Sande Hart is an award-winning leader in the fields of women’s empowerment and interfaith community building. She is the President of the women’s interfaith organization S.A.R.A.H., (The Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope) and serves on the Women’s Task Force for The Parliament of World’s Religions. She recently released her book, The Liminal Odyssey, Alchemical Power of the Spaces In-Between.
Sande is currently being inducted into the Women’s Oral History Archives of Claremont Colleges. Above all, Sande is a mother, grandmother, wife, aunt, and sister from Southern California.
This is her interview
What is your book about? The Liminal Odyssey is a story, a philosophy, and an adventure into the spaces in-between the moments of our life’s stories. This book is a weaving of my personal and wildly synchronistic stories, framed in the contemplative template of a new philosophy that disclosed itself to me as I was writing. Each chapter is anchored in the skill, methodology, philosophy, indigenous knowledge and/or science that was evident for that story’s magical unfoldment. In most all cases, the skills came directly from experiences with the thought leaders, philosopher, scientist, or elders directly. In the end we find a recipe for discovering our own life’s sacred task, planetary assignment, our calling by finding the miraculous in the mundane.
Why did you want to write this book? I set out to tell a single story that my friends have been urging me to tell for about 15 years of a remarkable experience I had in 1982 at a no-nukes rally and music festival where I started a movement among 100,000 people. I did not have enough of a story to fill a book, so I kept putting it down. Then I learned this new word, liminal which means threshold. When I thought about the liminal space between the call-to-action I heard in 1982 and my reaction, I filled more than a chapter. Eleven more wildly fantastic stories emerged that I had discounted or had never noticed the threads of relevance to my life’s evolution.
Symbiotically, I am also actively engaged with visionaries, futurists and physicists who all agree we are evolving into a new era and our minds are catching up to our spirituality. While we don’t know where we are going, we know we are on our way, and I feel a tremendous responsibility and a great privilege to clean up my act so I am contributing to this transformation’s ease and grace because I am in my integrity; my wholeness. As a grandmother, mother, and leader of women, I haven’t much choice in the matter.
Because each chapter is anchored in a particular skill and practice that is diverse and spans from indigenous Grandmother’s knowledge and wisdom to neuroscientist and quantum physicist’s theories, I discovered that when practiced collectively, they create their own coherence, greater than the sum of their parts, resulting in a cleansing process of the baggage I carry. The reason I have 300 self-help books on my shelf and still have the issues I have is because no one has suggested that a confluence of a number of those theories is a recipe worth trying. As soon as I did, I noticed results in record time. A few are bonding agents to the rest, so there are some essential ingredients, but principally, it’s time for a new recipe. It’s time to question assumptions and find new solutions to old problems. The Liminal Odyssey suggests such an undertaking wrapped up in some interesting, sometimes funny, often vulnerable, a little heartbreaking, hopefully inspiring, and definitely magical stories.
Therefore, while I started out to share my little human-interest story that everyone seems to really love, I concluded this book with an expansion of The (S)Hero’s Journey to a philosophy for the ages.
What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?
I wish for every reader to discover and disclose their authentic full self by slowing down to the speed of awe and wonder of the spaces in-between. Over millennia women in particular have been duped by patriarchy’s charms that we are not as powerful as we are, so it’s time to question assumptions, re-member our relationship with our body, the cosmos and the planet and show up in our divine selves. Men too have suffered at the hand of patriarchy, and I wish all of us find balance in the divine feminine and divine masculine. This is as simple as the intention to practice the Liminal Odyssey skills including reverent listening, awareness, healing intergenerational trauma, notice synchronicities, understanding the Trust Frequency and the power of our thoughts, and noticing which archetype is in charge (Maiden, Mother, Crone.) I also hope that everyone will take stock of the skills and practices they already employ and consider applying the Liminal Odyssey skills as additives. There’s not one recipe that will work for all yet all require intention and will to practice. It’s not hard. In fact, I think it’s fun.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Notice the feeling you get when you write? Notice how you surprise yourself with ideas you did not know you had until they flowed out of your pen, pencil, crayon? Pay attention to that feeling. It’s a sign this is what you love and should be doing your entire life. Follow your bliss.
How long did it take to write your book? 61 years.
What was the biggest challenge in writing your book? Getting out of my own way. Yet that was not really too hard. It was so much fun and l learned very quickly (for once) I should not be in charge.
Who are your favorite authors (and why)? Brene Brown- her candor and relatable charm is an invitation to myself. It was Neale Donald Walsch that expanded my mind on the integrity of words. He is wonder-full.
I could read To Kill A Mockingbird 10 more times. I am not sure who I love more, Scout or Harper Lee for giving her to us.
What is your favorite book in the same genre as your work? The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav and Dr. Riane Eisler’s Sacred Pleasure.
What does literary success look like to you? I am tickled when I know hearts are touched and I have inspired alchemizing transformation. If my readers start seeing their lives as magical, I am a success. If my readers question assumptions that prevent them from living the life only they can live with the calling they alone can master, I am a success. When my readers honor their ancestors and future generations by healing generational wounds and patterns, I am a success. When my readers live their life by following their bliss, I do cartwheels and dance around my house. Success is not a big enough word.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received? “It’s time to throw the bowlines off and allow yourself to head into uncharted territory. Yours is a 5-D perspective and don’t edit that out. It’s time.” Charlon Bobo, my Editor/Magic Woman.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your writing journey? Not a thing! A very unique condition took me over each time I sat down to write. So much of this book wrote me, and one chapter was an experience I had in real time. Had I set out with a structured plan other to tell one little story and edited out all the magic that flowed out of my fingertips that surprised me, I would have gotten in the way of the wild creativity and the open channel my angels clearly had intended. Because I had practiced each of the 12 skills over the 10 months it took me to write this book, that which became the philosophy also revealed itself to me. I could never have dreamed this up otherwise. In this way, my readers became my writing and my accountability partners keeping me honest and in my full integrity. For that I am eternally grateful.
What do you do when you are not writing? My husband I just moved to be closer to our grandchildren, so I am typically covered in babies. Otherwise, I am the founding President of S.A.R.A.H. (The Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope) women’s interfaith organization, now its 20th year. I am also very busy these days with the Women’s Task Force of the Parliament of The World’s Religions preparing for the 2023 Parliament in Chicago to make sure the presence of women and girls is very loud and proud!
What’s next for you? I am waiting on the album of music that was composed especially for The Liminal Odyssey so I can release the audio book. Beyond that? I cannot wait to find out and ready for it!
How can our readers get a copy of your book? The Liminal Odyssey can be found at www.LiminalOdyssey.com -use the promo code womenofwisdom for a discount and free shipping (and a little something special.) It is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and most every online book seller.
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Here is an excerpt from The Liminal Odyssey
Abracadabra: The Sacred Integrity of Our Creation
Over the past four Parliaments of the World’s Religions, besides sitting in a myriad of transformational workshops, I have presented, led workshops, produced events, and had countless planned and spontaneous conversations. But it was the chance meetings while taking breaks in the hallways that were the juiciest and spirit-led meetings where I consistently find my next muse, mentor, or BFF.
It was on one of those breaks that I found room on a bench in the main hall and sat down next to six Jain nuns. I noticed as one approached us that she was lightly sweeping her path with a Wallis Tambo sweep broom, made of reeds. I asked their interpreter to explain what she was doing. With a neatly folded napkin to her mouth, she told me the primary tenet of Jainism, one of the oldest religions in the world dating back to 600 CE, is ahimsa, the fundamental principle to do no harm, and is one of the five sacred vows devout Jains take. Sweeping her path means that she is taking careful precautions not to step on a living being. I then asked her to explain the napkin she held to her mouth, as I noticed they were all conversing with one another in the same fashion. She told me that just as our feet have the capacity to do harm, so does our breath and our words. Of course, I had to ask her how they got to Melbourne from India. She told me they got special permission from their leadership to board and fly in an airplane and drive in a car.
It is not widely known that the expression “Abracadabra” comes from the Hebrew derivation ebrah k’dabri, meaning, “I create as I speak.” Our words have the power to create or destroy. It’s not too far of a stretch from the image of a 10-year-old magician waving a plastic wand in a figure 8, finishing the dramatics with a snap of the wrist and proclaiming his power to manifest a new reality.
I can have a sharp tongue, and while I have a long wick, at a point it catches a spark and once that happens, a forest fire is as good as blazing. I pity the representative on the phone who missed her training on good customer service. I do practice apologizing to them in such occurrences, which is much harder than it sounds. While keeping my words impeccable is not always a reality, the visual of a napkin over my mouth helps. Maybe when I reach full crone, I will have cleaned up that shortcoming. Until then, or to expedite the process, a broom, attached to a belt loop sweeping behind me reminds me of the opportunity (and responsibility) to clean up my messes. Greg definitely swept up his in his final stage of his Hero’s Journey, the resurrection.
In addition to Grandmother Flordemayo, I have had the good fortune of spending a fair amount of time with Great Grandmother Mary Lyons, an Ojibwe elder whom I first experienced from the front row of a massive audience at the Inaugural Women’s Assembly of the Parliament of World’s Religions in Salt Lake City in 2015. Sitting (literally) at her hem, we all broke out in a massive applause when she shook her finger at the world religions and proclaimed, “Shame on You.” I knew I was witnessing one bad-ass Grandmother.
Since then, we have hosted Great Grandmother on several S.A.R.A.H. programs and I have had more than a few personal conversations with her. When explaining why she prefers to be called “Great Grandmother” she says, “According to the great protocol of the original people, we carry the past seven generations and future seven generations within us. Each one of us sits at the center as a bridge as a great grandmother and holds the balance.”
While both Grandmother Flordemayo and Great Grandmother Mary carry within them a profound knowledge base, deep spiritual wisdom, and an untouchable intelligence, they will sit on the floor with you and giggle. Their humility is breathtaking, especially when they are silly.
In fact, and largely because of the past six years that I have known and spent time with Grandmother Flordemayo, along with her genuine and dynamic daughter Heather Hall-Dudney Stone, I have experienced a model of humanity of the most generous standards. They give of their relationships and resources generously, but most valuable is the immeasurable wisdom they impart. They say it does not come from them. Instead, they are channeling the ancestors, which is substantial when we multiply each of these women by 15 (seven before and seven after with them in the center). I have experienced this with Grandmothers Jyoti Ma, SaSa, Barbara, and every Grandmother they have called into my life.
Great Grandmother Mary told me to take my two fingers and place them on the pulse of my neck. She said, “In that pulse are all those who have come before you and all who are to be.” That responsibility under my fingertips brought me to my knees and has been a source of strength and courage since that conversation.