The Dance of the Dissident Daughter – Awakening

Sue Monk Kidd is a wise woman, guide, mentor… writer. Have you read “The Secret Life of Bees“? Oh. Wow. It’s… fantastic. Kidd is the kind of woman you expect to see sitting cross-legged on a boulder in New Mexico, beads around her neck, head bowed in reverie. This conjures up a picture of new-age mysticism. In fact, it could be any religion or no religion at all. And, even though the subtitle of the book is “A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to The Sacred Feminine” it’s not really about religion at all.

This book will turn some of you off… and others on. Or maybe, like me, you’re more of an open vessel, eager to learn about different traditions and faiths. If so, come along!

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd is a book of awakening for women.

The words used throughout the book remind me of my mother’s dissertation. I should say that I helped to edit it, so read every word (which was no small feat because some of it was very scholarly. Although, I found it mostly fascinating. Mom’s a Depth Psychologist and a “Dr.” Mom, at that! She’s amazing!). Her dissertation was (and is) utterly cool. It’s about a beautiful tapestry. Each part of it was “pulled apart” thread-by-thread… in a psychological way, you understand. When I told my realist, literal husband about it, he said, “Sometimes a chain is just a chain.” Yes, there was a chain. Ha! Interestingly enough, my husband can be very spiritual and sometimes downright dreamy. But I digress.

What does “Dissident” mean? Google tells me this: a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state. Ah. Isn’t this what women have been fighting to break out of for centuries?

Kidd begins the book with a memory of something that happened to her daughter. It could have happened to any of our daughters. Actually, it could happen to anyone in a subservient posture. Man or woman. But the point is, it happened to her daughter and the experience led her on a journey. And it changed her.

This is a book of transformation and the gaining of wisdom. Women will resonate with it, even if they aren’t trying to pull away from organized religion. The woman’s “place” in religion, tradition and society has been etched in stone for… well, forever. Time to create “your place” yourself.

The reason I got the book might be the reason you do. I was a dutiful Christian wife and mother for many years. I try not to talk about it too much… and in fact, have written and erased more than one post about my experiences in fundamental churches. The thing was… there came a time when it felt… confusing… demeaning.

For me, an awakening was just beginning. I had been mired in the quicksand of “my place” (determined by others) and was angry. I remember writing a poem about crawling out my bedroom window, which I actually did. Maybe I’ll find it and post it one day.

It took years and more than a few grey hairs to get where I was headed. I am there now.

Took long enough.

This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing. I have to recant, give up the old belief that I am powerless… From Margaret Atwood‘s novel Surfacing

If you are a woman fighting your way out of “your place created by others” and into “your place created by you”… this book is for you. You may not be religious at all. And that’s perfectly okay!

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