Meeting the Reluctant Prophet

Last weekend, I attended a workshop on the Divine Feminine with Mirabai Starr. Starr is an academic, a scholar of the mystical path in several faith traditions, and a woman deeply rooted in her own lived experience of her spiritual path and growth. Her ability to communicate the unnameable was inspiring.

Mirabai began the day by introducing the feminine images of the Divine from many traditions – Kuan Yin, Mother Mary, Kali, Tara, Shakti, Sophia…Each one embodies a tender and fierce unconditional love and endless mercy.  She invited us to lay down at the feet of the Beloved Mother something which does not serve us, which gets in our way. I offered up my reluctance to be seen and heard, my hesitation to put myself “out there”.  By the end of the day, the conversation had circled to our collective responsibility to the present moment and the urgent need to use this time to co-create the future we wish to live in. Mirabai spoke of the need for each one of us to find our voices and the work that is ours to do. She spoke of Reluctant Prophet Syndrome – the timidity that causes us to shrink away from using our voices and our hands on behalf of what we know is right.

I felt called out – and also somewhat relieved to know that the paralysis I sometimes experience is not unique to me. She even had a name for it.

As I have drawn closer and closer to announcing the arrival of my new book, Arriving Here: Reflections from the Hearth and Trail, I have been battling self-doubt, wondering if the work has meaning and purpose beyond what it has already offered me.

Of course, I know that it will contribute positively to others. Arriving Here shares my personal stories of finding purpose and guidance, grounding and inspiration. I hope and believe that my story will inspire readers to dive into their own lives with ever greater attention and intention. I believe this world needs each one of us to show up fully to the lives we are here to live. The book is an offering to each individual effort and a recognition of our collective potential.

Last night I dreamed that I was very pregnant. A single sharp contraction told me labor was imminent and then nothing further happened. In the dream, I waited and waited. Eventually, I woke up. 

I’ve had that dream before. It is a reminder to get out of the way – to let the process take over. We cannot be pregnant indefinitely. We can not be at the cusp of significant, or even minor, change forever. It is time to coach the reluctant prophet in me into service for a greater good.

After all, finding and giving voice is a recurring theme in Arriving Here: “I am meant to live in this time and place deeply, to notice, reflect, and share. This sharing is the work I am meant to offer. Gathering my thoughts, feelings, and questions into words to share in blog posts, books, and poems is one way that I can cast heat and light back out into the world.”

Arriving Here will invite new life and new stories into being and, hopefully, it will coax some reluctant prophets into offering their work and words into the world. A reluctant prophet, perhaps, like you.

May we rise like the sun, casting light and beauty onto each new day.

2 Replies to “Meeting the Reluctant Prophet”

  1. Lovely reflection. I do remember when you came to Prince Memorial Library and talked about the book you had written about your father. Very tender and intimate talk that I was grateful to experience. Perhaps your reluctance to put yourself out there makes it all the more powerful when you do because it takes such courage.

    1. Thank you, Linda, for that observation. I suspect you are right – and perhaps that is part of what makes those daunting conversations so deeply meaningful for me too. I am glad that talk still resonates with you and I do look forward to when we can gather together for conversations again.

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