This post is going to take a lovely stroll down ego lane, as egolessness is one of the core experiences of goddesshood.
As a seeker I have received some powerful teachings on the ego and what a huge mess maker it is. According to many spiritual traditions it is responsible for all unnecessary suffering – from wars to self-aggression.
I received my first ego-education from Naropa University. At Naropa the ego was described as the thoughts that trick us into believing that we are separate, solid, and permanent beings. In order to be liberated from the ego’s illusions one must meditate.
For the most part, I really enjoyed these teachings and meditation practices, but there was something about them that slipped through my fingers. I would have clear moments of seeing how the ego was playing out in my life, followed by confusing moments of not seeing it all.
For the first time since being a child she suddenly had a center-stage experience of her right brain, which she described as radically connected, peaceful, and compassionate. She also realized that she had spent her entire life previous to the stroke solely invested in the functioning of her left-brain, which she described as the land of logic, critical thinking, and achievement.
In a conversation with Oprah, Dr. Botle-Taylor identifies the ego as the functioning of the left hemisphere of the brain. I LOVED this. The separate, solid, and permanent teachings of Buddhism finally had a location in my body. AND, although the ego was quite the mess maker, it was also responsible for a lot of amazing things as well.
My most recent and intensely expansive understanding of the ego came last fall while in the dark pit of adrenal burnout, I began following the work of Marianne Williamson and her efforts to get women to enter the political realm. I was so impressed with Marianne at her Sister Giant conference that I felt inspired to read her most popular book, Return To Love.
In Return to Love, Marianne simply describes the ego as our fearful thoughts and the absence of fearful thoughts is love. Since I was coincidentally in the midst of feeling tormented by my fearful thoughts, her definition hit me like a ton of bricks.
In my vulnerable state, I clearly saw how in times of stress and uncertainty my ego begins overachieving and fear spreads like a weed. I also clearly saw that when it came to loving myself (which I really needed to do in order to get better), these fearful thoughts were my greatest obstacle.
Some of you may be wondering if I’m talking about ALL fearful thoughts? Aren’t some of them useful? Sure. But if you dare to compare how many useful ones you have versus how many useless ones you have, you may have a jaw dropping moment like I did.
If you’re desiring to embody goddesshood and rock self-love then this is Step 1: Begin taking notice of your fearful thoughts and assess which ones actually serve you, and which ones do nothing but make you unnecessarily afraid. No need to judge any of them as good or bad, just observe them like a researcher.
I cannot tell you how good it feels to have The Goddess Processout of me and on this site. Writing her took everything I had …which wasn’t much. Since my adrenal crash last year was the backdrop to her birth, here is the down-low on what I now call “not-enough-disease”.
In the world of coaching and personal growth, the experience of being enough is a popular and important theme. It addresses the belief that many folks are plagued with the chronic unconscious belief/feeling that:
they aren’t doing enough
they don’t have enough of _______ (fill in the blank)
they, on a very basic level, simply aren’t enough
Now I happen to know from firsthand experience that there is a physical dis-ease that these not-enough beliefs create, and it’s called adrenal burnout/fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue results after a long period of stress during which a person hits the button on their adrenals so much that they become totally tapped, leaving them in a chronic state of exhaustion. I was first diagnosed 10 years ago, after caring for my dying father. In the face of seeing someone I love pass away, the idea that I wasn’t doing enough prevailed, and I unconsciously hit my adrenaline button like a madwoman. After he finally passed, I felt unusually exhausted so I went to the doctor.
The naturopathic physician who diagnosed me 10 years back prescribed a long period of rest (1-2 years) and some supplements, which I took for a month. After not feeling immediately better (the treatment wasn’t fast “enough”), I told her that I’d rather start my family than treat my adrenals. She looked at me like I had 10 heads, wished me well, and advised me to stay away from caffeine, to which I complied.
So, in a depleted state, I birthed and cared of for two children, launched a Nia and a psychotherapy career, and began synthesizing and sharing feminine spirituality. Eventually my “no caffiene” resolve weakened and I began brewing green tea.
Yep, green tea was my demise, and about three years ago I began feeling a subtle anxiety which eventually snowballed into a despairing and anxious depression last summer.
I was on the brink of popping anti-depressants when I met this amazing shaman who diagnosed me and told me that if I began taking pharmaceuticals, I would only suffer more. He (sternly) told me to get weekly traditional Chinese acupuncture for nine months.
I worked with this phenomenal healer for nine months straight, and now I’m much better. Though for those nine months, my world was leveled. The jet plane of my life was grounded. Anyone who undergoes an immense trauma, like losing a loved one, or a life-threatening illness, or in my case, losing all the chi in your body, is brought to ground-zero. Everything is re-evaluated and anything that isn’t of the utmost importance gets thrown out. I divorced many things that had a chunk of my energy— the most surprising were my Nia classes.
Well, the day that felt like it would never get here has finally arrived. The Goddess Process is born (Yay!!!)… and she’s a beaut.
The Goddess Process is a timeless course in modern Goddesshood. The format is a home-or-anywhere you want audio course that takes the listener on a 5-week journey into the soul of feminine power. It is designed to invoke an embodied understanding of the who, what, where, when, why, and how, of Goddesshood.
To read aaaaalllllllllll about her, listen to some audio samples, AND scoop up the super special offer to the first 108 ladies who enter Goddess Process land -> Click here!
And the revolution doesn’t end there. If you would rather do The Goddess Process with me, OR you experienced it and want to take it to the next level, OR you’ve had a Qoya retreat with Rochelle Schieck on your desire list, OR the thought of Rochelle and I teaming up in paradise sounds like a week that you can not miss…. then come to Mexico!
There is so much catching up to do, I barely know where to begin.
I guess the most important news is that I finished The Goddess Process (Yay!!!). This means I wrote down everything I know about the power of modern feminine spirituality, and then turned it into an audio course. It’s in the editing phase and should arrive very soon (Goddess willing).
As you could imagine, creating The Goddess Process was major, though if my last post (published almost a year ago) was any clue, this past year was the doozy of all doozies.
Essentially, I was taken down to my knees from an endocrine system gone way wrong, and, as a result, my world was leveled.
It was ugly.
From the earthly plane, I was suffering from the dark and despairing pit of adrenal burnout (which I now call “Not-Enough Disease”- more about that soon).
From the divine plane, I began creating The Goddess Process, and the Great Goddess in the Sky had some things to teach me before she could put her stamp of approval on it. All that I learned became the trellis I climbed back to health, and the crown jewels of The Goddess Process.
With two young kids and a body that was void of chi, I ssssssslllllllllooooooooowwwwwwwwllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy made my way up. Healing required boatloads of trust, surrender, and patience. None of which were my strong suits.
I will tell you all about my wild journey in the not too distant future. For now, I just wanted to say “hey,” and let you know that I didn’t throw in the towel as a feminine freedom evangelist. Amazing things are on the horizon: new site, The Goddess Process, The Love Bomb, a retreat in Mexico (Feb 15, 2014!), 108 consultations with yours truly, and much, much, more.
If I could give 2012 a theme, it would be the year that universal love came and got me. Or, more accurately, this is the year that I finally desired to know this great love.
I believe universal love is an energetic river in which all life exists. As humans, we all have the option of being channels for it— or not.
As I’ve been soaking up every drop I can learn about the phenomena of love, I was coincidentally asked to write about it for an incredibly special effort.
Business philanthropy coach Erin Giles gathered up 60 incredible folks to write about love, knowledge, or freedom. Then she compiled the essays into a book called End Sex Trafficking Day that you can buy for $20 on Amazon. All proceeds go to the Not For Sale Campaign, an organization working to put an end to modern slavery.
The book is AMAZING. It is packed with incredible words. I am over-the-moon honored to be in it.
The triple-win happens when you purchase the book:
1) The money is donated.
2) You receive the love, knowledge, and freedom inspirations of special thinkers (like Danielle LaPorte, Seth Godin, Alexandra Frazen and ME!).
3) You empower the efforts of philanthropic geniuses.
Win-win-win! (I LOVE triple wins!)
So there you have it, sisters: PLEASE BUY THIS BOOK, and may all humans be channels for the river of love.
I am fascinated with the intersection of divine self-love and restoring health to the world.
When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would often say, “I want to be a biologist and save the world from global warming.” Up until today, I would remember this answer and think how adorably off I was compared to how my life is actually unfolding. A scientist? End global warming? How cute.
As I write this, it is 75 degrees in Seattle and it is October. Summer is still here. Although I’m a Seattleite who pines for every drop of sunshine, I find today’s rays totally depressing. The world has known these days were coming for over 30 years and very little has been done to stop it.
Today I feel very close to that little girl’s dream. I see that I wasn’t so far off when I said I wanted to be a biologist. As a feminine essence junkie, I revere nature’s logic. And I wanted to heal our greatest physical feminine source, Mother Earth. It seems that I am still in alignment with my young dream.
In the face of global warming and all the many other severe problems of the world, hopelessness threatens me. However, I take refuge in one powerful phenomena that is creating radical change: the desires of women.
And this brings us to one of two hells— those of you saying “HELL YES!” and those of you wondering “How the HELL are the desires of women going to make a difference in this over-the-top-outrageous mess?”
First, let’s get clear on the definition of desire. I am not referring to a “sexual urge.” I am referring to your deepest hunger, otherwise known as your soul’s deepest truth. It is what you are called to move towards and to create.
Today, women are just beginning to return to the importance of their soul’s deepest longing. For the last 5,500 years women have been living within a legacy that oppresses their desire. Today, this legacy leaves most Western women with an unconscious adversarial relationship to their core yearnings. Though Western women have established freedom on so many levels, we are just beginning to break free of all that binds our internal world. It is no small feat. It is scary, messy, and complicated (but mostly it is exciting and completely awesome).
Am I saying that all women desire the world to be a just and healthy place?
Am I saying that all we have to do is desire it and “abracadabra,” it will be?
But there is an enormous unleashed potential in the side of humanity called “woman.” And as a feminine essence junkie, I know that women have a profound creative ability to restore health to whatever they love. I also know this ability is rooted in sisterhood (belonging), emotional truth (desire), and personal power (divine self-love).
This is one of the many reasons that Mama Gena’s tagline says,”Women are the greatest untapped resource.” This is also why my footer says “Emotionally Brilliant People Heal The World.” Emotionally brilliant people love their deepest desires.
As it turns out, I am not the only visionary who sees that the desires of women are swinging some huge changes. Sisters, put your feet up and soak up these truly liberating links:
Check out this power packed TED Talk about the GLOBAL desire for leaders who think like women: The Athena Doctrine.
Spiritual Queen Marianne Williamson is ending the separation between spirituality and politics (thank you, Goddess) and is organizing SISTER GIANT.
OK, time to change gears and offer some quick updates. Yes, this is my new site (yay!!!).
On The Goddess Process front: thanks to the divine guidance of Tali Edut, I have a new spring launch date. It initially felt far, far away but now feels just right.
Some of you may have noticed that 2012 has been kind of tough for me. Interestingly, I have experienced the most internal upheaval just as I was about to write The Goddess Process section on self-love. Though I am not out of dark waters yet, all that I am going through is ensuring that my words on self-love come from a very deep place.
Last week I took a scary swim into the waters of despair. Despair had been looming over me like a dark cloud for a good month, and then, with just the right convergence of many factors, into it I sank. I cried for two days straight (and I consider myself lucky that it only lasted that long).
You know me, though (or are getting to know me)—super spiritual, I am. Thus, like all emotions, I regard the experience of despair as sacred and divine.
Here are ten ways to get divinely down and dirty with despair:
1) Pay close and loving attention to your body, your actual physical experience. Unlike the torrential downpour of “what if’s” that come with despair, your immediate physical sensations have the goods for what is actually going on. I found that my feet, pelvis, and chest were the true land of my suffering.
3) Also read Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol K. Truman. I know, such a dramatic title, though you can’t deny it gets to the point. On a recommendation from Marie, I’ve had this book for a few years, yet had never read it. As I wrestled with my feelings this past month, I dug it up. It has this script in it which I found to be very powerful and an excellent reference point for healing. The script uses the word “God” a few times, which isn’t a word I relate to, so I replaced it with “universe” or “universal” and the script flowed beautifully.
4) Email/call your dearest friends and ask them to love you up. If I could star this one I would. I don’t know what the hell it is, but when someone whom you have a bond with reminds you that you are not broken and that it’s all going to be OK, that is the best stuff ever. Mama Gena says, “Community is immunity.” For many, during a despairing bout, our ego tells us to handle it all alone or that we suck if we can’t. Thus, the inclination to hole up is pretty huge. Reaching out to the people who will tell you they love you and that it’s all going to be OK? That is divine gold. Those simple words have taken me very far.
5) Believe in the divine nature of your despair. The most physically painful thing I ever did was birth my son sans drugs. I poured my Goddesshood all over that experience. With every contraction I repeated “this is divine.” It’s a bold move to say “this is divine” when things feel so undivine, but if you can say it (and believe it), you may render your relentless ego speechless.
6) Light a candle in honor of all things you don’t understand. So much of my despair was coming from a young part of my psyche that struggled with things she couldn’t understand back then. Add that to all the things I currently don’t understand, and, well, sometimes all we need to do is honor that basic truth: so much of life is incomprehensible. Honoring it helps.
7) Write a love letter to your soul. Havi Brooks often talks about a part of herself called “Slightly Wiser Me” that she journals with and which helps her find the truth of a situation. Even when we are so mega confused and despairing, we all have a “Slightly Wiser Me” inside us that we can talk to. I’ve been journaling with her a lot, and she’s been super loving… and wise.
On a lighter note, take a good last look around my site as I am changing things up and retiring the name “VOLVER.” Though I will certainly miss all of its meanings, I will not miss people mispronouncing it. I am also two-thirds of the way done with The Goddess Process, which next to my kids and marriage, is undoubtedly my most epic creation. My VOLVER facebook page is closed and my new awesome page is here.
I found that out last night while reading Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler. She notes that on July 19th, 1948, in Seneca Falls, NY, the first convention in recorded history “was held for the express purpose of launching women’s collective struggle against subordination and degradation.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton lit the match with this pivotal statement: “Among the many important questions which have been brought before the public, there is none that more vitally affects the human family than that which is technically called ‘Woman’s Rights’.”
In the western world, the fire blazes bright. Thank you, Elizabeth, and to all the women who dared to stand, and continue to stand, for women’s liberation.
All the goodness we want for the world is rooted in the actualization of women. (Yes, it’s true.)
Speaking of the actualization of women… I am writing and researching my voluptuous tail off . Sisters, The Goddess Processis coming.
In the meantime, and on this incredibly special day, I leave you with this soul-surrendering video from spiritual siren Sera Beak. May all women and men live from the depths of their souls.
I do love my pedis. Very much, in fact. And don’t get me wrong, women who know the sacred power of receiving pleasure and cultivating beauty are the kind of sisters I like to hang with. BUT, the truth is that you can be a rock star at pleasure and beauty but still doubt, judge, fear, and…. hate yourself…. often.
What is self-love? I think it’s our relationship to our selves, and when I use “selves,” I mean the many diverse and often contradictory emotions and aspects of our being. On a very basic level, self-love means developing a loving relationship with a wild cast of characters, aka negative beliefs. It’s a daunting task at first, though once you realize all the isolation and confusion these unattended beliefs create, self-love seems like a much better option.
Awareness is the first step to getting anywhere on the self-love road. Notice when you are captured by a negative belief. Fear, criticism, frustration, impatience, judgement, doubt, aggression… whether aimed at yourself or others, these are all issues of self-love.
I am being put to the self-love test. I messed up my lower back three days ago and have been bedridden since. Naturally, I’ve had a few impatient and frustrated moments being in pain and stuck in bed. Louise Hay, in her book You Can Heal Your Life, says lower back pain has to do with money, and I can’t deny I put a lot of pressure on myself to make money. Although my man is a great provider, I was raised in a blue collar family and these messages ring loud: “WORK HARD.” “EARN YOUR WAY.” “BE INDEPENDENT.” “SURVIVE.” Despite my comfortable situation, I have this belief that I must bust my ass and earn my own money, or I might not make it.
It helps to give a negative belief a fun name, so I named this one the “Blue Collar Bully” (BCB). Her voice looms large in my being. Especially now, when I am completely out of the game and can’t even make dinner to “earn” my keep.
After three frustrating days in bed unable to move, I decided to pour rightfulness all over my lower back pain by writing a list of all the many blessings of my situation… and there were many (having time to write this post is one of them). Then the BCB and I had a long overdue conversation.
As it turns out, she’s quite vulnerable and afraid. She’s mainly afraid I’ll be a “loser” (her words). When I asked her to define “loser,” she said it was someone who is unable to create what they deeply desire. We then examined the lives of some people we knew who died without conjuring their deepest desires. Sure enough, their lives seemed void of awareness and self-love. We also talked about how much we loved these people and how hard it was to witness their unhappiness. I assured her I was on a different path to becoming me and that she could chill. We hugged and I thanked her for looking out for me. No lie, she was so appreciative that we finally talked.
I am not saying this is “the” path to self-love. It’s one that feels relevant and practical to me. I have no doubt there are many paths. Whatever your intervention, feeling peaceful, open, and/or loving are great barometers. And hey, if a pedi is what calms your demons down, I bow to you.
I also don’t think I will wake-up tomorrow cured, but I don’t think I will wake up frustrated and harassed by my psyche either… or at least this aspect of it. And if I am, we will sit down and talk it over, again.