Small Steps Towards a Large Solution
by Brenda Lightfeather Marroy
"Give me a place to stand and I will move the world.” Anonymous Woman
As I ponder the times we live in, I’m conscious of the downward spiral of our civilization. We live in a world of an ailing economy and massive unemployment. Greed and corruption are rampant, and the news of global and environmental catastrophes fill the airwaves.
This is the age of globalization so you’d think we would be enjoying the effects of an interconnected world with increased consciousness of the planet as a whole. However, instead we are more disjointed and separated than ever.
Looking at our wounded world which is filled with sorrow and pain, I ask the questions, “How can I help? What can I do to reach out and connect with humanity? Can I really make a difference?” Pondering these questions I hear the answer in my heart. “Women who are part of a firmly connected sisterhood of women are one of the best solutions available to ailing humankind.”
I’m reminded that women have the ability to make deep connections, reach out in compassion, and model love and peace. For most women, loving, nurturing, and expressing tenderness and kindness is our natural state of being. I know that as I stand in my power and take small steps forward, I can contribute to a snowball effect of changing mass consciousness.
Connecting to Goddess
The first and most basic step is being firmly rooted in and connected to goddess mother. Many of us have different ways of connecting to divine, feminine energy. I use rituals, prayer, drum circles, weekend women’s gatherings, music, books, and other processes too numerous to mention. However, I’m convinced that my connection to goddess energy takes a quantum leap when I’m willing to go beyond what I know and do, and be present to and inclusive of all of life. A spirituality that is powerful enough to change life is not about what I know and how many rituals I perform; rather it is about how I live. Is my life filled with what I long to see on the planet? If someone were to stand in front of me and read my life, would they read compassion, love, peace and joy? Or would they read judgment and non-acceptance, or unhealed anger, fear, and bitterness? I know that if I’m going to help heal the planet, my life must personify my beliefs.
I find it too easy to become rigid and mired in what I believe. I’m aware that I can even become self-righteous when I think what I know is all there is. When I find myself resisting what is and spending time and energy trying to reform the world to believe like I believe, I know I’m stuck. When I can surrender to my goddess essence and love others where they are, a space opens for healing and as a result the energy within me and around me shifts. Goddess energy is all-encompassing, and it eclipses my knowledge. Her love and benevolence have no boundaries.
What drew me from a patriarchal belief system to the Goddess was the acceptance and mercy I felt emanating from goddess love. As I came to know her, I knew she was not a judgmental god but was instead a loving divine mother, and that it was safe for me to put my foot forward on a healing path. There was no need for a mediator to go between me and her. She loved and accepted me as I was.
Because she is feminine energy, I found my value as a woman, which in turn catapulted me into a place of loving and valuing other women. As my relationship with women healed, starting with my relationship with my mother, I soon found myself forming loving and accepting connections with men, children, animals, the earth, and the universe.
Living in a constant state of goddess connection, I am transformed and my knowing becomes a way of life instead of just a fixed belief system. Goddess energy, which is always present to me, is more than ethereal; it is palpable, especially when I practice living it. Immersing myself in her benevolence and love fills me to capacity and everything and everyone around me reap the benefits of the overflow.
Connecting to Myself
I’m charged by the Goddess to be full of myself. Before I can reach out and connect with others I must be connected to myself. I need to know who I am, what I really need and how to ask for it. This moves me from a place of pretending “I don’t matter” to a state of recognizing myself as a woman who has needs and who is worthy of having those needs met.
This can be tough for some of us because as women we are taught to take care of everyone but ourselves. Mothers especially, tend to put themselves at the bottom of the totem pole, after significant others and children. We are caretakers, we are super women, and we feel invincible. However, we still have needs.
For most of my adult life, I’ve considered myself a very independent woman. I’ve been more comfortable taking care of others than having someone take care of me. Even when I had rotator cuff surgery and could only use one arm, as a super woman I found a way to do as much as I could as quickly as possible.
Life, being a great teacher, then dropped me into a situation where I had to admit I needed to be taken care of and ask for help. I recently had open heart surgery and not only was I ordered to rest, not lift anything over ten pounds, and not push or pull anything, but I found I actually did not have the strength to do these things. So, here I was in the role of an invalid, cared for around the clock for two weeks. It was easy to let the nurses care for me when I was in the hospital, but at home it was a different story. My husband had to help me shower and wash and condition my hair, and he and my other caretakers cooked, shopped, did laundry, and helped me dress. Observing how small and uncomfortable I felt being taken care of, I decided to surrender to the experience and let the process work its way through my being. Many times all I could do was cry because I felt helpless and at the mercy of others. But, I let it happen and in the process I learned the value of connecting to my core and recognizing my humanity and my needs.
Going through this process also helped to clear my vision so I could see how powerful I felt when I was strong and how useless I felt when I was weak. This false sense of power helped to cover my basic belief that my value as a human was based on how independent and healthy I was and how much I could do. This was a loud wake-up call for me to join the human race and recognize that I too had needs.
Connecting to Others
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around" Leo Buscaglia
Seeing the Divine in All I often make the mistake of thinking I’m a human on a spiritual journey, when actually I’m a spiritual being who happens to be on a human journey. We’re all divine beings, each on our own path. I find it harder to pass judgment on others when I focus on their soul. It really doesn’t matter what anyone’s political affiliation, religion, nationality, or skin color is. The core truth is that we’re all connected and we’re all spirit beings. When I practice looking at others as goddesses and gods I notice how my relationship to them takes on a new meaning.
Being Present to Others According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, the word “presence” originates from the Latin prai-before + esse, be. To be present means to be before someone, and not somewhere else. It’s easy to be with someone, yet be absent. I know many people who are accustomed to living out of body or what I call “the light is on but no one’s home” condition. I often catch myself losing focus and drifting into the past or the future.
To give the gift of time and attention to others is a powerful way of connecting.
A few ways I practice presence is by making eye contact and leaning towards the person talking. I also make a habit of giving others my undivided attention and not interrupting or judging. I’m learning to focus on being a listener and not running a “monologue in duet” which, according to Nido Quebin is what happens when I think up what I’m going to say while you’re saying what you thought up while I was talking. I try to remember that children are people too and stoop when I’m talking to them so I can be on the same eye level. I know that Goddess energy is present energy.
Reaching Out and Touching Someone: In order to remember to connect daily with at least one person, I keep a sticker on my refrigerator that says, “HAVE YOU PHONED A FRIEND TODAY?” I feel connected within when I take the time to phone a friend or a family member, or intentionally connect with strangers. When we’re in public, we really don’t know how many people whose paths we cross are in need of a kind word, a smile, or a light touch on the hand or the arm. This includes children. We never know when taking the time to really look at someone and extend kindness to them may be the balm of Gilead for their soul.
I know it can be risky in today’s world to reach out to strangers, but if I’m not willing to answer a call for help or offer a kind word, I have to face the alternative, which is every person for her/himself. The other day, as I was walking across a parking lot on the way to my hair stylist, a woman crossed my path. I said “hi” and she responded. Then I asked, “How are you today?” She stopped and laughing nervously replied, “I just finished a double shift and I’m tired and irritated.” Shrugging her shoulders she continued, “My children are home today so instead of being able to rest and relax I’ll have to put up with them all day.”
Feeling compassion for this woman I decided to take the risk of having a conversation with her. I stood face to face with this beautiful, tired soul and gently said, “I understand how you might be feeling. I’ve been there and done that. I raised four children and I remember those days when all I wanted was to be alone. However, now that my children are grown and gone, I can’t count the times I wished I could go back and recapture some of the moments I lost.” I stopped and looked at her to see if maybe I’d gone too far. Seeing the sadness in her eyes, I continued. “If I could go back I’d take the time to enjoy my children more. Unfortunately, we never get those moments back.”
She stood quiet for a moment and then wistfully said, “You’re right. My children are precious and I don’t get to spend enough time with them. Thanks for reminding me.” As she turned to walk away, I called after her, “Have a good day.” With a smile on her face she answered, “I certainly will.” Her life was touched and perhaps even changed by goddess love.
Realizing the Dream
Connecting to goddess, to myself, and to others are my way of bringing healing to a suffering planet and people. However, I sense that we are at a place where it will take a global village to change mass consciousness. And so I dream of conscious women all over the world rising up and taking their place in the healing process of bringing connection back to the earth and her people. We are all significant cogs in the wheel of life, and I’m confident there will be results as we each in our own way take small steps for a big solution.
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance”, Oprah Winfrey says, “and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”