Standing Out


Tulip A friend posted this quote on FaceBook this morning, and I just had to share it here.

Why are you trying to fit in when you were born to stand out?” ~ From the movie, What A Girl Wants  

I like to think of standing out as simply being what you are, the truth of what you really are. The ego is all about hiding or ‘being seen’, but there is another alternative…simply being true to your own being, without worrying about what others think of you.

A teacher of mine, Aydahshanti, says freedom only comes when we allow others to have their own opinion of us, without worrying about changing it or controlling it. This leaves us free to simply be. The tulip above, one of many I had in the house over Easter, is a great example of this. It is standing out, being itself, being beautiful and vibrantly colorful. It is simply being what it is.

What if you were to allow yourself to be unabashedly you? and, of course, unabashedly female!


How DO you treat your Mother?


“How different it would be if we looked at the earth as our mother. Do you treat the planet with the same love, care, respect and honor that you treat your mother?”— Peter Walsh, from his Oprah Radio show

I came across this quote yesterday and it stopped me in my tracks. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been thinking a great deal about the atrocities that are committed to women and girls every day all over the world and realizing that women are the recipients of the things we hold in the darkest part of our shadow complex.

How many people really do treat their mother with love, care, respect and honor? How many of us treat the role of mother with respect and honor? How many of us treat the female body with care and respect?

I don’t doubt for a moment that Peter Walsh loves his mother and this really isn’t about him. I think most of us love our mother, but do we even for a moment really know what it means to love our mother? Do we dare to look deeper at how we treat her, how we hold her and how much we respect the sacredness of the female body and its ability to bring life into life? I feel the real question is not how we treat our mother, something we pay homage to on Mother’s Day, or the glorified Madonna archetype that many times carries with it the corresponding archetype of whore.

The real question is how to we treat the physical manifestation of Mother, the female body and her ability to support and nurture life into being? How do we treat women and their bodies? Do we honor the female body with love and respect? Do we care for female bodies? Do you care for your own? Do you respect the sacredness and the divinity that it is? And, do we respect all bodies, those of men and boys as well?

For the correspondence between one’s Mother and the planet is about the life-giving ability that women offer. Our planet is alive. The Mother is all of matter. Everything that is alive is the Mother. It is all sacred. We are all sacred.

When we no longer see a distinction between all living things, and we honor all of life, then maybe we’ll wake up to Life as it truly is, not as something to rape and use to satisfy our insatiable appetite for more and more. Look around you and see how we treat the female body.

Look into your own experience with open eyes, but more importantly an open heart. What would it be to love, with all your heart, your mother, yourself, your body, the Earth and all of Life?


Your Experience as a Woman


I have found some wonderful new books, which focus on the transformation of consciousness in which we are smack in the middle of. Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness, by Marion Woodman, has opened a flood of light deep within my cells. Woodman is an incredible prophet of the sacred feminine consciousness rising in women and men.

I’ll write more about her book in the next few posts, but right now I want to share another great book, Women of Wisdom, by Tsultrim Allione. Allione was a Buddhist Nun, but she renounced her vows because she felt the pull to become a mother. Her life has been extraordinary, and she shares so much of her experience in the newly revised edition of Women of Wisdom.

Within the pages of Women of Wisdom, Allione speaks to the reason I created this blog, Unabashedly Female. In my own experience, I could see that what was, and is, happening to me as part of consciousness awakening was reflected nowhere in the cultural stories of the world I live in. Everything we see, the stories we hear, are all part of a culture that is male-centric and still highly patriarchal. The structures and systems in place were designed with men in mind to fill their needs. We, as women, are inundated with messages that, at their core, come from these systems and structures.

Allione writes, “We try to relate our experiences to the stories of others and thereby edit our perceptions according to what fits.” (Women of Wisdom, pg. 83) Allione then quotes from Womenspirit Rising:

Women have lived in the interstices between inchoate experience and the shaping given to experience by the stories of men. In a very real sense, women have not experienced their own experience. There is a dialectic between stories and experience, Stories shape experience; experience shapes stories. Womenspirit Rising, pg. 228

If the stories we swim in reflect male systems and experience, then we never really become conscious to our own experience, what is happening to us if we continue to look to these systems for reflection. This, coupled with the understanding that the ONLY thing we can truly know is our own experience, is mana for our souls, for when we become aware of what keeps us circling in our own illusion, we can begin to wake up from it. 

For the sacred feminine to awake and rise within our own consciousness, we must wake up to the stories we have believed and aligned ourselves with, and realize they are not our stories. The truth is what is happening to us in our own experience, both individually and collectively. Part of what we do as humans is try to make sense of our experience, and if we hold it up against our conditioned world view, then we make links and assumptions that lead us to conclusions that can never be true, at least in an absolute sense.

Being Unabashedly Female is allowing ourselves to really look within at our own experience and trust that it is true. Being Unabashedly Female is about trusting ourselves, trusting our experience and opening to the transforming energies that are within our physical beings, that primal matrix of creation that resides within women. Being Unabashedly Female is also about coming together as women to share our stories and experiences so that we may develop a deeper understanding of what is happening within and without.

Unabashedly Female is ultimately about aligning with the awakening sacred feminine within all of life, and supporting a newfound respect for women and men to live together as balanced beings in our own right, knowing that our own truth can only come from within. As beloved Amma said in a talk over six years ago, “men and women must bow down to each other.”

And, we must bow down to Life, to all of Life. We CAN live into a way of life where we honor and serve the sacredness in each other, and in all of Life.


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 I would love to begin a conversation with you about how to step into this magnificence that you are.


Coming back to my Self


I just re-connected with one of my best friends from my childhood. We grew up in Palo Alto, California before Silicon Valley came upon the scene.

If you have ever been to the Bay Area, you know the geographic beauty that we enjoy here. It is a beautiful place with an amazingly vibrant and diverse culture. Growing up here was a treasure in itself.

I remember days of riding my ten-speed in the hills that rise up between Palo Alto and the coastline. I remember growing up with people who were intelligent and thoughtful about the world we live in.

Just yesterday, this best friend sent me a picture. She has been scanning old pictures and came across this one. pic-00222-julie-and-cara-02.jpgI am on the left. Just seeing this image brought back a flood of feelings and memories of a time in my life when I felt so connected to the world around me, especially nature through all the time I spent outdoors.

As I thought back to this time, I realized how important these years are. It’s during these times that we have a glimpse into our deeper nature and a sense of our place in the world. Once we grow up and move out into the world, and into making a living, most of us lose contact with our own internal knowing, because we believe we have to conform to our culture and society to make it. And, we believe that conformity requires letting go of who we really are and what we truly want to do with our lives.

It’s not that we consciously choose to go against our authenticity, but rather we are conditioned to do so.

Seeing this picture and remembering that time in my life, with all the friends and experiences it held, re-affirmed who I am and what compels me to action today in my life. I know that my work with women to awaken our connection to the Earth and our connection to each other is exactly what I knew somewhere deep within me when this picture was taken.

Think back to your youth, those years when you wondered what your life would hold.

What did you envision?

Who did you see yourself to be?

Are you honoring that deepest place within you, that place that speaks to you quietly, but insistently?


Opportunity in Chaos


We can’t expect our leaders to be what we are afraid to be ourselves. We can’t expect our leaders to take actions that we are afraid to take ourselves. We can’t expect our leaders to take us where we refuse to go on our own accord. It is up to each one of us to recognize within what we are searching for in our leaders. If we truly want our candidate to win and succeed then we must embody that which we are asking of our leaders. We must be willing to walk the path with them. As I see it, this is the meaning behind Gandhi’s quote:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

We have all, men and women, been highly conditioned by our parents, cultures, religions and society at large. This conditioning is the basis of our personal ego. This ego has its own gods (beliefs and opinions) and these gods are the ones the ego believes all should follow. For example, with regards to the Hilary Clinton vs. Sarah Palin debate, on one level we may believe that the way Hilary carries herself in the world (beliefs, character, background, actions) is better than the way Palin carries herself…or, perhaps, for many others that Palin is “better than” Hilary. It all depends on the way we have been conditioned. But, conditioning is conditioning. Period. All conditioning is a box that has been created to keep each one of us in conformity and a false sense of security and safety. And, even though we have outgrown our conditioning, we keep choosing and acting from it so that we stay part of the ‘tribe’.

We are on the brink of something new, something fresh. What is required is true leadership from each American. We must quiet the fearful cries of our egos so that we may hear our own truth and ‘be’ this truth in the world. This does take trust in our own wisdom. It means taking a stand for what we know to be true within our own being. It means responding rather than reacting. It means questioning our reliance on our leaders to be responsible to us when we haven’t found our own means of being responsible to ourselves. It means becoming citizens again, citizens of not only this country, but citizens of our world.

There is an amazing opportunity presenting itself. We have the opportunity to heal the cultural distrust between men and women, and between women themselves. This distrust has been passed down from generation to generation as part of the cultural conditioning. It has been part of our cultural shadow for hundreds of years and for this distrust to heal, the shadow needs to be seen, acknowledged and personally owned. What we fear within ourselves we project out onto others. How does the shadow show up for you? What are your deepest fears about women in positions of power? How are you judging the women and men involved in the campaign rather than objectively looking at their qualifications? In what ways do the candidates, and their opinions and beliefs scare you? In what ways do you align with them?

Right now things feel chaotic. They are. This election has suddenly, and beautifully, brought in new voices, the voices of women, voices that have for too long been kept quiet. Things are changing and the change feels overwhelming to that part of us that wants to ensure our own beliefs will win.

But, in chaos is opportunity. How can we use this amazing opportunity to create something new and fresh in our political and cultural landscape with regards to women and men leading together?

True creativity, something truly fresh and innovative, can only come into existence when we trust in our own nature and in what we know to be true for ourselves.

Here are a few thoughts I have with regard to the current dialogue regarding women and the elections:

  1. As women, we can choose not to disrespect another woman simply for holding other views and opinions. We need to own our projections. We must separate out what we hate and fear about the ‘other’, and what we disagree with about their position. What we hate and fear about the ‘other’ is what we hate and fear about ourselves.Our cultural conditioning is misogynistic. This means both men and women have been conditioned to see women in ways that are belittling and demeaning. It shows up in subtle ways, and we are all guilty of it. If we can see our own part in this and consciously find a way to heal whatever it is within ourselves that feeds this dynamic, then we will be actively embodying the change we hope to see in those who lead our country.
  1. As women, we can recognize that we have all found a way to survive in this male-dominated culture. We continue to rely on our conditioned strategies to stay in the fold, whatever fold we have found to rely on be it Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Our parties seem to have become tribes that keep us seeing ourselves as different and separate than those of the other tribes.It helps to own that we are all clinging to our worn out strategies and beliefs, ones that no longer truly serve a society that is moving towards a different perspective of power and prosperity.
  1. Why should we be surprised that women running for office would hold wildly differing views? Men have for centuries, and women will, too. Can we separate out gender from clearly defined positions and platforms? Yes, it would be amazing to have a woman in office, but to vote for a candidate simply because of gender would truly be a mistake if we don’t genuinely agree with the positions the candidate espouses or the integrity with which they lead.
  1. Can we choose to not act out of fear and negativity? Everywhere we look, something is feeding our fear. Everything is about ‘fighting’ and winning the war on fill-in-the-blank. This perspective of fear and fight continues to cause us to see the world in which we live as an enemy to be conquered rather than an environment that can sustain us if we see ourselves in relationship with it rather than dominators.
  1. We each must step up to the plate and be willing to be in action. We must be that which we are asking of our leaders. This means finding and claiming our own authority to act from our integrity and authenticity, those qualities that define successful visionary leaders. Then, regardless of who wins in November, we will be walking our talk and living our values…being the change we wish to see right here in our own backyard. Doing this brings forth the peace within that we are looking for out there.

Hopefully, we can open to a new way of seeing our personal role in this election, and beyond it to the rest of the world. How will we hold our relationships with other women, especially those who hold differing views? Can we agree to disagree, while maintaining a sense of compassion and respect for each other as women? Can we begin to build and nurture the humanity of women, a web that connects us to each other and to the sacred feminine?

Can we refuse to do to each other what has been done to us as a gender for hundreds of years?


A Mother’s Love


Greetings to all,

I haven’t been posting for a bit. My time for writing these days has been limited. Instead, I have been spending most of my moments with my mother who is near the end of her two-year journey with cancer.

Joan, my mother, is an incredible woman. She is strong, courageous, and vital. She is independent and fiercely stubborn. All of these qualities have kept her alive much longer than we anticipated.

As these past months have gone by, I have been graciously given the chance to see the radiance in her shine forth from a deep place within. She is radiant with love and when she smiles at me I can feel the power of her love and the gentle, yet powerful presence of her true identity. She is my mother, yet she is also love itself.


The Question of Authority


Authority: freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities;
Confidence derived from experience or practice; firm self-assurance

eyes_small.jpgLearning to trust yourself, your experience and your wisdom is the key to learning to claim your personal authority.

Let me share an example. I started writing a book over three years ago. After at least a year of writing, I ended up with a pretty hefty book proposal, with a complete chapter of 40-plus pages. One of my much esteemed colleagues introduced me to his agent, so I contacted her and asked her if she would read my proposal. She asked me all sorts of questions about my background and education. When she discovered that I didn’t have a PhD, or a “national following”, she said she wouldn’t read my proposal as I didn’t have what it took to be credible or sell books. At the time, I let her authority crush mine. Let me explain.

I did not yet understand that my own experience and the wisdom that comes from it is the only knowing that I can truly have. And, that sharing our wisdom to others, and being open to others wisdom, is a way we learn about who we are and what is real, outside of what our cultural conditioning tells us, especially for women. We learn by sharing stories and the deep seeds of wisdom that come from living consciously.

Don’t get me wrong…I am all for a good education. I loved my time at Stanford University, finding the intelligent discourse and amazing flow of ideas completely full of life. But, education can only take us so far.

But with this literary agent, I accepted the status quo she was offering to me. I was standing alongside her in this culture’s perspective that others with education and some kind of ‘sensational experience’ know more than those who don’t have these experiences. I believed the story that without a PhD or some kind of notoriety, that what I have to say is not enough of interest to others to sell books.

Now, I can understand this from the current way publishing works. It is about making money, and in this culture, at least right now, what makes money is sensationalism or a hefty academic pedigree. But, I let this experience kill my own compelling urge to write the book. I also let it squash my own inner authority that I absolutely know I have something to offer and to share, and have the right to share it.

I think realizing and exercising ones personal authority is a necessity in these times of turmoil. And, personal authority is not by definition in conflict with other forms of authority. We can claim our right to voice and act on what we know to be true from deep within, our own Truth, while at the same time allowing this response to not infringe on another’s rights.

Historically, women have not had the luxury of being born with authority. Over the past few thousand years, women have lived mostly in the confines of patriarchal cultures, which don’t teach or honor that we have the ability to know and own this personal inner authority.

What it comes down to is owning our own wisdom, nurturing this wisdom, looking within to understand our own truth so that we may step forward and voice this truth into the world.

We are conditioned out of our own inner authority. We are taught well that others make the rules and choices and our only way to voice them is by voting for those we believe will hold up the values and choices we stand behind.

We are also conditioned out of honoring our wisdom. In my work with women directly affected by 9/11, at the end of each class day, we would hold a wisdom circle where each woman had a chance to speak the seeds of wisdom she gleaned from the work of the day. The wisdom in those circles pierced one’s heart with clarity and love.

I am now writing again and loving it. How it will turn out I don’t yet know. I have stepped into a new perspective about what I have to say. All I know is that I must say it…how it appears, and who will read it, is not up to me. I do know that I have the wisdom and the authority to speak up and be heard.

What is your wisdom? What are you wanting to say? What if there were women out there just waiting to hear your wisdom? How might you share it? I look forward to learning from you…


Happy May: Use Your Voice & Speak Up!


Happy May Day. Celebrations on this day have their roots in pre-Christian cultures. May 1st is also a cross-quarter day, a day half-way between the equinox and the solstice. As for female traditions on this day, in the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary’s month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

j0409066.jpgThis month also happens to celebrate Speaking Up and Voices in general…at least in two of the circles I run in: the Creativity in Business (CiB) Teacher Training community of 2006 and the National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo.

I was blessed to be a coach and trainer for a second group of people training to teach the Creativity in Business course that was taught at Stanford Business School for over 25 years. I took the course in 2002 and teach it to a variety of groups and individuals.

In our CiB teacher community, we are following a Live-With titled “Speak-up”. A Live-With is a practice that suggests a new way of being in the world with regard to a specific challenge or tool from the course. Our group is now practicing new Live-Withs that are not in the course per se, but continue to challenge us to grow into the fullness of our creative nature.

The purpose of this Live-With is to learn to speak up in situations that one might not normally do so. Sometimes we don’t speak up due to fear or perhaps habit or maybe even unconsciousness. To speak up is to tell the truth, our own truth, even in times when it feels frightening or difficult. It also means discovering what is true.

NaBloPoMo was started by Eden Marriott Kennedy, and, according to the site, National Blog Posting Month is “the epicenter of daily blogging”!The theme for NaBloPoMo this month is “Voices”. Since I have committed to post something every day in the month of May related to this theme, we’ll explore all the ways in which Voices might be experienced.

When I realized the two themes were so closely related, I figured something was up and I had better pay attention and join in the fun. Perhaps it is time to speak up and really use my unabashedly female voice, or maybe it’s time for you to speak up here to tell us about how you are discovering your unabashedly female self.

I hope to hear many other unabashedly female voices this month, so please stop by for a moment and post a comment or just introduce yourself. I look forward to hearing your voice here and enjoying what you have to say when you Speak Up!!!


Mary Oliver


Just a few days ago, last Thursday evening, I was lucky, lucky, lucky…I got to experience Mary Oliver in person in San Rafael. It was my good friend Megan’s birthday and she invited me along with her.

Mary Oliver is an incredible poet, and having the opportunity to hear her read her own words was one of those amazing moments in life. She is simple yet profound in her ability to articulate the experience of being present to the beauty of life. I found her most engaging as she shared poems about her important relationships: the one with her late beloved partner of 40 years, and the other with her dog, Percy. She is a master of speaking from her heart, in writing and in person.

I am currently re-reading one of Mary’s latest books, Thirst. It is a beautiful collection written after the death of her partner, and opens to two new directions in her work: grief and her discovery of faith. This book looks at sorrow as an opening to the awakening of faith. It reflects my own experience of the profound way that grief can move a person into the depths of the heart, which can bring about an opening into a new, very personal, relationship with life. Pick it up and be prepared to be amazed.

Amy Lenzo, of the Beauty Dialogues, was there, too. We were hoping to meet each other in person, but it wasn’t to be. The place was packed, every seat sold in advance. You can read Amy’s account of the evening in her post in the Beauty Dialogues.

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