A chat with Susan Cobb

By Marybeth Bates

According to Susan Cobb, “Everybody has an inner Guadalupe!” She speaks with animation and assurance about a topic near to her heart. “It’s finding it that provides the adventure of a lifetime,” she continues.  “It’s the classic spiritual journey that every man or woman eventually has to take. But inside each of us is that virgin place that’s untouched, un-captured, whole and intact. When we start identifying ourselves from that place, worlds open up. The key is to say ‘yes’ when it matters most. After all, when Mary — as in the Virgin Mary — was faced with a life-changing opportunity, she didn’t say, “I’d like to talk this over with Joseph. Can I have some time to think about it?”

w/Susan Cobb
Wed, Sep 12, 5:30pm
Villas de Allende Community Room
For more info call Marybeth Bates 152-7314

Cobb recounts part of her own spiritual journey, (“it just keeps going and going”) in Virgin Territory: How I Found My Inner Guadalupe. Over six years ago, while on vacation on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, she waved back at a man standing on the porch of his house. When she and her husband turned the car around at the end of the cul-de-sac and came back, the man was at the side of the street, motioning for them to stop. Leaning in the car window he asked a question, “You folks want to buy a house?” Their “yes” wasn’t immediate. It was the next day they came back and wrote up a contract on a yellow legal pad. “Not the way I’d advise doing it,” Cobb hastens to add, “but we haven’t regretted it one moment. We returned to California, sold everything, and six months later we were full time residents of Mexico.”

Of course there was a whole dynamic that brought Cobb and her husband to the place where saying “yes” to a move of that sort just jumped out of her mouth. In Virgin Territory she recounts growing up in Bible-thumping West Texas, where her “group” was an eclectic mixture of religious misfits. She herself was raised as a Christian Scientist, “but my two best friends were Catholic and Jewish.” When she was eight years old, her family took a trip to Mexico City, where she visited the shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. That was when Juan Diego’s tilma was more accessible; people could reach out and touch the glass that protected it. “It was scary. It was fascinating. It was unlike anything I’d ever been exposed to.”

Cobb grew up and eventually became a Christian Science practitioner and lecturer. Referring to her time as a public speaker, she says, “It was at a time when the public was eager to hear the untold stories of women in history, and especially women involved with spirituality and religion. Speaking in bookstores, university classrooms and in a variety of seminars, I gained a deeper appreciation for the human history of Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy. I found strong parallels in her story and that of other women in religious history, in that people are willing to acknowledge the final accomplishments of a particular woman, but little attention is given to the process of getting there.

“There are few channels, save for vocations within religious institutions, in which women have felt entitled to pursue spirituality for its own sake. Modern women (as in the last several hundred years),” Cobb continues, “have not had an ideal on which to model a feminine concept of divinity. I think Guadalupe is iconic in a powerful way. She’s ‘out there,’ as in not the exclusive property of one religious institution. I have to laugh when I hear Sandra Cisneros refer to herself as a “Buddha-lupista.” Guadalupe is universal. She offers many new ways to think about ourselves and our spirituality.”

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