On Tuesday morning I was sitting down by the ocean — meditating and doing a little yoga practice. As I looked up from a stretch, I noticed a photographer and two yoga gals posing about 10 yards off to my left. Interested in all things yoga, I wondered about their photo shoot and what it was for.
When I finished with my practice I walked over toward the threesome to check things out. As I approached I realized that I actually knew one of the gals. Marlize, a wonderful yoga teacher and South African native, was dressed in a sunny yellow top and ocean blue pants – perfectly chosen for a beach photo shoot. After a nice greeting hug, Marlize introduced me to her yogini cousin-in-law, Suzanne, and the photographer — her husband, Robert Sturman, whose work hangs in one of my favorite yoga studios in town, Exhale Center for Sacred Movement on Main Street in Venice.
Robert told me that he was shooting for his upcoming exhibition called ‘Poetry of the Gods’. Since he was taking pictures of two vibrantly beautiful women, I blurted out, “How about ‘Poetry of the Goddesses’?” Robert smiled and said that he is including both Gods and Goddesses within ‘Poetry of the Gods’ – all inclusive. He explained to me that during his studies at U of C, Santa Cruz, he was around a lot of feminists and when referring to ‘God’ he used to use “He/She” but that eventually (I think when he got out of school) some people questioned this or didn’t understand it. To him ‘God’ did not mean one or the other.
Robert said that he was open to ideas and wanted to find a way to communicate his work in a way that would represent both the male and female within the term ‘God’.
Our conversation reminded me of some of the recent comments in response to my blog, Is there a Feminine Face of God? Blog commenter Greg said, “It used to bother me to always hear ‘He’ in reference to God…when somewhere in my conscious/subconscious, I have suspected that ‘he’ is too limiting, in that respect ‘she’ would be too, no? I like to think of God as the Universe, Energy, and Light…ALL of everything…so no gender really seems to be ‘right’. GOD is within us and also all around us….”
Blog commenter Lydia said, “God is love, which is both verb and noun so it’s being and doing – this way of conceiving the idea of God helps me to get away from the gender-identification of certain human qualities as masculine or feminine, which can lead to imbalances either way, and an oversimplification of certain qualities.”
While I wholeheartedly agree with Lydia and Greg that Universal Energy is all inclusive – all genders and no genders at the same time – I still find myself caught up in feeling a very male and fatherly kind of energy when I hear the word ‘God’ and a very feminine, earthy, beautiful and other-worldly energy when I hear the word ‘Goddess’. I want to be able to see myself in the image of the divine, and since I am a very much a female in this lifetime, the more male connotated term ‘God’ just isn’t working for me. Perhaps I need to fully embrace and understand ‘Goddess’ before I can ascend to a real experience of ALL IS ONE.
Inspired by Robert’s upcoming photo exhibition, I decided to journey through a poem
She, He, What Matter?
She dances by the light of the fire
He dances by the dark of the night
She spins with the cycles of the creation
He spins with the force of the mind
She, he – he, she?
Light, dark – dark, light?
The dance of the divine souls brings us into our wholeness
Subtle, yet completely clear
The dance releases us from past pain, past hurt
Embrace at last
Surrender at last
Love at last