For those in search of who they really are, the answer may be online
I am the woman
who writes in red ink
because she dreams of being
I am the one
who wants to find a way
with her feet still on the
To find her soul -- her inner spirit -- has become the aim of the modern woman. Under constant stress to succeed as a professional, wife, mother or daughter, she often finds herself in a puppet-like position, pulled in many directions and unable to reach a single one. So, in this high-tech age, where does she turn for comfort, solace and peace? The Internet!
"I help women articulate and give birth to their creative dreams," says Jennifer Louden, creator of Comfort Queen. "My mission in life is to awaken people, including myself, over and over, to a new story, an expanded way of being." The author of The Woman's Comfort Book, The Couple's Comfort Book and Comfort Queen's Guide to Life, Louden is also a certified motivational coach. Her site offers a number of features for the harried housewife and pressured professional, including an Inner Organiser to help prioritise life, a section on Instant Soothing, a Daily Dollop of Comfort as well as a weekly newsletter.
"Jennifer is helping me remove the filters from my eyes and learn to see the world in all its infinite possibilities and its glorious magic. I am moving beyond by going within," writes one visitor to the site. "She gives me confidence in myself, enabling me to dream more, question more, hold more, live more."
Then there's Spirit in Art, another Web site dealing with awakening inner spirituality and creativity. "The human spirit is a combination of the mind, body and soul," reads the opening statement. "Our mission is to provide a forum for women to communicate with each other and express their creativity and spirituality." It does this with the help of sections on the physical, spiritual and the creational -- all combining to create the authentic woman.
Spirit - Finding Hope in a World of Uncertainty is the creation of Jane Simpson Downen Mullikin. It was created as thanksgiving to God for rescuing her and guiding her toward a wholeness of spirit, mind and body. "In the early 90s, I had it made by earthly standards. I was living in paradise in a beautiful home in the Florida Keys. Inwardly, I was living in hell. My body was well nourished, my mind was greatly exercised by fear and my spirit was comatose." Mullikin created the site as a tribute to the development of the whole person.
"As human beings, we all accept the idea that we have a body and mind. The third aspect, our spirit, is likely to be disregarded. For us to be whole beings, we need all three aspects of ourselves living in harmony," she says. Visitors to the site can find articles on topics ranging from acceptance and anger to honesty, hope, patience and spiritual power.
And then, of course, there's the queen of spirit -- Oprah Winfrey. As part of the 'Spirit and Self' section on her TV show as well as her Web site, Oprah attempts to connect women with their inner selves through three segments -- Know Yourself, Live Your Best Life and Inspirations. Log on to find out more.
For those who have grown on liberal doses of Chicken Soup, we have our very own Dal Sabzi for the Aatman too -- a site dedicated to spreading a message of spirituality through weekly emails. The brainchild of Shakun Narain Kimatrai, a spiritual guide who also heads the spirituality desk at the Times of India, Mumbai, DalSabzi.com includes Narain's own snippets of knowledge, information on spiritual gurus, insights, prayers, customs and beliefs, along with space for readers to share stories about their personal spiritual growth.
Brought up in Spain, the only Hindu child in an entirely Spanish class, Narain was asked all sorts of questions about India and Hinduism. "I didn't have answers to these questions, so, when I came to India at the age of 13, I noted down everything I learned. These are very well documented and now form the basis of the site," she says. DalSabzi.com, which gets approximately 5,000 hits per day, is visited by a host of regulars seeking solace. Some contact her with personal problems, while others thank her for making them spend time on spiritual matters.
For Narain, the site is a spiritual exercise. That hasn't stopped her from looking at advertising options though, as the cost of running the site is high. "I don't think there's anything wrong with advertising on spiritual sites," she says. "I would prefer sponsors or advertisers that were spiritually connected, but I'm also willing to consider other options."
Whether you're looking for comfort akin to a warm cup of tea or solace to help you through a personal crisis, it's clear that the Internet has all the answers. And though they might not drastically alter your life, some of these sites could be just what the doctor ordered to find yourself and keep those blues away.