As I return to work after the long weekend, I’m re-reading Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. I discovered this provocative quote from the Bible in her final chapter:
If you bring forth what is within you,
What you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
What you do not bring forth will destroy you.
—Jesus, from The Gospel According to Thomas
Dr. Northrup introduces the quote in the context of women healing their own past pain (individual and ancestral) and how this leads to the healing of the world.
What do you think about this passage, and its assertion?
The word “save” feels dangerous here, because of the baggage it carries in our U.S. society. I don’t think it means that if you bring forth what is within you, that you’ll make a million dollars, become famous, win the lottery, achieve widespread acclaim, or live forever. That’s hard to take, especially with our spiraling American obsession with wunderkind, rags-to-riches, and bootstraps legends.
I think it means that every one of us has something inside of us that must be brought into the world. Whether it’s a poem, a song, a child, a business, a story, an invention, a game, a revolution — it will eat us alive if we don’t get out of our own way and bring it forth. I’d take the idea one step further and say that not only will it destroy us individually, but the world will be deprived of that unique contribution you could have made. (I think Courtney’s story yesterday about Jorge Muñoz illustrates this beautifully.)
Does this idea appeal to those of you whose beliefs lean toward agnosticism or atheism?
Also, the inevitable question comes up: well, what about Hitler? What about Pol Pot? What about Milošević? And so on. Didn’t they bring forth what was within them, and wasn’t it terror and destruction? I don’t know where those facts fit. Does evil not count in the “what is within you” category? Or did they feed the wrong wolf inside of them, as the old story goes? I don’t know.
For now, here is my short list of that which I know is within me:
*a surreal and magical novel
*a marriage rooted in pleasure, joy, and nurturing greatness in each other
*a book about growing up as a minister’s kid
*a lifetime’s worth of journals chronicling the everyday life of a woman in the 21st century
*a luminous, curious, loving child
*whimsy, laughter, faith
What about you? What do you feel is within you to bring forth, even if it never makes you a dime, even if it takes your entire life to do it? What have you already brought forth like this?
Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.