“Getting in touch with [this feminine, receptive side of our nature] can be a life-transforming experience because what we’re really talking about when we talk about receptivity is how we can be open to growing and evolving into more enlightened human beings.” — Lauren Artress, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE
There is an old mission-style church in La Jolla, CA, I used to visit called Mary Star of the Sea. I’d walk into the chapel, wait — each time as if for the first time; barely breathing — as my my eyes adjusted to the dappled light and the heart-stopping image of Mary painted on the wall behind the altar. She stood before me engrossed by an inner wonder I did not know, yet her out-turned hands, her enveloping arms, invited me in. The head of the world rested on this Mother’s breast.
Images of the Divine Feminine are showing up a lot these days in art, in spiritual practice, in everyday conversation — more than ever before — to provide us with a balanced framework for living. Her compassionate Presence, Her listening heart, Her lionhearted warrior spirit are part of a social a movement, an evolutionary progression toward the manifestation of a compassionate and cooperative way of living. The Divine Feminine calls to us, to women and men, to revision our lives, to counter greed and power and self-interest and isolation with generosity and shared partnership, with emotional intelligence and kindness. If we love ourselves a little more, love ourselves as Mary Star of the Sea loves us, and love others with that love, the spirit of the Divine Mother we carry in our hearts will begin to transform the world.
We all know stories that ground this idea in everyday reality. The great dancer Katherine Dunham once told me about the work she did with injured veterans after she retired from the international stage. “When those of us who were able danced before them, their eyes filled with light,” she said. “They could not dance, but something inside them did.” That light is the Divine Feminine.
Zainab Salbi told me about some Bosnian women she worked with at Women For Women International who suffered unspeakable atrocities of war yet prospered. “What do you want us to do,” they said to her. “Just because we’re in this situation doesn’t mean we must stop loving ourselves.” Their boldness, their ability to create something out of nothing, is the Divine Feminine.
Let Her Gentleness and Strength make a home in your heart this Mother’s Day and for the year to come. Let it be your gift to yourself — and to the world.