sovereignty, dharma & the queen
~ seeds of a book
The word sovereignty has been stuck on my tongue since the year 2001, when my eldest was a baby and I read the Kabat-Zinn’s book, Everyday Blessings. The authors shared their desire to raise sovereign children and as soon as I saw the word, I knew I wanted it for my own kids.
Curiously, it wasn’t a word I applied to myself until 2015 when I impulsively quit my job. When I claimed my sovereignty, there were no fireworks, I actually felt hopeless. I had put myself in the driver’s seat of my life and I was scared shitless.
I knew that doing what was expected of me was easier than putting myself forward. It was easier to bask in the potential of my gifts than ever have to put them to the test. Though I had argued for sovereignty, I didn’t claim it until my heart found an opening and grabbed it. In one breath, I committed.
I’ve spent the last few years meditating on the word and have been diving deep into the heart of the Queen searching for insights. I asked her several questions. What is it to rule oneself? What are the boundaries of my domain? Can anyone be sovereign? And, why oh why is it so difficult? As my contemplation went deeper, I was brought to the Sanskrit word dharma and discovered an important key to sovereignty. Dharma is the sovereign woman’s right-hand man – so to speak.
Like sovereignty, the word dharma is contextual and difficult to define. Dharma is used in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. There is no one word in English that compares. It can refer to the Buddha’s teachings, societal customs, universal laws, or that which makes something what it is. In this context, it is the dharma of the rose to smell sweet, the snake to bite, the sun to shine and the ocean to dance with the moon. In human context, it is closely related to truth.
It is the Queen’s dharma to govern her queendom and it is the sovereign woman's duty to honour her dharma. Her dharma is her domain. Being in your dharma is to live close to the bone — to be 100% loyal to that which makes you, you. It’s your purpose. It’s your genius. It’s your reason for being.
Committing to our dharma (or our sovereignty to open ourselves to it) gives us the discipline to be in connection, celebration and expression with the truthiness of our lives. It asks us to step away from both the burdens of specialness and unworthiness and show up for what’s knocking loudly at the heart's door. In a world that constantly demands our attention and feeds us rapid, confusing and conflicting versions of reality, being sovereign is a difficult but rewarding devotion to both truth and rebellion.
To be called into sovereignty is to be called into our deepest longings and we are asked to stay loyal to our gifts and inclinations. It is Joseph Campbell's “Follow your bliss," but make no mistake, the commitment is heavy and it isn’t always blissful. This is an inner marriage — in sickness and in health, in boredom and excitement, in success and failure, in confidence and self-doubt. No longer will we abandon ourselves because we don't want to shake the boat. We will not allow outside authority to rule us just because we feel confused. We won't fall for the next shiny new thing. Instead, we abandon our need for approval and security and step into the trust that we've known how to live without the net all along. We jump into the real.
The sovereign woman dares to empty her cupboards of plastic food and tends to her own garden. She dares to stand for truth and walks her own road to find it. She’s finding the dark places that have held her hostage. She defies expectations. She is focused and determined. She could turn things upside down. She's had it with status quo. She’s a warrior. A rebel. Some say she is being awakened by the divine feminine or by Gaia herself. I think she's just run out of patience. She may make jackets for caterpillars, be a lawyer, a school teacher, an architect, a mumma, a scientist, a writer, a healer, a dancer — whatever she does, she is faithful to who she is. She is the peony blooming, she is the wave cresting, she is the spark of creativity that created the whole damn thing — and here five minutes to midnight, on wobbly feet – she has arrived.
I hope you'll join me in welcoming her.
about the author
Sandy is a Canadian of Egyptian and German descent. She does not know if her grandmothers are cheering her on or rolling over in their graves. After leaving her childhood home at 17, she has been pursuing sovereignty while maintaining a state of reverent bewilderment. She's spent the last two decades raising two sons and has worked as a systems analyst, a boxing coach and a book marketer. She lives with her family in Victoria, BC and is often seen throwing sticks into the ocean.
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