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Category Archives: Authentic Spiritual Path

America is in transition.

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Women who have experienced the full birthing process know the powerful moment of “transition.” Please watch this YouTube testimony to the power of love. Valarie Kaur, January 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCenwgheIBs

 

Valarie Kaur

 

On Sanctuary

With the upheaval we in the United States have experienced in the past weeks, the word “sanctuary” has taken on a deeper meaning for me. We all need places of sanctuary when times and events are ominous and hurtful. How can this blog address the need for sanctuary in our world today? Certainly churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship have traditionally provided sanctuary to people in distress or danger. And “sanctuary cities” are springing up across the United States. Last night I attended a vigil at a local Islamic Center (Hudson, NY) which was held to affirm solidarity with immigrants. It was a warm, candlelit outdoor gathering on a frigid night. The gathering was sponsored by the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement. Sanctuary as a movement is interesting to me.

Hudson Islamic Center vigil for solidarity

Hudson Islamic Center vigil for solidarity

My interest lies in sanctuaries without walls, and spontaneous gatherings, rather than literal sanctuary in buildings. On the day of the Women’s Marches worldwide,  a friend and I gathered together a group of women who for a variety of reasons were not marching. Around a dining room table we spoke our fears and hopes, and pondered actions we could take.

How, in our everyday lives, do we each provide sanctuary to others? How can we, with others, provide sanctuary in ways  “outside the walls?” What does sanctuary mean to you, and how do you create or experience it in your life?

Endings and Beginnings

As I write this, the Elderwomen series described on this blog is coming to an end.  Ten of us met on a monthly basis beginning in September 2010, braving this exceptionally cold, snowy, and ice-coated Northeastern winter. What a hearty, intrepid, and wise group of women! While the gatherings are coming to an end (a beginning!),  there may be green off-shoot groups growing, after we experience our March Initiation. “Initiation,” after all, means beginning. So keep an eye on this blog to see what is offered next.

You may also wish to see the February Elderwoman newsletter published by my friend Marian. In it she describes the Spring flowers which are already appearing near her home in England. Spring carries especially rich symbolism after a hard Winter. Rebirth, resurrection, renewal.

The above photo of emerging snowdrops was taken in my garden on March 7, 2010. Dream on it! What tender green shoots of hope, life, and endeavor are waiting to emerge in your life, or in the wider world?

Finding Sanctuary

• Finding sanctuary.

• Listening to earth-spirit whispers.

• Sharing our stories and experiences.

• Developing the heart-dimensions of who we are.

• Becoming monks in the world, as we take our learning and presence seriously, playfully, compassionately back into the world when we part.

• Living from a deeper place within ourselves in each encounter as we live our daily lives: the passionate, connecting, transforming power that we can bring to the healing of one another and our world.

Earthen Practices

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“Our task is to stamp this provisional, perishing earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately that its being may rise again, ‘invisibly’ in us.” — Rainer Maria Rilke, 1925
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The snow covers the ground here.

The light with its long shadows, the bare branches – it seems that everything is dead.

But this death is another stage of life.  With your hand, brush away the snow, and the signs of life will be there. Seeds are waiting to awaken, the insects are there, animals are burrowed in dens. The days grow longer. Hold them near. The wheel of life is turning.

Special Guest: Marian Van Eyk McCain – 9/12/10

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Marian Van Eyk McCain

Marian Van Eyk McCain, author of Elderwoman: Reap the Wisdom – Feel the Power – Embrace the Joy, will speak on Sunday, September 12th, 2010, at 2 PM, upstairs in the Community Room at Chatham Real Food Market Co-op. (Please note that the Co-op is not open for business on Sundays.)

Marian’s most recent book is GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness, which she edited. This collection of diverse voices reveals deep thinking on the connections between ecology and spirituality. All are welcome to attend this event, which is sponsored by Sanctuary Without Walls.

Please RSVP so that we will have enough seats for everyone. And please share this message with your friends. Marian rarely travels by plane (she lives in England) because of the environmental impact of jet travel, so we’re fortunate to have time with her. Save the date!

Marion also writes fiction (The Bird Menders) as well as her marvelous books on simplifying one’s life (The Lilypad List: 7 Steps to the Simple Life) and women’s health and spirituality (Transformation Through Menopause).

Last year at a conference, I overheard a woman saying that the book Elderwoman was her “bible” on aging and spirituality. Marian’s visit in September will take place just days before the beginning of Sanctuary Without Wall’s seven-part monthly series for women 55 and older: Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman. Marian’s book is one of the resources used in planning this series for women.

People of all ages / genders are welcome to attend her talk on September 12th. To RSVP or for more information, contact info@sanctuarywithoutwalls.org.

GreenSpirit Poster

Growing Wiser: Elderwomen Meetings Begin in September

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“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.” Eleanor Roosevelt

What follows is a description of a SWW event from 2010-2011.

We stand at a time when the world is in need of wisdom, especially the wisdom of the Elders.  Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman is a seven-part event designed to lead us thoughtfully, consciously, and joyfully into our Third Age. We will look deeply at our lives so far; discover (and re-discover) those things that are life- and energy-giving for us; separate the grain from the chaff; and step forward into our role as Elderwomen, which will be unique to each of us.

Join us for this important and life-affirming journey. For women, age 55 and older, meeting in Columbia County, NY. Second Tuesday of each month, September 14, 2010 through March 8, 2011.