Twelve years ago, sparked by a difficult transition to motherhood, I began studying the soul-quenching world of feminine power.
On this path I learned all about:
Sisterhood – I became part of a community of women that truly saw and celebrated each other.
Desires – and we lived in sacred alignment with our deepest desires.
Self-love – and in a societal sea of fear-based messaging, self-love was the boat we sailed.
Finding this path was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It lit up my relationships, intuition, creativity, and overall confidence. It was such a positive force in my life that I went on to create retreats and workshops working with these teachings.
“I received a message from the universe that simply said: Forgive.”
Back then, if you asked me about forgiveness, I probably would have suggested that forgiveness was a religious concept that instructed pardoning. Being a psychotherapist at the time and hearing challenging stories daily, I also may have added that forgiveness was a nice idea, but not for everyone. Some things were just too painful to forgive.
But then something intense happened to me: I was betrayed by someone I trusted. And I lost something I deeply loved.
Initially, I looked on the bright side. The relationship certainly had its problems, and there was a genuine part of me that was relieved it had come to an irreconcilable end.
I also had so much to be grateful for and even more to look forward to. I vowed not to let the loss bring me down.
However, as months passed, whenever I thought about what happened, I would feel an undeniable ball of resentment in my gut that made me think: “That. Was. So. Wrong.” My mind struggled to comprehend that it even happened.
So there I was on the path of feminine power that stood for:
Sisterhood – and a trusted female relationship had imploded.
Desire — and what I had desired was lost.
Self-love — and self-doubt rained down on me.
I was in the deep hole of betrayal’s aftermath, and I hung out there for three very long years. And then one dark evening in October 2012, I received a message from the universe that simply said: “Forgive.”
I initially balked at this idea as I had no desire to let anyone off the hook. But the message was so clear that I reluctantly accepted the directive and began researching the world of forgiveness.
Three weeks later, my resentment was gone. I felt peaceful, and my faith in my myself and the universe was restored. I was wowed.
“Forgiveness is a spiritual experience that heals betrayal.
It is very powerful and sits at the core of feminine power.”
Fast forward to today.
Over the past 12 years I have observed the rise of feminine power, and while “We can do it!” is the awesome and accurate collective cheer, becoming and achieving are never straight lines. Loss, setbacks, and failure are always part of our feminine path.
Whatever the story, it is imperative to the success and fruition of feminine power that we transform hardships into the highest force for good.
That’s where forgiveness comes in.
Betrayal is when someone or something you trusted fails you. It often results in a grudge, a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment.
Ask yourself: Am I carrying a feeling of ill will or resentment towards another or myself?
Or, does your body cringe or contract when you think of a difficult time in the past?
If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then ask yourself — are these feelings helping me to:
Attract and sustain the types of relationships I deeply crave?
Align with and attain my desires?
Trust my intuition?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then your feminine power is likely being held back by something in the past.
Forgiveness not only untangles you from the past, but in doing so, unblocks the vast potential of your feminine essence.
And this is why today, when someone asks me my thoughts on forgiveness, my eyes twinkle as I say, “Forgiveness is a spiritual experience that heals betrayal. It’s very powerful and is at the core of feminine power.”
When we ask our Emerging Women Live speakers what the number one thing women can do to stoke the flames of feminine leadership, the answers are distinct in perspective, but very similar at the core.
The real Power-with-a-capital-P seems to boil down to one thing: deep connection with like-minded women in a safe space. It supercharges everyone’s efforts to lead in a way that feels uniquely nourishing. Don’t you agree?
Brené Brown – author of Rising Strong and Daring Greatly
Kris Carr – author of Crazy Sexy Cancer and Crazy Sexy Diet
Jensine Larsen – founder of World Pulse
We need to support each other. We need to speak our visions so we can be supported.
Power Circles are an ideal way to both share your vision and get the support you need to move your vision toward your reality.
The Circles are an opportunity to connect regularly with women who inspire you, to get clear about what you really want, and to be in a sisterhood that believes in your capacity for leadership and impact.
The more we meet, the stronger we get, and the further our waves of emboldenment and compassion will spread into the world. And that’s a world worth creating!
Learn more about the transformative power of Power Circles HERE.
The squiggle comes while reading Chantal’s shout-out to Glennon Doyle Melton: “This woman is freaking amazing—authenticity, vulnerability, fierceness beyond measure, grit, grace….it’s all there. I can’t compare her to anybody but think Brené Brown, Liz Gilbert, Esther Perel, Anne Lamott, and Oprah all in one! For reals, people—don’t miss this one.”
I know my discomfort has nothing to do with Glennon. In fact, when literary agent and fellow Emerging Woman Kelly Notaras posts a video review of Glennon’s book Love Warrior on FB, I immediately google the Momastery blogger and fall in love with her. “She’s a true soul sister,” I think to myself, “having found her way to freeing the authentic self buried underneath her representative self.”
=Nope. My flinch isn’t about Glennon or Kelly or Chantal.
It’s my own insecurity.
I’m afraid there might not be enough room.
A voice in my head launches into her litany: “You better hurry up. You’re gonna miss your chance. That could have been you that Chantal was raving about. You’re blowing it.”
I peer scornfully at the voice and release my defense: “As if there were a way to hurry up, or pull off the latest 10 Easy Steps to Overnight Success. As if there were a stage—one stage—that, if I got onto it, would finally establish my legitimacy, my happiness, my worth.”
I take a long deep breath, shake my head, and call forth my hard earned superpower: my ability to pause. I enter this hiatus to step back and witness what’s arising. My capacity to detach kicks in strongly. Instead of reacting, I become curious. Years of meditation serve me well at times like this. The witness is now wired into my circuitry right alongside the relentless critical bitch.
I view the bitch’s reaction as the ingenious and honorable work of my reptilian brain. It’s suddenly hilarious to me that a reflex encoded millions of years ago for survival—a miraculous regulating force in the human organism—has somehow come to define survival as getting on the Emerging Women stage.
I chuckle. If I didn’t laugh I would certainly cry.
On a bad day here’s where my attention would be right now:
First stop, Judgement Square. In addition to the bitch calling me pathetic, Judgement Square is where her cronies spout their venom about everyone and everything: Glennon’s just feeding the mainstream dogma. She has no real depth. And Chantal’s just as bad … a phony new-age self-help-femininista.
Next stop, Pity Hill, where weepy voices incessantly wail: If only my mother wouldn’t have been so shut down maybe I wouldn’t have a competition thing with other women. But it wouldn’t matter anyway, because my story is not as interesting as theirs. Glennon is clearly smarter, prettier, and more worthy than I am.
Final destination, Righteous Resignation Corner, where every resident knows that a truly righteous person’s status is established by God alone. The voices here are stoic and disembodied: Your desire to be recognized is an insidious element of the unholiness of your wretched sinful soul.
Though my attention is tempted to slide down the well worn rabbit hole into my primal brain, I turn away from the familiar pathway and take a seat in my frontal lobe. Here I locate objective facts:
I’m perfectly safe.
There’s no threat to my physical life.
There’s no need to believe any of the chatter arising from the amygdala’s domain.
My forebrain confidently reminds me that a certain section of my nervous system is wired to survive, to compete for supremacy in a threatening predatory environment. “She’s merely doing her job,” my neo-cortex assures me. “She’s simply got some wires crossed is all.”
I soften my shoulders and lean back in my chair. I close my eyes. My heartbeat slows and my breathing normalizes. I can now become aware of what else is present other than the impulse to fight or flee.
Fluttering in my upper chest is a yearning.
When I notice it my heart quickens again.
“For what do you long?” I ask.
The answer comes softly and confidently: “I wish to be me.”
Relocating this self is like waking from a dream. Too often I ambulate through life as a confused and fearful dream character. But this one feels like the dreamer. She feels like home.
Through her eyes I now look at Glennon’s face frozen in the FB feed before me. I see power, radiance, and authenticity. I see a sister claiming her voice, sharing her story, taking her place on the stage of life.
I inhale and ask myself, “Is there room for both of you?”
The question now seems silly.
Just a moment ago it felt like life and death.
I know I’m not the only one who acts out due to the programming of well established reptilian neural pathways. I also know I’m not the only one clumsily waking up from this dreadful habit. I imagine I might even be one of a whole slew of homo sapiens approaching the possibility of becoming human. But it’s messy.
I remember the first time HeatherAsh told me she wanted to speak on the Emerging Women stage. I had just signed up for the inaugural Emerging Women Live event in Boulder and, even though HeatherAsh is a dear friend, has been instrumental in supporting my emergence, and is a transformative teacher and advocate for the warrior goddess within, it didn’t matter to the reptilian me. HeatherAsh had no business pushing into my space. After all, maybe I could be the one to step on the Emerging Women stage some day. Not her.
The Emerging Women event successfully yanks me out of my embarrassingly competitive habit by getting me high in a sea of hundreds of women shouting, “Yes! there is room for all of us!” Not only is there enough, but there is an urgent call for each of us to stand and take our rightful place on the world stage. These are unprecedented times. Humanity needs our feminine power and presence. In order to bring her forward we must access the depth of our capacity to be fully “for” each other as women.
Not only do I hear this message reverberate through the voices of the women who stand on the Emerging Women stage, but it’s also embedded into the choreography of the entire gathering. Like a 3-D onomatopoeia, Emerging Women is created by and for emerging women. No woman is considered on the outside. There is no outside. It’s all a matter of finding our rightful place … from the inside out.
I decide to buy my ticket for the second Emerging Women Live event in NYC and manage to side step my reptilian impulse to overtly dissuade HeatherAsh from attending knowing that the dates would not work for her again. However, my nervous system is buzzing on high alert poisoning my ability to be fully “for” her. I hate this feeling.
I sit down and pause to be with myself. Again.
My still small voice is kind when she says, “If you’re truly committed to bringing forward your authentic offering into the world, your place may never be on the Emerging Women stage. But HeatherAsh’s might.”
I settle into this knowing, though not without a bit of struggle. I know the truest, best, most fulfilling life is not found on a strategically targeted stage “out there.” Still, it tempts me.
“Where you stand is your stage,” she whispers to me.
How can I know this for sure?
“Because you’re here standing. Nobody else is in this place.”
I repeat to myself, “I am here. This is my place. I will move forward into the world from here.”
I say this mantra every day.
And so it has come to pass that the fourth Emerging Women Live event is less than a month away, and HeatherAsh is scheduled to teach a workshop. I’ll be a paying attendee for the fourth year in a row and HeatherAsh will be one step closer to the main stage.
I am sincerely thrilled for her. And here’s more good news.
Living my own unique story is getting easier every day. When I’m stressed, tired, or unmindful, my nervous system might flair, leaving me feeling vulnerable and exposed, unsure of my path or my future. At such times I may want to lurch at HeatherAsh and try to knock her off her path. When this occurs, I have only one way through. We are in this together, she and I. So I pause. I tell her what’s happening inside of me. I share my sorrow and my shame, allow my authentic self to show up and be genuinely for her rather than hiding the competitive one and pretending she doesn’t exist. HeatherAsh’s heart bursts open with compassion for me as she confesses her own inner competitive streak. We laugh and cry in each others arms.
This is the way of the sisterhood. Because we’re each connected to Source as the author of our unique life, when we are centered in this place there’s no stopping us. We are fully for one another. Still, let’s be real. We’re works in progress. We’re not always rooted in this place of clarity. We’re more and more grounded there, but not always. What to do when we are not stationed in our deepest knowing is the crucial teaching of these times.
What do I do when I know what the “right” thing is, but my instinct is to do the exact opposite and the strength to do the right thing is simply not available?
I stop to witness and identify which self is about to act. I breathe. I rest into my breath and access the Breath that is breathing me. I practice this maneuver over and over and over again without ever believing this process of centering will get easier or that I will never again get drawn out of my center—without ever teaching others that it should be any other way. This is the dance of becoming human. It’s a journey. Not a fixed state.
I download Glennon’s book on my Kindle this morning as I fly to SF from NY. I can hardly put the book down, and have finally done so only because I want to finish writing this blog. The onomatopoeic experience is happening again right now. I’m reading about, observing, and living the emergent feminine. She is everywhere, coming through us with great force.
Maybe you are an emerging woman, too. Maybe I will see you in SF at EW Live in October. If you want to find me, I’ll be cheering on my bestie HeatherAsh and all the other incredible women who will convene to make this event epic. As I walk through the halls I will be emanating this mantra:
Chelsea has over 15 years of experience in administrative and executive support. After her years of working in the legal and oil and gas industry, Chelsea has made it her passion to fill her life with creativity and incorporates that into everything she does. Her position at Emerging Women allows her to expand on that creativity and assist with empowering women around the world. She is a native of Colorado and enjoys spending time with her husband, her son, bonus son, family, and friends. In her free time she loves camping, painting, and all things creative.
Online Business Manager
Michelle studied Marketing and received her degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her passion for marketing, combined with great attention to detail, and over 7 years of experience in the tech-world makes her a valuable asset to the team! In addition to Emerging Women, she is also a solopreneur and works with a number of different clients in the online business realm. She is an experienced Online Business Manager and Virtual Assistant who specializes in marketing operations, project management and online course launch management. She is a Colorado native, mother of two dogs, a cat, and a turtle, and step-mother to an amazing little girl. In her spare time she enjoys live music, good food, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Power Circle Administrator
Jen comes to Emerging Women with over 25 years of experience in event operations and volunteer management. She has worked various types of events as a Volunteer Manager for Integral Life conferences and as an Event Coordinator for various large arts and sports festivals throughout Colorado. Alongside her passion for creating and producing events, she worked as a hospital administrator for over a decade in one of Denver’s largest hospitals helping make care affordable to hundreds of patients. Jen was born in Lima, Peru but has spent most of her life in Colorado. In 2016, a year sabbatical morphed into a life living abroad. Jen has been living in Cusco, Peru for the past four years and cherishes her life in the Andes mountains. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the world, playing capoeira, and deepening her yoga and meditation practices.
Director of Power Circles
For over 13 years, Nicole has been a producer and connector in the field of personal and professional growth and transformation, creating diverse content, life-changing curriculum, and exquisite live and online experiences. She loves to unite and facilitate people in their work to live more good, true, and beautiful lives. She’s honored to bring this diverse expertise to Emerging Women. For the past two years she has been the lead producer for Emerging Women Live, and now is bringing her extensive production, coaching and facilitation skills to EW’s Power Circles. Nicole works in private practice as a Certified Integral Master Coach™, through her company, Unabashedly You, and has worked with hundreds of women (and men) individually and as a group facilitator. She also creates programs and interviews fascinating teachers and wellness experts in her role as U.S. Content Producer for Conscious Life. She is the co-founder of Core Integral, an educational company offering a comprehensive and accessible approach to learning integral theory. Prior to this work, she owned a large and lively restaurant and brewery in Pennsylvania. She has studied extensively and worked alongside Ken Wilber (Integral Theory), Daniel Brown, PhD (Tibetan Buddhism, Self-Development, Attachment, and Positive Psychology), and Sofia Diaz (Hatha Yoga and Feminine Embodiment). She holds a Masters Degree from Lehigh University. She regularly delights in the sunshine and mountains of Colorado with her two dogs and her partner Clint, and is a new mama to her daughter Truly Golden.
Founder & CEO
Chantal’s mission is to increase women’s leadership across the globe. After earning an MBA from the University of Colorado, Chantal left a career in medical device manufacturing in search of work that would align her dedication to transformative leadership with her passion for living an inspired, impactful life. In September 2012, she founded Emerging Women, a global leadership and media platform that serves over 70,000 women worldwide and has advanced women’s leadership within Fortune 500 companies such as HP, Oracle and more. Chantal’s ultimate vision is to weave feminine leadership and authenticity into businesses, and to create a world where women have a strong voice in the shaping of our future. Prior to Emerging Women, for over a decade, Chantal served on the executive team as the VP of Sales and Marketing for Sounds True, a multimedia publishing company focused on spirituality, personal growth, and holistic living. Chantal is a sought after speaker delivering keynotes at The Grace Hopper Celebration, Wisdom 2.0, and many other stages where women’s leadership is critical to the conversation. When she is not dancing or working to empower women around the world, Chantal enjoys family time with her husband and two sons in Boulder, CO.