For years I've been working to cultivate my feminine power, knowing that there's a better way than the singular, competition- and lack-based narrows of a patriarchal culture that doesn't really much value (or understand) this "other" way.
Something in me has always recognized that it's a special and sacred privilege to sit in a circle with other women. Speaking from your heart and listening with the ears of your heart is an ancient spiritual practice that'll teach you a ton about feminine power if you let it.
For so many years, I was the one working hard in my partnerships. Always considering what was my responsibility, cleaning it up, and asking for feedback.
If we had a fight, I'd be the one examining how my behavior contributed to it. I thought it was my (and only my) responsibility to make sure my boundaries were respected, that I was heard, and that my needs and desires were expressed.
Avoiding intimacy. It's what you do (usually unconsciously) when getting close to someone feels threatening, whether you're aware of those feelings or not.
If you're anything like most of us, you have a sweet spot of tolerance---a place internally when connection feels enlivening and nourishing---and also a point at which the intimacy begins to feel threatening and another point where too much space begins to feel threatening.
Let us step into it with our eyes open, yes? With all the consciousness we can muster, saying, "This is myyear."
Because my dear, it is.
Let me remind you that you are immensely powerful and that you can create deep nourishment, fulfillment, magic, connection, and abundance this year. And sure, on one level I'm talking about spiritual manifestation but my main point is this:
I know. You don't want to repeat the same old worn out behaviors in the coming year. Me neither.
We call them patterns because they're what we do when we go on auto-pilot or get unconscious. We have ruts in our brain that favor doing the same thing over and over again.
No matter that the behaviors might be dulling our life force or reinforcing something we're desperate to leave behind. We still let ourselves get seduced by the familiar pattern when we're not paying attention.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's the darkest time of year. Both inwardly and outwardly.
In this time before the light returns, we see the darkest places in ourselves. We see what hides out in the corners and only comes out when the nights are long.
Right now, so many are experiencing depression, deep insecurities, loneliness, apathy, anxiety, lethargy, and especially issues around addiction or numbing behaviors. Because now, as we experience our dark places, we also fall into our most shadowy ways of coping.
When it's time to turn in, please, please let yourself.
For many of you, since the US elections, there's been a lot of OUT. Out in the streets. Out on Facebook. Out organizing and discussing and outward focusing. Thinking about policies and appointments and plans. Working your minds.
Plus your day job. Plus parenting. Plus keeping your relationships afloat and your dishes done.
I've learned a thing or two about deep challenge. The kind of challenge that can either pull you under or completely transform your life in necessary ways (a la spiritual emergency).
Challenge can be an absolutely miserable way to learn our lessons. But the thing is, it's loud, which is why it works as a means to get your attention. Feeling disempowered, victimized, panicked, and desperate all before breakfast can't be ignored. Not without a lot of medication.
Are you feeling the relationship pain too? It seems like there's conflict, chaos, and confusion in the air right now and that our most meaningful relationships are up for review, so to speak.
Marriages feeling fragile. Close friendships suddenly imploding or feeling a new kind of rub that needs addressing. Truth speaking that winds up not going very well despite your best intentions. A mis-match in terms of desires around moving a new relationship forward. Business relationships turning sour.
Years ago when I lived in Chicago, my best friend and I (Hi, Char!) were the kind of friends who talked through everything. We knew what was going on in each other's internal world most of the time.
We talked about the hard stuff, the secret stuff, the beautiful stuff. And we had a saying (well, a lot of sayings, actually, most of them ridiculous. Um..."hamhocking?"). Anyway, we had a saying for when life felt particularly difficult and overwhelming. For when we were spinning out.
I've been really excited to bring you this interview with Erica Mather for a while now and it's finally time! Erica's got so much useful experience to share about her past with compulsive overeating and over exercising.
It's all over the news. Stories of women being exploited, abused, and mocked. Grabbed, molested, raped. Basic rights taken away. A total denigration of that which is sacred.
I barely have the words to describe how torn my heart feels and how deeply angry I am. How completely incongruent this feels when I know women and womanhood to be sacred, necessary, and central to our survival.
It can be so difficult to figure out what you should do or what you should say after the fight or in the midst of trying to prevent one.
And there are so many things to consider, right? Will I make it worse? Will it do any good? Will they even understand or change? What's the "right" thing to do? Is this even how I should be feeling about this?
As I lay there on my back on the sheepskin rug, tears rolling down my temples, their supportive hands on my heart, my belly, my forehead, arms and feet, listening to one of my sisters sing me a Sundance song, their eyes wet with feeling...
I remembered what I'm truly made of.
And what I'm not made of. And what you're not made of.
I've recently had a whole new inner-growth spurt, where I feel like I'm moving through my stuck places with an ease I've longed for for years. It feels like a big relief and really exciting to me to be feeling this free!
For me, this type of quickening often coincides with the flow (not ebb) of my yoga practice. Do you know the feeling? Suddenly, new aliveness became available in my inner thighs and pelvis, my lower back tension began to melt away, and I'm feeling stronger than I have in a long, long time. Generally, I feel like I can do anything and my creativity is roaring.
So I'm sharing my interview with Colleen Millen with you at the perfect time! As a fellow Somatic Psychotherapist and Forrest Yoga Guardian, Colleen knows a thing or two about breakthroughs.
The political conversation is LOUD right now. Blaring. From Facebook to real-life conversations to the therapy couch. (Yes, it's bringing a lot up for a lot of people).
But why is no one talking about the inner process of the political season? The psychological and spiritual impact of all the division, hate, and aggressive communication going on? Have we simply forgotten what it is we're committed to?
I used to be a card-carrying member of the Cult of Busy and it almost killed my Spirit.
It's embarrassing to admit because as a Psychotherapist, it's my job not only to help people heal, but also to know a thing or two about what makes a healthy and high-quality life. For me, though, my teachings usually come from my own hard-earned lessons.
Rumi, the 13th-Century Persian poet and Sufi mystic said,
"Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."
We're a culture that's damn confused about love. Partially because actually choosing love is a rigorous spiritual discipline. If it were simple, it wouldn't hold the transformative power that deep, spiritual practice promises.