Allow The Dark To Grow You




illustration by Kristin Noelle

I’ve been aware of the newness of things.
Soft. Fresh. Not quite open.
Something still tucked away, not yet ready to be revealed.

Where is this within you, this ‘something new’ that is not quite ready to be in the light?
Treasure this.
It is a magical thing to stay in the dark, taking in nourishment,
discovering the shape, fragrance, and texture of who you are yet to be.

Don’t rush this.

Allow the dark to grow you.

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Sometimes, we must enter the dark to grow; we must enter so we can, too, be held like we hold. They are one in the same. It is a natural expression of the Feminine to hold, to nourish. Natural.

As we hold, we are held. Take time to come into this embrace, consciously, with reverence…just the way you long to be held and known. She is no different.

Don’t fear the dark. It is rich with nutrients, rich with soul food. Yes, it will strip away; yes, you will be transformed; yes, you will be reborn – if you allow the dark to grow you.

If you allow the dark to grow you, you will bring back to life all that you pretended to put to death; and all that you’ve pretended is life and alive, will die.


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Kristin Noelle illustrated this beautiful image of being held in the darkness of the Universal womb. Working from just the few lines at the top that I sent her, she created this powerful image. It speaks directly to what I wanted to share.

Kristin Noelle is a Los Angeles-based illustrator. She creates soulful art that fosters a worldview of trust. Find her at and be sure to check out Blessings – a 10-day series of inspired, illustrated blessings.

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Speaking of the power of the female belly, I’m co-facilitating a one-day retreat on the land in West Marin County:

A Woman’s Belly: Source of Health, Strength, and Creativity

Register here

At a wooded retreat site named Paradise, we’ll explore the health, strength, and creativity of our female belly. My friend and colleague, Simone de Winter, is an Ayurvedic Practitioner. Together, Simone and I will weave a day full of belly wisdom and love. It was Simone who led me through the powerful cleanse just three months ago.

We would love to have you join us for this intimate day.

Simone describes what she will offer:

“Ayurveda offers the lifestyle, dietary and herbal support. Yoga is often part of the lifestyle support, which can be in the form of breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation, chanting, mantra, movement and postures. Yoga offers a path to self-realization, freedom from the constraints of the mind. We all know about the role of the mind in health and self-care. And in this pursuit, if practiced in the right way, it can be very disarming for the nervous system. Another beautiful way in which they come together is in the understanding of the subtle body, where the chakras are found. In working with a woman’s belly we work with the second chakra, the creativity center.”

And, I’ll be sharing:

If we are to really be happy in the world, and to live our nature, then we must come into an alive and loving, compassionate relationship with our bodies. For women, this has many difficulties because we’ve been taught to objectify ourselves – to see our bodies as objects, and to relate to them that way. Instead, when we come to experience our bodies as beautiful alive creatures, not objects at all, by listening deeply to them, we begin to express what it is they offer into a world that, I feel, is truly thirsty for the alive, creative expression of awakened womanhood.

We women give birth to many things, not just babies. When we become conscious of this, and when we rediscover how to listen and honor what the womb can bring forth, we begin to live this very natural capacity of womanhood. It’s a matter of listening, honoring, and trusting, and then expressing these energies. In all honesty, we are rediscovering this. After so many centuries of women being disconnected from the creative capacities of the female body, at least in most of the industrialized world, we are coming to realize just how crucial it is that we embody these capacities –that we live them.


The status quo and the status quo keeper are in Cahoots!


The status quo is only interested in one thing – keeping the status quo the status quo.

Whether it’s our own internal status quo, a community status quo, or a cultural status quo, at the heart of the status quo is a built in defense mechanism for maintaining things as they are. By definition.

You can see how hard the status quo works to maintain the status quo. You can see it in yourself, and you can see it in the culture at large. Even when a big part of us doesn’t like what is happening, there is a part that wants to keep things EXACTLY AS THEY ARE. That’s the inner status quo keeper.

We all have one. Yup, we all do.

For a moment, just feel your internal status quo keeper. Get a sense of how it will do almost ANYTHING to keep things the same as they are right now…forever…and ever.

And, get a sense of how it feels to fight against the status quo keeper. How does it feel? Like a battle of heavyweights going a full 15 rounds?

Fighting the status quo only gets the status quo to dig in its heels deeper.

And…consider the cultural status quo…the culture you live in. Consider how intractable some problems are. Racism. Misogyny. Religious intolerance. Homophobia. The devaluation of our planet. Greed…just to name a few.

Something in our culture, and within us, is trying desperately to hang on to the ‘way things are’ – the way we as a species has been living on this planet. We are in cahoots, whether we want to see it or not.

This something is really good at rationalizing. Really good at it. It rationalizes all over the place why this ‘one little thing’ won’t hurt, or that ‘way of doing things’ isn’t so bad.

This something is powerful, and NOTHING will ever come out of this something that could upend itself or its way of life.

No thinking out of this something will ever bring about the end of this something.


This is so important to get. Really important. Nothing will ever come out of the status quo keeper that will end the keeper.


So what do we do?

What resource do we have as a species that can show a new way out of this seemingly intractable mess?

Our creativity. Yes, creativity. Not art. Not artistic talent. Creativity, the essential nature of each and every human being, and of all of life.

Life is a creative process. Life in general, and our lives. We are creative beings. I’m not talking problem solving. That’s almost always more of the same thinking…trying to solve rather than allowing, receiving, trusting in a deeper knowing.

The status quo keeper doesn’t like creativity. Not at all. It doesn’t like anything that knows that the unknown is a place of fertile possibility, an unfathomable mystery. The status quo keeper doesn’t like mystery. It holds up logic and reason as the sole arbiter of problem solving. And the more we try to ‘solve’ our intractable problems with more intractable thinking…well you get the picture.

Just look at what’s happening at the top ‘leadership’ positions in the United States. So many keepers trying to keep their idea of what is right and logical in place. At the heart of it all, there’s an ‘established order’ of things we have somehow all agreed upon…even if it was by simply being born into this culture. Institutions and systems all based upon some kind of agreed upon way for human beings to ‘run’ things.


We know we are failing and we don’t know what to do about it – but creativity does. Creativity is outside of the keeper. It sees the status quo and it sees the keeper of the status quo. And the keeper knows it.

What can upend the status quo? Creativity. Life. The wisdom of the Body. Embodied Creativity. Sacred Creativity.

We are life and when we embody our creative nature, we know we are deeply connected to life and our wisdom flows in harmony with life. We know we are living in a sacred world, and that we are sacred.

Talking about creativity can get people riled up. Much has been made about how creative people are crazy. They see things differently. They are a little out there. Yup. That’s the point. Don’t we need to see things differently? Is doing the same old thing, getting the same old outcome NOT crazy?

Creativity is a direct challenge to the status quo. It is a letting go of what you want, in fact perhaps even a letting go of the ‘you’ that wants it. It is getting out of the way of what wants to be born.

A creator is an activist. A creator activates something within that is much more intelligent than the status quo keeper – ANY status quo keeper.

Why? Because life is never stopped long enough to become a status quo. Life flows. Always. Life births, grows, dies, and is reborn again. There is no status quo. Everything is in flux. Change is constant.


I share this here because we’ve just begun our 24-week deep dive into embodied creativity for women – Becoming a Force of Nature. A force of nature is unstoppable because nature is unstoppable. It flows, moves, creates, lives, dies, and is born again. A force of nature is always transforming…and when we live from our creativity so are we.

I’m calling all women activists to come along
on the journey, but activists who are
willing to lean in to life itself, to nature, for nature.


Life lived through human beings CAN be in harmony with nature, rather than attempting to control or dominate it. The status quo keeper is into control and domination.

Take a look at the course. Listen to our Kickoff call, an hour long call where we experience a deep meditation, and talk about the deep erotic nature of women and the feminine, a nature that is at the heart of sustained change.

You’re not too late. You can register through midnight pdt tomorrow night, Tuesday October 22nd. 

If you feel the urge, the nudge, the knowing that you belong in the course, please follow it.

It’s really good material. I know. I’ve taught it for eleven years now to a wide variety of people in a variety of situations, and I’ve seen the transformation that happens. We’re a beautiful group of women and we’d love to have you join us.

Right now, we are being supported in untold and unimaginable ways to help us make this shift as a species. It is time for this. 




Appetite: Living from the Pulse of Soul




It can be so much more than a desire for something on the menu. I felt it the other day. I feel it now.

I thought I’d not felt this deep, deep appetite before…deep and raw. No, that’s not quite right. I’ve felt it, but I wasn’t so conscious of what it was. But the other day, I did…and I was…conscious and aware of the experience of profound appetite.

It wasn’t an appetite for food. It had nothing to do with hunger in the traditional way we use that word. It was an appetite to feast on life, to be smack dab in the middle of life, alive and awake and aware.

[This is not to be confused with hunger in someone who is starving…literally starving. That I do not know. I’ve never known that. This is about appetite, something deeply instinctive.]

When I felt this energy coursing through my body, it reminded me of giving birth – open and available for life to move through. Both times I gave birth, I felt myself begin the surrender that happens. It happens before labor begins. It happens when you understand there is life growing within and that this life will grow and move in its own way. And, once labor begins and that baby is coming, something takes over and the body moves through the process of birthing. I remember how raw and alive I felt as I worked with my body instead of against it. I remember the felt wisdom of labor. I remember the power and love at the heart of that process.

In birth, I worked with the appetite for life and birth and becoming. And this raw appetite is exactly the same…it is life pulsing and prodding to live and breath in its own way.

Just the other day…

as I felt this appetite, I was open, deep in my body, to the level of soul, not only my own, but also what felt like the soul of life. What I mean is open to the raw material of life itself…the chaos of becoming.

It was appetite, appetite not for food but for life, life that is rich, raw, and even voracious; a profoundly powerful appetite to experience life wholly. Appetite is the best word I could find to describe it. It was ravenous, yet not insatiable, like I was really, really hungry for something, yet I had no words for what I was hungry for.

The appetite wasn’t of words. It didn’t need to understand anything. It knew.

How do I know it was soul? I know it because what was communicated was in images, feelings, sensations, and inklings. What was communicated was feral and fecund, pulsing with life and creation. And it was clear that there is deep wisdom in appetite. It is very clear and it knows what it wants. It’s a different ‘want’ than what I’ve felt in the past, a want that felt like it could never be satiated.

This appetite isn’t to fill a hole that cannot be filled. Rather, this appetite is a relationship – a relationship between soul and life.

As I fet it, I just kept saying the word, Appetite. Appetite. Appetite. I could feel it rolling off my tongue and it felt right.

Like giving birth, it follows the pull of something wildly intelligent that flows through DNA, through the cells, through the inherent wise movement of life.

I sense how it moves through me, how it knows what it wants without any sense of hesitation or apology. I’ve thought of all the times I’ve not known what I really wanted, yet all the time this instinctual appetite was just under the skin, emanating from deep in the core of the body. It’s primal, sexual, creative power. It is impulse. It knows what it knows. It senses and tracks, and follows what it’s hungry for. It feels joyous, yet not like the lightness I usually associate with joy. It’s joy that comes from deep in the belly, like a good kind of belly laugh, a kind of lip-licking joy felt when appetite is sated.

This deep and raw appetite moves through women. It is part of our powerful sacred creativity as beings who bring forth life. Many women choose not to have children, or cannot have children. Yet, their appetite still pulses with pregnant possibility. There are infinite ways to bring forth life.

We all have this appetite right under our skin, simply waiting to be acknowledged and trusted. I know, boy do I know, it is not easy to trust this. We’ve been directly and indirectly taught to distrust this. We’ve been taught to not allow ourselves to see that it is our life force, our sacredness, our sacred sexuality and creativity, and that it is first and foremost a part of our own soul and our own life expression.

When we honor that it is within us, a part of our soul and a part of the joy of being a woman, we come to know it for ourselves, and in doing so, we then are more able to share it consciously with the people we love. This appetite is not something we are to give to others, it is something that is intrinsic to our own expression, and when we honor that, its expression can be received and enjoyed by others.

I’m going to be exploring what it feels like to live life from this deep appetite, allowing it to guide me in what I write, what I create, and how I express myself. I’ve been known to rely heavily on my rational mind when I get nervous or fearful, so this practice will helpfully go to the core of my learned coping mechanisms.

It was appetite that drew me so deeply to the dance.

It was appetite that moved me out of a career in technology and into the work I do now.

It was appetite that called me to dive directly into living the question of what it means to be unabashedly female, even when so many internal voices feared that dive.

For me, this goes straight to the heart of women’s creativity, sexuality, and power. It takes us out of the oh-so-well trained mind and into the heart of the feminine.

Stay tuned…

And, I’d love to know how you’ve experienced this. What have you come to see? To know? To feel? And if you haven’t, what you’re curious about.


Photo by Anne Jablonski, taken at Feathered Pipe Ranch during the Waking the Inner Teacher retreat.

And, my good friend and colleague, Rachel Cole, writes beautifully about hunger and being well-fed…perhaps another way to look at appetite…


The Gift – Women’s Sacred Power of Creation


This past weekend, I led a retreat for a remarkable group of women. It was a church sponsored retreat. The women were courageous in their willingness to look within, as well as their willingness to consider the beauty, power, and profound sacredness of living life in a female body. It was truly an honor to midwife such rich and courageous experiential exercises, which brought forth this deep wisdom of the feminine.

My childhood was not filled with religious teaching. My family lineage holds a wide variety of religious traditions, but the day-to-day of my life didn’t contain these traditional teachings or stories. Instead, I was invited to question what life, love, death, and even re-birth were really about. As someone who has reached a point of life where I am coming to understand the wisdom of a life deeply lived, I am grateful I was taught to wonder.

How beautiful true wonder is…childlike wonder…wonder that causes the eyes to sparkle and the heart to open and embrace.

True awakening is a destructive process…so my teacher, Adyashanti, says. And, I can vouch for that. It isn’t becoming anything. It is unbecoming, undressing, undoing. It is shedding beliefs and veils and faces – those faces we pretend our ours, even though somewhere inside we know they are just masks to hide what we believe is the ugly, ugly me that nobody would want to know or love.

As I sat in circle with these women and shared what I know about the sacred feminine and what it has to do with a woman’s spiritual journey, I was, once again, filled with awe by the beauty, tenacity, fierceness of womanhood.

The layers of veils have been heaped upon us through conditioning and socialization.We’ve internalized them. For me, they aren’t necessarily veil-like. They’re more thick and gnarly in how they hide my true and very human humanity.

Every group of women I have led over the past eleven years has been filled with beautiful women that question, deeply, their worth and value. Whether they were groups of women directly affected by 9/11, or women in business, or women who are the web of connection within their church communities, I’ve been struck by how deep the conditioning runs that tells us a number of made-up stories about who we ‘are’, how much ‘space’ we get to take up, and how ‘loud’ our voices can be.


Yesterday, on the spur of the moment as I was traveling on the bus from downtown back to my place in the outer part of San Francisco, I hopped off and entered into an hour within the gorgeous walls of Grace Cathedral. I walked the labyrinth, lit candles for friends who are in the thick of cancer and chemo, and sat in contemplation and prayer. Again, I am not well schooled in churchly ways. Yet, when I walk into this place, something deep and old and vast comes forth, something that knows all on its own the way of the sacred.

We don’t need to be taught how to be sacred. We are sacred. Perhaps the teachings could simply lead us back to knowing this within… Perhaps this is what they were meant to do all along. 

As I sat, I remembered a beautiful stained glass window I had seen last time I was in the church. So before I left, I went to see it. And, again, I was struck by the juxtaposition of this image alongside the more traditional religious images of the Christian faith. Here, way up high, off in one of the transepts, is this exquisite window named, The Gift, by Narcissus Quagliatta. It is a gorgeous piece of art, and it is offering a different point of view than the traditional stained glass windows of Grace Cathedral.

While I know the point of view I see expressed here is mine, I’m going to share what I see. It’s a point of view that offers us a window into the sacredness of women and of the feminine. This window shows us the sacred creativity that is at the heart of creation, the big vast void out of which everything is birthed. And, this vast void is the very same vast void that is within each woman’s body. It is the place where life comes into being within a woman’s body. It shows us, clearly, that all women contain this. The woman is shrouded for she is all women. All women are one woman.

This IS the gift. Our bodies are not objects. Our bodies contain creation.

Take a moment to consider how your life might have been different if you had grown up with this image as part of your learning. Consider how your life might have been different, as a woman, if you knew your female body was holy and sacred.

This is the power of woman, the power of life and death and rebirth. It is the power of creation. It is the power that has, and still is, feared. It is why our species has tried so hard to dominate and control life…and women.

What matters is that we LIVE this. That we live what we are, consciously. This power is within each of us and when we become conscious of it by seeing through the veils that have kept it hidden from our own awareness, we live it. We embody it. We come to know we are it.






Alive and Awake: part three


The more alive and awake I become, the more embodied I am, the more I cannot hide: from myself, from life, from the truth. And even though part of me would like to hide, who I really am keeps bringing me closer to this place: awakening to the power of the Feminine, the power of Her, the power of the Mother.

This is where our power lies as women…in our bodies. Bodies tied to the Earth, alive like the Earth, and awake like the Earth.

Being in the Body…

is vulnerable. Very vulnerable.

Being alive is a vulnerable proposition.

Being wholly alive as a woman in a misogynistic culture can feel overwhelming when you’re tuned into the energy that is held in the shadow of the culture.

There is an implicit (and in some places explicit) physical threat to women who speak truth rather than follow the dictates of the culture that would ask us to keep silent. The level of obvious threat is relative to the level of freedom we have in the culture we live in. The level of not-so-obvious threat is not quite so relative to that freedom. Sometimes, in some cultures, even though things look pretty calm on the surface, underneath we feel the unspoken waves of hatred and anger that misogyny breeds.

In this female body, I know I am susceptible to harm, to hurt, to invasion. I know, because I’ve experienced it. I know because many of my friends and other women I’ve met have experienced it. I know, because women all over the world are experiencing it right now.

Many of us have learned to protect our vulnerability in this physical world with a tough exterior. Many of us have learned instead to find ways to be small, to take up little space. In so many ways, we’ve learned to hide this soft, soft place inside so it can’t be hurt, and to protect this body that can be the target of people who take their aggression out on the female form.

Men, too, have beautiful soft places of vulnerability, and this culture has taught them well how not to show them. And in a culture where it is part of the very foundation of the structure for men to hold power over women, how they experience vulnerability is different than how women experience it. Different.

Every woman…

finds a way to stay safe in a culture where she is not safe simply for being her full self. We cut away parts of ourselves. We become silent, stuffing down the words we would say in a heartbeat if we felt we could. We become like men. We even adopt attitudes and beliefs that keep other women down, and that take away our own sovereignty. We trade truth for being wanted. We give up hope of ever knowing ourselves for who we really are. We pretend we can’t hear our own selves crying out.

Even though there are many women who’ve adopted ways of being I don’t agree with, I can see why they’ve adopted them. I don’t have to agree with a woman to understand how vulnerable she feels in this world.

There is upheaval happening on so many levels, both internally and externally; individually and collectively. We’re experiencing destruction and creation, death and re-birth, together. The deeper I drop into my body, the more I feel the upheaval that’s here right now.

In the body,

we are in tune with what is here. In the body, we are fully connected to the Earth and each other.

In the body, we have access to the wild and feral self, the intuitive and instinctive realms where we know things our minds could never understand.

In the body, we come back in tune with our sacred creativity, the primal Yes of creation, the Mystery.

Anat Vaughan-Lee, in a closing reflection titled, “Making the Way for the Feminine” at the 2008 Conference “The Global Peace Initiative for Women” in Jaipur, India, shared these remarks:

The feminine, whether the feminine quality or women themselves, holds the secret of creation, which is the light hidden in matter. This is very important to understand; that if one is to do any real spiritual work at this time of global and ecological crisis, one has to realize that the feminine holds the unique understanding of the sacredness in matter and also how we need to reawaken this aspect in life.

The feminine is both the feminine principle or quality, and also women, all women. It is both important for men to reclaim the feminine within themselves, and for women to remember, and reclaim, who we really are. To quote Anat, again:

Woman has to remember, reclaim who she is and by doing so, reclaim, midwife, the reawakening of the spiritual understanding of life. And I am also reminded of what Mother Teresa said: “We serve life not because it is broken but because it is Holy.”

Just like life, our bodies are sacred.

Embodiment can be remembering, living and serving this sacredness that lies at the heart of womanhood.

It’s an invitation that awaits our reply…

If you missed them, part one and part two will offer more about this invitation.

And, you?

I’d love to know how you experience this sacred creativity within you as a woman.

If you enjoyed this three-part series:

I’m in the process of putting these three posts, and more, into an ebook on embodiment. I invite you to send me stories of your experience, of how you see embodiment in your own life, for inclusion in the book. It is all completely confidential, of course.

Thank you, as always, for your willingness to participate here with me. I learn so much from what you share.


Creativity is Truth


I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it! ~ the Pointer Sisters

Why? Because I have just read five different women’s words in the last 24 hours, both written directly to me or in a blog post, express their deepest passion and desire to let go and express what they know is inside, the deepest yearnings and longings of that voice that speaks from the depths. That voice that has a hold of them and won’t take no for an answer.

Why does this excite me so much?

For one thing, this is what I do, I help women who, while they both fear it and hunger for it, surrender to this voice and express it in the world. I guide them turn to listen to it, to see it, to trust it, to honor it, to let go to it, this delicious, yet insistent, voice of sacred creativity.

For another, I know, deep in my heart and belly, that this voice that won’t let go is the voice of an intelligence far greater than our thinking mind. It is an intelligence that knows everything. Each woman and man expressing this voice is bringing this greater intelligence into manifestation, into the world where we so desperately need it, into a world that is thirsting for the wisdom, the passion, the eros that is this voice.

Dig a well in the earth of this body, so that God can draw the divine water up. ~Rumi

This voice comes from the depths of the deep well inside. That place of darkness that germinates the seed we each came into the world to bring forth. It’s a seed of divine grace that can blossom forth into beauty if we stop damming the flow. It takes so much life force to hold it down, to stop it, life force that when set free shouts out in glorious song the praises of the beauty that life is.

Creation not only exists, it also discharges truth…. Wisdom requires a surrender, verging on the mystical, of a person to the glory of existence. ~Gerhard Von Rad

For another, I know this voice is the voice of truth. Not truth where telling it feels hard and heavy and a reaction to the status quo, but truth telling that is a natural flowing response from the passion and expression of the heart, because living truth is what a creative life is all about. It can feel dangerous. And it is. It’s dangerous to those other voices that are doing the damming…both inside you and outside in the world. Because the truth will set you free and those other voices don’t want that. Truth brings you into right relationship with yourself, it grows you up, it takes you from victim to creatrix.

And for yet another reason, and this is most likely the biggest, because if women are speaking this desire aloud, that means the voice inside is being heard and acknowledged. This is huge. Acknowledgment is a necessary, for it is when we acknowledge this voice that we begin our deepest relationship to it. When the ego says, “Yes, I hear you, I want to follow you, yet I’m scared, or confused, or not sure…” then it is turning within to listen, to learn to trust, to begin the process of finding the way to serve the truth that lies within.


Think of the Pointer Sisters, women letting their voices be heard. They grew up in West Oakland, not far from where I live. They were blood sisters. Yet, we’re all sisters. Soul sisters. When we support another woman to speak up and out, to love herself, to own that powerful voice within, we heal ourselves in the process.

There isn’t a limited amount of love for women. That is an old lie of the patriarchy. There is infinite love for us all, for all of life. And we swim in a deeper, more splendid pool of love when we inspire another to let go and share her beauty in its most raw and vital power.

So this day, and everyday, make it a point to inspire another woman, to encourage her to bring her voice into existence. Notice, when you do, your own vitality and passion grow exponentially.

I hope this has inspired you to know you are not alone in this sense that it is time to bring your creative truth forth into being.


And, You?

I’d love to hear of your experiences with inspiring women and how it has affected you.

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