Once there was a girl…


I have been reflecting on this greening, so beautifully expressed in many of the dreams that women shared on the last blog. They have to do with honoring the sacredness of life – and how we weave this thread of light and love into our everyday world.

We can’t have any ideal of how this should look. In fact, all the ideals get taken apart, so that we can live more intimately with the life around us. This word – intimate – drew my attention over the last few weeks.

I found that the original meaning of ‘intimate’ is this – relating to one’s deepest nature. Intimate prayers. It is essential, innermost. It is connected to the interior.

So last week, after I spoke with a group of women in a university setting, I asked if they would like to write freely for 5 minutes. They could begin with the words, “Once there was a girl….” I said that this was inspired by a dream in which I had asked the head of state, “What is most important now?” And he replied, “The missing girl child.” And I then saw a golden poppy, with a girl hidden deep inside.

Before they began, I read from my book: “Every young girl somewhere knows wholeness, the state of union with her soul. She may not call it God or the sacred, but when she looks outside at night and sees a star, in that moment she has touched her own essence, and felt connected to all of life and the spirit within. That moment comes as grace. Too often this magic is forgotten.”

And then they wrote. The room was darkened so I couldn’t see clearly all the women sitting in a circle. When they finished, I invited those who wanted, to read aloud what they had written.

One by one, out of the silence, the women read. What they read was so intimate, so inner, but in that space it revealed something for all of us to witness. For nearly every woman wrote of a time when she knew the spirit of the wind, of the creeks and the boulders. Of the secret relationship to matter that was alive and filled with joy. This secret then became so hidden, that “it even became a secret to myself.” One woman read of knowing God in a blade of grass.

Once there was a girl…

It was not just in this setting that I heard of how women experience the sacred in life. One of the women in our meetings at the homeless shelter, spoke up about trees. She is a returned veteran, and has PTSD.

She spoke quietly about seeing southern live oak trees when she was stationed in Orlando, Florida. “I saw those trees with the Spanish moss. Their branches are like this.” And she lifted her arms in a gentle curve as if embracing all life. She said that they shelter and protect. “ The bigger the tree, the more they can give. I want to heal so I can be like these trees – beautifully protecting and sheltering.”

There was such a light in her eyes as she spoke.

It seems to me that we are being called to this deeper way of relating to life – each of us, in different ways. And that the suffering we experience, or witness, is somehow a part of this opening.

Once there was a girl…
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12 years ago

Thank you so much Anne for writing about the synchronicity of the blog and what you were working on at the time. What a mystery it is, that we get to participate, often knowingly, in a larger web of connectivity! And how our sharing, even blog writing, is part of this mystery.

12 years ago

Thank you Petra,

Anne Hillman
12 years ago

When your blog came in, it was just what I needed this very moment! I’d been reflecting on the roots of the word ‘intimacy’ for the last hour while preparing a talk/dialog for a group at the Sophia Center in Oakland in April and again, at The Well in Chicago in June. Your focus was so synchronous with the title of the talk: “In Unbroken Intimacy with Life”. But the sources I’d thus far found lacked the deep, evocative, and sacred imagery of your words. Bless you, Anne. Your work is rich and very necessary in this Time.