Friday, February 23, 2007

Feminine Spirit

"For women, spirituality is less a hero's journey to a distant land than a finding of our center in a God who is present in the homely practicalities of day-to-day life."

I recently picked up A Woman's Journey to God, by Joan Borysenko, while researching the Mother God for an upcoming class on Mary and Kwan Yin. It does my heart good to see her talk about women's spirituality being manifest in the day to day life, in the "home" where I spend so much time doing daily, practical (or impractical) things like cleaning up yesterday's hot water tank leakage, airing out the stinky cat litter box, or filling the house with the flavourful odour of beef stew simmering in a slow cooker all afternoon. Some days, it all seems so random; in spite of daily meal schedules, I can wander in circles all day feeling like I'm not getting much done, let alone living a life of 'spirit'. My goal is to get through the day, and the lists.

..."In the work world, where seminars speak of setting goals and objectives and then working relentlessly to obtain them, the apparently aimless exerse of walking without direction seems addled and unwise. Yet this is often an important theme of women's work and career stories. When we are walking Sarah's circle, there is no final destination. The process, the journey itself, is one of staying in alignment with what our own inner guidance is telling us. If we quit listening, we begin to feel anxious and inauthentic. The important relation to our own spiritual Self, and our relationship to God, suffers."

Joan Borysenko calls it wisdom and courage, not confusion, to wander in the 'don't know' space - don't know where I'm going, or what's coming next, or who I am. "It creates the space for something new to be born." How refreshing it is to read this. I am often in the transitional space lately, and it is comforting to know that I do not have to set goals, have answers, always know where I am going or who I am. Just trying to live in the present moment, in my body, paying attention to my intuition, to my gut feeling, to the feeling in my gut of butterflies or fear or nervousness or excitement, is challenge enough.

"Women's spirituality is about that presence (the wisdom and love we embody) as we walk through daily life, at work and at home, seeking the place of the heart from which healing and joy naturally flow."

"For women on a mission, coming into a balance of being and doing doesn't come naturally." (ie addicted to frenzied doing, burning out, we become dry and irritable and stressed vs calm, centered, relaxed) "The big question becomes, 'How can I get what I need without being selfish to others?'" (Borysenko) Maybe that is the burning question for ex-Catholics like myself, raised on a diet of Hail Mary's and good works, putting others first. Remember the oxygen mask on the plane - you need to put it on yourself first, then on the little ones.

I send out my prayer for connection with whatever is true compassionate love in the Universe, mother or father god; however that can manifest in my life, with the people I run into, spend time with, eat and play with. In the homely day to day 'stuff' of life that needs doing. I call out for patience and self-love, more compassion for my limitations, understanding how my being off-centre affects my family.

Mostly I pray to understand what love is, how to feel it.

Kwan Yin, mother of mercy, bring it on!


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