about back in 2001, when I designed and wrote a thesis on Spirituality and the Internet. My ideas at the time were roughly hewn. I had just finished three years doing a lot of coursework in design, computer science, and digital art. The project was to create a spiritual space on the Internet. But, the deeper message, was that the Internet itself was a spiritual space, simply in its form – following on the form follows function idea.
On this same idea, just today, two very interesting and timely articles fell into my lap, by way of – you guessed it – the Internet.
In a country where about one-third of the population regularly goes online, the internet gives women “a place to vent out our frustrations and our dreams,” said Reem Asaad, 37, a professor of banking and finance in the Saudi port city of Jeddah who blogs at reemasaad.blogspot.com.
It also has allowed women who normally are “physically invisible” to participate more actively in Saudi society, Asaad added.
“From the authorities’ viewpoint,” she explained, “so long as women are behind a curtain, or a screen, and so long as they are not before a camera or walking down the street, then everything is fine. Women are free to do anything they want as as long as they aren’t seen, heard or spotted doing it by men.”
When I read the words “physically invisible”, my heart felt a sharp pain of sadness and despair. I can’t begin to imagine how it feels to be physically invisible. Feeling into what it might be like to be hidden in such a way stimulated a deep sense of compassion for all women who are experiencing this. Obviously, I don’t know what this is like. And, of course, I am projecting my own fears and feelings onto the story here. But, from one woman to another, from one soul to another, I feel for these women.
To read on and see how the internet is bringing them into connection and out of such separation brought a sense of possibility for what might be, how the world could shift simply through the Internet. To shift this way, we have to see that the Internet is the means for connection, something I believe we are beginning to understand more deeply each day.
“I believe that the Internet is a gift we have been given. It provides an image of how the energy of life can flow freely in a way that defies the barriers of nationality and geography. Yet sadly because we are so immersed in the surface activity of this technology, in its tools of commerce and communication, we do not realize its deeper, symbolic dimension. A symbol is a connection to the sacred ground of our being which alone gives real meaning to our daily life. The Internet, as a living symbol of global oneness, offers us a direct connection to an awareness of divine oneness (italics mine). But because we have lost touch with the symbolic dimension of life, we do not fully recognize this potential of the Internet: as a dynamic expression of a new consciousness of oneness that has within it access to energies and means that can unify our divisive world (italics mine). If we were awaken to its real potential, we would be truly in awe–and we would laugh, with wonder, at life’s capacity to recreate itself while we are not even looking.
What does it mean to shift to seeing the internet as a symbol of global divine oneness? What does this mean for our everyday use of the Internet?
I can see, now, that all my attention back in 2001 on this notion of connection through the Internet was coming from intellectual and psychological perspectives. The internet as a dynamic symbol? A brand new door of understanding and knowing.
The Internet as this symbol feels deeper and richer. It feels alive. It is alive. It is dynamic. It has energies and means within it to bring about the awareness of oneness that already exists. We aren’t in control here. Yet, we can, if conscious, align with this potential inherent in the “gift we have been given”.
We can see ourselves in connection with others out there, like these women in Saudi Arabia who are now experiencing a new kind of visibility. We can know we are moving within this dynamic consciousness of oneness as we bring our own gifts to the interplay of connection and expression. We don’t have to figure out how to use this. We can’t figure it out. It knows. It is alive. We can trust in its aliveness. We can move with it.
One thing I do know: the importance of connecting women, in order to awaken the vital energies of healing and nourishment that lie dormant in the cells of our bodies – to awaken the primal sacred feminine nature of women’s creativity. We won’t fully bring to life this force within that is pushing to awaken, if we stay hidden, invisible and alone in isolation. We will awaken in community. We have been given the gift. How will we use it?
How have you already experienced this divine oneness? How does knowing this change your perspective on the Internet? How might you being to move with it?
What if simply knowing the Internet as a living, dynamic manifestation of oneness were the idea that needs to reach critical mass that Marianne Williamson speaks of? How might things shift?