Welcome to the FMBR Women's Group
The Six Cs
The Women’s Group gathered again on a Sunday afternoon, in July, to witness each other and share our stories on the theme of life transitions. Each woman present shared about a transition they are working through and we were reminded that everyone, likely everyone you know, is going through some change, some loss, some reorganization of their identity in the world. Their relationships are changing, their life circumstances are challenging, their world view is being shifted.
Many of us are acutely aware that we are transitioning on many levels: individually, societally, and planetarily. It can be a challenge to maintain a sense of balance when things get particularly intense, so we discussed the strategies people use to help them navigate when their world seems off balance. Here are some of the tools that help the most (The Six Cs):
Contemplation/Meditation: For millennia, the spiritual masters have told us that sitting quietly, focusing on our breath and simply being present is essential to our emotional balance and physical and spiritual health. This practice, when undertaken regularly, is well known to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance self-awareness and promote emotional health, in addition to providing a host of other physical and spiritual benefits.
Context: We can start to feel overwhelmed when we perceive ourselves to be alone, unprepared, out of our element or not up to the task. At those times, it can really help to actively expand the context within which we see ourselves: zoom out, as it were. I’m reminded of a lovely poem by Shane Koyczan called Circles:
If you keep your eye on depression….and then back away
Spacing yourself farther and farther
But all the while watching depression shrink in the growing distance,
When that tiny speck of sadness vanishes from sight completely--
It's at that precise moment
Your periphery will catch hands, reaching up from behind you to cover your eyes,
and you will hear a small voice whisper,
I am of the belief that we are not human beings seeking spiritual experiences, but spiritual (divine) beings having a human experience. Sometimes it helps to zoom out and watch your life as a story unfolding, a story of a pioneering spirit who came to Earth to experience…. something. You fill in the blank. Write your story as the narrator of an adventure story and see how your perspective changes.
Creative expression: Some women in our circle mentioned the therapeutic value of some sort of creative expression when you feel stuck or overwhelmed. Paint, draw, write, make a collage, sew, take up pottery, dance…whatever moves you and gives you an outlet will help when you are feeling ungrounded.
Connection: Meet with a friend, get out in nature, pray, talk to a counselor or a spiritual advisor, meet with a group of like-minded folks (your FMBR family, for one). Reinforce the connections that help you remember that you are never alone.
Choice: When conditions seem really challenging, it can be very easy to fall into fearfulness. When I feel myself getting fearful about the future, I remind myself that I am always at choice. (Having loads of spiritual books to refer to helps here and many of you who have been to my house know that I’m kind of a spiritual book addict!) With the help of meditation and connecting to my mentors, I can pull back and remind myself that I am committed to choosing Love in every instance. And that feels like a much more empowering choice than allowing myself to surrender to fear.
Conscious, purposeful action: Look for the people who are taking conscious, purposeful action in the world. There are many of them and many opportunities to join in and do something that feels helpful. One of our members will be giving a talk on this very subject later in the year and, with her permission, I would love to share excerpts of it when she’s ready. In the meantime, the book The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates was highly recommended as an inspiration during difficult times. (In particular, the audiobook is recommended so you can hear her read it herself.) There are many, many videos to watch that will inspire you and give you hope as you consider the challenges facing society and the planet. One of my favorite go-to inspirations is a speech Paul Hawken gave in April 2007 about the “Biggest Movement in the World that No One Saw Coming” -- the reason we can have hope for a meaningful transformation in the world.
What tools do you use to keep centered during major life transitions or when you see society and global changes? How to you stay grounded as your identity shifts?
* Image Attribution: Fire Sister by Joyce Eakins, from Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins, PhD
Albert Einstein famously said that “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Like many of you, we believe that the central task of our times is a change in the consciousness of humanity. For humanity to move from a culture of competition and domination to a culture of synergy, regeneration and compassion, we must develop the ability:
- to expand the context within which we see ourselves as individuals and as a species
- to know ourselves as intricately connected to the natural world, to each other and to something greater than ourselves
- and to envision and work for a world that works for everyone
Indeed, it is part of FMBR’s mission statement to work toward that end. We, and many others, are working toward making the theme of interconnectedness the theme of science.
Dr. Jonas Salk wrote about the need for a new science that uses intuition and reason together “to bring about a change in the collective mind that will constructively influence the course of the human future.”1 Part of creating that change requires listening to and honoring perspectives that have traditionally been left out of the narrative--perspectives that honor unity, creativity, compassion—perspectives that are commonly held to be feminine in nature. In short, we believe that women’s voices, women’s perspectives and women’s relational mindset are key to raising the consciousness of humanity to a level at which new solutions can present themselves. The elevation of relational perspectives is happening around the world and needs to be accelerated.
In this vein, we have formed a roundtable for the women of FMBR to connect and discuss issues that arise related to science, spirituality, art, self-expression, intuition or any other subject that arises in service to the elevation of consciousness.
1: Salk, Anatomy of Reality, 11-19.
Things We Love
Please check out the work of Judith Shaw. She is such an inspiring artist and her work is deeply infused with feminine spirituality. www.JudithShawart.com
Whimsy Meets Ancient Wisdom
Shaw's work combines whimsy and the esoteric. Shaw is inspired by nature, ancient wisdom traditions, and the Goddess.
Shaw's work is firmly grounded in reality, all be it a bit magical and whimsical. Her paintings, while deeply spiritual, express a sense of play and joyfulness in our physical world. Her work imparts a vibration of healing, peace and wholeness.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours,
and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese,
high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese,
harsh and exciting -over and over announcing
in the family of things.
Mary Oliver 1935-2013