Women Awakening: Healing & Reclaiming Your Power
We were in Mexico City a few weeks ago applying for our citizenship, and last weekend, I was deeply engrossed in Women Awakening, an annual women's summit, of which I am also a co-creator. I haven’t been able to keep up many of my usual practices, including sitting down and writing to you.
I love the reflective nature of Sundays--that slow transition from the weekend to the beginning of a new week. I used to get the Sunday blues when I was in school, or had an office job. The transition between day and night also used to bring me down as well. But now I have a whole new relationship to Sundays and Twilight. I have learned to stay present through the transition, which is usually a time we choose to check out of. I have discovered much complexity in those moments when one thing transforms into another. This experience is good for art, reflection, tuning in to inner guidance, meditation. Maybe this is part of why we are so drawn to sunsets, in addition to their dazzling beauty. Sunsets invite us to embrace change.
For some strange reason, I love transformation. I am hooked on change. I like to change my identity, my hair, my work, my mind, my life. It’s life as art. I love witnessing and facilitating change in others. It's so beautiful to help people discover and express themselves. I see everything as malleable, transmutable, workable-with. Even our selves—our pesky little identities and egos, and attachments, and all the rest—these are forever able to be created, re-invented.
This is why I believe so profoundly in creativity—because it’s what allows us to evolve. Our ability to create ourselves, our lives, our cultures—this is how we evolve. We are consciously participating in the direction of the stream of life. And change—that is at the epicenter for life itself. Everything is always changing. That is the one thing that stays the same. And the sooner we can accept this, the sooner we can jump in the stream of life with the courage of a hero/ine, with our hearts open and our minds aware.
Last weekend, at Women Awakening, I felt like I was at the epicenter of where healing and change happens. I had heard some feedback from some of the participants that they had expected the weekend to be more about empowerment and less about healing. The theme of this’ years summit was Reclaiming Your Power. I see healing as having everything to do with reclaiming your power.
The heroine’s journey is partially a journey of healing. That healing is the key to our empowerment. I see empowerment as taking responsibility for yourself. And only through knowing and healing ourselves can we love ourselves enough to face our whole selves, shadow and all. I believe it's no accident that there was a big focus on healing--as women, as a collective, and individuals, we have a lot of healing to do. This doesn't mean we can't fight for justice, or create change in the external world, but I believe we need to know who we are before we can point our fingers at others. In my feminism, having a robust and loving inner emotional life is key to being successful at this group project of returning girls, women and the divine feminine back to its rightful and equal place in the universe. Through embracing our wholeness, we can reflect the power of the divine feminine to world. The divine feminine: intuition, emotion, healing, feeling, receiving, being, holding.
I know this is my impartial perspective, as a healer, but it is also my perspective as a woman who has spent a lifetime healing. We have kept the idea that we need to be healed in the dark. And that’s partly why we are still in need of healing. Of course all humans are in need of healing, not just women. But women have a particular kind of healing and cure that happens in togetherness, with each other. In connection, community, collaboration, cooperation. All the words that start with 'co'. In order to become whole again, as Woman, and as Women, we need each other. We need to see and mirror each other. Even in our imperfections. Especially in our imperfections. We need not to isolate and say to ourselves: I must go it alone. The more we reach out to each other, the more we will feel held, ourselves.
This was the experience I had last weekend at Women Awakening: I held, and felt held, as I shared my presentation and workshop on owning your shadow. I saw a room full of women hungry for a compassionate space to look at, feel into and talk about their shadows. All of us with different shadows, and yet all of us sharing the collective shadow of Power. A part of us that we reclaiming collectively. I believe that because of the collectively destruction towards girls, women and The Feminine, for thousands of years, we all share an unconscious collective experience of being marginalized, violated, or otherwise oppressed, simply because of our gender or sex. This is a wound we all share, whether we are conscious of it or not. And to pretend it’s not there is to keep the wound festering, never to see the light of day. This wound is power. I have spent a lifetime studying power, and learning how to take power. It isn't easy. And there's still a lot of work to be done. It's not all up to women, but it starts with us. It starts with our felt experience.
I gave my talk on shadow for that reason: to create the opportunity for us to bravely and collectively shed our spotlights on that which we prefer to keep hidden, lest we be ostracized from society. We are right to fear that banishment—the risk of speaking up or going against the grain has dire consequences for most of us, on every level imaginable. As a woman, showing your shadow material—your flaws, your ego, your wildness, your selfishness, is a fucking brave act. Women and girls are strongly encouraged not to let our imperfections show. To love all of our selves--that is our revolution.
For my shadow workshop, I decided not to use notes to give my presentation—other than using my hand out. It was exhilarating, to be that present. I wanted to trust that what I needed to say would come out with written words to rely on. The workshop flowed. This was because of the amazing energy and contribution of the group—all I had to do was channel the energy, and then get out of the way. (Plus many years of thinking and writing on the topic.) We ended in a circle where we each expressed two opposite truths about ourselves—one expressing our shadow, the other expressing our persona, or ego. I was so moved to witness and be part of a circle of women who each expressed both a a personal truth and universal truth. The circle held each of us, as individuals and all of us, as women. It was stunning to behold.
There were countless powerful moments for me from Women Awakening—some that come to mind right now: having the opportunity to collaborate in teaching a yoga and movement class with my friend/collaborator/teacher/student Marimar, and then to witness the women again, expressing their uniqueness, while held in a universal connection. I also loved receiving an intensive Spanish lesson through listening to the Spanish and English spontaneous translations. As co-creators of the event we were given the tremendous honor of first receiving the Munay Ki Rite of the Womb and Bands of Power and then giving those sacred rites to the other women, who in turn, are now empowered to give it to others, as well. I loved the eye-opening talk on the yoni, and receiving a new vocabulary and permission to harness the power of my sexuality. Meeting new amazing women who have travelled from far to share their gifts. One surprise moment stands out: hearing Marisol of La Santa Cecilia sing and bless my new ukelele with her compelling voice at an evening gathering. To bring it full circle, the song she sang was called Todo Cambia and it was about how we need to learn to embrace change because everything is always changing.
Even if you didn't have the chance to participate in Women Awakening, I want you to know that you were thought of that weekend. We held you in our hearts. The healing and empowerment that took place is reverberating out to all the circles we are connected with. Not only women and girls, but men and boys, too. Awakening is contagious, and it is happening all over the planet. Each of us has a part in this. Each of us has the power to transform even our most traumatic experiences into gifts to be given to others.
Empowerment is about taking responsibility for your self. For your actions, your emotions, your dreams, your soul work. In order to take responsibility, in order to find our power, we must first heal. We must look within at our darkest parts. We must face our fears. We must get really really comfy with all our selves and find compassion, humor and healthy expression. We are all in this human project together and no one has it all figured it out. Right alongside of vulnerability is power. We cannot have one with out the other. I will never stop shouting (or singing) this message from the rooftops. I was born to do this work, and this work is what made me see what work is mine to be done.
This is the hero/heroine’s journey. The journey of healing, of becoming whole, as individuals, as a society and as a planet. There is so much suffering on this planet. True. But there has always been suffering. Now, with all the collective awakening, and especially all the women who are awakening to our witchy, feminine, intuitive, wild, instinctive, creative powers, we have the unique opportunity to shed light on all the darkness of our collective human experience. The violence and the greed and the apathy are being seen like never before. We are shining our lights on these age-old shadows, and this is transforming the people and the planet. Let us keep doing the brave work, the hard work, but also the richly rewarding, creative and even fun, work, of going within. To love all of our selves with the understanding that all that exists in the macrocosm exists in the microcosm. Let us join together with open hearts and open minds, supporting each other, instead of being divisive and blaming and pretending that we have nothing to work on, nothing to transform or heal. As the Buddha said: “Drive All Arrows Into The Self”
Love & Power Unite.
Amen. Aho. Namaste. Fuck Yeah. And all the rest.