In the book When the Heart Waits, author Sue Monk Kidd uses the metaphor of a butterfly as a symbol of the waiting and death periods of our lives, and the rebirth and new life that ensues. She shows how these cycles of “die and become” happen not just once in our life, but over and over again as once again we shed personas and masks that are no longer relevant to our true selves. In my life I can see how this has and even is unfolding, and I believe we often don’t know how to walk through these times, often we don’t know to deal with the issue and we lack the support of wise mothers, sisters, life guides that are seemingly in short supply. And so we flee from the scene, no longer wanting to deal with the pain or afraid to know what really lies underneath. Change is painful, but it is purposeful; it creates in us a link to our self more genuinely and to others around us. To me, all change is a spiritual journey inward and to a greater connectedness to those around us. The most amazing thing I have realized about the caterpillar and butterfly metaphor is that the caterpillar doesn’t have to take additional tools into her journey to become a butterfly. She always had within her the capacities to weave her cocoon, the catalyst within her that would take her from a caterpillar, to nothingness within the safety of the cocoon and then into a beautiful butterfly. As a caterpillar she already possessed her butterfly wings – she just hadn’t gone through the right process to reveal them yet! I believe each of us have everything within us that we need for our journey in life.
Moving away from metaphors I will speak candidly about myself and why this site exists. A few years ago I hit a turning point in my life, where my religious and cultural foundation that I believed to be true and trusted from childhood seemed to be crumbling into meaninglessness. I felt betrayed and angry mostly at the church. I participated in a creativity course, Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and we were asked to name “monsters” in our life that had dampened our creativity (creativity not just being left to the artist, but that each of us are deeply creative; as we were created in a creators image so too are we able to live our lives creatively). I couldn’t think of any one person as a “creativity monster”, but what instantly was revealed to me was that the institutional church in which I was cultured in dampened my creativity. The institution raised me up as a cookie cutter churched little girl with no real purpose in life except to be the wife of a prominent man (in another posting I will share how this crippled my future marriage) and to try to figure out how to please this great big untouchable God.
The church was my monster. Not that it forced me into being what I didn’t want to be – but because I was raised up in its image. I had been born and raised in a Pentecostal church as the daughter of the pastor, and I took on many personas so that I pleased others and God. But I never truly developed the true me. I grew up under a very patriarchal God and Christian society in the U.S. and once outside of both I have been able to journey into areas of questioning myself, my faith, and the type of structures that have founded my beliefs. Since this turning point I have found a whole new resource of reading and relationships that have watered this growing seed within. But it took active searching, and what I found from this search has taken on a whole new world like that of Alice’s Wonderland that I never knew existed, but had been here all along. I feel like at the age of 30-something, I am just now waking up!
One of my more recent burning frustrations has been the lack of available reading resources around women’s spiritual journeys. Many of the books, if you can find them available, are not recent. I can find more recent feminist readings, and spiritual books of all kinds, but there exist few resources for women that are just starting to walk a new journey of being a “nomadess” or liberated woman on this new path. I have found that in my life there are many older women that have an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience of a woman’s spiritual journey which they have internalized and may not have the ability to “pass on the baton” of this knowledge – but a space is needed to share.
My hope is that this site be a resource for every type of woman at every stage of her journey. That the Nomadess become a collective gathering place of ideas and inspirations that women can contribute to through articles about their turning points, stories to encourage others, and a space to find information about books that you wouldn’t find in your religious book store, ideas that challenge, and events that may not make the headlines.