Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the founder of Creative Wellness – where writing, well-being and transformation meet. She regularly speaks, coaches and teaches about the transformational and healing power of expressive writing and journaling for individual and collective well-being. Lynda is the author of Life Source Writing™: A Reflective Journaling Practice for Self-Discovery, Self-Care, Wellness and Creativity. She is the co-author of a forthcoming book (November 2014) called Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection.
What does being an Everyday Goddess mean to you?
Being am Everyday Goddess means connecting with the power of the Divine Feminine in my daily life. I do this through gratitude practices, self-care, reflective journaling and regular connection with nature and the cycles of Mother Earth. It means connecting with others and myself in sacred, loving and compassionate ways – it means embracing personal leadership and choosing to make a difference in the lives of others. Being an Everyday Goddess connects me with an awareness of the interconnection of all living things, it means believing in Angels, Source energy and a power greater than myself. As an Everyday Goddess, I embrace beauty, peace, sensuality, love and a deep faith that I am always supported by all that is.
At what age did you awaken to the presence of the Divine Feminine and would you describe it as a sudden awakening or a gentle unfolding?
I was in my twenties when I awakened to the Divine Feminine, as a spiritual path versus a religious doctrine – this really spoke to me. I was raised Catholic and in my late teens I became very frustrated with the patriarchal nature of this religious institution, I chose to explore religious studies and philosophy as part of my university studies, in part searching for a belief and value system that had resonance for me as a woman, as a Goddess. I met a dear friend, Chris Leischner (she was also raised Catholic), who described herself as a Wiccan & Pagan cross – I liked the sounds of that and experienced many rituals with her over the years, including Solstice and Equinox celebrations. She introduced me to books by Starhawk and other women who were leading the way with an understanding of the Goddess within and I felt deeply connected to all that I was learning and experiencing. I have always been part of women’s communities – circles, writing groups, book clubs, and soulful gatherings where we honour in various ways the Divine Feminine and the role female leadership plays in our families, communities and the world.
Now at nearly 45 years of age (I was born on September 11th, 1969 to a woman who could not keep me as her own), as a mother, sister, daughter, adoptee, wife, writer, social worker, life coach and Goddess – I am aware that being an Everyday Goddess is a continual journey of “gentle unfolding” with some radical moments that define who I am along the way (that are less gentle, more abrupt moments and experiences that represent my growth, learning, humility and expansion on this sacred path of embracing the Divine Feminine and conscious living path.)
What roles in your life had to transform in order for you to live authentically?
Many roles in my life needed to transform, or evolve, since living authentically requires different shifts (releases, letting go, surrendering, embracing, claiming…new beginnings), at different times. I have left a marriage, moved to an island, shifted in my career, started a business, redefined that business many times, went from dealing with infertility to becoming a mother of two amazing sons, allowed more love in – including self-love (this is the most important aspect of honouring and expressing the Divine Feminine!)
In terms of my business, I had to shift my focus (more than once) to keep listening to the call from within to do something different. This at times, has involved struggle, resistance and fear. For example, after I became a Life Coach, I kept feeling called to make the heart of my business all about helping heart-centered women create transformational writing practices in their lives for self-care, healing and personal growth. But I kept wondering, “Is this is enough, can I really let my coaching business be all about my passion for going to the page to know, grow and care for myself and to help other women do the same in their lives?” I felt like I was leaving my professional path of doing the “serious work” of stress, burnout and trauma management, education and intervention that had marked my career for over a decade as a social worker, trainer and workshop facilitator. I wondered what my colleagues and clients would think about this new focus in my work. Could I be successful making Writing for Wellness the heart of my business? In some ways, I am still answering this question. I am so excited about the path ahead – I feel on fire with desire to create more programs- to publish more, to let writing lead the way in my life and work – for me, this is authentic living – because writing helps me listen within and chart the course that is most true, a course that embraces the Divine Feminine in every way.
What have been some of the greatest inner gifts you’ve experienced since stepping into your feminine power?
I have felt in touch with my feminine power for a long time. I am deeply aware that this infuses and benefits every part of my life – my marriage, motherhood, health, business, friendships – the whole of my life is sacred and supported by continuing to grow and step into my feminine power. I feel a new wave of transformation coming as I cross the threshold of publishing a book this November called Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection – a project inspired by the Divine Feminine and the healing power of words and women’s stories.
Ultimately the greatest gifts I experience are inner peace and an ever-present faith that things are always unfolding as they are meant to. I also know that my dreams and creative pursuits are not the “extras” in life that get attention when there is “time left over” (since none of us seem to have much of that these days!), but rather following the pulse of my desires and creative self-expression are the foundation to embracing the Divine Feminine – this allows me to keep opening, listening, growing and serving from a deeply rooted place.
Can you share some of your favorite sacred feminine rituals?
Making love with my husband, playing at the beach with our sons, family blessings and our form of prayer, journaling, dancing, singing, writing, collage, visiting art galleries, listening to music, meditating, yoga, attending retreats, facilitating writing and self-care retreats, reading inspirational quotes, surrounding myself with positive, awake women, soulful conversations with friends, taking time for solitude, stillness and silence, slowing down and listening within, sacred self-care, acknowledging the four directions, the elements, the Earth and my connection to all that is.
Is there a particular Goddess that you are intimately drawn to and why?
My dear friend, Linda Dobson – we have started every email to one another for many years…Dear Goddess of Beauty, or Dear Goddess of Getting Things Done, or….(the title is always unique based on what we see and want for one another at the time) – I am drawn to her due to her strength, intelligence, sense of living fully, to the way she always tries to come home to herself in the midst of a very full life – she has 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren, a busy career/business – and she takes time to travel, connect with friends in meaningful ways, meditate, create beauty in her home, etc. She also knows how to laugh at herself and with others – her caring is real and I honour her as a Goddess in every sense of the word. I am near the age of her oldest daughter, she is the age of my biological mother – we are in different stages of our lives and careers – yet we are the best of friends. The Divine Feminine is the quiet weave of love that connects us together.
I am also drawn to a circle of Goddesses, many of whom I have never met, like yourself, Mary and other women within the community of Goddesses that Linda Joy is cultivating through her work in the world.
Is there a personal message that you would like to share with women?
In my own life and in the journey of supporting other women on their own unique paths, one of the key areas of women’s lives that seem to be perpetually calling for more attention is self-care in mind, body, heart and spirit. As women, we can easily abandon ourselves, our own needs, our instincts, our desires – in service to the needs, desires, demands and expectations of others – even without realizing it. There can be a sense of martyrdom in serving the needs of others, sacrificing ourselves along the way – I have experienced this in my own life at times, as a helping professional, as a wife, mother, daughter, etc. – and I see it as a common challenge for busy, everyday Goddesses.
I invite all women to pause, to reflect and to listen within – whether that is through a reflective journaling practice, meditation, quiet walks in nature, solo retreats or folded into the ordinary moments in daily life – pause, breathe, listen and honour the whispers of wisdom within. Listen to the body – what does it need and want – rest, movement, touch? Listen to the mind – what does it need and want – stimulation, new opportunities, silence? Listen to your heart – what emotional needs do you have – perhaps you long for more love, connection, belonging, acceptance? Listen to your spirit – what part of your unique essence wants to be expressed? How do you honour your connection to all that is – others, the earth, the space beyond it all?
Most of all, remember that you are enough! Happiness is your birthright. You are a bright light and the Divine Feminine wants to shine and manifest itself through each and every one of us. Sometimes, we simply need to get out of the way and allow our greatness…our beauty and wisdom and uniqueness to shine like diamonds in the midst of it all. You are perfect just the way you are. You know what is best. You are never alone. We are all in this life together, alone and together.
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