Tag Archive | women’s literature

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

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Birthing God:Women’s Experiences of the Divine is now part of a book club promotion! Check it out! http://www.skylightpaths.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=BOOKCLUBPROD&Store_Code=SP&Product_Code=978-1-59473-480-9Birthing God cover

Worth. Value. Place.

Alice Martin“I’m of  worth. I have value. I have a place.”

Alice Martin’s smile is shy and her black eyes observant. When asked to characterize her experience of the Divine, she begins with a story about herchurch. “It was during last year’s croning ceremony. Oh, how can I describe it?” Searching for words, Alice looks toward the altar, allowing me a partial view of her tucked-in crown of hair. She depicts the older women sitting up front in chairs like thrones, how they were honored for their wisdom, how she was moved to tears. “It’s like the floodgates just opened, and I was in this experience of joy. I really felt the presence of God, of Goddess. It was like a down-pouring.”

Alice reaches up with both hands as if parting a curtain. “It felt like this light on me, this golden glow, and this connection to the Source, the Divine. So many times I’ve been struggling against my own feelings of unworthiness and the sense of being oppressed as a woman, as a minority. You have those everyday pressures and then there’s your own emotional baggage that kicks you down and keeps you down, and the task is to dismantle that. But this was just such a moment of ‘I’m of worth. I have value. I have a place.’”

Photo credit: VanViva.com

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/

The Next Big Thing: My New Project

What is the title of your book?

Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine. It will be published by SkyLight Paths Publishing in March 2013.

Where did the idea come from for this book?

I’ve had a variety of experiences of Spirit, including mystical visions and nature-based revelations, and I was curious to learn about other women’s experiences of the Divine.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely nonfiction, although I crafted the interviews into narratives so that they read like stories.

How long did it take to write the first draft?

A year and two months. My goal was to interview 50 women by International Women’s Day. By the time I was done, I had interviewed nearly 60 women in total.

What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?

Hhhmmm. There’s 40 women’s stories, so I’d have to think of a lot of women actors: Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Michelle Yeoh, Ellen DeGeneres, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Vanessa Redgrave…

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In Birthing God, 40 women relate spirit-filled moments: a grieving pastor walks a labyrinth and rediscovers the Rock of her existence; a human rights advocate re-encounters Allah in an intensely visceral moment in the sun; an educator, moved by an ancestral vision, launches a global tree-planting project to heal the wounds of slavery; a revolutionary awakens from a coma and realizes that all of life is infused with Spirit. Each woman’s story invites readers to deepen and enliven their own spiritual practices. Oops, that was two sentences!

Will it be self published or represented by an agency?

My publisher is SkyLight Paths Publishing (www.skylightpaths.com).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My own mystical encounters and a craving to hear other women share their experiences since most spiritual accounts are authored by men.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

While spiritual memoirs abound, not many showcase 40 women’s spiritual stories in one book. The closest cousin to my book is the anthology, Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership (SkyLight Paths 2011), where 30 women contribute their thoughts on women’s spirituality and the imperative for women’s transforming leadership in the world.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The stories sizzle with insight and intensity. For example, a Korean theologian and dharma teacher describes feeling the inexplicable consolation of God’s hands while she was being tortured in a South Korean prison. In another story, a Salvadoran under fire discovers within herself the God who gives her courage. (If it sounds like I’m totally jazzed by these stories, I am!)

Thanks to Lindsey Crittenden for inviting me to participate in this blog chain!

http://loveinshallah.com/contributors-2/

Ayesha Mattu’s first book, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women  was featured globally by media including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, Washington Post, The Guardian, Times of India, Dawn Pakistan and The Jakarta Post. She is working on a family memoir about three generations of Pakistani Sufi women, and blogs at Love InshAllah. http://loveinshallah.com/contributors-2/

Come celebrate my new book, Birthing God!

Great news! Skylight Paths Publishing will be publishing my book, Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine in early 2013.

In Birthing God, forty women relate spirit-filled moments: a grieving pastor walks a labyrinth and rediscovers the Rock of her existence; a human rights advocate re-encounters Allah in an intensely visceral moment in the sun; an educator, moved by an ancestral vision, launches a global tree-planting project to heal the wounds of slavery; a revolutionary awakens from a coma and realizes that all of life is infused with Spirit; a peasant woman under fire discovers within herself the God who gives her courage; and a disabled doctor, embraced by Shekinah, turns her heart to rabbinical studies. Each woman’s story invites readers to deepen and enliven their own spiritual practices.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, join with me in celebration this coming weekend at the 6th   annual herconference November 2-4 at herchurch, where I will be leading a workshop. See http://herconferencesf.org/workshops/ for more details. Hope to see you there!