For two years now, I’ve been writing with a group of beautiful women – four of us in all. Each week we show up with our words and we witness each other’s voices. We support our desire to write the truth, and ultimately to share that truth with the world.
Our call yesterday was no exception. We read and we witnessed. Tanya shared this writing, below, writing that mirrors how we are for each other in this circle, and how we can be for each other in this world. This piece moved all of us on the call so deeply that we decided we each wanted to share her words on our blogs.
We wanted to be Georgina to her Emma…. Women standing for women. Women amplifying women’s voices. Women learning to trust their instincts and voices by circling together.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
– Emma Lazarus
You remember these words?
Lazarus wrote this sonnet to raise money for the construction of the pedestal upon which the Statue of Liberty would stand. It was read as part of an exhibit to great acclaim, but was promptly forgotten and wasn’t included in the opening of the statue in 1886. It wasn’t included on the pedestal, even. It just was…absent.
She died a year later.
Can you feel that? Can you feel the pain of something written that was celebrated in a moment, known then forgotten. Looked over. Looked past.
Vital and alive. Then insignificant and abandoned. Seen then unseen.
But there is more, of course, for how else would we know this famous sonnet?
Because a woman named Georgina advocated on the poem’s behalf. On Emma’s behalf. On behalf of all that the statue could come to represent, should the sonnet be re-remembered. She called in favours, lobbied hard and worked tirelessly to have the meaning mean something.
In 1903, Georgina succeeded, and a plaque bearing Emma’s words was created and installed in the pedestal.
It was then that the Statue of Liberty stood for something. On something. What was conceived as a French token of admiration for the American way of life became a symbol of hope and welcome for weary refugees in fourteen scant lines.
Fourteen scant lines upon which American ideals rest.
The very ideals that are being gunned down in nightclubs. That are being turned inside out and spat back with vitriol and ignorance and arrogance from the podium.
These words of a woman, written for a woman, and upheld by a woman, are once again being appropriated at best and at worst, ignored. Shouted over. Seen but unseen. Heard but unheard.
They’re trying to tear her down. They’re trying to gag her silent lips. They’re trying to wall her up. They’re trying to keep them out. They’re trying to kill them off. They’re ruining everything. Everything.
Everything that is good and holy and kind and decent and beautiful and possible and hopeful and right and sacred.
Will we continue to let them? Will we continue to stand with mild eyes observing the chaotic tempest around us?
We were born knowing what is right. And then, we unsee and forget. Until we re-remember what we know. Until we re-remember that we are mighty.
And it’s up to us, you know. We must speak the words of her silent lips. I will be Georgina to your Emma. Let’s lift the lamp and shine the light. Let’s do this. Let’s stand for something. On something. Something colossal. Something like everything.
We live in a culture that is not designed for women to succeed with ease. Yet women, when we awaken to the feminine within us, and begin to live the feminine as She moves through us, embody something vital that must be lived in the world. In order to bring forth our wisdom and nature into the world, we must support and amplify each other’s voices and hearts, because our culture isn’t yet set up to really do this. We’ve been graced with the Internet as a way to bring forth our voices into the world. And it is my joy to share women on Wise Woman Wednesdays whose wisdom and voices I wish to amplify with great love.
Today, on Wise Woman Wednesday, we’re…
Tanya is a wonderful friend and a colleague who does just that – she champions women. She is wise. She is generous.
Tanya steadfastly stands for women to step into their life’s work – whatever that work might be.
I first met Tanya in person at the World Domination Summit, the first year it was held in Portland, Oregon. Meeting Tanya in the flesh was something I’ll never forget. Her warmth and enthusiasm are contagious. And her ability to listen on so many levels is evident the moment you enter into a conversation with her. She listens with every cell of her body. That is an important skill for a coach.
We’ve come to share many experiences, one of which was speaking at the Isfeld TEDx Women event in Courtenay, British Columbia. Tanya spoke about the Imposter Complex, something she’s taken to a whole new level in how she helps women identify and move through it. I remember how we both woke up early that morning before we were to speak. We were staying in the same condo, and so we came out into the kitchen together to have coffee, and talk quietly so as not to awaken others sleeping. We ended up sitting on the kitchen floor laughing like crazy about something.
Tanya, and our rolling-on-the-floor laughter, were the medicine I needed to calm my pre-speech nerves.
A few days ago, I surprised Tanya by telling her I was to feature her here today. We recorded this audio because it seemed like the very best way to share and amplify Tanya’s voice in the world.
If you are looking for a coach to work with, I have personally experienced Tanya’s coaching. She is a superb coach. She coaches many coaches.
And, Tanya’s program Step Into Your Starring Role is currently open for registration. I am not an affiliate. I don’t receive any monies for sharing her work. I receive the joy of knowing you now know of Tanya. We offer similar programs for women. We both want women’s voices to be heard in the world. And I know that Tanya might be just the right woman for you to work with. When you choose a coach, or a coaching program, the most important thing is finding resonance with your coach.
Make Wednesday a Wise Woman day, and amplify a woman, or many women, you know. Let’s support each other and amplify women’s voices into this world, a world thirsty for women’s deep wisdom.
Kate interviewed me for her brand new, soon-to-be-released product, The Coaching Blueprint, and today she’s released a short portion of our interview. I’d love for you to stop by her place to check it out. It was a joy to be interviewed by her. In turn, I interviewed her and that interview will be released next week.
The Coaching Blueprint is nothing short of brilliant. For all of you coaches, and other professionals that provide a similar service, The Coaching Blueprint will be your guide to set up your practice the way it needs to be for you…for who you are as a person, as a coach or provider, and as a business owner.
Kate has included interviews with other great coaches, too, such as Tanya Geisler, Jamie Ridler, Dyana Valentine, Michael Bungay Stanier, Pam Slim, Tara Sophia Mohr, Tara Gentile, Jennifer Lee and Michelle Ward. Also, Intuitive Counselor Bridget Pilloud shares how she’s differentiated her practice from Coaching and counselor Steve Bearman talks about the experience of training other people to become Coaches and counselors.
I am an affiliate for The Coaching Blueprint. If you’d like to purchase it through me, there’s an affiliate link to your right. If you’d like to purchase it directly from Kate, you’ll find a link on her site.
To touch hearts. To touch skin. To touch the moment with breath.
I love touch and I miss being touched. Just having left my relationship of seven years, I miss that day-to-day connection of the skin and heart: the morning kiss, the spontaneous sharing of a moment in the day, climbing into bed together at night, and the sudden swell of sweetness that arises from brushing my body against his in the wee hours as the night moved toward morning.
Touch is such a beautiful sense. In a most intimate way, through touch we can lose that sense of solidness and separateness that we so often think we experience inhabiting these human bodies. Through touch, we can begin to let go of the need ‘to other’ and realize we aren’t separate at all.
I recently wrote about longing for a deep and reverent kindness, a touch from my lover that transmits an aware, divine conscious seeing of self as self. Some of the most awake moments of my life have been in the midst of touching the body of another, whether it be lover, child, or friend.
I also recently attended a summit (of sorts) in Portland – The World Domination Summit (WDS) with Chris Guillebeau. I’m not a fan of the word domination, and I don’t know why the summit was titled this because my experience was far from what this might imply. My experience was one of connection, creativity, action, and joy. I was able to touch, physically touch, many of the people I’ve met and come to know online. When I arrived in Portland, I had no expectations for the weekend other than to see and hug my (up until then) virtual friends.
As the weekend unfolded, I became acutely aware of how important it is to be immersed in life, not virtual life but real life, and real life with friends and colleagues. It is so easy to forget this when I spend so many hours of my day on the phone with clients and on the computer writing and socializing through social media. I have never been fond of networking, but now I’m realizing an entirely different way to network, by way of touch – touching heart, and touching soul.
The first speaker of the weekend was Pam Slim, who spoke of roots, the power in greeting another with the Navajo greeting: Ya’at’eeh (everything in the universe is beautiful), and the understanding that a mother’s role is to prepare her children to be independent,
‘Giving them the feeling of no matter what happens, I have the capacity to get through it’.
Pam’s talk was beautiful, inspiring and heart opening. And, it was practical, in that she offered very real ways of rooting ourselves in life, in knowing our capacity to get through whatever comes. We touch another deeply when we know and acknowledge their beauty. In doing so, we also acknowledge our own beauty, and the beauty inherent in life as it unfolds.
For me, the most experiential presentation of the entire weekend was offered up by Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen, co-creators of Mondo Beyondo, a wildly successful e-course. Drawing upon foundational coaching expertise, Andrea and Jen brought the house down with their ability to connect through the heart. They had us work with a partner to re-experience a peak experience. As a CTI trained coach, I’ve done this exercise many times in the past; yet, this time, the experience was very different.
In the past, when it comes to peak experiences, I’ve always considered things I had done that were successful, moments when I felt on top of the world, or had reached a dream I had longed for…some of the languaging that can be used in setting this experience up.
This time, however, it was different, perhaps because my awareness was on simply being with the very real sensations of connection and touch. As I shared with my partner, the peak experience was actually three combined. They were very similar in feel and sensation, and all involved touch, stillness, warmth, water, sun, skin, love, connection and the body.
As I relived these experiences, and then shared them with my partner, what showed up was nothing about success and achievement, but was all about being completely and utterly immersed in the erotic field of life, where sensuality and sexuality are part of the beautiful dance of being conscious in a human body.
At the end of the exercise, our partner spoke some of the key phrases or words that we had said aloud back to us. Then, we were to pick one of those and write it somewhere on the body. My word?
Slithering doesn’t have to be about snakes, yet this is what I, and many others first think of when we hear this word. Seeing as how I have quite a fear of snakes, not nearly as bad as it used to be, but still near phobic proportions, I felt a tinge of ‘yuck’ when I considered writing this word on my body.
But, I also knew how clearly this word articulated something very important to me, because it is more about a way of being in life. There’s a sense of flow, of ease of movement, of softness and groundedness, and of feeling one with life, with the ground, with the sensuous nature of being alive…
out of the water and
up onto the
confidently and tenderly
A snake doesn’t move with stiffness or rigidity. It moves with the land, propelling its body in connection to the earth.
A snake is powerful and has all sorts of baggage attached to it, especially with regard to women and apples.
As I moved throughout my day, wearing this word on my skin reminded me of those moments when I felt so at home in my body, so fed by the earth, water and sun, so close to my lover. It reminded me of touch, and of slow, delicious movement.
As WDS drew to a close, the last speaker, Jonathan Fields, asked us all to take what we’d learned over the course of the summit and put it into action. Yes, this is important; and, for me that action is important because of touch – how we touch others’ lives, and how we allow ourselves to be touched by people who are not different from us at all.
In my 2001 thesis on Spirituality and the Internet, I concluded with the understanding that even though the Internet would become such fertile soil for connection that couldn’t be made in the physical realm because of the limitations of space and time, the connections we make in the virtual world must ultimately serve to deepen the gifts we are here to give in the real world.
We can be touched online in very real ways. Our hearts can be opened.
Our souls can be seen.
Our consciousness can become more aware. And, our physical bodies still need physical interactions with other beings.
I can get complacent about showing up in the real world, yet what I experienced that weekend in Portland by coming together in flesh and blood incited a joy in me that I only experience in the physical world. Looking directly into eyes, smelling personal scents, feeling skin to skin, hearing the sound of voices I’d never heard before, and even sharing VooDoo Doughnuts with Marjory Mejia, Tanya Geisler and Kate Northrup Moller are all experiences that come out of this erotic field in which we live.
Eros is so much more than the slim sense of eroticism our culture focuses on. Underneath the surface of speakers, break-out sessions and events, there was a field of connection and intimacy that underscored the WDS experience. Eros was sublimely present at WDS, and is in each moment of existence.
Serendipity was a big part of my experience at WDS.
On the evening of the first event, my friend Marjory and I were leaving the hotel to head over to WDS. As the elevator door opened, we were suddenly face-to-face with Jamie Ridler and her sister, Shannon Ridler. I’ve wanted to meet Jamie for some time now, and voila, there she was!
On the bus that would take us to the after-party, I met Veena Kumar, a kind Pediatrician from the east coast. We introduced ourselves and shared a little bit about what we do.
I told Veena the name of my site, Unabashedly Female. I asked her what the name brought to mind for her and she responded by pulling out a piece of paper. It was the post-it note from Andrea and Jen’s talk. They had put over 500 post-its with messages for each of us under our chairs. Under Veena chair was this note.
She said unabashedly female makes her think of the freedom to be yourself without fear.
This is exactly it: finding the true freedom that comes from being yourself fully, femaleness and all, without apology; enjoying the sensuality of a life lived in a human body, connecting with others without hiding your true nature; touching life fully in each moment.