“Because our gifts carry us out into the world and make us participants in life, the uncovering of them is one of the most important tasks confronting any one of us.” Elizabeth O’Connor, Eighth Day of Creation
In a recent episode of Game of Thrones, there is a fascinating scene between one of the nobility’s matriarchs and a young woman currently rising to power and claiming her space in The Game. The matriarch basically tells her to stop playing the patriarchy’s Game, and to actually use her gifts instead of simply telling people she has them. She realizes that she needs to stop being a pawn in a Game controlled by others, and force The Game to open itself up to everything she has to offer.
As I settle in here in Winnipeg, with my beloved new congregation, I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts, and how to help people realize the many gifts they each have to offer. A lot of conversations about what we give to our communities comes from a culture of consumerism. The quote from Elizabeth O’Connor and the exchange from a television show together helped me refocus how I want to talk about gifts and giving.
If our gifts carry us out into the world and make us participate in life, then our gifts are how we live into our own potential. Our gifts are one of the best ways we can know ourselves, and celebrate our becoming. And, sometimes, our gifts will bump up against something toxic in the dominant culture. Sexism. Racism. Ableism. And so often our communities choose to support such toxicity instead of choosing to put in the effort to work for a better, healthier world that allow more people to celebrate their gifts, to live into the fullness of their own potential.
What I’d like to offer you today is an example from own life: that an earth-centered, Goddess-focused spiritual path has given me strength to fight for myself and others in many situations such as these.
Earth-centered has taught me humility and interconnectedness, beyond human-to-human boundaries. As the Serbian proverb goes, I am made of both earth and stars, and so is everyone and everything around me. How do my choices live up to beauty and the promise of the universe from which I came?
Goddess-focused has allowed me to distance myself from the patriarchal culture in which so many of us are forced to swim. We can never truly remove ourselves from it, but we can make enough room to be able to assess our surroundings. Having the Goddess in her many forms and iterations has helped me heal from deep wounds, and allowed me to recognize the spectrum, fluid and ever-changing, of femininity and masculinity in each of us.
So my questions to you this month are: Do you know what your gifts are? How have you embraced those gifts and let them guide your life? Which gifts have you let the dominant culture tell you are worthless? What are your sources of strength to reclaim those gifts that have been squelched?