Over and over in our lives, when we sit quietly, in the night or during a brief moment in the day, there is always this question: where do we put our attention? Holding this question, we can become receptive to an inner response. It is how the feminine works. We listen.
I remember a few years ago, sitting among a circle of women in a small, round building on the land in Ohio. A Native American woman shared a dream that expresses the power of our attention. It is a sacred dream, which she said could be shared. In her dream she saw a huge, grey cloud. It was devouring anything in its path. She sat in her car, frozen in fear. As it came towards her, she saw it begin to pull a small child into itself. She then realized that she had to help this child. She quickly got out of her car, and with a prayer, stepped towards the cloud. It receded, just a little. She took another step, and it receded again.
Her dream is etched into my memory. It spoke at a deep level of how to be with fear. And while the dream is not to be taken literally, it expresses a certain trust. Like any dream, or story, it has different layers. The dream, to me, connects to a way of being in the midst of great challenge.
A few weeks before the election, I had a dream. In the dream I see a book. It is a very simple book, and in it are written these words: It is the purpose of some people to bring light to humanity. They often do not even know who they are.
The dream spoke to me of how, in any and every situation, we have choices. Our little choices can be like small shifts of attention, which permeate life like rain. Just in our daily life.
Recently, I realized a need to wait and to listen to life. During this time, a woman contacted me to learn more about the work that we do with circles of women in homelessness. We sat talking, and she explained that she is a social worker at a shelter in another city, for women who are homeless. For a year, she said, she has wanted to bring something else to the women at the shelter, besides attending to their outer needs. She didn’t know what this might be.
When I spoke about our circles, she immediately recognized that this is what she had been yearning to offer. Her new program will begin soon. It will be called Finding Strength in the Silence.
I am so acutely aware of the current need to hold this feminine way of living. In ordinary life, it works and flows, connecting us to each other and to life. Sometimes it confronts me with fear; at other times, this inner attention opens to a sudden, tender love, seemingly from nowhere – but always for the life around me.
Waiting and listening, we are oriented towards a deeper purpose.