“When we truly grasp for the first time that the symbol of woman can be a vessel of the sacred, that it too can be an image of the Divine, our lives will begin to pivot,” says author Sue Monk Kidd in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.
Clay bowls made by potter friends, wooden bowls from foreign lands, a bowl carved from a walnut, bowls disguised as baskets crafted by my wonderful friend Granny Jean the Palm Reader. Round bowls, oblong bowls, deep bowls, shallow bowls, footed bowls, large bowls, small bowls, miniature bowls. Every room in my house has at least one. Most rooms have several. They all have one thing in common.
They are all empty.
None of them will ever hold apples or potatoes and onions, or pens and paper clips, or decorative soaps, or hair ties and makeup brushes, or the myriad of things we stuff into containers on our desks or counter tops or bedside tables. I have plenty of other bowls for those tasks.
You see, these bowls have a different “job” to do in my life. They are a visual representation of my journey toward a deeper understanding of what it means to be receptive to lessons I need to learn in this lifetime. All the bowls are ready to receive whatever comes to them. They wait without expectation, without judgment. They simply wait. Not even trusting, really, simply waiting.
Sue Bender, in her wonderful book Everyday Sacred writes about Buddhist monks who go out each day, empty bowl in hand, into the streets, awaiting whatever is placed in their bowl that day. Whatever they receive is what they have. No expectation. Simply trusting that their needs will be fulfilled, that what is meant to come to them, will. And so it is.
My bowls are meant to remain physically empty as reminders that my life is, and can be more so, filled to overflowing with gifts I cannot see – gifts of Spirit, of connection, of trusting that what is meant to come to me, will, and is for my highest good. The bowls are metaphors for my willingness to empty, and then to be filled with what is meant for me. And so it is.
Like the monks, however, I have to put myself in the flow of the gifts. I must be awake to the gifts around me, and I must offer gratitude for those gifts – the crashing waves, the wind through the water oaks, the call of the owl, the laughter of children I love, the texture of a crystal in my hand when I need it, the call from a friend, books I read, music I love, and so much more. Every day.
For years, I’ve been singing “Gifts of the Goddess” by Karen Drucker (off-key, but still…). “These are the gifts of the Goddess: love, joy, and peace, gifts of the Goddess, are you ready to receive?” says the chorus. Love, joy and peace come in many guises, and now, more than ever, I am ready to receive them. Are you? Are you ready to be open and receptive to the possibilities of this new year?
Do you remember blog posts I wrote a while back about messages coming from a being who presents to me as Mary Magdalene? Here’s the link to the first one: https://debbowen.com/lessons-from-mary-magdalene-session-1-hope/
There were many more blog posts after that first one, of course, and then I just couldn’t continue. That information hasn’t stopped, but for a long time, I haven’t been able to write about it. There was too much sadness in the messages I was receiving. Now, I’m being urged to get back to that writing, to be the empty vessel I claim to be.
I’m working on a new way of looking at myself and my connection to the world around me, and what it means to not just own, but be, the vessel awaiting. The information is flowing to me, and I’m sorting it out so I can share it with you. I’m not sure yet exactly how I’m to formulate the material so that it makes sense to us, but I trust I will be shown. I do know that this work involves writing and teaching about bowls in their many forms, myths, legends, and symbolism, some bowls very personal, some very famous.