In Sweet Company

In Sweet Company

The Beat Goes On

“There’s a wonderful Bible verse that says ‘… well done, good and faithful servant.’ That about says it for me. I want to know that the people I care about most in the world can move on without me because I have done my job in a way that’s made a positive impact on them.”  — Gail Williamson, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

No doubt about it, there’s a renaissance going on today, a grassroots spiritual revolution spearheaded by women of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds. Women are gathering en masse to share our stories, to actively explore our options, to give and receive support. It’s time to rock and roll!
When I think about the expanding nature of women’s spirituality — this external flourishing as well as the depths women are reaching inside themselves — some words of the wonderful Jean Houston come to mind that, for me, nail what’s going on …


“If for thousands of years you have been stirring the soup with one hand and holding the baby with the other, kicking off the woolly mastodon with one foot and rocking the cradle with the other, watching out for the return of the hunters with one eye and determining with the other on which cave you will paint a magical bison, you are going to develop a very complex consciousness … one that is well adapted to orchestrate the multiple variables of the modern world.” 

It’s no surprise that many of the characteristic features of a woman’s spiritual practice were organic to the ancient matriarchal civilizations that set up housekeeping in the Indus River Valley 5,000 years ago. Riane Eisler called these cultures “partnership societies” because they were organized around nurturance and connection; they promoted community and mutual regard yet valued individual experience. They also fostered the development of intuition and creativity and operated in harmony with the natural world, with the cycles of the seasons and of life itself.


Once these matriarchal societies were overrun, women’s spirituality went underground. The social and spiritual mine fields women tread were humiliating, disempowering, and rendered us invisible for thousands of years: Aristotle taught that women were defective, that we were “incomplete men.” In the Middle Ages, we could embroider tapestries and liturgical vestments, but we could not attend church with our fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. We were burned, hung, shunned, and banned for our beliefs, told we were “less than” — and yet we survived. We made nurturance and connection the center of our lives; we trusted our intuition and expressed our spirituality through our creativity, our families and our communities. We honored the power of personal experience and operated in harmony with life itself. We found God in ourselves, in our families and friendships, in our activities. And we loved Her.


One of the things intrinsic to a woman’s expression of spirituality is the desire to make the world a better place — especially for our children, for the children of the world. When my daughters were little, I wanted two things for them: that they walked away from their childhood knowing God, their step dad, and I loved them, no matter what; and that they had the courage and confidence to meet whatever life would bring to their door. Lucky me, I married a great guy — a man who valued nurturance and connection as much as I did and built a career in early childhood education. Jon travels the world with a profusion of thoughtful ideas and insightful stories that help parents and teachers enrich the lives of the kids they are charged with. ( )


The story he tells that is most meaningful to me is of the 4 year old girl who, busy with her own play, discovers her younger brother is the center of a tumult elsewhere on the playground. The boy had fallen, kids and teachers gather round him in concern. Belle recognizes her brother’s cry and stops what she is doing. Calm, yet determined, she weaves her way through the crowd to where her little brother lay. “May I be of some service, here,” she says when she reaches him.

I like to think Belle’s words echoed along the continuum of time back to the Indus River Valley and made our ancient mothers proud.

Your thoughts?

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Gail Jarocki

posted August 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

The world seems so complex today — natural and man-made events are on such a large scale that they seem beyond anything that we can directly affect. No wonder the young people are turning to the internet to stay connected through facebook, twitter, and text messages. These connections, however important, can never replace the heart-to-heart connection. The whole world is crying to be loved. I believe we can change ourselves, our community, and the world by our daily response to each other from the heart — this means truly “seeing” and being present to those we encounter in the supermarket, on the street, when we are with our friends, and with those in our homes. Reaching out by giving a few moments of our time and kindness to those who others pass by. Physicists and spiritual teachers both tell us that thoughts are energy — positive or negative energy, depending on us — therefore we can use that energy for good or ill — for suffering or healing. India has a quotation I love “If we each sweep our front porch, the whole world will be clean.” Give Love, Think Love, Send Love, Pray Love, Be Love, Visualize Love, and heal our planet.

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Bev Owens

posted August 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Thank you Margaret for visiting my blog about Womens Spirituality and inviting me over to join the conversation.
This is a beautiful most and follows along with what I believe to be very important in this time that we are in. We must, as women, embrace our inner spirit and follow what we know is right in our hearts. We must return to the instincts our ancient sisters had and return to the nurturing of the world around us.
We are in a time of great change and I believe that we as sisters will make a huge impact on good changes to come to humanity. We must join in a “sisterhood” of encouragement, uplifting, and empowering each other to be the Spiritual Mothers we were all meant to be.

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