06 July 2009

Take Time for Inspiration

Last weekend I went to a conference entitled "Cultivating Women's Spiritual Mastery" led by 3 contemporary women spiritual masters from the Buddhist, Christian and Hindu traditions. They were the featured speakers and guest teachers. What a rare treat to receive inspiration and guidance from these amazing women each of whom has forged a unique spiritual path based on her heart's calling. They were, nonetheless, down to earth and fun with great stories about their work!
It was a packed schedule of talks, meditation, prayer, sharing, exploration and inquiry. 70 women attended from 13 countries. It was a good way to connect with like-minded women from Italy and beyond.
I think the most remarkable thing besides the sheer humanity of the teachers, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Sister Lucy Kurien and Swami Ambikananda, was their emphasis on service. They were very practical in having their beliefs inform their life work, manifest through work.

Some highlights for me:
> Become the one you've been waiting for.
> Listen to your inner voice in trust that she knows.
> What is to be born from you?
> You don't just stand for you but for all women who have no voice.
> Cultivate presence, even to uncertainty and ambiguity.
> Become your own point of reference.
> We must take up this struggle because women exist outside the power structures so only we can change them.
> Why are my daughters still in the street begging, or being stoned or burned to death, or left uneducated, or floundering not knowing their calling...?
> We must ready the next generation for spiritual growth and service not war and work.
> Our icons are important. What icons do we offer to women today? How can they see themselves reflected in all their glory and amazing strength?
> Devi is the divine feminine of god and the devi is being called today.
> We must come back to our true selves- good, kind and generous warriors.
> Conflict is within me not "out there". The fight is to leave behind the too little self and allow our full emergence into our warrior selves.
> The demons within are anger, laziness and too small a vision of myself.
> Share what you already have with others and realize you are on the path.
> Grandmothers' responsibility is to the 7 future generations. Share your love, be that love, share your flame. Get serious and take time for your own spiritual practice.
> We're not in competition with men but redressing the balance.
> Stop refusing leadership and giving it to men.
> Step up to the plate with urgency- the planet is dying!
> Set up times to get together and re-inspire each other.
> Our life must be our spiritual practice in order to transform.
> Emotions can lead to transformation. What are you going to do with this energy?
> Breath is the bridge to stillness.
> Gather women around issues, not around spirituality. Invite women from different groups to address the issue. Then go to work.
> We're not a fragile gender. We give birth to the next generation and risk our lives to do it. We're not weak.
> When you work from the known, you're in the ego. When you work from the unknown, you're in the divine. The ego never goes into unknown territory.
> Let's re-introduce spirituality even if we work out of the framework of religion.
> How do you change men? You change yourself.

It was a rich, challenging weekend. It was certainly on point for me at this time. They asked 2 questions of us on the last day: 1. What am I being called to do?
2. What can I commit to now?
My answers: 1. To craft a new role for grandmothers as respected elders in our culture so that we can bring our wisdom to the issues of our day.
2. Gather some grandmothers together and start to discuss how to do this individually and collectively.
It makes my hands sweat and my stomach tighten, especially since I live in a country where I'm still learning the language, but I can start with women who speak English too. And there's always online communication. I can start.

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