Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reflections on the Sacred Feminine Art of Holding

Gift of the Path of the Sacred Feminine Women’s Retreat

If I could sum up the experience of the Sacred Feminine in two words, these are the words I would choose, Compassionate Holding. In our world today, achievement reigns, and while achievement can provide us with a great sense of fulfillment, it is half of our birthright when it comes to fulfillment. Achievement is a Sacred Masculine or yang expression of the Divine. Compassionate Holding is the domain of the Sacred Feminine or yin aspect of the Divine. It is the least known and least understood of our true Divine Nature.

Because we do not deeply know this nature within ourselves and honor it with the same fervor and passion with which we revere achievement, we literally make ourselves physically ill, emotionally challenged, and spiritually limited. If we wish to know the freedom of true Oneness, for many of us, the Sacred Feminine aspect brings us into the wholeness of the One.

Compassionate Holding is what we experienced for two days during our Path of the Sacred Feminine retreat. As always, the women were bold and sincere as they sank into the dark, still and receptive essence of the Sacred Feminine. It is there that we explored the truth of who we are and our true potential as women in the world. Each woman discovered her own flight as she was consciously present to the chrysalis of her own making.

The chrysalis for women, as it is with the butterfly, is the womb or crucible that each of us creates in which to discover ourselves. Just like the butterfly, in order to be reborn we enter the darkness and become liquid (fluid and supple) as we prepare to give birth to our own emergence. In the liquid state, we see reflections of ourselves we would not otherwise be able to see. In those reflections we remember our true nature.

From that awareness, desire bursts from our hearts and we become the divine expression of the Sacred Masculine, bringing our deepest longings into manifestation in a physical world. But in order to manifest, the chrysalis must be broken. For some of us, that means beating ourselves against the very limits we have created, until finally we break free and are able to fly.

It is easy to see the chrysalis as something someone else has made to limit us, but what we discover in the silence of our being is that we are the ones that create our own limits. Limits are important. Without them we would not be able to enjoy the unique experiences of being human. And there are times when we wish to remember our limitlessness so that we can enjoy more of what our precious lives on earth have to offer.

Each woman is a gift to the world longing to share the depth of herself with creation. Each woman has the opportunity to be reborn as often as she wishes, so that her choices are consistently based in love, honor, integrity and respect—powerful reflections of her deepest truths.

The gift of this retreat is the beautiful women that burst through each their own chrysalis and share themselves, with their unique talents, to a world that needs their treasures.

To experience some of what we learn at the retreat, you might want to become familiar with our monthly video lessons: Secrets of the Sacred Feminine Revealed.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Kind of Woman Wins a Nobel Peace Prize? – Part I

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

With three women receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, I just had to find out more about what they have done to warrant such an honor. (Somehow the number three is absolutely perfect, because it is a number that honors the Sacred Feminine, as a woman’s womb has a somewhat triangular shape.) So who are these women?

Let’s find out about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, shall we?

Here’s a little something about her from the government of Liberia:

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th President of Liberia and the first elected female Head of State in Africa. Throughout her career she has demonstrated passionate commitment to hard work, integrity and good governance, advocating for the rights of women and the importance of education to provide a better future for her country and its people.

Ms. Johnson Sirleaf has a notable career, far better explained than I can here, in the biography available at: http://www.emansion.gov.lr/content.php?sub=President%27s%20Biography&related=The%20President

What struck me is her commitment to her country and the end of corruption in her homeland, even after needing to leave her country twice due to political unrest, including a 1980 coup d’etat. Creating change in the middle of civil and even moral unrest is no small matter.

And she has created change in no small way. She has taken her country from a national budget of $80 million to $350 million. Johnson Sirleaf has acquired $5 million in international contributions, which she has used to build school, clinics and markets, as well as provide scholarships so that her people’s skills and abilities will continue to grow.

She has attracted international investment for the creation of jobs and she has been at the forefront of women’s issues regarding peace and leadership, serving on multiple advisory boards and committees throughout the world. To top it all off, as we women are prone to include in our life-resumes, she is a proud mother of four children and eleven grandchildren.

Now, are you reading this thinking, Wow, she is someone really special! I could never do that?

Of course you couldn’t. This is her life. This is what she came here to do.

As my friend Reverend Ariann likes to say, We each pack our spiritual bags with what we need to live this life on earth. We accumulate more once we get here, but we choose carefully what skills and talents we will bring with us to get started.

You packed your own bag with spiritual, physical, and mental gifts that are meant to be used in the fulfillment of your purpose, whether you are here to serve millions or a handful of very special people.

Some of us seem to know our purpose as soon as leave high school. Perhaps that was the case with Johnson Sirleaf, since she began her career and has consistently remained in the financial/political/service arenas for forty years.

Some of us discover our purpose over time, as it presents itself over and over again, until we finally realize it is not a purpose one might conceive without life experience. That was the case with me. I had no idea that dedication to the Sacred Feminine and restoring balance in our spiritual percept about the Divine Masculine and Feminine was going to be my reason for existing here on earth during this lifetime.

Others awaken to it in a flash of realization, practically in the moment it is happening. As a Native elder once showed me, some of us come here to fulfill one moment in time, and we may not recognize it until it occurs.

Still others of us have a sense about their sacred work, but truly discover their purpose through mystical exploration, such as in meditation, ceremonies and quests, where we finally become still enough and surrender completely so that awareness to come through.

When someone discovers their purpose and chooses to fulfill it, we can be inspired by their choice to surrender and commit to their greatest ability to serve. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a woman to celebrate. We can all draw inspiration from her amazing dedication to a better and peaceful world.

If you would like to congratulate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the other beautiful Nobel Laureates, you can do so at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2011/

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Gifts to the World

Women Receive Nobel Peace Prize for 2011

Some powerful women, three gifts to the world, have been acknowledged for their efforts to secure peace, as well as women’s safety and rights. They join their nine female predecessors as what have been called, Heroines of Peace. Perhaps, we can all take hope from these courageous women. A very wise man once told me that men are inspired by women. He suggested that women set the bar (standard) for what is and what is not acceptable in the world. I can’t help but wonder if these three women raised the bar in their homelands. Here is the announcement made by the Nobel Committee:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 is to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president. Since her inauguration in 2006, she has contributed to securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women. Leymah Gbowee mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women’s participation in elections. She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war. In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the “Arab spring”, Tawakkul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.

It is the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s hope that the prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.

Notice that last line: to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent. The committee is describing women’s potential. If we don’t think that the state of unrest, war and abuse in our world today is acceptable, then it is up to us to decide what we are going to do about it. Thinking about it or wishing for life to be different is simply not enough. It is up to us to decide what our lives represent and take appropriate action

In spiritual practice, I have found it to be quite healthy to pause from time to time to consider what my life represents. I was once asked by a friend and teacher, What are you willing to live for? That question shook me, but I was shaken even more when he asked the follow up question, What are you willing to die for?

Those may seem like hard, or even harsh, questions. But if you want to know the value of your life, you need to know what you value at the core of your being. Then you need to know what you are willing to do to bring that value into reality.

The nature of the Sacred Feminine is to know yourself and remember your purpose for existing. The nature of the Sacred Masculine is to put that realization into service to others. In balance, our lives have full meaning, as the reason that we are hear on earth is recognized and acted upon.

I invite you to consider these two questions. Create a quiet, undisturbed time to light a candle, and quietly reflect. You might want to journal or draw insights that come to you. You might want to invite your dreams to help you understand the deepest truth that you value. You might even want to commit to questing for greater insight. If you create the space to remember, you will know why you came.

Such a realization motivates us into action because it is so fundamental to who we are that we are compelled to endeavor for that purpose with vitality and commitment. When you read about women like these Nobel price winners, it would be easy to think that they must be special and that is the reason they make such a difference. It would be easy to think they are never afraid or don’t have family responsibilities. It would be far too easy to think they must have skills that you don’t have, and that is why they are able to make such a difference.

I suggest to you, whether you are a woman or a man, that they very likely act with conviction because they know who they are. At some level they know why they are here. And they choose each and every day to put their sense of purpose into action.

For me, this is the real inspiration the lives of these beautiful women offer—to know that each of us can be a gift, the realization of our own potential and make a positive difference here on earth.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

How Might Your Life Have Been Different, If…?

For the woman you are and the women you love...

How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go…a place of women, to help you learn the ways of women…a place where you felt nurtured, a place where you felt loved, as if an ancient flow was sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. —Judith Duerk, A Circle of Stones

I remember reading these words by Judith Duerk many years ago, and crying. I remember longing to know my true self. I wanted to know what it would be like to be fully seen, heard and recognized. I wondered if there was a place within me that could redeem myself from the burden I had carried for so many years.

I was exhausted. I had been achieving myself to death, until my body finally said stop. My emotions were raw and I was just managing to get by from day to day, as I slowly unpeeled the layers to discover who I really was.

Then I met Judith and sat in women's circle with her. In her loving presence and with a circle of open-hearted women, I truly discovered the Sacred Feminine for the first time. And I fell in love with how I felt when I let my over-exercised masculine need for achievement take a rest and created space to be still, to listen, to recognize the depths of me.

I was amazed by how much pain I realized I had been carrying. I was even more amazed at how much beauty was underneath the pain longing to express itself.

It was several years before I had my profound experience in Egypt, where I remembered in every cell of my body, the slow, compassionate, holding essence of the Sacred Feminine.

It was several more years before I received the Native ceremonial bowl and ancient ceremonies and meditations of the Path of the Sacred Feminine that I am privileged to share today.

What I now understand is that, as a woman, I needed and craved, to discover myself as a woman, in a woman’s way. I simply wasn’t able to discover my true nature immersed in masculine practices.

In a world where the masculine energies of action, expression and achievement are highly valued, we as women can find ourselves overwhelmed and exhausted, as we attempt to demonstrate our own value in the world. We work, clean our homes and yards, buy groceries, take care of our families and rarely, it seems, find enough time to be still enough to experience the great gifts that live within our own Sacred Feminine nature.

How can our intuition possibly be heard, when we are so busy? How can we set down the burdens of regret, shame, pain, numbness, confusion, anger and sorrow, if there isn’t time to be compassionately present to ourselves? How can we be reborn in the wonder of our desires, if we do not from time to time, enter into the sacred womb from which we came?

It is difficult isn’t it? It can feel as though we are constantly living within the constraints of our perceived limits, rather than in the full delight of who we truly are.

The Grandmothers of this ancient practice remind us, we experience our freedom as women when we shed our limited bodies to become our limitless selves. “So,” some of us wondered, “how do you shed the limits?”

Our question was answered. We were taught how ancient women held space for each other so that the limits they felt actually dissolved and they emerged in the beauty of their unique expressions as women. They showed us how each woman learned to make a meaningful difference in the world through her relationships with other women in her circle.

Many of us did not grow up with women that knew how to hold us and love us into the emergence of our own womanhood. We struggled, as did our mothers and grandmothers. The old feminine ways of holding a woman into her womanhood had been forgotten.

But they are being remembered. The ancient practices are here for us to learn now. And you can discover the woman within you that longs to be born anew. How would your life be different if there was a place for you to discover yourself in the ways of women?

Discover how New Dream Foundation’s Women’s Retreat is a space for you to discover yourself at: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/womens-retreat.htm