We sat in a circle sharing our recent experiences of invisibility. We had each offered our passions and our wisdom to others in our circle of influence. We were ignored or discounted as women often are, especially older women.
As we pondered, “Is there something wrong with me…with my way of being in the world?” we visibly “grew older.” Our shoulders slumped, our heads dropped, we fought back tears. We are passionate about the values we hold dear (the environment, the community, the integration of our inward and outward journey) and we feel sorrow when they are ignored, discounted, or go unrecognized.
But we Sage Sisters are committed to “growing whole” not “growing old.” We pulled each other back into our strength as “wise young-older women.” We contemplated our passions and how we came to embrace them. They certainly were not nurtured in our families of origin. We wondered, “Was I born like this?” We concluded that our passions represent the unique “spark of the Divine” in each of us.
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Later that week I listened to another “On Being” podcast, Krista Tippett’s conversation with
- America Ferrera (better known for her Real Women Have Curves, Ugly Betty, and Superstore who is also a culture-shifting artist) and
- John Paul Lederach (a senior fellow at Humanity United and professor emeritus of International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame… one of our greatest living architects of social transformation)
America and John Paul in their own unique ways are concerned with “The Creative Act” … working with conflict to bring into the world something that does not now exist. Krista pointed to their “social courage” and “social artistry.”
I thought of my Sage Sisters. We, too, are attempting to act creatively in our unique ways in the face of the dangers we face in our world. On a smaller scale, we are artists of change possessing social courage.
America tells a story about a time when she thought she needed to give up her acting career because the suffering world needed her to do something “that mattered.” She sought the counsel of one of her college professors … a professor of peace and conflict studies.
Professor Andrus told her about a Latina female he mentored for three years. When he indicated a willingness to hear what her life was really like, she and her friends took him to see Real Women Have Curves, the first movie America made when she was just seventeen years old. They said it was the first time they had seen themselves reflected in the world around them … the first time they had seen the culture around them acknowledge their existence and struggles.
America’s character worked in a factory to help her parents make ends meet instead of pursuing her dream of going to college, a dream her parents did not support. As a result of watching that movie, Professor Andrus was able to speak to his mentee’s parents about supporting her wish to go to college.
And I could not have imagined or scripted that I would be alive in a moment where there is this ripple in our space and time, where artists and art and culture are so being called to step up and speak from an activist heart. And I feel like I was born for this moment. ~America Ferrera
Sunday I watched the documentary portrait of Pope Francis, A Man of His Word, highlighting his deep concern for the effects on the poor of wealth inequality and his involvement in environmental issues, social justice, and calls for peace. It was so inspiring and I believe he was born for this moment.
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And so this morning, I gathered the strength of my “wise young-old self” and took a step toward “growing whole.” I made two telephone calls to the campaign offices of two politicians I seek to support in the upcoming election. It has been reported in our local newsletter that they have been “mostly false” in a campaign ad or rhetoric opposing their opponent.
Because of my passion for the integration of spiritual wisdom with political activism, I urged these politicians to be scrupulously honest and to take the high road. I told the staff person I wanted to be able to vote for them in good conscience.
It may be a stretch to say that I was “born for this moment,” but I believe that the “spark of the Divine within me” compels me at this time in our history to take such an action. I am happy to say that the staff people I talked with today seemed to take my message more seriously than the “yes, but” I received at a strategizing meeting last week.
I would be interested to hear how you experience the “spark of the Divine” within you taking shape in your life at this time.