Have you ever come across a piece of information at just the right time? Or maybe you’ve tried to read a book and it just didn’t resonate–until you pick it up a year later and it’s exactly what you need at that moment? It’s almost eerie–as if it’s been written just for you.
When I was 28 years old I was in a bad way. I was searching. I was depressed. I was asking to be shown a different way.
One day I walk into a book store and wander over to peruse the section labeled “Feminism” (which, by the way, was only about half a tiny shelf). My eyes settle on a book with a beautiful tree pictured on the front cover. It’s titled “Dance of the Dissident Daughter”and I notice it’s written by Sue Monk Kidd. I had just finished reading one of her fictional books. This though, was the story of her personal spiritual awakening.
I didn’t know it then, but that book would change my life. Sue unpacked her upbringing as a Southern Baptist. I didn’t grow up in church, though I did grow up in New England surrounded by Christianity and Catholicism. I felt it oppressive and this book was the first time I was exposed to the idea of the divine feminine.
She explored women’s role throughout history in relation to nature, to spirituality, and to religion. It was the first time I really understood that us women were once actually celebrated, honored, and revered for our innate connection to nature. It was the first I’d learned that we were worshiped for our ability to create life.
Pretty sad that we aren’t brought up that way these days, isn’t it?
At that time I was experiencing an identity crisis of sorts and fighting off depression with all my might (I was very identified with being ‘the strong one’). By giving herself permission to go into the darkness of depression, Kidd also gave me permission to finally surrender into it myself.
Have you ever gone deep into the depths of your darkest feelings and come out the other side?
Well for me, that was the start of my long journey inward over ten years ago…..
Fast forward to a few nights ago when my family and I went in to Blockbuster. The two year old wandered around randomly picking up videos off the shelf and telling me “I want dat one” until we finally agreed on two movies from the new releases.
That was meant to be it. As I shuttled the girls to the front of the shop “go on now, go see daddy…” I turned and literally stopped in my tracks. Have you ever had one of these moments? Everything stops and seems to go silent. My eyes landed on a cover labeled “I AM” with the picture of a tree on the front.
Another tree. Just like Dance of the Dissident Daughter. Something in me told me I had to get it and I brought the movie to the front counter.
Again the theme was a spiritual awakening.
The filmmaker Tom Shadyac set out to answer the questions: what’s wrong with the world and how can we fix it? In the end he landed up finding out what was right with the world. We humans are connected. Not only are we connected to each other, but we are connected to all that is around us. Science is finally starting to catch up to what the mystics have always known. Not only are they finding that we are connected, but that we are wired to cooperate, to live in harmony with our surroundings. It’s literally in our cells.
*a little snippit of the movie if you’re interested:
This movie was the confirmation I needed. As within, so without. This was the other side to what I had embodied from Dance of the Dissident Daughter.
Ten years of journeying in, healing, and growing. By no means am I finished, but finally I am ready to look outward and ask “How can I serve?”
The Divine Feminine still needs healing within all of us- man or woman. Mother Earth still needs healing. Individual and societal consciousness needs to be raised. We need to connect back to ourselves AND connect in to nature, to the Other, and ultimately to All That Is.
We have become so detached from our Divine, Human, Natural selves that we forget that we are stewards of this land. We don’t think about our children’s children because all we can think about is what is right before us.
Like tonight, after a day of what seemed like I was chasing my tail around in circles with my business I stood at the sink doing dishes.
I have to tell you, I hate dishes and I don’t have a dish washer, so it’s a source misery for me. I found myself masticating mentally on all that had happened during the day wondering: why does life have to be so hard?
Meanwhile, the dishes.
I’m scrubbing a bowl and all of a sudden the ever present question surfaced again: How do I serve?
The answer came clear as day: by doing the work even when it sucks. By not giving up when everything in you screams to.
How can I serve my family? By doing the dishes.
How can I serve the wider community? By bringing people together toward the common goal of healing ourselves and Mother Earth. By showing them what I see that sparkles within them when they can’t see it for themselves.
That is what I can do to serve. In the movie I AM Desmond Tutu spoke to the fact that every action we take, no matter how small, moves us toward change. That is when I realized what I am.
I Am Change.
And you can be change too.
Have you wondered how you can serve? Have you figured it out, or are you still exploring? Either way I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below!
And, if you’d like to learn more about how I’m helping people to make better choices for the environment in a big way check out my Sacred Earth page.
In Love and Solidarity, Shawna