The Great Mother


“How might your life have been different, if, deep within,

you carried an image of the Great Mother?

And, when things seemed very, very bad,

you could imagine that you were sitting in the lap of the Goddess,

held tightly…

embraced, at last

And, that you could hear her saying to you,

“I love you…I love you and I need you to bring forth your self.”

~Judith Duerk, Circle of Stones


The Great Mother is here. Her way is not the way of visibility. Her way is dark and deep, down in the darkness where life gestates, where life springs forth from the primal belly.

I first became conscious of Her presence a number of years ago. It felt as if someone was pulling me down, way down into my body, into the depths of the darkness that the descent illuminates. I could feel Her pull, and I knew, instinctively, I was being called to feel, in their most raw elements, all the dark emotions I had been avoiding all my life.

I can’t say I was excited by her invitation. Quite the opposite. All of my spiritual learnings had taught me about transcendence, guiding me to find the Light of Spirit, the masculine aspect of God. This invitation was not about Light, at least that’s what I first thought. It was about darkness, and Her pull was relentless, yet also loving.

It’s easy to want to avoid this dance with the dark. The mind thinks of so many logical reasons why I should’t follow her down. I can’t see Her. And, where is down? Where is this darkness? There is nothing on the outside that would indicate She is calling. It is inside that I hear Her call. It is in the interior of my own experience, that I know it is Her. It is in my body that I know what I know. It is in my heart that I feel Her love for all of life.

I’ve come to know this rich inner life quite well. I’m the only one that knows this interiority; and, you are the only one that can know your own interiority. But, there’s something we have in common. If we are to bring forth ourselves, we women must leave the known outer life, the conditioning that has taught us well how not to trust our own knowing, the conditioning that has caused us to know ourselves only in relationship to others.

If we are to find our own voice, our own inner authority, we must turn inward and begin to listen to our own self. Of course, we are always at choice. That is, until we aren’t, because at some point, it may become more painful to ignore Her call than to heed it.

One of the most important things we can offer each other, as women, is a reverence and respect for this inward journey of women. Perhaps, as we become aware of our own inner life, and all the tugs and pulls and longings we feel to know who we truly are, we can begin to realize that other women we know are also feeling a similar calling. Perhaps, when we each treat the other with reverence, knowing the Great Mother is calling her, too, then a bond of strength and power will begin to nourish our connection to each other, supporting us all in bringing the sacred feminine forth into consciousness.

I can’t say I know for sure why She is asking this of us (although I have my own ideas); yet, she is asking. Don’t take my word for it – or Judith Duerk’s word. Get quiet and take a moment to ask yourself if you hear, in your own world within, Her calling to you.

I do know one thing. As I become more at home in these beautiful depths, I fall more deeply in love with women and all they offer to this world.  We are the gestators of life. Whether or not a woman gives birth to babies, she is always a mother, designed in the image of the Great Mother. As Rumi says, “Woman is the radiance of God; she is not your beloved. She is the Creator —you could say that she is not created.” It is time we come to know our own radiant feminine selves, and see it reflected in all of life.

And, you?

What have you experienced in your inner life? What do you know of the sacred feminine in your own experience? How have you shared this interiority with others? How might you begin to trust this knowing even more deeply? I’d love to know what you’ve experienced.


On The Edge Of Wholeness

Pink Tulip

Lately, my posts have been flowing one from another, as if writing one allows an insight to surface and wash over me. It feels sort of like a scavenger hunt, where one clue leads to the next, and that one to the next. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but close enough…

After writing my last post, The You That Takes Your Breath Away, I remembered something I wrote a few years back. It was never shared here on my blog. In fact, I don’t think I shared it with anyone. At the time, what I was writing felt too close to my heart to make known to others. Sometimes, this is exactly what needs to happen; we need to not speak those moments of insight so that they continue to work their way through us.

What I wrote to myself was sparked by this passage from , “Shadow Dance” by David Richo:

“We can even declare that we are what Byron saw: ‘a rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.” Eventually we realize that whatever in us has remained folded up is really that about us that was never loved. This is the sadness in the folded rose of ourselves. What was not confirmed and loved by others, especially our parents, did not have full permission to emerge. It is up to us to find this confirmation now from within ourselves, our relationships, and our spirituality. Joy results from permission to unfold.” (pg 110-111).

“Joy results from permission to unfold.” Wow. How powerful this statement is.

We are the only ones that can give ourselves permission to do this – to unfold those oh so sweet leaves of our being, those that hid away because, for whatever reason, it didn’t feel safe.

Now, we are adults. Now, we can hold these sweet and tender places within our own heart, hear what they have to say and give them permission to unfold, permission to be seen. Perhaps, being seen first by ourselves is the greatest gift we can give to them.

With this permission comes joy. And peace. And, as these parts come back into the light, wholeness naturally occurs.

The other piece is about the exquisiteness of vulnerability. Complete unfolding brings no more separation. When we open to the fullest extent possible, nothing hidden, petals outstretched, there is no longer anything that knows separation, and this can be frightening as hell.

But, our lives are really about the flower unfolding. We yearn to unfold, to blossom into complete nakedness, raw vulnerability that allows one to be seen and known.

This ripe blossoming is also the very last step before the petals fall and the blossom dies. This is our return to the whole, the moment of wholeness that is simply a breath away from death, where death ends our separation from the whole.

At the singular moment when we unfold every ounce of our being and exist at the height of vulnerability, that of out-stretched petals, we know our sense of separate self will fall away. When nothing is hidden, we can no longer be separate. In our complete vulnerability, we open to all and to everything.

There is a peak of each blossom, when it is poised at its pinnacle of beauty. This is our moment of realization of all that we really are. In this moment, our sense and identity as a separate flower falls away and we let go into our true identity as all that is.

When our petals fall and decay, we can grow into the fullness of a human being, wise and unconditionally loving, for who we now know ourselves to be is the life force that compelled the flower to emerge, bud and blossom, the instinctive drive to open fully to the light, the air, the wind, and all of the world around us.

The edge of wholeness, this edge of ripe beauty, happens many, many times, over and over, until we know ourselves to be the beauty itself. Nothing lasts forever. And, it’s in this knowing of our ephemeral nature, that we know what it is to be fully alive.

So, here is what I wrote, back a few years ago:

On The Edge Of Wholeness

Standing on the threshold of the one true moment of existence
I know myself as both blossom and the urge to bloom.
Every ounce of my journey has been to unfold
To follow the blueprint of this flower
From young rosy bud to powerfully stretched petals
From nubile possibility to the height of complete engagement.

As my petals open to the arc of full bloom
my arms stretch open wide and vulnerable
my chest aches with joy and
I am completely available to Life.

It is in this moment of complete openness
I know that I have loved to wholeness
Every ounce of who I am
Even those parts that once felt impossible to love.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of Being
I realize the natural path of this process and
begin to feel the life force that has propelled
my unfolding welcoming me home.

I know there is this one moment
When my petals are at the height of ripeness
The height of the arc of fullness
just before  I turn to the face of release
This moment happens many, many times
And at the same time is a singular moment in my life

I can now see that petals falling is also an act of grace
For as I stand on this threshold of change
I realize it is only by being courageous enough to open
That I have come to know what I truly am

The sunlight and soil of grace have held my becoming all along
my urge to bloom was always at the heart of who and what I am
This urge to blossom is also my urge to return
To the one constant in all of Life, the very nature of all that is.

~ Julie Daley

Just look at the beauty of this inside of this flower. We would never see it if it remained closed.

Image: Pink Tulip by Julie Daley

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The You That Takes Your Breath Away

Columbine Bud by fireflies604 on Flickr

“We are the only species on earth capable of preventing our own flowering.” – david whyte


This quote floated across the Twittersphere yesterday, and grabbed my attention. When I posted it as my status on FaceBook, a lovely male friend commented in response, “Yet we are drawn to flowering. Such a juicy existence.”, causing me to pause and consider the dynamic tug of war between closing and opening, concealing and revealing, preventing and surrendering.

So many ways we fight what is. Human beings that is. Only human beings. At least as far as I can see, human beings are the only ones who try oh so hard not to be what we are.

Then, I thought of how much energy it would take for a plant to keep itself from blooming. Oh my. Can you imagine if a bud could keep itself from blooming? I can just see it trying to scrunch everything in, holding itself back and in as if holding its breath, trying so hard not to be what it is meant to be.

Or at the other end of the spectrum, if the plant desires to blossom, gets to the height of its bloom and then tries really hard, incredibly hard, to keep the bloom beautiful. forever. without a flaw. without losing its perkiness. without fading.


Fighting one’s design is exhausting. I know. I’ve done it all my life. Especially my design as a woman.

I’ve hid my deeply sensual nature. I’ve kept myself small. I’ve taken on others’ shame as my own. I’ve apologized over and over and over simply for taking up space, for being in the way, for reasons I didn’t even know, even as I was in the midst of doing it.

I’ve been really, really nice, keeping the anger and rage down inside where it won’t be seen so I won’t be seen as threatening or angry or a bitch.

As far as I know, flowers can’t choose. They do what they do because their intrinsic design is to do that. But people, we get to choose. We get to self-reflect. We get to do this dance between ego and soul, a dance between pretending and being.

Fighting one’s design is the never ending staircase, the infinite treadmill, the highway to hell, but you never get to hell, because no matter how hard you pedal, you end up exactly where you started. I call it ‘the project’.

Preventing flowering IS hell.

As I let myself feel my exhaustion, when I stop and allow the full force of my dance with the illusion of my not-enoughness to flow over me, something else makes itself known. It is always there. It’s just doesn’t clamor for my attention. It doesn’t have to. It’s just what is.

It’s the wake up call to remembrance.

It’s the quiet, yet insistent, push to bloom, to flower, to be the one I know I really am. The one I allow myself to see in rare fleeting glimpses. The one that flashes across my face sometimes when I’m caught off guard looking in the mirror. The one that scares the hell out of me because of its persistence. The one that scares the hell out of me because of its beauty.

You know the one I’m talking about… the you that takes your own breath away.


My project has exhausted me for years. And, it shape-shifts. Just when I think I am being real and truthful and risky, I can feel the oh so familiar tightness and constriction of the project taking over again.

Let me make something really clear. The project is NOT bad. It is a ingenious survival strategy to stay safe when young. It’s filled with well-meaning parts that will do whatever it takes to keep safe. The only thing is, if the urge to bloom is there, then the project is standing in the way of blossoming. And, hence, creating exhaustion.

It can feel really risky to be the you that takes your breath away. But, in my experience, it hurts like hell to keep hiding it. The body suffers. The soul suffers. Hiding this you is fighting your design as a soul, as a human being, as a woman.

Beauty appears when something is completely & absolutely & openly itself. ~Deena Metzger

Beauty is something being what it is – completely. Sometimes this learning to allow beauty it is messy. Sometimes I don’t feel beautiful, but then I remember THAT beauty was the beauty I was taught to believe in…not the beauty of something being real. messy. powerful. strong. This is the beauty that pushes the seedling up to the light, the bud to open, the petals to fall, the flower to die.


Right now, there is a force calling us forth to be beautiful, to be completely and absolutely and openly ourselves. Yes, it is very persistent and fierce force, like truth always is, because, as Andrew Harvey says,

“Everything is at stake, and everything is possible.”

This force is compelling women to blossom. Fully. In all our feminine majesty. It is time.


image by fireflies604 CC 2.0 license


Ripe With Love


Back a few years ago, I fell in love with someone new. The moment I met him, I knew he was someone I wanted to know deeply. I met him with a wide-open heart.

You know that feeling of being so ready for love? Where the eagerness and light-heartedness far outweigh your wisdom and discernment? That’s where I was.

You see, I had just completed an intense transformational retreat where my heart was broken open – open so wide, that it found its way back to its natural tendency to trust. I had finally come through the deep grief of my late-husband’s death, a death that had plucked me out of Kansas and dropped me in Oz. Death didn’t provide me with ruby slippers, though. Death seems to be like that. It doesn’t give you a way home to the old life. Instead, you must travel through the darkness to discover the new life waiting on the other side.

So I found myself with this brilliant heart of light. I had known deep lasting love with my late-husband, and I felt eagerness to love again. But, I was different now, and I didn’t yet know how different I was.

So, here I was ready for love. I dove right in. It was deep and rich and sweet. Then it ended. He ended it. It wasn’t mean to be. I can see that now, but back then, I didn’t see it coming. My very pink heart took one hell of a hit.

I fell hard. I curled up inside my shell and thought long and hard about giving my heart away so easily. Why hadn’t I seen it coming? Why did I trust so easily and carelessly?

And then I saw it. I saw how I had left myself to be in relationship with him. I didn’t see it happening at the time. But, in the aftermath of rejection, I realized I felt untethered and unmoored. I was no longer solidly in myself. I was hanging out there. I was perched precariously in no-man’s land – literally. The man I thought was there had moved on.

Somewhere along the way, I had gone from ‘in here with me’ to ‘over there with him’. The realization shook me to the core. When had it happened? How could I have done that to myself?

I decided I wasn’t going to date again until I found the wisdom that must accompany the open trusting heart. I needed time to understand. I needed time to make sense of the lesson that was being offered up.

So I sat with myself. And I felt. And I danced. This is when I began to dance as a practice, a practice that provided the opening to embodiment. And, I began to be really honest with myself. I began to see how much I had projected onto this man. I could see how enveloping an open heart can be when it’s not grounded in oneself and balanced with discernment and wisdom.

My teacher has since talked about what happens when the heart opens, how it can lead us into places we don’t expect to be when its not yet tempered with the wisdom that comes after the opening. But at the time, I had to learn this myself.

While he wasn’t all that gracious or compassionate in how he went about ending the relationship, I saw his ending it as rejection. This was another sign I had left me. The good thing about this was that the feeling of rejection was my doorway in, my doorway into me. I suddenly saw me, my own reflection in his rejection and I realized it was time to come inside to find the love I was longing for. I wasn’t really longing for him, the man out there. I was longing to know me, to stand by me, to stay with me from the beginning.

Then, they came unannounced, as they so often do. Words came. Words came up through my body and out through my fingers. Wisdom wound its way up from somewhere down in the dark recesses, places I had pushed away a long time ago.

Wisdom coursed out my fingers onto the page. No editing was necessary, for it knew itself fully before it was formed.

When the writing was done, I stood up from the desk and went to throw up. I threw up as if I was expelling something poisonous from my body – and I was. They were poisonous beliefs that kept me looking out there for love. As these beliefs were released, wisdom, that had longed to see the light of day, flooded my body and mind, wisdom that was meant for me.

Wisdom hungers to be known by the one it loves.

ripe with love

You see me here, strong and soft, eager and afraid,
my heart racing with desire
to be seen and heard,
to be held and to hold.

I am here,
from this bondage placed on me long ago,
from this cage of sin, fault, and fear.

I found the key
to my release when
I saw myself
in the reflection of your rejection.

My open heart was
both weakness and threat, lover and enemy.
You saw me seeing you
and you shut the door on my escape.

But freedom is funny,
it was mine to find all along.
Redemption came
when I filled my emptiness, with the fullness of me.

The dive was deep, the way was dark.
On the surface I had only seen,
how I never quite matched up
with everything I was expected to be.

But as I dove deeper into the depths of my being,
A glorious Light began to emerge.
It came from a time long ago,
It called me home in a language I had long forgotten.

There, deep inside me, I found the seed
Planted long ago, at the beginning of time.
My deepest Self, my truest Truth
My inner being in perpetual Spring.

I am ripe with love,
Ripe with the nectar of passionate presence
I am here to hold you,
within the folds of my velvet petals.

Fall down, deep down, into the depths of my being.
For I blossom in time to break your fall
As you land with a thundering whisper,
“Catch me, please catch me.”

Open yourself to the center of me.
Drink deeply the love that has been waiting for you,
waiting with timeless patience,
knowing what has always been, will be again.

Let me lay side-by-side with you.
Let me feel again how perfect the fit is,
if we only allow ourselves to relax
into the shape we already are.

Remember the rightness of this fit.
Don’t fight what you know to be true.
I can love side by side again,
Knowing the love comes through me to you.

You see me here,
soft and strong, knowing and sure.
My heart is filled with the truest Truth and the brightest Light
See your Self reflected in my love.

~ Julie Daley


Why am I sharing this with you today? After I wrote my post of last week, The Courage to Sin, I remembered this poem, written as I traveled from ‘out there’ to ‘in here’, as I came back from ‘out there with him’ to ‘back in here with me’. I remembered how I had wound my way out of the structures that I had believed in for all those years, structures that told me I could only find love ‘out there’.

And in writing the post about sin, I revisited the sense of rejection: rejection of self, rejection of  body, women rejecting each other, rejection of men, and rejection by society of the natural, intrinsic beauty of the feminine nature of things. Perhaps I’ve gone from the microcosm to the macrocosm. Seems like I’m traveling in circles.

I see that current-day cultures, fed by patriarchal beliefs and practices, reject the woman who speaks truth, the woman with a voice, the woman with fire, the woman that no longer wishes to roll over and play pretty.

Just as it was with the man ‘out there’, so it is with the world ‘out there’. I can’t find the wisdom ‘out there’. I can only find it in here, in the depths of my own being. And if I’m seeing rejection, then I’ve left myself. That’s the real pain, rejection of self.

Anything growing needs roots down deep into the earth to support its growth, to give it nourishment as it opens to the sun, rain, wind and stars. And so it is with humans. We, too, must have strong roots, grounded in the earth, so that we are nourished with wisdom, the wisdom of the feminine principle, the wisdom of Sophia. With this available to us, we can marry this with our internal masculine and come into a more balanced harmony within.

I have found my heart can open, and stay open, even in the most difficult times, as long as I am rooted in the body, rooted down into the center of things. If I am to truly love another, and I’m not just talking about the other I’m in relationship with, but all beings, my love must come from this grounded place within my own body, within my open heart. When the body is grounded in the earth, the heart is held by the body, and the mind is held by the heart, clarity, compassion and sovereignty can flourish.

I must remember this now as I begin to voice the truth of my own experience and as I listen, with an open heart, to women and men voice theirs.

This is where our power resides as human beings. It is available to us when our open hearts are grounded in wisdom. Power that isn’t power to dominate, but power to all the love we have to give. The seed of our wisdom was planted long ago. It remains, simply waiting for us to turn and look within.


And, you?

I wonder what you’ve experienced? What have you learned about an open heart and wisdom? What lessons have relationship, loss, and death taught you? What journeys have you taken within? How has wisdom hungered to be known within you? I’d love to hear. I’d love to know what you’ve discovered down in the depths of your own body and in the openness of your heart


Help Haiti Blog Challenge


I joined the help haiti blog challenge when I heard about it on Twitter. Kelly Diels decided to ask her friends and colleagues to find creative ways to raise money for donating, so she began this challenge. Kelly suggested we all think about how we can contribute, whether it is a service, our time, or anything else we might think of.

While I instantly wanted to be a part of this challenge, at first I didn’t know how I would participate. As I sat with the images coming from Haiti, I felt overwhelmed at the immensity of the situation. I knew I had to donate something, so I began to check out groups that felt donation worthy, meaning those where the funds would be used wisely.

For me, my donation is something I feel must be separate from my business. I don’t want to mix marketing my work with any donation I might make. It’s just what works for me. I have donated to AARP, which will match any donations made. If you would like to contribute to AARP, too, just click here.

That being said, I know there are some fantastic people who have found imaginative and creative ways to offer their services so that they might increase their ability to donate to a worthy cause. If you’re interested in checking these out, visit Kelly’s blog, Cleavage to check it out.

Thank you, Kelly, for bringing together the Twitter community and finding such a creative way to raise even more money to help Haiti.


The Courage to Sin


What is it to be a woman, in the fullest sense?

I’ve been sitting with this question now since January 5th, the day I read that Mary Daly had died.

It’s not that I hadn’t thought of this before, doing the work I do. Coaching is all about this. And, Unabashedly Female? This blog reflects my experience in living this question, What is it to be female?

But, a quote I read, penned by Mary, in one of the columns celebrating (make that celebrating/vilifying) Mary resonated so deeply. Right away my mind (that lovely roommate I live with) said, “Yes. OMG, she’s a genius. Mary Daly brought it.”

You see, I hadn’t heard of her until last year. For anyone who has read the scholarly works of the feminist movement, Mary Daly is well-known. But, even though I reached womanhood in the seventies, and even though I personally witnessed the way the feminists of the second-wave were vilified, something that still haunts me to this day, I didn’t really read feminist scholarly works. When I first read some of what Daly wrote last year, albeit the tamer bits, I was blown away by the ideas she brought to the table.

Here’s the quote that got me:

“Ever since childhood, I have been honing my skills for living the life of a Radical Feminist Pirate and cultivating the Courage to Sin,” she wrote in the opening of “Sin Big,” her New Yorker piece. “The word ‘sin’ is derived from the Indo-European root ‘es-,’ meaning ‘to be.’ When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin.’ “~ Mary Daly (from Jan 5, ’10 article, “Mary Daly, pioneering feminist who tussled with BC, dies at 81.)

“For a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin.'”, is a bold, bold statement.

“For a woman … ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin’.


Mary Daly was one courageous woman. For many, she was way too out there in her feminist radical philosophy. She was confrontational. She pushed the limits of what it means to be a feminist, hard. She set the parameters. She was willing to go toe-to-toe with the deeply held principles of patriarchy, the structure that espouses, and enforces, domination as a way of life. Many found her to be just as oppressive as those she was confronting.

As I searched the Internet in these last few days since her death, I have found a very wide spectrum of opinion about Daly, her philosophy, her manner, her life, and pretty much everything else you could think of.

Mark Vernon of the wrote, “She was an audaciously creative spirit; an awkwardly witty, deadly serious writer. She arguably did more to stretch what is possible to think in contemporary feminist theology than any other.”

At the end of Vernon’s post, the comments created a stream of back and forth banter that, in itself, was telling of the spectrum of opinion on feminism, and the still very-much-present gender upheaval, that exists in the world. Even after her death, controversy still surrounds Mary Daly.


But back to my question, What is it to be a woman, in the fullest sense?

As I consider the ramifications of Daly’s statement, that to be fully this female that I am is ‘to sin’, it points to the most basic premise that we, as women, are already sinners simply by being, by breathing, by existing. Basically, this is the whole Eve complex. Our fall from grace. The idea that we women are responsible for sin.

It then follows that if we do something to minimize our fullness, meaning we learn how ‘to be’ in the ‘not-fullest sense’, then we mitigate our sinning potential, so to speak. We minimize how much of a sinner we are.

I have to admit, when I am really honest with myself, much of my 53 years here on this earth have been filled with an underlying, nauseating sense of something being wrong with me, solely because I am a woman. And, I know I have minimized myself in order to not feel this sickening sense of sinfulness.

If I could somehow be ‘less womanly’, ‘less seen’, heck, just ‘less’, then I would feel less, meaning I wouldn’t have to ‘feel’ being a woman.

To see it in this raw form, though, to see it so bluntly equated, woman=sin, felt sickeningly true, not intellectually, but somewhere in my psyche. Some part of me believes this. Hmmmmmmmm….. But, where did this come from? Where did I learn this?


One of my teachers, Adyashanti, speaks of the word sin and its meaning, which in his words means ‘to miss the mark’. Upon researching this, I discovered this explanation:

Sin & Evil: In the Aramaic Language and culture that Jesus taught in, the terms for “sin” and “evil” were archery terms. When the archer shot at the target and missed the scorekeeper yelled the Aramaic word for sin. It meant that you were off the mark, take another shot. The concept of sin was to be positive mental feedback. Sin is when you are operating from inaccurate information and thus a perceptual mis-take. When you become conscious and aware if the results of your inaccuracy you have the option to reconsider what you have learned and do as they do in Hollywood, “do another take.” By the way, where the arrow fell when it missed the target was referred to as evil.

So, this derivation of sin would have been about the time of Jesus.

Diving further into the etymology of the word, I found this explanation of the word sin, one that comes from more recent times:

Etymology: Middle English sinne, from Old English synn; akin to Old High German sunta sin and probably to Latin sont-, sons guilty, est is —
Date: before 12th century

1 a : an offense against religious or moral law b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it’s a sin to waste food> c : an often serious shortcoming : fault
2 a : transgression of the law of God b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

This is the etymology that Mary Daly quoted, a derivation of the root that means ‘to be’.

If we move forward in time, forward to where the patriarchy as world paradigm has become firmly entrenched, in most of the world it is believed, either overtly, or covertly, that women are the lesser gender. It is here, within this worldview of male supremacy, that sin has moved from missing the mark to simply being human, to simply being a woman.


Now, granted, we can toss this whole thing out if we don’t believe in this most strict sense of what it means ‘to sin’. Or can we? We learn to make meaning through what we are taught. We are taught with words and we are taught through behavior. We are taught through culture. We learn to make meaning within the culture we swim in.

Things have changed greatly in how women perceive the idea of sin and sinning. Or have they?

Perhaps on the surface of life, in this culture, much has changed. And, intellectually this just doesn’t make sense. But what do we believe, somewhere down in the shadow?

And, what about emotionally? What about our deepest conditioning? What about the stories we made up as young girls? Not so much the stories about what we could grow up to be or do, but the stories about our core worth? Stories we began to tell ourselves about our nature as girls, and as time progressed, as women? What about the feeling of being a girl, then a woman, in a culture that is based on domination?

I know that, until recently, I have lived my life with the unshakable sense that there is something less valuable about me, simply because I was born in a female body. While intellectually I knew this wasn’t so, somewhere in the recesses of my psyche lay hidden beliefs and fears that this body is sinful, that my womanhood was somehow dirty and bad. I see it reflected in the media, in quasi-pornographic programming showing women being beaten and tortured, raped and abused. I see it reflected daily in the myriad ways women are objectified, repeatedly, to sell everything from hamburgers to beer to cars to razors.

It is my experience, and in the experience of many of the women I have worked with to awaken to the divine feminine within, that we swim in this notion that to be a woman in the fullest sense is to sin. We swim in the cultural sea, and we swim in our own internalized pool of it. It’s a deep and dark pool that lies in the shadow, far from the light of Spirit, far from the light of the Goddess, far from the light of the God I know. We carry this pool around inside us. That’s the kicker. If we hold conditioned beliefs, that are unconscious, we swim in our own little pool of perceived sin.

This pool is the only pool that really matters, for it feeds the negative, compulsive, shadow thoughts that keep the inner-patriarchy in place. And, it’s the only pool one can change. But, when we do clean our own pool, the big pool becomes a little clearer and cleaner.


Sitting with Mary Daly’s statement, I have read it and re-read it. Writing this post has been like a long labor. I’ve written, and re-written, until I could wind my way around to something I already knew, but needed to see in a simpler form, for anything true is really, really simple at its core.

“For a woman … ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin’, when she is trapped in patriarchy.

“For a woman … ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin’, when she is trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet.

And, when she’s not trapped in patriarchy?

Ah, woman ≠ sin.

As you can see, I’m a lover of logic and math. But, I’m even greater lover of the Mystery, which is the Mother of math. This Mother is the heart of existence. This Mother holds us all in her womb, the womb of truth. If we’re willing to hang out here, the truth will be revealed.

As I sat in the Mystery with Mary’s wisdom, this oh, so, young part of my psyche cried out with very familiar mantra:

‘be small and silent and agreeable = be safe and loved and wanted’.

Here was the part that keeps me believing, even when I know on so many levels this is crap.


I know this. I know it is only the stories I tell myself. But, when the stories are woven into the fabric of the culture, into the belief systems that keep the patriarchy in place, it can be so hard to step back far enough to see the obvious. I had to see the equation woman = sin, I had to feel it, I had to sit with it, I had to open my heart to the part of me that believes this seductive lie.

It is seductive. It seduces us with its promise of safety. It beguiles us with the promise that if we give ourselves away, we will be wanted. In believing this lie, I can settle down into the oh so sickeningly comfortable familiar arms of, ‘I will safe’.

Of course, the equation is different at different times for different women.

Sometimes, it looks like:

‘be like a man = be safe and loved and wanted’


‘be asexual = be safe and loved and wanted’


‘be youthful, sexy, and beautiful as hell so every man will want me = be safe and loved and wanted’

or simply

be silent = be safe.


I have done a ton of work to disengage from this cultural story. It’s not only cultural, it’s familial. We, all women and men, learn our story of illusion at a young, young age, from parents who also were taught these seductive lies.

Much of what I’ve done has allowed my mind to once again trust my heart and my body.

When I drop down into this sensuous female body I exist in, I can feel the dark richness of the feminine, the dark loveliness. This is oh so different than the darkness of the shadow.

From my own experience, I know that this is the place from which my own internal power flows forth. This place within the depths of my body and my heart, is the place where I am the fullest in every sense.  It is the place where I feel wholly holy female.

Here, in this wholly holy female place, I am no longer ‘trapped in patriarchy’. It has no power. It does not exist.

In reality, the only thing that is real is what is here, now.

The patriarchy is an illusion, a story, albeit a powerful one because so many minds have agreed to uphold it, thereby granting it power.


In remembering Mary Daly, perhaps we can focus on truth, your truth as a woman. This truth stands alone from academic philosophy and theology, cultural conditioning, and gender differences. This truth is free to question. This truth is to know, and to be, you in the fullest sense.

Thank you, Mary, for your fierceness and your courage. You certainly weren’t perfect. You were controversial. You didn’t ever shy away from stating your beliefs, wholeheartedly. You stirred things up. You pissed people off. But, you blew the conversation wide open. You shined not just a light, but a high-beam on the shadow of this culture, a shadow that only harms women, men, children and everything that is living.

Who knows how history will hold you and your ideas, but I do know that you have added to the conversation, a conversation of possibility where all women and girls might one day know, relish and celebrate the fullness of what it is to be female, while also coming to know their healthy masculine side, and where all men and boys might discover the beauty of their feminine side, so that we all might live in true gender respect and harmony.


This post has been the most difficult I have written. It felt as if I was giving birth to something so much larger than my own understanding, and I was. I have been giving birth to the raw courage to sin by being fully a woman in all my fullness in THIS paradigm we swim in, the paradigm of patriarchy.

We don’t live in the time of Jesus, when sin meant to miss the mark. We live in the patriarchy, where women are seen, way down deep in the shadow, as being sinful, simply by their nature.

To me, having the courage to sin does not mean to spew anger and hate at those that hold power. It means to do the work it will take to come to know myself through experience, not by way of what I have been told it means. It means to question what I have made up about myself, my worth, the world itself and my relationship with it.

It means to be fully female, to embody the divine feminine, to disentangle one’s being from the powerful structures that keep us believing in our own powerlessness. It means being that which we are, divinely female, embodying the life principle that, by design, created us to bring life into life.

It means to step into this power, to stand and speak, and to give my whole-heart support to other women and men who are willing to stand, speak and step into their own personal power.

As it turns out, it is only my own knowing, my own courage I can birth, but by sharing this knowing, I hope to help crack apart the tightly held beliefs about the prevailing structure we hold so tightly to.


Look out your eyes onto the world.

There is nothing written on it.

There are no words.

There is no etymology.

For women and men, the beliefs we hold and the meaning we place on it, is simply in our minds, in how we think we see the world.

The world itself is empty of all meaning and all belief.

It is empty of all that we attempt to make of it.

It is here, in this emptiness, that the mind can rest.

It is here, in this emptiness, that we can know the simple elegance that we are.

It is here, in this emptiness, that we can know our divine inheritance.

It is here, in this emptiness, that we can know the goddess, not as story or image

but as the coming and going, the birth and death, the dance of light here in the world of matter.

It is here, we are safe, loved and holy whole, simply as we are.


The New

The New
The New

God is always the new. ~Osho

It’s a new year. There’ always so much excitement about the new year. What will it bring? What will transpire this year?

As we approached 2010, just like in past years, I heard and read many comments about possibilities and opportunities, intentions and resolutions, hopes and desires.

I’m struck by how excited we humans get about the possibilities we feel for the new year. It also happens when school starts each year. It happens when we move into a new home, begin a new marriage, start a new job.

It is in the beginnings of things that we connect with our longing and natural comfort with newness.

As I awoke this morning, this first day of 2010, with the fresh scent of new. I came across this post by Nicola Warwick at The Whole Self. Nicola’s post was prompted by a quote I had written on my post ‘Craving Words, My Only Job Is To Serve’. As I read it again, under her blog banner, The Whole Self, a felt a spark of insight.

The quote by Martha Graham, speaks to the blessed unrest, the divine dissatisfaction within us as creative beings. As I mentioned in my comment to Nicola, I used to think this unrest signaled something wrong with me, this constant desire for something new. Usually, alongside the unrest was the unwanted handmaiden to the new unknown, fear. I feared my desire for newness meant I wasn’t disciplined enough, wasn’t like other people who seemed so much more settled into the routine of life.

I have come to discover that this blessed unrest is longing and the yearning to remember our nature, to live our true nature as creative beings. It is my natural comfort with the new. I feel energized and vibrantly alive when I dive into something new.

In his book on Courage, Osho talks at length about the new. He writes,

“That is the whole meaning of prayer or meditation – you open up, you say yes, you say, ‘Come in.’ You say, ‘I have been waiting and waiting and I am thankful that you have come.’ Always receive the new with great joy. Even if sometimes the new leads you into inconvenience, still it is worth it…The new will bring difficulties. That’s why you choose the old – it does not bring any difficulties. It is a consolation, it is a shelter.

But, here is the kicker, the piece that pulls at my longing, my blessed unrest. I believe this is why we somewhere deep inside, love beginnings:

“And only the new, accepted deeply and totally, can transform you. You cannot bring the new in your life; the new comes.”

Somewhere within, we long for this transformation. We long to open to the ‘throbbing, streaming life’ (Osho) that awaits us.

So what happens. When does the new year turn into the not-so-knew year? When do we settle into the old complacency of this year as it unfolds? How does what seems so full of opportunities turn into the same-old, same-old where we close ourselves off to this ‘throbbing, streaming life’?

Time. The sense of time takes us out of the new. In the new, there is no time. There is just life. ‘We can only use the present…It is always fresh, virgin. And it has ingress in you.’ (Osho) The present comes into you, if you are open, if you are receptive, if you are willing to meet it and embrace it.

Fear. Fear of what the new will bring, that it will be risky, that it will be inconvenient and difficult. Yet, when was transformation ever easy?

Habit. Our habits were created to keep us from this newness, this risk of transformation, for the habits are solely the not-so-fertile field of the ego. (Habits are different than discipline. Discipline allows for the opening that embraces the ingress of the new).

For me, this embracing also means embracing the blessed unrest as an open-arm desire for the new, a yearning to dance with the mystery that is always longing to dance with us, inviting us into its dance of possibility.

Stay present and notice when the mind turns the new into the repetitive dance steps that are safe, but oh so boring and dulling to the senses.

Wishing you a happy new year, that is no year at all, but rather the constant invitation to live into the transformation of your soul that can only come with the creative emergence of the new.

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