Opening to the Pull of the Feminine…Together



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.





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.


From where does your Creativity flow?



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.



The Sacred Realm of a Woman’s Body


I originally wrote this piece for Amy Oscar and her wisdom series – a series of thirteen posts by women whose writing she enjoys. Amy’s series wrapped up on Monday, and after the fact, I realized that you may not have read what I shared. So, I’m offering it here. Do go and check out Amy’s blog. Not only are there some fabulous posts in this series, but Amy’s blog is one I regularly read and thoroughly enjoy. I have a sense you will, too. I’d love to know what you think of this post, how it affects you, and what you feel about it.


I sit here poised to write.

My good friend Amy Oscar has asked me to contribute a post on wisdom to her spring collection of works by bloggers she loves to read.

I feel honored. I value and respect her work. I want to write something good, something fresh, and something alive.

So, I sit still and listen to my body. I close my eyes and ask my body what wants to be shared. This is where aliveness is, not in my thoughts about what I am feeling and desiring, but in the direct experience, in the cells of this body. Alive. Light. Numinous. Awake.

My body speaks of fertility, of abundance, of the rhythms of nature. My body knows these rhythms, even if my mind has forgotten.

I am aware of how much our culture fears the wildness of women, our wild nature. So much so, we have all but destroyed the home where we live, our beautiful Earth, in our quest to control and dominate this wild nature.

Feral and fertile, women’s creativity and sexuality are intertwined, like a long, long braid of gold. We know this deep in the center of our cells.

As Isadora Duncan wrote, “You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.”

The body knows this.  It knows we were once wild, and it knows we believe we’ve been tamed. Old traumas and unwelcome emotions are trapped in the body, trapped until we realize the soul’s longing to be free.

As I begin to write,

I can sense my strong sexual energy and a passion for creation. I feel deeply and I am happiest when my body is set free to express this passion through movement and dance, when I paint and the colors run freely on the paper, when words, whispered from someplace unseen, come to rest, together, in a way I could never have planned.

Women are different than men. Yes. We are different. It is not only okay to say that, it is imperative we see this. Why? Let me share a story with you.

A while ago,

perhaps six years or so, I took a class called mess-painting. Mess painting is a kind of process painting, where you use tempera paints, brushes and wall street journal pages to burn through layers that keep you from your deep creativity.

In the six-week process, I painted in my own apartment, in a tent of plastic sheets that I hung from the ceiling. This is a very messy process. I painted six days a week, at least twenty paintings in a session, where each painting was created in the span of two minutes.

In mess painting, the process is to cover one full sheet of Wall Street Journal paper (the ink used doesn’t run) with paint using brushes and any of eight specific colors. That’s it.

It’s a very physical process. You have to move quickly. There is no time to think about what colors you want or how they should go on the paper. There is only enough time to move the brush to the color then to the paper, allowing something more present than thought to choose which color and where to place it.

About four and a half weeks into the process, I suddenly felt a very different energy begin to move through me. It felt wild and untamed. It felt animal and soulful. I had the overwhelming urge to drop the brush and dive in with my body. I painted with my fingers, hands, and elbows. I couldn’t get enough of my body into the process.

I painted until the energy quieted. And then I wrote this:

When I mess-paint, I come alive. I can’t wait to pull out the colors and begin. When I am painting I am totally engrossed. I love to see the colors mix together on the paper, to see what transpires in a given session. I find I can’t get enough of me into the mess – hands, fingers, fingernails – I am so taken with the paintings that I keep watching them as they dry, dying to see what beauty is there. What are the qualities of my painting? There is an energetic pulse to it. I can feel my soul coming through me. Does it come charging through me like a tiger? Does it spread itself on the paper with love and softness, or even reckless abandon?

It is akin to intimacy – when there are no longer any barriers between another and me: when clothes are off, small talk is quieted, distractions are gone, and there are only the two of us in conversation. The language is intimacy. The “words” are infused with love and deep meaning. There is a direct channel open where truth and soul are shared without reservation, without holding back. Passion, desire, and love all come pouring forth into this conversation between two beings. That is the incredible connection and intimacy that I long for. That is the juice I find in painting. When I create art, it is an individual act. It feels like connecting with myself in a deeply intimate way.

As I read again what I wrote then, I can feel the joy I felt in the liberation of this fiery self. I can feel the love and aliveness, and my soul’s desire for connection and expression. The direct connection between creativity and sexuality is right there and so plain to see.

I’ve been taught

to fear this power, to fear my feral side, my passion, my fire, my ferocity and uncontrollability. I’ve been taught well to fear chaos, yet it is from chaos that anything new is born. And while I was taught this, it is me that keeps it under wraps.

Chaos was wildly singing during that painting session.

Chaos is here, right now. Chaos is ushering out the old and inviting in the new. The old way is dying. Something new is coming. And we have no idea at all what that is.

It is time.

It is time to open deeply to this wild nature as woman. It is time to know it, to invite it out, to welcome it to express. It is time that we see the feminine cannot be reawakened by only knowing the feminine principle in both men and women. We must also honor the spiritual nature of women, the nature that flows through women’s bodies in ways it simply does not in men.

I’ve struggled to articulate my deep knowing that we women have this precious opportunity to come to know the sacred within the cells of our own bodies, how our bodies serve spirit in ways men’s’ bodies cannot, and what this direct experience and realization might do for the evolution of human consciousness.

And in my struggle to write about this, I happened upon an article written last year, by one of my favorite authors on this topic, Hilary Hart.  Hilary writes,

“This spiritual insight into the created world inquires into the nature of women’s bodies, and asks if the receptivity of the vagina, the spirit/matter-integrating capacity of the womb, the nourishment of our breasts, reflect an esoteric dimension that receives energy, serves the infusion of spirit into the physical world, and feeds life in a way men cannot.

Do our bodies show that we offer different gifts and have distinct roles in our collective spiritual evolution, just as they have different roles in the material realm?

While answers to these questions are not easy to come by, asking them opens us to an intriguing and compelling line of inquiry into an entire new spiritual territory – the spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

I know…

I know the spiritual nature and power of this physical world by direct experience.

I know it because I’ve experienced it by way of the body’s cycles, by way of menstruation, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding my daughters.

I know it when I remove myself from the places where I tend to be most in my head and go into the places that call to the wild succulence of my body.

I know it through the direct witnessing of the deaths of those people in my life I have profoundly loved and the births of those bright angels who are now vibrantly part of my life.

I know it because I have witnessed the cells of my own body come awake again, after a long, long sleep.

It is not mirrored in the collective consciousness, yet that does not negate it one damn bit.

It is neither valued nor protected in the linear, masculine-centric institutions of our culture, whether they be political, medical, legal or religious, yet we know this way down deep in our cells.

When I read Hilary’s words, clarity flows from the connection between my own knowing and her clear articulation. A gap that had been is now bridged.

It’s as if I have been hovering above my own knowing, not quite ready to drop down in all the way. It’s as if I’ve been held up by old beliefs that still infused my awareness, beliefs that kept telling me that the sacred is somewhere else, somewhere up there, and certainly not in this female body.

We don’t need to transcend our bodies to know the sacred realm. And we don’t need to look out there for our power as women. All we need to know is here, right here, within us. It’s already here.

My body has guided me through this writing. It has taken me on the journey of discovering something wholly new.

Our way is the way of the body. Our bodies are sacred and pure. Our creativity and sexuality are physical manifestations of the creative power of the sacred. Whether or not we ever physically give birth to a child, our bodies are vessels for new life. This is the “spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”


And, you?

I’d love to know of your experience of the “spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

Blog Widget by LinkWithin