Tag Archive | lana dalberg

Birthing God, Birthing Myself

squatting_birth_goddessAn excerpt from a time in my life when meditations were pulsatingly alive:

…Visions appeared, fragrant from another realm: oceans and forest streams with eddying pools where four-legged animals gathered to drink. During that period, as my body shifted toward change, toward menopause, my inner spirit opened itself to the larger Spirit, and I came face-to-face with God as Mother. Scenes unfurled on my inner eye in undulating landscapes, and she stepped into them.

In the visions, the Mother cared for me, providing me nourishment, clothing, walking sticks, and gemstone necklaces that spoke to me of my inestimable worth in her eyes. She midwifed my children, helping me to birth them into the world. And there were later visions of death and rebirth. I typed each one into my laptop.

“Today I saw myself emerging from the water, clothed in buckskin and with long black braids. But as I emerged, I saw pieces of myself break off like shards—shards of me falling away, splashing into the water. I was afraid, and I reached toward the sun, my Mother. The sun voice said, ‘Behold, here is my daughter, with whom I am well pleased.’ And I was a woman’s body again: curvy, voluptuous, pregnant, and, althouearthmothergh pregnant, old. I walked with a cane. I carried age in my bones. The time came for me to bring forth the child in my womb. I gripped a pole, and my Mother Midwife soothed me, stroking my hair, patting my brow dry, feeding me water to drink, and whispering words of encouragement in my pain. My pain was the labor of birth but the pain of not knowing, too. I heaved and groaned through the pains, and I birthed an adult—an androgynous human being that was as big as me, that merged with me, swirling like the symbol of the yin and the yang. This was My birth, I realized. I searched for my Mother God, and I heard her say, ‘I am here: in the rain, in the sun, and in the earth. I will always be there for you.'”

 

From Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

Click to order Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

 

 

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Gratitude: a Wellspring of Joy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis past weekend, I joined with friends to celebrate and deepen our gratitude—gratitude for the earth, for home, for friends and family, for the Divine, and for each other.

I learned from these dear friends that we receive so many gifts daily that some we  take for granted, like the moment we are free of pain or the moment we inhale another breath.

But if we awake to the wonder of each day, we see that every moment is replete with grace and possibility. Gratitude flows, a wellspring of joy.

*              *              *               *

Pictured here is Viviana of Cuzco, Peru, whose story of wonder and gratitude appears in my book,  Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

Get Down into Joy

Sadaya Zimmerle transmits both lightness and spark over the phone, reminding me of her high-energy step as she led the Dances of Universal Peace that I’d attended. “At the Mendocino Sufi camp,” she says, “we get to do the dances for days. Tears come to my eyes, and I feel deeply held and loved and fully accepted. In the midst of dancing and also in chanting, I feel a deep clarity like I’m on the right track, and a deep well of joy. I might come to the Sufi dancing with all kinds of things on my chest, and it’s like that stuff gets sloughed off. Whatever pain I have gets gradually shed toward the surface, and I get down into joy.”

Sadaya’s selection is from Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine. To see a preview, click on the link and then on the Google preview button.

Click to order Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

From Homelessness to Sisterhood

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 A Tribute to Mary Liza Rodriguez

Chrissy Fransone was driving home when she passed a homeless woman and her dogs sitting beside the roadway. She heard inside herself a voice that said “Go back to her” and felt its insistence in her solar plexus. She turned her car around and went back to the woman. The woman was Mary Liza Rodriguez, who had prayed that exact afternoon, “Lord, send me a sister” because she felt like she wanted to “end it all” by walking into oncoming traffic. She had had enough of homelessness.

How did Mary become homeless? She grew up poor. Even though she had graduated from a medical assistant program, she had no job and no health insurance, and yet she had a medical condition: a heart murmur. But mostly it was her landlord’s greed that put her on the streets. When the apartment complex where she resided went into receivership, the landlord chose to continue to collect rent from tenants rather than notify them. When the bank finally foreclosed on the property, Mary had two hours to pack up her belongings before the sheriff evicted her. Mary took with her everything she could carry and her dogs. The one relative who offered her shelter told her she’d have to get rid of her dogs. Mary would not abandon her beloved pets, even if it meant living on the streets.

Mary’s heart condition worsened significantly after she lost her home, and it eventually caused her to gain over 100 pounds in water weight. But when Chrissy took Mary in, her long brown hair still had that healthy gleam and her 47-year-old face its beauty.

Chrissy says that Mary lived in her home, on and off, for a year. They became like sisters. “Mary changed my life,” Chrissy says. “She was incredibly funny. Only Mary could make me laugh like she did.” But less than a year into their friendship, Mary passed on. Because of her heart disease, she had been hospitalized

mary Rodriguez with Chrissy

several times. One weekend Chrissy insisted that Mary go to the hospital because she didn’t look well and Chrissy was going out of town. But Mary refused to go to the hospital. She died on her own terms, surrounded by her dogs and Chrissy’s dogs. Congestive heart failure was the stated cause although heart brokenness from the loss of her home could well be the real cause. Mary’s dogs became Chrissy’s “boys”.

tiff infomation

A year has passed since Mary’s death. Chrissy, who works as a nanny, says, “Whenever I’m walking the  baby, I feel Mary’s presence. I often see a white butterfly and feel that it’s her spirit, Mary’s spirit, because when she was very ill with her heart disease and all the IV tubes in her during her hospitalizations, she would say to me that she just wanted to be able to run again, with the wind in her face. And so when I see the white butterflies, I think of Mary with the wind in her face, flying free.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

gaia_goddess_of_the_earth

God to me

Is my dark-haired mother,

Stroking my forehead

As she lullabies me to sleep.

My Mother is the earth

And all her creatures,

The web that brings us into relationship

With one another.

God to me

Is the Mother

Who spills Her essence into the world,

Creating and calling us to create

From the wombs of our being.

God to me

Is the Mother

Whose voice was drowned out

For most of history,

And yet,

I find Her in my deepest wisdom.

Alone, I feel Her touch

Upon my brow,

Mothering me still,

Mothering us all.

Dedicated to my mother, Anabelle Dalberg, on Mother’s Day 2004

from  Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

Artwork from Gaia Goddess of the Earth

REVEREND ELENA KELLY AND THE DIVINE MOTHER

From Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine (SkyLight Paths)  Photo: Courage Campaign.org

Sister Elena Kelly is tall and broad shouldered. She takes a seat and drapes her dark floral-print skirt over black suede boots. Elena is not your ordinary woman religious. She is starting a convent for transgender women. She made her own transition several years earlier, after serving in the U.S. Navy, raising six kids, becoming ordained in two religious traditions, and founding a nondenominational church in Colorado.

These facts spill from her with ease, with laughter, but her life has been anything but facile. She points to the Divine Mother as the one who sustained her. “My first experience of the Divine Mother,” Elena recalls, “was a long time ago. I wasn’t even five years old yet. My mother was an alcoholic, and my dad was a farmer and gone all day. One day my mom and dad get in this terrible fight, and I’m horrified. I remember running back to my room, getting down on my knees, and saying, ‘Dear Heavenly Mother, the Heavenly Father is not paying attention when I pray. Would you please do something about my parents and make them stop fighting?’ No sooner had I said those words when the house went silent. And I thought to myself, ‘So there is a Divine Mother. I thought so. If there’s a Father, there has to be a Mother.’”

When Elena was still very young, she dreamed, “An angel from heaven—I like to call her Divine Mother—came down from heaven with this big white robe and feathery wings, and she wrapped her arms around me and took me away from that horrible life I had.”

As a teenager, Elena attempted suicide twice. “Mother Mary, the Divine Mother, saved me from killing myself,” Elena asserts. “She’s been there every step of the way. Things happen to me every day that She has ordered and put into place.”

Click to order Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

 

Celebrating Women’s Day Among the Redwoods

redwood forestBefore read­ing from my book, Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine, I walked with a friend through the red­woods sur­round­ing Stillheart Institute in Woodside, California. As we descended the trail, I ran my fin­gers over the plush, green moss coat­ing the rocks along the path. I rel­ished the spongi­ness of the for­est floor beneath my feet. I hugged one of the younger red­woods, encir­cling it with my arms and star­ing up at its branched, lofty spire as it dis­ap­peared into the misty fog.

There in the for­est, and later seated before a win­dow with an ample view of the red­woods, I silently offered my prayers as our cel­e­bra­tion of International Women’s Day began. The room radi­ated with the fire’s crack­ling heat and the pul­sat­ing energy of 70 incred­i­ble women. Viviana and Hyun Kyung, the women whose sto­ries I read, were present in a spe­cial way. They had suf­fered greatly, and yet had opened their hearts to divine love and the inter­con­nect­ed­ness of all life. Their sto­ries offered us insights into our own pains and trans­for­ma­tions, our own deaths and rebirths.

Thank you, Stillheart for hon­or­ing all women and enabling us to come together on International Women’s Day as we pur­sue our indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive trans­for­ma­tion. Thank you for empow­er­ing us to cel­e­brate boldly, to nur­ture our souls, and to share our gifts with the world!

To pre­view the women’s sto­ries in Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine, click here:

www.skylightpaths.com/page/product/978–1-59473–480-9

For more on Lana Dalberg and a sched­ule of upcom­ing events for Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine, click here:

www.womenspiritandfaith.com

Blog originally posted on Stillheart’s website at:

http://www.stillheart.org/blog/past-events/birthing-god-sharing-womens-spiritual-experiences-on-international-womens-day/