Foreward by Khadija Radin
“My Journey With the Whirling Dervishes of America” is an intimate tale of intense personal growth. It is a photographic journal of how the Mevlevi teachings helped a Christian, Western woman’s challenge of infidelity and divorce. As Lee weaves her tale of encounter, skepticism, betrayal, acceptance and prevail, one is taken on a journey of honest self-reflection and spiritual ripening.
The Mevlevi Sufis, known as the Whirling Dervish, have become popularized by their founder Jelaluddin Rumi whose poetry and writings are widely read in the Western world. Lee’s account of her inspired encounters in this tradition is much of the inspiration that has also enriched my life over forty years of Sufi study. Witnessing Mevlevi students and their difficulty and eventual rapture in whirling is deeply gratifying. The surrender of limited will to practices which might seem at first not to reap any benefit is the mechanism which separates “the wheat from the chaff”. Practitioners’ application of knowledge and eventual wisdom to their lives continues to inspire me in my own practice.
It has been a pleasure to witness Lee’s evolution of Grace. Her early rejection of the faith in which she was raised initially challenged her willingness to embrace the riches that are offered in the Mevlevi Way, a tradition which guides one in life’s ongoing obstacles and uncertainties. There are many levels of study in Sufism. Inquiry begins where students are shown their limits because of their limited understanding of the true nature of the Human condition. This path refines the student by clarifying what it means to be a completed Human Being.
Whether this is your first encounter or part of an ongoing inquiry with the Whirling Dervish, enjoy Lee’s journey–an odyssey to distant lands, mysterious ceremonies, inspiring people, devastation, triumph, elation, gratitude and unconditional Love.
Khadija Radin February, 2012