About 10 days ago I woke with four phrases – just 17 words – flowing out of me.
For years I’ve been exploring, discovering and articulating in many words what my life and work are about – many of you have waited and listened patiently (mostly!) through these attempts.
That morning I could feel the power of those words reverberating through me … and I loved the rich clarity and elegant simplicity embedded in them. These 17 words express the possibility I hold for our world, the ‘way’ we will get there, and ‘who’ we are becoming as we engage this journey. Here they are …
That evening as Bruce and I sat together I felt a deep appreciation for his partnership with me during the years we’ve known and loved each other.
As my husband, his seeing, standing with, and calling me out has played a crucial role as I’ve expanded my capacity to engage each moment of life with powerful authentic presence. In sharing my appreciation of him, and my commitment to continue to stand with powerful authentic presence as he continues his journey, I could feel a surge of powerful, grounded energy flow through my body.
At the time, I said to him I didn’t think I’d ever felt that powerful grounding before. But as I was lying in bed that night – still feeling the energy course through me – I realized that wasn’t true. Though it was almost 10 years earlier, I HAD felt this before.
My first husband was a wonderer, wanderer, teacher, storyteller and photographer, and in November 2005 we travelled to Egypt together. One evening near the beginning of the trip we were in Luxor, and visited the massive temple complex at Karnak; the ruins of what had been a place of worship from around 2055 BCE/BC to 100 CE/AD.
|Entrance to the temple complex at Karnak – bathed in night time mystery
As I wandered through the massive complex, the skillful lighting seen here bathing the avenue of sphinxes lining the entrance to the temple evoked in me a combination of awe at the accomplishments of those ancient builders, and a curiosity about the lives of the people who had lived and worshipped here.
That night I had a dream. In it, my young daughter was cuddling a kitten to her chest. This peaceful scene was interrupted by an arm which appeared and, for some reason I didn’t understand, ripped the kitten away from her. I awoke feeling disturbed, and not knowing how to hold or interpret this dream.
But there was no time to pause, our day was beginning with a return to the temple – this time with our guide. At the entrance, we stopped at the sphinxes, standing there for a while as he spoke about them.
These sphinxes combine the head of a ram (symbolizing the wisdom of the god Amun, the chief deity worshipped in the Great Temple of Karnak) with the body of a lion (representing the power of the creator sun god Ra). Our guide explained that during the period spanning the 16th to 11th centuries BCE there was a departure from the usual pattern of this culture where there was a pantheon of gods. The two identities of Amun and Ra merged to form Amun-Ra, and in becoming the King of Gods, developed into a virtual monotheism.
As I stood there in the bright light of day with our guide’s words washing over me, I felt a sensation unlike anything I’d ever known. It was as if a bolt of energy was shooting through my body; an experience as surprising and in some ways as fierce and disturbing as the hand in my dream that had ripped the kitten out of my young daughter’s arms.
Though I had no idea what it would mean for me, in that moment I knew that my life as a tender, tentative young woman (like my daughter cuddling with the kitten) was over. It was clear to me, as I listened to the words of our guide, I was in no uncertain terms being called to embody in my everyday life the wisdom and power I could feel coursing through my body.
This photo of me was taken the previous afternoon as I wandered through another beautiful temple just outside the Valley of the Kings. A temple built by Hatshepsut – a woman with a powerful story of her own. Through a series of unusual developments, and in a culture dominated by men, Hatshepsut became Pharoah and ruled Egypt from 1473-1458 BCE.
The whole experience in Egypt was extraordinary in many ways. It left me feeling some combination of disoriented, grounded and energized. It catapulted me into a period of deep reflection – I imagine you can feel it in this photo. That reflection developed into a path of discovery that has continued over the almost ten years since then.
It feels like no coincidence that on the same day those 17 words were ‘birthed’ out of me, in a very ordinary moment of sitting on the sofa in conversation with my husband, I once again had the experience of the powerful energy I’d last felt that morning in Egypt. The next iteration of what had been gestating in me since then was readying to emerge. The impatient part of me wanted to say “At last!”, another (wiser!) part of me can see the perfection of the timing.
Interestingly, in another striking experience a few months before my experience in Egypt, my awareness of our crucial need for respectful relationships had become clear. (I wrote about this in another eNews – you can read about it here.)
But awareness was just the first step. I’ve taken this long to embody the wisdom and access the skills to communicate what it means to live by these 17 words. In order to truly hold a vision for a world where we are all
Expand my capacity
Engage each moment of life
doing my part of enacting my vision by living with
While possibilities on this journey continue as long as we’re alive, it feels important to say two things here – the first is
IT DOESN’T NEED TO TAKE YOU AS LONG AS IT TOOK ME!
That’s the advantage of having a scout or pioneer with a vision that’s similar to yours! While we all have a unique journey, there’s no need for each of us to re-invent the wheel. You can take the principles and practices I’ve developed and either use them as is, or tweak them to be more resonant and appropriate for you.
Second, while each of us is unique, through my own experience and that of those with whom I partner, I know that we humans aren’t created to live in isolation
LIFE IS MUCH EASIER AND LESS OVERWHELMING WHEN WE’RE IN COMMUNITY!
I hold these possibilities for any who feel resonance with what I’m saying. If this picture of possibility – something you’ve read or heard me say has awoken something in you, please, do yourself a favour and be in touch. I’d love to explore what it might look like for me to support you as you expand your capacity to meet each moment of life with your own powerful, authentic presence, and Realize RICH Relationships in your life.