Back in 1971, when I was in Grade 7, all I wanted was to become a ‘Sister of Mary’. They were the high school girls, who glided like angels into church every Saturday morning wearing these soft blue capes over their dresses. Like an apparition, they appeared so pure, so beautiful, so mysterious. Oh, I so wanted that!
You can imagine how disappointed I was when they abolished the practice just as I came into Grade 8!
Even though I have not been a practicing catholic since the age of 16, I am profoundly aware that those early years formed a deep impression on me and an appreciation of the sacred, of devotion, dedication, kindness, and of love.
And it also left its mark with its underbelly of sexual repression, shame, and guilt. But you don’t have to be catholic to experience these things. Just by being in general society, differing religions, family backgrounds, bound by rules, some that are almost beyond humanly possible – all these leave their mark. From my own personal inquiry, I get that we are born innocent and are ‘written upon’ from the very beginning.
So, to find a way back to our original nature can be a journey. As Joseph Campbell says, it is the quintessential hero’s journey.
I often contemplate those days when I sit quietly by myself or come to a certain point while teaching women or couples, what could be in its most general or basic sense, termed ‘sex education’, I ask myself ‘How the hell did I get here?’... after that catholic upbringing.
One thing I am certain of is that every, not just some, but every single event on your woman’s heroine’s journey, or men's hero's journey, joyous or otherwise has led to what you are doing now.
“Devotion is a commitment to something we care about deeply. It is a passionate focus on our life’s purpose. It is wholehearted service to an endeavour that we love. Discernment is the first step in discovering what is worthy of our devotion. What is my “yes’? What calls me so strongly that I cannot resist, knowing that it is truly mine to do?”
The one thing that helps me get in touch with what is worthy of my devotion, is putting myself in a space where I can feel my heart, my own love, where I can feel safe with others who I know can 'hold' me with good intention, and I can finally soften those parts that brace to cope with the world.
We all need this - we all need more of this. God knows I do. That's why it's important to put ourselves in the presence of others, who have a common intention and goodwill towards each other. This is the balm that can soothe and heal.
That's why I love Art of Feminine Presence. It is a place where women can come together, in a space of safety and trust.
And it's also the place where I get to (kind of) live out some of my Sisters of Mercy dream - no capes though!! Just the beautiful exploration of devotion, of turning inward to find my own true essence, and also to open into the mystery of being feminine.
If you are a woman, and you are curious about what is worthy of your devotion and to coming home inwards to yourself, I'd love to see you there. And if you are from interstate, accommodation is available at the venue, but please book asap as rooms go fast. Details below.
When: Saturday Feb 8th 8.30 am - 5 pm
Where: Kondalilla Eco Resort.
Cost: $247 for one ticket or Bring a friend for $297