Women and Power – Wisdom Learned from Omega Institute’s Conference



Labyrinth at Omega Institute

This past weekend, I was very lucky. At this point in my life, I can see how blessed my life is. I have so much, not necessarily as material things, although I don’t lack there, but more importantly in opportunity. Over the past years since my late-husband’s death, my life has changed dramatically. His death, and some other life-changing experiences that I’ve written about before, catapulted me into a life of longing and searching for something I thought I needed, something I thought I did not have already. Sometimes, it takes searching out there to discover what you were searching for has been here all along.

This search has taken me to so many beautiful places and lands. It has allowed me to meet many wise people. I’ve been able to take in many words of wisdom, words that somewhere I already knew, but had no access to. We all have this within, yet sometimes we need guidance to find that which already resides in our own soul.

I share this sense of blessedness, because I know along with it is a responsibility to embrace what I’ve been given and offer it back to the world. Nothing is really ours. Everything is a gift, a gift to in turn be given again.

This past weekend, I once again found myself in a place where much wisdom was offered, much emotion was shared, and so much courage was modeled – Omega Institute’s Women and Power conference. Women such as Sister Joan Chittister, Sally Field, Eve Ensler, Isabelle Allende, Elizabeth Lesser, Jennifer Buffett, Majora Carter, Loung Ung, Pat Mitchell, Chung Hyun Kyung, and so many others, shared deep life experiences and the wisdom they’ve discovered from living them. There are so many things I soaked up over the weekend, so many AHAs, that it’s hard to resource it all into one post. But there are some moments that stood out for me.

Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler spoke of the multitude of atrocities perpetrated on women and children that she’s witnessed. In her words, “There is no word. I have not come close to finding the language to describe what I have seen.” 

She also spoke of the Cassandra myth, and how it is a curse that keeps women silent because we are considered lunatics when we tell the truth. {I will write more about this later}. Eve went on to mention the ways we break spells and curses:

1. We have each others’ backs. We stand with each other. We speak out immediately if we see a woman being labeled in such a way for speaking truth.

2. We create communities of love where we can tell our stories and be held, cuddled and loved. She shared The City of Joy in The Congo as an example.

Eve also mentioned that a part of the curse was this… She was waiting to be honored, loved, valued and approved of by the Patriarchy…and then she would would win…and she then wondered, win what? This was an AHA moment for her, and she realized there was no winning, but more importantly this was preventing her from living as ‘her full crazy self’.

Elizabeth Lesser

Elizabeth Lesser, author of Broken Open, spoke of the one thing she’s found from sitting with so many wise, alive people who’ve come to teach at Omega. She shared that no one person has the answer, no one can handle idolization, and it is our shared core humanness that has sets us free. She also shared how destructive it is when we “indulge in the habit of comparing”, and that, “No one is living the life you think they are.” She mentioned that Eve Ensler told her, “Everyone is just making it up, including presidents of countries. Everywhere I go, its just people making things up. You can do it, too.”

One last thing Elizabeth Lesser shared is her experience that “when you fully occupy yourself, vast reserves rush in to fill the space that was filled with self-doubt.”

Sister Joan Chittister

Perhaps the most amazing talk for me was the conversation between Pat Mitchell and Sister Joan Chittister. Sister Joan had an amazing transmission, so much that I, and the two women I was sitting between, had tears streaming down our faces through most of what she said. At one point, the woman on my left and I just turned to each other simultaneously and hugged each other. There was so much truth in Sister Joan’s words, as well as passion and fire, that my soul and heart just opened right there.

Her call to us was a call to speak up, to make others feel uncomfortable every time we speak, and to not stop speaking out. She shared with us the falsities of our current day, offering that the culture is not the place to look for truth. Her words, “Religion tells us who we are, and the media tells us who we are supposed to become.”, served to let us know to stop believing these sources of so much false cultural conditioning that does not serve women or anyone.

Insightful comment posted on the sharing board.

My takeaways?

Power, the power spoken of at Omega is the power of life, the power to serve life, the vast life force that is within each of us. Our power as women is to serve life, to serve the life that permeates all of existence, and to know that all of existence is sacred.

Our power is not like that which has been wielded over others to dominate and control. Our true power, the power that flows through us when we are embodying the feminine principle is the power to serve, and it is inclusive, holding, and connecting, and it weaves life together in a supportive bond.

Over 500 women sat in that hall over the weekend, women who are all vibrantly wanting to be part of this healing wave that women must step up to offer to the world. We, you and me, are not alone, sister. We are not alone.

What do you trust in so deeply within yourself that allows you to step out and speak out?

For me, I trust in my own creativity, my own sacredness, my own ability to be with whatever arises because I know that what I am IS the ability to respond to life with love. And, now I know I am also part of a global sisterhood that is rising. We are rising.





Celebrate and Radiate the Feminine, Without Apology





Celebrate and radiate the feminine, without apology.

One of the messages I learned early on as a young girl was “Don’t be so full of yourself.”

I remember hearing these words. I think many parents in the 60’s valued modesty, yet this was a false modesty. Instead, what this message really taught me was to hide myself, to not trust myself, to tone myself down and my light.

The verbal message came from many people I knew, including my parents, yet it seemed to be communicated non-verbally in some very insidious ways by the both the men and women in my life. I’ve always wondered if this stemmed from wanting me to be polite, to be modest, to be something that wouldn’t cause jealously, but most importantly something that would keep me safe. I don’t really know all the underlying messages but I do know the effect on me, even to this day as a grown woman – that it is not okay to adorn myself with beauty and to be fully beautiful from the inside out, to glow, to radiate to be full of the life force that is constatnly wanting to move through me.

As I type this, I feel a sense of something akin to shame. After all, at my age I should be over this. Right? How could I, a mother and grandmother, still feel these feelings?

For one thing, we swim in a sea of these feelings, beliefs, and ‘rules’ that we aren’t supposed to be our full and radiant sensual creative selves. We live in this fishbowl of women’s sexuality as something that is here for the enjoyment of men, rather than a core aspect of our own sacred radiance.

Don’t call attention to yourself, and don’t dress in a way that will call attention to yourself. The underlying messages are also that I am not safe if I do dress in a way that is adorned, beautiful, sensual, alive…light-filled.

To celebrate this body is to celebrate life and the sacred.

To celebrate all that moves through me is to celebrate the sacred.

Why is it hard to…?

I’ve wondered why sometimes it is so hard for me to adorn myself with beautiful objects. It’s something to do with these messages…and they seem to be all tangled up…the messages that is.

The word adorn has a couple of meanings, and when I looked it up I was surprised to find the implication that to adorn something means ‘to enhance the appearance of something by adding something unessential’.

Enhancement of appearance isn’t what I am talking about. No, not at all. What I am talking about is celebration. Remembering beauty and its sacredness. Remembering the life force as something to honor.

One of my strongest memories of my time in India was seeing the women dressed in their saris and jewelry. They were completely adorned in brilliant color, sensuous fabrics, and all manner of jewelry. As they walked alongside the roads with baskets on their heads, they cut such a beautiful image on the landscape. As they rode on the back of bikes and motorcycles, their clothing draped then in beauty. They were covered, yes, and absolutely sensuous in the beauty of their form.

Just a few weekends ago, I bought a new pair of flip-flops. They are very plain and all black. Except for a big (albeit fake) diamondy kind of bling. They are fun! And when I wear them, I can feel just a squeak of something left over from my early conditioning. It’s as if there is still a ‘mismatch’ between the sparkle of that bling and a leftover part of me that feels anything but light-filled. I notice that this part is much smaller than it used to be, which is fabulous. And, noticing what is still remaining helps me to heal it.

I have no interest in wearing stuff to cover this radiance. Sometimes, I think we wear a bunch of shiny stuff to hide our feeling of ‘not-so-shiny’. Or sometimes we can pretend to be light-filled with lots of words and bravado. The place of stretch for me is to notice when I feel, even in the slightest, that I owe somebody something when I embody my full self, when I am ‘full of my self.’

Think about how we tell ourselves to breath deeply, taking in the Self that is Spirit, that is breath. Can we breath so deeply that every cell remembers what it is, remembers it’s sacred nature? We can only do this if we are willing to be full of our selves in the most basic sense of the words.

There’s a reclaiming happening within me of the fullness of myself as a soul and as a soul in a woman’s body. I feel a very real and palpable instinctive desire to adorn this female body with beauty and beautiful things.

Can we be full of the Self in celebration for what we really are – sacred, beautiful, creative, sensual, erotic in all the ways life truly is? There are many who want to shut this female power down, and they are trying to find very definite ways to control it. Yet, it continues to want to make itself known. Of course it does. Life is longing to be in balance, to honor itself in all forms. Can we serve life in this way, honoring and adorning the sacredness of the feminine as it moves through us, and as it is manifested in our world?

This image touches me deeply. Two women (one old and one young) are exchanging something beautiful…flower petals. To me, this symbolizes an offering of wisdom, an exchange of beauty, and most likely something more symbolic.

This image also shares something about passing down this wisdom from those of us who have lived long enough to realize life is too short to honor anything that does not feel right in the body, does not feel right and good and loving to the soul.

Can we help young women know what it is be full of themselves without apology, and with the direct knowledge they owe nothing to anyone?

This image moves me to offer my hand in forgiveness to you for all the ways I’ve helped keep the lies alive that continually tell us that our wholeness as women is something to keep in, to be ashamed of, to hide, to be jealous of…and ultimately to owe somebody something for. It is not. It does not belong to anyone, nor is it here solely for anyone else’s benefit or pleasure. It is the Divine’s gift to us to be alive in these bodies of sacred expression.

And, you?

Can you own your sexuality, your fullness, your beauty, your attractiveness and know that you do not owe anybody anything?

Can you celebrate all that it is to be woman?

Can you adorn yourself in whatever way truly allows you to celebrate this flesh, these bones, these cells?

For me, this is a practice – a practice of adornment and celebration.

Photo by saikatmuk | Attribution Some rights reserved


Grief knows this. It will lead you home.

Heart Remembering

No words can know how a broken-open heart feels.

When my heart first broke, it felt as if something reached into my chest and tore my heart apart. Then, when I realized my heart was not broken, but breaking-open, I could feel a bit of light peeking in. Just a bit. Slowly, very slowly, the light began to grow around and through the scarred tissue that had wrapped its way around my heart. And as the light grew, the scars softened and the tissue that is my heart began to return to a pinkness I once knew, but only vaguely remembered in the cells.


The Heart knows.

It remembers.

It longs to break open.

Grief knows this.

It is intelligent.

It will lead you home.


I don’t say this lightly, or flippantly. I know grief, well. I know joy, well. They are close cousins.


Women’s Sacred Seeds


Women Remembering

I created Unabashedly Female because I could see the need for women to remember their true nature. I could see that women are different from men, yet we’ve been trained to be like men and even to distrust our female nature. And I could see that the remembering of what we are is absolutely crucial in these times.

As I began to deepen my own spiritual work, I met Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, listened to what he was sharing, and read some of his many books. I began to understand, and then experience, the sacredness of my own female body.

This talk, Honoring the Sacred Substance in Creation by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, is a fundamentally important talk for women and the whole of creation. What he shares is a vital key to restoring women’s understanding of the offering we can, and must, live for the sacred light in creation to be strengthened and sustained.

From the video:

“What the Patriarchy has done so effectively – the level of disempowerment has been so fundamental because they have actually stopped women from being even aware they have this sacred substance in their own bodies. So, because they are not even aware of it, they can’t use it. A certain feminine magic has been denied life. The depth of the censorship, once you look at it, is so fundamental to be terrifying.”

If you were treated just an object, something in you would start to die. Many women complain now about being treated just like an object, but they don’t take the next step, which is to reclaim the light in them that belongs to the sacred and honor it in creation.”

One of the reasons so many of us women are questioning who we are is because we are needed right now. As Vaughan-Lee goes on to say, “Women carry the seeds of healing and rebirth.”

Please watch and listen, not from your head or rational mind, but listen with your whole self, heart, body and soul.


About Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

He is a Sufi Spiritual Teacher. From my understanding, Sufism existed before the other religions. It is a path…a path of loveVaughan-Lee was recently interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, and shared these words about Sufism:

“Sufism is a path of love. The Sufi is a traveler on the path of love, a wayfarer journeying back to God through the mysteries of the heart. For the Sufi the relationship to God is that of lover and Beloved, and Sufis are also known as lovers of God. The journey to God takes place within the heart, and for centuries Sufis have been traveling deep within themselves, into the secret chamber of the heart where lover and Beloved share the ecstasy of union.”


Genius – Yes, You Are One and Have One!



I’ve been thinking of genius and how we all have it and are it. So many of us never actualize it. And what is this ‘it’, this genius? We are all filled with Spirit, the same Spirit, the same breath. Yet, there is a uniqueness to each of us and that is our genius.

There are ways we can discover more about our genius, and sometimes simply noticing what we love and what is a natural talent are sign posts to that genius. I love taking pictures of flowers (in cased you hadn’t noticed). And friends have mentioned that my pictures seem to evoke something, a kind of beauty that they wouldn’t have seen themselves. Maybe then, genius is our unique window on life, the unique way we see the world through the heart and soul.

Love Reign O’er Me

You may know this rendition of the Who song, “Love Reign O’er Me”, by Bettye Lavette. I’d never heard it until Tuesday night. I had the sublime opportunity to dance to this song. The experience was utterly amazing. Something in the combination of the music, my dance and exactly how I was in that moment (not filled with happiness, but rather an intense anger) all came together in what felt like a pure, organic, and unique expression of my soul.

I was captivated by the beauty of what I experienced. It felt true and alive. The passion was intense, and felt like it was almost too much to take in, but when I was moving to it, the passion in my body totally took it all in and moved every inch of it in a sweaty, intense dance.

Just listen to Bettye’s pure genius.

Sometimes I wonder what this world would be like if we all were liberated into our full genius. Can you imagine?

Alexandra Nechita

Here’s another woman who is living her genius. She’s young, articulate and wise, and she’ll tell you exactly what is most toxic and what gets in the way.

So, what’s your genius?

Yes, you. Just like these two women, you have a genius that when unleashed will bring a sense of ease and lightness, and along with that the feeling of rightness…that you are in flow, and in alignment with your own soul’s seed.

I’m not sure what mine is, but it has something to do with the body, dance, love, sensuality, art, words and flowers filled with light. It has to do with creativity and love. And, it has to do with justice.

The bottom line is love…doing what you absolutely love, beyond a shadow of a doubt love… So, let Love Reign O’er You, let it mix with the marrow of your bones, let it pour out of your skin, let it penetrate every cell of your body. And, don’t worry what others think. Really. When you’re alive with Life, what others think doesn’t even seem to matter. You really can have that much joy. When the time comes for anger or sadness or grief, they will come…on their own. But then you know this. You’ve lived enough life to know that everything comes and everything goes.


Love Reign O’er Me, The Who

Only love

Can make it rain
The way the beach is kissed by the sea.
Only love
Can make it rain
Like the sweat of lovers’
Laying in the fields.

Love, reign o’er me.
Love, reign o’er me, rain on me.

Only love
Can bring the rain
That makes you yearn to the sky.
Only love
Can bring the rain
That falls like tears from on high.

Love Reign O’er me.

On the dry and dusty road
The nights we spend apart alone
I need to get back home to cool cool rain.
The nights are hot and black as ink
I can’t sleep and I lay and I think
Oh God, I need a drink of cool cool rain.


Coming to Know the WildSoul is a Reverent Journey


The soul is like a wild animal…tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient:  it knows how to survive in hard places. I learned about these qualities during my bouts with depression. In that deadly darkness, the faculties I had always depended on collapsed. My intellect was useless; my emotions were dead; my will was impotent; my ego was shattered. But from time to time, deep in the thickets of my inner wilderness, I could sense the presence of something that knew how to stay alive even when the rest of me wanted to die. That something was my tough and tenacious soul.

Yet despite its toughness, the soul is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush, especially when other people are around. If we want to see a wild animal, we know that the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods yelling for it to come out. But if we will walk quietly into the woods, sit patiently at the base of a tree, breathe with the earth, and fade into our surroundings, the wild creature we seek might put in an appearance. We may see it only briefly and only out of the corner of an eye—but the sight is a gift we will always treasure as an end in itself. ~ Parker Palmer, Hidden Wholeness

I read these words and immediately I recognize this within myself, this shy soul. 

Something within me softens. For a while now, I’ve tried to push myself to be more out there, more in the mix, more visible. I know it is coming. Yet, what also feels true is that my soul is tender and deep-feeling. And in seeing this, I found just a little more compassion for who I am and how I am in the world. As I soften, I can feel myself more whole, aligned and joyful.

So much in our culture tells us we have to be un-soul like to make our mark. I’ve come to know that this way is not my way. There is something so sweet about recognizing how our own soul feels, what allows us to glimpse it, but more importantly, the path to living life that honors it. There are many ways to be in the world, and I know we each can find the way that is true for our soul, even when the culture can seem so separate from soul.

The Wild Soul is shy, she is feral, and in being so, she doesn’t clang around making brash noise…unless she must. Then she will. She is tough and resilient. She is self-sufficient. Yet, there is this place where the soul only shows this soft side, this vulnerability when she is safe, when she trusts.

Coming to know the soul is a reverent journey. It is a blessed journey.


Because the very nature of this journey is such, I am extremely honored to be holding the first session of the WildSoul Book Club this fall with my colleague, Lianne Raymond. Our intention is to create a place where, together, we breathe with the earth and walk quietly in the woods with patience and care, so that our souls know they can come forth to make themselves known.

Please take a moment to see if joining our WildSoul Book Club might be just the thing you are longing for, right now. We’ve kept the price, $129 for 10 weeks, affordable so that many can join. Many of us are feeling called to awaken the Feminine Soul. It is time.

Questions? Join Lianne and me for a complimentary call for the WildSoul Book Club:

Tuesday, Sept 4, 4:00 pm pacific time.

712-715-7100, 1005863#

And, yes, if you can’t make it we’ll make the recording available here.


We’ll be reading Women Who Run With the Wolves, an epic book that celebrates its 20th birthday this Sept. 17th. It’s a book that can be read over and over, with each reading bringing forth new wisdom and perhaps a new glimpse of your soul.

We’ve interviewed a number of women about their experience reading Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Today, we’ve released our chat with Danielle LaPorte. If you listen to the interview, you’ll hear that she first read the book when she was living in Santa Fe, literally surrounded by wolves and their calls. 

Danielle shares wisdom and heart, and a real, very fresh life story of how the strength and power of her feminine soul came forth in a powerful way. I got goosebumps when I heard her tell the story in her words. You’ll find her interview, along with others, here.

We’ve also have an interview that Lianne did with Tami Simon of Sounds True, sharing the story behind how Women Who Run With the Wolves came to be.And, on the same page, we invite you to share your comments about the book. We’ll be sharing everything with Dr. Estes, the author, on September 17th.

And, if you have any questions at all that feel too personal to share, feel free to drop me a line at juliedaley (at) gmail . com

May you take some time today to sit down on the earth and listen for the soul’s footsteps, feel her breath on your skin, and feel her longing to bring you home.


image by bokeh burgerAttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved

Blog Widget by LinkWithin