Reflections From the REVEAL Conference: Nothing Good Can Ever Be Lost
| May 31, 2011
The transitive verb, ‘to reveal,’ has three definitions in Webster-Merriam’s dictionary:
1. To make known through divine inspiration;
2. To make (something secret or hidden) publicly or generally known;
3. To open up to view
The word reveal comes from the Anglo-French reveler and from the Latin revelare, meaning to uncover. Revelare originates from velare meaning to cover and veil, and from velum meaning veil.
The REVEAL conference this year unveiled a cast of accomplished women, some sharing stories and others sharing advice. Attendees were treated to an opening ritual, keynote speeches, a prayer and meditation, as well as a panel discussion, an afternoon of workshops, and an engaging spiritual activism panel.
The Urban Zen Center sparkled with candles and the red-theme of the conference was reflected in the clothes of many of the women who attended. The diversity of women participating was heartening, despite the high cost of attendance. I thought of the many women who might benefit from the event if they could afford it and wondered if in the future, scholarships might be made available. Women trickled in and out of The Red Temple- a quiet room filled with pillows, soft lighting and stations where participants could pray, meditate or visit stations to share their spiritual experiences by writing them down on pieces of paper, creating an altar of sorts.
Chosen speakers, panelists and workshop leaders shared their stories of divine inspiration and faith, as well as their individual perspectives on both the perception and sometimes exclusion of the feminine dimension of spirituality. I was privileged to attend the REVEAL conference and experience defining the divine for myself. Workshops in the afternoon were led by various entrepreneurs and self-styled life gurus, offering participants a chance to hear first-hand their successes and failures at maintaining a sense of spirituality in today’s fast-paced world. Kate Northrup’s interesting take on financial freedom’s relationship to spirituality was explored in one workshop called Freedom- Seek It, Find It, Keep It, an interesting mix of maintaining financial prudence while following your life’s passion. The spiritual is different for everyone and although I did not relate to every workshop, I enjoyed the excitement of the women participating around me. Ms. Watterson’s opening statement that “Nothing good can ever be lost,” replayed in my mind as I observed friendships being made, and women revealing the personal truths of their lives with each other. Just the warmth in conversation between people who had just met was palpable enough to affect the mood of the entire room. I found myself opening up and sharing some of my questions with others who listened supportively and gave encouragement. For me, the REVEAL conference uncovered the sameness that presents itself when a group of women who may not know each other very well sit together to define the divine. Whether you find your divinity in your faith, in your astrology, in being financially secure, in sharing your story, in selling your story, or simply in listening, the energy that results when a group of women come together to learn from one another is powerful.
WMC guest blogger, Elizabeth Lang is a project management consultant and analyst with eight years of international development experience. Lang has worked on monitoring and evaluation for UN agencies in addition to engaging in field work related to international health and migration issues in Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.