The potentiality of love dwells within the heart of every human being. Love is essentially the penetrating electro-magnetic power that attunes the individual to the light of the Divine. - Arife Hammerle, PhD, JD, LMFT
SufiWomen Interfaith Discovery
SWO recently held its semiannual Speakers Luncheon Series honoring Susan M. Wyler in Marin County, California. Susan is a poet and historian, with advanced degrees in cultural history from UCLA and Oxford University, and most recently a celebrated novelist for her book Solsbury Hill. Observing that the hardest thing to do is “get out of the way,” Susan shared her experience as a traveler, a writer, and a woman seeking an authentic way of engaging the world. She spoke openly about the difference between writing for herself and writing for the public, and encouraged anyone interested in writing to listen first to the voice of one’s own heart. Susan spent much of her life preparing to write novels, having written her first imaginative story around the age of seven, a time when she remembers reciting poetry to herself as she walked to school. While she went on to write several collections of poetry, Susan struggled with a number of unfinished novels, never able to identify the proper ending or
destination to a story. It wasn’t until she challenged herself to write 1500 words every day for a month, and to develop her writing as a committed practice, that she found her way to the completion of Solsbury Hill. In contrast to the way writing is often taught, with form preceding function, Susan found that her best writing flowed when she committed to daily writing, but not to specific parameters for her stories. Instead, she would write what came, willing to carve away later anything that didn’t bring her closer to the truth of a moment or a character’s experience. Writing, she noted, cannot be forced by the mind, but can arise through a person in moments of quiet, patience and dedication. In the passage she read aloud, it wasn’t the particular words that lingered in the room, but the rhythm, cadence and honesty with which she had spoken them, and her own commitment to her narrative. Her work recalls classic tales of the human search for meaning, strength and identity.
The Sufi Women Organization (SWO) continues to provide a significant forum for the health, freedom, and wellbeing of all women, with seventeen chapters around the world. Founded by Dr. Nahid Angha, and with the efforts and contributions of Sufi women around the globe, SWO was established in 1993 under the auspices of the International Association of Sufism. The Organization has taken active and leadership roles within the global community through interfaith organizations, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the United Nations, and continues to work for peace and human rights through a variety of programs, activities and outreach efforts. Together with other humanitarian organizations, SWO has devoted time and financial support toward after school programs in Mexico and El Salvador, immunization efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa, clean water projects in refugee area such as Ethiopia, and the eradication of poverty worldwide.
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 4