Mary Ruth Broz and Barbara Flynn are spiritual directors and co-founders of Wellstreams, a center of feminine spirituality. They are Catholics who celebrate the riches of other traditions. Or as they put it:
"Our spiritual legacy does not lie in the kernel of one story. It is a multi-storied truth about the big and small efforts thousands upon thousands of women have made and are making to bring the sacred feminine to birth once again."
The sixteen chapters in this collection of mini-retreats are divided into
five sections on:
1. Tending the Holy
2. Opening to Mystery
3. Knowing When to Push
4. Surrendering to the Seasons
5. Welcoming the Watershed Moments
Each retreat has these elements: Creating Sacred Space, Slowing Down, Going Deeper, Reflecting on the Theme, Honoring Your Experience, Reflecting through Ritual, and Moving Back into Daily Life. We were very moved and warmed by the lyrics to the songs appropriate to each theme and the down-to-earth rituals. For example, the retreat "Midwives of an Unnamed Future" suggests that you honor your experience by journaling about women who have midwived you emotionally, professionally, spiritually, and also name women you have been a midwife to. For a ritual, they suggest you reflect on the waters of ordinary life: "As you turn on the faucet, water a plant, or drink a glass of water – let the experience remind you of a God who is nearer to you than you realize as you help give birth to a future still unnamed."
We also appreciated the many devotional elements throughout the book, such as this prayer by Jan L. Richardson from Wisdom's Path:
"God of the generations,
When we set our hands to labor,
Thinking that we work alone,
Remind us that we carry
On our lips
The words of prophets,
In our veins
The blood of martyrs,
In our eyes
The mystics ' visions,
In our hands
The strength of thousands."
This is a wonderful resource that women singly and in groups can turn to as they face transitions and other significant moments in their lives. We found ourselves reaching for it as we were reflecting on the movie Tully, and we found several pieces from the book greatly enhanced our connection to what the lead character of that fine film experiences.