What I Did on my Summer Vacation: Trip Report!

“It is the intention that is the important thing –

that’s what transforms a walk into a pilgrimage.”

– Caro Woods, artist

Do you want to see the world and stay in one place? Go to The Parliament of the World’s Religions which is what I did last month, from August 13-17th – in Chicago. (But you’ll have to wait a bit. The next one will be in four years, I’m not sure where.)

I didn’t go to see the world, actually. I went on a whim - or what Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen might call as a result of “synchronicity.” (That’s what she called our telephone connection. I wrote about that here.) She made a comment to me when I interviewed her for my podcast about how she was attending the Parliament. I had never heard about it despite being a Congregational and Methodist churchgoer since I was a child. I wonder why it took 71 years for me to hear about it?

I felt a strong pull to go (was it intuition; an urge to get away; synchronicity – who knows?) I went, by myself. That was interesting. I’m not often accompanied by “just me.” It was fine. I think pilgrimages are usually solitary anyways. 

I’m reminded to be careful what you wish for… I do think “intention” had a lot to do with me going. (I think God did too – I used to be careful about using that word but heck, I do believe in a God, so…) I did ask for it. Just read my words from my January 2023 blog:

If you’ve been following the winding path of my blog and videos starting this January, I’ve declared that I’m on a “stay at home” pilgrimage. I’m studying and learning about the sacred feminine. I’m going to continue with this theme until either the enormity of the task does me in (quite possible) or completely overwhelms me (more than likely!) – or until it leads me to…well, who knows? (This is truly a journey into the unknown.) I’ve invited you to come along. Thank you for being here. I hope we’ll all learn something.

“…studying and learning about the sacred feminine.”

Those words have guided my footprints all year (and that intention is not done with me, I know.) This August, “Stay at home” changed for me into “Go and see”.

And did I learn about the Sacred Feminine?

Yes. I’d describe it as experiencing the Sacred Feminine – as people (men and women) being the Sacred Feminine: the same Sacred Feminine that creates women’s wisdom circles and gives divine blessings and worships St. Brigid and moves us in ritual and guides us on the spiral of the labyrinth – and serves us in complete equality the most delicious, free lunch.

The Sacred Feminine was everywhere in this Parliament. Not in the numbers of men and women but in the myriad causes that brought people of all religions there that then were translated into the hundreds of workshops that were offered; its theme: A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights. The collective spirit was one of collaboration; openness, acceptance, curiosity – and love. Seriously, you could feel it, just walking around. I left Chicago so optimistic and full of hope. There are so many people working for the good of the world.

Let me give you a small peak, through the lens of my interests, as to what went on there. 

First of all, however, what’s this Parliament? 

Here’s from their website:

The organization was founded on a mission to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and to foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions to address the critical issues of our time. The Parliament was incorporated in 1988 to carry out a tradition and legacy that dates back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where the historic first convening of the World’s Parliament of Religions created a global platform for engagement of religions of the east and west.

Since the historic 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, modern Parliament Convenings have attracted participants from more than 200 diverse religious, indigenous, and secular beliefs and more than 80 nations to its international gatherings in Chicago (1993), Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004), Melbourne (2009), Salt Lake City (2015), Toronto (2018) and virtually (2021). These Parliament Convenings are the world’s oldest, largest, and most inclusive gatherings of the global interfaith movement. Nearly 60,000 people across the world have convened in an enduring commitment to justice, peace, and sustainability through the lens of interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

Their website also tells us about who attended:







So, where exactly did I meet up with the Sacred Feminine?

She was with me at:

  •  The Brigid meditation workshop “Bright Brigid Blessings” with the Rev. Selena Fox.
  •  The panel discussion about the more than human world with Lisa Levinson, of In Defense of Animals, the Sarah Bowen of the Compassion Consortium and Barbara Gardner of the Animal Interfaith Alliance.
  •  The eleven-circuit Labyrinth that I got to walk that was provided by Veriditas.
  •  She was embodied by Her Holiness Amma Sri Karunamayi who took hours giving people Shaktipa. “Amma,” or Mother, as she is affectionately called by her followers, is internationally revered as a living saint, humanitarian, peace leader & spiritual teacher of a global scale. Uniting science & spirituality, Amma is widely sought after and speaks in venues across the world, sharing her visionary message of global unity, sustainability in the new millennium, & higher spiritual awareness.”
    • I received Shaktipata  from her:
      Here’s from Wikipedia:
    • (Sanskrit: शक्तिपात, romanizedśaktipāta)[1]or Shaktipat refers in Hinduism to the transmission (or conferring) of spiritual energy upon one person by another or directly from the deity. Shaktipata can be transmitted with a sacred word or mantra, or by a look, thought or touch – the last usually to the ajna chakra or agya chakra or third eye of the recipient.
    • Shaktipatais considered an act of grace (anugraha (Grace)) on the part of the guru or the divine. It cannot be imposed by force, nor can a receiver make it happen.[2] The very consciousness of the god or guru is held to enter into the Self of the disciple, constituting an initiation into the school or the spiritual family (kula) of the guru.[3] It is held that shaktipata can be transmitted in person or at a distance, through an object such as a flower or fruit. 
    • I have to add this note about Amma Sri Karunamayi: it took quite awhile before I got to her. I had to wait in line in one room, then I had to move with the rest of the line into another room because of the next workshop coming into the first room. More waiting. Finally, I went up to her. I knelt before her. She brushed my hair aside on my forehead, just like a mother would. Then she placed her hands on my forehead and said something I couldn’t understand. She smiled a beautiful smile at me (she is beautiful) and I thanked her. I got up and moved aside for the person behind me. I went to the side to watch and I couldn’t leave. I must have stayed for at least an hour – or more. There was a radiance, a calm loving spirit that emanated from her. It felt so good to be near her. I soaked it in.
  •  The Sacred Feminine was there at the Langar lunch. It was in the Sikh men and women who served 3000+ people lunch each day. “In Sikhism, a langar(Punjabi: ਲੰਗਰ, pronunciation: [lʌŋɾ], 'kitchen'[1]) is the community kitchen of a gurdwara, which serves meals to all free of charge, regardless of religion, caste, gender, economic status, or ethnicity. People sit on the floor and eat together, and the kitchen is maintained and serviced by Sikh community volunteers who are doing seva ("selfless services").[2] The meals served at a langar are always Satvik (lacto-vegetarian)”.[3]
  •  She certainly was there as I received communion at Matthew Fox’s Cosmic Mass

“Post-modern times require post-modern rituals and worship...
getting high on beauty and on dancing (and sweating) hard is ancient wisdom.” ~Matthew Fox

 There’s so much more I could tell you.

Here’s an audio report about the Parliament from NPR:

I particularly like what Michael Bernard Beckwith had to say, founder of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, part of the New Thought movement. This is how he described the effect of the gathering as one got to meet and understand the others there, different from you.

 "So, you're not living a life from fear, doubt and worry," he says. "You're living life being pulled by a vision and being inspired by that vision to make a difference on the planet."

There were several workshops on creating circles and they were all convened by women. If anything, the Sacred Feminine now is symbolized for me by a circle convened by women.

 I attended a workshop given by Women of Spirit and Faith. This is what I’m working to breathe more life into my Heroine’s Circle Gathering in my own home state, Maine. It helps so much to see that others are doing the same.

From their website:

As  women of spirit and faith,
we know something important about this moment in history.
We know it from our rich experiences in the world
and we know it from a place of deep wisdom within.
Our unique patterns of knowing
are part of a larger pattern of feminine wisdom
being called forth at this time
in service of this Earth and of humanity

When women gather in a circle with a sacred center, a space is created which calls forth collective wisdom and inspires personal passion. The world needs both right now.  As women of spirit and faith bringing our skills and leadership in so many different ways, we all need the nurturing, validation, and synergy that a circle provides for its women.

I will continue to gather the women, and the Heroines, together to share their experiences and wisdom. I think part of the reason I was called or pulled to be at the Parliament was so that I could see how the Heroine’s Journey piece fit into a larger whole. It fits. It definitely fits.

Learn More About The School For Real-Life Heroines


Equipping women with the tools to navigate their way. Take our DIY course, join an accountability group, or attend a webinar. Let us illuminate your path to purpose and ignite your journey to a fulfilling life.


It's Time To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Join Our Newsletter

Get news first. Hear about our sales. Learn about our classes and retreats.

Don't worry. Who has time to email you everyday. We send out only enough emails to keep you in the loop.