Self-determined and Full of a Flourishing Sense of Self-worth

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“The roots of the word “wild” are thought to be found in welt, meaning forest or wildwood and willed. To be wild is to be wooded, to be willed. Self-willed, self-determined: not under the will or rule of another; unruly, uncontrollable.” – Kara Moses

 

Most of us, even those of us who’ve done ‘a lot of work’, are still somewhat far away from ourselves, still somehow tied to others, still living under their edicts that bind us to express ourselves in predictable and patterned ways. Even if those ‘others’ are long gone from our daily lives, their voices and faces are etched deeply inside of us. For the most part, we live out their judgments and injunctions unknowingly, carrying on many ancestral stories that no longer serve us or our ancestral lines.

We are raised into captivity, losing our wildness early on. In our lives, we move along lines of habit and routine, for the most part not realizing just how much we are still under the rule of the past.

I remember being a strong, passionate, and physical girl. I remember learning to reign myself in, to control myself, to un-unruly myself. Big, vibrant flowers have always been my favorite. Bright colors. A boisterous laugh. Early self-confidence eventually eroded into a predictable habit of cautious choices, always checking to see if my presence was too-much-enough for authority figures to frown, learning to be very careful. Learning to be controlled by myself. One frown became enough to reign me in. I didn’t always remember this. We forget over time. But we can remember. We can re-wild.

Over the past few decades, slowly but surely parts of my essential nature became known again. I began to feel more alive and in touch with that magical, mystical Soul Self within. Essential nature is what we are, essential as in fundamental, basic, important, and vital. These describe the simplicity of Self. It is what it is. You are what you are. There is great power in realizing this. Even though we learn to complicate it all, we never lose our essential nature and we can return to being self-determined.

I’ve come to see that self-determined is to follow our ‘bliss’ in Joseph Campbells’ definition – to express the ‘push out of our own existence.’ Our own existence is our wild, simple, essential nature. It is our life force. And it is the source of true expression. It is our bliss. It is love.

To be this SELF-determined is to be guided by the deep intelligence of Life that breathes us into being. THIS is true power, the power of creativity and creation to live as a Self-determined being. THIS is power-from-within. THIS is the power of love, to live as a powerful, loving, life-affirming presence on Earth.

THIS is a flourishing condition within, a flourishing Self-worth, aligned, rooted, and dynamically in vital expression.

When we reclaim and live Self-love, Self-respect, Self-trust, and Self-confidence, we are reclaiming these qualities of living that rise up out of our essential nature. Our Essence doesn’t lose these; rather, the part of us that learned to believe we were too much or not enough works very hard to keep up that story of being something else other than our fundamental vital self.

Recently, I remembered learning to fear my confidence and self-assertion specifically. Little girls who are confident – especially back in the 60’s – were taught to mute and quiet. Words like bossy and pushy were used. So of course, that energy went underground and turned into anger at not being able to be and express my essential Self. My Essence was never bossy and pushy. It is strong, determined, and powerful. Being told we are bossy and pushy are ways to get us to tame our power. Bossy and pushy, or muted and cautious, then become the way we use our power in the world when it is trapped and unable to be unruly and wild.

We can re-wild ourselves and we can find our essential Self-confidence and Self-trust. We can find, again, our essential Self-respect and ability to love the whole of ourselves, even the parts of us who continue to attempt to keep us contained. We come to know them when we come back into relationship with Self. And we do this by turning within and listening for what has always been here – that deep intelligence that breathes us into being and longs for us to remember our nature.

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PlumbTreePLUMB!
I recently began to sense a new metaphor to describe Self-determination and sovereignty. When you are rooted and aligned in a deep, rich sense of Self-worth, you are filled from within with dignity, strength, and a knowing that who and what you are at your core is worthy just as you are, regardless of your outer circumstances and others’ opinions of you and your life. This is what it means to be Plumb.

So how do you get ‘off plumb’? You come to distrust what is within you. You come to lose respect for who you truly are. You come to lose confidence in what you know, desire, and long to speak and express. You believe that you are under the power of another human being.

I’m offering a five-week course called PLUMB where we will turn our attention to our fundamental and vital nature while remembering and reclaiming all the ways we know respect, trust, and confidence for who we truly are. These things are within us and when we give our attention to them, bringing them into the light of awareness, they can flourish within us once again.

The early-bird price is good through Jan 1st, 2019. I sense this will be both a deep and pleasurable way into discovering and remembering our unruly selves and a palpable foundational feeling of Self-worth. I hope you’ll join us. And feel free to pass this along to women you sense might be interested.

Happy New Year!

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A Leadership of Feminine Values

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“Our society fails to appreciate the woman who quietly responds to life with intense interest and with love for people, ideas, and things. Yet these characteristics are as deeply and truly creative as are the characteristics of those who seek to lead, to act, and to achieve. We have a bias against feminine values. Not only are we too busy to adequately nurture our children, but we are also unable to truly nourish our own creativity, our personhood, our ability to take a stand for life, and our capacities to live and love from the heart.” ~ M. Harris & B. Harris, Into the Heart of the Feminine

I’ve been delving deeply into a kind of leadership that I feel we must embrace if we are going to survive. I’ve written before about this new leadership — a leadership that nourishes and nurtures, a leadership that responds to others with genuine interest and sincerity, a leadership that knows that what each of us truly desires is to be known, loved, and made useful.

We must take a stand for life. We must. The present mythology of western society is one of money. We’re living in a money myth and in this myth, money holds greater value and importance than life itself. THIS IS CRAZY. How will we survive if we hold money to be more important than life — especially life that offers no monetary value, life that cannot contribute to the culture in the way the culture demands life to be ‘valuable’ where value equals feeding the coffers?

Consider children. They do not contribute to the big money machine and notice how they are treated by our institutions. Children vs. Money? Money wins.

Consider the elderly. The elderly vs. Money. Guess what wins?

Consider the Earth. Just a big round planet of resources, right? A big round planet worth a lot of money if these resources are extracted and sold. But how do we live continue to live healthy, connected, vibrant lives on a planet that is getting sicker and sicker because we do not value that she is our home? She’s not valued as our home, she’s valued as pieces and parts. Money wins again.

But what’s under money? Power. Domination. Control.

We are trying to control life. We think we can control life. We think we can control each other. Ultimately, this is going to backfire in a big way. Instead, we must live life, honor life, nurture life, and make a stand for life, and these come out of an honoring of feminine values that are values all can support and live.

We cannot survive by fighting each other. We will not survive if we don’t begin to come together, to connect, communicate, and collaborate with great compassion.

But most importantly, we must begin to access the greater intelligence within each of us if we are to come up with the creative insight and deeply generative compassion that will bring us together and move us forward toward a new way to be here on this Earth together. This creative intelligence is accessed internally through your creativity. This is deep creativity — creativity that is the source of this greater intelligence so clearly needed.

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Join me for FLOURISH, a women’s leadership course that supports a leadership of these feminine values — one that nurtures and encourages the flourishing of all of life. You will gain much awareness of who you are and what you’re here for. And you’ll come away with practices, exercises, and tools to offer to those you work with and support. We begin June 13th and scholarships are available.

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Choosing to Stay and Be Human

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Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

 

“Eros is the drive of life, love, creativity, and sexuality, self-satisfaction, and species preservation. Thanatos, from the Greek word for “death” is the drive of aggression, sadism, destruction, violence, and death. At the conclusion of C&D, Freud notes (in 1930–31) that human beings, following Thanatos, have invented the tools to completely exterminate themselves; in turn, Eros is expected to “make an effort to assert himself in the struggle with an equally immortal adversary. But who can foresee with what success and with what result?” ~ notes on Sigmund Freud’s theories by Professor Easton in UMN 221 notes

 

This is where we are at right now. We have a huge, powerful wave of aggression, violence, and an incredible drive toward death as a species happening on our planet. But, Eros is making ‘an effort to assert himself’…the impulse to live, the drive to life, the force of creativity, sexuality, and species preservation!

About six months ago, I went through a really hard time in my life. I had been doing some deep work and uncovered something that had always been present in my life, but up until now, I knew it as more of a general sense of not really wanting to be here — like a withholding of myself from life, from relationships, from truly entering into life unbridled, unmasked, and no longer afraid to speak and create as my heart wants to speak and create. But at this moment, for the first time in my life, really, the impulse to end my life appeared out of the blue. It was only an idea for a moment, but the power of the desire toward death was what was shocking. It was truly an incredibly strong energy. I am grateful that I have the ability to reach out to a few people in my life who could hear it and could hold me as I needed to be held. I never was going to do anything, but that impulse is what began to teach me about life and death and how we dance between these two powerful energies, Eros and Thanatos, all the time.

Before this moment, I had been totally engrossed working with ‘Eros’ and its importance to our world. I had started a podcast called, “Awakening Eros” and felt so compelled to talk about it, research it, share it, and to really understand what Eros is. And then, my feet grew cold. I held back. I wondered if anyone would understand. Heck, I didn’t even fully understand the intense drive within them.

But after this moment happened, I was now very aware of the power of Thanatos — the drive toward death. And over these past months since this moment, I’ve come to see how — in both little and big ways — these two drives fuel much of the unconscious ways we inhabit our lives. And how Thanatos suppresses our own impulse toward living a full, joyous existence. I was killing my own drive to explore and express everything I sensed inside around Eros and love and being human.

Thanatos does not have to appear as taking one’s life to be present in our lives. It is present all the time. It is the drive toward death, just as Eros is the drive toward life. But there are many ways to kill our life drive without dying. We kill our joy. We kill our own impulse to create. We kill the power and desire for true sexual expression.

The Poet, David Whyte, speaks of the single malt essence of one’s not wanting to be here. In reading his words for the first time a few years ago, I was able to bring to light this deeper desire within me to run away. I have both stayed in and left situations when I wanted to leave. Leaving isn’t always running away. And sometimes it is.

As I’ve contemplated this dance between Eros and Thanatos, I’ve wondered if I (and any one of us) can truly make a full choice to stay, can truly choose this once, or if it has to be chosen over and over and over again. And I’m not just saying this in the large sense of life or death, but in the small moments where it feels like you will die if you stay and can only survive if you run, or when it feels like you will die if you run and can only survive if you stay. Moments in relationship with others, with yourself, with your work, with a creative project.

Whyte writes,

“Strangely, we are perhaps most fully incarnated as humans, when part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here. Presence is only fully understood and realized through fully understanding our reluctance to show up. To understand the part of us that wants nothing to do with the full necessities of work, of relationship of doing what is necessary, is to learn humility, to cultivate self-compassion and to sharpen that sense of humor essential to a merciful perspective of both a self and another.”

This impulse to live, the impulse toward life, the fear of entering into the mysterious realms of creativity, sexuality, vulnerability — being human, really — requires us to acknowledge the depth of our not wanting to be here, and perhaps the pain that life underneath it. That is what I needed to see and it is what brought me more present to my life and to a kind of humility and self-compassion I am only beginning to crack the surface of. The sense of humor is a glimmer I spot every now and then.

We often read that 80% of life is just showing up. You’d think that this would be so simple. Just show up and life handles the rest, so many say. But now I am thinking this isn’t so easy for many of us when we have this compulsion to run. And in the case of facing what’s here on our planet right now? What if 80% of this right now is showing up? I mean, though, REALLy showing up. Not running. Staying even when “part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here.”

I know for me that being here brings great grief when I long to feel so deeply connected to others, to touch and be touched, yet I fear the same as well. I long for it and I fear it. I long for a human world where we care about each other and each other’s welfare. A world where all people of every race, class, orientation, ability are seen as of equal value and worth, where all people have the chance to be happy, successful, loved, and known. A world where all creatures are seen as of equal value. A world in which the Earth is loved just as she loves us.

I would hedge a bet that very few of us, if any, truly know how to be here at this time on Earth. How does one be here in the face of what is happening? But this is where humility comes in. We’ve been an arrogant species for a long time. But to be here now, facing this, staying in this human relationship because we know it is where we can grow and evolve both individually and collectively — that is the invitation.

Staying because the love that we are asks this of us.

We stifle our fullest self-expression on so many fronts. We hide our hearts. We hide the bigness of spirit and the depth of the soul. We hide the true desires that fuel our sexuality and creativity. But most importantly we hide our tenderness and our fear that our not knowing how to be here makes us weak, that our reluctance to stay makes us somehow broken. Instead, I think they are what makes us human.
At a time when Eros is challenging Thanatos, and when love is trying to make a full emergence onto our planet, it is our humanity we must come to be present to. The seemingly incoherent mess that we see ourselves to be. Being human is messy. To be human is to be awake to one’s own vulnerability in the face of all of this and NOT KNOW what to do or how to do it. Being human requires us to feel, to ask for help, to realize our own powerlessness even as we engage with the creative strength and power that flows from within us. Being human is existing in contradiction and paradox.

Eros is inviting us to engage — to live — to create — to relate. To choose to stay and to live, together. It is up to us to become present enough to listen for the way, to listen to what life can teach us.

Come visit me at JulieDaley.com to discover more about how I might support and guide you as you travel this deep and sacred journey to awakening your erotic, creative nature.

 

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Sustaining the Web of Existence, Human & Otherwise

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What happens when human beings come to believe we do not matter? That we are needed for others but there is little to no need or use for what is within us?

What happens when we live our lives believing that who and what we are is not worthy of love? That there is something fundamentally wrong with us?

What happens to our connection to the whole? And what happens to the whole when this happens?

Our sense of disconnection as human beings doesn’t just affect our own psyches. It weakens the fabric of life, the web of human existence, and the web of existence itself.

This is much of what we are experiencing now on Earth. A weakened fabric of human existence and a weakened connection to the Earth and all that is sacred. We can’t necessarily see it in the physical realm, although we experience the disconnection from each other (and even from ourselves). But I see and feel it internally, on the inner planes.

I see and feel it and now know this because this was my experience — and I know I am not alone by a long shot. I sense the majority of human beings feel this way in varying degrees. I don’t know many who’ve been raised to truly know they matter not in spite of who they are but exactly as they are. That there is a place for them because they are who they are, exactly as they are.

As a young girl…

Growing up in a family with a lot of dysfunction, I came to believe I did not matter. This sounds dramatic, but I don’t mean it as drama. I am not saying my parents or the other adults in my life ever said that. They didn’t. Rather, it was the belief I came to hold about myself because of what I experienced.

We were a deeply disconnected family: emotionally, physically, and psychically. And that disconnection took hold in my soul. The soul longs for connection. Young children need to be connected. We, humans, hunger for connection. And when it’s not there as young children, we believe it has something to do with us. Children are self-referential. We make it about us because we desperately need to believe in the strength and wholeness of our parents and caregivers.

This belief ran deep. The wound was painful and it wasn’t until very recently that I saw it for what it was and is. What I now see is how disconnected I became from my instincts and from life. Our instincts come out of our connection to the instinctive nature of life and I became disconnected from my body and from the Earth.

As a very young girl, I see how my belief caused me to energetically and psychically disconnect from the fabric of life. I turned away from my own worthiness. I turned away from the Source of Life that gives me life. We don’t (necessarily) die when we do that, but we leave our existence by ‘going way’. By disassociating. By isolating. By numbing out with substance(s) or things we do repeatedly to get away from the pain of this sense of not mattering, of not being worthy of love.

And when I healed this wound of disconnection I saw how my connection to the web of life grew stronger.

Everything is interconnected in this web of life, but it is more than simply interconnected.

Everything on the web is the whole and at the same time is simply itself. This is what a hologram is — each part contains the whole.

“Thus each individual is at once the cause for the whole and is caused by the whole, and what is called existence is a vast body made up of an infinity of individuals all sustaining each other and defining each other. The cosmos is, in short, a self-creating, self-maintaining, and self-defining organism.” Francis Dojun Cook

If we come to believe we don’t matter (or we aren’t lovable or we aren’t enough or we aren’t ‘however you have this one wired’), and/ or we treat others as if they do not matter, then we aren’t being sustained and we aren’t sustaining each other. This is part of our job here on Earth — to sustain each other, to keep the web healthy and whole, to grow a vibrant community — and to be powerful, loving stewards to all of life.

We were created to be what we are.

If we come to live a belief that what we are and how we were created does not matter to creation itself, then we are weakening the strength of our link to the whole and the whole suffers for it. But when we are in the pain of the wound, we cannot see this.

While everything is connected, something profoundly damaging happens when we come to believe we are not…and that we aren’t worthy of this connection. This connection is sacred and when it is weakened we weaken our remembrance of the sacred in everyday life.

I can see it, but I still find this hard to put into words, to be honest.

But this matters greatly. Our human community must be strong and vital to evolve out of this mess we are in. We must be strong and vital to come to care for the whole of life as stewards on this planet. We cannot be strong and vital if we continue to live this western, patriarchal way of devaluing so many.

We don’t have to live as numb human beings, but to make the change we do have to learn how to feel and that means being willing to feel.

I am but one human being who has grown up in a kind of culture that devalues the incredible singularity, diversity, and creativity of each human being. My upbringing and family life were a reflection of this culture. My parents were/are good people, but they, too, were raised in a culture is deeply disconnected from this web of life.

Every human being not only matters; their voice, creativity, and uniqueness are vital to the health of the whole, and to the strength of the fabric that holds us all together. And many who are not in positions of power or privilege have been silenced, traumatized, and denigrated terribly.

Moving forward…

As leaders, we must ensure inclusion and diversity, as well as provide the opportunity for everyone to rediscover what they truly are and that what they truly are matters to the whole of life. As leaders, our job is to midwife this essential creative nature and create a culture in which people are free to express it. We need everyone’s creative genius in order to move forward. We need everyone’s happiness from being connected to the whole. We need connection, period.

We must come to know and live the truth that the expression of every human being, including that of our own, is sacred and vital to the well-being of the whole of human existence, and the whole of existence itself.

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If you’re interested in finding out more about what I offer, including my one-on-one coaching and Writing Raw circles (current circle is still open for registration), please visit me at JulieDaley.com.

 

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Women & the Earth: Awakening Eros

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Women…we need to be here, all the way here, on Earth.

We need to come all the way down into our bodies, breathing all the way down and in. We must choose to come in, choose to inhabit our bodies, bodies that can, and do, only exist here on Earth. The spirit and soul is not of this place, but the body is. And it is in our bodies where our greatest gifts can be given. Where our deepest yearnings and desires can unfold. And when we do this, when we come in and give voice and expression to our deepest yearnings, we come into direct relationship with Mother Earth.

In these times, it is imperative we choose to be here, all the way here, on Earth. This can be hard. Many of us have experienced trauma. For most of my life I haven’t wanted to be here. Not in a way where I would do something to myself, but more in the subtle, underlying pervasive sense of being uncomfortable in a place where my body isn’t safe, where my gender represents what is considered terrifying to those in charge, and so deemed as weak and inferior.

As women, the culture does not treat our bodies well. We often don’t treat our bodies well. We live in bodies that are threatened, most often subtly. These bodies. Creature bodies. Beautiful bodes. Bodies with deep feelings and sensitivities, as well as the capacity for great joy and aliveness. Yet, we are needed to be here on the planet, connected to our Mother Earth for the full potential of our souls to be realized.

Mother Earth. Your body is Her body. Her body is your body. And at this time, the Earth is calling for us to be fully home in her embrace.

We are living in the times we’ve come for. The work we came to do is needed now. Many of us know this. That what is being called for is exactly what we have to give to the world. This isn’t about changing the world. We cannot change anyone else. But we can give what we’ve been given, we can offer the essential nature of our own being into the world as a form of love to a world so hungry for love.

We’ve forgotten that all of life is sacred and we are not going to get out of the problems we’ve created without coming to physically know this again as our own experience.

What does it mean for flesh to be sacred, for the flesh of our existence to be sacred? How does the sacred live in you? How does the sacred feel when it is alive in your body? How does the sacred feel when you are in your body and you know everything is sacred?

To bring the holy, the light, and love to all of life’s mundane moments and things that can frighten us so. To do our best and be in integrity. To realize where we are responsible to this world in a way that enlivens us and the world. To bring the wild Source of our nature into structure so the wild Source can come all the way into our lives…all the way down and into our world, our lives, and our creations.

Yes. This is it. The hot holy. The blinding breath. The cosmic presence. The delighted spontaneity. The impish bliss. The lightness of depth.

Soften your rigidity, your striving and pushing, your need to control, with breath, breathing all the way down and in, from the front to the back, and head to toe, especially in the belly that is breath-starved. Full, deep, slow breaths. Fill your body with cell nourishment and aliveness.

Breathing is a sensuous experience. Our wild and tender animal bodies are starved for breath, plump rich oxygen laced breath that softens our flesh into the Earth.

Soften and striving and judging others will slow and spontaneous movement and deep love for everything will flow. We are Spirit-infused creatures of the wild when we breathe deeply and fully.
Life is spontaneous and playful when we inhabit our bodies and our lives like the bliss-plump creatures we are created to be. High on the gift of our own existence, we stop trying to control and negate the existence of our fellow creatures.

This is Eros. A sensuous love. A rapturous delight. A primal push out of the seedbed of creation.

This is Eros. Life enthralled with its own gift of becoming.

Eros is the force we must awaken and we do this through a direct relationship with Mother Earth, a direct relationship between soul and Mother Earth. We do this together. We do this in community. We do this in the realms of our vast inner world, while together in circle, together and rooted into the Mother.

If you’ve been longing to bring something you can‘t’ quite name but know exists into the work you are IMG_7872doing in the world, I offer that Eros might be this something. It is love. It is aliveness. It is the lived gift of your own existence.

Come awaken Eros.

Join me and a circle of twelve women for a journey into Eros, a journey down and into your body, a journey of coming home. Awakening Eros will change who you know yourself to be and what you believe you are capable of.

We begin October 18th. Twelve women. Deep circle. Awakening Eros.

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Balancing the Brain: You are the artist and you are art in the making.

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There is a deep space of mystery inside of you,

inside of me, inside of every one of us human beings. The cavern within is our inner world and it is the world of the ‘right brain’ – one way to speak of the mysterious nature of our consciousness.

Or as Gabrielle Roth wrote,

“Between the head and feet of any given person is a billion miles of unexplored wilderness.”

Yeah. That. That which we know exists but most of the time would rather not give any attention to.

Except…except when the hunger comes. That hunger that won’t let you alone even though you try to ignore it. That hunger that tells you there is so much more to who you are than you believe to be so.

You know what I’m referring to, right? It’s only you and me here. You can acknowledge it and no one has to know.

There is a deep hunger within us to remember. To remember what we once knew we are and how we once lived as the light of stars and the dark of night and traveled lifetimes of changing tides and shifting seasons.

We are always, hungrily, calling to ourselves to remember. A hunger so deep and real – much more real than what you are sitting on right now reading these words.

“…this is one of the really important things about art, that you can make more than you can understand at the moment the thing is being made. But the gap between what we recognize inside ourselves – our feelings- and our ability to trust ourselves and to trust exposing ourselves to those ideas, can be great.” Emmet Gowin

I saved this article years ago and still have it to this day, for it reminds me in a way that few others do of the artist in each of us that must come alive if we are to live here on earth and not just exist in numbness throughout our days.

These words cut to the quick every single time I read them…

“The fact that something is unsayable, that you are emotionally restricted from saying or even recognizing consciously what your own spirit is struggling with, energizes one’s work. That is exactly where good work comes from.” Emmet Gowin

As a teacher of art, Gowin says…

“But that’s a parental emotion at work when one says I don’t want a student to be trapped. The truth is, I’d be perfectly happy if they would be “trapped” within the experience their own authentic difficulties. If they would be trapped on their own, then any freedoms they discovered would be their own. Which is what interests me, because I believe that the joy of your own discovery is what confirms your own aliveness, your own value.

“So in this sense it’s cool to be wrong. It’s so essential, so necessary. It’s so appropriate to be confused, to be muddled, to be unsure. We preach clarity. Get your ideas organized. Get your thinking straight. And it’s the kind of stuff we all got from our parents, because that’s the role of parents. But it is the aliveness of the unguarded intuition and the persistence of our own feelings that guide us to our discoveries.”

I believe that the joy of your own discovery is what confirms your own aliveness, your own value.”

Gowin speaks as a teacher but coaching is the same. I am both a coach and an educator and nothing gives me more joy than to experience a client or student sit in their own confusion while I hold the space of love and we, together, close the gap between when they are conscious of and what is struggling to be known and remembered.

Even when it is uncomfortable, and especially when it is uncomfortable, what is unveiled is the act of remembering and it is the deep awakening to more aliveness in our lives.

What is the feeling of coming directly into contact with that unexplored territory?

How does that moment feel inside of you when you come face-to-face with the dark reflection of that well looking down into what seems to be an endless mystery?

This remembrance. This uncovering and discovery. This feeling of aliveness and value, it is the essence of art-making. You are the artist and you are art in the making.

Here’s the thing, though…

This isn’t about art in the traditional sense. This is about opening up your awareness of the capacities of your right brain and coming into a balance between the parts of your brain, a balance where there is great respect for all of your capacities. Most of the time, we incessantly judge the capacities of the right brain. We are constantly reminded taught that rational thought and logic are much more valuable. But the truth is, we need our wholeness to live lives where we feel alive. And we need cooperation between the different capacities of our being in order to be happy, creative, innovative, people who are in conscious action in the world.

Balancing the Brain:
I currently have two ways to work with me:

One-on-one coaching

  • for individuals who want to go deep into self, into the body and the heart, and into the beautiful mystery within. (It’s not as scary as it sounds!)
  • for leaders: those who are interested in diving deeper into their personal leadership.

I hold a tremendously safe place of love for transformation.

In my fourteen years of experience as a coach, this is what clients are truly seeking. Yes, we look at goals and intentions. Yes, we see progress and completion as important to the work. But underneath the achievement of truly satisfying goals is this deeper work, for nothing truly satisfies if it doesn’t feed your deepest hunger.

You are the artist and you are art in the making. You are remembering yourself into balance. And coaching is a powerful cauldron that can support your discovery.

Writing Raw

daisysummerWRA six-week circle for women to access the deep voice within. Yes, we do it through words, but the process works for any inner exploration to uncover the source and voice of your deepest self. You DO NOT need to be a writer.

I lead you into the great wilderness within you…the place where you can finally come home to the voice you’ve been longing to hear.

We begin on Tues, June 27th. Read more and register here.

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Living the Feminine

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Much has been written about the return of the feminine.

But what does that mean? Practically speaking, how does this actually show up in our world today?

I used to think that somehow the feminine was missing, but what is true is that the feminine has been hidden. Because of the frightening ways women who seemed threatening to the dominant paradigm were treated over the last many hundred years, we learned to suppress those aspects of our nature that were labeled as dangerous and bad. We came to hide our knowledge of healing, our relationship to the earth, our tenderness and hearts – namely many of the ways women are naturally powerful. We learned to hide our internal knowing, our intuition, and instincts. We hid our deep love for the earth and nature, and our relationship to all of life.

 

We women hid that which scared those in power in the dominant paradigm. And men learned to hide things, too.

Now, she is rising. Appearing again. Making herself known. But how? How does she show herself?

She is becoming known in all of us who feel the call to go within, to listen to the inner voice and open to the inner life. She is becoming known again through the awakening of intuition and instinct, through the healing of trauma, and through the attention and love we are now learning to give to our bodies. And she is becoming knowable through the ways we are called to care for each other and for our planet, through the call for justice for all people, through the ways we now see we are a global village.

She is rising through those of us who are not afraid to live the qualities of the feminine and to voice and express her and how she moves. We see her when we are courageous enough to speak and create through her, offering her aspects into the world.

She wasn’t hidden in all peoples. Not completely. Many indigenous cultures and non-dominant peoples stayed closer to her for they kept touch with ceremony, relationship, and medicine. They kept touch with earth wisdom.

 

Last November after the election,

I realized that many of us fear to show what we know, and what we’ve remembered of the feminine within. We fear to embody her. But it is up to us ‘everyday people’ who know her and now realize that she is rising within us and asking us to live her presence into the world.

Yes, it can be frightening to show her to the world through us, through what we speak and write, and through how we are with the earth and nature, with other women. It’s in our cells to be afraid. There were too many burnings to not affect multiple generations down the line.

In response to the normalization of anger, hatred, racism, and misogyny after the election, I felt a deep desire and calling to speak what I know of the feminine through my own experience. So, I began to write and share the deeper nature of eros, the vibrant and sensuous aspects of love, that have become so much of my own lived experience as she has come to move through me more consciously. For she is eros – eros that is the force that thrusts through stem and leaf, body and soul.

We must live her.

We must find a way to no longer be afraid to speak her and be her and show her knowing and wisdom through us. Many of us do healing work and fear truly coming out and speaking the full truth of this work. But while it can be frightening to speak the full truth, it is also invigorating for she is joy and aliveness, sensuality and sensuousness and when we acknowledge these are natural aspects of who we are, we begin to live these qualities in the world.

To live her is to give back to the earth. To live her is to heal you back into wholeness and fullness. To live her is to bring more kindness, compassion into the world. So many of us are addicted to suffering, to war, to violence because we are disconnected from the heart of life. To live her is to offer to the world the medicine that can rebalance our existence as human beings here on our planet, a balance that is not just for human beings but for all of life.

In many ways, there is one woman, one mother. That is why women connecting is so important. It is in our weaving together that we come to know the feminine as whole again. If my body is the earth’s body and your body is the earth’s body, and so on, then in our coming together, we begin to experience the earth in a more full and whole way. At least this is what I sense. I don’t want to make statements of truth. What I offer is an understanding from my experience. And that can shift as we shift.

Each of us lives her uniquely. Each soul’s journey is unique. I don’t mean to make it sound easy. I know it hasn’t been for me. And I know I still have moments where I want to shy away from it. But I also know the truth of this in my heart: that I am here to do this. I am here to remember her and to come into balance, and to be one guide of many to support our species coming back into right relationship with life.

So here’s what I want to know…

Do you feel called to live her? To speak her? To express her? And does this frighten you? Do you feel alone in this? Do you fear what will happen if you live what you know now within yourself?Together

Join me for a free gathering with me and other women this Friday, May 26th, from 11:00 am to Noon PDT. We will drop in and listen and then speak what we hear. We’ll meet on Zoom, a wonderful conference system that allows for us all to be both seen and heard. Register here.

Together

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Join me for Together, a living, fluid, 3-month-long gathering of women. We will meet two times a month, together, by video conference where we will drop in together. We will create community and learn to speak of what we sense and know, and how we might speak this into the world. I will write and create practices and meditations based on what we sense in the field as we are together. (I’ve upgraded JulieDaley.com. You’ll be taken to this new site to read more about Together.

I am also working on a group coaching program for women whose work utilizes much of the feminine principles and who find it difficult to speak about what they do in a way that doesn’t water down the medicine in the work. Let me know if you would be interested in something like this by emailing me at julie (at) juliedaley . com 

We all contribute to the rise of the sacred feminine in our culture by coming to know our own sacredness and by living it into the world. To awaken and live the feminine is to do deep soul work for the feminine is soul. It is the deep and the dark. It is the moist cavern. It is the journey down in and under, and then back up into the light of the sun.

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Becoming An Agent of Change

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We are creating our world with our actions. Our actions affect the whole. And, our words (or other actions) can be powerful catalysts if we source them from within and will write or speak them into the world.

When some people have more power than others because their voice is heard by more people and they are in positions of authority, those people have more power to shape the story of this world and how it unfolds. And when those who have little to no power have no voice, little to no authority, the powerful keep their stranglehold on the cultural narrative.

So what do we do? How do we change this?

There are many of us who have more power than we think. We’ve learned in many ways that we are powerless, but we are not. We might not be in traditional positions of power, but many of us have access to the world wide web, which is part of creating this new culture. And we all have the power to create community and to be part of many communities.

If you are reading my words, you have this access. You, too, have this power to create our culture. Your voice matters. Your creations matter.

So what keeps you from being a part of this new creation?

What keeps your voice quiet?

What keeps your words unknown, perhaps even to you?

How might you become an agent of change in a way that is grounded in Soul?

I see this as a process.

  1. Come into your inner world. Deepen your awareness of what this world is and what your inner voice is saying. Listen.
  2. Find some method or practice to bring what you find/hear in your inner world into this outer world, even if it is simply for yourself. You can do this through writing or art-making or even dance. But find some practice that puts into form what you find within.
  3. Discern if what you’ve brought into form wants to indeed be shared with others. Does it need to be spoken into the world?
  4. Realize that you are the authority of what comes through you. And you are the authority of whether or not you get to say what you need to say, share what you need to share. No one else can give you this authority. No one else can tell you whether or not what you have to share is worthy of being shared. This is a crucial piece of the creative process – to no longer judge yourself and your own inner voice and knowing. To no longer stuff it down inside you. It can be simply a decision you make. And, this can take some deeper internal transformational work to shift your beliefs, something I do as a coach.
  5. To become an agent of your own voice, to find agency within yourself. Agency – the ability to take action, the impulse to move and express – comes out of an internal kind of thrusting, just like the seed cracks and thrusts out of the soil and into the world. What is the source of this power? It comes out of Source itself, out of Eros, the impulse to live, to express fully, to know oneself fully.I have found that personal agency comes out of the transformation of our stuck emotional leftovers, by doing the inner work that allows the energy itself to transform into the essential qualities of who you are – especially anger. When anger is thwarted, our agency is, too. Even if we are one who expresses a lot of anger, it still isn’t our essential strength. Essential qualities lie under the emotions we use to navigate the world. When I worked with anger and rage, what I found access to were essential strength, will, and power.It is normal to feel anger. It is a sign that something is off, wrong. When it stays stuck, which it does when we are young because more often than not children are taught to stuff their anger down, we have little to no access to our sacred strength, will, and power. Instead, we push and strive which is tiring. Sacred, essential energies flow naturally once we do the work to transform these stuck energies.
  6. Take action that is aligned with your own unique expression in this world, action that aligns with what you value. There is great power in no longer simply being against something, but rather being for the birthing of something new.

This is how we each become an agent of change – through our own internal agency. If what we are acting upon is this inner voice, this inner knowing, this is power from within.

It is power with others. It doesn’t seek to deny others of power. Rather, it is generative power. It is life-affirming because the inner voice is the greater intelligence that is at the heart of life.

On Saturday morning, I popped onto Facebook Live to share what was really burning inside of me. Basically, I followed these steps. This is what I shared. Please feel free to share it with others if you feel it would be helpful.

 

Toward the end, I mention that I think it is helpful to find a place where you can practice these steps – where you can get comfortable going into the inner world, listening for what is there, writing the words down, and then speaking them out loud. There is great power in connecting the inner voice and the physical voice. Many of us as women have been silenced from a young age, oftentimes by our mothers or other women who want to help us stay safe. But now we must speak if we are to be agents of change – if we are to come to embody both authority and agency.

sweetpeaswscriptspring2017This is one of the main reasons I started Writing Raw almost three years ago – to give women exactly this experience. The writing is secondary. What matters is that you come to express the vast creative voice of your inner world out here into the external world.

Writing Raw begins tomorrow, March 14th. You can join anytime this first week.

Please join us if you feel this is a necessary next step in your evolution as an agent of change. We are all in this together and isn’t it wonderful to be together?

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On Being Human

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“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world,
an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control.”

~ Martha Nussbaum

I’ve been talking with a friend lately about being human. How do we do it? and do it well?

It seems like a funny thing to talk about, but when you start to see how often we bumble things up –  get things ‘wrong’, say the wrong things – being human can feel like walking through a quagmire.

We seem to be funny creatures – not just my friend and me (yes, WE are) – but all of us human beings. Sometimes, it just feels really hard to be here on Earth – vulnerable, soft-soul creatures walking around in fleshy human bodies.

Especially now. We’re living in amazingly turbulent times. The rate of change makes my head spin. And I feel great grief with the direction we are headed as a species.

So how do we cultivate an openness to this world that feels so beyond our control?

We have to develop a practical, embodied relationship with the unknown nature of Life and we do this by becoming aware of and skilled in the expression of our own internal creative Source. We do so by becoming aware of our unique creative process and how to take action by being in direct relationship with this Source.

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the human condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.” ~ M Nussbaum

When you are rooted in the firm foundation of your creative Source, you can trust in the uncertain and have this willingness to be exposed.

I like Nussbaum’s analogy of being like a plant – or a flower – “something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.”

This is what I’ve been writing about for years here at UnabashedlyFemale. This beauty. This fragility. This tender softness of our human souls. To be human is to be flesh and soul. It is vulnerable.

And yet, this vulnerability is so much stronger than we think, because the main qualities of our creativity – our sacred nature – are strength, will, joy, intuition, love, compassion, generosity, caring, and power. Consider these qualities. The more we will our vulnerable, soul-soft, felshy selves, the more these qualities come to the fore.

When we live in a dynamic relationship with our own creative Source, we become reacquainted with these qualities of Being that we have mostly lost touch with from living out of fear and self-protection. It is by entering into this direct relationship and living it in the world that we remember these qualities – that we remember who we are and what we are made of.

Trust is the very important piece here. We have to learn how to trust again. And what is it we must learn to trust? Ourselves. The uncertain and unknown. And our capacity to meet whatever comes. We must relearn how to trust our relationship with Life, and with that comes relearning how to trust our relationship with other human beings – and really humanity itself.

Nussbaum writes that “Being a human means accepting promises from other people and trusting that other people will be good to you.”

But, if we no longer trust other humans (and ultimately ourselves, meaning our relationship with the unknown) then our life “is not a human life any longer.”

Here’s the part where it gets dicey. There are people in this world, right now, who wish to do us harm. How do we stay human in a world where other humans want to destroy life? How do we be a human being in today’s world where so many humans are violently against each other, and against Life? My answer leads me right into the unknown because “I don’t know.” And, I do know we have to find our way back to our humanity or we will not survive.

[Edited to add: And I do know we must see the highest in every human being, meaning we must see the Source that is within them, even though we meet their actions with our own appropriate action.]

I can honestly say that trusting the unknown has been one of the greatest challenges of my own life. I’ve fought it. Yet, I am completely in love with the mystery, with the creative process. I think I am not alone in this dilemma. We love adventure but we also do not like to lose control. Yes, we are funny creatures.

I agree with Charlotte Du Cann who writes,

“I realise we are not in a political crisis; we are in a spiritual crisis, an existential crisis. We don’t know what it means to be human anymore. We have lost contact with the meaning of time, our presence here. “

If our fear of each other is causing us to lose our humanity, then you can bet this is a spiritual crisis, an existential crisis. Our being human is directly tied to our spirituality. To be human we must be in direct relationship with the Source that gives us life, the Source of our creativity. We must be in dialogue with the Source of this great mystery, which means trusting the mystery – out there in the world, inside within ourselves, and within every other living being.

It’s all really very practical. The unknown is a fact of life. It is when we deny the facts of life that we’ve lost touch with the real.

If we are going to be agents of love and change, then we have to trust that which IS love and that which is the source of change.

 

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Just next week, I open registration for my new course R I S E. This course is the culmination of my teaching over the past decade plus. The core of the course is the curriculum I teach at Stanford, and the same curriculum I taught when I worked with families directly affected by 9/11 and people directly affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy. It is the work I teach in companies. Originally offered to MBA students at Stanford for 25 years, it is powerful work.

I’ve named it R I S E because it is time to rise up. It is time to bring all of our knowledge, experience, and purposeful intent to create a more humane world. The beauty of R I S E is that it offers a practical and potent container to support YOUR work in the world. It gives you the interactive experiences, tools, and practices to come to know your own creative source so you can meet any challenge you face as you R I S E in this new year. We truly are facing a time of challenge, but at the same time we are facing a time of possibility – pure possibility.

When we R I S E to meet our challenges, we discover who we really are, we discover the vision we hold inside, and we discover the deep capacities we’ve been gifted with. R I S E will give you an amazing foundation from which to meet any challenge and opportunity, and living our challenges is how we discover who we are and what we are capable of.

Registration opens the second week of January. Sign-up for my newsletter to be notified.

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To Be an Inspiring Leader, Cultivate This Most Important Skill

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“…desire for expression lies deep at the heart of the invisible world. All our inner life and intimacy of soul longs to find an outer mirror. It longs for a form in which it can be seen, felt, and touched. The body is the mirror where the secret world of the soul comes to expression.” ~ John O’Donohue

 

I remember seeing the advertisement for a teacher training. It was 2002 and I had just come through a tough period in my life. I’d graduated from Stanford just a year prior and had made some fumbling attempts to find work, applying to jobs half-heartedly. It was a year of feeling unmoored like I had no idea where I was going. Nothing seemed to capture my attention or fuel any desire in me. Looking back, I suppose I was depressed on one level, but more than that I was in-between lives. I’d lost my dear husband. I’d finished a huge goal of finally getting my degree. I’d become a grandmother. And, I knew I didn’t want to go back into the work I had done before – the world of banking and information technology. Nothing had captured my desire until I saw this advertisement.

The teacher training was to teach ‘Creativity in Business’, a course that was offered for twenty-five years at the Stanford Business School. The word Creativity jumped out at me. It sent shivers of aliveness through my body – even a tinge of joy.

The business part was okay. There wasn’t much there, but Creativity? Oh, yes!

I signed up that day and my new line of work was launched – even though it would be some time before I had a sense of what the work was to be.

Since that day fourteen years ago, my work has changed and morphed in many ways. As my new life unfolded, my work followed suit.

But, this word, Creativity. I’ve come to know it as something that is as natural as breathing. We are hard-wired, and perhaps soft-wired, too, to create. It’s in our cells. It’s in our soul. It is the nature of life.

Over these years, I’ve worked with many people who (at first) were convinced they weren’t creative. Convinced. After the very first exercise I offer, they could no longer claim to lack this native ability.

We’ve been taught to believe creativity equals artistic talent, so much so that many of us are dying inside, our inner world becoming harsh and dry because this elemental need is going unmet. It is an absolute need we have as human beings, yet our current culture does not honor this need, and in fact, can make it very hard to meet it.

The thing is, though, WE are the culture. We can change the culture by changing how we are about creativity, not only within ourselves but also in how we honor it in others.

When we criticize, judge, and devalue one’s creative expression, including our own, we are stifling this expression. When we do this, we kill access to the source of innovation and leadership we need to be successful in our own lives, as well as that which we need as a culture to make the great strides we must make in these times.

Creativity is the source of innovation and authentic leadership, and its expression is a deep source of joy.

Our creativity IS life’s desire to live beyond itself.

If you are in a position of leadership where you influence and help craft work culture, pay attention to how free people feel to express themselves creatively. Creativity is what they do when they don’t know an answer to a question being posed or a problem to be solved. It’s how they navigate difficult conversations and relationships. It’s how they collaborate with others. Do they feel free to share ideas without fearing judgment and criticism? Or are they silenced before the deep answer can come? These are all rich opportunities for one’s soul to come forth, but soul won’t when the fear of judgment and criticism shuts things down.

And, yes, outside of work, the same holds true. Notice how your home ‘culture’ supports creative expression. Is there a sense of possibility and discovery when things aren’t known, or is there a fear of the unknown and a tightness about making mistakes? And, if you are a parent, how might you consciously encourage this need for soul’s expression in your children?

When you come to know you are creative, truly creative, you no longer fear the unknown in a way that shuts down your capacity for expression. Fear might always be there, lurking on the sidelines, but creative confidence allows us to be in the place of “I don’t know” with a faith and trust in your ability to bring something forth into form.

Soul IS the source of our creativity, and soul is intimate. It longs to be seen and touched. And it longs to touch. But, it will shrink back from harsh criticism. Trust, respect, and deep listening go a long way to encourage expression – both in yourself and in others.

Taking it one step deeper, knowing this need to express is at the heart of life can bring you closer to knowing and feeling this impulse within yourself. And when you do, you can trust in the same capacity in others. This is one of the most important leadership skills you can cultivate – the ability to foster a culture that encourages and supports creative expression both within yourself and in everyone you interact with.

The secret to doing so? Trusting that the “desire for expression lies deep at the heart of the invisible world”. And to do that, we must trust in the invisible, inner life of soul itself.

Remember how I felt when I saw the word Creativity? ALIVE. I felt alive. That was soul speaking to me after a year of dark wandering. Ultimately, that is what we really want – to feel alive. So beautifully alive.

 

 

 

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