Since I’ve been back from Molokai, I’ve been out of sorts.
Molokai is a powerful place. The land there speaks to the soul in a language my mind neither hears nor understands. My soul did, and does, and it’s insisting on changing the status quo.
I discovered an affinity for the land. Yes, I totally had it before…a longing for the land of Hawaii. Now, I know there is a deep river that runs between my soul and that land. A river so deep that the conversation continues even when my body is back home, so many miles away.
So all I can do is dance to the new rhythm pouring forth. I know how to let go into the dance, to trust the dance. For this, I am grateful.
When I first started dancing ten years ago, I had to force myself to stay. I would go, wanting to be there, but when I got there, another voice inside would want to leave right away. I was embarrassed to move, embarrassed to trust my own body’s way of expression.
It took months for me to soften to my own expression enough so that this internal battle began to die down. It took years to begin to feel such deep joy that now feel. It took time and trust. Trust in the dance. Trust in my body. Trust in the soul’s call to the dance floor.
Now, I know how to let go into the dance. For this, I will always be grateful.
I now see there is no difference between the dance floor and the earth’s floor. To live as I dance is now what I hunger for.
Who cares what others think? Do we really care? Deep down inside, do we really care what others think? That fear swims on the surface, but way deep inside where the soul clamors to be free, do we really care? Will that fear of judgment keep us from experiencing the pure joy of movement, of expression, of gratitude for the gift of being alive?
The soul guides us to rise up and embody our own beauty and nobility.
It pushes and prods. It calls and yearns, and somehow, somewhere, and in some way we begin to listen.
How is your soul guiding you to move? To listen? To touch? To love? To express?
Somewhere within, you feel the call. So dance. Just dance. With music. Without music. It makes no difference.
Dance when you’re broken open.
Dance when you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you’re perfectly free.
Struck, the dancer hears a tambourine inside her,
like a wave that crests into foam at the very top,
Maybe you don’t hear that tambourine,
or the tree leaves clapping time.
Close the ears on your head,
that listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes.
There are other things to see, and hear.
A brilliant city inside your soul!
What do you really want? That is what you will get. Not what you think you want. What you really, really, really want. If you really want what is true, it’s its own protection. ~Adyashanti
I listened to these words last night as I was working. I like to listen to Adya’s satsangs, just taking in his words and the transmission that comes through them.
I have a sense these words wove their way through me last night as I was sleeping, because in meditation this morning, I could see how deeply ingrained my thinking is to choose something that will please others, get their approval. It is fairly unconscious still…until now. I could clearly see it this morning.
And so as I noticed this, I wondered, “Do I even know what it is to choose what I want? Do I know what I want? Do I really know what is true for me? Am I willing to look, to know for myself? Am I willing to ask the hard questions?”
This comes down to being able to tune into this self, this being. This ego has been all about pleasing others (and of course the equal and opposite force of rebellion against that pleasing, but then that’s much more under the surface, but not as under as it used to be).
This coming into oneself, trusting the organic flow from within, trusting one’s own desires, is key to being an alive, creative being. And, it really doesn’t care about pleasing. It doesn’t know pleasing. It just is.
This flow doesn’t push or fight to be known; yet it is always here. When my fingers type on the keyboard with tenderness, I know the heart is open and what is coming onto the page is coming with love. Sometimes when I write, there’s a kind of forcing, or making things happen. And, of course, this comes out in the writing; even if the words don’t say it, it can be felt.
It takes courage…
It takes courage to be wholly oneself in a world so quick to want to judge, control and dominate. Yet, there is no other way to live a life of integrity. At the end of life, I want to have been an intimate and reverent lover of Life…all of Life.
Perhaps, it takes love. A love, though, that is unlike the love we’ve been conditioned to believe is love.
Subtle degrees of domination and servitude are what you know as love but love is different; it arrives complete just there like the moon in the window… ~Rumi
Courage comes from the heart, as does love. There is a root in common to both.
And saying yes to Life is what is needed, right now. There are many forces that want to control and dominate this creative life within us, our hearts and even our bodies…forces inside of us and forces outside of us.
There are forces choosing money over life, whenthey don’t have to be at odds.
Just this morning, a friend posted this:
…just heard from a project I have worked with in the past for women with mental health issues – they do such vital and beautiful work and all their funding is being pulled – so so sad and will lead to bigger problems in the long run – offering them beautiful art things to nourish them through this loss ….I don’t want to live in a society that pulls the money right from under the most vulnerable – these are mums and it will have a knock on effect on their children.
What we value…
Yesterday, as I sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee at my local café, I looked out the window at the morning as it was unfolding. There was a man bringing out a hose to wash the sidewalk down in front of the swanky restaurant directly across the street from me. As he washed the sidewalk down, he consciously and graciously kept making sure he wasn’t getting water on anyone passing by. He smiled the whole time he did his work.
For some reason, as I watched him, I thought of how we judge people by what they do. On most lists this man with a job washing the sidewalks would ‘rank’ fairly low on how valuable he is to society in terms of what he offers the world in his work. Yet, when I watched him he was diligent at what he does.
I thought about value and how deeply conditioned we all are to value certain things as better than others. I thought about what I really value, not what I’ve been taught to value, but what I REALLY value.
I value life. I value love. I value beauty, tenderness, and the truth. I value children and mothers and fathers. I value the heart and soul of each person. I value autonomy and community. I value doing work that comes from my soul. And, I value speaking up and out that which I’ve not wanted to speak.
These are what I choose to fill my life with, and what I choose to fill my work in the world. And I get to ask myself, how much am I honoring what I value? How willing am I to live what is true? How willing am I to know this love that arrives complete, just there like the moon in the window?
What is true for you? What do you deeply value? Do you know what it is you desire that has nothing to do with pleasing or pushing against others? I’d love to know.
Born of her mother, giving birth to her daughter who would, in turn, become the carrier and custodian of life, she could feel connected to an immemorial past of mothers, and an immemorial future of daughters, each a transmitter of the life process, each surrendering to an experience more mysterious and powerful and demanding than any other, requiring as it were, her submission to an instinctual process which, ineluctably, as the vehicle of life, she served. ~Anne Baring
I know all human beings are creative. I teach this. Every time I teach, over the period of ten weeks, my students go from believing they are anywhere from not creative, to mildly creative, to somewhat creative – to knowing and trusting in their personal, internal creative process. Period.
All human beings are creative. Yet, I find the ‘creativity = artistic’ beliefs in this culture, on the whole, to be frustratingly entrenched.
When you think of creativity, does it have to do with painting? writing? art in some way?
Do you believe you are creative? If not, when did you lose touch with your creativity. If you do, how did you hang on to it? Or when did you reclaim it?
Just wondering. ‘Cause I have something really important I want women to realize within themselves.
“surrendering to an experience more mysterious and powerful and demanding than any other…”
Women are powerfully creative. We are born with the capacity to bring life into being. To birth life into life. Requiring our “submission to an instinctual process” that we cannot, the least bit, control.
I submit that women’s creativity is mysterious and powerful enough that anything and everything has been done to get us to forget the power of this process that is intrinsic to our gender.
And, I’m not just talking about birthing babies. I’m talking about an internal power we hold, as women, that could rock this world if we really got how powerful we are. And, if we could come together, as a gender, to honor, revere and support each other, fully, to wake up to this power within, the world would never be the same.
Today, Marianne Williamson wrote an open letter to Sarah Palin. I was deeply moved by the grace and eloquence that Marianne showed in both her willingness to bridge the gap between her and Sarah, but also in her ability to articulate her way through what could be rough waters. In my opinion, Marianne was able to offer an invitation to enter into conversation with Sarah, a conversation between two women of faith.
What I loved about this most, though, is the example Marianne set of how to begin to come together as women, in a way that can begin to engage our powerful creative abilities, together as a community of women, especially when we might hold such polar opposite political views.
Each of us women is “…a transmitter of the life process…” whether or not we birth babies. Each of us is the microcosm of the glorious macrocosm that is the Big Womb of Life.
It’s time we find a way to come together to honor, revere and reflect this mysterious and glorious creativity we all embody. Somehow, someway we can realize we’ve all been conditioned to the hilt; we’ve all found some way to survive in this culture that does what it does to suppress women because it is terrified of this natural, most mysterious female power.
We can find solidarity, even when we hold such differing views. I know we can. I sincerely hope Sarah is willing to meet Marianne in this conversation. I sincerely hope they both can hold this space. I ardently hope I can find the grace and eloquence that Marianne showed today, so that I, too, can somehow begin to help bridge whatever chasms lie between all the women of the world, the carriers and custodians of life, regardless of our conditioning or our political points of view.
Whatever it takes to ensure there is a future worth living for all the world’s children is worth it. Whatever it takes to reclaim this power as women, we must do it. I don’t know how we will do it, but I know this deep mystery that is our female creativity does know.
It is time for our awakening to our instincts, letting go of our judgments, and setting free our deep river of love for each other as women.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.
The Great Mother is here. Her way is not the way of visibility. Her way is dark and deep, down in the darkness where life gestates, where life springs forth from the primal belly.
I first became conscious of Her presence a number of years ago. It felt as if someone was pulling me down, way down into my body, into the depths of the darkness that the descent illuminates. I could feel Her pull, and I knew, instinctively, I was being called to feel, in their most raw elements, all the dark emotions I had been avoiding all my life.
I can’t say I was excited by her invitation. Quite the opposite. All of my spiritual learnings had taught me about transcendence, guiding me to find the Light of Spirit, the masculine aspect of God. This invitation was not about Light, at least that’s what I first thought. It was about darkness, and Her pull was relentless, yet also loving.
It’s easy to want to avoid this dance with the dark. The mind thinks of so many logical reasons why I should’t follow her down. I can’t see Her. And, where is down? Where is this darkness? There is nothing on the outside that would indicate She is calling. It is inside that I hear Her call. It is in the interior of my own experience, that I know it is Her. It is in my body that I know what I know. It is in my heart that I feel Her love for all of life.
I’ve come to know this rich inner life quite well. I’m the only one that knows this interiority; and, you are the only one that can know your own interiority. But, there’s something we have in common. If we are to bring forth ourselves, we women must leave the known outer life, the conditioning that has taught us well how not to trust our own knowing, the conditioning that has caused us to know ourselves only in relationship to others.
If we are to find our own voice, our own inner authority, we must turn inward and begin to listen to our own self. Of course, we are always at choice. That is, until we aren’t, because at some point, it may become more painful to ignore Her call than to heed it.
One of the most important things we can offer each other, as women, is a reverence and respect for this inward journey of women. Perhaps, as we become aware of our own inner life, and all the tugs and pulls and longings we feel to know who we truly are, we can begin to realize that other women we know are also feeling a similar calling. Perhaps, when we each treat the other with reverence, knowing the Great Mother is calling her, too, then a bond of strength and power will begin to nourish our connection to each other, supporting us all in bringing the sacred feminine forth into consciousness.
I can’t say I know for sure why She is asking this of us (although I have my own ideas); yet, she is asking. Don’t take my word for it – or Judith Duerk’s word. Get quiet and take a moment to ask yourself if you hear, in your own world within, Her calling to you.
I do know one thing. As I become more at home in these beautiful depths, I fall more deeply in love with women and all they offer to this world. We are the gestators of life. Whether or not a woman gives birth to babies, she is always a mother, designed in the image of the Great Mother. As Rumi says, “Woman is the radiance of God; she is not your beloved. She is the Creator —you could say that she is not created.” It is time we come to know our own radiant feminine selves, and see it reflected in all of life.
What have you experienced in your inner life? What do you know of the sacred feminine in your own experience? How have you shared this interiority with others? How might you begin to trust this knowing even more deeply? I’d love to know what you’ve experienced.
This year, I began again to write the book I stopped writing five years ago. I stopped writing it when I realized I still had to live much of what the book was to be about. I put it down. It was not time.
Since then, many things have transpired. Life has been full of many twists and turns. My mother was diagnosed with cancer. After a two-year journey with cancer, she passed away last year. My two daughters have given birth to two new grandchildren. And, as I look back, I now can see I have lived into the book. The book is so ready to be born.
This is my project. And, the funny thing is, part of the book has to do with realizing that we must, as women, put down ‘the project’ – that project that keeps us on the never-ending treadmill of trying to be better, more beautiful, sexier, younger, thinner, more perfect, more successful, more fill-in-the-blank if we are to discover who and what we really are underneath all the beliefs that we aren’t enough. I call it ‘the project’. So, when I read Gwen’s prompt, I chuckled at the irony, at least for me.
“Woman is the radiance of God; she is not your beloved. She is the Creator —you could say that she is not created.” ~Rumi
When we put down that project of not being enough, something that has always been within begins to move and stir and reawaken.
I am excited to birth this book, and to begin to teach the course that is directly intertwined with it. It has to do with women’s creativity, with the life-giving mystery that is within you, and within every woman, and how you and I and all women can awaken, and step into, this natural power, a power that is serves all of life.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” — Rumi
This is the first of a series of posts on this topic of Rumi, Women’s Leadership & Love.
To be a leader, one must truly feel what others are feeling. To be a leader, one must be able to truly love those she leads. How do we learn this most necessary trait? By feeling, deeply, the depth of our own experience. By allowing our own hearts to break. Many spiritual teachers speak of the necessity of allowing one’s heart to break open. It’s not that the heart will break. It cannot break. It must, however, break open, meaning that all the bindings that have grown around one’s heart must give way so that the heart can thrive in its natural expansiveness. When one’s heart is free to be, it is as large, and as expansive, as the whole of the Universe.
Feeling the depths of shame and humiliation from our own experience of being marginalized, disrespected and humiliated generationally is key to women waking up to our fullness and wholeness. Both our lightness and our darkness must be brought back into consciousness if we are to be wholly female and embody the sacred feminine that we are.
Every midwife knows
that not until a mother’s womb
softens from the pain of labour
will a way unfold
and the infant find that opening to be born.
There is treasure in your heart, it is heavy with child.
All the awakened ones, like trusted midwives are saying,
welcome this pain.
It opens the dark passage of Grace.
Opening to the pain of our experience as women, individually and collectively, is our passage to Grace. It is paramount that we open ourselves to feel, deeply feel, that which has been projected onto us over the centuries of oppression. There are many layers to this feeling. How much of our anger, shame and disowned power can accumulate before the dam breaks? We can use this pain as the way into Grace, the way into the opened heart, the way into the depths of our humanity. This humanity has become ripe and fragrant with our own capacity to walk side by side men, no longer simply a complement or accessory, but rejoicing in our sovereignty and self respect.
When we are able to feel the depths of what has been internalized within our own beings through the generational oppression, our hearts will move into an awakened state of love for ourselves, for other women, for men, for all of life. And, when we come to embody this love fully, for ourselves, and for others, every cell of our being will be filled with Grace.