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Dare to be Powerful

When I dare to be powerful—
to use my strength in the service of my vision—
then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

-Audre Lorde

We must learn to realize that the love of God seeks us in every situation, and seeks our good. God’s inscrutable love seeks our awakening.

True, since this awakening implies a kind of death to our exterior self, we will dread God’s coming in proportion as we are identified with this exterior self and attached to it.

But when we understand the dialectic of life and death we will learn to take the risks implied by faith, to make the choices that deliver us from our routine self and open to us the door of a new being, a new reality.

-Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

I am in the midst of getting ready to teach the Awakening the Creative Spirit program beginning this Sunday with my amazing teaching partner (next year’s dates will be May 23-28, 2010!).  Ten women are gathering from around North America to enter into a sacred and creative learning community for five days.   Together we will create a space in which we dare to be powerful, where we give each other space to allow the fullest expression of ourselves to come forth, where we discover the door of a new being within. And all of this will be in service of offering this gift to others.  As I witness this beautiful work unfolding in others, I too will discover new dimensions of my own power, new doors waiting to be opened.  I will dare to become even more powerful, even more beautiful.  And there I will find God(de) smiling, radiating, saying yes.  Hold us in your prayers as we remember you, the wider community who supports this necessary work. 

This past week has been largely one of tending to interior movements, resting, healing, tending to Tune, quieting myself and centering so that I can enter into the week ahead with full presence and strength.  I am planning a break from blogging these coming days, so I invite you to rest with the words above during the coming week and let me know what they evoke in you

Where is your invitation to be powerful?  What is the vision which calls upon your strength?  What are the parts of self you can now let go of?  What are the new ways of being you are invited to embrace?  What would you dare to do if fear were no longer an obstacle?

And for the same message as the quotes above in visual form, watch this (I am not one to generally post advertisements, but found this one quite powerful and empowering in just a minute and a half — the music is Vivaldi’s “Summer” from Four Seasons)

I will be back to this space by Monday, May 25th with another Sacred Artist Interview, this time with the lovely Patricia Ariel.  In the meantime, blessings dear readers.  Thank you for your presence in this space and offering me a community where my own gifts are received with such grace.

(Photo taken at the Rock of Cashel in Ireland, 2007)

© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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10 Responses

  1. Pam, thanks for these thoughtful words. I think a post on rethinking power is in order, because the power I am referring to here is the strength we have in us to transform the world around us. I think Christ’s power was a gentle power at times, at other times quite forceful.

  2. Christine,

    I have wanted to comment on this for days, but I got to it slowly. I want to offer an alternative point of view. We hear so much about strength and power, but we know that power corrupts. I would have preferred to see a title that said “Dare to be Gentle”. More and more, gentleness is being seen as weak by both men and women which is a real loss. Gentleness should be valued over power if we try to follow in the example of Christ. There certainly is a certain strength that comes with gentleness, by daring to be vulnerable. I think you could explore this sometime.

    And Kigen,

    I was moved by your writing. Partly for some of the same reasons that I wrote to Christine. There are so many expectations that to be “strong” or “powerful”, we have to act in a certain way. I appreciated seeing you write that you tire of talking about your orientation… that there is much more to you. Of course, that is true. I have difficulty only with people who want to discuss their orientation before anything else. I appreciate getting to know someone as the larger person that they are before they start telling me about their sexuality. Otherwise, it feels a bit like someone drawing a line in the sand immediately to emphasize our differences. Or putting me through a test to see how accepting I will be. I think your conclusion was great. Seeking power may not be the best answer for many of us.

  3. Laura, so glad you chose to exercise your power here. You are most welcome.

    SS, what a joy and delight to share last week with both you and your wonderful sister. Can’t wait to see what is birthed from this time. . . much love to you.

  4. Christine – I’ve come back to this post tonight to reflect again on the wonderful 5 days with you, Betsey and the amazing 10! It was so powerful and life changing to pray, to play, to reflect and be with this powerful group of wonderful women!!!!! Thank you. This post is even more meaningful to me today than it was the first time I read it. The week is unfolding for me as I review my notes and the exercises that we all did together. A group of sharing women is a powerful force – oops, I think I just birthed my next post!

  5. Sending you this note is my act of power today. The wolf of fear often stops me from speaking my truth. To that wolf, I say “GRRRRRR!” I have read some of your blog recently and I am always deeply inspired. Thank you. This movie/advertisement is especially meaningful to me because Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is the musical piece that I have somehow been given as my inner symphony. I absolutely love the video. Thank you.

  6. Christine, thanks for your kindness. Thanks for the empowerment of your response, it is very strengthening! I’ll pray for insights into that quieter kind of activism. May your week ahead be filled with every blessing!

  7. You are most welcome Bette and Tess.

    kigen, thank you for your most thoughtful comment. My first response is that there is already a lot of power in your words. And the kind of power I am writing about here is the kind that emerges from claiming our own inner authority as an expression of holy mutuality. My claiming my power empowers you as well, or at least should if I am using my power in sacred ways. So I hope you don’t dismiss your power, but perhaps it is being called upon in other ways. I can sympathize with what you write about here. As a heterosexual woman, you are so right that there is really nothing comparable in my life that would consume my identity to such a degree. I do have many friends who are gay, but living in a neighborhood that began as the heart of gay culture here in Seattle, I can easily forget how much that is not the mindset in other places. If it is tiresome to imagine yourself being political in this way, then perhaps that is not the invitation for you right now. Maybe it is a quieter kind of activism. And so much transformation happens in relationship. From our online connection I know you as a beautiful and extraordinarily thoughtful, deep person. Your sexual orientation never really occurred to me, and matters not to me now, except that it is a part of your life that creates a great struggle with having to deal with other peoples’ expectations and judgments. Perhaps there will be those who discover this orientation and reconsider their own sterotypes. And I pray there are far more who, if they learn of that dimension of you, shrug and don’t even give it much further thought. And I pray for those hearts that exclude and judge, that they be healed of their own divisions. Again, thanks for sharing this honest and tender reflection. I write these words with great care and love as I know that this medium doesn’t convey tone very well.

  8. “Where is your invitation to be powerful? ”
    Right now it is political, and I am failing to come up to the call. I should come out and work for gay rights by example, be gay openly, talk about it, and be the best person I can be. That is the best way to end the cruelty and prejudice. But it is so tiresome to discuss one’s orientation. Imagine if you had to fill up your posts at abbeyofthearts with talk of being straight, Christine — or any straight person reading this — imagine that all you do is irrelevant, it’s that you are heterosexual that gives you your primary identity, and that identity is something people have been taught internationally to fear and to hate and to ostracize. Imagine losing any number of friends, quietly and subtly, but losing them nonetheless, as I will lose a few more here, just because you admitted to being heterosexual. So I say okay, let other people do it, I don’t need to be powerful!

  9. Really enjoyed the video, thank you for breaking your usual custom.

    I know next week will be a wonderful flowering for you all.

  10. Thank you for your creative and contemplative gifts you give so graciously to all of us. Best wishes and blessings for teaching your upcoming program. The door photo is awesome and so is this “Dare” video. So appropriate for facing our inner fears.