Opening to the Pull of the Feminine…Together

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Twelve years ago, Her invitation was strong. It was obvious, but it wasn’t clear. Not to my intellect. Only to my body.

She pulled me down into Her, or at the time what felt like being pulled down into the earth. And She came up to meet me.

I suppose there were times prior to this moment in 2002 when She called to me. I don’t know. Maybe She calls to us our whole lives, or perhaps She tries to reawaken us to Her after we’ve shut down our connection with Her.

I was sitting on a bench outside of a Peet’s coffee shop on the Berkeley/Oakland border, sitting in a little courtyard where I would spend time reading and writing. Really, I was searching. I was in my free fall period, or what some might call the dark night of the soul, where I had no idea where I was headed or what I would be doing with my life. I’d been in this place for some months, yet it felt like nothing was getting any clearer. I was trying to make sense of what felt like a path, but in reality was no path at all. She doesn’t lead you in a straight line. She offers only a bit, just a small bit that leads from where you are. She requires trust.

I didn’t yet have that trust.

I’d been through so much grief and change, and was looking for something solid to stand on. Seven years before, my husband had died suddenly. One year before, I graduated from Stanford University at the ripe age of 45. And, my first grandchild was just over a year old. His first year was harrowing to say the least. Twenty surgeries in that year alone caused it to be a truly trying, traumatic time.

So, on this day, as I was sitting, I began to feel something pulling me down into it. It sounds sort of odd as I write it here, but at the time the feeling was strong, very strong. It was an energy, but was more than that. It was a knowing, a pull, a feeling that something greater than me was calling to me and leading me down into it.

The feeling of down and in was incredibly visceral. It was as if something was wrapping around my legs, something alive and pulsing, something real yet completely unseen. And it was pulling down into the dark, a very dark place.

I feared the dark. I wanted no part of this. That’s the truth.

I remember, distinctly, saying inside to that which was calling me, “Leave me alone. Just leave me alone.” At the time, I felt as if I had been through so much and I simply didn’t want more growth or transformation. I just didn’t. I wanted to rest. I didn’t want what I had a sense it was asking of me. I notice I sensed it was asking something, but I didn’t have the energy to respond in the way I felt I should. No. I didn’t want to.

I feared it, this force. I feared the unknown of it. More than that, though, I feared the power of it.

I’ve found that we don’t get to choose when we are called, but we can choose to fight it…sometimes. At least, I chose to fight it. I didn’t trust this. And that was the crux of the whole damn thing. I didn’t trust this and I knew it was Her. I knew it was the feminine. I knew it was the dark. I knew it.

Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to awaken to the feminine. During this time, I’d felt the pull and the call. I’d been devouring books trying to understand what kept calling me. There weren’t as many books out then, back then. But, part of me still thought it was a romantic idea, an exciting thing. But, I wanted it to look like I wanted. I wanted to control how it all went down. I wanted to control.

Now, I know differently. She’s like a flame that I’m drawn to. She is this ripe and fertile void. She is my Soul. She is the Feminine. She is Goddess. I don’t even really know what She is. I just know I have a longing that is deep. When I acknowledge my longing, tears run like rivers. None of it is intellectually logical at all. But the Soul knows when it is time to come home, and it can be relentless as it pulls us back home.

This invitation. This pull. This relentlessness.

These are why Amy Oscar and I are holding a small, intimate retreat in just a few weeks in Western Massachusetts. This is why.

 

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Because…

We can gather together as women as we are waking back up to Her.
We can come together to weave our wisdom, come to speak what we feel we cannot speak yet aloud, out in the world.
We can come together to share what it feels like to be drawn to Her, and to open to Her.

And in doing so, we learn from ourselves, we learn from each other, and we open more deeply to Her.

Ultimately, I don’t know there are answers…but we can come into a conscious experience of what it means to live and breathe the Feminine in real life.

If you feel called, please come.

If you have questions, please ask.

If you feel pulled and cannot come, or you feel pulled but not to this retreat, open to your heart, to your sisters, to life itself. She will guide you.

And, if you feel called to, please share of your experience of opening to the pull of the Feminine in the comments below. I’d love to know.

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From where does your Creativity flow?

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I’ve been teaching and coaching around creativity for quite a while – twelve years, now. I’ve often asked my students and clients, “In your own experience, from where does your creativity flow?” It’s a question that often boggles the mind, but when we sit and pay attention to the moments when an idea or insight comes, we realize it comes as if from out of nowhere. (We explore this in depth in my course Becoming a Force of Nature).

How come this source of our creativity is so hard to trace? Because it comes out of the dark, out of the unseen, out of the mystery. It is a place we will never see nor understand. It cannot be understood by the mind.

When I’ve had my most profound insights, or my most powerful and creative ideas whether at work or home, they always appear ‘as if‘ out of nowhere; yet, nowhere is somewhere.

There is a there, or a here depending on your perspective, from where life (creativity) flows. It flows out of some ‘thing’, although thing isn’t the right word, either. No words can explain this, yet we know it.

This place is unseen. In this way, it is dark.

The dark is a place that is rich and vital.

The dark is the soil to the seed, the womb to the child, and the source to the expression.

The dark is also an attribute of Yin, or the feminine nature of life. If we are disconnected from the feminine, and fearful of the feminine, it is hard for us to trust in our creativity – all of us, regardless of gender.

We have been taught to distrust the dark, yet it is the wellspring from which Life flows. If we distrust the dark, we distrust Life, and we distrust our own Nature. The dark has also been confused with that which many people feel is ‘bad’. Many times the term darkness is used to describe things people feel are evil. But the dark itself is just the other half of life, and it is an important and vital part of life.

What is your relationship with the dark? With your nature that comes out of the dark?

What if you were to ‘Trust in your Nature’? Deeply listen to, trust, and express your Nature into the world? As a creative being? And, as a woman?

This is why trust is so important. Because, ultimately we cannot know this mystery. But, we can pay attention to it, to what comes forth from it, and to how it moves in our lives. We can come to know that this mystery is at the heart of our own nature as a human being.

I’d love to know what this brings up for you and how this shows up in your life…how you view the dark, and how either not trusting or trusting impacts you, your life, and your creativity. Please share with us in the comments.

openingtoherbadgeAn Intimate Retreat

This April 4, 5, and 6, I’m co-hosting (with Amy Oscar) a very intimate in-person retreat. The Feminine is the mystery, so many times we feel nervous and scared about opening to Her. That is precisely why we are co-hosting this retreat, Opening to Her as She Opens to You, because we get to explore together, to learn from each other, to weave our experiences together.

If you feel called, or even feel a nudge, please take a look, and if you have questions, please get in touch. This is a process of unfolding. We are listening, receiving, and will bring what we hear to this gathering.

I’d love to have you join us.

 

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The Force that compels us to Rise

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Rising for Justice

For many people around our planet, February 14th is becoming associated with One Billion Rising, a global campaign to demand an end to violence against women and girls. We rise as women, as men, as human beings who know another world is possible and who are willing to speak out to help bring about this new world.

onebillionrising2014This year, One Billion Rising was about rising for Justice.*** One Billion Rising is a tidal wave of change IF we understand it is not a fad to take part in and then move on to another, but rather a clear opportunity to verbalize and put into action our desire to end this violence.

For many of us in Western cultures, it’s Valentine’s Day, too. This past Friday night, Feb. 14th, 2014, I had the pleasure and joy of co-hosting a One Billion Rising women’s movement ritual with Stacey Butcher and Lakshmi Devi. Stacey, a 5Rhythms teacher, hosted a 5Rhythms wave; Lakshmi, a singer and songwriter, sang her songs, and invited us to sing as we moved into stillness at the end of the dance; and I shared writings and poetry, as well as recorded spoken-word poetry mixed with a beautiful instrumental song at the end of the dance wave.

Here I share with you what I shared on Friday evening. I hope it inspires you to listen for the deep wisdom inside of you, and feel for the force that will cause you to rise and stand for what you know in your heart to be true, and for a kinder, more tender world where all can live in dignity without fear of violence.

::

Love and Justice

Today we celebrate love. Today we rise for Justice. The two are inescapably linked.

When we love Life, Life itself that gives us this life, we cannot help but feel the call for justice in our bones – a justice that honors life itself.

Tonight we are sharing in a movement ritual. As I was preparing for tonight, I wondered what ritual is really about and I found this excerpt from an interview with Joseph Campbell.

“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life.”

Tonight we are here together to move in ritual, as women who desire to rise in service to justice. And, through this ritual, we are here to be reminded of the wisdom of our own lives, the wisdom that is within us, a wisdom that has been within us all along.

We are here to remember the mythology that is at the heart of our lives as women in a world that is so much more than what we sometimes see it to be.

 

So, What is it to rise?

What does that even mean? Rising is a movement upwards. If we are rising, what are we rising up from? And what is behind the rising?

What is the force that compels us to rise? 

The invitation tonight is to dance these questions, to dance yourself open enough to hear a response from within you, a response from your wise self, your Soul.

This wise self is instinctive and instinctual. She is visceral, animal, and primordial. She is feral. She is wide-eyed and sensual.

Your Soul knows how to rise.

Rising is in your blood and bones. It is in your cells. It is in your belly, because love desires to move through you, to rise you up into the world, way beyond what your mind thinks you are capable of. And love desires to move us all to live in accordance with what love desires, not what we desire.

“Love is not a matter of getting what you want. Quite the contrary. The insistence on always having what you want, on always being satisfied, on always being fulfilled, makes love impossible. To love you have to climb out of the cradle, where everything is ‘getting,’ and grow up into the maturity of giving, without concern for getting anything special in return. Love is not a deal, it is a sacrifice. It is not marketing, it is a form of worship.” ~Thomas Merton

 

Many years ago,

I danced in Mill Valley, on a Tuesday night with Kathy Altman. Leading the class, she did something truly extraordinary…at least it was for me. I remember that night like it is this night. I remember it because I was led to dance a dance where I was so awake, so alive, deep in the cells of my body, that every move was imprinted in my cells.

This dance was visceral. It was instinctive. My Soul danced this dance, and then we wrote this as a way to capture words about something beyond words.

 

Tonight I danced.

Tonight I danced and came alive.
Tonight I danced and cried and pulsed and throbbed.

She told us to make our presence known.
She asked us to step so strongly there was no question we had been there.

She reminded us to track ourselves,
to be so aware of where we had been and where we were going,
so much so that our path wrapped its way around and around us until we were tightly wound balls of Being.

My hands connected,
molasses-like energy stretching from mama earth to the tips of my fingers.
As I perched on my paws, I felt her kindred spirit suck me into her tendrils of love.

Tonight I danced and came alive.
I felt his pulse, absorbing it into my body.
I felt her love, letting it run down my arm and fill my heart.
I felt their joy, knowing it was mine, too.
I knew other as self.

Tonight I danced and came alive.

So, tonight…

Here, together, let us come alive.

Tonight, together, let us dance these questions.

Tonight, remember the wisdom within you, reveal your instincts, feel the desire in your body to dance into its wholeness. Our bodies are creatures, instinctual creatures with hearts, longings, and voices that must speak.

::

 

Later, at then end of the dance as we moved into stillness, Stacey played a song that was a compilation of my spoken words and a powerful instrumental piece by Max Richter, On the Nature of Daylight.

Whatever you’ve been through, whatever life has brought your way, whatever injustices, betrayals, or abuses you have experienced, you have survived.

You are here. Alive. Breathing. Dancing.

Whatever injustices, betrayals, or abuses you have perpetrated, you have survived.

You are here. Now. Alive. Whole.

Breathe this in, really take this knowing in. That you are here, alive, whole, and awake regardless of what happened in your past. Feel this aliveness in every cell of your body, a body that longs to know this aliveness, longs to live its fullness. Allow your heart to expand to the capacity that is its nature. Allow your arms to spread as wide and open as they long to be. Allow your belly to pulse and swell with the primordial creation that infuses your being with this precious life.

You are here, on this earth. You are alive on our beautiful planet. You are whole, a wholeness that is filled from the mother.

And, it is time to bring this aliveness to the world. To bring your wholeness to this world that is hungry for feeling, thirsty for truth, dying to be alive, wanting to be touched.

This is your gift to this world. Your aliveness. Your wholeness. Your breath. Your beauty. And to live this is to live what life is asking of you, what life is asking you to give. It is yours and yet it is not. It is given. It is given to you, through you, so that you can in turn give it forth.

It is this simple. Spend every breath completely, but not just for yourself. Spend it for Life, for others, for what is coming into being, for what is being born.

Be full. Be whole. Be love. Be truth.

 

There is already a mythology and an inherent wisdom within us that knows how to move mountains, and to birth something new.

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Dance yourself open. Listen Deeply. Track yourself. Come back and tell us what you discover.

Allow it to show you where Justice lies, where Hope lives, where Love beckons.Open to this Force within. Dance, listen, and allow it to move you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed and have been inspired by these words.

If so, I ask you to share in the comments below how they’ve inspired you to rise.
I ask you to share with other women and men you know who are ready for similar inspiration.

If you’d like to read about last year’s rising, you can download this complimentary eBook, ‘rise up & reclaim’.

 

*** from OneBillionRising.Org:
ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice – courthouses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.  It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right.

Leading Image: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by mikebaird

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Allow The Dark To Grow You

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JulieDaleyInDarknessGrow

illustration by Kristin Noelle

I’ve been aware of the newness of things.
Soft. Fresh. Not quite open.
Something still tucked away, not yet ready to be revealed.

Where is this within you, this ‘something new’ that is not quite ready to be in the light?
Treasure this.
It is a magical thing to stay in the dark, taking in nourishment,
discovering the shape, fragrance, and texture of who you are yet to be.

Don’t rush this.

Allow the dark to grow you.

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Sometimes, we must enter the dark to grow; we must enter so we can, too, be held like we hold. They are one in the same. It is a natural expression of the Feminine to hold, to nourish. Natural.

As we hold, we are held. Take time to come into this embrace, consciously, with reverence…just the way you long to be held and known. She is no different.

Don’t fear the dark. It is rich with nutrients, rich with soul food. Yes, it will strip away; yes, you will be transformed; yes, you will be reborn – if you allow the dark to grow you.

If you allow the dark to grow you, you will bring back to life all that you pretended to put to death; and all that you’ve pretended is life and alive, will die.

 

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Kristin Noelle illustrated this beautiful image of being held in the darkness of the Universal womb. Working from just the few lines at the top that I sent her, she created this powerful image. It speaks directly to what I wanted to share.

Kristin Noelle is a Los Angeles-based illustrator. She creates soulful art that fosters a worldview of trust. Find her at www.kristinnoelle.com and be sure to check out Blessings – a 10-day series of inspired, illustrated blessings.

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Speaking of the power of the female belly, I’m co-facilitating a one-day retreat on the land in West Marin County:

A Woman’s Belly: Source of Health, Strength, and Creativity

Register here

At a wooded retreat site named Paradise, we’ll explore the health, strength, and creativity of our female belly. My friend and colleague, Simone de Winter, is an Ayurvedic Practitioner. Together, Simone and I will weave a day full of belly wisdom and love. It was Simone who led me through the powerful cleanse just three months ago.

We would love to have you join us for this intimate day.

Simone describes what she will offer:

“Ayurveda offers the lifestyle, dietary and herbal support. Yoga is often part of the lifestyle support, which can be in the form of breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation, chanting, mantra, movement and postures. Yoga offers a path to self-realization, freedom from the constraints of the mind. We all know about the role of the mind in health and self-care. And in this pursuit, if practiced in the right way, it can be very disarming for the nervous system. Another beautiful way in which they come together is in the understanding of the subtle body, where the chakras are found. In working with a woman’s belly we work with the second chakra, the creativity center.”

And, I’ll be sharing:

If we are to really be happy in the world, and to live our nature, then we must come into an alive and loving, compassionate relationship with our bodies. For women, this has many difficulties because we’ve been taught to objectify ourselves – to see our bodies as objects, and to relate to them that way. Instead, when we come to experience our bodies as beautiful alive creatures, not objects at all, by listening deeply to them, we begin to express what it is they offer into a world that, I feel, is truly thirsty for the alive, creative expression of awakened womanhood.

We women give birth to many things, not just babies. When we become conscious of this, and when we rediscover how to listen and honor what the womb can bring forth, we begin to live this very natural capacity of womanhood. It’s a matter of listening, honoring, and trusting, and then expressing these energies. In all honesty, we are rediscovering this. After so many centuries of women being disconnected from the creative capacities of the female body, at least in most of the industrialized world, we are coming to realize just how crucial it is that we embody these capacities –that we live them.

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The Inward Turn to Self – Waken the Inner Teacher

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In just twelve days, I’ll arrive at Feathered Pipe Ranch. I must’ve taken the Virtual Walking Tour at least ten times since I was asked to co-facilitate this kickoff retreat for Feathered Pipe’s summer program.

(take the tour. the land is breathtaking!)

When I first learned about the Waken the Inner Teacher retreat, I had a sense it was going to be about helping people discover this inner Self at the center of the heart. I had a sense that many who would come would do so in order to dive in for the first time. And that is true. But, what I didn’t initially get was how many would come for the deep bonding that happens as we all take that turn inward together.

Living from the inner teacher is not easy…especially in many of the current cultural climates that continue to suggest others know best and that we should follow the dictates of those in powerful positions.

Yet, during these times, we need to be living from truth. We must begin to live from a lived sacred relationship with all of life. Taking the inward turn to Self awakens us to this sacred relationship with life, with the earth as a sacred being.

Saying yes to follow the Self is a choice I’ve had to make many times over. Sometimes it is easier. Sometimes, not so much. Eventually, it seems there is a quiet and gentle ‘Yes’.

The inner call of Self:

Something calls to us. A voice. A feeling. A knowing. It keeps calling. And, even when we turn away, it never turns away from us.

This that never turns away from us, even when the last thing we want to do is hear its voice, is the inner teacher. But when we do accept that we want to hear it, what helps us to hear it is crafting a relationship to it of trust and wonder. When we come to acknowledge that we do indeed long to know the Self, we begin to feel this longing more deeply. When we ask to hear and realize the silence we find is pregnant with life, we open to truly listening. When we are genuinely filled with wonder and a kind of curiosity of what we might find, we open the door. Sometimes, it happens all on its own. And more often than not, it takes our turning inward with a true intention to want to know.

At this point in evolution, we are all being asked to take this inward turn, the inward turn to the creative heart. And, at this point in evolution, we are also being asked to do this together, in community.

As Adyashanti writes,

“We are birthed into sangha, into sacred community. It is called the world.”

The whole world is our community, our sangha. The entire world holds us and has held us since birth. To know this brings about a kind of peace and relaxing into. And to find a community to do this work, deepens this knowing of being held.

So, I ask you to check-in within. Listen deeply. What does your intuition tell you?

Follow this voice. One of the keys to deepening the relationship to Self is to act on one’s intuition…whichever way it guides you. Intuition is always a yes/no. It either says, “yes”, or it says, “no”. That’s one thing really easy about it.

If you feel called to come to Feathered Pipe, please do. I would love to spend these precious days with you. June 15 – 21. In the beautiful big-sky country of Montana.

We are all teachers. We are all students. We are all finding our way, together.

Or as Ram Dass wrote, “We are all just walking each other home.”

 

 

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You can’t think your way to Blossoming

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The work of reverence:
to solve our darkness by blossoming and to solve our loneliness by loving everything.
~ Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

 

I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump. When my mind goes crazy on itself, trying to figure out the unfigureoutable, I find I drift away from writing, caught up in some illusional world about solving and understanding.

When I write regularly, I tend to not get into this thinking cyclone. Today, though, the pain of too many thoughts hit my body like an overdose of chocolate sundae. Did you know that, from the Chinese medicine perspective, thoughts have to be digested, just like food? Yes. That is so. And, when I overindulge on thinking, I begin to feel way too full.

One method I’ve found to help digest the thoughts is a really good intense cardio workout. I’m not sure this is technically true from anyone’s expert perspective, but it is certainly true from my experience. When I have to breath really hard, breathing all the way down into my pelvis, I begin to feel settled and clear as the tonage of thoughts falls away from my head, my shoulders, my chest and my stomach. It’s as if all the weight I’ve been carrying around my brain falls off of me as the oxygen brings me back into my body.

Sometime a long time ago, I learned that I could handle the stress of living in a stressful childhood by trying to figure everything out. There were many dark times, scary times for a little one, and thought I could keep the darkness at bay by figuring ‘something’ out.

Just today, as my mind began to race once again, I was present enough to see where I was headed. Hooray for the mind. Truly hooray. It was as if the mind, seeing itself caught in the circular wasteland, realized to itself that there was no way out. It literally could see there was no way out. It could see it was checkmated.

And, the beautiful thing was that it could feel the silence all around and through. It felt held. It could feel its relationship with life, knowing on some level that it’s functionality was no match for the intelligence of life.

And in this moment, it stopped.

And, I just sat here breathing as the tears flowed.

The mind got that it cannot do it. It cannot figure out life. And it is so damn tired of trying.

And so, this darkness I learned to try to solve, this unknown I needed to somehow manage, cannot be solved nor managed. I only thought life was dark. Instead, what I thought was dark was the unknown. In some ways, it can feel that way. And this is where I came to the work of reverence, the work of blossoming and loving.

I could sense a bit of reverence in my awareness as my mind stopped in the realization that it was fruitless to keep going, because I could sense everything was holding the mind, holding the thoughts that were circling into over-thinking gluttony. Perhaps we don’t solve our darkness by blossoming. For me, it feels like blossoming requires trusting in something else, the urge to blossom.

I cannot think my way into blossoming. All I can do is blossom, and that requires feeling, and trusting. Feeling the urge to blossom means feeling that urge which moves up through me, up from the sacrum (or the holy bone).

It’s so funny, because when I coach, my mind is quiet and I listen into the deepest levels of the darkness of possibility. I am there completely for my client. I hold them. I know what that feels like so clearly. Yet, it has been certain places in my personal life that have triggered the over-indulgent appetite of mind. places that take me so quickly back to those early years.

The mind just wants to be held, and in this vast universe of love it is held. In every single moment, it is held.

So, I decided to share this beautiful meditation with you. The meditation grew from my own experience of being with the pain of the over-indulgent mind. I recently shared it with my newsletter subscribers as a gift. Today, I want to share it with you. I know it has been a beautiful meditation for me, and on some level know that it helped guide me to today, to this moment of the mind letting go.

Download The Holding Meditation

Please share it with your friends and family, people you think might benefit from it. I hope it helps ease minds and helps you know you are held, deeply held.

With love,

Julie


 

 

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There is a hungering… and it is really practical.

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There is a hungering…

to come closer into the body and open to a deep connection with the earth. It is soul time. Time to connect with our own soul, with other souls and with the soul of the earth.

I see how for most of our lives, women have been told what to do and how to do it. It is time for us to allow our own wisdom and intuition to be the guide of our lives, for when we do this, true feminine wisdom will arise in the world. And, we need feminine wisdom desperately.

It is time for all of us, women and men, to stop trying to control everything, and to come to remember the earth’s capacity to regenerate herself. It is time to align with our essential nature, essence, so that we live in harmony with our own body and the body of the earth.

 

From June 15 -21, I’ll be co-facilitating the
‘Waking the Inner Teacher’, Empowerment Camp 2013
at Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana,
along side Karen Chrappa and Michael Lennox, PhD

There are many reasons why it is important at this time in history for all of us to be waking up to the divinity within. You can listen, here, to the information call we held to share why we feel this retreat will be remarkable.

 

On this call, Karen Chrappa shares a really important point about why waking the inner teacher is so important right now. She speaks of how we’ve been taught to look outside of ourselves for wisdom, and when we do this we give away our power. I’ve written about this here on the blog over the years, but I really like the way Karen speaks of it. It is so important for each of us to find this inner teacher to awaken the power that lies within us to be of service to this world.

 

How do we get more deeply in touch with our own wisdom and intuition? We must awaken the inner teacher.

To do this, the body is key. We are here on earth by way of a body. It is the vessel through which we live and create.  This relationship between the inner teacher and the body is beautiful. When we fear our essential nature, or essence, we can try so tightly to control life, to control ourselves, and to control others. But when we come to feel the inner teacher, to know how it moves, to feel the sensations of its expression within, and to open to how it communicates, we can come to trust in this sacred intelligence that is the essence of all of life. We come to trust in our own nature, and the sacred nature of all beings.

This is really practical stuff. When it comes right down to it, we live smack dab in the middle of a mystery. We might not be so keen on acknowledging that fact, but it is so. Our rational minds try really hard to do the job of figuring out the mystery, of controlling things so we only have those ‘good’ experinces and none of the ‘bad’ ones, but it is not the right tool for the job.

What is the right tool? Life. Or, another more often used word is Intuition. Some say the heart. Other call it compassion. This inner teacher has many facets and qualities. Ultimately it is the intelligence of Life itself. Life knows how to navigate life. We are life. The inner teacher is this intelligence and it moves the body and moves through the body.

When we begin to trust this intelligence, our wonderful rational minds can let go of the job they are exhausted trying to do, and can instead be a wonderful helper in living this life more creatively, intuitively, and ultimately, more joyfully.

Whether or not you might want to come, take a listen to our information call we held on May 8th.. There is much wisdom in these 60 minutes. 

Find out more about Empowerment Camp 2013 at Feathered Pipe Ranch. I’d love to have you join us!

 

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True Belonging – one of the most important things we must find in these times.

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On Belonging.

I’ve been immersed in this topic since last Fall when I was asked to speak at TEDxIsfeld in British Columbia. For whatever reason, it seemed to keep coming up in my mind. That seems to be how creativity works. Things arise out of that big dark void from which everything emerges. For me, it was around belonging and finding a way back to being a human being connected to the land.

At the time, I wrote about becoming indigenous again, or finding my way back to reverence for the land. I’ve never shared that writing. It was writing for only my eyes. I was longing for something. Longing to feel connected, longing to be wise enough to know how to be with the land. Longing to no longer think of just me, but to begin to consider how I can serve the land.

I squirmed writing those words, “becoming indigenous again”. Sometimes words just come out and then you wonder what they’re about.

I know I am not an indigenous person and totally respect those people who are and the difficulties they face. And, I know indigenous cultures have a reverence for the land, and know a deep responsibility to it that many of us who’ve lost our bearings of belonging don’t seem to live. (I will share much of that writing in my new course: Belonging – 21 Days to Find Your Way Home, because it’s at the heart of what it means to be a human being.) It’s taken some time to see that what started as a seed back in the Fall has begun to blossom as new work.

And what has blossomed from that early writing is an exploration into belonging.


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Many of us were disconnected from the land of our ancestors. We’ve lost our connection to the land in a way the indigenous cultures have not. We’ve lost our connection to the matter, to the mother.

 

Many of us are displaced beings. Yet, we all belong to the earth. The earth is our mother. We are her children. 

Regardless of where we were born, regardless of where our ancestors came from, we all belong to the earth. And, I am coming to see that this is what gets us to the heart of being a human being – one who lives her humanity. Of course, I guess there are many interpretations of the nature of humanity. I know it can take dark forms…and I know we are moving to evolve toward a living of our light.

At the heart of coming to know a deeper relationship to earth is coming to know we belong.

I have come to see that one of the most important things we must do is come to remember that we belong. To ourselves, to each other, to the earth, and to all beings. Without remembering belonging, we drift aimlessly, believing someone else will take care of the very real responsibilities we have to life…and belonging helps us come to remember this forgotten imperative of relationship.

I hear from so many women that they don’t feel they belong, that they want to find the place where they feel safe and comfortable for being who they are, for living the values they hold dear.

Is this what belonging means to you? Finding a place where you are a natural part of the community, where when you are simply who you are and live what you hold dear, you feel safe and valued? Does it mean finding a place where you feel you are able to fully give of yourself, fully valued, wanted, and respected? Does it mean finally being able to be of service because you know that in relationship there is a shared give and take?

Isn’t that what any human being wants, to be valued, respected, and able to give something back, to be a part of a community?

We’ve devalued half of life’s qualities – the feminine half that exists in all of life, and we’ve devalued half of the population – women, and at the heart of it all, we’ve devalued, dominated, and controlled the material world, including the earth, animals, crops, air, water, etc. Everything that sustains us has been devalued and harmed, including the very vessels that bring human life forth – women’s bodies.

We don’t see the earth as a living being – we see her as material goods. 

In trying to find our way back, we begin to devalue the masculine. To find fault with it. When what is true is that we are woefully out of balance.

When we look at our culture and the values that seem to be linked to it, it’s no wonder we don’t feel like we belong. Our current cultural landscape is far from balanced, far from a reflection of the beauty we hold dear as women, from the capacity we know as women to nurture life itself.

In a culture that teaches you to conform, you can lose connection to your own values and needs. You slowly forget what matters to you most, and you begin to turn your attention to what will keep you connected to the culture, to what seems as if it will bring a sense of belonging. But this is not belonging. You will never feel you belong when you can’t be who you are. Never. And, somewhere we know this.

Belonging only comes when you are yourself and awake to what is real. Belonging can only happen when you are connected to the real world, to the world that has been here all along.

Our systemic devaluation of the feminine has a direct correlation to how much we feel we belong. When we lose connection to the mother, we lose our connection to matter.

When this devaluation pervades our culture and our internal radar is pointing to this culture for a sense of home, we’ll never find home. Patriarchy causes us to feel out of place because it is out of place. Patriarchy is out of place and alignment with the earth, our home, with the feminine, and with the masculine, and place is where we find belonging.

Everything seems to be coming out of the woodwork. So much violence. So much greed. So much sadness and grief. So much. How can we find our ground, our own ground amidst all of this? How can we touch into what is real when so much destruction is swirling around us?

How can you stay with your values when it seems as if the world that has a voice is telling you they are not valuable? How can you tap into what is real and true for you, when so much around us tries to convince us of what we should believe?

Through the body.
Through the land.
Through the connection with women.
Through the real world.
Through these we find our way back to our own connection between this female body and the earth. 

There is a ‘real world’ in which we exist. The earth and the stars, the sun and the moon, flowers and birds, animals and another’s warm hand. Nature. We are nature.

These are the elements of belonging. Knowing these in our everyday lives is what brings us back to here. And, here is the only place we can truly belong.

This is where we remember who we are, what we came into the world to do, the nature of our unique gifts, and our connection to a land that is not ours to own but rather ours to serve.

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Please join me on April 1st: Belonging – 21 Days to Find Your Way Home. Finding our way to a true sense of belonging may be one of the most important things we can do in these times.

At this time, the course is only for women. I’ve had men ask if it would be for men, too. Perhaps after this first iteration. Let’s see what happens.

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Retreat with Amy Kessel & me: Coming Back to Center

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I want to let you, my lovely friends, know about something that’s happening next month. I’ll be attending, and offering a session, at a beautiful retreat in Port Townsend, Washington. Led by my friend and colleague Amy Kessel, the Coming Back to Center retreat is a small group retreat for women (at the most, 12 of us) during the time of year that naturally draws us inward, even though the demands of the time can take us further and further out of ourselves.

For Amy, a retreat is:

“the palpable relief of switching to “off” for a period of time so I can access the parts of me I rarely experience while I’m  “on”, and so I can fall in love with those parts once again.  A retreat recharges my vitality, my creativity and my sense of wellbeing.  Retreating produces a shift in mindset that spreads outward to the edges of my life, bringing me back to center, where I belong.

I answer the call when I’m hungry for soul connection.  Retreating from the world enables us to tap into spirit, to truth, to our deepest source of strength and wisdom.  We all – every one of us – need this connection in order to thrive.” 

Just the images from the site speak to my body – I immediately feel everything just relax a bit as I imagine and feel the sense of peace, solitude, and stillness that will come during this weekend.

And, I will be leading a movement segment. While I could call it dance, it is not dance as many of us know it. Really, it’s an opportunity to let the body move and make itself known as the doorway into wholeness, wisdom, and the here and now. When you come to know the body as a vessel of knowing it can completely change your relationship with life itself.

Take a moment to listen to a short conversation that Amy and I had about the retreat. At the end, you’ll hear that she welcomes you to get in touch with her if you have any questions or thoughts about the retreat, even if you know you cannot come.

Of course, I’d love to meet any of you who feel this might be right for you. It’s going to be a beautiful, full and rich long weekend.

[audio:https://unabashedlyfemale.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/AmyKessel.mp3|titles=Interview with Amy Kessel]

http://www.amykessel.com/coming-back-to-center/

Amy (at) AmyKessel (.) com

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Coming to Know the WildSoul is a Reverent Journey

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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.


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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.

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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

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