We are always excited to introduce you to the faces behind Being Human. Our goal with these interviews is to offer you a small glimpse into the heart and story of another traveler so that we can build connections through our shared humanity. Rob Bell likes to remind us, “The real art is: Can I look far enough inside of you to find me?”
Our biggest hope is that you would uncover surprising commonalities, practice listening, learn anew, sit with the truth of someone else’s experiences, and see into the heart of a fellow human without categorizing them or making judgments.
With that said, we’d like you to meet Sonja Cox. After experiencing her own “dark night of the soul” Sonja became a passionate seeker of the Divine within herself. She enjoys learning through a variety of sources including books, nature, and her own inner wisdom. She is a mom of 3 boys and lives in Salt Lake City Utah. You’ll often find her hiking the canyon behind her home (in all seasons!), walking around her neighborhood listening to music or a good book, in nature listening to the trees, or in her backyard meditating after a yoga practice.
And now onto our chat!
The first question is always this: What emotions, images, thoughts, or ideas come to you when you hear the phrase “being human”?
My very first thought at hearing the phrase “being human” is, that’s the whole point. I spent most of my life trying to alter, engineer, mold, and break into pieces all of my humanity. I thought it got in the way of my divinity. I thought it was my greatest stumbling block. I worried it would keep me from Heaven. I never felt worthy or enough. I worked myself ragged trying to alter myself into the person I thought I was supposed to be.
It turns out my humanity is the path to Heaven. On earth. Right now. And that being human is the whole point. It’s the reason I’m here.
I’m supposed to bump up against the hard edges of this world in order to learn and grow and expand. I’m supposed to feel the entire range of emotions. I’m supposed to plant myself in the sunlight and the moonlight. I’m supposed to experience paradox and love and grief.
We’re supposed to feel connected, but we don’t, because we’ve disconnected ourselves from our own humanity in order to become more like Divinity.
Looking back on your childhood how did you see or feel or experience your innate connection and belonging to Love/the Bigger Story?
I always felt like I was a child of God and that I was loved by God. I also thought that I was a sinner and in need of saving. And that I was to work as hard as possible to learn to live like God so that one day I could be found worthy to live with him again. I was supposed to try really hard and repent daily for all my sins. Although I felt loved, I also felt unworthy most of the time. I felt perpetually inadequate.
In your evolution and growth as a human – what are 1 or 2 moments that stand out to you as transformative in your perspective on life and/or your relationship with the Divine/God?
The deconstruction of my faith was a hugely transformative time for me. It was terrifying. I thought I’d lost everything. And I was in darkness for a very long time. I truly thought it might kill me. It was the death of who I was.
I reached a precipice where the woman I was could not carry me any further. She could not see me through to the other side of this. I had to step into the unknown to find out who I really was. Once I did that, I was able to meet God, face to face, (not literally) with no other voices, doctrines, teachings, rules, regulations, conditioning, etc.
It felt like I had been emptied out completely so Divine Love could fill me up. Just purely love. Nothing else in the way. And suddenly I saw everything differently. I saw the Divine in everything. In a blade of grass, a rock, a weed, and in people. Especially those who were different than me. Even in those that are hard to love. I feel compassion now. Life, nature, humanity, everything. It’s all sacred and holy and it’s all love.
How do you view your relationship to the natural world/Mother Earth?
It is sacred to me. It’s hard to put into words. I didn’t realize for so long how much a part of it I am and how much the Divine is in every particle of it.
I was always taught that I had a Father in Heaven. But I missed having a Mother. Turns out she was right under my feet the entire time. Holding me. Supporting me. Sending Love messages daily.
Richard Rohr said that creation is the first Bible. Saint Bernard said, “Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” I deeply believe that if we were in harmony with nature, the earth, her cycles, it’s the only thing we’d ever need to learn about what it means to be fully human and fully divine. Mother earth is everything. We are a part of her. We are nature.
What are a few simple ways you intentional build connection and stand in solidarity with others?
One way I did this was by leaving my lifelong church. I was personally finding it hard to be in support of them while staying inside those walls. In fact, it was in direct conflict.
I decided I would leave the ninety-nine to stand in solidarity with the ones who the church rejected. And I speak up about it. I don’t hide it. I believe the messages there are harmful and create division. They separate. But this Divine Love I experience unites. I want nothing to get in the way of that. I want to be an example in everything I do that we are all LOVE, and we are all LOVED. We are all connected. I gave up my decade of service with the youth in my church so that I could volunteer to support LGBTQ youth and families.
What are some of the unique and/or basic contemplative practices that you have in your life?
I love being in nature. As much as I can, I like to hike alone. And when I can’t get to the mountains, I walk with intention in my neighborhood.
As I hike or walk, I make sure to softly touch leaves, flowers, bark, stones. I pay attention to textures. I listen to the sounds around me and the messages they carry. If there is water I put my feet in and splash it on my face. I experience it as fully as I can.
On a day when I can’t get out, I will lay on my back in the grass and look up at the huge ash trees in my yard. Even if it’s just for a few minutes.
I also love to meditate daily for 10-20 minutes. I will sometimes listen to nature sounds through my headphones or choose a favorite guided meditation on Insight Timer. Sarah Blondin is my current favorite. Her soft voice and gorgeously loving words soothe my soul on the most challenging of days. Her meditation called “Practicing Gentle Kindness Toward Ourself” is my current favorite.
Why do you think it is so difficult for us as humans to accept our innate wholeness and dignity? What (moments, books, experiences, etc) or who has helped you along in this journey?
It’s so difficult because we were taught that we are innately sinful and that the world is scary and that the earth is for consumption and is temporary.
I had one of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life under a sixty-five-year-old Mulberry tree in my backyard. It was after the crumbling of my beliefs. I was so lost, but starting to find some light. I had been at a bookstore and a certain book just absolutely called out to me. I went home, sat under that tree, and started to read. I was absolutely FILLED with a light so bright I can’t explain it. Suddenly the colors in my backyard seemed more vibrant and alive. It felt like I was seeing it for the first time.
For days, people looked lit up and the earth looked so magnificent. I truly felt like I was experiencing life on earth for the first time in all it’s beauty, love and light. I felt a deep connection to everything and everyone unlike anything I’d experienced before. I felt like I could see the face of God in everything and everyone. I felt so alive. I’ll never forget it. The book was The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr.
What are you currently reading and/or listening to that we need to know about?!
I just finished reading Heart Minded by Sarah Blondin and it’s stunning. The entire book takes you on a journey of returning home to our tender feeling hearts and living from that space, and each chapter can stand alone and offer incredible advice. Each chapter ends with a meditation and is a spiritual practice itself. I’ve enjoyed every word of it.
Rilke invites us to “Live the questions now.” What questions are you living into these days?
I’m living into the question of, “How do I really listen deep, to myself and others? How do I recognize my intuition and act on it?”
Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is Japanese for “the reason you wake up in the morning,” and their supposed secret to a long and happy life. What currently makes you excited to wake up and be alive in this world?
The work of being human. And helping others recognize and honor the sacred, holy calling of being human too! I also feel very called to be a midwife to those who are in or entering the dark night of the soul. The death of the old version of themselves. It’s a scary time that most of us are not prepared for. I want to offer a hand to hold through it. I can’t do the work for anyone, but I want to walk next to them through it, giving them courage to keep going and inspiring them with hope – what’s on the other side of this darkness is worth every scary, painful, step through it.
I also live for the mystery of it all. I used to believe I had all the answers. All the truth. My religion contained it all. Now I never know what new bit of inspiration or revelation I’ll stumble onto each day. Sometimes when I think I’ve just got something figured out, it opens up even wider and there is more for me to dive into! I find this exhilarating.
I often wake up thinking, “God, I can’t wait to see what you’re going to show me today!” Sometimes it’s something so simple, like a cloud or wind blowing through the grass causing the most beautiful choreography. Other times, it’s a profound insight into my divine nature and worth.
Every day a new gift to discover.
Doesn’t it feel amazing to simply read another’s experience through the lens of curiosity and hear a bit about their unique journey through life? Where did you connect with Sonja? Was there anything she mentioned that you’d like to know more about? She’d love to hear from you!
You can find more of Sonja’s story and her writing at:
You can peruse her latest articles for Being Human here.