I am stirred by these words in both an invigorating and a disheartening way. I am delighted that there will be a designated event in which women can be authentically themselves, feel supported in that expression and notice what arises individually and collectively from being in this fertile field. I am disheartened that this hasn’t been the experience for women for a very long time, that we have had to either fight for what is our natural place of contribution in this world or withdraw in order to survive. What I have also been sad about is that our world and the men in it have been missing out on the vibrant partnership and creative outcomes that occur when the feminine element is fully included in the mix. How exciting to be alive at a time when we actually see things changing relative to the inclusion of the feminine principle through both men and women. Our own lives and the programs of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is a testament to the larger change that is going on in the world.
In my home state of Oregon, we are grieving the senseless shooting and killing of students and teachers at Umpqua Community College. I heard that the shooter asked people to say what religion they were and then he started shooting. We didn’t need this situation to understand that differences in religious belief are a huge, if not singular reason that people are engaging in war, death and degradation in the world today and throughout history. I’m sure I am joined by so many in the world who long to help heal what seems so broken.
I will be going to the Parliament of the World’s Religions with a contingent of women from the Millionth Circle Initiative. We will be presenting a workshop that teaches circle principles and encourages the participants to experience being in a circle with a sacred center. We will assist in convening and facilitating circles of conversation where differing opinions and traditions can live side by side. We all have a sacred center individually and it is from this place that we begin to suspend judgment, listen deeply and understand the differences between us with compassion and empathy. When I am ‘on feminine ground’, I am receptive to the flow of Life moving through me. When energy like this is moving, it will hit up against the internal human conditioning that I have acquired in this lifetime. Conditioning that tells me a story that I am not good enough and that I do not have what I need and therefore have to grab for all I can. This conditioning will often challenge my highest aspirations.
I love Rumi’s poem “The Guest House”.
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
As we continue to advocate for outer change in the world, may we take responsibility for what is going on in our internal state. May we see and understand how our internal state creates the world we see. And rather than project out our discomfort when the unwelcome “guests” arrive, may we “be grateful for whoever comes” so that we may make space and truly be informed by Life’s agenda…the “guide from beyond”.