“In sweet company, we are home at last.”— Margaret Wolff, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE
Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power, the new book edited by Kathe Schaaf, Kay Lindahl, Kathleen Hurty, and Reverend Guo Chin, is brimming with essays and poems about our other selves, by our other selves. Conceived, in part, as a vehicle to help women awaken to the Divine Feminine, the book also beckons readers to discover how inherently brave and capable and beautiful we all are.
I have felt this awakening in my own life, observed it in myself, in other women, and in the world. It is as if the Universal Mother is saying to us, “Pay attention, ladies! Pull it together! I have work for you to do!” Not that we have to be perfect in order to serve Her; not that what we do is more important to Her than who we are. She is more in evidence, I believe, to let us know that we are on to something, to help us rewire our thinking and grow more stouthearted. She is here to help us understand we are not alone.
Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power is, thus, very timely, a good read for any woman who has begun to feel this awakening, to feel the pull to engage in a cosmic do-over. To facilitate this process, the authors organized their book according to four “explorations,” questions they feel women are currently asking themselves: How do I express being an empowered woman of Spirit and faith? How do my spiritual values inform me about living with the challenges and blessings of diversity? How do we stand for greatness in each other? How do we catalyze our collective transformational power as women of Spirit and faith? These questions are viewed through the interfaith, multigenerational, ethnically diverse lens of the book’s contributors. Guides for self-reflection and a comprehensive list of resources and networks provide readers with additional tools to deepen their own knowing.
Finding our own answers is key, as all of the contributors to this book will attest. Sister Joan Chittister counsels us in her essay to use our “spiritual imagination” and develop images that allow us to create a working partnership with the Divine Feminine, images that are compassionate and powerful, images that are personal yet inclusive. “What we think of the Divine Feminine will determine what we think about everything else in life … personally and spiritually,” she says. When we understand our connection to Her — in whatever form we hold dear — we come to understand ourselves more deeply; we also understand how and why we are connected to others and to the world at large.
In her thoughtful essay, author and teacher Carol Lee Flinders, Ph.D., extols the power of “the mother line.” In the lives of every woman of every faith she has studied, Flinders has found that “the timely intervention of an astute and caring mother or ‘allo-mother’ made a critical difference.” This idea of the “mother line” resonated with me on many levels: the mothering that goes on in families from generation to generation; the importance of good “mothering” — an artery of kindness and support — among women and in the world; and the need for women and men to affirm our spiritual lineage, a direct and personal link to the Divine Mother. As I did, readers will find something in this book that opens them to new ways of seeing.
Given my personal and professional commitment to the tenets of feminine spirituality, and the fact that one of my poems is included in this book, this review may be more subjective than literary. Read Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power for yourself. Explore where you stand on the issues. Look inside yourself. Look to Her. That’s the point! If you discover your past or future self in these pages, open your heart. Use your spiritual imagination. Let “grace meet power.” It will transform and deepen your life as nothing else could.
To learn more about Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power, visit http://womenofspiritandfaith.org/index.cfm?preset=wheregracemeetspower .