Ann Smith, Co-Founder and Director of Circle Connections: Circles Connecting for Peace and Justice, has served as the director of Women in Mission and Ministry, Episcopal Church USA. With Jean Shinoda Bolen and other women, Ann co-founded the Millionth Circle Initiative. Ann has worked around the world with the United Nations, women’s organizations, and local groups using Circle Principles. She co-edited Women’s Uncommon Prayers and co-authored Stories from the Circle and Women Prints. With Laurie McCammon, Ann has recently launched an exciting, visionary program called “Enough” with an accompanying book, Enough: The Rise of the Feminine and the Birth of the New Story. In this guest blog she tells the story of the birthing of this new program and book, and her amazing visions for “Enough.” (www.weareenough.org; www.circleconnections.com)
“On Epiphany, January 12, 2014, I had an epiphany that I could leave behind work that was causing stress, and free myself to follow my heart as a co-creator of the New Story. As I move between the two worlds, the world as it is and the world as it was meant to be, the New Story, I will continue to make choices that free me from old story entrapments. I will listen deeply to God’s call by and pay attention to what is showing up. When I made the choice to leave something I loved but felt I could not make the changes needed to live into the New Story, my feelings of anguish that had been plaguing me soon dissipated and the song that ran in my head was Born Free. All the “coulds,” “shoulds,” and “should nots” were transformed into “yes I can” and “yes I will.” Animals that had been missing around my home now showed up, such as a snake by my hammock when I was reading and an owl in my backyard tree. The January full moon reading and the Chinese New Year confirmed that I was on the right path and my new work to tell people about the New Story was beginning. This is the Chinese year of the horse and I am ready to gallop.
For forty years I have worked for women’s empowerment with the dream that our leadership will bring about real change. I have worked in the secular, religious, and spiritual women’s movements with the desire to unite efforts. The leadership programs we co-created were excellent and the women all felt empowered but something was missing in unleashing our potential to become the change we wanted to see happen. Religious, political, and cultural messages that state we are not good enough continued to be internal blocks. We hear these messages daily especially on television and in women’s magazines that promote products, services, resources, programs, that claim by having them we will be improved. But they are never-enough messages for buying more and waiting for others. These never-enough messages keep us victims to patriarchy that is man-made and not in harmony with nature, keeping us separate from nature instead of part of nature. We continue to experience God as male in our churches excluding the Divine Feminine that is needed to bring balance in our humanity. We long for the words, images, and ceremonies that feed us intellectually and spiritually as women, whole and changing.
When I met with Laurie McCammon in the fall of 2012 in Maine, she talked about an Enough phrase as an alternative to the never enough messages. Her words about Enough resonated deep within me, and I knew this was the answer to what has held us back from claiming our power here and now. The more we talked about Enough, the more we knew this was the key to unlock the consciousness for us to become our Enough selves and ignite the global women’s movement. Together we wrote the Enough book, Enough: The Rise of the Feminine and the Birth of the New Story. Jean Shinoda Bolen states in the Foreword: There is a growing shift in consciousness which recognizes that peace and sustainability depend upon women and this new consciousness is arising through women and men who are contributing to a potential paradigm shift: a “New Story” supported by the principles of Enough.
We believe you will step into your full potential when you read Enough and gather in circle to discuss and co-create the New Story.
I Am Enough. I have the skills, talents, wisdom, ideas and heart the world needs.
I Have Enough. I have more than I think I have, enough to share, enough to shine.
We Are Enough. I don’t need to do it alone any more. Together we are capable and strong.
We Have Enough. By pooling our talents, power, passions and resources, we ensure our security and expoentialize our capacity to bring about real change.
Enough! Together, we stand in our power to claim our stake in a future which accurately reflects our dreams and values.
Along with our book Enough, we will offer We Are Enough leadership programs where women and girls in their community can come together to pool their talents, power, passions and resources, becoming “solutionaries” both locally and globally.
We will work with all who want to co-create a network of support for a more beautiful, healthy, sustainable and peace-filled world that is in harmony with nature. We will help weave together the secular, religious, and spiritual women’s movements. We will support all people who want to bring in the New Story.
We know there is a deep hunger to protect our planet for future generations. We know both women and men are embracing the Divine Feminine within themselves, one another and Mother Earth. We are part of the conversations for unifying a women’s movement that will become unstoppable. We know we have the desire, the common vision of Oneness, and the resources to become the change we want to see happen locally and globally. We know women and men are contributing to a nature-centered consciousness that is both higher and deeper.
We are healing divisions and will continue so all who want to step into the new are welcome and supported. We have the heart to lead and co-create circles where all are leaders. We leave patriarchal structures behind and co-create leader-full circles where everyone is valued and shares the resources and power. Each one’s gifts, talents, skills, resources, dreams, passions are listened to, valued and become part of the whole.
We know that with each circle formed we are one step closer to the “millionth circle,” the tipping point for bringing in the New Story.
We know We Are Enough. We will listen to the Universe and watch for signs as we discern together what’s next for us.
In my 71st year as a spiritual being on a human path I believe:
I believe we are Enough to protect and preserve Earth so that there is Enough for all creation to live in abundance and sustainability.
I believe we are unlimited in our abilities to dream and make our dreams come true.
We are Enough.
I believe everyone who is awake has a dream or, like me, many dreams. We just need to believe we are Enough.
I believe you the reader are Enough and by reading Enough will say yes to being a co-creator of the New Story.
I believe that by doing the inner and outer work individually and collectively we become “solutionaries” and co-creators of a beautiful world now and forever more.
Namaste!!! Ann Landaas Smith”