Weaving a New World


My last post, “Where do we go from here?” expressed my frustration
with the state of affairs with regard to women in our country.
At the end, I wondered where we go from here.

Some of the comments on my post spoke of how so often it is women who seem to be the hardest on women. Why do we do this?

Just yesterday, a friend clued me into an important article by Ashley Judd, in which she speaks out on the nature of the patriarchy, and specifically calls out both the media and women for much of what we experience:

“Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle,insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.” ~Ashley Judd

These last two lines are POWERFUL.

“…we have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly.”

“…unable to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other women.”

As is this:

It is subtle,insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it.”

Judd states that she does this. I know I surprise myself with my own callousness, and unconscious judgment and criticism. It seems to just pop up from somewhere, as if it has an energy all of its own. That energy is the pattern itself…the pattern that was internalized. It’s a thought, feelings sensations that all work together to create a habitual reaction. I am the only one that can unlearn this habit, the only one that can become aware of how much conditioning still functions through me and do what it takes to heal it.

We are all mightily conditioned in misogynistic ways.

Misogyny is the fear and hatred of women. While on the surface we may believe we don’t do either, we live in a culture that is saturated with misogynistic ways (and also ways of misandry, the fear and hatred of men). There is no way any of us could have avoided taking on these perspectives about women, and about the feminine in general.

For many of us, most of this is focused internally…meaning, we have patterns that cause us to fear and hate the woman in ourselves, the femaleness of our own being. But this is never just an internal thing. We also, in one way or another, focus it out there, even project it onto others.


Right now, this whole uprising of legislation and attention on women, women’s bodies, and our reproductive rights are just one piece in so much of what is tossing around in the world today. As Pema Chödrön writes,

‎”The whole globe is shook up, so what are you going to do when things are falling apart? You’re either going to become more fundamentalist and try to hold things together, or you’re going to forsake the old ambitions and goals and live life as an experiment, making it up as you go along.” 

The whole world is shaking and we all react to this shaking in different ways.

Some react by digging in and holding on tightly to ‘the old ways’ through a kind of fundamentalism. We all probably experience fundamentalism in some place in our lives.

We could get caught and stuck in this story. We do need to be aware of what we do that causes pain, and there is a new way coming into being, a way that is about fundamentally loving the feminine in ourselves and all of life.

There’s also the possibility of living this life as a grand experiment. I’d love to begin our own experiment of women loving women.

This is what I’m holding out as a vision for women around the world…that we can awaken to the voices we’ve internalized, see them for what they are, and realize that our own feelings of fear and hatred for the feminine are learned. If they are learned, we can unlearn them.

The very thing that has triggered this hanging on to the olds ways is a mirror of how we each try to hang onto the ‘old ways’ within us. 

Keeping women down out there is a mirror of how I keep myself, and other women, down with my thoughts, actions and statements.

Believing women are just playing the victim is a mirror of our own internal harshness toward ourselves.

It means it could be, and most likely will be, messy.  I know the things that are coming up with my close friends are very messy. I don’t know how to do it, and I am learning.

It does mean that we come to see our own inner workings…and how those inner workings are showing up ‘out there’. It does mean that we come to see ourselves for who we really are, not who we’ve been taught to believe we are.


We are creative beings. Even if the illusion that causes us to fear and hate is powerful, our creativity is so much more powerful.

I know, deep in my heart and my beautiful female gut, that women can dive into the lies we’ve believed and come out the other side seeing what is rising…the new feminine consciousness…in ourselves, in each other, and in all of life.

So, as my good friend and speaking mentor, Gail Larsen says, “If you want to change the world, tell a better story.” 

I’ve got a better story to tell. 

I look forward to weaving this new world with you! Stay tuned…




Fire and Soil


Brighid's Dawn, by Sandilee Hart
Brighid's Dawn, by Sandi Lee, @WakingDreamart


I awoke this morning with fire on my mind.

Perhaps it started, not the fire, but the thinking of fire, last night. Before I went to bed, I posted this:

Sometimes, fire burns.

And in response, a man I went to high-school with replied,

So does the sun, but it doesn’t keep us from wanting it to shine on us.”

The truth does shine…

and it burns. It burns away all that is false, all that keeps the truth from being lived, if we are willing to stand in the fire. I’m not claiming to be a fire-walker. I don’t like the burning one bit. And, I’m noticing it keeps coming, regardless.

When I see this, I see an image of a forest fire that rages through, and how that fire prepares the soil for the seeds to pop and grow. Some seeds will only germinate with the help of a forest fire. These particular seeds need the heat to begin their growth.

During my time in Santa Fe, something very old was burned out of me and something that’s always been there, always waiting in the wings, began to move with new life. It moved in because I was willing to begin to stand in the fire of the truth. I was willing to speak, aloud, stories that had been buried in my body. First, though,

a side trip to Kildare, Ireland.

Last summer, I traveled to Ireland. I wrote a few posts about it here on the blog, but some of what happened has been working inside, gestating, growing and finding root.

Some of the most profound experiences centered around St. Brigid and the goddess Brighid. To be honest, and maybe someone more aware of the historical nuances could fill me in!), I am not all that clear about the connection between the two.

A little history:

Cill means cell or church, and Daire is a type of oak tree, so Kildare means “Church of the Oak.” This is one of many ways Brigid the Saint echoes a pagan goddess of the same name, since the oak was sacred to the druids. In the pre-Christian period of Celtic history, Brighid (a derivation of the word Brig, meaning “valor” or “might”) was the name of one of the most beloved goddesses. Both solar and lunar, Brighid guaranteed the fertility of the fields, sheep, cows, and human mothers; and she protected all bodies of water. Her principal symbol was a perpetual fire, representing wisdom, poetry, healing, therapy, metallurgy, and the hearth.

St. Brigid’s double monastery at Kildare was built at a location previously sacred to her pagan namesake, and the inner sanctuary of the Kildare Church also contained a blessed fire perpetually maintained by the nuns of her community. Some have speculated that St. Brigid herself once served as the last high priestess of a community of druid women worshipping the goddess Brighid, and that she led that entire community into the Christian faith.

Site of St. Brigid's Flame, Kildare, Ireland
Site of St. Brigid's Flame, Kildare, Ireland

In Kildare, I stood in the place where Brigid’s perpetual fire burned. The story goes that, after St. Brigid’s death, the fire was kept burning for over 1,000 years by women determined to keep the flame alive (I imagine not just the flame itself, but what it represented). This realization blew me away, that women could, amidst all sorts of attempts from the outside to put out the flame, keep it alive.

With a little inquiry, we found our way to where the current flame is kept alive for St. Brigid, by sister Mary. She invited us in to the room where the flame burns today. I sat down, and within minutes a complete peace came over me. The only words I could find to express how I felt in that moment were, “Full. There is nothing I need or want.” Sister Mary echoed this, saying that almost every woman who comes to the flame feels this, or something akin.

This sense of upholding life, keeping the fire lit, helping to usher in change without losing the old wisdom is so much of what the feminine is about.

Back to Santa Fe:

In my time in Santa Fe, I was surrounded by strong, wise, spirited women: Danielle LaPorte , who is “interested in liberating truth, raw reality, and grace.”; Jennifer Louden, a woman inspiring us all to serve and savor the world; Dyana Valentine,  who is, in her words, “an instigator. Seriously, I’m not for the weak of heart.” ; Susan Oglesbee Hyatt, a Master Certified Coach who describes herself as “Energetic. Honest. Motivating”; Dr. Diane Chung, a wise, Harvard-trained clairvoyant Naturopath, who has a healing approach that is brilliant; and of course, Gail Larsen, the woman who was leading us to tell our stories straight from the soul.

In the circle of strong women, strong sisters there to gain wisdom on how to speak wisdom from the stories of our lives,  I re-experienced the strength of the feminine fire. In this fire, it was as if words flowed directly out of the ground of being. They came out raw and untouched by the overzealous mind that wants to manage and package the words in some way, for ensured acceptability. I shared stories in this circle that I have told only to a few, very close, people in my life. And in the sharing of these stories, something shifted, transmuted and transformed. We were, and are, a circle of alchemists, turning lead into gold.

As I stood in front of my sisters, waiting for the words to emerge, I could feel their love, their devotion to the truth, their willingness to hear me, wide-open to the wisdom I had to offer. As I sat in the circle, waiting for my sisters to speak, I held them and witnessed the wisdom emerging through them.

Something here, so wise and so powerful.

Even though St. Brigid’s flame was extinguished, what I imagine it represented, the light of the sacred within matter, is still alive in each woman that lives. And, it is this light that is asking to be reawakened in the world.

As a woman, as an embodiment of the Sacred Feminine, this light is alive within you. It is the fire of your sacred light. We can help each other to reawaken to this light within. And, it is this flame, this light that the world needs to remember its sacredness.

The Wisdom That Holds Us All

To underscore the wisdom that is holding us all, let me return to the fire that I opened with, the fire that burns.

As I sat at the keyboard this morning to write this post, all I could see was fire, an image of a seed, and Sandi Lee‘s image of Brighid. I planted the seed and began to write.

As I wrote, two things became clear. In finding a little history of St. Brigid, I stumbled upon this: that today, February 1st, is St. Brigid’s day in the Northern Hemisphere.

The First of February belongs to Brigid, (Brighid, Brigit, Bride,) the Celtic goddess who in later times became revered as a Christian saint. Originally, her festival on February 1 was known as Imbolc or Oimelc, two names which refer to the lactation of the ewes, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life-giving forces of spring. Later, the Catholic Church replaced this festival with Candlemas Day on February 2, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features candlelight processions. The powerful figure of Brigid the Light-Bringer over-lights both pagan and Christian celebrations.

Then, as I researched Imbolc, I discovered that one symbol of this time is the candle and flame, mostly from the celebration of Candlemas.

I began with fire and truth, and a wee feeling of Brigid, and lo and behold, everything coalesced in a way that my mind could never have figured out.

Learning to trust the seed, to trust what wants to be told, said, written is a way of the feminine. She emerges through symbol, through what is ripe in the moment. She speaks to us in many ways.

As Gail teaches, we each hold original medicine, something that others receive from us as we share from the deepest places within. Danielle shared with me that she experienced my original medicine as “Dark rich moist soil, like the kind that seeds crave.”

There’s that seed, again.


Alive and Awake: part two



How could I know that what Gail Larsen shared would change me so profoundly?

She said to speak from the body; that the body remembers everything that ever happened to you; that it knows every detail of your stories. When you speak from the body, what wants to be said will be said. She said,

“The body has all the details. Just move and you’ll know them.”

Standing in front of the group on the first night of the retreat, I let her words sink in.

The body remembers. Everything.

There was a subtle sinking down in. The mind relaxed just a bit, realizing that something else knew ‘how’ to do this, how to speak truth, experience, and wisdom in the moment.

I began to tell a story from my life. I could feel the words coming up from the body, as if they were ripe for the picking. The body was ready, willing and able. The words wanted to be said. That’s the best way I can describe it.

As I relaxed into the process of speaking in this way, the story flowed. Laughter came, tears trickled down, meaning arose, and synchronicity happened. The story happened in two parts, seven years apart. But in the telling of it, these separate instances, and the third instance of now (the moment of telling) merged together into one fluid river of experience. As I spoke of time being a fluid river running together, time showed us, in the room there in Santa Fe, that there is no time, there is only now, a fluid coming and going of experience.

Beginning at the beginning

On a Friday afternoon, I landed in Albuquerque, and headed up to Santa Fe by shuttle. I’d never been to New Mexico. I was there to attend Gail Larsen’s Transformational Speaking Immersion, along with five other women brought together by Danielle LaPorte. I knew this was going to be a powerful time, a time of transformation, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine just how much I would change from my time in Santa Fe.

When I received the invitation from Danielle, I didn’t hesitate one moment. I had already read about Gail, and had known I would work with her at some point. From what I knew of Danielle, I knew the five other people she would bring together would be those who are interested in truth-telling – my kind of people. And, I wasn’t wrong.

In anticipation of the time in Santa Fe, I thought a great deal about what I wanted to come away with. I’ve had a vision for some time of speaking in front of large audiences about women and their worth, about the sacred feminine and how women are the embodiment of this sacred presence. I knew I wanted to learn how to speak in the moment.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe
Santa Fe

This day in mid-January was cold with a bright blue sky and clear air. I settled into my room, and then went down to check out the lodge. I decided to get a workout in before dinner. I know that deep inner-work needs a healthy dose of body movement. I would make sure, over these four days, that I moved my body a lot, through dance, yoga and walking.

Over the four days together, Gail would lead us deep into speaking from the body. In a beautiful and supportive container, we learned so much about what we’re here to say, what our ‘original medicine’ is (that which others experience from being with us), and the structure from which to create any talk that will captivate and hold an audience.  Gail’s work brings you to the intersection of “your authentic self and life experience – where your power as a speaker emerges.”

The first time I stood in front of the group to speak, what had been high-flying nerves became a smooth, deep source of power. I can’t begin to explain how that happened, other than I trusted my body to know what wanted to be said. Yes, it was that simple. It’s not as if there were no nerves. I was still a bit nervous, but I stood in front of the group and listened deeply to what was right there inside me, right there all around me, right there wanting to be said.

In my experience, speaking this way is about telling the stories out of which wisdom naturally arises. The body remembers the story and the story offers up the wisdom. And that is what I experienced.

This is exciting. To have experienced this, means I now embody it. Any time I speak, or write, or share in front of a group of people, I now know, deep in the bones, that everything will emerge from the truth the body holds; and, even more important is the truth of what I experienced. In the moment, in any moment, all of what is needed is already here; and, it is found by way of the body. The body holds our instincts, our intuition, our power and our wisdom. The body is the vessel through which the soul expresses.

Sharing Here What I Shared, There

So, I’ll share that first story with you here, just as I shared it in Santa Fe.

On a warm day in 1991, my husband, my daughters and I, arrived on the Stanford University campus. We were there to help my older daughter move into her freshman dorm. All of seventeen, she was arriving at Stanford to begin her studies.

As we walked across the campus, we happened to pass by the clock tower as it was striking on the hour. We stopped to listen, and in that moment I felt an overwhelming urge to be a student there, at Stanford. Now, at this time, I was 34. I had my daughter at 17, and had consciously chosen to not go to college while my children were young, so that I could be there completely for them, and so I could enjoy my years of motherhood.

Once they were a bit older, I had started courses at the local Jr. College, taking one class a semester at night. I’d been doing this on and off for four years at this point, and I knew I would eventually transfer to a four-year college. But of course, the dream to attend a prestigious university such as Stanford was just that … a dream.

So here we were, the four of us, standing at the clock tower listening to it chime. I spoke my urge aloud to my husband, Gary. “Honey, what I would give to be a student here, someday.” And his reply? “Then, I bet you will be. Just trust that it can happen.” I responded to his positive image, with a somewhat more futile one, “As if that could happen. I’m 34. There’s no way.”

As the clock finished its announcement, we began to walk on, arriving a few moments later at her dorm. We dropped her off to begin her college life, and left for home.

Seven Years Later

I’m walking across the Stanford campus, alone. No longer do my husband and daughters surround me. Gary died, suddenly, three years before, my older daughter has graduated and is in graduate school, my younger daughter is away at school on the East Coast.

As I walk, I hear a clock chiming. I look up and there it is: the same clock tower chiming the same bells. I’m stunned into silence. You see, I’m there to attend new student orientation as a non-traditional transfer student.

Suddenly, time conflates and I am both here and there: here as a student, back there as a mother. In this moment, there is no time. It all meshes into one fluid river, punctuated by the striking of the clock.

Back to Santa Fe

Here, in the same fluid river, I’m standing in front of these beautiful women in a small, sacred container in Santa Fe. As I reach this part of my story where time conflates, just yards away from where I stand, the clock tower in the historic chapel on the grounds of The Bishop’s Lodge begins to strike the hour…with bells.

There is a palpable sense of presence that takes my breath away. In this moment, there is no moment. There is simply the fluid all flowing together. I’m stunned into understanding.

The body is the portal to all experience. From within the body, we have access to the totality of life.

The body breathes.

The body knows.

The body awaits.


And, you?

I’d love to know your experiences of the body, of its wisdom, and of how it speaks to you and through you. If you feel called to, please share here in the comments.


This is part two of a three-part series on embodiment. You can read part one, here. I look forward to sharing the last part with you.

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