Letting Go and Letting In



Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my Mother’s death.  It’s so hard to believe it’s been one year. I remember I couldn’t write for a while after she died. It was as if things needed to settle inside me. No, settle isn’t quite right. Things needed to move around, push their way out, burrow deep inside, get all mixed around, catywampus-sideways…everything just had to be left alone to be inside me. One thing I have become all-too-familiar with is the need for grief to be welcomed and befriended. It is an intelligent process, grief. I have experienced that when you open to it, don’t rush it, don’t fight it, even befriend it by giving in to it and entering the darkness of it with trust, it will move you, it will shake you, it will bring you somewhere out the other side of the darkness, somewhere new that you never expected.

Mom’s death was a lesson in letting go on so many levels. Letting go of my longing for her to be cured of her cancer, letting go of her being open to talking about her death, letting go of being able to say good-bye in the way I wanted to, letting go of wanting to be by her side at the moment she passed, letting go of all the things I thought I still needed from her as my mother. One big-time letting go.

And now it’s one year later. I find I am still letting go. I am letting go of our culture’s taboo on discussing death and sharing grief. I am letting go of the expectations that we are only supposed to grieve for a set period of time and then if we don’t move on we’re ‘not normal’. I’m letting go of the culture’s obsession with the objectification of a woman’s body, as if it existed solely for sexual gratification. And, I am letting go of the societal voices that ‘honor’ mothers on the surface, and treat mothers with disdain and women with second-class status.

As I wrote in a post last year, as my mother died, I felt a deep painful tearing in my body, right at the core. It felt as though my connection with my mother (the most primal connection I had) was being severed as she prepared to die. The pain seared in my core, down deep at the base of my body. It was as if I could feel her leaving by way of the pain in my own body.

Then, after she died, I sat with her body for a long time. I felt awe in the presence of her body, the body that nourished me and delivered me into this world. I felt gratitude for all she did in her life to provide for me, to keep me safe, to usher me into adulthood. I felt compassion for her foibles and humanness, a humanness that I had once expected to be perfection. Yet, there in the moments following her death, I was captivated by the ephemeral nature of this imperfect humanness for I knew, with her life force no longer there, her body was already beginning its way to non-existence.

Over this past year, I have come to know a strong connection between my mother and my own body. This connection lies at the heart of being human. We are fed by our mother, both inside her and once we are born. Her body is the vessel that holds us as we grow from being a few cells to a baby big enough to make our way into the world. She sustains us. During this time in the womb, she is all that we know.

This connection is primal. It is a connection to more than just mother. It’s a connection to the Universal Mother and to the Earth. This Earth is the vessel that sustains us as we move throughout our life. She provides for us. She nourishes us. While life can be harsh, without the Earth, we would not be.

We lose our connection because we are conditioned to believe we must let go of mother to be strong, independent individuals in our western culture. We also learn to blame mother for most everything that wasn’t right in our childhood. Mothers take the brunt of blame. Mothers are taken for granted. Mothers learn to internalize this blame.

It’s not about believing that mothers can do no wrong. Rather, despite the ways in which you don’t see eye-to-eye with mom, and regardless of whatever story you tell about your mother, can you find and feel your heart’s deepest gratitude to your mother for carrying you and birthing you? Because, that Mother, the mother that nourished and sustained you, is the same Mother that sustains all of life. The substance that fuels a mother’s capacity to nourish a baby into existence is the same substance that fuels all of existence.

What conscious grieving of my mother’s death has taught me is the profound, yet basic connection between awe and gratitude for my mother and the gift of life she gave me. It has strengthened my connection to my own body and to the Earth, and to all of life. And, it has brought me to the wisdom that comes from knowing this same substance is within me as a woman.

This substance allows for a beautiful and mysterious connection between women. We don’t have to be mothers to know this connection. It just is. This substance connects us with the Earth, with nature, and with the sacredness of life itself.

I don’t know what sharing this with you will bring, I only know that now knowing this has awakened reverence and awe for my mother, my daughters, my sisters, my nieces, and all women; my grandchildren and all children; my father, my partner Jeff, my sons-in-law, my nephews, and all men; and all of life. That’s been the gift for me that lies in knowing the fullness of my mother’s humanness, as well as the sacred nature of her female creativity.


Chaos, Creativity & Leadership


Chaos is ushering us into a whole new level of creative thinking that comes from deep within our intuitive, instinctive resources. ~Gabrielle Roth

This is wild creativity, a creativity that comes from deep within our bodies and hearts. In her article on the dancing path, Gabrielle Roth so beautifully expresses what is at the core of wild creativity. It is a creative ‘thinking’ that doesn’t come from thought. Rather, it comes from deep within the resources that are always available to us when we are open to our deeper nature. Wild, intuitive and instinctive, this creativity is chaotic and feral. It must be undomesticated, set loose from the dogma and ideology that keeps us tied to the old outdated, outworn system of the last few thousand years.

No longer can we simply engage with creativity as artistic talent or an intellectual premise that we begrudgingly entertain so that we’ll continue to build a better mousetrap so we can keep the shareholders happy.

In facilitating creativity courses over many years, my work has been with groups and individuals that range from top corporate 50 clients to families affected directly by 9/11, from students at Stanford University to individuals from all walks of life. All of my clients and students were looking to find some way to navigate times of great ambiguity and change.

Within their business structures, corporate clients were facing new initiatives that required radically new ways of approach, because the systems they had created no longer worked with what they were being required to do. They were being called to rely on something else, something that allowed them to navigate new waters that they were completely unfamiliar with.

Family members who had lost loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, were thrown into a new life they neither asked for nor wanted. Yet, they had to move forward, most of them new single mothers with children devastated by what had happened.

The Stanford students were of two kinds. One group was non-traditional undergraduates, who had transferred from other schools and were of a non-traditional age. Their situation required that they find their bearings in an intensely academic setting where the vast majority of students had followed the traditional trajectory that students of elite schools must do. These non-traditional students had to merge with the population, while coming to understand that the gifts they brought were of benefit to all they would meet. It wasn’t about losing themselves or their history; it was about claiming their originality and uniqueness, which is the essence of ones personal creativity.

The other group of students have been part of the Creativity and Leadership course I teach every fall at Stanford Continuing Education. These students come from all different cultures and countries. They work by day and learn at night. And, they are fully engaged in learning how to tap into this creative resource within, knowing that right now, in these times, what is needed is a new way to engage in business.

And, the individuals I have worked with all came to me because something was calling them to step out into a new direction, a direction that did not logically follow from where they had been.
All of these people were seeking something that could guide them in these times of change, times of what we might call chaos. And, more and more people are finding these times chaotic.

Things are shifting on a grand level. No longer do the old ways of doing things work. If we try to use the old ways in these new times, it’s like trying to dance with your feet shackled to the floor.

In these times of change, it can be helpful to remember or discover what it is we trust in. Now this isn’t trust as in a belief we hold or a dogma we learned, this is a trust that is with us always, one that we know from experience. When we are moving in the flux and flow of life, what we trust in must come from within us, or else, when we try to move, whatever we are trusting in outside of ourselves, will not be where we now find ourselves.

This that we trust from within is the very thing that has helped us navigate times of change, times that we have experienced throughout our entire lives, for we have always been in change. What is this? It is our personal internal creativity. This is the nature we humans are, the process we naturally move with when our minds don’t know how to manage the change.

This creative process is so natural and ordinary that most of the time we don’t even realize we are utilizing it. It can be a knowing that comes out of the blue. It can be an intuitive hit that registers in our gut. It can be as simple as pure instinct. The important thing to realize is that it is our nature, for when you realize this, you realize you are creative by birth, it is your birthright and it is always available to you.

As the current societal paradigm continues to dissolve, it is becoming more and more important that we each awaken to this creative nature within. We are being invited to fully awaken to and get comfortable with this creative nature.

I’d love to know your thoughts, so please leave a comment…


If you are interested in reading more, a new ebook is forthcoming on the topic of wild creativity. Contact me if you are interested in receiving it when it becomes available.
juliedaley (at) gmail.com


The Soul of Coaching


On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending San Francisco Coaches Holiday Party. I was looking forward to attending simply because I love these people, my friends who also happen to coach. From the moment I walked in the door of my first meeting, I felt welcomed and part of something bigger than just me coaching my clients.

The party was intimate and engaging. The guest speaker was Harriet Simon Salinger, one of the founders of SF Coaches. The first meetings were held in Harriet’s home over ten years ago.

This was my first opportunity to meet Harriet, and I found her intelligent, witty and completely accessible. Her talk was centered around holding two questions, a very ‘coach-like’ thing to do. The questions were, “Where do old coaches go?”, which brought quite a round of laughter around the room, and “What is the Soul of Coaching?”. The second question we entertained with our table mates before bringing the discussion back to the room at large.

I found this discussion fascinating. What is the Soul of Coaching? We had numerous ideas and thoughts, just sitting with them all and not trying to actually answer the question. I found this question still intriguing me last night while I worked out. Some fresh insights then entered my realization.

I could feel, at a deep and profound level, that the Soul of Coaching is the immense capacity for human beings to consciously experience the depth and breadth of who and what we are, and in this experiencing and conscious reflection of our experiences, we awaken the parts of ourselves that have been repressed, hurt, or believed to be not good enough. In this awakening through conscious action, we not only create our lives from choices based on that inner compelling pull, but return to the wholeness that always has been present within.

I see this as the Soul of coaching, because it lies at the very foundation of our practice. We hold our clients as whole, and we hold that they have their own answers, and we hold that their awakening to wholeness is a natural and ‘given’ expression of the very nature that they are, that humans are deep at our core. As I coach, I know that every client has their own seed of wisdom that when watered and fed, and loved unconditionally, will express their unique nature.

While coaching started out with an accomplishment and success mindset, I see that goal is still valid. What has changed is what accomplishment and success mean. For me, over the past five plus years I have been coaching, my own notion of what coaching really is has changed and morphed. My work with clients has honed my skills and my vision for what coaching is and can be, and for what I know I am uniquely skilled to offer those clients that are meant to work with me.

What does this have to do with being Unabashedly Female? Everything. I see the wholeness that you are. I see the unique beauty and power that is inherent in women and men. I see the critically important need for all of us, both men and women, to live our unique gifts and to express them in the world. Life is intelligent by design, and each of us has a role to play in this design. If any one of us is living from beliefs that what and who we are is not enough or is bad somewhere deep within, then we are hiding our gifts away, gifts that must be shared for our world to be balanced and in harmony.

Women have been conditioned to believe that we are bad simply by design. That somewhere our design as women is sinful and dirty. I can’t tell you how many women I have spoken with that feel this deep within, but don’t have the consciousness to express it until we work together or at least talk about it. And, many men have spoken of the unconscious beliefs they hold about women, too. These beliefs hurt us all. They hurt both men and women. They are part of the shadow of our culture and world, and are played out every day in violent and degrading scenarios. And it all stems from conditioning. None of it is really true.

The Soul of Coaching is about holding us all as the vibrant, creative deeply loving beings we are by nature. When a coach holds you this way, you begin to hold yourself this way. When a coach calls you forth to be this nature in the world, you begin to express this nature. When you learn effective tools and practices that help you to live this nature, then you begin to live the life you were created to live.

If you are intrigued at all by what this post shares, please contact me at juliedaley at gmail.com. I would love to begin a conversation with you about how to step into this magnificence that you are.


Creativity, Conscious Experience and Authentic Expression of Women


I have been intrigued by creativity since I was young, and now it is what I do for a living. Pretty cool. I wanted to share these thoughts with you. Perhaps they will trigger something you know already about who and what you are. Perhaps they will be an invitation to begin turning back to yourself to inquire into your own nature. Perhaps they won’t intrigue you at all. Take a look and see what you feel…

By design, you are creative.

By design, you are, and always have been, whole.

By design, you are unique, yet One with everything in existence.

By design, you are Essence experiencing and expressing through a human body that has a gender.

By design, you are part of the Great Intelligence that creates and destroys, that moves through all of existence that is the creatrix and the created.

As concepts you know this, but do you know this as experience?

Do you trust the uniqueness and intelligence of your design as a creative being?

Do you have faith in your own raw, unmediated experience and expression?

When you trust in your creativity, and unbind your heart and body, a faith in your full expression emerges. Faith in this expression opens up a whole new world to you, a world in which you trust yourself to meet life as it comes to you. Give it a whirl!


Your Unsung Song



I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung. – Rabindranath Tagore

I came across this quote today in the Heron Dance newsletter, A Pause For Beauty. I like the quote because it is a beautiful metaphor for how we, as humans, spend the days of our lives busying ourselves with everything but singing our song, all the while telling ourselves we are just about ready to sing. We mess around with getting ourselves trained, figured out, processed, firmed-up financially, etc., all to keep ourselves from jumping into the void, the empty space that must be encountered when we agree at last to trust our own, unique song within.

I believe we are doing this as women, too. Not simply individually, but collectively. I can feel in my work with women leaders, both individually and collectively, that we know we have work to do. We know there is a song to be sung as beautiful souls within female bodies. We can feel and sense a calling within to come together in some way to sing a collective song, all the while honoring our own, individual melody.

What is this song to be sung?
What is calling us?
What are you hearing?
What is keeping you busy so that you don’t have to hear the melody within?
When will you sing?
When will we sing, together?

I can feel my song to be a guide for people to see again their inherent goodness, and to awaken to the richness of their unique creative expression. I feel a (sometimes not so gentle) pull to help heal the deep wound we all experience in some fashion with regard to the Mother (our own and the Big Mama Earth) and Her unconditional love for us. What if we were to awaken to the awe inspiring unconditional love that is here for us all the time…here for all of us, every living being? What if we had the courage to feel this love deep in every cell of our beings?

What if we were to be this open, this trusting, this humble, this ordinary?

photo by Julie Daley


Piglets for Girls


Piglets for Girls. When I first read this article, I felt a surge of discomfort and frustration to know that there are things going on that so devalue women and girls that I can’t even wrap my head around them. Yet, this reaction doesn’t really help them. I am only seeing it from my western woman’s perspective without taking into consideration that I don’t know how other parts of the world work.

Piglets for Girls is an ingenious plan that is saving thousands of young girls from being sold into slavery.  To make it happen, Olga Murray had to understand how the Nepali culture worked after living there on and off for over five years.

As part of living this question, “What is it to be Female?”, we can look at women who exhibit their female nature in the work they do, and at the same time are powerful forces in the world today, creating change and leading by example and love.

Olga Murray is one such lady. She is saving lives every day…little female lives. Having been honored by the Dalai Lama and the former king of Nepal, Murray exhibits love, creativity, tenacity and the deep kind of love for the world that Amma calls Universal Motherhood.

When I read about Olga and the young girls she has changed, I could also see how these girls, once they felt secure and cared for, began to show their own strength and resiliency. They become empowered activists in their own right, naturally showing a fierceness towards their younger sister’s safety that can now be spoken aloud.

Olga Murray is a mirror for us all in which we can see our own strength, compassion, patience and creativity. These young women teach us something about what we can embody when we have known fear and stepped through it, and have been truly valued enough to be spoken for.  Take a moment to notice something new you now know about your own nature as a woman. Women can be true to their nature AND be a powerful force in the world.


No Longer Silent

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King Jr.
I heard this quote used on a TV show tonight and hearing it stirred me to write. I think this is an extraordinary quote, but then it is from an extraordinary man.
The word silence has many definitions. One, is the absence of sound or stillness…one way we speak of the sea of the unmanifest potential of the Universe. But, silence, when it is how we keep ourselves from speaking our wisdom, is one of the most insidious ways in which the status quo stays in control.
When I read King’s quote, I can feel the truth in it. Becoming silent shows up in many ways. Becoming silent can happen when a sense of the ‘enormity of it all’ overtakes the inner impulse to express oneself in the world, or when a desired outcome is attached to the impulse to express. The struggle within to want to control what happens in the face of our own expression can silence the expression itself.
What matters to me is the awakening of the sacred feminine in all women, the divinity within each woman that can bring forth life into this world, whether it is a beautiful new human being or another form of expression of this sacred feminine. This matters to me. This is the basis of this blog and all the work I do.
I revel in my client’s awakening to the ripeness that awaits them when they ‘get’ that they are divine and that their bodies are a manifestation of the sacred feminine. I also see that this awakening in women spreads through all beings. The men they love, the children they hold and the life they nurture all heals when women begin to heal the divisions held within. Coming to wholeness spreads knowing and healing to all they touch.
What matters to you? What would it take for you to no longer be silent? How are you expressing that inner impulse now in your life?

Pangea Day


On May 10th, 2008, the we have the opportunity to come together through film. It is Pangea Day. A first.

What is Pangea Day?

According to Pangea.org:

“Pangea Day taps the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future. In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that — to help people see themselves in others — through the power of film.”

Sites in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked live. Programs will consist of film, speakers and uplifting music, and will be broadcast live through the many forms of technology available today: the Web, TV, Digital Movies and mobile phones.

Organizers will also facilitate activities around the world by connecting inspired viewers with numerous organizations that are already doing community building work.

Check out Pangea Day at: http://www.pangeaday.org


Awakening the Light Within


“It’s so clear that you have to cherish everyone. I think that’s what I get from these older black women, that every soul is to be cherished, that every flower is to bloom.”
—Alice Walker

What is it to be female? One of the most amazing aspects of being a woman is our ability to love unconditionally. It is our nature. Within women, there is a substance that flows throughout one’s being. Spiritual leaders speak of this aspect of consciousness that is present in women because women intrinsically bring the divine into incarnation through their bodies. This that flows throughout the beingness of woman is always there. When we love, we love with this substance that brings consciousness to matter, that lights up matter with the radiance of the divine.

As Alice Walker says, to cherish everyone is the chance to bring reflection to the divinity within each person, and for that matter, every living thing. When we women love fully, from the depths of our heart and body, when we welcome in our own divinity and love from this place, we shine the light of awareness on the Oneness that is Life.

Loving unconditionally, though, is not the province of the ego. It is not about satisfying our desires and wants. Rather, it is trusting our nature as women and acknowledging the sacredness of our female body, so that we can fully embody this female nature and trust what it is here to do. This is the beauty that is inherent in women. This is the nature of females that is being called forth to full expression.


The Silent Voice Within


buddha.jpg“How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.” ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

This month of May I am posting each and every day as part of National Blog Posting Month’s May theme…Voices.

Today, as I thought about what to post, I thought of how much I love silence and my hours of silent meditation and wondered about what voice speaks within silence. Then, much to my delight, I came across the quote above by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. That voice within speaks in silence and yet we hear it. There are many kinds of voices…and many ways to listen.

Listen with your entire body. Listen with every cell of your being. You will hear that voice within that tells you when to venture forth into the unknown. And, when you have faith in your own personal creative resource, you know you have everything to you need to be in the unknown.

Want to know more about your own personal creativity? Contact me and I will help you to know, and hear, that silent voice within.

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