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The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Dance of the Dissident DaughterSue Monk Kidd wrote the book and coined the title…and I resonated deeply with so much of it.

To be dissident is to know on a gut level that there’s some great injustice or something seriously screwy systemically in an organization or group you’re part of, connected to, invested in, and feel loyal to.  Once aware, there’s no becoming unaware.  Then it becomes a dance with our soul …

Do we stay or leave?

And there are always consequences.  Significant ones.  Social, emotional, spiritual, relational.  Belonging.  Identity.  Being ostracized.  Betrayal.  Uncertainty.  Loss.

At first, we figure we can still play the game–with a few tweaks–and stay under the radar.  It’s called Defecting in Place…another path I know well.  It works for a while….

And then, there’s a powerful catalyst that brings up and out all of the pent-up force and feelings one has kept in check for a life time.  Late 30s, early 40s is often when these powerful catalysts roar from our deepest being.

From here, there is no going back.  Birth has taken place.  The womb of shelter or cocoon is not an option.  Like a newborn or butterfly, our life has irrevocably changed.

When you can’t go backward and you can’t go forward, and you can’t stay where you are without killing off something vital inside, you’re on the edge of creation.  (Sue Monk Kidd)

And that is The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine that I too once  traveled.  Sue Monk Kidd’s book came out in 1996.  It was the same year a powerful catalyst roared up and propelled me to that ‘edge of creation.’

Feminine energy is flooding the earth; many more women–and men–are finding,  or searching out, their inner goddess.  It’s a healing thing for the earth and ourselves.

For women of Catholic and Christian traditions, though, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter addresses the spiritual unease such a journey brings up.   To connect women and open a safe place to explore and grow, you can join me this summer–by the beach or by phone or Skype–for a Summer Morning Beach Series.  The book and the beach will be s backdrop and starting place to spirit-feeding conversations and sharing.

An excerpt from the Introduction by Sue Monk Kidd:

In these pages I’ve tried to tell you about the deep and immense journey a woman makes as she searches for and finds a feminine spirituality that affirms her life.  It’s about the quest for the female soul, the missing Feminine Divine, and the wholeness women have lost within patriarchy.  It’s also about the fear, anger, pain, questions, healing, transformation, bliss, power, and freedom that come with such journeys.

I never thought I would write this book.  That’s because this journey is one I never imagined myself taking.

I was going along doing everything I “should” have been doing, and then, unexpectedly, I woke up.  I collided with the patriarchy within my culture, my church, my faith tradition, my marriage, and also within myself.  And this collision changed everything.  I began to wake up to a whole new way of being a woman.  I took what seemed to me then, and seems to me now, an immense journey.

It was true: There had been other awakenings in my life, but no waking experience had been as passionate and life altering as this one, nor had there been another where I felt more was at stake.  The female soul is no small thing.  Neither is a woman’s right to define the sacred from a woman’s perspective.

Still, the initial idea of telling my story in this book gave me pause.  The hardest thing about writing is telling the truth.  Maybe it’s the hardest thing about being a woman, too.  I think of Nisa, an old African woman who was telling her story for the tape recorder of a writer.  She said, “Fix my voice on the machine so that my words come out clear.  I am an old person who has experienced many things and I have much to talk about.  I will tell my talk…but don’t let the people I live with hear what I have to say.”  I love Nisa for that.  I know that feeling.  But in the end, Nisa and I told our truth anyway….

Here’s to amazing Inner journeys that help us grow and become all the blessing we are here to be. – Anne

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