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Finding the Voice Inside

Finding the Voice Inside

Writing as a Spiritual Quest for Women

Writing exercises explore feminine spirituality.

Author: Gail Collins-Ranadive

Price: $14.00

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Forty practical yet imaginative writing exercises invite women to explore their uniquely feminine spirituality. Includes writing samples, resources, and suggestions for tailoring the exercises to group and individual use. Revised edition.

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Introduction

Exercises

One  Retreat to a Safe Place

Two  Reconsider Who You Really Are

Three  Regard Your Image

Four  Redeem Your Shadow

Five  Re-enter That Other Country

Six  Recover Your Favorite Tree

Seven  Reinforce Your Conscious Efforts

Eight  Resurrect the Serpent

Nine  Realign Yourself with the Serpent

Ten  Review a Biblical Image

Eleven  Revive Your Earlier Self

Twelve  Reflect on a Childhood Ritual

Thirteen  Recount a Family Story

Fourteen  Refine a Seasonal Custom

Fifteen  Relate a Fictional Life

Sixteen  Revise a Fairy Tale

Seventeen  Reform a Biblical Story

Eighteen  Reverse Woman's Sin

Nineteen  Realize the Universal

Twenty  Reclaim the Moon

Twenty one  Remember Mothering

Twenty two  Reject Distractions

Twenty three  Repose in the Darkness

Twenty four  Respond to Animation

Twenty five  Re-create Yourself

Twenty six  Reveal Heaven Here and Now

Twenty seven  Resist Hell's Trappings

Twenty eight  Return to Do What

Twenty nine  Require Changes

Thirty  Rejoice in a Glimpse of the Mystery

Thirty one  Respond to the Call

Thirty two  Refuse to Go Back

Thirty three  Remain in Liminal Space

Thirty four  Receive Affirmation

Thirty five  Reframe Your Life Story

Thirty six  Recall a Historical Woman

Thirty seven  Reconcile Your Worldview

Thirty eight  Reread Women's Literature

Thirty nine  Restore Your Image of the Sacred

Forty  Reshape Your Own Naming

Retreat: to withdraw from something hazardous or unpleasant, fall back

As you come together for the first time, or as you begin this work alone, find a way to make the space sacred. Perhaps you'll choose to light a candle as a symbol of the living presence that is both within and beyond our own being. It can also be a way to focus, to center yourself in the moment. Our word for focus comes from the Latin word for fireplace, the hearth at the center of the home. And the sacred fire was brought to the home from the temple of Vesta, the Greeks' Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth who personifies the archetype of the Self.

Knowing that everything written and read in this space will remain here, how will you identify yourself? Begin by writing an introduction of yourself. You might choose to follow a standard I.D. format, giving your name, occupation, size, age, colorings, etc., perhaps adding some things you'd like to see included, such as vocation, parental status, etc. In Western cultures, we often choose to identify ourselves through what we do and give our qualifications to authorize our work. In many Eastern cultures, one is often identified through one's relationship within a family. For instance, it has been the custom in India for the son's new wife to change her last name to his, her middle name to his first name, and her first name to whatever new name her in-laws choose for her. My in-laws call me "Nilakshi," girl with the blue eyes. But my brother-in-law always and only calls me "Vahini," sister-in-law.

Identify, describe, introduce yourself, on paper. What do you want others to know about you? Or, what do you want to say about yourself to yourself? Read aloud what you have written. Remember, do not interrupt yourself or anyone else with comments, explanations, or reactions. Simply listen to what has come up and out through the hand onto the page.

"When I was leading a women's spirituality group for students and staff of the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco, this book was just what I needed. Finding the Voice Inside gave these women a way into their own spiritual journeys. Some of them, who were sure they couldn't write a word, wrote and wrote and then shared what they had written with one another. For many, it was a transformative experience."

—Barbara Child, minister

"I casually tried one of the writing exercises and discovered a gaping hole in my spiritual support system. As a result of that one simple exercise, I began a ten-year search that allowed me to be healed of my wounds and develop a new way to be."

—Karen R. Clark, artist, author

"After these workshops, we've continued to meet down through the years, sharing the deep and meaningful subject matter in the safe space of confidentiality and honesty."

—Helen Popenoe, member of the Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion Committee

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