IN PRAISE OF SISTERHOOD – WEEKLY STRETCH 1-19-17

IN PRAISE OF SISTERHOOD – WEEKLY STRETCH 1-19-17

Kwan Yin is an East Asian bodhisattva * associated with compassion as venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. She is commonly known as the “Goddess of Mercy” in English.

A string of dreary days here in the Northeast has offered me some time to reflect and ruminate and the topic that rises to the top is the value of “sisterhood”- in my life and in the lives of some of the people I know. I am blessed to be a member of many different groups focused on different aspects of my lifestyle. Most of the people in these groups are women of various ages and backgrounds. Personally, I thrive in diversity and I’m fortunate to have that in abundance. I work from home almost exclusively now and, while I don’t mind being alone and rather enjoy the solitude, it can and does sometimes get lonely on gloomy, gray days like the ones we have in the Winter. These groups, predominantly via private social media, become my social life and my way of connecting with others of like mind.

One unique little “family” comes to mind. We are seven people – 6 women and one extraordinary man (my husband) – and we are truly a family. We are connected through cyberspace heart to heart and we share our lives, our challenges, our thoughts, our dreams, our fears, our joys and our triumphs. We care about each other and keep each other in heart and mind. While there is physical distance between us, in cyberspace we are only a keystroke away. Technology is truly a gift when used in good ways.

Another group is in support of those of us involved in a “30-Day Challenge”. This challenge is about making drastic changes in diet and lifestyle and we support each other in every way. Many of the women have shared intimate and deeply personal aspects of their lives, some have reported deaths of loved ones, some have children in the hospital, most have simply needed support and a great many have been extremely kind and generous with theirs. We are there for each other for the sole purpose of knowing we are not alone as we all navigate this new way of being. When one falls she has virtual hands ready to pull her back up. It’s amazing to witness and be part of this valiant group of women.

In real-time I am surrounded by some of the most magnificent women imaginable. My family, close friends, fellow ministers are truly women of great substance. Recently I have found myself in deep discussions with most of them, surrounding a variety of issues, and I’ve been struck again and again how deeply the Goddess vibration runs. Women have a very special connection that goes beyond the surface; beyond skin and bone; beyond cosmetics and clothing and who shops where; beyond economics and who has the bigger house or the most successful job. This connection is at the soul level. This is the connection we all share; the essence of The Goddess in each one of us and our innate ability to be deeply compassionate and protective. The women in my life are vibrating with the magnificent light of Kwan Yin, the Goddess of compassion and healing; they radiate kindness and concern and a desire to help and understand. They come from the place of The Divine Mother – the One who loves and supports unconditionally. They are daughters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts. They love deeply. And they are strong. Boy, are they strong, and fiercely loyal. Are they flawed? Of course, they are. Everyone is flawed in one way or another. But at the core, where it really counts, I see nothing but the light of The Divine Feminine shining through them and spilling forth into everything they encounter. They are the light of compassion and healing.

These are my sisters. These women reflect to me my own intrinsic divinity and help me see that I too am the essence of The Mother, and now the Crone* in the sacred company of the Wise Ones who hold that essential space for the younger ones who will eventually occupy the throne of wisdom where we now reside. I am humbled by every one of these women and abundantly grateful to all the communities where I am blessed to encounter them every day.

STRETCH: Look at yourself in the mirror. Look long and hard into your own eyes. Notice the fire that burns deep within, beyond your face and your body, beyond your skin and hair. Look into your eyes. Linger there. The eyes are the window to the soul; a soul that burns with the fierce fire of The Mother. You are that. When you can, look into the eyes of the women you encounter in your day and silently bow to the Goddess that is alive within them. These are your sisters.

*Bodhisattva – Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is the embodiment of great compassion. He has vowed to free all sentient beings from suffering. In China, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is represented in female form and is known as Kuan Yin. Probably because of Kuan Yin’s great compassion, a quality which is traditionally considered feminine. Anyone can be like Kuan Yin. You may say that you don’t have a thousand eyes or a thousand arms or that you lack skilful means, but it is your compassion that can transform you into a Kuan Yin. With your eyes and hands, you can help others. With your compassion, you can bring peace and tranquility to this world. (from www.buddhanet.net)

*Crone – In her positive aspect she is often depicted as a Grandmother, a wise woman, or a midwife. The word Crone is derived from the old word for crown, suggesting the wisdom that emanates from the head like a halo. Her own child baring days are past; she is the wisdom keeper, seer and healer and midwife, whose knowledge is sought out to guide others during life’s hardships and transitions. (from www.goddess-guide.com)

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