“When you make it your goal to seek God first and attune yourself with Him … you are divinely led to what you can do for others.” — Sri Daya Mata, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE
One of the unexpected benefits of writing IN SWEET COMPANY (the book) — about finding my unique note in the symphony of life and doing the work I felt called to do — was that the joy and strength I experienced working on the project made a new woman out of me.
It’s not like I opened my eyes one morning, realized I’d write about women’s spirituality, and lived happily ever after. Not a chance. True, I’d dreamed about being a writer since I was a kid — moving to New York, having everyone call me “Meg.” Many of my writerly credentials were in place: I’d published articles and stories, even a successful children’s book; I’d gotten a few degrees in psychology, and I had my share of grist for the mill “learning experiences,” the stuff of compelling copy. I believed in, and loved, “The Magic,” my childhood name for the God of my heart and had been meditating for 20+ years. The libretto for my “unique note” was written but I had not put the words to music. Honestly, I simply did not have the courage to sing my note. I was a classic case of the “repression of the sublime.”
I needed a little push ….
Thus, I began writing IN SWEET COMPANY 16 months after a momentary encounter with an oncoming car left me with enough brain damage to blunt the cognitive processes that had once ordered my thinking. I lost 80% of my peripheral vision and much of my ability to process and communicate information in a linear fashion. When I went out, if I went out, I cupped my hands over my eyes to reduce the input of stimuli into my visual field. I got lost. I frequently stuttered. I felt invisible. It wasn’t pretty. (www.insweetcompany.com/resources.php)
Though a handful of “ologists” told me I would never regain function, I intuitively knew my healing depended, to a large degree, on my ability to keep my mind focused on something positive, on something that inspired me, something that lifted me above my limitations. I laid myself — past, present, and future — and all I held dear at the feet of the Divine Compassion. Though I couldn’t string a sentence together to save my soul, I began to write IN SWEET COMPANY. Not being able to think my way through this was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
What I did not know when I cast my net upon these waters was that writing IN SWEET COMPANY would be a life-transforming experience. It was not just that I was now, finally, writing that remade me; nor was it the richness of the writing process or the conversations I had with the women in the book — though both took me deeply within myself. Rather, it was that I felt called to become my best work as well as do my best work. This desire led me to understand how the limitations of self imposed on us by life can pave the way for the emergence of the True Self, the Self that lives in harmony with God no matter what the outer circumstance.
There is still much work for me to do on myself. As Olympia Dukakis said when we spoke about her life, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” That I am no longer fearful about singing my note loud and proud, is proof I must keep on keeping on.
Unlike any other species on earth, human beings can transform the circumstances of our lives in profound and meaningful ways by what we choose to think — and then do. Change our thoughts and we change our lives. Change our inner reality and we change our outer reality. Though it is seldom easy to alter one’s thoughts or actions, the primary significance of making such a change — and doing it consciously — is that the process makes you aware that your life is a construct that is, in the final reckoning, determined by you alone.
If we are to be fierce about something in our lives, let it be that we do not let fear keep us from manifesting our own greatness, that we do not let God’s will for us lie fallow. Wherever you are in your spiritual search, whatever path you walk, it is my fervent hope that you find your unique note in the symphony of life and sing out. We need you.