“Real beauty always comes from a divine spark.”

3291415Monette Chilson, author of Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga, has lived her yoga on and off the mat for 20 years. She writes and speaks about ways to use yoga as a tool for physical, spiritual and mental well-being. She is passionate about making yoga a tool for people of all faiths and advocates for an understanding of God that is inclusive of the feminine divine. She’s written for Yoga Journal, Integral Yoga Magazine and Elephant Journal and has contributed to numerous anthologies published by Mustard Seed Associates, National Association for Christian Recovery and Girl God. Her book was awarded an Illumination Book Award gold medal, as well as the Hoffer Small Press and First Horizon Awards. Connect on Twitter and Instagram (@MonetteChilson) or explore her work at www.SophiaRisingYoga.com.

How would you define real beauty?

Real beauty always comes from a divine spark. It is as much felt, heard, smelled, touched and tasted as it is seen. Beauty is not easily confined to any one definition or standard, but we know it when we see, hear, smell, touch or taste it. It has a glow about it that wears off on us. We feel beautiful ourselves in its presence.
Beauty is God’s love note to each of us.

candle-711339_1280What activity brings you the most inner peace?

Ironically, a distinct lack of activity brings me the most peace. I find there is nothing I can do, plan or orchestrate that conjures up the kind of peace I can access by giving up my commitment to productivity. Peace comes to me when I decide to sleep in and cancel those pressing items on my list. When I sneak up to my quiet meditation spot and sitting without expectation for as long as I’m able. When I light my candles and slip into the bath. Peace never comes to me through striving, always through surrender. Always through doing less, not more. Through being, not doing.

Where do you find soul strength?

Lately, in a time of deep grief, I found soul strength in the spaces I’ve heard described as thin places—spots where the physical and spiritual world are so close that they begin to blur. Sometimes births and deaths bring us to these places because a loved one is coming or going between the two worlds. When I can expand my vision of life to include this bigger view—this God view of heaven and earth as one—the bumps and bruises that are bound to happen in this earthly stopover of ours don’t hurt quite so much. Some things just don’t make sense in any light other than a divine one.

What makes you laugh?

Pure silliness. I don’t need clever jokes. My son taking goofy selfies on my phone for me to find later will do it. Or my daughter setting my phone’s autocorrect feature to change the word “love” to “cannibalism is my lifestyle of choice” on all my texts. Hilarious! Or my husband doing a silly dance around the house for no good reason other than my amusement.

Which female heroine inspires you this month?

After trolling my mind for a big name saint or martyr to throw out here to impress you, I realized that the woman who’s inspiring me the most these days is just a regular person like you or me. Ordinary, yet extraordinary. Yes, both. She could be you or I, yet she is the definition of a heroine—”a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her brave deeds and noble qualities.” She is my sister Angie Jordan, and she moved across that veil—through that thin space that separates the spiritual and physical worlds—suddenly and unexpectedly just a few weeks ago. Even as I trudge through the shock and grief, I am in awe of her character, her strength and her life. She touched so many and with so much humility. She is my heroine.