Posted by: ginalazenby | August 21, 2013

New book on Pilgrim Mothers – more stories of inspiring women

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Jane Noble Knight has just launched her second book ‘The Inspiring Journeys of Pilgrim Mothers: Pioneering Pathways to Inner Peace’.  I was featured in her first book of nine women entrepreneurs and was delighted to be asked to write the foreword for this next book. I found it inspiring as promised …. her book is on Amazon and you can read my Foreword below. Tonight I am hosting a launch party in London for Jane and the book … a report and photo will follow.

Foreword to The Inspiring Journeys of Pilgrim Mothers

If you are scanning this book and are wondering whether to buy it then I do encourage you to do so. I felt honoured to be asked by Jane to write the foreword, and in order to do her Pilgrim Mother project justice I asked her for the chapters so that I could skim through as I was departing for an overseas trip. It was impossible to skim, for once I had started looking through the stories of the nine women, I was hooked, drawn in by the depth of their sharing and their willingness to be so open, vulnerable and completely authentic. I couldn’t put the book down, so a quick, brief writing assignment turned into a much bigger project as I churned over the insights and wisdom I was gleaning … filling my head with the lives of these incredible women and seeing what an important service they have done in telling us about their journeys.

One of the things that I am really passionate about is hosting Women’s Gatherings, and as I travel overseas for more than half the year, I get to do this all over the globe. I meet women from all walks of life and learn a great deal from their different backgrounds. What I have discovered is that women the world over are inspired by the stories and personal sharing of other women. It’s not so much the successes they have had that inspire us, for in fact we can be quite intimidated by some alpha women’s high-rolling megastardom as they reach the heights of corporate life or win amazing prizes or awards. What we really appreciate are the details … Why did they do what they did? How did it happen? Who did they become in the process? We even love the minutiae of their lives to be revealed so that we can say, “I do that as well” or “I know that feeling.”

In many cases, when the layers are revealed, we realise just how alike we are or we see that those women have risen above challenges so much greater than the pains we have suffered, and so we know that so much more is possible for us if we dare to move forward. We don’t need to let anything hold us back. I think by engaging with women like these here and connecting through these pages, you will feel encouraged with wherever you are on your own journey.

This book is full of stories and wisdom that will give you the permission or validation you may be seeking (consciously or unconsciously) to step to the next level, or perhaps allow yourself to think bigger than you have been thinking. I am speaking to you now as a woman who wants more from life and who feels you have so much to give. I am guessing that for all you have achieved so far, and perhaps overcome, you are in actual fact only just beginning.

Here I am in Bali on a Sunday morning, overwhelmed with notes and jottings from my own reading of this book and now wondering what to write. I decided to ask for guidance to give me clarity. You probably do this yourself if, like me, you have learned over the years to ask for help. So I am sitting in a cafe in Ubud reading the Jakarta Post newspaper and I see a big picture of Latino- American artist Jennifer Lopez and read her words, “We’re realising, the world is realising, that women are not even coming into their own until they are in their forties, that they have so much to offer.” As J-Lo herself approaches her mid-forties she is absolutely right with noticing this: so a big high-five to her this morning for highlighting one of the key messages that come through the stories of the nine women in Jane Noble Knight’s book.

Women have so much potential inside them that is bursting to shift out in the world and be expressed in some new creative form. The urgency of this is often keenly felt by women who have moved through the early years of family-centric home-making, often juggling career, business and community commitments too, and many are now looking to a future filled with blanks and questions but very often excitement and hope as they embrace this new uncertainty. A different kind of woman is emerging now in later life. Instead of us feeling that we have a few more miles on the clock, we are trading in those tired odometers and fitting new ones to give ourselves a completely fresh start … for some that means post-children, post-marriage, post-profession … even post home-owning as more women uproot themselves and set off into their second ‘youth’ on ‘gap years’ and sabbatical journeys of re-invention. I think Marianne Williamson even refers to this mid-life phase as a second puberty.

There used to be three ages for women: maiden, mother and crone … and for sure, none of us over forty resonate with that dreadful word ‘crone’, an aged woman who is ignored and made irrelevant by society today. So we are choosing and embracing many different rites of passage and evolving into the kind of women you will read about here … pioneers of a new world … This time it’s not the new lands of America that we are discovering and creating; it is a new humanity. This is a new era of Pilgrim Mothers. And I would be wrong to suggest that this is solely the territory of older women. You will read here about young women who choose very different paths and push back against cultural pressure in order to forge new avenues for other young women to follow.

Jane Noble Knight is indeed doing sacred work here by celebrating the triumphs and recoveries over trauma, terrible misfortune, invisibility, heartbreak and loss in a way that these women could not. Even if they did feel moved to blow their own trumpets, that’s just not the feminine way! The job for all of us is to celebrate each other, give each other a hand up, cheerlead, support and do everything we can to make visible the work of women all over the globe who are making this world a better place.

The timeliness of this book is perfect. Take a look at any TV screen or newspaper and you will see story after story that reaffirms how much humanity has lost its way. Women are missing from so much of the power-broking and decision-making forums, particularly the highest levels of government, corporations and financial institutions. We need fresh input and new energy. Women have that. We need to step forward out of the shadows with our Pilgrim energy and be prepared to make a difference and take on anything that we feel passionate about. If you need any inspiration with that then just read the wonderful stories of these nine women. I guarantee that by the end of the book you will want to do more or take the seed of the idea you have and breathe new life into it with greater confidence knowing that anything is possible.

Congratulations Jane … I value the friendship that we have forged during our conversations about Pilgrim Mothers. Thank you for including me in your first book – that was an honour indeed. From being associated and connected with the other women in that edition, I have myself grown into another flowering of my own potential.

Gina Lazenby (from the Hub in Ubud, Bali) June 2013
CEO and Founder ‘Women Gathering Project’, Co-founder Feng Shui Society UK, Author of The Rise of the Feminine

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